October 2nd, 2012
04:04 PM ET
Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments
By Alan Miller, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Alan Miller is director of The New York Salon and co-founder of London's Old Truman Brewery. He is speaking at The Battle of Ideas at London's Barbican in October.
By Alan Miller, Special to CNN
I wrote a Belief Blog piece on Sunday called "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out," which has received more than 8,000 comments, many taking up key points I raised.
My assessment is that the wider disorientation of Western society, the decreasing respect for many institutions and the disdain for humans alongside what Christopher Lasch has termed a "culture of narcissism" has played out both among the "spiritual but not religious" identifiers as well as among many "new atheists." Lots of the comments bear that out.
Some commenters accused me of outdated and dangerous dogmatism in sticking up for traditional religion. A commenter whose handle is spectraprism spoke to this view:
I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself. My comments and observations are based on an increasingly common phenomenon in the past 20 years.
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It is telling, though, that this and many other comments converge on dogmatism and extremism and juxtapose them with the notion that an individual choice is immune to any of that. These comments speak to my point that not wanting to be held accountable to any set of ideas or principles is a very popular position among the “spiritual but not religious."
In recent decades, the demise of the notion that there can be universal truths and the ascendancy of relativism and the new preaching of "many truths" and the idea that "all truths are equally valid" has clearly had significant impact on that identity.
The disenchantment with belief and a commitment to some wider authority has also had an impact on the self-described new atheists, who are furious that anyone could have the audacity to believe in something bigger than themselves.
The end of the big ideas of liberalism and socialism left a vacuum in society. Atheism used to be a small component of bigger movements in society. Ironically, today what defines many new atheists is a shared outlook with “spiritual but not religious” views.
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New atheists define themselves in negative terms, as not believing without any broader sense of a positive alternative, while those identifying with a "spiritual but not religious" outlook define themselves as not religious rather than according to the strong convictions that they do have.
This commenter summarized the sentiments that lots of others express on my piece:
It is so interesting how so many people now use the therapeutic language of recovery - "recovering" from organized religion. The group American Atheists describes anguish and toil as the "first step" of "coming out," making the analogy with gays coming out the "closet," as though somehow atheists are oppressed today in America.
The therapeutic outlook is of far more concern with regard to human autonomy and freedom than organized religion. The idea is that humans are all "damaged goods" and in need of constant counseling and instruction.
These comments take off on that theme:
It is interesting how "spirituality" seems to be thought of as "clean" and unimpeded by problems.
Dustin calls religion a "disease" - once again we see the therapeutic language. Striving for an understanding of the world is an important and essential human attribute, yet so many of the comments have reiterated a generality about "spiritualism" and "my choice" that it seems to endorse the point I made that what seems so paramount is in a determination not to be "labeled" or dictated to by an authority.
So what is left? The superstition and mysticism of some "oneness" and often a therapeutic notion of being "spiritual."
Here’s a comment from someone who identifies as 51yo:
The commenter 51y0 doesn't want to be tied to anyone else's "facts." While we all have to work out our things in life, I am interested to know what “spiritual but not religious" facts are.
It can seem that on the one hand there's a reluctance to commit to advocating anything and also that words can end up losing any meaning if one simply says something to the affect of "spiritual means it's right for me." Nick says it can mean a lot of different things to people:
I’ll end with this comment:
This remark will chime with many – the new atheists among them - who believe that being "spiritual" means you don't want to be associated with all the "chaos and destruction."
It strikes me that having an opt-out plan should have something more than simply a negative, whether it's a "spiritual" one or a "new atheist" negative. We live in an age where many are disillusioned with institutions and humans generally, yet not so evident is a positive alternative.
Thank you for the comments. The event we held last night, "I'm Not Religious – I'm Spiritual" benefited from some of them.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alan Miller.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
What I found interesting from the posts on the original "My take:" was how so many people, who in the context of posting on the Belief Blog appear to profess as atheists, still want 'in' under the umbrella of "spiritual but not religious".
While saying "I don't believe in God" is literally a negative definition, (see: Alan Miller's "new atheists", whatever that term is supposed to mean exactly) it doesn't mean that you think that all of concepts in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc are automatically wrong and worthless, but nor does the latter imply 'spirituality' to me.
