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I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. --Stephen Roberts

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 I imagine Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy--as I imagine any make-believe being. 5 people liked this

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That the universe is magnificent, and that we are privileged to be a part of the tiniest fraction of matter within it that has developed consciousness. 5 people liked this
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I cannot pick a single moment. I am frequently awestruck by what is around me--when I watch a bumblebee on a flower, see a heron fishing in a marsh, or look up at the stars on a crystal night far from city lights. 4 people liked this
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I do not believe in gods, and it has been a long, long, long time since I had any reason not to trust in my non-belief. 3 people liked this
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator my continual awe before the natural world. The unfathomable depths of space and of time. All of the richness that has sprung, without cause or purpose, from nothing at all. These things produce in me profound feelings of transcendence. 4 people liked this
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that non-belief leaves you empty, or lonely, or wanting somehow. Such nonsense. 6 people liked this
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Physicist Richard Feynman. Astrophysicist Carl Sagan. The Buddha. 3 people liked this
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The value of science in understanding the natural world. 6 people liked this

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator A hodgepodge of vaguely Christian gobbledegook. "Believed" is perhaps too strong a word. "Never took the time to question" might be a better way of expressing my belief system. 4 people liked this
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator highly productive, and highly satisfying. 3 people liked this
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator nothing much. I was nominally a Methodist, but my parents, although "believers," were not overtly devout, and they did not force devoutness on me. (There were some early attempts to send me to Sunday school, but those died quickly in the face of serious resistance from me.) I am forever grateful to my parents for allowing me to believe, or not believe, as I wished. 2 people liked this
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 I'm not sure exactly what my father believed, as he did not speak about his beliefs (or much else). My mother's beliefs evolved from a middle-of-the-road kind of Christianity to an amorphous "there is a Higher Power" later in her life. She would have made a good Unitarian Universalist. Neither of my parents were staunch, committed atheists. I am. 2 people liked this
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 Becoming a parent had no effect on my atheism. 2 people liked this

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 I do not have "faith" or "a faith," meaning an unverifiable and unwarranted belief in a supernatural power. I exercise my NON-belief every moment of every day. 4 people liked this
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 wife is a Unitarian Universalist, but she is essentially agnostic (although she leans toward deism). Both my wife and I consider ourselves to be Buddhists, but we regard Buddhism--stripped of all the reincarnation nonsense--as a useful life philosophy, not a religion. (There is no god in Buddhism.) Our two kids, now young adults, are both atheists. 4 people liked this
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have no "faith," so I have no way of answering this question. I find it very easy to behave as if there are no gods. That comes perfectly naturally. 3 people liked this
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The books that I read. 2 people liked this
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There are a number of good books on atheism, but I resonate most strongly to Christopher Hitchens' "god is Not Great." I am also very fond of "Demon Haunted World," by Carl Sagan.
5 people liked this

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 BUILD UP THAT WALL! Religious beliefs have no business in politics. I am immensely distrustful of politicians who wear their religions on their sleeves. I would prefer to be governed by individuals who value science and reason above all else. I value RATIONALITY and intelligence in public servants. 3 people liked this
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 I'm conflicted about this. One cannot appreciate the history of this country and of the world without understanding the powerful influence of the major religious traditions. I am an atheist, but I devour books on religious history. They help me understand how the world has come to be what it is. However, I DO NOT TRUST the average teacher to teach a course ABOUT religion without proselytizing, subtly or overtly. And that gives me pause. 4 people liked this
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 Here again, I am conflicted for exactly the same reasons. I believe EVERYONE should have a reasonably deep appreciation for the importance of these books to literature and to our cultural traditions in general. But I think that very few teachers can present them AS LITERATURE. So, I'm torn. 3 people liked this
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I suppose that when people who are deeply invested in different fairy-tale worlds talk to each other, they are somewhat less likely to try to kill each other. But in the end, I'm not sure that it matters--because the inevitable murder and mayhem is driven by the extremists in each of the fairy-tale worlds; and dialog between extremists is impossible. 3 people liked this
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Again, I have no "faith." I am, however, very comfortable discussing why I find a belief in gods to be foolish and non-productive. 3 people liked this
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 "Faith" again. Bah! I have a duty to demonstrate the value of science and reason, and to point out the negative consequences of living in the fairy tale realm. I am a college professor, and I hope that I represent the value of rational thought and the scientific method in every one of my lectures. 4 people liked this
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I worry more about the effects of religion on politics than I worry about the effect of politics on religious beliefs. If engaging in politics compromises religious belief, I'm all for it! I don't think it works that way, however. Religion poisons every aspect of politics and, ultimately, of governance. To be electable, one must pander to the faithful. And down the rat-hole we go... 3 people liked this
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 demonstrated to me--yet again--that when people justify their actions through the certain knowledge that they are sanctioned by a deity, no atrocity is unthinkable. Religious conviction holds greater capacity for evil than any other form of belief. 3 people liked this

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Published October 11, 2010

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