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Books - Religion / Theology & Philosophy


Religion / Theology & Philosophy for the rational and open-minded:-


OverviewThe Conflict | Quotations | Books | References


Overview:




centre-for-inquiry-canada

Centre for inquiry

Dawkins - God



Russel



Richard Feynman



Galaxy



Science funding


Nehru


Morals

Religions

Religion

Faith


"Face it. Religion is simply upset because, finally, somebody's holding up a hand of skepticism about its wild claims and requiring the pastors, preachers and pundits to substantiate those claims. This does not make religion a victim. It makes religion accountable." ‪#‎JeSuisCharlie‬ ‪#‎freespeech‬ ‪#‎CharlieHebdo‬

To Whomever It May Concern:

When you ask me to respect religion because people believe in it, I want you to remember something. I want you to remember that long ago your ancestors were not Christian or Muslim. They had their own culture and customs native to their heritage. Through military conquest religion spread itself through the Old World, and those distant relatives were faced with a choice: either accept Christianity/Islam or die a painful death. This was how most major religions today achieved their position of respect.

After Europe had been fully indoctrinated, the papal Doctrine of Discovery gave the authority to all good Christians to conquer the native peoples of the New World and claim that land for God and the Church. Millions died mercilessly and were even tortured by Christian heroes like Christopher Columbus.

Now, thousands of years later, when we no longer have to respect these beliefs upon pain of death, we are told that we should respect religion. We are told by those within even the non religious community that we should show respect to these ideas that have gained a place of vaunted privilege in our societies which are built upon the graves of any who dared question or challenge the authority of divine providence.

You think you are being rational. You think you are being reasonable. What you are really doing is propping up the last leg of human slavery to bad ideas and providing intellectual cover for religion to keep a place of honor and respect it never earned.

Please, stop protecting religion in the guise of false humility. Be honest and firm with your beliefs and never expect anyone to respect your ideas unless they earn it, and always be willing to be wrong. That is what it means to be a free thinker.

Timothy Havener

Tolerance


Religion


Humanism


Oppression

Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Morals

Humanist Voice

Secularism - Double Triangle Symbol

Secularism - The Double Triangle Symbol

Wikipedia - Secular Humanism:-
Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice. Secular Humanism  specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma ( eg:  http://www.truthforlife.org/about/what-we-believe/  ) as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.
Humanism



Why should we allow governors to promote religious segregation?



Non-believers

Greg Graffin


Myths Worldwide

( Note: Click here or on above for larger format copy )



Pagan Easter

Heathens

The Conflict between Religion / Theology and Science:- ( Faith vs Reason )


Evolution of the Universe


philosophy, metaphysics, religion, science and black cat


Dennet

Wikipedia - Daniel Dennett

Faith vs Reason



Creationism vs Science


The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change due to religious Americans who believe the world has a set expiration date.
76% of Republicans believe in a "Second Coming of Jesus" decreasing the support of government action on climate change. Climate change inertia in USA

" One can't prove that God doesn't exist, but science makes God unnecessaryStephen Hawking

"The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings
 to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy."Sam Harris

" The danger with faith schools is that religion can so often become a big part of the educational provision.
Many faith schools make a point of ensuring that the 'religious ethos' permeates through all lessons
 – including science. "


If there is a god it seems to me so obvious and so absolutely clear that
 – if he does exist – he is capricious, mean and wilful.
 To say that he’s loving, that he’s benevolent, that he cares for us,
 that we should spend our time on our knees in front of him – it’s outrageous. ” - Stephen Fry


" Religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness. "
Kathleen Taylor

" A discussion of the points of agreement and disagreement between science and religion "

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out - Richard Feynman


" the body and soul are inseparable " Physics of the Future


" Thank God for making me an atheist "  Ricky Gervais


" Homonids have always tried to make sense of the world through creation myths

but these are fanciful tales and not science "  George McGavin


" Richard Dawkins is an implacable opponent of those who water the dark roots of superstition. " Philip Pullman

Gods


Faith vs Reason


" God did not create the Universe. Theology is unnecessary " Stephen Hawking



Blair acknowledged that horrific acts had been committed in the name of religion.

