We must remember that religion is not merely about making my life better. Religion at its best is about making me better, and a better contributor to the common good.
I believe its because being openly spiritual is The Last Great Social Taboo, judged as shameful, embarrassing or stupid in our technocratic, über-rationalist culture. Why do we continue to allow our friends, communities, workplaces and ecological systems to suffer when self-love, brother-love and planet-love can transform all suffering in its path?
Several years ago I met up with fellow writer, Ramachandra Guha. When I told him I was going to write a book about climbing a mountain, he insisted that it would be a much better story if I didn't make it to the top.
The election loss in the heartland state came after a period of intense debate over tolerance and India's national identity. Attacks on minorities and rationalists, combined with communalist rhetoric and religion-based policies aggravated India's long simmering 'culture-wars.'
Bias means limitation. It means finitude. It means non-omnipresence: that this is only happening here, not anywhere else; only going in this direction, not any other direction; only serving this use, not any other use.
Nanda Devi is known as the "bliss-giving goddess," though the Sanskrit word "ananda," at the root of her name, is better understood as "contentment." Being an atheist, I seek the mountain more than the goddess, though the two are inseparable. Despite my disbelief, I have always appreciated the spiritual resonance of the Himalayas.
At first glance, the idea of having an interreligious prayer might seem disingenuous and perhaps even insulting; one might ask whether or not the prayer is truly "meaningful": does the language used reflect how one understands their idea and conceptualization of the divine?
If only the religious right's influence were limited to "Pastors of LA." Unfortunately, religion still causes harm in real life. And that is what has always given atheists their sharp edge.
Why am I doing this? What purpose does it serve? Where on earth am I going? These are questions I ask myself more than once in the course of my journeys to Bandarpunch, Nanda Devi and Kailash.
To say that religion is divisive is to attempt no analysis of the problems at hand. It is to stop at the surface making no effort to dig deeper for the underlying problems seething underneath.
On October 7th, 2015, the Transhumanist Party reached its first birthday. Started as way to introduce forward thinking and futurist politics into government, the party has caught on around the world and now has over a dozen national parties.
As an active member of EXMNA, I can't overstate the profoundly positive effect the organization has had on me. I found myself in ways I never even imagined were possible.
The so-called "Libertarian" battle cry of "liberty" and "freedom" through "personal responsibility" sounds wonderful on the surface, but we have to ask ourselves as individuals and as a nation, what do they really mean by and what are the costs of this alleged "liberty" and "freedom"?
Time is running out on conservative Christianity in America. It must change. If its adherents don't "put their swords away," they will kill God in America. And this time there won't be a resurrection.
We want this for others because we would want it for ourselves. The demand for others to receive the same standards as we enjoy is as real as any other cause.
Almost every religion looks bad when forced to deal with the criticism of atheists. But almost every religion can be improved by taking these criticisms seriously.