Sam Harris, author of the book The End of Faith that was published 10 years ago, has been credited for starting the "new atheist" movement. Reflecting back on his work, Harris downplays the impact the book might have had on the growth of atheism in national surveys. He also contends that not all religions are equally as bad, by singling out the dangers of radical Islam.
"I certainly see the impact that The End of Faith had on publishing — as you indicated, the book initiated the 'new atheist' run of bestsellers. But I don't know what effect these books have had on the wider culture. The poll numbers seem to be inching in our direction — with the percentage of Americans claiming 'no affiliation' with religion, or even declaring their 'atheism' outright, slowly growing," Harris said in an email to "The Friendly Atheist" website founder Hemant Mehta, posted on Monday.
"But whether or not my book had anything to do with this trend, I don't know. I can say that I've heard from tens of thousands of readers personally, and many of them have said that I changed their views about God, faith, etc. But there may be just as many people I haven't heard from whose faith was redoubled by my failure to address the finer points of 'sophisticated' theology." more >>
A prolific atheist blogger has decided to cancel a Kickstarter campaign for an illustrated book that called God an "abusive boyfriend."
Hemant Mehta, known as the Patheos blogger the "Friendly Atheist," announced last week that he was canceling an online funding campaign for his book "God is an Abusive Boyfriend."
In the cancellation announcement, Mehta noted that he "decided to put a stop to the project" due to "receiving a lot of negative feedback over the past 24 hours." more >>
A recent sociological study undermines the common conception that with advanced education comes a general loss of religious affiliation.
To the contrary, those with the least amount of higher education were more inclined toward religious non-affiliation than those with more years of higher education.
"Among Americans born in the 1970s, college education has a negative effect on non-affiliation … for those born between 1965 and 1979, the non-college-educated are disproportionately likely to report both no affiliation and no service attendance," the study notes. more >>
The Fifty Shades of Grey erotic novel series has inspired the creation of a real life sadomasochist-themed hotel that one Spanish Church is making sure will not be able to open its doors.
One businessman in Vilafranca, Spain, attempted to rent out the L'Om del Llosar hotel that he wants to turn into a sadomasochism-themed hotel complete with dungeons and rooms where people can "be able to enjoy games, flaunt themselves and share experiences with other visitors," according to "The Local" Spanish publication. While the businessman is unnamed on "The Local" website, he spoke about the inspiration that the best selling Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy written by E.L. James had on his hotel idea.
"With the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon in full swing, I saw a business opportunity that hadn't been exploited yet in Spain," the unnamed businessman told "The Local." more >>
The critical question for us moderns is, "How shall we be governed?" In America we are all politics all the time, making this a ubiquitous question. However, this wasn't always the most important question in life. In fact, for most of human history it was one of the lest important questions in life. Granted, most people in the past lived under kings or tyrants so the answer was pretty obvious—or it would have been if the question ever popped into anyone's head—but more was going on then than the fact that no one ever thought to ask such an obvious question. In times past, most people were interested in asking and answering a more profound question: "How shall we live?" (see Ezekiel 33:10). And this is a question too few of us living today bother to ask.
Christian philosopher Dallas Willard asked it and concluded "Meaning is not a luxury for us. It is a kind of spiritual oxygen . . . that enables our souls to live." And in the mind of Russian novelist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: "Everybody has a purpose and the main purpose of each of us is how to understand it. Given the everyday preoccupations of ordinary life, people don't spend enough time thinking about that."
Solzhenitsyn couldn't have been more spot on. Life is busy. And who has time or the mental wherewithal to plumb the depths of such a deep question? Well, thankfully one man does and has—Bill Hendricks. And he's written a book to help us find an answer to the question that "enables our souls to live." more >>
"The Giver" debuted its first trailer this week, offering moviegoers a first look at the big screen adaptation of the beloved children's novel.
The book, written by Lois Lowry, was first published in 1993 and has since reached millions of readers across the U.S. The story follows a character named Jonas who is introduced to an elderly member of his community known as the Giver. He learns that the futuristic society he lives in has removed human emotion and wiped out all memory of it, and when the truth about the "real world" is exposed, he must work with the Giver to save those who they have learned to love.
Walden Media and The Weinstein Company are bringing "The Giver" to theaters everywhere on August 15. The film was made with help from the author, Lowry, who relinquished the rights to the book over 18 years ago. Since "The Giver" arrives on the wave of dystopian hit films such as "Divergent" and "The Hunger Games," Lowry pointed out her novel was the first of its kind at the time it was published. more >>