Beyond Belief 2008

A while back we offered a link to videos of a conference called Beyond Belief. It featured talks by an outstanding panel of thinkers — most of them Godless heathens — about the growing scientific understanding of religion as a biological and anthropological phenomenon, and about the alarming role still played by faith and superstition in human affairs. Another round of the conference took place earlier this month, and there is a new crop of videos to watch. The theme this year was stated as follows:

Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark is the third in an annual series of conversations: an ongoing project to foster and promote the use of reason in formulating social policy. This year, we asked participants to propose a Candle — a potential solution to a problem that they have identified in their area of expertise or informed passion.

You can find the videos here.


  1. I have had out of body experiences and other “spirit” related experiences -such as shared dreams with loved ones etc -which we coherently spoke of with each other – that lead me to have reasons in holding to the idea that there is a spiritual component to my being.

    I think of it as a oneness/unity that is part of my consciousness that can be shared and even used in a context of personal interaction. Similar to the notion of love perhaps but with a seemingly actual connection beyond emotion…

    I generally abhore most religion as superstition and hooey as well, but the reality of a greater-extramundane or spiritual realm – that we each can be a part of seems to hold up in my experiences…

    there are other rational folks with like ideas – even Albert Einstien was not an athiest…

    Posted October 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Well, Einstein was, if not an atheist, certainly a deeply skeptical agnostic. Two quotes of his seem relevant here.

    First, regarding his religious beliefs:

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    And regarding ethics:

    I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.

    Posted October 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

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