President Donald Trump's personal religious views mostly appear to an afterthought — his primary belief is in his own greatness. But as president and as the leader of the Republican Party, he has embraced and has been embraced by the evangelical Christian community, and he professes to deeply hold a belief in God.
If the Catholic Bishops, their Evangelical Protestant allies, and other Right-wing fundamentalists had the sole objective of decimating religious belief, they couldn’t be doing a better job of it.
At age sixteen I began what would be a four year struggle with bulimia. When the symptoms started, I turned in desperation to adults who knew more than I did about how to stop shameful behavior—my Bible study leader and a visiting youth minister. “If you ask anything in faith, believing,” they said. “It will be done.” I knew they were quoting the Word of God. We prayed together, and I went home confident that God had heard my prayers. But my horrible compulsions didn’t go away. By the fall of my sophomore year in college, I was desperate and depressed enough that I made a suicide attempt. The problem wasn’t just the bulimia. I was convinced by then that I was a complete spiritual failure. My college counseling department had offered to get me real help (which they later did). But to my mind, at that point, such help couldn’t fix the core problem: I was a failure in the eyes of God. It would be years before I understood that my inability to heal bulimia through the mechanisms offered by biblical Christianity was not a function of my own spiritual deficiency but deficiencies in Evangelical religion itself.
Americans are abandoning religion in droves, continuing a trend that has persisted over decades. Between 2007 and 2014, the number of Americans who didn't identify with any religion jumped from 36.6 million to 55.8 million, according to Pew Research Center.
“I don’t believe in God,” my husband whispered in the darkness of our bedroom.
Let's be clear. It's not like it's easy to be an atheist anywhere in the U.S. Atheists are the most distrusted and disliked of all minority groups -- more than blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, and gays and lesbians -- and polls show that Americans are less likely to vote for an atheist than they are for a person in any other minority or marginalized category. And this hostility can have serious consequences, in the form of harassment, bullying, ostracism, vandalism, alienation from family, loss of jobs, and more.
Here's What Happened When Professional Atheist Sam Harris Tried -- and Failed -- to Embarrass Noam Chomsky
In April 2015, Sam Harris—an author, neuroscientist and self-appointed provocateur—persuaded Noam Chomsky to participate in a private email exchange. Chomsky had refused any other form of interaction with Harris and, for reasons not made public, he agreed. Then when the email exchange was finally over Harris cajoled Chomsky into letting him publish.
What Sam Harris and the ‘New Atheists’ Got Wrong: Religion and the Christian Right Aren’t Our Biggest Problems
A polemicist and passionate advocate of reason, Sam Harris has reluctantly taken up the cause of defending policy writer Charles Murray’s notorious view that racial differences in IQ are in some significant part driven by genetic differences and are largely fixed. This defense has led to a tense standoff with Vox editor-at-large Ezra Klein, who has criticized Murray and Harris’s treatment of the issue, culminating in a two-hour long podcast debate published this week.
If you have ever gone online to criticize renowned New Atheist Sam Harris for any of his baseless assertions or wrong-headed arguments, you risk finding yourself on the receiving end of hundreds of tweets claiming you have misquoted him, misunderstand him, or read him out of context. Though Harris’s followers are ostensibly anti-religion, it’s remarkable how much they resemble members of a cult whose infallible leader has been questioned.
Religion was a major backdrop in the 2016 election. Donald Trump campaigned hard in white Christian America, promising voters that he would essentially turn back the clock to an America when religion and Christians overall were more influential in the country.
We say that it's important to distinguish Muslims from Muslim extremists, but we don’t say how to make that distinction. “Extreme” is a relative term and as such, easily abused. One can call anyone who falls to either side of one’s position an extremist. Maybe “extremist” is the kind of term we can’t define except intuitively. I doubt that. I think it means something specific and definable.