It raises this question. Do people here who believe in a metaphysical spiritual oneness consider themselves atheists because they don't believe in an anthopomorphic deity?
These observations demonstrate to me that religiosity is so inculcated in human societies that so many people want to insist that an existence absent the notion of divinity, that values and affirms life, morality, altruism, beauty, nature, reason, etc also keeps the label "spiritual". What's wrong with awareness?
I guess you can say I am spiritual but atheist. I don't believe in any type of diety watching over us and creating things. But I kind of feel that just as after death our flesh is recycled back into the earth for the next cycle so does our energy. You know the electrical impulses that make us move, feel pain, and spark our heart. Perhaps in a way that energy is also recycled, sort of in a kenetic/potential kind of way. Yeah, crazy talk, I know. Perhaps when we advance scientificly into the "God" particles and string theory level we'll see that everything is connected in some mico atomic net or something. It is the only semi logical way I have been able to explain some crazy off the wall gut feelings I get that are actually true. I don't believe some god or satan is telling me, but something that hasn't been explained by science. But what ever it is, it seems the whole universe is connected some how. Someday we'll all know the right question to the answer... 42. LOL
You're both evil.
I think the problem is with the term "spiritual" as it implies the existence of spirit or soul in an individual. If you are an atheist or a naturalist, you should not believe in a spirit or anything that is deemed "supernatural" in any way.
The mistake is being stuck on the traditional definition of spiritual and taking its implication of a soul literally. An atheist can be spiritual in the sense that they allow themselves to experience the human emotions of awe, tranquility, and connectedness through their current and evolving understanding of a universe that continues to be intriguing and awe inspiring through real world discovery. Do I believe I have a supernatural soul? No, that's pretty ridiculous and seeming more so the more we learn about our physiology and brains. Do I gain a sense of comfort and awe from knowing my atoms were forged in stars and will be recycled in some form another? Yes.
@Lukewarm, KCollidge, and Matt,
thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
'Does being an atheist abrogate use of the term spiritual?' is a question that I took away from the whole 'spiritual but not religious' disucussion. From a purely logical standpoint, I think it probably should but it doesn't mean atheists don't think about the philosophical implications of existence. Many clearly put more thought into this than automatic believers.
you might find Spinoza's God interesting.
"It strikes me that having an opt-out plan should have something more than simply a negative, whether it's a "spiritual" one or a "new atheist" negative."
A Man goes into an ice cre.am shop and asks for a bowl of plain vanilla ice cream. The clerk dishes it up and then starts to ladle on some chocolate sauce and the man yells "Stop! I don't want any Chocolate sauce!"
So the clerk says "Okay, okay, so strawberry then?" to which the man replys "No! I don't want any strawberry either!"
The clerk then continues "Sooo, butterscotch?"
Man "No! No Butterscotch! I just want plain ice cream!"
"Fine" says the clerk, "But you don't have to be so negative..."
Can you see my point Alan? The opt out plan does not need or even want an alternate magical ending narrative. Usually non-religious persons like you claim to be understand that, though i'm thinking that when you say "in fact am not religious myself." you are merely creating a subertfuge from which to launch your moronic religious agenda which should have been called "Whats with all these people who think they don't have to follow Christ and stuff?"
nail.. here is the hammer!
Is it really bad to believe in whatever it is you believe in to make your life more enjoyable for yourself and those you love?
The problem is when others start trying to enforce their views onto others and the violence erupts.
Live and let live isn't really that difficult of a idea to grasp.
Also, the author's belief that there are any facts underpinning a religious "belief" is hilarious. No, the Bible is not factual. Nor is religion.
You and the author are both mistaken and evil to boot.
Explain why they are evil? What have they done that is evil?
LOL! This article is even worse than the last. So narcissism is now equivalent to thinking for yourself instead of being blindly led by those who came before you. Yikes. This dude is frightening.
