God in America
Support provided by:
tduck

Faithbook tduck

"Fear believes-Courage doubts. Fear falls upon the ground and prays-Courage stands erect and thinks. Fear is barbarism-Courage is civilization. Fear believes in witchcraft, in devils and in ghosts. Fear is religion. Courage is science." Robert Ingersoll

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 I don't. I have seen no evidence which would compel me to believe in or imagine a god or gods. Atheism is the conclusion that the existence of god is highly improbable if not impossible.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I believe that humanity can come together to solve its problems and that the use of the scientific method, humanism and the rejection of superstition will hasten that process.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It's not exactly a "moment of belief" but it was a powerful discovery when I found out that there were organizations designed for people who shared my non-belief. I now belong to several of these organizations.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I strive to make each moment a moment of doubt. I am constantly monitoring myself to assure that I am thinking critically and exploring every option available to me. This approach will allow me to make the most out of the only life that I have.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The biggest misconception about atheism is the notion that atheists have no morality since they have no relationship with god. I find that attitude to be extremely offensive. I am an intelligent person and can figure out the best ways to enhance the value of human life (morality) without an authority figure to dictate to me.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My role models are not spiritual. They include James Randi http://www.randi.org/site/, whose foundation tries to protect people from charlatans and frauds. Michael Shermer's and Richard Dawkin's books have been a great influence as have the works of Daniel Dennett and the eloquence of Christopher Hitchens.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There is no dogma associated with atheism. There is no authority figure who has the power to hand down tenets or practices. To be an atheist means to be truly autonomous, not relying on others to determine how you should live your life. It's liberating.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I tried to believe the things I was taught in Sunday school and church. I tried to not be terrified by the prospect of going to hell. In my teens I studied all the major religions and rejected them.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My journey to atheism has been interesting. I learned a lot about religions on my own. My journey as an atheist activist has been satisfying. I have met all kinds of interesting people that use a rational approach to living.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Presbyterian
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 dad was Catholic and my mother is a believer.
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 No. My sons were allowed to attend church with grandparents but were made aware that they should choose for themselves what to believe. They are both non-believers.

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 don't practice faith. I do enjoy socializing with like-minded people, listening to lectures, and discussing current events. The Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati is an organization that gives me the opportunity to do these things.
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 members who profess a belief do not practice religious traditions very much. Holidays are secular.
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 very difficult to be included in the minority in a country so steeped in religion. I was lonely until I found organizations for people who think like I do. The religious tend to distrust atheists. This is a result of the aforementioned erroneous belief that atheists lack morality. Religionists also tend to think that atheists want to force them to abandon their religion. Nothing is further from the truth. Religious freedom is one of the greatest aspects of this country.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My bookshelves represent my interests and way of thinking. I HAVE NO FAITH.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator song - "Dumb All Over" - Frank Zappa; movie - "The Life Of Brian" - Monty Python; book - "The God Virus" - Darrel Ray. Again, no faith represented, just years of study, reading and thinking.

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 I am a firm supporter of separation of state and religion. A politician can be religious but that religion should have no effect on the campaign or policies of the politician. Nor should any religion be given preferential treatment by the government. Churches should lose their tax exemptions for endorsing candidates. Government should not be financing "faith-based" programs.
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 They should be taught in a comparitive religion class. All religions should be given equal treatment in such a course. One of the things that led me to be a free thinker was my own study and comparison of religions.
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 Only in comparitive religion classes. They are not very good literature. And creationism is not science and should never be taught in a science class.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I can't really answer. I imagine that it could be productive with regards to people of differing faiths getting along. Atheists are seldom included or welcome in interfaith dialogue.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have no problem discussing my lack of faith and my grounding in reason and rationality.
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 My lack of faith does not compel me to do the things that I do. I feel That I have a duty to promote rationalism, logic, the use of the scientific method and humanitarianism. These are the tools that are needed for humanity to progress. With faith comes stagnation.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I think that most politicians feel that in order to get elected they must profess some kind of mainstream religious belief system. They are probably right unfortunately. I think that religion and government are comprimised by this problem.
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 and the Bush years were instrumental in my becoming an atheist activist. That and the opening of the creation "museum" in Kentucky. People can be convinced that they must do some very bad things in the name of their god. Bush and the terrorists had this in common.

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