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Mary from Meander With Me

"He then studied comparative religion and became a devout atheist".

That explains exactly why Randy Newman became what you choose to call an "atheist". There isn't a religion in the world, and never has been, that doesn't consider the rejector of that religion to be an atheist. Any person who rejects the "God" dreamed up by a roving band of nomads several thousand years ago, is an atheist. To the Romans, two thousand years ago, you would be considered an atheist. And so it goes, always has and always will.

tom sheepandgoats

Alas, Mary, for both you and me, but he really appears to be a genuine bona fide atheist, and not just someone who's left the old-time religion. If I call him an atheist, it's only because it's all over the internet.

But I'm having some fun with this series and I'm not done yet. Adding some spice to the whole thread is the fact that I absolutely love (what I've heard of it) Mr. Newmans new CD "Harps and Angels."

Heath

It is hard to accept it when someone we admire has different beliefs than us, granted, but you need to accept that Newman is an atheist, through and through, and has been for a long time. If you study him, as I have, this will be reinforced.

His comment about "when I'm sick" is his brilliant sense of humor and irony, which comes through in most of his songs. And even the most devout atheist can WISH there was a god, especially in moments of fear and weakness, such as being sick, or elderly.

He makes a good point about atheism too, it is no joy ride, it isn't very pleasant sometimes. That doesn't mean that we can have a conscionable belief in god just because it makes us feel like shit to not believe.

Accept it and let it go, then enjoy his music as you should no matter what he believes.

tom sheepandgoats

Hmmph.....well, I do like his music. A lot. And yes, there is that brilliant sense of humor, irony, even self-deprecation, which is well-near irresistable.
I just heard recently that song of his about the aging rocker. A hoot! A pure joy to listen to (atheist or no).

"I have nothing left to say
But I'm gonna say it anyway
Thirty years upon a stage
And I hear the people say
Why won't he go away?
....When will I end this bitter game?
When will I end this cruel charade?
Everything I write all sounds the same
Each record that I'm making
Is like a record that I've made
Just not as good

Jason Chamberlain

So in my corner of the world, much was made of pretty miss Carrie Prejan because she sort of kinda gave the right answer to the gay marriage question in the Miss USA pageant. Many folks were ready to crown her a hero.

Yet there she was parading her surgically-enhanced body around on a stage in a bikini. And this is who folks want speaking for them?

I may disagree with JW and Mormom theology, but I have a deep admiration for how seriously you folks take James 2:14-26. I'm afraid too many folks in my circles read Ephesians 2:8-9 and stop there without reading 2:10.

I realize that this is all a bit different than a famous atheist, but I think it's along the same lines.

Susan

Found this on a search for something completely different, but if you haven't heard it yet pick up Randy Newman's "Faust." A Rabbi I know says it's the best "religious" album he's ever heard. Here's Newman doing one song from it, "Glory Train":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1OPPi9e6LU

It's nice to hear him tell the story, but the version on the album has a gospel choir AND James Taylor as God, and you can't beat that.

tom sheepandgoats

sigh....I swear some people positively delight in sawing off the branch they're sitting on. Even as they know they're doing it. As RN says, turning 60 "doesn't make you want to run out and hold up a banner for atheism." But he hoists it up just as high as he can anyway, with remarkable musical talent.

It's as if a person finds himself on death row. Now, I guess, if you believe you're there, then you believe you're there. But, reasonably, you'd expect a person to be bummed over it, and not carry on as if they're enjoying a most pleasant party and inviting others to join in.

But I still lay primary blame on false religion, which denies people any reasonable explanation as to why God would permit evil and suffering. They do this because the Bible's explanation contradicts doctrinal nonsense that they already swallowed whole. In such a spiritual vacuum, what's a thinking person to do? They're left on their own, and to reason 'God has taken his eye off the ball' does not seem too farfetched given today's world. A small step from there to 'there is no God.' Adding fuel to that position is that, in taking it, you get to tweak religionists, who surely deserve it. Doesn't Newman hail from the bayou region? Which Katrina has devastated once, and now the oil spill makes K look like child's play? No wonder people become bitter/ridiculing when they hear pious preachers claim such is God's will, and when they combine that observation with the hypocritical conduct these people so often display.

To be sure, I am surprised by the 'evangelism' atheists sometimes display. But I guess it's in keeping with stressful times today, in which all positions are given to extremism.