Hitchens described Christianity, Judaism and Islam as the real axis of evil.
The debate was won by Hitchens with a margin of two to one. " BBC - Blair Hitchens debate

" Pope compares atheism with Nazism. "  BBC  

( Note: The original atheists were christians - they did not believe in the gods of the Romans.
Present day atheists / humanists do not believe in the god of the christians. ")

Pope's state visit criticised:-

"  Responsibiity for: Opposing the distribution of condoms
 and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of Aids;
 promoting segregated education;
denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women;
 opposing equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people;
 failing to address the many cases of abuse of children.
" BBC

The Trouble with the Pope
:
 " His opposition to contraception, embryonic stem cell research and condom use to prevent HIV;
  his collusion in the sex abuse cover-up, his distortions of Cardinal Newman's theology ( liberal )
 and his readmission to the catholic church of Bishop Williamson ( a Holocaust denier ). "
Guardian


" Calls for the arrest of Pope Benedict XVI for crimes against humanity. " Times



" The denial of evolution is not about the science but about religious ideology. "
Making of the Fittest



" The theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth that has stood rigorous scrutiny and on which much human knowledge and achievement rest. To reject this truth or to treat it as one theory among others is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and to transmit such ignorance to children. " Making of the Fittest



" Weak people say I know it because I was told so in childhood,
 hence the belief in many strange religions "
Charles Darwin (on mindless obedience to religion )



" Faith disempowers humans, snatching from their hands the responsibility for their fate "
Kenan Malik



" Our species is the product of evolutionary processes - not divine or extraterrestrial intervention " Tooby & Cosmides



" Primitive people see the world as driven by spirits or divine forces "
Comte



"All kinds of infectious memes thrive in religions, in spite of being false, such as the idea of a creator god, virgin births, the subservience of women, transubstantiation, and many more. In the major religions, they are backed up by admonitions to have faith not doubt, and by untestable but ferocious rewards and punishments."
Susan Blackmore



"God is the explanation of those features of the universe that science finds difficult to explain ( eg values of certain physical constants favouring life ). God does not need an explanation since he is beyond the universe."
Francis Collins


" The Pope is distorting condom science. " Lancet


"Anger as Pope Benedict XVI says condoms make Aids worse.

 France and Germany rebuke Pope over condom and Aids in Africa comments." Telegraph


" Science is the pursuit of knowledge about God's creation. "  Pope Benedict XVI


" I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. 

The laws may have been decreed by God but God does not intervene to break the laws. " Stephen Hawking


" God is what man invented to compensate for his ignorance of science. "  John Le Carre


" Science offers a surer road to God than does religion " Paul Davies


" I have always thought it curious that, while many scientists claim to eschew religion,

it actually dominates their thoughts more than the clergy " Fred Hoyle


" If there is a God then He is a mathematician " Professor of Mathematical Philosophy


" Some foolish men declare that a Creator made the world.

The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised and should be rejected.

If God created the world, where was He before creation? ..... " The Mahapurana, Jinasena


" God is in the details " , 

" The God of the Gaps " ( ie what science cannot explain ) Charles Coulson


" All known gods came into existence a good three-millionths of a second after the universe began

rather than, as usually claimed, the previous week. " Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


Einstein


" I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil.

My God created laws that take care of that. 

His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking but by immutable laws " Albert Einstein


" Many people find that modern science is far removed from God. I find on the contrary ....

in our knowledge of physical nature we have penetrated so far that we can obtain a vision 

of the flawless harmony which is in conformity with sublime reason " Hermann Weyl


" You cannot believe in God and be a true scientist " Craig Venter, Human Genome Project



"Science is the biggest challenge Christianity has ever had to face and it will eventually make religion unnecessary."
Colin Blakemore



" Darwin removed the main argument for the existence of God "
Richard Dawkins

Dawkins_god_cartoon



" Neurosurgeons know that injury to the brain can elicit religious / mystical feelings / belief in God " Michio Kaku



" So there never was a God, no pilot who made the world by imposing order on chaos and who remains outside, watching and proscribing." Life of the CosmosLee Smolin



" Faith is believing what you know is not so. " Mark Twain



" No rational, intelligent person can ever be absolutely sure of his faith. " 
Douglas Preston



" You can believe whatever you want but this is what it is really like " Charles Darwin: Origins and Arguments


God / Theology / Religion / Philosophy / Morals / Ethics:


Discovered in a monastery in the Sinai desert in Egypt more than 160 years ago, the handwritten Codex Sinaiticus includes two books that are not part of the official New Testament and at least seven books that are not in the Old Testament.


