I’ll come out and say it. I’m an atheist. Those who have been reading this blog for quite some time probably won’t be surprised by this, but I’ve avoided bringing it up before for one simple reason.
The word atheism is riddled with implications.
Perhaps the strongest implication is that an atheist has to believe something is fundamentally wrong with religion. I do have my criticisms, particularly when faith goes so far that it actually causes people to dismiss evidence.
That said, I think that belief in things without evidence is a fundamentally human trait, and one that likely won’t go anywhere any time soon. There’s a case to be made that faith of this kind is important, maybe even necessary.
About a month ago, I decided I wanted to know what the latest scientific literature had to say about the subject. Here is what I found.
The mainstream media would have us believe that there are only two schools of thought: liberal and conservative. Conservatives are religious, they insist, and liberals are secular. Further analysis reveals that things aren’t so simple. There are hyper-liberal Christian anarchists, and even Christian atheists like Robert M. Price.
While there are some who insist Jesus never even existed, and others who think the bible should be taken completely literally, the mainstream academic consensus lies somewhere in between.
I had the honor of speaking with Robert Shedinger, a professor at Luther College, Iowa. With a doctorate of religious studies from Temple University, he has written a book with a seemingly controversial title: Was Jesus a Muslim?: Questioning Categories in the Study of Religion. He argues that Jesus was as much a political figure as a religious one.
In fact, despite identifying himself as a Christian, he believes that people can abandon religion without abandoning God.