My name is Ibrahim. My parents are muslims, so they taught me islam as a child.
Around the age of 8 I got annoyed with the idea that I am muslim simply because my parents are muslim. So I started researching the only other religion I had contact with at the time, christianity, and it sounded so ridiculously stupid that it confirmed my belief that islam is the true path to connect with the creator of the universe and ensure a blissful eternal life after death.
Around the age of 13 I started researching other religions like judaism and eastern religions. I eliminated them one by one because none of them made any sense to me. This again confirmed my belief that (more…)
By Lonna Murphy, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology, Passaic County Community College
I was a secular humanist for years before I was a psychologist. That’s why when I was in college and graduate school my ears perked up the few times that religion, or lack thereof, came up in academic discussions about various psychological phenomena.
The two findings that always stuck in my mind are that people who have strong religious beliefs are also more psychologically healthy, and that having strong religious beliefs is the second highest predictor of death among older adults (physical health is the number one predictor).
As someone with no religious beliefs, I took this quite personally. No one wants to hear in a classroom or read in a textbook that they are at risk for mental illness or an early death. Thank goodness that a large part of training in the psychological sciences involves (more…)
Please allow me to introduce to you a young and growing political party: THE NATIONAL ATHEIST PARTY!
Now don’t let the name fool you, although membership is primarily made up of non-believers, believers are equally welcomed. We are not about anti-religion. We fully agree with equality for ALL .. regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, social status and yes .. religious belief (or lack thereof).
What all members must agree with however is the need to rebuild and strictly protect the wall of separation between church and state.
We hold the Constitution true and interpret it’s Amendments to clearly indicate a desire for a Secular Nation, which allows its people choice, written by our Founding Fathers at (more…)
By Jimmy Palmer President of RU Secular Humanists RU School of Engineering Sophomore
Secular Humanists have a place at the table when Atheists are discussing their having certain values. This has started up on FreeThoughtBlogs (FTB) and has gotten dissent from other online Atheist personalities. I take what they say with a grain of salt in fields that are not of their training (while I’m not claiming to be an expert). They may have good natured ideas but whether or not these ideas are applicable is what concerns me.
A good example is the concept of Atheism+ (pronounced like ‘Atheism Plus’) which is a part of the Atheist values arguments that have gone on.
By Stephanie LeRoy Director of Center For Inquiry NYC & Camp Inquiry counselor
I love when folks ask me about Camp Inquiry. Immediately my eyes light up and I give a big smile.
My mind shuffles through the snapshots from a week of wonderful moments and I have to pause before I can answer because I don’t know where to start. I’m hoping that typing it out may be easier for me, but I’ve already rewritten this introduction four times. How can I possibly put into words this week-long sensation of joy and optimism?
On paper, Camp Inquiry is a secular summer camp for kids ages 7 to 16 that works toward helping youth confront the challenges of living a non-theistic, skeptical, and secular lifestyle in a (more…)
One thing that makes life meaningful is our relationships with others, especially so when we feel our position within the social fabric is appreciated by others.
Perhaps the easiest way to feel valuable within this wondrous universe is to help others, and the demand for help is so high we can be busy for the rest of our lives. There are few issues you can look at without seeing room for improvement.
Humanists, non-religious, and atheists are no strangers to charity: it’s obvious we are very generous and eager to help others. Kiva.org distributes micro-loans to people in developing nations and the self-identifying group of people who have contributed by far the most are the non-religious.
I don’t mean to argue about which group gives more to charity – I simply mean that anyone who thinks those without religion are not ready to help a fellow human are mistaken.
I encourage you to get involved in helping people, but I urge you to do it methodically. For me, helping others isn’t about how good I will look in public, or how good it will make me feel once I am done (though I assure you it’s the most rewarding experience); for me, helping others means helping as many people as I can with the limited resources I have available.
Earlier this month American Atheists proudly welcomed Teresa MacBain, an ex-Pastor from Florida, to the team.