Evolution of God


evolution of religion

Facebook - Cartoonist Paul Kinsella



Religion



Asimov

Wikipedia - Isaac Asimov


Rowan Atkinson



Salman Rushdie

Salman_Rushdie



Pope cartoon


" British youth reject religion. The majority of  18 - 24 years old do not believe in 'God'  " Yougov


Three priests and a former priest are  vindicated after former Cardinal Keith O'Brien admits sexual misconduct.


Cardinal O'Brien previously used strong language to condemn homosexuality.

The cardinal was named "Bigot of the Year"  by gay rights group Stonewall.

The failings of the former cardinal will result in a further fall in the moral authority of the Catholic Church.



" Christians discrimination cases rejected by human rights court " Guardian




The Dalai Lama urges respect for non-religious and
calls for the teaching of secular values in education. RDFRS


" Human feelings such as depression, pessimism and anxiety are handicaps to health and longevity,

so religious beliefs that alleviate these symptoms would have evolved.

Some humans seem to be susceptible to religious beliefs however irrational." Chris Stringer



" Islamic civilization went into decline when moslem scholars interpreted knowledge acquisition to mean only knowledge of religion  - other knowledge was un-Islamic. "
Mahathir Mohamad



" Islamic fundamentalists would prefer to live in a theocracy
 with science, politics and personal relationships subject to religious edicts " 
Michio Kaku


" All philosophies and social systems are ultimately based on scarcity and poverty " 
Physics of the Future



" The Roman Catholic Church is 200 years behind the times ". Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini 

Contraception


" The most important variable determining a persons religion is the accident of birth. " A.C.Grayling


" Religion began as a mechanism to exclude those who could not be trusted

and evolved as a means of encouraging communal action " The Faith Instinct


" Elites co-opted the ritual practices of religion as a means of exercising social control "  Before the Dawn


" Humans are just one of the branches of the tree of life shaped by the same evolutionary forces.

Any other differing account of human origin ( ie religious dogma / creationism ) are pure myth. " Before the Dawn



" The human mind has evolved to believe in gods "
Before the Dawn




" Religious beliefs developed once the human brain evolved sufficiently to foresee death." Chris Stringer



The word "religion" derives fvrom the latin word "ligature" - ie to tie up




" Views held on purely religious grounds cannot be justified
 as they are irrational, divisive, capricious and arbitrary. " Lord Justice Laws



religious right

Sean Faircloth


 " Campaign to have the Pope arrested for crimes against humanity " BBC



" God is merely part of the human brain  - an evolutionary coping mechanism
developed to make bearable the awareness of death
"
The Footprints of God, Greg Iles



" I think, therefore I am " Descartes



" God will not give a happy ending, " Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury


" There is probably no god ( a 95% probability ie odds against 19 to 1  )" British Humanist Association



"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives.
 It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities.
 It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality
."
IHEU



"Imagine there's no heaven...No hell below us...
And no religion too...  And the world will live as one
" John Lennon


" Religion is simply a human creation " Sea_of_Faith


Carter Jimmy Carter


" God aka Nature aka Science "


" It is easier to believe in God than to understand the complexities of science / nature " - the default option


" God  exists only in the mind of the believer " - God of the Mystics


" No doubt our ancestors required some rational skills to survive but....

the human brain evolved more as a religious than a rational organ ... 

Rational science is a minority interest... 

It is likely therefore that the first human brains evolved to impose symbolic meaning on the external world 

and the scientific virus later infected a minority of their descendants 

where it now flourishes in nerve circuits that originally evolved to carry other ideas." Nicholas Humphrey


Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan


" God - a projected fantasy, a construct / figment  of the imagination "


" Religion - an outmoded superstition "


" The opiate of the masses is religion ie a crutch to which people turn when under stress " Karl Marx


" Religion - The Root of All Evil " Richard Dawkins


" The assertion that God created man in his own image is a ticking time bomb 

in the foundations of Christianity. 

