The way of presentation is different according to each religion. In theistic religions like Buddhism, Buddhist values are incorporated. In nontheistic religions, like some types of ancient Indian thought, the law of karma applies. If you do something good, you get a good result. Now, what we need is a way to educate nonbelievers. These nonbelievers may be critical of all religions, but they should be decent at heart.
In the seeker-church movement the emphasis away from the use and explication of creedal confession is obvious, since the whole point is to focus on the 'felt-needs' of the person in the pew - especially the felt-needs of nonbelievers. The rationale is that the church and its main service are evangelistic in nature. Because nonbelievers simply cannot penetrate the arcana of historic Christianity, the felt-needs of people become the point of entry into conversation with them.
James Davison Hunter
Even though this deity (the Christian God with a capital "G") has evolved through its 2000 years, it somehow maintains in its current version all old characteristics, whether conflicting or consistent: readiness to punish but ability to heal, vindictiveness yet forgiveness, utter cruelty to outside nonbelievers but looking for converts, etc.
Thomas Daniel Nehrer
As [The Nation columnist Katha] Pollitt points out, when one starts looking beneath the surface of things and adding together the out-front atheists with the indifferent nonbelievers, you end up with a much larger group of people than Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Unitarians put together.
Islam in its origins is just as shady and approximate as those from which it took its borrowings. It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or "surrender" as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing-absolutely nothing-in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.
The twentieth century prided itself on invalidating the metaphysical. Doubts about the afterlife arose even as so-called nonbelievers attempted to locate surrogates for the loss of meaning atheism occasioned. Enraptured with progress, we deepened our collective worship of science. As incredulity to metanarratives rose, so did a massive publicity campaign to convince us of the omnipotence of science.
Adam Leith Gollner
I seem to have three categories of readers. The first is nonbelievers who are glad that I am reading the Bible so they don't have to bother. The second group, which is quite large, is very Biblically literate Jews. And the third, which is also very large, is Christians, most of them evangelical. The evangelical readers and the Jewish readers have generally been very encouraging, because they appreciate someone taking the book they love so seriously, and actually reading it and grappling with it.
It goes with the passionate intensity and deep conviction of the truth of a religious belief, and of course of the importance of the superstitious observances that go with it, that we should want others to share it - and the only certain way to cause a religious belief to be held by everyone is to liquidate nonbelievers. The price in blood and tears that mankind generally has had to pay for the comfort and spiritual refreshment that religion has brought to a few has been too great to justify our entrusting moral accountancy to religious belief.
We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person 'to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.' Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against nonbelievers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.
The transcendent and the numinous can be accessible to the most materialistic of scientists, without positing the supernatural. At the same time, there is no reason to mistrust the same experiences in believers simply because they posit a supernatural source. The question is not, "Does God exist?" It's irrelevant. The question is whether believers and nonbelievers can rejoice in the same experiences and not denigrate the other's explanation as to the origins of very powerful human responses.
People often seem to think that when you're following the Lord and trying to do His will, your path will always be clear, the decisions smooth and easy, and life will be lived happily ever after and all that. Sometimes that may be true, but I've found that more often, it's not. The muddled decisions still seem muddled, bad things still happen to believers, and great things can happen to nonbelievers. When it comes to making our decisions, the key that God is concerned with is that we are trusting and seeking Him. God's desire is for us to align our lives with His Word and His will.
Orthodox Judaism is a thicket of detailed injunctions, Biblical commandments elaborated during centuries of prohibited proselytizing, functioning to limit interaction with outsiders. At the opposite extreme, Islam, still the most rapidly expanding of faiths, demands little immediate knowledge from those who would convert. The convert is permitted to enter and then to learn by participation, although there are plenty of detailed regulations and abstruse theological ideas to be pursued later, and the regulations do effectively separate believers from nonbelievers.
Mary Catherine Bateson
Religions, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies; belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them they could make themselves 'right' and others 'wrong' and thus define their identity through their enemies, the 'others', the 'nonbelievers' or 'wrong believers' who not infrequently they saw themselves justified in the killing.
Up to now, most atheists have simply criticized religion in various ways, but the point is to dispel it. In A Manual For Creating Atheists, Peter Boghossian fills that gap, telling the reader how to become a 'street epistemologist' with the skills to attack religion at its weakest point: its reliance on faith rather than evidence. This book is essential for nonbelievers who want to do more than just carp about religion, but want to weaken its odious grasp on the world. (Review of Dr. Peter Boghossian's book, 'A Manual For Creating Atheists')
Jerry A. Coyne
Like the Nazis, the cadres of jihad have a death wish that sets the seal on their nihilism. The goal of a world run by an oligarchy in possession of Teutonic genes, who may kill or enslave other 'races' according to need, is not more unrealizable than the idea that a single state, let alone the globe itself, could be governed according to the dictates of an allegedly holy book. This mad scheme begins by denying itself the talents (and the rights) of half the population, views with superstitious horror the charging of interest, and invokes the right of Muslims to subject nonbelievers to special taxes and confiscations. Not even Afghanistan or Somalia, scenes of the furthest advances yet made by pro-caliphate forces, could be governed for long in this way without setting new standards for beggary and decline.
Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.
At least two important conservative thinkers, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, were unbelievers or nonbelievers and in any case contemptuous of Christianity. I have my own differences with both of these savants, but is the Republican Party really prepared to disown such modern intellectuals as it can claim, in favor of a shallow, demagogic and above all sectarian religiosity? Perhaps one could phrase the same question in two further ways. At the last election, the GOP succeeded in increasing its vote among American Jews by an estimated five percentage points. Does it propose to welcome these new adherents or sympathizers by yelling in the tones of that great Democrat bigmouth William Jennings Bryan? By insisting that evolution is 'only a theory'? By demanding biblical literalism and by proclaiming that the Messiah has already shown himself? If so, it will deserve the punishment for hubris that is already coming its way. (The punishment, in other words, that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson believed had struck America on Sept. 11, 2001. How can it be that such grotesque characters, calling down divine revenge on the workers in the World Trade Center, are allowed a respectful hearing, or a hearing at all, among patriotic Republicans?)