Aaron

What's wrong with being an Atheist?

tom sheepandgoats

Aaron: I don't know that I would say it is "wrong" as much as I would say it is unnecessary and cuts short one's horizons. And my comment immediately preceding yours bears repeating:

It's as if a person finds himself on death row. Now, I guess, if you believe you're there, then you believe you're there. But, reasonably, you'd expect a person to be bummed over it, and not carry on as if they're enjoying a most pleasant party and inviting others to join in.

And the rest of it, too, I guess.

Thanks for chiming in.

Fred

I always assumed Randy Newman was an atheist. He simply has that sort of deep, dark depressed outlook on things that only comes when one has given up on life. (Think Mark Twain, late in life, after he lost his daughter.) I feel sorry for him. But at least he manages to turn his negativity into some witty, socially conscious material.

tom sheepandgoats

Fred.....I didn't know that about Mark Twain. I mean, I knew he was an atheist, but I didn't know when he became one and if it had connection with his daughter. I wonder if it is similar to this experience regarding Darwin:

http://tinyurl.com/5wbcb7

Daniel

'He then studied comparative religion and became a devout atheist ‘except when I’m sick’.
This doesn't show that he is a closet Theist. If he ACTUALLY believed in a god, he would have no benefit from claiming to be an Atheist in a nation that is so religious. He would actually benefit by claiming himself to be a theist. It makes sense for someone to be a closet atheist in America because people are shun upon for being an atheist in America. You sir, did not dig yourself out of the hole you created. You have only dug it deeper by demonstrating your ignorance.

tom sheepandgoats

You know, I hate it when I demonstrate my ignorance, and I always hope people won't notice. But it doesn't always work.

BeReasonable

Hahahaha... Keep digging Tom...
At least its entertaining!

Hey I'm not sure how your District Convention last year ... or was it the year before? handled the part about the brochures on evolution/creation. But at some point in that convention there was a part with experiences of people who we meet in service who are Atheist. A really cool experience was of a brother who had begun a bible discussion with a devout Atheist wife and/or someone else the house and then had a discussion with the husband. Upon sitting down to review some material he noticed the plethora of books on the mans bookshelf on the "subject" of Atheism. He was one of those Witnesses who's always beleived in a God and never had any real reason to "doubt" or question God besides biblical understandings. So he was finally able to surmise from all the books, that Atheism, like the organizations of Theism, is a Religion. You gotto study it to really BE it.
Having an Atheistic idea is not really easy to uphold ((piggybacking off of your previous comments about people coming to that viewpoint being upset with suffering and evil and worse yet with false-religious teachings as to WHY these things occur))
Therefore a "devout" Atheist is a studied and well-learned religionist in their faith.
The clincher and point I enjoyed which I have universally found to be true, was when the father says to the brother:
"I'm an Atheist and I will always be an Atheist, and I'm gonna raise my daughter to be an Atheist."
The young daughter (dont remember her age but not close to teen years yet) who was standing by, chimed in:
"But Daddy, I want to believe in God!"

The brother pretty much left it at that, because as you can imagine, thats a pretty heavy chink in that mans armor. It also illustrates a point, (Though in no way empirically proving it) that people are NOT Born Atheist. They become such.
It can well be proven however, that people are born Theist...
Another discussion eh??
I will be blogging about that soon and i'll link to this and send you a message to get your thoughts!
Take care

tom sheepandgoats

"But Daddy, I want to believe in God!"

HA! It has to be a hard sell, I would imagine, persuading small children the virtues of atheism. (not to say that there's not plenty who rise to the challenge)

Lookin forward to the post.

DAvid

God is not imagined. God is real. There is evidence. Creation is evidence (the precision, immense complexity, and true logic), the results of that world wide flood is evidence, and prophesy. Prophesy can be proven by anyone with the correct interpretation (the Bible interprets itself by the way). The other two take some scientific knowledge, understanding, and study. Opinions are nice at times but the truth is best. Reality rules. The prophesy in Daniel about the statue is one easily demonstrated prophesy. I agree with your explanation of why atheists are atheists. Just because someone studied something a lot and for a long time even, does not make them educated on the subject they studied at all. Look at the history of medicine for example. Diseases that have the simplest cures reeked havoc on masses, while the simple cure was rejected as stupid. Umm in closing, atheists, wake up

tom sheepandgoats

Jehovah's Witnesses used to refer to "men who are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done" in the name of God. (Ezek 9:4) But as years have gone by, many of this group have simply given up sighing and embraced atheism. That doesn't account for all atheists, of course, but it accounts for a lot.

Still, atheists have many obstacles to hurdle, such as 'how did life get here in the first place?' An excellent discussion of this can be found at jw.org/publications at which point you have to search a bit. It's a brochure with an orange color. (sorry, my web skills aren't all that great)

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