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What’s the Biggest Misconception About Atheists?

ask-an-atheist-still[1]“What’s the biggest misconception people have about atheists?” I’m asked this often, and I never quite know how to respond. I usually end up answering this question with a question. “Am I limited to just one?” Or, “Where do I begin?” I struggle because the stereotypes about atheists—most often negative—are numerous and widespread. These misconceptions are sustained by a lack of communication; atheists in the U.S. are small in number, and it seems likely that many people do not know any atheists (or know that they do). But when people meet atheists, they have an opportunity to revise their ideas about who we are and what we believe. [Read more]

Reading the Bible Can Make You an Atheist

funny-book-bible-gen[1]A basic part of being a Christian is believing what is in the bible. This ranges from the fundamentalist Christians who believe that the bible is literally true to the moderate Christians who believe that some is metaphor and allegory. Even though different Christian groups have different thoughts on the bible, the basic notion that their belief in god is based on what the bible says is the common thread among Christians. But how often do Christians actually read the bible for themselves? [Read more]

Why a Non-Believer Cares About Talking About Religion

I’m a very passionate atheist, I love to have discussions about religion with anyone I can and I try to study different aspects of religion. I have friends that are like minded, but they don’t understand why I care about talking about atheism and religion. [Read more]

“I’ll Pray For You”: Seven Reasons It Makes Atheists Angry

8858951_f260[1]“I’ll pray for you,” when spoken by a Christian to an atheist, often makes the atheist angry. Christians usually incite this anger when they use the phrase to indicate that they are going to use God to influence the behavior or thinking of atheists against these atheists’ will. Several Christians, as well as some more peacefully-minded non-Christians, claim this anger is unjustifiable if the atheist states he or she does not believe in God. Christians may build on this claim by stating – or, at least, privately thinking —that this anger is a sign that, deep down, the atheist really DOES believe in God. But does this claim make sense? [Read more]

RD Extra: Does Religion Make Us Better People? (Galen’s Bulldog Edition)

Does religion make us happier, healthier and more helpful? A number of popular psychology books and articles argue that religion is a positive force for enhancing the health and well-being of both individuals and whole communities. [Download Episode]

My Return to the Creation Museum

creationist_rect-620x412[1]Shadow Mountain Community Church is a massive ministry nestled in the rugged hills of suburban San Diego, and it is not an evil place. It is built on good, earnest hard work, by people who’ve spent their entire lives trying to be polite. I grew up in its clutches. I made friends with its members, volunteered with youth pastors, took roles in religious stage productions, and worshiped a god I believed in. In fact, I still did all that stuff even when I was pretending to worship a god I no longer believed in. It’s hard staying ecclesiastic when you have access to an unfiltered Internet. [Read more]

Does Christianity Need Suffering?

In my reading about the “Spirituality in Healthcare” debates, I have started reading books from proponents. I’ve already read a number of articles on both sides of the issue, including more than a handful of articles published in peer reviewed journals covering claims of evidence, and also expert opinion pieces. But now it’s time to dig into the motives, ideas and points that are being made in the more in-depth way that books supply. [Read more]

Illiterate Islam

mullah-omar-reuters-171922-174261-640x480[1]Three of the last four popes have been university professors, including the current one who was professor of philosophical and theological studies at the University of San Miguel in Argentina before rising in the hierarchy. Some popes, like Benedict XVI, Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul II are known primarily as intellectuals with dazzling linguistic skills. Charisma—as Benedict and Paul VI proved–is not mandatory. Occasionally, one is elected—like Pope John XXIII—who rises in the ranks primarily as a “pastor” or administrator. [Read more]

The Worst Atheist-Bashing Article of the Year

screen-shot-2014-04-06-at-6-59-55-am[1]For some reason, Salon is on a crusade to bash the hell out of atheists, living and dead. Their editors might want to question what the deuce is going on (unless it’s a deliberate editorial decision), for the proliferation of anti-atheist pieces is eroding the site’s credibility. It makes Salon look like an apologist for religion. And the latest atheist-bashing piece is particularly bad, because it’s not only written very poorly, but its argument is so incoherent that I can barely even summarize it. [Read more]

Christianity as a Failed Religion

fail[1]People notice and wonder why Christians of the literal Bible-believing kind are so angry. Doesn’t their faith provide any peace and love or uh, “Christian” spirit toward others? Yet they are known for being judgmental. And if an evangelizing Christian doesn’t get a receptive response, there is always a threat about where one will spend eternity, often delivered with a touch of “you’ll get yours” vengefulness. But there are serious problems for a person with Christianity as a framework for living in the modern world. The anger is because it is a failed religion. [Read more]

Religion? To Hell With It

catholicchurch1[1]I sat in the front row of the little semi-rural Catholic Church in the not-quite foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. There’s a lot of Jesus out here, but Catholic Jesus is a bit rarer, and much rarer still were people like me, a wolf among sheep as most Christians would put it. I was 32 years old and listening to my father give a homily for the first time as an ordained Catholic deacon. He talked about sitting comfortably in the pew over two decades before as the deacon at my childhood parish gave a sermon about being called to serve God more and urging the laymen to consider what God wants for them. [Read more]

Thought Police Lineup

The other day the head muckety-mucks of Saudi Arabia, a clique of oil-rich Bedouin barbarians (think bloodthirsty Beverly Hillbillies) have decided it’s not enough to stone women who do not obediently hide their charms (and everything else) inside black garbage bags. [Read more]

The Trouble with Introspection

Brain-4_0[1]The folk history of psychology has it that the early efforts of folk such as Wundt and Titchener failed because they relied on introspection. Simply looking into your own mind and reporting what you thought you saw there was hopelessly unscientific, and once a disagreement arose about what thoughts were like, there was nothing the two sides could do but shout at each other. That is why the behaviourists, in an excessive but understandable reaction, gave up talking about the contents of the mind altogether, and even denied that they existed. [Read more]

What is Codex Sinaiticus?
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Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors. The significance of Codex Sinaiticus for the reconstruction of the Christian Bible’s original text, the history of the Bible and the history of Western book-making is immense. [Website]

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