Below are some links to a really great series of videos from Sunday’s episode of UP, a show on MSNBC hosted by Chris Hayes. This is one of the most thoughtful discussions about the role of atheism in politics and public life that I have ever heard. There are some very intelligent and thoughtful people on the discussion panel including Steven Pinker and Robert Wright. I encourage you to watch as much of it as you can.
Richard Dawkins also joins in for a few of the segments. I have a real problem with his overall attitude and it was interesting to hear some of the reactions to his attitude from the panel. Some disagreeing strongly, others identifying with his more strident take on atheism. I’ve seen the damage that his attitude and incendiary comments have done and the ammunition it gives to conservative religious people, like my parents, so I have a real problem with him.
And also, in one of the later segments a pastor comes out of the closet as an atheist and engages in a fascinating discussion with the panel. I wish there were more thoughtful discussions like this on cable news!
The full show: Sunday’s Show: Atheism
Here is a great video clip from Bill Maher’s HBO Show “Real Time” where Bill performs an “unbaptism” for Mitt Romney’s dead father-in-law. Romney’s father-in-law was a dyed in the wool atheist and scientist who was posthumously baptized into the Mormon church. The Mormon’s believe that when an unbeliever dies they cannot participate in the kingdom of God. However, the dead can be posthumously baptized which gives their immortal soul the choice to participate in this eternal “kingdom”.
From the Mormon perspective, this is a loving and important service for dead souls. If you’re in the Mormon bubble it’s an act of love. If you’re outside the bubble it’s crazy and just a little bit creepy. Oh, and it’s also deeply disrespectful of the memory of the person who in no way endorsed the beliefs of your religion. Luckily Bill Maher comes to the rescue to help out one of the victims: Read the rest of this entry