If not worse, close to it. It might have give him a chance to explain his viewpoint better, but in doing so, it becomes obvious how very narrow that viewpoint is.
correction to my reply: "have given"
Exactly Jay. Apparently, in today's world, not wanting to blindly be controlled or give up your own free will and thought processes equates to narcissism. That is a classic attack on individualism. The big religions are scared. They are scared because they are losing power. This attempt at brainwashing is thinly veiled. I am a good person. I know this. I don't need a book or a priest to tell me this. I know because I do what my heart tells me is right. THEY do not like that. THEY need you to need them in order to control you.
"..as though somehow atheists are oppressed today in America"
well, I would like to ask the author to lookup the rules for holding public offices.. Most of the states disallows an atheist from holding one.. I would like to suggest the author to do a bit more research before saying incorrect things.. it is journalistic dishonesty.
I agree with the sentiment, but not with that argument.
"The const'tutions of eight states (Arkansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) contain clauses that prohibit atheists from holding public office"
but thankfully, these are in clear violation of the Consit;tution of the United States and, as such, are unenforceable.
Just like it's a clear violation against the US for forcing the religion of atheism on everyone.
Thanks for playing moron.
"Just like it's a clear violation against the US for forcing the religion of atheism on everyone.
Thanks for playing moron"
interesting. First off, that hatred of yours will get you a nice warm afterlife, better pack light.
Secondly, describe how atheism is being forced on you.
"the new preaching of "many truths" and the idea that "all truths are equally valid"
This is what is preached to children in our public schools. Good job atheists you replaced prayer to God our creator with the liberal sound bite all religions are valid. Check out the school books for your selves. We need to respect all religions equally. The God of Bible is on the same level as all other gods. Give youreselves a big pat on the back. Now we will find out first hand why the government was to stay clear of state imposed religion.
Praise Obama Praise Obama will be chant of the atheist until they find out what a nation without God really looks like.
Your god is different from my god.. would you agree to allowing kids to say the prayer to my god as well along with yours in the public schools? if no, then you are nothing but a hypocritical bigot.
It has been done already. You are an atheist so your god is the prince of this world. Reality check is what did you replace God with? We had one truth (even though many got the minor points wrong) and 90% of America believed in God. The religion of the world says there is no truth and no absolutes. There is no right or wrong except what we want it to be today. God has no power because we gave our soul to lusts of the flesh (biblical term for money, power, status, pride, $ex etc)
... who says i am an atheist?
fred, your comments are full of bigotted beliefs of every brainwashed extreme right religinut.. your vitrol about what atheists believe and do is analogous to an atheist saying you are so dumb that you believe the dude in the bible survived in the belly of a whale for 3 days and stoning an person following another god must not be punishable by law because it says so in bible.
or do you?
As evidenced by North Korea people will fill that God void. The truth of the Creator never changes and we were made by the hands of God to be relational beings with reason that no other animals have. That reason allows us to commune with God (at the spiritual level). Without God we run to latest fad, food, diva, Obama, or whatever and eventually come up empty because all the things of this life will pass away. We gave away our soul for the illusion of wisdom.
In direct response to your god which is promoted by our public school system (deep south excluded)Christians must pray where they cannot be heard. I seriously doubt the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence who unanimously declared we were endowed by our Creator and closed the declaration with a prayer to the Supreme Judge of the World would stand by and allow the State to promote the prince of the world (materialism)
Just face it fred, your God, much like all the other imagined God's, has NO POWER. All you can do is sit in your corner and weep and gnash your teeth because for thousands of years the faithful like yourselves have been calling on your God for aid and have been met with nothing but silence. Yet the faithful like you fred press on, explaining that the silence must be the message and we either don't understand it or aren't listening hard enough.
The only power any of your God's have ever had is only what you give them. No one has ever been killed by God's, only their bloodthirsty servants, chomping at the bit to show how strong and violent their faith can be when defending their illusionary Deity. You say what will the world look like without God as if it's a bad thing, I see it as the possibility for pulling humanity out of the sewer that is organized religion and breaking down all the fences that have been built to divide and shame and seclude humans from one another.
The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:
"fred" degnerates to:
"Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degnerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
"tina" deganerates to:
"captain america" degnerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"nope" degnerates to:
"2357" degenerates to:
"WOW" degnerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
"pervert alert" or "...."
and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extremely h0mophobic nutjob as
the disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".
