Atheist slogans: one fewer god than you?

Egyptian gods

I came across it yesterday, not for the first time, but maybe the 21st. Quoted as if it was significant and telling. You have almost certainly seen it too.

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

The quote is attributed to Stephen Roberts1. It is cute and sounds clever, but does it actually say anything?

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No more! No more!

U2 on the Rattle and Hum tour way back in 1987, sang their old song Sunday Bloody Sunday, in response to an IRA bombing.

It’s long been one of my favourite pieces of concert footage as Bono, outraged by the killing, emotes on stage, while the Edge, ever the steady rock around which the band moves, plays jagged, anguished chords.

Fortunately, the troubles are now mostly a thing of the past, but this video reminds us of what made this band great, and how we should all feel about the taking of human life (even if we can’t express it so well!).

Well worth a look, or another look. But if you’re sensitive, Bono does utter one (understandable) expletive.

Did the early christian church grow very fast?

Graph

Let’s say at the start that this isn’t the most important question in the world! But I think it is interesting.

The background is this. The New Testament (Acts 1:15) records there were 120 disciples in Jerusalem a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Three centuries later, historians estimate that there were somewhere between 3 and 8 million christians in the Roman Empire.

Keen to show God’s hand in their beliefs, christians have been known to point to this massive growth, while some sceptics are keen to downplay it. I believe both sides have overstated their case. If you’re interested in history, or if you are a maths nerd, read on! If not, I won’t mind if you leave quietly now. :)

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Do religious believers have better health and wellbeing, like, really?

Wellbeing

In my previous post I made the following comment: “Religious believers, overall and with many exceptions, have better health and wellbeing, are more prosocial and less antisocial than non-believers.”

A reader questioned this statement, in two ways:

  1. “I see that despite my previous prompting about the silly “religion is good for your health” surveys. You are still coming up with that rubbish.”
  2. “Perhaps you would like to explain why then the tables showing life expectancy by state in the US …. have a more or less reverse correlation with the tables showing degree of church attendance.”

I thought these suggestions merited some investigation and thought.

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Sam Harris: “science must destroy religion”

Darleks

It is commonly stated that science and religion are irreconcilably opposed. A recent article by atheist author Sam Harris cranks the argument up a notch by declaring Science Must Destroy Religion.

To be fair, I think he means “science will inevitably destroy religion”, not the rather more alarming “science has a moral duty to destroy religion”, as might first appear, but either way, his argument is worth examining.

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