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← There's a new power in America - atheism

There's a new power in America - atheism - Comments

Virgil's Avatar Comment 1 by Virgil


Sun, 15 Mar 2009 06:37:00 UTC | #336225

DoctorE's Avatar Comment 3 by DoctorE

Praise humanity and knowledge, shun religion!

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 06:41:00 UTC | #336227

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 2 by Jay Cee

It seems to me that American Christianity, despite so many resources, has ignored its intellectual responsibility.

When did Christianity ever have an intellectual responsibility.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 06:41:00 UTC | #336226

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 4 by Dark Matter

It is good news and refreshing to see that many in the US are finally dumping the Bronze age fairy tales into the dustbin of history. However, there is still a very long way to go.

Dark Matter.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 06:57:00 UTC | #336231

ColdFusionLazarus's Avatar Comment 5 by ColdFusionLazarus

"Intellectual responsibility" indeed. I personally think there are some people of faith who try to incorporate a sensible scientific viewpoint into their belief (it's a fudge, but they try to do it). But a lot of people are turned on by the "magic" show of charismatic faith.

I suspect the average guy in Britain is fairly uncomfortable with actually getting involved in happy-clappy, magic-speech, healing and prophesy. The more people who actually visit a church the more people who could easily be put off this religion malarky.

Only science can put an aeroplane in the sky. Ther's no need to invoke special mysticism.

In fact, from seeing some of Dawkins presentations (and the like) atheism seems quite popular and could become the new Rock & Roll!

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 06:58:00 UTC | #336232

Librarian's Avatar Comment 6 by Librarian

"intellectually contemptible" What a great statement!

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 06:59:00 UTC | #336234

Squigit's Avatar Comment 7 by Squigit

American Christianity may be stronger in some pockets, but it is dumber too. In the end, in the free market-place of ideas and beliefs, that will count.

Well said! Very well said!

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:05:00 UTC | #336236

Ian's Avatar Comment 8 by Ian

The way I read this, we seem to have won America's mind. Now let's go for thier heart.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:08:00 UTC | #336238

black wolf's Avatar Comment 10 by black wolf

Sullivan had an interesting blog debate with Sam Harris a while ago.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:14:00 UTC | #336240

gummidge's Avatar Comment 9 by gummidge

the irrefutable scriptural scholarship that makes biblical literalism intellectually contemptible,

This is the crux of the issue for me - its not the general level of religiosity in the US that is so troubling, it is that fact that the fastest growing and most strident component of Christianity here is wedded to "Biblical literalism". The fact that the literalism is cherry-picked when it comes to say Leviticus is conveniently ignored.

Maybe it takes a British Christian commentator to use the apt description "intellectually contemptible" for this kind of belief. As recent research indicates, for a certain kind of Conservative mindset, piling on more contrary evidence just causes them to dig in their heels even deeper.

It would signal a real sea change here to have an American commentator say the same thing.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:14:00 UTC | #336239

jamhum's Avatar Comment 11 by jamhum

Sorry to be the jerk in the room. But Andrew Sullivan is more on the right of social issues but what might cause such 'fair' analysis is his gayness. Who would've thought gayness would influence intellectually balanced analysis. He is for all intents and purposes a log cabin republican.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:15:00 UTC | #336241

black wolf's Avatar Comment 12 by black wolf

Sullivan is an American.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:17:00 UTC | #336242

Linda's Avatar Comment 13 by Linda

Is Andrew Sullivan on the verge of recanting his Roman Catholicism? What can we hope for next could it be that Dinish D'Souza will come into the light too?

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:18:00 UTC | #336243

gummidge's Avatar Comment 14 by gummidge

Thanks black wolf

I didn't have to wait long then. Yay.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:21:00 UTC | #336244

ThePublicPolemic's Avatar Comment 15 by ThePublicPolemic

I didn't like the last sentence too much. It seems to suggest that atheists shouldn't be the people in charge. It is like 'atheists' are just the temporary solution until Christianity can come back in to take over.

Overall, good article though.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:23:00 UTC | #336245

NormanDoering's Avatar Comment 16 by NormanDoering

I wrote about that same subject, but I'm less "hopeful" than Andrew Sullivan:

Here's a sample:

What is more likely is that new politically influential Christian leaders, like Rick Warren, will come under the sway of Barack Obama and work on Obama's policies, forcing concessions from him. As more light is shed on the Bush Administration's failures, and perhaps even crimes, the GOP will be abandoned by large chunks of what was once the Christian right. Then we might wind up with something worse -- a Christian left.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:28:00 UTC | #336246

gummidge's Avatar Comment 17 by gummidge

I spoke too soon Black wolf

It seems that Andrew Sullivan was born and raised in the UK, moving to the US in 1984. The Wikipedia entry still has him as a non-US Citizen.

