Not attending church makes you an atheist

In an article from WorldNetDaily, Tom Flannery makes the claim that those who do not attend church are de facto atheists.

With the emergence of the New Atheist movement in recent years – led by the unholy trinity of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris – many have become convinced that religious faith is, as Dawkins puts it, “dangerously irrational.”

So, a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University, entitled “What Americans Really Believe” must have come as quite a shock to their systems. It turns out the empirical data show that atheists are the ones who are susceptible to irrational thought, much more so than traditional believers.

According to the study, 31 percent of people who never attend worship services expressed strong belief in such things as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, advanced civilizations like Atlantis, haunted houses and the possibility of communicating with the dead. Only 8 percent of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week shared those beliefs.

Does everyone see the disconnect? He’s calling the 31 percent of non-church attending people atheists. He offers no studies to back up such a claim. Conveniently, had he actually read the study, Tommy would have discovered that there are more statistics.

Is the atheist population in the United States rapidly increasing? Several books by atheists hit the bestseller list in 2006 and 2007, seemingly signaling a breakthrough for the Godless Revolution (Ch. 14, p. 116). ISR researchers did find an increasing number of Americans (11 percent) who claim no religious affiliation, but they also delved into the actual religiousness of those who report having no religion. The Baylor Survey shows that a majority of Americans who claim to be irreligious pray and are not atheists

11% of Americans in this survey claim no religious affiliation. A majority of these people do still believe in a god. In fact, of these people, a little more than a third are actually atheists.

During the past 63 years, polls show the percentage of atheists has not changed at all, holding steady at only 4 percent of Americans who say they do not believe in God.

What’s more, Tommy makes the claim that believing in Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster makes these atheists (who he estimates at existing nearly 800% more than they actually do) more susceptible to irrational belief than those who believe in god(s). Well isn’t that just begging? Tommy’s assumption that god is inherently rational begs the question all these atheist books have been raising.

And then there’s this.

Religious and mystical experiences are an overlooked aspect of our national religious life and are often neglected by researchers and ignored by theologians. The Baylor Religion Survey asked respondents about these experiences: hearing the voice of God, feeling called by God to do something, being protected by a guardian angel, witnessing and/or receiving a miraculous physical healing, and speaking or praying in tongues. The ISR researchers found that such experiences are central to American religion. Forty-five percent of Americans report having at least two religious encounters (Ch. 6, p. 59). Denomination matters, the researchers found. Conservative Protestants are more likely than liberal Protestants, Catholics or Jews to report religious or mystical experiences. However, these experiences are not limited to conservative Protestants. They occur with considerable frequency in nearly all religious groups. The survey also showed that women, African Americans and Republicans are more apt to have religious and mystical experiences.

It is actually the religious who believe they have been talking to and/or experiencing some invisible magic sky fairy. This is not a characteristic of atheists, “New” or old.

However, the ISR researchers found that conservative religious Americans are far less likely to believe in the occult and paranormal than are other Americans, with self-identified theological liberals and the irreligious far more likely than other Americans to believe (p. 130). The researchers say this shows that it is not religion in general that suppresses such beliefs, but conservative religion.

Religion doesn’t quash inane beliefs. It is the far right wing of the religious nuts that view their beliefs as being the only ones with any truth to them. While this incidentally works to their advantage in the case of rejecting belief in UFOs or Bigfoot, it puts them at a severe disadvantage when it comes to accepting the scientific fact of the underlying theme of all of biology – evolution.

Scientists Endorse Obama

An Open Letter to the American People

The year’s presidential election is among the most significant in our nation’s history. The country urgently needs a visionary leader who can ensure the future of our traditional strengths in science and technology and who can harness those strengths to address many of our greatest problems: energy, disease, climate change, security, and economic competitiveness.

We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.

During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.

We have watched Senator Obama’s approach to these issues with admiration. We especially applaud his emphasis during the campaign on the power of science and technology to enhance our nation’s competitiveness. In particular, we support the measures he plans to take – through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research – to meet the nation’s and world’s most urgent needs.

Senator Obama understands that Presidential leadership and federal investments in science and technology are crucial elements in successful governance of the world’s leading country. We hope you will join us as we work together to ensure his election in November.

Clicking on the link will show the signatures 76 Nobelists, 3 of which are winners from this year.

It doesn’t help that McCain and Palin deride scientific research into bear DNA in Montana, fruit fly research critical to olive grove crops in California, and the use of an “overhead projector” which would bring Chicago’s planetarium up to date with those in L.A. and NYC, not to mention that fact that one of these two scientifically illiterate mooks doesn’t think understanding climate change is important toward stopping it.