As global residents within a culture of fanaticism, materialism, and greed, is it possible to bridge our differences and dwell in harmony in the twenty-first century? Celebrated author Sam Keen believes that a new understanding of the role of religion in our lives is essential for such a transformation. And that nothing less than our existence hangs in the balance.
In In the Absence of God, Keen offers a provocative critique of the present state of religion and leads the way down a new path -- one of renewal for us and our troubled society. By recovering the experience of the sacred, Keen argues, we may renew our own relationship with God and discover the religious commonality we all share, ending bridging differences that have divided Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others.
Known throughout religious and philosophical circles alike, Keen has spent his life asking the "big questions," and in In the Absence of God, he does not shy away from some of the most difficult and provocative questions concerning religion today:
What does religion offer us in today's world? How has religion failed us? Must we choose between religious fundamentalism and atheism -- or is there a hopeful alternative? How can religion address the challenges and violence we face every day?
Keen reminds us that the answers to these questions lie at the heart of religion and shows us how to access them. By reviving the sacred in everyday life through an appreciation of such elementary emotions as wonder, gratitude, anxiety, joy, grief, reverence, compassion, outrage, hope, and humility, we may rediscover God for ourselves and find a way to live in peace.
Sam Keen is a noted author and lecturer, who has written thirteen books on philosophy and religion. He earned graduate degrees from the Harvard Divinity School and Princeton University, and spent twenty years working as an editor of Psychology Today.
Keen co-produced the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary "Faces of the Enemy," and was the subject of a PBS special with Bill Moyers titled "Your Mythic Journey."
No longer interested in religious differences, In the Absence of God author Sam Keen explores what he believes is the fallacy of organized religion by tracing the five evolutionary stages through which most have progressed.
"We have to find the story that is everybody's story," he says."The essence of religion is a series of primal experiences, which belong to us only because...we share the human condition."
Branch of philosophy that studies key metaphysical and epistemological concepts, principles, and problems of religion. Topics considered include the existence and nature of God, the possibility of knowledge of God, human freedom (the free will problem), immortality, and the problems of moral and natural evil and suffering. Natural theology is the attempt to establish knowledge of God without dependence on revelation. Traditional arguments for the existence of God include the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, and the argument from design.
Most atheists are willing to concede the point that god might exist, but have made a personal choice to disbelieve for the lack of any actual and testable proof. This guy seems to confuse religion with spirituality, just because you have an aha moment doesn't mean it's a religious emotion. The first time I actually "got" Einstein's theory of relativity it was a very enlightening moment for me, but it was far from a religious emotion. I believe in the glory of the cosmos and the wonder and amazement I feel when I contemplate it, this is my "god".
"I'm not sure about that. Atheists (by definition) are 100% certain that God is just magical thinking." - Dogma.
I see no reason to believe the fancy claims of theists, and am hence an atheist, but neither am I certain that some form of higher intelligence doesn't exist. So much for your selfserving definition.
So please, if you're going to make silly claims about what I and fellow atheists believe about the existence of gods, please just stick to the kids table.
Dogma, please stop. First you were called out for claiming Dawkins (and all atheists) openly assert that they are 100% sure no deities exist. When confronted with a direct quote refuting your baseless assumption, did you apologize? No, you went on to say "oh, but then he's not an atheist!" I understand words sometimes have multiple meanings, but to suggest that atheism has only ever meant "the certainty of the nonexistence of a deity" is ridiculous. Every dictionary I've ever encountered has contained the definition for both strong and weak atheism under the "atheism" heading. I would hardly call the folks at Merriam-Webster revisionist radicals; the presence of both meanings in their and others' dictionaries suggests that you are the one who has failed to grasp the terminology.
Also, don't mistake fervor for fundamentalism. Many atheists see the problems caused by organized religion and turn to battling the orthodoxy. In fact many were directly harmed by religion, making it a personal matter as well as one of public policy; I consider myself lucky that I grew up in a family of seekers who had no religious dogma to foist upon me. In any case, tearing apart the irrational underpinnings of the Abrahamic faiths is not the same as claiming that there can be no intelligent creative force behind the universe. There are many atheists like myself who ardently wish for a sane, secular society, where religions are accepted without being put on a pedestal or used as an excuse for discrimination. And you do not get to redefine us simply because a word with two meanings makes you uncomfortable. Especially considering the word "agnostic" has two meanings as well...
