By MICHAEL BACHELARD - THEAGE.COM.AU
Added: Sun, 10 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link.
DAMIAN Coburn once lived in a cult-like Catholic offshoot in which owning a new car was frowned upon as being too much like investing in a graven idol. But Coburn bought one anyway, and called it the Golden Calf. Anne Robinson was raised a Christian but as a teenager became a pentacle-wearing witch who was in touch with the earth goddess Gaia and performed magic spells to win love, or money. Aam grew up in a strict Bangladeshi Muslim family, where marriages were arranged, the Koran taken literally and a set of religious and cultural taboos were woven together into a complete way of life.
These three Australians are united by a religious upbringing. But in the past few years all have been united by something entirely different. They've shucked off their faith and become part of a growing world-wide movement - atheism.
What is driving this move is a matter for debate. Some say it's a reaction against religious terrorism, fundamentalism. Others that the habit of Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Tony Blair and others of wearing their religion US-style on their sleeves has prompted a backlash, with people concerned about the political lobbying power of faith. Still others believe the children of 1960s hippies have grown up without strong childhood indoctrination and are now embracing rationalism and science.
The new atheism is bigger, more organised, and much more assertive than ever before. It's based on the belief that science explains everything we need to know about the world so there's no need for religion. Its founding texts are by scientist Richard Dawkins and writer Christopher Hitchens, and religion, in their eyes, is not just some harmless illusion, it's a dangerous, immoral force in society.
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
Robert F. Worth - New York Times Comments
A great article about Jerry DeWitt and the growing presence of atheist communities
Chip Rowe - Playboy Comments
Playboy Interview with Richard Dawkins
- - YouTube - townsquare Comments
Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
Kimberly Winston - Washington Post Comments
Last weekend, the Atheist Film Festival showed more than a dozen films about separation of church and state, freedom of religion (and no religion), the conflict between science and religion in public schools.
- - eBay auction Comments
Albert Einstein's Historic 1954 "God Letter" Handwritten Shortly Before His Death
MORE BY MICHAEL BACHELARD
Michael Bachelard - The Age 39 Comments
THE Victorian Education Department is forcing public primary schools to run Christian education classes taught by volunteers, angering parents and schools that do not want to host them.