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Some Thoughts on Christianity

thinkingaboutgod[1]Reasons against becoming a Christian:
1: Prayer doesn’t appear to work beyond what we would expect from statistical chance.
2: Millions live and die without ever hearing the gospel and they are perfectly happy.
3: The universe seems completely hostile to Human Life.
4: Free will and an all seeing and knowing god appears to be incompatible. [Read more]

CA Pastor and Parishioners Plead Guilty to Forcing 13-Year-Old Boy to Dig His Own Grave

kcal_remmers_140708a1-615x345[1]A California pastor and two members of his congregation admitted in court that they physically abused a 13-year-old boy and made him dig his own grave. According to affidavits published by The Los Angeles Times, 56-year-old Heart of Worship Community Church Pastor Lonny Lee Remmers, 24-year-old Nicholas James Craig and 30-year-old Darryll Duane Jeter Jr. said that they were following instructions to “scare” the victim. All three of the men had worked at a group home where the boy lived. [Read more]

ACE Survivor Becomes Cultural Anthropologist, Dismantles Curriculum

Cultural_evolution[1]I recently had this great comment from an ex-ACE student who has since done a PhD in cultural anthropology. Their insights on ACE are lengthy but well worth reading. Unlike many of my guest posters (and me), Kachoukyori picks out positive parts from the ACE experience. This is something I’ll probably return to later. In order to understand why people turn to ACE, you need to understand what problems it is trying to solve. [Read more]

Pope Francis Scapegoats Himself

scapegoat[1]So Pope Puppy, Francis the friendly pope that loves and pees on you, meets six victims of priest abuse and asks forgiveness. Right, six victims. Gee thanks pope. [Read more]

Not Just Theology: Catholic Seminarians Go to Summer School to Learn Management Skills

“How many of you have ever studied a parish budget?” the Rev. David Couturier asked the 11 Catholic priests-in-training seated before him. After a few beats, just one hand went up, tentatively. “That’s not unusual,” Couturier told them. “Just unfortunate.” [Read more]

How Does That HHS Mandate Ruling Affect American Religion?

HobbyLobbyCourt[1]So far, no-one has yet posted a question on the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing certain religious exemptions from the Obama Administration’s birth control mandate. [Read more]

Black Atheists of Philadelphia’s HIV Testing Day Outreach

When Kimberly Veal of the Black Freethinkers Radio Show informed the listening audience of a cooperative outreach plan for Black Skeptics Group and Greater Than AIDS to participate in promoting awareness and free on-site testing during National HIV Testing Day in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC I was interested in participating in this important event as a representative of the freethought community in Philadelphia. [Read more]

GOP Candidate Advocates Exorcism for Atheists

Gordon-Dr-Chaps-Klingenschmitt[1]Wanting everyone to be “free to enjoy the worship of Jesus Christ,” a Republican nominee for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives is advocating atheists face exorcism in order to feel more comfortable in church. [Read more]

Giving Christians Their Due – Which Even Christians Won’t Do

Last week I blogged about the embarrassment of American Christian nationalism on the recent refugee crisis (and immigration policy altogether), and why atheists ought to be able to do better, and be seen doing better. But I have to give props this week to the fact that not all American Christians are like that. [Read more]

When Beliefs and Facts Collide

06up-science-articleLarge[1]Do Americans understand the scientific consensus about issues like climate change and evolution? At least for a substantial portion of the public, it seems like the answer is no. [Read more]

Uber-Gospel: The Resurrection

It’s well known that the gospels accounts of the resurrection differ in some details. When I was a Christian, I remember teaching a high school Bible class once that was going through the life of Christ. [Read more]

Satan-Worshiping Black Mass in Oklahoma to Go Ahead Despite Outcry

memorial-hall-harvard-university[1]A black mass ceremony to mock God and worship the devil, is scheduled to take place at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall on September 21 by an occultist group called Dakma of Angra Mainyu. [Read more]

Where the Christian Right Is Strong

The religious right remains one of the most potent forces in American politics, but Northeasterners could be forgiven for forgetting. Evangelical Christians and Mormons, the two religious groups who most consistently espouse conservative political and cultural views, are basically absent in the Northeastern corridor. [Read more]

Dalai Lama Urges Buddhists: Stop Violence Against Muslims

tibetan-spiritual-leader-the-dalai-lama[1]Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has again urged nationalist Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to put an end to violence against Muslim minorities. [Read more]

Relying on Guns Counter to ‘In God We Trust’

“In God We Trust” is America’s motto. It first appeared in a different form in the Star Spangled Banner. “… And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” [Read more]

Discovery of Neanderthal Trait in Ancient Skull Raises New Questions About Human Evolution

ancient-ear[1]Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neanderthals. “The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils,” said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. [Read more]

Hobby Lobby: SCOTUS Reserves Right to Establish State Religion of Its Choice

hobbylobbyjustices[1]This past Monday, the five conservative male justices of the Supreme Court issued their ruling in perhaps the most highly anticipated decisions of the term: the Hobby Lobby case. [Read more]

The Most Religious and Most Conservative First-World Nation

Lisa Bloom explains lucidly in the Washington Post what is so radical about the Hobby Lobby ruling. As Bloom says – we are the most religious and most conservative first-world nation. [Read more]

Patty Duke Becomes Ordained to Marry Gay Couples

476782231-300x200[1]In a move illustrating the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, TV legend Patty Duke recently became an ordained minister online in the Universal Life Church. The actress, whom many will remember from her roles in The Patty Duke Show and Valley of the Dolls, recently revealed that she wants to use her ULC ordination to marry as many gay couples as she can. [Read more]

