So, I’ll out myself. I’m an Atheist. I don’t believe in God, Gods, Godlets or any sort of higher power beyond the universe itself, which seems quite high and powerful enough to me. I don’t believe in life after death, channeled chat rooms with the dead, reincarnation, telekinesis or any miracles but the miracle of life and consciousness, which again strike me as miracles in nearly obscene abundance. I believe that the universe abides by the laws of physics, some of which are known, others of which will surely be discovered, but even if they aren’t, that will simply be a result, as my colleague George Johnson put it, of our brains having evolved for life on this one little planet and thus being inevitably limited. I’m convinced that the world as we see it was shaped by the again genuinely miraculous, let’s even say transcendent, hand of evolution through natural selection.
Natalie Angier (born February 16, 1958) is a science writer for the New York Times. She is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting in 1991, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Westinghouse writing prize. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York and Michigan, Angier attended Barnard College. She joined the New York Times in 1990. Angier lives in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Takoma Park, MD, with her husband, Washington Post science and medical reporter Rick Weiss, and their daughter, Katherine. Angier is an outspoken atheist.
“Whatever else I might have thought of [President George W.] Bush’s call, with its assumption that prayer is some sort of miracle Vicks VapoRub for the national charley horse, it’s clear that his hands were reaching for any hands but mine.”
“When I sent out a casual and nonscientific poll of my own to a wide cast of acquaintances, friends and colleagues, I was surprised, but not really, to learn that maybe 60 percent claimed a belief in a God of some sort, including people I would have bet were unregenerate skeptics. Others just shrugged. They don’t think about this stuff. It doesn’t matter to them. They can’t know, they won’t beat themselves up trying to know and for that matter they don’t care if their kids believe or not.”
“Still, the current climate of religiosity can be stifling to nonbelievers, and it helps now and then to cry foul. For one thing, some of the numbers surrounding the deep religiousness of America, and the rarity of nonbelief, should be held to the fire of skepticism, as should sweeping statistics of any sort. Yes, Americans are comparatively more religious than Europeans, but while the vast majority of them may say generically that they believe in God, when asked what their religion is, a sizable fraction, 11 percent, report “no religion,” a figure that has more than doubled since the early 1970’s and that amounts to about 26 million people.”
“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.”
“Among the more irritating consequences of our flagrantly religious society is the special dispensation that mainstream religions receive. We all may talk about religion as a powerful social force, but unlike other similarly powerful institutions, religion is not to be questioned, criticized or mocked.”