Unfortunately, as well-written and accurate as that may be, not all atheists are as in-depth with their reasoning behind religion and science as he is, nor many other atheists. It's understandable to be confused by all that's in the universe and still say that God exists, but I can assure you that He is here. Independent thought was given to us as a tool to solve and to create, not to be controlled and rendered to having only a conformist's way of thinking. Religion and science are not enemies, only two different subjects that happen to cross paths on a rocky road.
I never said all atheists are as in-depth in their reasoning as Tyson. Indeed, I would say most people are not, regardless of world-view. His is one of those unique intellects that only come around every so often. Remember that not all atheists are rational or scientific: 99% of Buddhists are atheists, many Hindus are, and a great many 'new age' types. Atheism does not mean 'not religious' and it doesn't 'secular' or 'scientific'; it only describes a lack of belief in something (namely, a deity), and absolutely nothing else about what they do believe in, just as 'asantaclausism' (if it were a word) would only describe a lack of belief in Santa. From my perspective, the only difference in these two positions is the wider social relevance of God as opposed to Santa: they're both imaginary beings with zero evidence for their existence.
"Independent thought was given to us as a tool to solve and to create, not to be controlled and rendered to having only a conformist's way of thinking."
Aside from the unqualified assumption that thought was 'given' by anything, I thoroughly agree with this, 100%. But this is *exactly* how I arrived at my secular worldview: using independent thought (with no regard for conformism or tradition) applied systematically and rationally to the world around us. And where this brings us, on this issue at least, is that there is not a single SHRED of evidence to validate the existence of a deity, whether Odin, Krishna, Allah, Jupiter, Ra, Huitzilopochtli, or Yahweh.
Religion is fundamentally opposed to science, and science has nothing to say on anything outside of what can be known, so seeing as the god hypothesis -any god removed from nature- is not falsifiable, and so is an invalid hypothesis.
I have no problem if you want to take comfort in your faith; just don't involve science. Science professors never placed priests under house arrest for 'blasphemy' like the pope did with Galileo; scientists don't demand that religious folks preach evolution in their churches like religious folks try to put their faith in the science classroom; science never stunted the development of faith by force, while religion did (and continues to do) exactly that to science.
With that in mind, we can also compare the issues of contention *within* the two philosophies (Reason and Faith) and the logical consequences of following either, for example: you never hear on the news of 'agnostic rebels attacking the atheist stronghold', but you often hear of one religious group attacking another. The reason is that two people with differing notions of existence based in faith can only say "my god is real" so many times, but they can't ever demonstrate this, so the only option is to either 'agree to disagree' or use violence to impose their views on someone else. Two or more folks whose views are based in reason having a disagreement over some fundamental aspect of existence can eventually come to a solution because their views can be proven and disproved.
Bottom line: Scientists might disagree on issues, certainly, but string theory advocates never fly planes into the labs of loop quantum gravity advocates, and Lamarckian biologists didn't fight brutal insurrections against Darwinian ones; never was there a Saint Newton's Day Massacre.
They were certainly limited in their world view, and I don't doubt for a second that if they weren't born in a time when not believing in god was likely to get you tortured to death that many of them would have been at least extremely agnostic about the whole concept.
Absolutely nothing is wrong with it, except that in many cases it is a completely impossible feat to manage, instilling a sense of guilt in people that don't and requiring them to "confess" their "sins".
The whole concept of sin is a guilt inspiring concept, and guilt is one of the most psychologically damaging feelings humans are capable of. Now you may ask "if guilt is a bad thing, how are people to know they have done something wrong?" and the answer is Shame. Take a look at this to see what I mean [link]
Now as to it being a stabilizing and unifying force, in small communities you are absolutely correct, but when it comes to any two differing opinions it suddenly becomes one of the most devastating forces for society on the planet. How can you agree to disagree with someone when you know that by not agreeing with you they are condemning themselves to hell? And worse they are also condemning their children to hell, and the children's children?
And if you get two completely opposing religions such as christianity and Islam coinciding next to each other in two completely separate but dominant cultures you get constant unmitigated war.
In Africa their are large areas of the continent that are Islamic and large areas that are Christian, and as I am sure you are aware it has caused and continues to cause some of the worst crimes in human history. Did you know that Joseph Kony basis his authority on the bible?
