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How Christian Purity Culture Enabled My Step Dad to Sexually Abuse Me

My step-father began having problems getting erections when I was a senior in high school. How did I find out about this? He told me that he was using me to get an erection so that he could have sex with my mother. [Read more]

An Atheist in Kuwait: Interview with Ben Baz Aziz

kuwait-300x225[1]Is freedom of and from religion possible in Kuwait? According to the U.S. State Department, laws in Kuwait severely restrict religious freedom, largely due to Islam’s status as the state religion and Sharia law as the main source of legislation. Though Kuwait’s Council of Ministers has rejected amendments by the country’s parliament to make blasphemy a capital crime, any person accused of defaming and denigrating religion is sent to prison. [Read more]

W. Va. School Removes Bible Verse after Complaint

BibleReadingKid_LG[1]A West Virginian school removed a Bible verse from its premises after complaints from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation. The Parkerburg South High School wrestling team used Philippians 4:13 as their motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [Read more]

School Paints over Bible Verse in Gymnasium After Atheist Complaints

parkersburg-south-high-school[1]Parkersburg South High School will paint over a Bible verse in their gymnasium on April 24 after an atheist group complained to school officials. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter two weeks ago to Wood County School District officials stating that the display of Philippians 4:13 on the high school’s gymnasium wall, the wrestling team’s website, and the wrestler’s t-shirts is unconstitutional. [Read more]

Wisconsin Group Challenges West Virginia Wrestling Team’s Motto

A West Virginia high school wrestling team’s motto is being challenged by a Wisconsin group. It’s not a mascot problem, it’s a scripture problem. A bible verse painted on the gym doors at Parkersburg South brought a new complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) of Madison, WI.
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AHA Wins Lawsuit Against Lake Elsinore Cross Monument

elsinore-300x228[1]The City of Lake Elsinore, California, has declined to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that a public monument depicting crosses violates the Establishment Clause of the U. S. Constitution and the Establishment Clause and No Preference Clause of the California constitution. The lawsuit was filed by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center in May 2013 on behalf of local residents who objected to the government-endorsed religious message of the planned monument. Meant to honor war veterans, the memorial’s design prominently features the image of a soldier kneeling before a Christian cross. [Read more]

3 Reasons We’re Afraid to Talk About Hell

Hell[1]Have you seen that new movie “Hell Is for Real?” Of course, you haven’t. Because it doesn’t exist. It’s heavenly counterpart, however, earned $21.5 million in ticket sales in its opening weekend. Sixty-four percent of Americans believe in the survival of the soul after death, and a majority believes in both heaven and hell, according to a Harris Poll released in December 2013. But while most are comfortable discussing the afterlife and heaven, talk of hell can scatter the masses. So why are Americans afraid to talk about hell? [Read more]

Christian Legal Centre Brings a Familiar Tactic to Bear on Religious Discrimination Case

350x[1]The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) is launching yet another attempt to gain privileges for Christians in the workplace – and calling on David Cameron to put his supposed “evangelical Christianity” into action over the case. The latest case revolves round a Christian woman, Sarah Mbuyi, who worked at Newpark Childcare in Highbury, North London. She is claiming that she suffered religious discrimination after being dismissed from her job. [Read more]

Are Atheists Unpatriotic? AHA Legal Center Launches Another State Lawsuit Against “Under God” in Pledge

pledge-300x203[1]Are atheists unpatriotic? Most non-theists would say no and assert that loyalty to their country has nothing to do with belief, or nonbelief, in a deity. But by conducting a daily classroom exercise in which children recite the Pledge of Allegiance and include the phrase “under God,” schools in New Jersey and around the country are calling into question the patriotism of a local atheist family. Today, the American Humanist Association (AHA) took action against this discrimination of atheists and humanists and filed a lawsuit against a school district in New Jersey. [Read more]

Meet the Women Behind the Miracles Credited to John Paul II and John XXIII

RNS-VATICAN-SAINTS bFloribeth Mora Diaz fought back tears on Thursday (April 24) as she claimed that the late Pope John Paul II had saved her from an inoperable brain aneurysm three years ago. Mora will be on hand at Sunday’s historic ceremony in St. Peter’s Square as Pope Francis canonizes both John Paul and Pope John XXIII, the Italian pontiff known as “Good Pope John.” The Costa Rican mother of four faced the world’s media to explain how her inexplicable recovery was a miracle that had led to the popular Polish pope being declared a saint. Two miracles have been attributed to John Paul’s intercession with God, paving the way for his sainthood. [Read more]

