Wednesday nightCap

Bear Grylls and Stephen Fry talk about their beliefs

Two of my favourite people in the world.  Wish I had been there with them at the time

New Years Day nightCap

Did any of you figure out the maze today?  Here is the solution:   Read more »

Are atheists more intelligent than religious people?

Are atheists more intelligent than religious people? Quite possibly, on average.

Tom Chivers comes to the conclusion that even though evidence suggests atheists might be more intelligent than religious people it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are smarter.

[T]he internet is currently interested in a meta-analysis, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, which finds that atheists have a higher IQ, on average, than the religious. They base this on a review of 63 studies, but, as the authors say, this news isn’t new. The evidence has been around for a while.

There are several reasons given, including a suggestion that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to need empirical and logical reasons to believe something; and, interestingly, that the things that religion does for people (helping them to delay gratification for greater future reward; providing an “anchor” in their life in hard times) intelligent people have less need for, because they use other methods. It’s an interesting study.  Read more »

The wandering flock, addressing secularisation

Mary Eberstadt explores why religion is waning in favour of secularisation and explores the difficulty a new Pope will have with the wandering flock:

So what’s a Pope to do? He can start by understanding one critical truth that has not been well understood so far: the puzzle of secularization is not only his to solve. Secular sociology has written the intellectual script about how godlessness happens but has gotten it wrong.

Secularization is not, for example, the inevitable result of affluence, as many have said; statistically, men and women who are better-off in the United States today, for example, are more likely to believe and practice faith than are those further down the economic ladder. The same was true of Victorian England, as the British historian Hugh McLeod has painstakingly shown. Mammon alone does not necessarily drive out God.  Read more »

Penn Jillette says we should end religion, but what would Andrei and Lucia use for a crutch then?

Penn Jillette is a well known atheist and he says we should end religion, but if that happened what would Andrei and Lucia use for a crutch then?

Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Religion is not morality. Theists ask me, “If there’s no god, what would stop me from raping and killing everyone I want to.” My answer is always: “I, myself, have raped and killed everyone I want to … and the number for both is zero.” Behaving morally because of a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is not morality. Morality is not bribery or threats. Religion is bribery and threats. Humans have morality. We don’t need religion.

Interesting concept…let’s look further  Read more »

Christopher Hitchens dies

Christopher Hitchens has died.

Author Christopher Hitchens has died of cancer at the age of 62,Vanity Fair has reported.

The magazine said he died today after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer last year while on a book tour for his memoir “Hitch-22″.

Vanity Fair’s website reported that he died at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas, surrounded by friends, whom he described earlier this year  as “my chief consolation in this year of living dyingly” after writing last year  that “cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic”.

Hitchens  was known for his heroic intake of alcohol and cigarettes. He wrote in 2003 that his daily intake of alcohol was enough to “stun the average mule”.

He said he had given up smoking in 2008, but journalist and author Peter FitzSimons, who interviewed him for his appearance the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, said Hitchens had been still smoking as of last year.

Hitchens was a columnist for Vanity Fair and Slate, the online magazine, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book God is Not Great.

I don’t subscribe to Hitchens’ views on religion or God. However he was a great intellect and he is now gone. As an antitheist and atheist he is now…well…at an end.

Why do atheists thank god?

An interesting concept I’ve often wondered about. The latest atheist to thank God is Russel Norman:

Katya is now in good health after a long and serious illness, superbly treated by the public health system. “Thank God – I mean, I’m an atheist, but thank God for the public health system,” Norman says.

There are a lot of things that I thank God for but a public health system isn’t one of them. Given his stupendous public salary why couldn’t he use the private system and reduce the burden on the public health system?

Are atheists really evangelicals?

via Andrew Sullivan

Reza Aslan thinks atheists are so like evangelicals that they have in fact become evangelical.

Of course, positing the existence of a transcendent reality that exists beyond our material experiences does not necessarily imply the existence of a Divine Personality, or God. (In some ways, the idea of God is merely the personal affirmation of the transcendent experience.) But what if did? What if one viewed the recurring patterns of religious phenomena that so many diverse cultures and civilizations–separated by immeasurable time and distance–seem to have shared as evidence of an active, engaging, transcendent presence (what Muslims call the Universal Spirit, Hindus call prana, Taoists call chi’i, Jews call ruah, and Christians call the Holy Spirit) that underlies creation, that, in fact, impels creation? Is such a possibility any more hypothetical than say, superstring theory or the notion of the multiverse? Then again, maybe the patterns of religious phenomenon signify nothing. Maybe they indicate little more than a common desire among all peoples to answer similar questions of “Ultimate Concern,” to use the Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich’s famous phrase. The point is that, like any researcher or critic, like any scientist, I’m open to possibilities.

The new atheists will say that religion is not just wrong but evil, as if religion has a monopoly on radicalism and violence; if one is to blame religion for acts of violence carried out in religion’s name then one must also blame nationalism for fascism, socialism for Nazism, communism for Stalinism, even science for eugenics. The new atheists claim that people of faith are not just misguided but stupid–the stock response of any absolutist. Some argue that the religious impulse is merely the result of chemicals in the brain, as though understanding the mechanism by which the body experiences transcendence delegitimizes the experience (every experience is the result of chemical reactions). What the new atheists do not do, and what makes them so much like the religious fundamentalists they abhor, is admit that all metaphysical claims–be they about the possibility of a transcendent presence in the universe or the birth of the incarnate God on earth–are ultimately unknowable and, perhaps, beyond the purview of science. That may not be a slogan easily pasted on the side of a bus. But it is the hallmark of the scientific intellect.

Heh. There is a god, one who delivers smack downs like this.


Blasphemy? More like a joke

I received an email with these images attached. The sender is outraged….actually he is OUTRAGED! He thinks the posters are blasphemous and should be torn down.

I am absolutely disturbed by these hideous posters.

I on the other hand saw the pictured and laughed, literally out loud. Atheists, especially atheists who spend a lot of their own money trying to prove, or at least convince “believers” they are wrong are hilarious.

As a Christian, unlike my correspondent, I didn’t find these posters offensive at all, I think they show that there is an atheist who desperately wants to believe he is right…and that in and of itself is believing in something, making the joke that is atheism.