"What I was fascinated by, was that when people would enter the church, they’d say, ‘I don’t know what people are talking about. God doesn’t talk to me.’ And then they would try praying in this interactive, free-form imagination-rich kind of way, and after six months, they would start to say that they recognize God’s voice the way they recognize their mom’s voice on the phone."

— Anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann observed people who attend a Vineyard church in California. There congregants were taught to discern thoughts coming from their imagination with thoughts that were coming directly from God. (via nprfreshair)

(via nprfreshair)

ifuckinglovespace:

ageofreason:

“When my husband died, because he was so famous & known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — & ask me if Carl changed at the end & converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage & never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief & precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive & we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous & so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space & the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me & it’s much more meaningful… 
The way he treated me & the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other & our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.“
- Ann Druyan, talking about her husband, Carl Sagan

Happy birthday, Carl. We miss you.

ifuckinglovespace:

ageofreason:

“When my husband died, because he was so famous & known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — & ask me if Carl changed at the end & converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage & never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief & precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive & we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous & so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space & the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me & it’s much more meaningful… 

The way he treated me & the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other & our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.“

- Ann Druyan, talking about her husband, Carl Sagan

Happy birthday, Carl. We miss you.

(Source: ageofpuppy)

"Three presidential candidates claim God has chosen them to win. … At least two are wrong, and I’m guessing three are."

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church in State, in accepting an award from The Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, N.Y.

(Source: religionnews.com)

"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.”"

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

— Susan B. Anthony, in an address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Vol. ii., p. 217

(Source: monticello.org)


The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.
Genesis 6:6

He may not have changed his mind, technically, but he sure did debate it. And probably moped about it. And talked to himself.
At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
Exodus 24-26

Oh, here he changed his mind. But only after Moses’ non-Jewish wife circumcised their son before God.

And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
2 Samuel 7:10-11

Boy, I bet the Jewish people are glad they never had to deal with anything horrible after God granted them their land. Of all the people throughout history, they’ve had it the easiest.
Also, see this.

The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

Genesis 6:6

He may not have changed his mind, technically, but he sure did debate it. And probably moped about it. And talked to himself.

At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)

Exodus 24-26

Oh, here he changed his mind. But only after Moses’ non-Jewish wife circumcised their son before God.

And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

2 Samuel 7:10-11

Boy, I bet the Jewish people are glad they never had to deal with anything horrible after God granted them their land. Of all the people throughout history, they’ve had it the easiest.

Also, see this.

I don’t normally read advice columns, but the answer to this question is perfect

Q. No Sympathy: I recently caught my Sunday school class off-guard when Hurricane Katrina was brought up, AGAIN! (*Sigh*) I made it known that I have no sympathy for anyone that lost homes, lives, loved-ones, etc., when Hurricane Katrina hit. My reasoning: 99 percent of those people made a CHOICE to live in an area that they knew was prone to hurricanes. Therefore, it was my opinion that I shouldn’t have to feel sorry for someone that made a mistake and chose to live in the wrong area of the United States. Does this make me a bad person?

A: Do you teach at the Ayn Rand “It’s Your Own Fault” Sunday school? When you teach the story of the flood, you must disparage God for instructing Noah to save the living creatures of the earth—according to you they all deserved to drown. By your reasoning, anyone who lives someplace prone to natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards) should be left to their own devices when catastrophe hits. Perhaps you should instruct your students where the proper places to live are, since vast swaths of the earth put populations at risk. Maybe you want to open your home to the millions who must migrate if they follow your principles.

I’m assuming Katrina came up yet again because your students find your point of view morally indefensible. Good for them. Having such a discussion—and citing biblical texts to support various points of view—will make for a challenging, lively class. Although you are very certain about your lack of empathy for victims of the hurricane, I will leave unanswered your question as to whether you’re a bad person. I just don’t have enough information about you to draw such a sweeping conclusion.

(Source: Slate)

"I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God – what a relief for a working-­‐class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-­‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-­‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists."

— Ricky Gervais offers ‘A Holiday Message' on why he's an atheist

"But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

John the Savage, Brave New World

This is quite possibly my favorite literary quote of all time.