This coming Friday Ireland will vote to change its constitution to allow for full Marriage Equality between any two people regardless of their sex. While the polls are showing strong support we are taking nothing for granted. Atheist Ireland unequivocally supports a YES vote. It is more than just about the right to get married. It is about Human Rights. It is already changing people’s lives. We have a chance to break the final chains with the Church and to show it has no authority as a policy maker. Everyone is speaking up, some more supportive than others. You should only need to ask one person if you want to get married.
A new poll from Pew Research show a sharp decline in the number of US Christians.
An Atheist in New Jersey wins the right to sue after being denied the right to have an atheist vanity plate.
Just because Equality Laws trump religious beliefs does not mean atheists are being militant when demanding equality or freedom from religion. It’s not like we want to indoctrinate children by allowing them alternatives to faith. Why even poor Ken Ham thinks we are monkeying with his constitutional rights by not allowing him to teach his BS to children.
For ISIS, Oil and Water don’t need to mix.
In Northern Ireland you no longer have to be a Catholic Atheist or a Protestant Atheist.
In China Buddhism is growing in popularity.
A fundamentalist Church is fined for abusing children and unpaid workers on its pecan farm.
Some views on the Boston Marathon court case verdict.
Lawrence Krauss on asking the right questions.
New discoveries in particle physics at CERN help strengthen the Standard Model.
Finally a Quarterback blames God for losing a game.
Thank you for a great Sunday School as always.
"In China Buddhism is growing in popularity." - I've heard that China is looking for a new "state morality" or similar, to help govern the country basically, or to get people to behave well in their everyday lives. They've tried Confucianism and now Christianity. Again, it's big talk, but this is what my work on morality may be able to help. In that case I've got to get my brain in gear, but it's very do-able in my opinion. I'm going to be working with a guy from the West London Humanists some time soon, who's doing the same thing as me. He's some kind of business analyst with a background in mathematics.
Here's the BBC Radio 4 programme about Confucianism and religion in modern China.
It's embarrassing that China, as an atheist country, is said currently to have a poor moral state and a moral vacuum. Partly this is because of rampant corruption and the Communist Party leadership destroying the fabric of society, but it's also because atheism is rubbish at formal morality. This should trouble us as atheists.
"Does Spirituality have a future?" - that's right up my street, and I've Favourited it. I wholeheartedly agree with everything he says. I'm glad to see that my thing fits in perfectly with his vision.
Glad to help Simon. I only wish I knew what people meant by “Spirituality”. People seem to think they know what it means but anytime they define it they start to explain something that I already have a better descriptive definition for.
The area of psychology that deals with spirituality is called Transpersonal Psychology.
The definition of spirituality used in the modern secular sense seems to me to be "transcending the Self for the purposes of personal development".
Of course this is a wide definition and can apply to many areas of human experience. In relations with other people, in morality (thinking of others), in Buddhism or mindfulness (truth and compassion), even being in the army can fit this definition (discipline and training). If you have a better description, that's cool. Is this what you meant?
It still sounds all Deepak to me. A walk in the woods may be called "spiritual" by some. I call it enjoying what nature has to offer. I "am in tune" with nature. It is what humans do. It is not something "spiritual" that exists externally to me that I need to strive for.
If we break down what "transcending the self" means I do not think the word "spiritual" will be in the final definition.
"I "am in tune" with nature. It is what humans do."
- transcending the ego. The ego is like a mechanical machine that lives in our heads, that we tend to identify with instead of identifying with reality, or with nature, even that within ourselves. The nature within ourselves can be called our "true" self. So that's a good point. Transcending the ego is pretty much the defining feature of spirituality as it's practiced today. It locks us inside ourselves and we don't even realise it, partly because it's concerned with looking after us as individuals. Transcending it brings a sense of oneness and connectedness with nature/reality/compassion.
We need our Ego to be our true selves. Losing it make us something else.
We need our ego, you're right. Nature put it there for the purpose of survival. It looks after us. But survival and happiness can sometimes be two different things. Our egos can torture us and keep us locked away from the world. Not happy.
Transcending it doesn't mean doing away with it - that's impossible, don't let anyone tell you different. That's the problem with a lot of wishy-washy poorly-understood spirituality, which is most of it apparently.
What we need is to train it instead of being its slave. When we train it, it gets straightened out, even wonky subconscious aspects we can't consciously control.
We THINK it's our true selves, but actually it's just our mind, it's really like a machine. Nature is not like a machine, it's a sprawling florid organic structure.
We identify with our minds without even knowing it. We're stuck in a room watching the world on TV. Transcending it means sticking your head out of the window and seeing the world first hand.
To tame the ego means to GAIN your real self. Your real self is the totality of your nature, and in touch with reality, not just the second-hand self-concerned mind-machine. These ideas can seem very unfamiliar and alien at first.