You still did not answer Snow's question.. You can not deny that the schools have more than just christian kids.. jewish, muslim, hindu, sikh, budhist, taoist, etc, etc..
Would you support them pray to their god EVERYDAY and at every assembly in schools, and the science class to teach their version of creationism as well? or do you limit yourself to supporting ONLY christian prayer in schools?
Answer directly without dilly-dallying around with mindless ramble.. better yet, start with a "Yes, I support" or a "NO, I don't support".
I assumed you were atheist or agnostic given you used a litte G for your god and mine.
the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence also unanimously declared that King George "transport[ed] us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences" and that he "abolish[ed] the free System of English Laws* in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies"
* by allowing Catholics in Canada to attend church, vote and hold office
I doubt they even noticed the "creator" reference. Those of the declaration signers who held colonial office were still obliged to swear to religious tests after all.
No, you cannot in todays world allow prayer to be directed by a public employee.
Schools must stop promoting all religions as equal since this has led to God and the truth of the ages being reduced to religion.
Religion and todays religious sects are more reflective of the world system then they are of the truth.
I dunno, fred, Norway seems to be doing ok without god(s)...but of course you went straight for N Korea as your example. Atheism's not the problem in that country, but nice try.
We have those tests today in that Presidents parade their Bibles around election time. I do not know the depth of faith for any of those 56 signers with the exception of Jefferson who was moving towards the deist camp.
We have most Christians today that have a faith which is a far cry from what Christ had in mind. That is a main thread in the Bible where the chosen ones held the God banner high for all to see but actions were not much different than that of surrounding cultures.
Would the consti-tution have allowed the state to take down God and replace it with moral relativism?
"As evidenced by North Korea people"
I heard that Charles Manson eats apple sauce on Fridays (along witht he rest of his prisons population). I guess that means eating apple sauce will turn you into a crazed maniac with a God complex.
I heard that Hitler often ate with a fork. I'm not saying you're a Nazi fred, but was that something shiny with several tines in your hand while eating your pasta?
I heard Pol Pot was a school teacher...
I heard the BTK killer Dennis Rader was a Lutheran...
Is it starting to sink in yet fred?
Your vision of a better world is the same Christ had. In his day it was the Sanhedrin that used religion to stirr up division and put people into boxs of unacceptables.
How about we try it Christs way and see what happens rather than go for an unknown?
I have obviously come into this discussion thread, a bit late.
Since, I'm seeing a number of arguments going on here between you and other, If you are still around, and wouldn't mind, would you please summarize what it is you are really trying to say into a sentence or short paragraph...?
Your main point/s ?
Norway is probably a bad example as the royal family is still required to remain standing members of the Lutheran Church.
They are not promoting alternate faiths they are getting the state out of it.
Despite living under state religions ...
Jefferson had more than moved to the deist camp, (plus he didn't include the creator reference in his first draft. Someone on the committee probably had him include it.)
Madison (not a declaration signer) was certainly a deist, (and this had a big impact on the Const'tution, which unlike the DOI, is the law)
John Adams became a Unitarian
It will take a lot of convincing to convince me that Benjamin Franklin was a truly religious man
John Hanc0ck was a smuggler
Sam Adams was a vandal
I won't go through them one by one, but the portrait of the "true believing Christian" founders as whitewashed by the likes of David Barton is an exaggeration. They were men who lived with state religions. Their personal devotions varied remarkably.
That they ultimately chose to eliminate state religion is the most important thing to note.
Public schools promote all religions as being equally valid and true which is in violation of the const-itution. Historically God was the creator and there was even prayer to God (the Hebrew God / Christ) in schools. Other religions were mentioned in texts yet it was clear they were religions of others not God our creator. Putting God on the same level as other gods and beliefs is the promotion of religion by the State. The State has established New Age Spiritualism in the public schools.
"Public schools promote all religions as being equally valid and true which is in violation of the const-itution. "
What? Are you just completely high now fred?
1) How is not giving special treatment to one religion promoting all religions as valid? That's just plain stupid.