As the hierarchy of the universe is disclosed,

we will have to face the fact that if there are any gods whose chief concern is man,

they cannot be very important gods " Arthur C.Clarke


George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw


Bertrand Russell

Bertrand_Russell

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand_Russell

" Religion prevents our children from having a rational education; 

religion prevents us from removing the fundamental causes of war;

religion prevents us from teaching the ethic of scientific co-operation 

in place of the old fierce doctrines of sin and punishment.

It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age ; 

but if so, it will be necessary to slay the dragon that guards the door;

and this dragon is religion. " Bertrand Russel


" Our ideas of God and soul are false and empty. 

Though highly developed as theories, they are all the same extremely subtle mental projections,

garbled in an intricate metaphysical and philosophical phraseology. 

These ideas are so deep-rooted in man, and so near and dear to him, that he does not wish to hear,

nor does he want to understand, any teaching against them." Gautama Buddha


" Do not do unto others as you would not have done unto you " The Golden Rule, Gautama Buddha


"To accept a doctrine on somebody else's authority is an abdication of personal responsibility Gautama Buddha


"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future:

it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology:

it covers both the natural and spiritual 

and it is based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things;

natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.Albert Einstein


Jillette


"Only religion claims to deliver certainty - faith alone is immune from doubt 

but few believers are troubled that different religions offer different answers " Luigi Cavalli-Sforza


"The choice of religion is not surprising, 

a child's religion is chosen by parents at an age when the child cannot express preferences Luigi Cavalli-Sforza


"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. 

When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion" Robert M.Pirsig 


Napoleon on religion

" Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet " Napoleon


" Religion is regarded by the common people as true, 

 by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful " Seneca the Younger


" Avidya ( ignorance ) is the source of our unhappiness 

and Vidya ( wisdom ) and Bodhi ( enlightenment ) are our salvation " Hinduism / Buddhism



" Faith schools undermine community relations and should be abolished " NUT



" TheologyA complexity of intellectual bastions constructed to withstand tides of disbelief "



" Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do so from religious conviction "



" The difference between science and religion is the evidence " Jill Tarter, US Astronomer




" I consider ufology a new religion .. - its a psychological / sociolological phenomenon
 - it's in the mind of the believer
" Paul Kurtz, Professor of Philosophy ( UFO = Unidentified Flying Object )



" The more we learn about the Universe
the more it seems it is not governed by any principle in which morality,
 human life, love or justice play any special role "  
Steven Weinberg, US Physicist, Nobel Prize Winner



Faith schools 'breed terror'

Faith schools that encourage religious segregation are sowing the seeds of terrorism.
Professor David Canter came to the conclusion after speaking to convicted Islamic terrorists about their lives and beliefs.



Religious Indoctrination



" Religious beliefs are like a pathology - a mass delusion - akin to a virus 

that perpetuates itself via information imprinted by adults on impressionable young minds " Chris Stringer


Faith Schools Menace

" Religious prejudice may be the only form of discrimination now funded by government.
Through the agency of faith schools, the belief that one form of religious conviction is superior to others ( and that pretty much any form of religion is superior to atheism ) is actively encouraged by the state. "
The Independent


Head in faith schools warning

Opening more faith schools runs the risk of children being "indoctrinated".
The Rev Tim Hastie-Smith, chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference,
said he felt more single faith schools may segregate youngsters.
He said faith schools could "make people become an object of suspicion as they are withdrawing"
 and could prevent youngsters "from doing good".



 " Creationism has no scientific basis."  Professor Michael Reiss



" Intelligent design / creationism is unscientific " Father George Coyne, Vatican chief astronomer




" The conclusion that God created the world is not a scientific position, but a philosophical one.
There's a controversy in the United States because there is a lack of awareness of philosophy.
 Evangelicals and creationists lack it and Catholics have it
.” Father Joseph Fessio



" A civilization wracked with sectarianism / fundamentalism / racism will self-destruct
due to these tribal / religious passions.
"
Michio Kaku



" Christian theologians, at a loss to explain the location of heaven,
speculate that God lives in a higher dimension.
" Michio Kaku



" Medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic "
Irish Blasphemy Law



" Did Adam have a navel? If he did then does God also have one? If so then who was his mother? " The Naked Man



" Religion arose as an effort to explain the inexplicable. " Douglas Preston


" I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."