Except that we are not tasked with perfection, we are tasked to do our best and grow towards it. From my growing knowledge of Christian theology, if we were capable of perfection there would have been no Christianity because Christ never would have had to come in the first place. We'd all be Jewish running around trying to get everyone to obey the full extent of the old Law (talk about a list of rules, sheesh)
The point is to strive for it, even though both we and God knows it isn't possible. Yes, you ask repentance when you screw up, but don't we generally do that anyway? When you break something don't you say I'm sorry and try not to break something else? (Like clutzy me at work with the rather delicate wine glasses) The measure of guilt I find to vary from person to person, I tend to be a bit remorseful and slightly irritated, but nothing like the overwhelming guilt I think you're thinking of.
I think the religion itself, talking about Christianity here primarily, isn't a devastating force except in the hands of those who crave power. See the Crusades, which was a series of wars started by a secular ruler to regain territory lost, except the pope (a figure whom I'm personally not too fond of, position wise but especially that one) decided to bless it and then the propaganda commenced. It didn't help at all that people of the time were illiterate and couldn't read the repeated 'love thy neighbor, avoid quarrels, etc' found all over the New Testament.
It seems to me that we were given free will to make our own choices. I could tell you all about my faith, but if in the end you choose not to believe that is your choice. It is my job to spread the message and tell those who are willing to hear it and mentor those who are willing. My job isn't to force anyone to do anything. If one is willing to listen but rejects it at this time I believe we are to move on to find someone who is willing to accept it. Perhaps the time isn't right, perhaps I'm not one you'd listen to anyway, maybe you're just not in the right place at this moment to understand it, there's a myriad of reasons why one would not accept and that's saddening, but if there is nothing I can do then there is nothing i can do. Make your own choices. This is why I'm not a very aggressive or bold Christian. If there are questions then I'll be happy to try and answer them, provided they are honest questions and not purely antagonistic, to the best of my ability. I make this known so that those who are seeking can find me, but those who are not don't end up with anything jammed down their throats.
Christians and Muslims can get along at times, from my understanding its just the radical sects in both that are the problem. Flying a plane into a building with several thousand people in it, isn't acceptable whatsoever, then again neither is putting a bomb into an abortion clinic (as much as I hate the idea of killing the unborn). That said, the leaders of my gaming group one is Baptist and the other is Sunni and they get along just fine (though I think you mean in large groups, but that would be beyond my limited experience)
Could you cite where Kony gets that idea? New Testament only preferably. Honestly, I'm very poor with African History. I know some as it relates to European history, but my history degree is on hold at the moment (It doesn't help that my Uni only has maybe 3 classes on actual African history, one of which is ancient Egypt)
No the point is we are made to feel as though we SHOULD be perfect, and makes us feel guilty when we are not. Did you watch the video I sent you to? It explains the difference between shame and guilt very effectively.
Any religion in large group DOES cause problems, it can't not do so. Like I said earlier, if you honestly believe that somebody will go to hell if they don't believe as you do, how could you in good conscience allow them to continue as they are? To do so is to condemn them to HELL, along with everyone of their children.
As to you preaching the faith, I can guarantee you will not convert me to christianity. Have you actually read the old testament? Your god in the old testament is one of the most genocidal maniacs you will ever read about.
And no your wrong, christians and muslims CANNOT get along unless one of them is dominant in society. I challenge you to find one place on earth where both christianity and Islam carry equal power in society, that is not also completely wracked by civil war.
Yes when one religion is dominant its a different story, the weaker religion has no choice but to accept the others ascendancy. As to Joseph Kony I'm afraid you are showing how little you know of Africa (not that I know much more myself).
Kony is not African history, he is around NOW and he is kidnapping children forcing them into drug addiction and making them kill and rape their own families.
If you want to know more about Joseph Kony's beliefs there is a 12 page report on them here [link]
Honestly, have you read the old testament? This is the very basis of your religious beliefs.
Indeed. This is why I couldn't hate the religious simply for being religious; I pity them. Until they free themselves from faith and superstition, they won't ever feel the tremendous bliss of the emancipation of reason, or ever truly comprehend the awe, splendor, and majesty of all that is humanly possible to comprehend of the cosmos... It's almost devastatingly sad, to see them stuck with their small gods and their narrow understandings... Reality is so much more grand.