2) How is not giving special treatment to one religion a violation of the constitution you revisionist moron.
Well, I'm not a 1st amendment/consti tutional scholar, but... I'll take a shot at what you wrote.
You Wrote: " Public schools promote all religions as being equally valid and true which is in violation of the const-itution. Historically God was the creator and there was even prayer to God (the Hebrew God / Christ) in schools. Other religions were mentioned in texts yet it was clear they were religions of others not God our creator. Putting God on the same level as other gods and beliefs is the promotion of religion by the State. The State has established New Age Spiritualism in the public schools."
How are public schools "promoting" religions ? If multiple religions are talked about, as opposed to only 'one' religion that is promoted, seems to me that that is in keeping with the consti tution. If the government starts "promoting" only 'one' religion, then aren't they in violation of the consti tution ?
We are not a 'theocracy' here in the U.S. We respect all religions here. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, etc...
There is nowhere in the consti tution... anywhere where it says any of the following: God, God of the Bible, Hebrew God, Christian God, Bible, Bible is 'the' Truth, Christian, Christianity, ***Christian Nation***, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Only the 'one' 'true' religion, Religion, New Testament, Our country is founded on Christian Principles, etc... etc...
By not mentioning *any* of these statements above, to try and make a case that we were or are a Christian Nation, would be an extremely weak argument.
If the founders/framers truly all believed that we were a Christian Nation and they were all Christians, then... that is an awfully big...***Oooopsy** on their part, as it sure doesn't appear that way.
Are you saying that we should 'only' have anything...Christian-prayers, etc...and make it clear to everyone in the public schools that eventhough they may be Buddhists, Taoists, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, etc... that they are wrong, and the 'only' true God is the Christian God ?
If so... then 'that' IMHO, would be the state/government "promoting" a specific religion over others and would be in violation of our laws of the land.
Not to mention, it would be just down-right rude and disrespectful of everyone else who does not subscribe to Christianity.
Go down and pick up a social studies book for grades 3-12 (not in the south) that has been printed in the last 3 years. The presentation of belief or faith puts God (in lower case) in with all gods as equally valid and true. This is promoting a specific belief that God our creator is nothing more than the gods of other religions. This promotes the belief that truth is relative. It is an eastern religious belief that your god and my God get us to the same place. Several religions adopt this view. Islam receives more favorable treatment and the Catholic Church scandals are brought up.
It is intentional and in California the goal is to bring about harmony between conflicting religious beliefs by promoting unity of spirit and harmony between beliefs. This is establishing a religion.
"How about we try it Christs way and see what happens rather than go for an unknown?"
Because that would require people to adopt one of the competeing faiths that has been tried again and again by many countrys throughout history, none with much success of peace and happiness.
If we make a law that says "Accept Jesus as your saviour and do not murder or cause bodily harm to one another." it requires any who do not believe, or those who believe in other deitys, to chaffe under the theocratic laws and the first part of that law is completely unnecessary for the latter parts of the law. You do not have to believe in Jesus to obey common sense laws and adding Jesus to the narrative only muddies the waters of debate and distracts from the real issues that are supposed to be addressed by the laws.
I have to admit I have more of an optomistic view of humanity and one likely influenced by one Eugene Wesley Roddenberry, who believed that humans will overcome our childish attachements to religion and one day band together as one Federation of Planets to explore and discover everything there is to know and learn about our universe. But that will take time and a slow constant exposure of fact, truth and knowledge to our planets children instead of the steady diet of lies, half truths and pure conjecture that's been organized religions bread and butter for centuries.
1) Sources or specific books and pages? Making a vague assertion that "books" are doing this doesn't actually acomplish jack shit.
2) AHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Apparently you don't know the practicle applications of seperation of church and state (and it's funny how you don't mind so much if it's YOUR religion you hypocritical ass), but you also don't seem to understand what the hell constitutes a religion in the eyes of the law!
