This is where the language of atheism becomes a bit more frightening. Give up their myths and embrace the truth. The world would be so much better if only people would give up their beliefs and take up my belief. Sounds a bit like the very religions being criticized because I am sure each of them would argue the world as being a better place if only people would believe. The simple truth is that neither one of us knows the Truth of the matter. Stating that people should give up their belief for the Truth is disingenuous and insulting because you don’t know the truth either.
As for religiosity affecting critical thinking, once more the historical evidence does not support the conclusion. Critical thinking does prevent extremism and bring people back from a more “fire and brimstones” approach, but does not dissuade people from their faith. A study showing the effects of invoking analytical thought showed that there was a decrease in the religious nature of respondents to questions afterward, but there was not a loss of faith. Many nations that would be considered religious also produce top scientists and conduct cutting edge research in a vast array of fields. From India, Europe and the United States there are a great many critical thinkers and researchers. The United States is less religious than it has been in the past and quite honestly is now considered less innovative than at any time in its past.
Currently the number of Americans believing in creationism is at 30% as of 2011. This number is down from the poll taken in 2009 where 39% of Americans believed creationism. Of course another poll done in 2012 puts the number at 46%, while stating that the number is down 6%. As someone that studied social science and statistics, this shows more a difference in methodology of the survey and not a reflection in the respondents to be honest. The belief in evolution of Americans has remained steady at around 50%. Problem that many statisticians have with this survey is that Christians, especially Catholics, are known for answering written questions as if the Pope were behind them and in the exit interview maintaining a completely different mindset. (Very frustrating for research). Considering the wide variance in numbers, I think this still holds to be true.
Vanity also shows the problem with forcing dogmatic thinking on the religious. People enjoy fighting with the straw man of the religious, wanting to fight the literalist and the extremist. Problem is that few people are the straw man. To have someone that is non-religious tell someone that is religious that they must believe in this book because all religious people do is a gross generalization and inaccurate. Similar to saying that all Americans must be war mongers because that is how Americans just are.
As for comparing Harry Potter to religious texts….I will abstain. Sorry if I refuse to insult the culture of other people by having their religious texts and writings brought down to a children’s novel.
Forcing dogmatic thinking? Are you being serious here? You're saying that it's Atheism which promotes a dogma which must be followed, which is being forced on the religious? Atheism is not about forcing the religious to embrace 'logic and reason beep boop I am a robot.'. I, personally, believe that the world would be better without religion, but if you'll recall, Atheism and Atheists share only one trait: The lack of belief in a supernatural being. Scientologists are Atheists. Reptilians are Atheists. John and Jane down the street who don't go to church and don't really believe there's a God are Atheists. Heck, as Dawkin's points, out everyone is an Atheist to a degree; do you believe in Thor, Vishnu, Yahweh, Nu Wa, Guan Yu, Dioneyous, Thuggee and every other supernatural being in the world? Because if not, guess what. You are Atheist in regard to these gods.
As you have seen and been told in multiple threads, Pumpkin, Atheism is not a belief. Atheism is a lack of belief. Someone who who doesn't believe in God is an Atheist. A child born into a Chinese family during 600AD didn't make the active choice to deny that the god Yahweh doesn't exist; he doesn't know he exists as the god of a religion miles away from himself, but he is still an Atheist in regard to the Christian God. I think the best quote I've seen on this topic is "If Atheism is just as much a belief as being a Christian, then a turned off television is a channel."
I find it hilarious that you seem to think Atheism is some sort of fire and brimstone, purge the myth! cult which is intent on destroying all myths in the world. One of the most prominent Atheists currently, Richard Dawkins, is repeatedly quoting as finding Christian mythology hugely fascinating - as a story. I'm a huge fan of Norse, Chinese and Arthurian England mythology myself. Does my lack of belief that Thor or Odin exist mean that I somehow think their stories are any less valid as a form of fiction? I know many Christians who agree that the Bible -is- simply a book of stories and fables, and has not relation to God. I also know a lot of people who claim that the Bible has the truth, because things in the Bible have existed in reality - for example, a few characters and a few places were real. But by this logic, Harry Potter and Spiderman are proof of Harry Potter and Spiderman. I mean, we all know Scotland exists, right? New York exists, and Spiderman is from there, therefore Spiderman exists.
Atheism has nothing to do with other peoples religions; Atheism is a simple statement of what your thoughts on the matter are. People are free to believe what they want, but the problem is, religion isn't something which keeps to itself, as America proves. Intelligent design is taught is schools. Tax dollars of Atheists are used to fund groups such as the Eagle Scouts, a predominantly Mormon organization which discriminates against homosexuals and atheists. Gay marriage isn't allowed and the only reasoning behind this is Conversative Christians quoting the Bible that 'it is an abomination'. Think of it this way, Pumpkin; say you were a Christian. You live in a country which is predominantly Islamic. How would you react when the government starts using your tax dollars to build hospitals which exclude treating Christian patients? Or when your child who you've raised Christian is then made to recite Islamic prayers in school and told that they and you are not moral people, because we know morals come from the Quran and not the Bible? Because this is the current state of Atheists in America.
I can't comment on American innovation, as that's not my area, but Japan and Switzerland are some of the highest rated countries in the world for quality of life and scientific advancement. These two countries are also some of the most secular countries in the world. If you're preposing that America becoming less religious is making them less innovative, I assume this means that secular thinking causes scientific advancement, by the same line of thinking? Remember, it was Christian's slamming down on reason and scientific thinking which led to the Dark Ages for us English, so I find it hard to believe that less people believing in Creationism in America is causing a stagnation in scientific discovery.
Also, I would kindly ask that you learn what the term strawman actually means before using it so often; you use it a lot in many other threads I have seen as a form of attack against peoples arguements, most often when there are none while claiming strawmans of your own.
Edit: Goddamn, some of my grammer was terrible tonight. Really should slow down.