For thousands of years religious people have imposed their crazy beliefs and faiths on men and women everywhere...believe or die, repent or suffer for ever etc... check out religions bloody past and see how its priests,imams and clergy have controlled the thinking and lives of the multitude of humanity with their contradicting beliefs and empty faiths, dictating crazy laws and rigid so called theocratically inspired ways of life to people who had no choice but to listen and obey!.....
.....now today when the thinking man or woman shouts 'Hold on a minute!' why should i be made to believe in unprovable empty faith based systems of god belief!....am fed up being lied to or told i must have FAITH as an excuse for we dont really know or cant understand or prove etc!
Funny now, how the god believing people dont like it when its THEIR turn to be preached to...only this time the Likes of Dawkins and Darwin (and 99% of most intelligent THINKING people)dont base their beliefs on blind credulous ideas and hope...but rather, science and deep thinking and coming to terms with probably realities rather than sucking on their blind religious dummies of false hopes fairy tail dreams/realities promised by religions everywhere.
I was once very religious (a JW)...but i have now accepted, just that as Dawkins once stated..'There prob is 'NO' god'....SO the the quicker humanity stops wasting time, efort, money and energy and their empty lives/hopes on religion the quicker it can learn to live together in REAL peace.... not the hypocritical blind and false peace that religion has brought to mankind.
Originally Posted by theseanze
I stopped watching when he said that what Dawkins speaks out against a kind of religion that the speaker doesn't believe in.
Funny how you rant against Keen's talk after turning it off 3 minutes into the segment; maybe you should listen to what he has to say before trying to counter argue his points.
Listening to this, I felt a little disappointed because most of this was utterly trivial to me. Much of the "religious" (or spiritual) experience Mr. Keen is talking about can be had by a child between the ages of eight and ten (give or take a few years, as long as one stays on the safe sides of both early socialization and puberty when emotionally much more pressing matters have to be dealt with). The resulting emotional experience during this relatively calm and contemplative time can be channeled easily into a lifelong passion for humanism and knowledge. If left alone, such a child will not automatically seek answers in religion (neither organized nor otherwise) but will be quite happy to explore the world on its own to discover beauty and grandeur without any fear of either the physical or the metaphysical. Good parents and a good school will give such a child all necessary emotional and intellectual tools to cope with any and all of the existential questions that it will need to address during such exploration.
Highly enjoyable provocateurs like Dawkins and Hitchens know all of this by heart and having gone through this phase successfully is their ever present intellectual subtext. To them the natural development of a self-owned metaphysical/spiritual persona is so natural that they don't even bother mentioning it, except in their constant reminder that it is a crime to disrupt the development process of the child with any sort of institutionalized religious meddling, which leads to lifelong struggle to overcome the guilt that comes with rejecting the random teachings of the particular religious group that the child happens to be born into while replacing them with an intellectual response worthy of a grownup.
Having said that, where Dawkins and Hitchens might be going wrong is to assume that more than just a small fraction of all people can actually manage to undo the harm that was done to them in those early formative years. And this, I believe, might be where Keen comes in with a desperately romanticizing call to the authorities (parents, religious teachers etc.) not to inflict this damage to begin with. But I am afraid that few members of organized religions will listen kindly to either of these gentlemen. Religions are not staying in business by being abstinent of the minds of the young and vulnerable.
Originally Posted by Gillett
The point of this story is that if light didn't exist, there would be no need for the word dark.[/B] If God didn't exist there would be no need to say he didn't exist. Although, like in the story we can see that the word doesn't prove it exists. But for the sake of atheism, there is no need to say God doesn't exist. I'm not saying that God exists. I'm just pointing out the redundancy of being atheist.
So if we say unicorns don't exist, that would mean that unicorns exist because if they didn't exist there would be no point in saying that they didn't exist? I am just pointing out the absurdity of your logic.