No, we cannot use a capital G for the God of Abraham and a little g for the other gods in public schools. By the same token they should not be promoted as all equal as that is a belief. If we are speaking facts then the schools need to stick with the facts and present them from a historical perspective. Intentionally placing the God of Abraham in the same section as the gods of the Greeks and Islam on a separate page highlighting the religion of peace in contrast to terrorists that are misguided is state sponsored establishment of religion. Anything that is not fact and intended to bring about a belief all gods are a product of religion with equal validity is not the same as taking a neutral position.
after reading through all your arguments, it is clear what you are saying. Just because you believe in this god with capital g, you want that belief to be treated specially and should be given higher precedence over all the other people's beliefs.. you want to be held above everyone else and given special treatment simply because in your mind you follow the right faith. does that sum it up?
Did it occur to you that other people think the same about their faith? and has it occurred to you that 'that' puts you along with all those others in the exact SAME bin where NO ONE IS SPECIAL? you know, the crux of the first amendment.. think about it for a second!
Hi again, fred...
You Wrote: " By the same token they should not be promoted as all equal as that is a belief. "
Hmmm... are they not 'all' *beliefs* -fred ? Everyone can make a case of 'their' particular religion as being better than the rest.
You Wrote: " If we are speaking facts then the schools need to stick with the facts and present them from a historical perspective. "
Well, that would be one way of doing it. As far the schools "need" to do it from an 'historical perspective' is your 'opinion.'
Seems to me, presenting Christianity in a world religion class along with the others makes perfect sense.
What I think I'm getting from you is that you want Christianity to be given preferential treatment over all other religions, even though as I stated in my previous post to you... that the U.S. consti tution never mentions: God, God of the Bible, Hebrew God, Christian God, Bible, Bible is 'the' Truth, Christian, Christianity, ***Christian Nation***, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Only the 'one' 'true' religion, Religion, New Testament, Our country is founded on Christian Principles, etc... etc...
Never anywhere... which you did not comment on. So, why given our consti tution, which is clearly based on fairness to 'all' religions, or not... where do you get the hubris to think that the *secular school system* should now start "promoting" 'Christianity as 'the truth' vs. all others....?
Am I missing something here -Fred, in our laws ? Again, the 1st A. and the Const. is not my particular expertise...maybe it's your's.
But, if it is... It doesn't appear to me...yet...? That you have a leg to stand on in your argument. I guess we shall see, yes...?
No, I am saying that to intentionally promote all religions as equal is promote eastern religions that believe unity of spirit and my God and your god are the same. They are not.
what eastern religions do you refer to here?
"eastern religions that believe unity of spirit and my God and your god are the same"
fred doesn't like talking to deeply about the constitution for exactly the reasons you gave. He likes talking about the Declaration of Independence (which is completely irrelevant to our laws) and using revisionist tactics to make it seem that every single one of the signers was some devout fundamentalist Christian. Stupid I know, but that's what fred does.
Oh will you now ignore my reply to your post? Or are you waiting hoping I'll leave so you can get the last word?
what eastern religions are you talking about? Every religion by its distinctive set of beliefs is different from every other religion in the world, (of the past and present included).
I don't know how many different ways one can explain to you that your belief about all religions are not the same is based on your belief in your own god with capital g. For a person of another religion, your belief is no different from every other religion in the world – all of which, including yours, being wrong. So why should yours be given any preferential treatment?
The only logical solution that satisfies the above criteria is to treat every religion the same and keep them separate from the state. Get it? Or throw away the first amendment and make this country a theocracy. Is that what you are suggesting?
There is a difference between commenting on gods or God with the intent to unify or show equality compared with factual representation of religions of the world. School books have become politicized in several areas and one of them is organized religion. Organized religions such as the Christian and others should be presented factually. To intentionally position or word religions such as to favor one over the other is wrong. To intentionally comment or position gods and God such as to show equality is wrong. That is a belief which is politically motivated.
In the past there was favorite light given to the Christian faith and God to the extent prayer in the public schools was almost always Christian centered. That was viewed as a const-itutional violation.
The State imposing its belief that God and gods are equal and intentionally promoting equality of God and other gods is a const-itutional violation. This is not fact rather belief
A factual presentation of religion without agenda is not an issue.
I think my post to therealpeace2all address your reply. I basically agree with your positon, poor wording on my part.
