Some Atheists Believe in Religion…New Books
October 20, 2009 3 Comments
A new bunch of atheist books are hitting the bookshelves.
Bruce Sheiman says he doesn’t believe in God, but he believes in religion. Ignoring the question about whether God exists he argues that the benefits of religion outweighs the cost in his new book, An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off With Religion Than Without It.
In an interview with writer Daniel Burke of Religion News Service, Sheiman said: “I don’t know if anybody is going to be able to convince me that God exists, but they can convince me that religion has intrinsic value.”
“More than any other institution, religion deserves our appreciation and respect because it has persistently encouraged people to care deeply — for the self, for neighbors, for humanity, and for the natural world — and to strive for the highest ideals humans are able to envision,” Sheiman says.
“Faith provides meaning and purpose for millions of believers, inspires people to tend to each other and build communities, gives them a sense of union with a transcendent force, and provides numerous health benefits,” Sheiman argues.
The last few years has seen an abundance of in-your-face books by prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens who argue that belief in God, or any religion, is akin to being slightly crazy or worse. But, throughout time there have been defenders of religion who may not believe in the religion per se, but recognize its cultural benefits.
Some really evil people in the Dark Ages criminalized non-belief and you could lose your livelihood and/or life if you didn’t believe, and of course if you are a Muslim you’re screwed if you try to renounce your faith nowadays…this is the down-side of any religion…let them get in control and all benefits go away.
Greg M. Epstein, chaplain at Harvard University argues in his new book, Good without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, that morality does not depend on a judgmental deity and that nonbelievers can lead meaningful, even purpose-driven, lives, but they can also learn from people of faith.
“When our goal is erasing religion, rather than embracing human beings, we all lose.” Epstein says.
“Atheists too, can be a blessing for believers,” says co-founder and co-leader of New York’s interreligious Faith House Manhattan and author of It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian, Samir Selmanovic, “Atheists are “God’s whistle-blowers,” who keep believers honest and focused on the here-and-now,” Selmanovic added.
No one expects the God debate to end any time in the near future, but in the meantime, perhaps we can disagree a little more agreeably…or not. 🙂
see more Lolcats and funny pictures