I can’t get my hands off the internet, or get my eyes off of every article about dolphin language and anything Jezebel or i09 put out. Maybe I have ego depletion. Let’s see what this interesting article on the Internets says about that…. (along with unassumingly and thoroughly debunking Freud). By the way, You Are Not So Smart sounds like a promising blog.
According to the article, 76 percent agree that present-day Christianity has “good values and principles,” and 63 percent believe that Christianity “consistently shows love for other people,” but
On the other hand, strong majorities also agree that modern-day Christianity is “hypocritical” (58 percent), “judgmental” (62 percent), and “anti-gay” (64 percent).
So people are waking up, (although that may be momentary and a sign of youthful rebeliousness, and these same Millennials might return to their congregations later in life, as the article notes, when they’re settled and resigned and boring).
But maybe this is a trend for good and for the better, and the world is not entirely hopeless. Perhaps mindless bigotry against women, gays and other races will continue to fade in the rearview mirror.
Today would’ve been Christopher Hitchens’s birthday. As it is the case with so many prolific, eloquent, superhumanly lucid writers, it feels as if their words are still among us. Or it feels like they were so loud and annoying and so unnignorable that when they leave we almost feel lonely.
The New Yorker has a beautiful eulogy commemorating his birthday, on the last of the services in his name.
The most reknowned writers and poets of the English language were there, like Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie and Stephen Fry, and the New Yorker piece sprinkles their gems here and there. It almost functions as a sad introduction to modern poetry. And that’s a great tribute and gift to the dead that Hitchens himself would’ve loved.
In a world ruled by the hegemony of religion, whether it is the Catholic Church in Latin America, the Christianity of Republicans, or the Islam of Iran or Saudi Arabia, most people in the world live under a type of discourse religion regime, where the hegemony of some type of faith (of that particular faith, on none other is accepted) is total.
It is hard to think critically and individually about matters of the soul, the spirit, the divine, death and life, when you’re being force-fed dogma after dogma. But this is not about atheism, it’s about doubt, it’s about thought, and especially, dialogue.
So how to reconcile and start dialogue with the rest of the world, who, for better or for worse, do believe in these things? Alain de Botton at TED gave an impressive talk on this. Following the same vein as Carl Sagan in Broca’s Brain, de Botton invites atheists not to shut themselves off from the world with a dismissive “go talk to your imaginary friend Jesus”, and to not underestimate politeness.
But he goes further than Sagan and suggests that we can learn enormously from religion in the tools it uses, in the purposes it tries to serve and in the needs it tries to fulfill in people. I’ll let him do the talking.