Still waiting for specific books that are doing what you're saying, and the prevalence of use to demonstrate your claim of "public schools are doing this" (seems intentionally vague, but you'd never be intentionally vague would you?), also you seem completely unaware of what neutrality actually is.
here's where you started:
"the new preaching of "many truths" and the idea that "all truths are equally valid"
This is what is preached to children in our public schools. Good job atheists you replaced prayer to God our creator with the liberal sound bite all religions are valid. Check out the school books for your selves. We need to respect all religions equally. The God of Bible is on the same level as all other gods.
Here's where you are now:
"A factual presentation of religion without agenda is not an issue"
Is it your assertion that schoolbooks do something other than a factual presentation of religion without agenda?
Surely that can only be to treat all religions (and all Gods) the same?
I swear I'm starting to think that fred is just a very dedicated poe.
" until they find out what a nation without God really looks like"
You mean like Sweden or Denmark?
FRED – Peace2all, Snow, Hawaiiguest... Pwnd you !
Obama is going to fry in hell if he doesn't get his head out of his ass. He'll be spending a hot time with Bill and Hillary, satanist.
Norway is a 'godless nation'. It has an EMPLOYMENT rate around 98%, it's people make so much money they don't bother with a min wage because it would be LOWER then what janitors and maids already make and it's 1 of the freest (morso then we are), richest nations on the planet.
So, I think what we can take out of this discussion is that some people are having emotional reactions to what they see as the acceptance of moral relativism as it relates to equality of religions. Religion stakes out moral claims that seem to be whitewashed when all are reduced to the same level. The interesting point here is to ask ourselves the question, "Are all religions really equal?" which is not to be confused with, "Should all religions be treated equally?" Of course we should respect and allow all religions to practice their beliefs, but to say that all religions are equal in value is to say that all systems of belief are equal in value, which is to say all ideas are equal in value, which seems not to be true. I think a start to understanding the effects of that these religions have in the world is the collection of empirical data. Start with the measurable effects that different belief systems seem to have on human behavior, which I think is being done as we speak.
"Good job atheists you replaced prayer to God our creator with the liberal sound bite all religions are valid. Check out the school books for your selves. We need to respect all religions equally. The God of Bible is on the same level as all other gods"
quite right, exactly as it should be.
you said: "The interesting point here is to ask ourselves the question, "Are all religions really equal?" which is not to be confused with, "Should all religions be treated equally?"
Fun topic. I'm sure there would be a huge consensus around Scientology. But Judaism and Mormonism have approximately the same number of adherents. A discussion on their relevance or 'legitimacy' would be interesting to see.
fred wrote, "Public schools promote all religions as being equally valid and true which is in violation of the const-itution."
From this, I think I can safely say that fred does not know what the Constltution says at all and has zero clue on what it means.
In addition, fred has zero knowledge of what public schools actually promote during the educational process.
They do NOT promote all religions as being equally valid. They do not address their validity at all and shouldn't even examine them in terms of validity because a majority of students are likely to be adherents to one of the religions and our society is not yet at a point where we can speak to their validity without danger from extremists and other fools.
Simply listing the different religions in a list of religions is not giving any of them support or validation in any way. It is just a list of religions. But fred seems to think that all other religions are not valid but that only his religion should be considered valid and is using nonsense someone else told him to come up with these ridiculous statements he is making.
The only time I ever heard God's name was in the Pledge of Allegience every morning, but then I went to a Public School. Neither my books nor my son's books ever mentioned the subject. Religious education, if any, is demonstrated in the home and taught in whatever Church the kid is being raised in.
Prayer changes things
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!
Please don't feed the troll. But, if you can't resist the urge to respond please be kind to him. Bless his heart, this is the most attention that he gets all day.
I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:
I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
by the Alzheimer's Disease Society
If god's supreme plan rules in the heavens then prayer is useless. If you pray for something that's not in the plan it won't happen, no matter how hard you pray. And if you pray for something in the plan, it would have happened anyway even without your prayer.
