This post originally appeared on blog Libere Cogitare et Ratio.
A few weeks ago (September 15th), I attended my first Cru meeting. For those not in-the-know, Cru is what was formerly known as "Campus Crusade for Christ." They're an interdenominational, conservative Evangelical, youth ministry that operates on many college campuses across the country. To their credit, they're actually one of the largest Christian organizations in the US. Being a Northern-bred, scientifically minded, atheistic liberal, I fully expected to witness an entirely different culture—and therefore was looking forward to the experience with excitement and anticipation.
Who is planning on going to the Reason Rally this Spring? Good news! A few weeks ago the organizers anounced that the band Bad Religion will be performing at the rally! The rally looks like it is really shaping up to be awesome and this seems to be yet another awesome addition to the already star studded list of speakers.
Many skeptics also identify as atheists, to such an extent that these two groups often look identical. But the relationship between the two philosophies is not one of equality, and treating them as such can be detrimental to the cause of skepticism. Skepticism is a mode of thought, whereas atheism is an actual claim about the universe. As is true with all such claims, atheism can become dogmatic. This is the danger it poses to skepticism through its association, because skepticism inherently gives no validity to dogma.
Last week, as occasionally happens, a package mysteriously appeared in my mailbox at work. These packages contain books that my coworkers have requested or that publishers send to our company for review prior to their release. (They always seem to come to me by mistake.) I tore this one open and found myself holding The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins. This, his most recent book (released yesterday, as a matter of fact), is a book about evolution written for children aged ten to twelve and up. I had heard about this book for months and I couldn’t help but be excited.
When discussing the absurdity of organized religion, it's important to recognize that while the tenets themselves may be silly, the mechanisms utilized to instill brand loyalty are so skillfully designed that Madison Avenue can only look on in jealousy.