Ontario Law Society Votes ‘No’ to Accrediting Trinity Western University

LangleyThe Law Society of Upper Canada has voted against accrediting a private Christian university in B.C. that forbids intimacy outside heterosexual marriage. With a “no” vote of 28 to 21, with one abstention, the vote means graduates of Trinity Western University’s future law school will not be eligible for admission to the Ontario bar. “Benchers took this issue very seriously, and did not find it easy to reach a decision,” said a statement from the Society’s treasurer. [Read more]

Sunday’s Double Canonization Of Two Popes: The Five Facts You Should Know

VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-CANONISATIONIn a historic match-up of papacies past and present, Pope Francis and emeritus Pope Benedict XVI will honor Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in the first ever canonization of two popes. For such a momentous occasion, the ceremony is actually quite short and surprisingly straightforward, with the added benefit that the relics of the two new saints will be presented for universal veneration by the church for the first time. [Read more]

How to Be a Part of God’s Mind

religion-a1[1]I’m at the biennial Tuscon conference Toward a Science of Consciousness, so wild speculation about consciousness is the order of the day! In the first plenary session, psychologist Don Hoffman argued that the world contains no physical objects, only minds in interaction with each other, each of which is massively deluded about its environment. After that, my paper in the next session arguing that “if materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious” seemed relatively tame. So in the spirit of the day, let me uncork another one of wild possibilities I’ve recently been considering: idealist pantheism, the view that the world consists only of one thing, God’s mind. [Read more]

Christian Student Gets Rejected from Therapy Program…
So, Of Course, He’s Suing for Religious Discrimination

Todd Starnes must be running out of Christian martyr stories because he’s grasping at straws in his latest tale. Last April, Brandon Jenkins applied to get into a Radiation Therapy program at the Community College of Baltimore County. The program was competitive, so he had to do an in-person interview. Unfortunately, even after that, they didn’t accept him. [Read more]

Religious Display Vandalized in Daley Plaza

Members of the Thomas More Society say a public prayer vigil set up in Daley Plaza was vandalized Wednesday morning. The display is part of the Divine Mercy Project vigil that was scheduled to run from last Friday to this Sunday. [Read more]

Norco Café Owner Believes Jesus’ Face Appeared In Pancake

The owner of a café in Norco believes the face of Jesus Christ appeared in a pancake. Karen Hendrickson, the owner of Cowgirl Café, said a server initially noticed the biblical figure show up in the breakfast favorite on Good Friday. “He’s got a mustache and a beard, and it looks like he’s got a receding hairline here,” she said.
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Darren Aronofsky: I’m Not Religious, But the Environmental Messages in ‘Noah’ Are

Director Darren Aronofsky says he is not religious, and that his Russell Crowe blockbuster movie “Noah” is the “least-biblical biblical film ever made.” But the strong environmental message of his film — which makes Noah a hero as a God-inspired steward of the earth — firmly roots itself in Scripture, Aronofsky told an audience of religious environmentalists on Wednesday (April 23).

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Goals of Liberation Atheology: What Should Liberation Atheology Strive For?

It’s difficult to describe a single set of goals for liberation atheology because atheists are so individualistic in their own goals. For some the goals will be relatively moderate while others will seek to push them to what appears to be their logical conclusion. [Read more]

Faith Killing

Travis and Wenona Rossiter, an Albany couple are members of the Church of the First Born, a fundamentalist sect that believes traditional medical treatment is sinful, and instead trust in God to heal them through faith. Sybie Rossiter, 12, was deprived of life-saving medical care, and her parents instead resorted to faith-healing rites. Sybie Rossiter died. [Read more]

NSS Welcomes Lib Dem Leader’s Calls for Separation of Church and State

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has called for the “eventual” disestablishment of the Church of England. Speaking on his weekly phone-in on LBC radio he said, in response to a caller. [Read more]

A Conference on Hype in Science

Last December, Ford Doolittle, a biochemist at Dalhousie University who has actually done a lot, organized a symposium called “Hype in science“, which I announced on at the time though it hadn’t yet taken place. Now Florian Maderspacher, the senior reviews editor for Current Biology,  has written a three-page summary of the conference for the journal, “Hype in Halifax,” which appears to be available without charge. [Read more]

David Bentley Hart Responds (Poorly and Arrogantly) to Adam Gopnik on God

Somehow, in my evening perusal of the Internet, I came across a piece in The American Conservative by Rod Dreher, religionist, former Templeton flack (he ran the “Big Questions” site for a while), and author of some of the most mean-spirited pieces I’ve seen. [Read more]