If god gives us free will, then no matter how hard you pray god refuses to do anything, like not doing anything for the 6m Jews because that would interfere with Hitler's free will
Troll much? This idiot isn't worth responding to because I read this SAME statement daily on any number of stories–most of which have nothing to do with religious whatsoever. Don't waste your time responding to this moron.
All lines are open.
The NY Salon has not filed an IRS Form 990 which is required of all non-profits unless your organization is a recognized religion. (guidestar.org). So Mr. Miller is apparently in this for the money he can make peddling real estate at his Old Truman Brewery and sponsoring meetings of high brows at between $1000-$5000 a pop. CNN might want to do a bit of background searching before allowing Mr. Miller to present commentary on any subject especially since his educational background as per his website amounts to directing a few films????
"Alan is the co-founder of The Truman Brewery, a 10 acre site in London's East End. The Truman Brewery now has over 200 companies, ranging from recording studios to art galleries, entertainment spaces, restaurants, bars, cafes, fashion and retail. It has been largely responsible for regenerating a significant area of London and creating a new cultural quarter. Alan is also a film director and has had his work broadcast internationally, with a specialization in music videos and live events. He writes on various cultural issues for several publications and is a published author. http://www.alandmiller.net
My assessment is that the wider disorientation of Western society, the decreasing respect for many institutions and the disdain for humans alongside what Christopher Lasch has termed a "culture of narcissism" has played out both among the "spiritual but not religious" identifiers as well as among many "new atheists."
Perhaps we need to look at the reasons WHY the many institutions have lost respect, and re-examine what made them worthy of respect in the first place.
Obviously any time an organization gains too much power (with the understanding that the tipping point isn't necessarily easy to quantify), it corrupts from the inside out.
When it comes to something so intimately a part of your life as what you believe, are you meant to trust that blindly to an organization that has corrupted?
Or is it more responsible, more respectful even, to step back and shine a light on the corruption?
To the idea of "disorientation"...I am uncertain what the author is getting at, and since he fails to expound to offer us direction I can only say that rather than disorientation of our society, I see a recalibration taking place, a cycle of growth and change, much like what happened during the Reformation and there-after.
Lastly, "culture of narcissism"...I find that odd. I see the opposite in my circle of friends. I see a lot of attention to self, certainly, but only because we are learning, as my shamanic mentor once told me, "one can not heal those around them, if one is not whole himself"...and in seeking healing for our own ills, we in fact seek healing for the world.
Hello -myweight. I always enjoy your posts.
Thank you, Peace.
Hope your day is wonderful.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin' south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
lol j/k I love beets.
I melt in your mouth, not in your hands
no.. theism is a cop-out. when faced with a problem, instead of working on solving it, theists would go "god help me".. geez grow a pair and work on your own problem.. don't take the cop-out
Only for the new members of this blog:
Putting the kibosh/”google”/"bing"/ "yahoo" on religion and spirituality:
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
(simply more immaculately concieved mumbo jumbo akin to the Caears and messiahs of all kinds)
And you have been around for ever to make this claim, right, hindu, ignorant, claim what you can, and do don spew your hinduism, absurdity out of hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, CON MAN ISM.
Alan, never ignore the first rule of holes.
Stick it in?
Forget about it.
This author is so obvious as to be pathetic. Dance little monkey dance.
nope to nope
Nope plus infinity.
Translation: "I wasn't a big enough tool in the first article – so I needed to come back and reiterate what a tool I am."
Dude, honestly. Why did they let you write an article about the response to an article...stop paying attention to internet forum comments, they're pointless.
Love the irony in your post! Amazing!
Well, that didn't take long!
"I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself." – Alan Miller
I should have called it. That was my expectation based on his last paragraph. So much for all those posters who claimed he represented the traditional 'go to church' viewpoint.
Someone should have asked him if he is....'spiritual'.
Really it wasn't your article, nothing to that. It was an excuse for people to jabber over the weekend. Don't quit your day job.
The truth is, the spiritual claim is just a gentle way of saying we completly reject your faith and your churches.
In truth, we think believers are at best idiotic suckers, and at worst heavily indoctrinated sociopaths that are a threat to modernity and indeed the very survival of the human race.
nope to nope