I think this is significant because British culture is much more comfortable (for better or worse) with calling someone's ideas contemptible, and the way he was writing about America suggested a distance that I took to be British.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:28:00 UTC | #336247

BJPentecost's Avatar Comment 18 by BJPentecost

I never thought I'd see the day when we'd elect a non-white president, so maybe I have something to hope for in that I'll see the day when we elect an atheist.

I'm not holding my breath, however.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:48:00 UTC | #336250

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 19 by Peacebeuponme


He is for all intents and purposes a log cabin republican.
Yes, a republican, and obviously a christian.

However, I like the guy. The couple of times I've seen him on panel shows he comes across as thoughtful and a nice guy to boot.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:52:00 UTC | #336251

jshuey's Avatar Comment 20 by jshuey


We haven't won anything, not even an equal place at the table. The odds are still 85 -15 against us.

Yes we are making progress, and yes I expect that progress will continue in fits and starts. But this is still pre-rational America and we have a very long way to go before we obtain even equality, never mind dominance.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:53:00 UTC | #336252

Sonic's Avatar Comment 21 by Sonic

I found this article was helpful where it says

...religion must absorb and explain the new facts of modernity:
- the deepening of the Darwinian consensus in the sciences,
- the irrefutable scriptural scholarship that makes biblical literalism intellectually contemptible,
- the shifting shape of family life,
- the new reality of openly gay people,
- the fact of gender equality in the secular world.

I would change that to say to say religion or some other system must absorb and explain these facts of modernity -- then atheism/humanism can absorb and explain those facts. I sense the author is thoughtful enough to see this is true, he just doesn't want it to be the right answer.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:04:00 UTC | #336253

Mbee's Avatar Comment 22 by Mbee

Thanks for the link Black Wolf in #10.
I haven't finished it yet but it is an interesting dialog

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:11:00 UTC | #336254

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 23 by prettygoodformonkeys


This should clear it up - it's a WoRd JuMbLe!

(Solution Hint - Martin Luther said: "Destroy your reason, reason is your enemy")

So - the JuMbLe solution is: "Its responsibility is to ignore the intellectuals"!

PS: and what resources?

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:11:00 UTC | #336255

8theist's Avatar Comment 24 by 8theist

The outright funniest line is the one which contains the word 'Christianity' in association with the phrase 'intellectual responsibility'. HA!!! Talk about things that don't go together!

There's at least one good aspect to the world's economic downturn.

New churches have stopped being built!

"Foreclosures and delinquencies for congregations are rising, according to companies that specialize in church mortgages."


How about converting these shells of silly ancient worshiping into structures that can actually be useful to people & society?!

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:36:00 UTC | #336259

rugby's Avatar Comment 25 by rugby

Well, at least it looks like america is going in the right direction. There seems to be a little bit of a shift worldwide at the moment as the realities of life under the religious right of W sink in.
But yeah, it only took two comments to get to jamcam87 pointing out the smirkworthy comment about christianities "intellectual responsibility". er...
The list of times religion has been on the wrong side of the intellectual equation is so long and oft repeated i'm not even going to bother with examples.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:36:00 UTC | #336260

ina.j's Avatar Comment 26 by ina.j

" [...] the number of congressional members who avow no faith at all are about as plentiful as those who are openly gay".

With all respect to homosexuals (or total indifference to their sexual preferences to be more exact), is not that funny? Overall percentage of atheists is higher than that of gays. Then it follows that to confess not that long ago criminalised behaviour is less of an obstacle to be elected than admiting being an atheist :)))

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:41:00 UTC | #336262

the way's Avatar Comment 27 by the way

Comment #352326 by Ian

The way I read this, we seem to have won America's mind. Now let's go for thier heart

We should go for their balls like Rottweilers, and then when we've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow ;)

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 08:53:00 UTC | #336263

Logicel's Avatar Comment 28 by Logicel

Oftentimes, moderates and apologists say that the outspoken atheists who do not hold respect for religious beliefs are the reason why the extreme religious believers are on the rise.

However, it seem that the fundies are the ones who are causing loud atheism! LOL bigtime.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 09:05:00 UTC | #336266

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 29 by glenister_m

I wonder how many of the "other religions" respondents listed 'Jedi' as their religion in that survey? That was an internet suggestion a few years back with the logic being - if enough people list Jedi, it becomes an official religion, and by definition you then become a Jedi Knight...

My point being, that if their were Jedi respondents they could probably be added to the "no religion" category.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 09:08:00 UTC | #336267

tvictor's Avatar Comment 30 by tvictor

"What one yearns for is a resuscitation of a via media in American religious life"

Not really

Sun, 15 Mar 2009 09:15:00 UTC | #336270