She will be working as AA’s new Public Relations Director. Her responsibities will include ”overseeing media relations, internal communications and website responsibilities.”
MacBain has been a celebrity in Humanist and atheist communities for the past few months since coming out at the American Atheists Convention 2012 in DC. And as David Silverman, President of American Atheists, stated, she is a great example of “life after Church” for clergy who (more…)
Although a materialist, Ogilvie has been leading a research team at Rutgers University called the Soul Searching Project. The project has been investigating a wide range of interdisciplinary questions on what people believe about the soul.
As TED describes the talk,
Rutgers University Professor of Psychology Daniel Ogilvie is researching what causes people to believe in souls and the afterlife.
But as atheists and materialists, why should we care about the soul and (more…)
I remember discussing this topic in 9th grade with some precocious friends, but with the publication of Sam Harris’ book called (what else?) Free Will, there is new interest in the debate. I think it’s important to present a humanist perspective.
What is the ‘will?’ To put it as simply as I can, it is the conscious power to make choices and control one’s actions. I believe there is an important sense in which humanists should embrace the notion of free will for ourselves, our children and others, i.e. by increasing, as much as we can, the degree of freedom human beings have in exercising their wills.
Free will involves making decisions and decisions always have realistic constraints. We can’t choose chocolate ice cream if only vanilla is available. Someone may not be able to attend their college of choice if the financial aid doesn’t come through. Average citizens can’t choose their leaders if their society isn’t democratic; women can’t vote if the law excludes them. What we should support is…
What do you miss, if anything, from your former religious affiliations? I once asked this of students in a humanist group at Rutgers. The first answer I got was “music, singing.” There are those who, like my wife, attend religious services in large part for the wonderful sense of personal and communal engagement engendered by joining others in song. For many of us, I’ll bet, the joy of singing or listening to favorite music is a welcome release from the stress of the work week. Being open to the inspiration found in music can help us become more expressive and more rounded human beings. Of course this is only if we do so willingly and not out of the need to conform.
I think we should start to be aware of the music that expresses human ideals and human struggles, whether or not it was written by or explicitly for humanists, so that we can think of ways we might incorporate such music into our lives.
I did a memorial ceremony last weekend where the family asked me to include the songs printed below. The songs are about (more…)
Of course the so-called argument from authority doesn’t amount to an argument or any kind of proof. Everyone could be wrong, after all. But if we didn’t give some weight to authority you’d have to dismiss everything your teacher told you in school which you didn’t observe yourself. So asking what the experts say is of some value.
So where do the ‘authorities’ who study the questions of God’s existence, the nature of the world beyond the senses, and what morality is like stand? When the greatest minds who have devoted themselves to these questions get together and mull over all the arguments that history has produced, what do they conclude?
A survey published in PhilPapers asking academic philosophers 30 different multiple choice questions has broken it down for us. It turns out that a significant majority of Philosophers are (more…)
Camp Quest Chesapeake (at which I’ll be a camp counselor this July) had 35 kids last year for their week long Humanist/Freethinkers camp. It was their first year and, by all accounts I’ve heard, it went off beautifully. A good bit of growth was obviously expected for the following year. But after Camp Quest set up a tent at the Reason Rally and an article was published in the Washington Post on the camp, that number has more than doubled to 70 – and even more campers would have likely signed up if the Camp didn’t close registration on reaching capacity.
Humanist, Freethinkers and atheists of all (more…)
It is a time honored tradition among heretics and heathens to propose new Ten Commandments. Humanists don’t believe in dogmas, so we don’t take the truth of some authority as an end all and be all. But we still see the wisdom in advice from others and understand that only by standing on the shoulders of giants can we then see farther.
Here are some modern ‘updates’ on the Ten Commandments by Bertrand Russell and Christopher Hitchens.
What are some that you would add?? Make sure to let us know in the comments below.
1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything. (more…)