God in America
Support provided by:
SouthWest

Faithbook SouthWest

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

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 "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." - Richard Dawkins

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Humanity would improve by leaps if we could finally outgrow our notions of god.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator When I stopped trying to. It is a wonderful world without religion and without belief in god(s).
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator When I made the decision to stop believing that which there was no evidence to support. Indeed the world works in mysterious ways. The mysteries of today will be solved through science just as the mysteries of yesterday were. Some mysteries may never be solved. That's the beauty. We should not hold ourselves to imagine solutions to mysteries. Good questions need good answers - not mythology.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Taking my children on walks through our local Joshua Tree National Park; hunting for fossils in the desert near our house; building model airplanes that "defy" gravity with my kids. I love to teach my children to think. I encourage them to question everything and to solve problems through thought.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Most Americans have the misguided belief that atheists are immoral, or worse, that we worship the devil (we don't believe in him either) or some bit of ridiculousness. I'd love to teach Americans a deeper understanding of morals and their distinction from religious beliefs. I like telling stories about the most ridiculous immoral barbaric nonsense to religious folks. As soon as they agree that it lacks all sense of morality, I inform them that it is straight out of their Bible - word for word.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator J. Krishnamurti - a true spiritual thinker. "Truth is a pathless land." Oh, and Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin - brilliance beyond words and religion.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The importance of reasoned, rational thought.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I was confused for many years about religion. I could never make sense of belief based on faith. Even as a young kid I wondered what a person could legitimately believe in if the basis was just faith. It always seemed like I could support ANY belief on faith.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Exciting. I enjoy everything in life much more since abandoning faith in imaginary beings.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a thinker. My parents encouraged me to solve problems. "Pray all you want, but if you really want a car - go get a job."
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 My mother still tries to frame the idea of god in some way that makes sense. I share with her how much more sense it makes to stop trying.
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have two children. Having them has encouraged me to be stronger in my disbelief (if that makes sense). I cannot feel like I've done them a service by lying to them about god and all the hocus pocus of religion. I want to ask religious people how that feels. What is it like to lie to children? What's it like to tell them things for which you have no rational basis? Do you really think that is helping them become able adults? Nothing could be more immoral than lying to children.

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 All day, every day. I approach the world without made-up preconceptions. It is wonderful.
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 I have several family members that are Catholic. It's funny. We have great conversations. I always get the feeling religious people are only a few steps from tossing it all aside. I actually think people are in love with the idea of their faith. They're so used to it. It's a warm, fuzzy blanket to them now. No one really believes in god. They just love the idea of it.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It can be tough in America to be an atheist. The presumption of Christianity is the worst thing about America. It's everywhere.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Our framed fossils we unearthed out in the desert. "Olenellus Fremonti - Early Cambrian (517-521 million year)" It's framed with our family photo out hunting for them.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Imagine - John Lennon. He said pretty much everything there is to say about it. It really is a wonderful planet without religion.

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 We should all laugh our asses off when someone running for public office mentions their faith. Really. It should be an automatic disqualifier. Should we really elect people that think there is an imaginary friend up in the sky that meddles with our lives and such? Seriously, go stand in the corner. Public officers need to get things done. We should have no patience or respect for beliefs without evidence.
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 "Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church." School is for learning. Although, it would be great to teach it in a historical sense. Isn't it strange to read in school about the Greeks and their ridiculous beliefs in many gods that made everything in the world work? Why can average people read about the Greeks and think their beliefs silly and their own beliefs about god as moral and true?
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 Sure, right there in the fiction section with other mythology.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Not at all, unless to further are abandonment of faith and religion.
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 love it because I am so comfortable with it at this point in my life. I'm not trying to decide which religion is right anymore than I am trying to figure out which comic book character is stronger than the 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 Yeah. I created a blog where I like to discuss the topic. Also, I created a presentation that I've presented to friends and family called "The Christ Myth." It's fun. I hope to get people to start thinking seriously about this stuff.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Sure. How many members of Congress call themselves atheists? One. I guarantee there are many more but saying so ends careers. Imagine running for office and having it come out that you are an atheist? Nothing could be worse in America today. It's too bad because some of this country's best minds are atheists with no hopes of public office.
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 For sure. We all need to stand together to rid this from our existence. It is more and more appparent that we are going to do ourselves in because of our irreconcilable beliefs in imaginary things. The combination of modern weaponry with Iron Age beliefs is a recipe for disaster.

Who's Favorited SouthWest

dustcircle dustcircle

Get Involved

Interested in touring your community's sacred spaces? Want to host a God in America viewing party? Visit our Outreach page for details.
Major funding for God in America provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John E. Fetzer Institute, Inc.  Additional funding provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. God in America is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
The Pew Charitable TrustsFetzer InstituteThe Arthur Vining Davis FoundationsWGBH
Exclusive corporate funding for American Experience provided by Liberty Mutual.  Major funding provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Major funding for FRONTLINE provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  Additional funding provided by the Park Foundation.  God in America, FRONTLINE and American Experience are made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Television viewers.
Liberty MutualAlfred P. Sloan FoundationMacArthur FoundationPark FoundationThe Corporation for Public BroadcastingPBS

Published October 11, 2010

FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE are registered trademarks of WGBH Educational Foundation
Privacy Policy   PBS Privacy Policy   PBS Terms of Use
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2011 WGBH Educational Foundation