Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Godless in DC

Thanks to DC Blogs for drawing our attention to the new area blog, Godless in DC: Atheism in the Nation's Capital.

The DC metropolitan area is populated with places of worship. We Love DC talks about the ten mile "Highway to Heaven" along New Hampshire Avenue between the Beltway and Sandy Spring Road, so called because of the number and diversity of houses of worship along that ten mile corridor.

It's fair to say that the number of people in the DC area who believe in a supreme being far outnumber those who don't. Yet non-belief is growing in both interest and numbers, especially among people in their 20's: An estimated 25 to 30 percent of young Americans claim no religious affiliation. Interest in books that discuss the problems with religion, such as Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion and Sam Harris' The End of Faith have become bestsellers. Godless in DC. It will be interesting to see how Godless in DC evolves.

1 comment:

  1. I for one do not celebrate the spread or growth of atheism here or anywhere else. For me, atheism, secular humanism, Jewish Humanism or whatever you want to call it has much in common with it's philosophical counterpart, religious fundamentalism, in that both close the mind to new information or to particular ways of receiving new information.

    Faith is the fruit of an inner experience which cannot be measured or defined according to the laws of scientific materialism. Those who have cut themselves off from such experiences, who are insensitive to the mystical, are ill-equipped to make a judgment as to whether or not the mystical exists.

    While it is true that the dark side of religions which are partially rooted in faith (religion is a complex institution shaped by economic and political as well as purely spiritual forces - see Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Glen Beck et al), may be responsible for the perpetration of evil in a number of respects, a quick glance at history shows that whenever a society rejects God, it ends up exchanging worship of the divine for worship of the self in some form, be it the "Aryan" ideal of racial purity, the communist ideal of the noble worker or the "American"/Western ideal of unfettered, amoral, ego-centered capitalism (see big oil, the health insurance, financial and automotive industries, the recession...) which the atheistic perspective of scientific materialism supports. In each case the consequences of rejecting God, of supplanting God with self have in no way led to an improvement in the way human beings behave.

    Lastly, having religion is not the same as having faith or cultivating spirituality and I wonder how many of the "estimated 25 to 30 percent of young Americans" who "claim no religious affiliation," simply haven't found a communal way of expressing their believe in God or their spirituality that they feel comfortable with and trust, that expresses who they are. I believe that will change when the corpse of modern religion, like the corpse of modern politics and government, modern technology and modern art, is replaced by something which brings people and culture together in health and harmony rather than segregating them or their ideas in categories that have become obsolete.