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Tag:atheism

Tag:atheism

Take a look at this walking meditation video:
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Walking meditation is a technique for creating a positive state of mind.  Despite its religious origin, executing the technique requires no belief in any kind of supernatural power or phenomena. 

What’s going on here is that the act of walking provides a focal point for thoughts.  If you just tell someone to focus on a thought, it’s very difficult.  That’s why meditation techniques often feature an activity such as walking or breathing that helps the practitioner filter out distractions.   Focusing on positive thoughts then enables us to make use of the biomechanical link between our brains and our bodies.  This is all very scientific, whether or not the Buddhists knew it when they developed these techniques.

Thich Nhat Hanh is probably not an Atheist. He asks how we will walk once we are in the Kingdom of God, and notes that if we take unhappy steps we will pollute that otherworldly realm.  Of course, you and I believe in no such thing.

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Atheists are quick to attack the basis for the claim that, in general, religious people are happier and healthier than nonbelievers.  But that hypothesis supports the core of what the Alliance for Positive Thought advocates.  We believe that religion has concrete benefits, but also unacceptable failures. 

Myth and faith are unacceptable to skeptical, scientific minds.  But that doesn't require us to attack all benefits of religion.  APT seeks to replicate the health benefits of religion by analyzing and emulating its practices, while surgically removing anything resembling the supernatural.

Independent, scientific evidence supports the claim that religion has tangible benefits.  Rather than attempting to deny them, skeptics should wholeheartedly embrace the pursuit of alternative ways to arrive at these positive phenomena.

The following is a brief introduction to the vast body of scientific support for the following three claims:

  1. Religion promotes health and happiness.
  2. Such benefits are not unique to theistic practice.
  3. Exclusively theistic practices (that cannot be secularly replicated) DO NOT have these benefits.

Religion promotes health and happiness.

Religious People Are Generally Healthier

National Institute of Health (various studies support link between religion and health and happiness)

Churchgoers Live Longer

Religious People Live Longer than Nonbelievers

Is God an Anti-Depressant?  Studies Show That Religious People Are Happier

Church-going Kids Have Better GPAs

Transcendent Meditation Has Positive Effect on Blood Pressure

Religion Promotes Happiness

More Young People Who Think Spirituality is Important are Happy

More Frequent Daily Spiritual Experience Correlates With Less Psychopathology, More Close Friendships, and Better Self-rated Health

Benefits can be achieved without theism.

Study: Optimists Live Longer

When We Do Good, We Feel Good

Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy As Good As Meditation

Music is a Viable Treatment for Depression, Insomnia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Thought Patterns Can Lead to Mood Improvement

Social Ties Lead to Longer Lives


Uniquely theistic practices are not beneficial.


Prayer Does Not Help Heart Bypass Patients

Religious Belief Does Not Correlate With Positive Mental Health Outcomes But Religious Practice Does

 

Under the headline “Rise of Atheism,” AFP has recently reported on a British group that is selling “de-baptism” certificates.

More than 100,000 people have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a controversial advert displayed on London buses which declared: "There's probably no God."

The response from Christian bloggers has been mostly laughter and puzzlement. Why, they ask, would an Atheist legitimize baptism by authoring a ritual to undo it? If it's meaningless, then an Atheist wouldn't care if they were baptized at a young age or not. Right?

One commenter argues that

The “debaptism” effort represents a certain breed of militant, confrontational atheism more concerned with vehemently disassociating themselves from Christianity than maintaining actual religious freedom.

On face, these objections seems reasonable. In fact, no Atheist believes that they are accomplishing any spiritual feat by purchasing a debaptism certificate. This is a publicity effort, it's true, but is not being done because atheists are militant. You don't have to be a violent anarchist to want to express your (dissenting) views.

Nonbelievers have just as much of a right to publicize their opposition to theistic views as the theists have to promulgate them. The societally acceptable reaction to the news that a Mormon is going on a missionary trip is to say something positive. Missionaries are a part of our history, and viewed by Christians as noble. But an atheist who offers a half-joking novelty item for sale on the internet is viewed as “militant.” Atheism is just not socially acceptable in much of the English-speaking world.

If atheists don't make their views known, and vigorously argue their case, they will lose the battle against religion. Theists have TV commercials, TV channels, missionaries, bestsellers, worldwide financial reach, political access. The truth is powerful on its own, but so far, religion seems to have the upper hand.

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