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"Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator As a fictitious old man with a beard.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in the human race. In perseverance through hard work, honest discussion, and acceptance of others. I believe that we can find peace, both within ourselves and in the world as a whole without religion.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator when I first heard Sergei Rachmaninoff's "All Night Vigil." That was the peak of my Christian faith. After that point, I doubted, debated, and eventually decided that Christianity was irreparably flawed.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator when I began to extensively comparatively read my Bible and scientific books, such as Darwin's "Origin of Species" or "Descent of Man," or challenging works such as Russell's "On Why I'm Not Christian," or Dawkins' "The God Delusion."
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator nothing. I have no spiritual life. I have but this single life, and when it ends I am gone. No Heaven or Hell, no eternity. Just a casket and the earth. And that is the only way I'd have it.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that atheists are immoral. This is quite false. I do not partake of any vice, and I always try to conduct myself in a proper manner. The idea of sin is not needed for a person to be moral.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Douglas Adams.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that there are no tenets.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in Jesus, God, baptism, all that "good" stuff. I was raised as a fundamentalist.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator long and rocky. Rather confrontational too.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a Methodist.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes; my parents are Fundamentalists, and I am a radical atheist.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Everyday, in every aspect of my life. I have fought for secularism throughout my community. I have challenged local authorities over their use of God, and in many cases had the use removed.
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My family (until me) has had only one faith, dating at least as far back as my great-great-grandfather.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Difficult. I am surrounded by people of faith in my family and in my community. They look down on atheists.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator my bookshelf? I guess? I have prolifically read about most religions, which is apparent, but also apparent is how dominant the atheistic section of my library is.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator the book "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. My favorite part being the quote attributed to Douglas Adams- "Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator None. Any inclusion of religion in politics is an entanglement. Entanglements are forbidden by the Constitution, and quite clearly by Lemon v. Kurtzman. The intent of the Founding Fathers was to erect a wall of separation between government and religion, as evidenced by Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Courses on religion should be allowed, as long as they are non-biased comparison courses. Letting people of faith learn about how similar they are despite calling their faith Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, is never a bad thing. But if a course is designed solely to proselytize in favor of one religion, then that course does not belong in public school- belongs in Sunday school.
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. These books, though fictitious, are our heritage, and can teach about patterns that appear throughout the literary canon.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, if the major religions can realize how much common ground they have, maybe these pointless wars could end and we could all live in peace.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. I know what I believe, but I always want to hear the thoughts of others.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No. I have no faith. How could I possibly act on it then? I suppose though, that to truly answer the question, yes, I am obligated to act. The actions that I would take would be to protest any infringement of religion into government, and to fight for the rights of the religiously oppressed.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No. But politics is compromised by engaging in religion.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator 9/11's effect on me was to increase my disdain for religion. I am just as interested in learning about religion as ever, and I am just as comfortable expressing my lack of belief.

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Published October 11, 2010

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