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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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You need to be a member of ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN to add comments!

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 16, 2013 at 11:59am

I've had a theory for a while that part of the problem here in the US is our much vaunted freedom of religion. when faith has to compete, it becomes stronger in a sense through (ironically) evolutionary processes. Whereas in places where there is a state religion, it fades away into a social club and irrelevance because it doesn't have to compete.

Mind you, I have no data backing this up and I have done no research. It's just something that I've been thinking about for a while looking at the US compared to other first world countries.

Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 16, 2013 at 11:52am

I think religious institutions are loosing so much ground that they are throwing wild punches in desperation.

The economy isn't helping either.  People without jobs become desperate and seek solace. 

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 16, 2013 at 1:54am

Yes, there is irony in that. I worry that while other first world countries seem to be making progress on this issue, we may not be keeping up here in the U.S. I don't know if it has actually gotten worse, though it does seem that way. That may be more a matter of perspective, but it does appear that the extreme religious right is hijacking our politics.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 16, 2013 at 12:55am

Is it not ironic that the nation with the iconic and unprecedented freedom of religion clause in its constitution is the most devout Christian and anti everything else in the free world? Christian derision of all that is non-christian seems to be reaching a crescendo these days. And why is it all coming from the far right wing? Just asking. As a Canadian I really don't have a dog in this fight. Thank God (heh heh)!

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 16, 2013 at 12:43am

That is a very impressive list, and also very encouraging. Maybe my perception is colored from living in a state that has made an embarassment like Rick Perry the longest serving governor in our history. And Joan, I agree that we have to continually stand up for our rights. I have been an atheist since I was 14 years old, and I never hid it. I would rather deal with the consequences than not be true to what I believe. It never won me many friends, but I have always refused to be intimidated about it. My real friends, most of whom are believers, accept me. I don't care much about the others. It is a civil rights issue that we have to fight for just as Joan and so many others fought for equality for women, and just as the gay community has had to do. I am much more hopeful at the present time than I have ever been in the past on this issue.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 16, 2013 at 12:32am

Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont is an atheist. Former Governor Jesse Ventura is an Atheist.Former President Howard Taft was an Atheist. President Lincoln was a Deist which is as close to an atheist as anybody could get back then with the available information at the time to being an atheist. You'd be surprised at the number and influence of those among us who do not believe and where they come from. 5 of the last 6 UN Secretaries General. Former Israeli Prime Ministers Ytzak Rabin and Golda Mier

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 16, 2013 at 12:06am

 Why should open atheism preclude elected office?

It should not! Atheists today are kind of like feminists in my day (I am 77 years old). We remained quiet because if we made any demands on institutions, i.e. family, church, education, health care, legal representation, we felt stomped on, ignored, put down, discounted, trivialized and demonized. I don’t remember how many times I was told I had “penis envy”, “ball breaker”, …Oh! You know the drill. It took a long time for women to ignore the filthy words, mean spirited attacks and dirty tricks. Over time we just made up our minds we would plow through the sewage and think for ourselves and take action. We earned educations, jobs, professions, and found new friends. Many of us had to give up our families if we wanted respect. 

So atheists, we may have to go through the same indecencies, get thick skins, think through the issues that matter, take action, and find a safe place to land and lick our wounds. 

Thanks Chad Kreutzer for the article site. 

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 15, 2013 at 11:32pm

But they save the real venom for us.

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 15, 2013 at 11:27pm

Us and fat people.

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 15, 2013 at 11:17pm

That is a very good article. It does give me hope that what he referred to as a "young person" could not see a problem there. I'm encouraged that so many of today's youth (at least compared to when I was young) see things so differently.

As for his reference to Barney Frank having to leave office before he could come out as an atheist despite the fact that he had already come out as gay, I can't help but remember a survey that was taken a couple of years back. When asked which minority or social group (I can't remember how it was phrased) was least trustworthy, the responders overwhelmingly picked atheists. I recently published a humorous novel with an atheist theme. At one point my main character says: "Atheism is the new's the belief that dare not speak its name." This is, of course, not in any way a knock of homosexuals. I'm just expressing the hope that some day it will not be okay to dislike atheists simply because of our non-belief. At this time, I sometimes feel that we are the only group that it is still socially acceptable to despise. 


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