Flying Spagetti Monster


'The Biggest Damage Religion does is Brainwashing Children'

"It would be very nice to study religion in anthropological and psychological ways. 

By the way, I do think children need to be educated about religion. 

They just shouldn't be told you belong only to this or that religion. 

They should be told, there is this religion and that religion. 

And when you grow up, you may - or may not - choose to join any of those" Richard Dawkins  



Books on Religion / Theology:


The BibleThe Qu'ranThe Koran for DummiesThe Da Vinci Code The God DelusionPhilosophy of ReligionWhat the Buddha Taught

What's it all about? ( Philosophy and the meaning of Life )BuddhaIs Religion Dangerous?Understanding IslamThe Reason of ThingsProblems of Philosophy - Bertrand Russell  Angels & Demons

The Jesus Debate An Intelligent Person's Guide to Judaism  Intro to Eastern Philosophy  A History of God - The evolution of the concept of God  Guide to Medicine - Philosophy of Health / Healthcare  Man, Beast & Zombie - Human Nature  The Invention of God

God is not Great  In God we Doubt  The Evolution of "God"  Blasphemy  Philosophy fo Dummies  The Faith Instinct  Faith and Freedom



 



Richard Dawkins was recently voted one of the world's top three intellectuals (alongside Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky) by "Prospect" magazine. As the author of many, now famous, classic works on science and philosophy, he has always asserted the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm it has inflicted on society. He now turns his fierce intellect exclusively on this subject, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes. While Europe is becoming increasingly secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, and elsewhere, a vigorous dispute between 'intelligent design' and Darwinism is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. In many countries religious dogma from medieval times still serves to abuse basic human rights such as women's and gay rights. And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind. Dawkins attacks God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed, cruel tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign, but still illogical, Celestial Watchmaker favoured by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry and abuses children. In "The God Delusion" Dawkins presents a hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types and does so in the lucid, witty and powerful language for which he is renowned. It is a brilliantly argued, fascinating polemic that will be required reading for anyone interested in this most emotional and important subject.



A review by historian Dr Thomas Dixon of Horizon programs that have considered the issues posed by science for religion / theology. The program ranged from the challenge posed by Aristotle to the geocentric view of the church, through the challenges posed by evolution and the rearguard attempts by fundamentalists to resist this - particularly in the US with their insistence on Biblical creation and the Behe case for "Intelligent Design" regarding the supposed irreducible complexity of the flagellum and its subsequent dismissal as an utter nonsense by a US court.

Towards the end of the program Dr Dixon presented the grander view of God which religions have adopted to avoid the pitfalls of the "god of the gaps" approach. This is the "God as grand designer of the Universe" approach. The need for such a "grand designer god" in the creation of the Universe has however been refuted by Stephen Hawking.

In the final part of the program Dr Dixon looked at issues relating to the biological / neurological basis for religious belief and showed excerpts from a previous Horizon program looking at research using a "God Helmet". This helmet generates a magnetic field across specific portions of the brain. These portions of the brain have been found to shut down during Buddhist meditation and when nuns chant devout prayers.

The explanation was that this area of the brain is linked to our sense of time and place - our rootedness - and that the religious experience in many different cultures has the common feature that it tends to result in less activity in this area. The result is a sense of otherness, religious aura and frequently a sense of the "presence" of something outside oneself.  The "God Helmet" was able to reproduce this experience in some 80% of volunteers. 

In concluding Dr Dixon suggested that - because of cultural history, desire for grand explanations and meaning / purpose, biological / neurological factors - religious belief will be difficult if not impossible to eradicate. The program showed the rational / logical non-necessity for a belief in a god and how science is increasingly squeezing the gaps in knowledge requiring the invocation of a god as an explanation. However the program left some comfort for believers in that science is not yet about to answer all remaining uncertainties viz:- the existence of the Higgs Boson ( the " God Particle ", the identity of dark matter and dark energy,  the existence of multiple universes, how the human brain works.

References:-





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