Israel Doesn’t Flinch at Brutalizing Americans Who Stand in the Way of Their War on Palestinians: 7 Gruesome Examples

tarek[1]The videotaped brutal beating of a Palestinian-American teenager has brought attention to Israel’s occupation policies in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. [Read more]

Iranian Women Take Off Their Hijab

Ordinary Iranian women created a Facebook page called stealthy freedom or secret freedom. Islamic Revolution started 35 years ago. Since then it has been illegal for a woman to leave the house without wearing a hijab or headscarf. The punishment is a fine or imprisonment. [Read more]

Small Texas Town Won’t Allow Atheists to Give Invocation, Only Believers

AtheistsBanned_featured[1]The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in May that people of religious faith could open city council meetings with prayer. CNN reported that the high court ruled that specific religious prayers, such as Christianity, could be spoken during invocations at city council meetings in Greece, N.Y. [Read more]

NY Times Blasted for Allowing Atheists’ Full-Page Anti-Catholic Ad in Response to Hobby Lobby Case

The New York Times is being criticized for having double standard by allowing a full-page ad by the Freedom from Religion Foundation against the Catholic Church in response to the Hobby Lobby decision, while the newspaper had rejected an “anti-Muslim” ad in 2012. [Read more]

The Largest Extinction in Earth’s History May Have Been Caused by Microbes

46BDE0E0-4E27-4954-AE5D61A7C1B69EBD_article[1]At the end of the Permian period, about 252 million years ago, animals started dying at ferocious rates. In just 20,000 years 90 percent of all species on the planet had gone extinct. What triggered this die-off? [Read more]

‘A Craft Store is Not a Church,’ Protesters Demonstrated at Hobby Lobby in Mobile

Just shy of 20 protesters showed up on Saturday morning at approximately 10 a.m. to voice their dismay for the Supreme Court’s decision to side with Hobby Lobby earlier this week. [Read more]

World Church Body to Hold September Interfaith Climate Change Summit in NY

interfaith-summit-on-climate-change[1]The World Council of Churches said Friday it will hold a September Interfaith Summit on Climate Change in New York City, along with Religions for Peace. [Read more]

Religious Privilege and Freedom Of Conscience

I grew up in the Bible Belt of the deep South in the 1950s. In addition to the Jim Crow racist regime white protestant Christianity dominated the whole society. The school day in public school began with a Bible reading and there were prayers at football games and band concerts. [Read more]

Preacher Sues Fair Over Free-Speech Skirmish

1404534898000-dmrdc5-6bflwxe5pqp154xb14lk-original[1]Jason Powell hopes to preach freely outside the Iowa State Fairgrounds in August without a repeat of 2013, when law enforcement officers detained and photographed him. [Read more]

Can Atheist Corp’s Exclude Religious Offenses?

Courts have used two measures in the past to deal with religious exclusions. Sincerity and tradition. Atheists would need to show proof of sincerity and a history of action to that end. [Read more]

A Debate on Whether or Not the World is Better with Christianity

KRXfKBD[1]During ReasonFest this past spring, Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation debated Park Hill Baptist Church Pastor Eugene Curry on the topic: “Is The World Better With Christianity?” [Read more]

Dinosaurs Found in Mass Grave Died of Drought

One body rests on its left side, head and neck pulled back toward the pelvis—a classic death pose. The arms and legs are still in their anatomically correct positions, but closer inspection reveals that bones of the hands and feet are dislocated, although most parts are present and accounted for. [Read more]

Pastor Rick Warren Wants Obama to Let Religious Groups with Federal Contracts Discriminate Against LGBT Americans

qMke8SV[1]Because it wasn’t enough for Hobby Lobby to deprive female employees of comprehensive contraception coverage, Rick Warren and more than a dozen other Protestant and Catholic leaders are now demanding that President Obama give religious companies with federal contracts the ability to discriminate against LGBT employees. [Read more]

Based on Biblical Principles

There’s a thing, or at least a website, called Christian Medical & Dental Associations. Who knows, maybe it is just a website, with no actual members at all. [Read more]

How I Changed My Mind on Communion for the Divorced and Remarried

800px-Glenbeigh_St._James_Church_Nave_Triple_Window_Omnis_Honor_et_Gloria_2012_09_09[1]One of the big-ticket issues on the table for the upcoming Synod for the Family is the idea of allowing communion for divorced-remarried couples. Eminent Catholic theologians, including most prominently Cardinal Walter Kasper, have argued in favor of this change. And so have I. [Read more]

Barbara Ehrenreich on Why We Die and the Purpose of Life

For someone who can write with such incisive lucidity and elegance as Barbara Ehrenreich, it must be hard not to find exactly the right way to express what feels inexpressible. [Read more]

Does a Christian White-Supremacist Business Have the “Religious Freedom” to Discriminate?

d2b87ebb95ebcaed2960c07e031c1ead3e6c9f2c_0[1]The slide towards American theocracy was nudged one more step forward by the Supreme Court decision in support of the “freedom” of corporations with “religious” beliefs to restrict the rights of their employees. In essence, religious “beliefs” trump the obligations, rights, and responsibilities that come with being members of the polity and a broader political community. [Read more]

Transient Says God Told Him To Beat A Homeless Man To Death

god[1]A transient who beat a homeless man to death alleges God asked him to do so. 35-year-old Marco Antonio Villanueva was booked on grounds of murder by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau in Bassett, California on June 23rd. Villanueva apparently confessed to the killing during an interview with investigators. [Read more]

Does “Free Will” Stem from Brain Noise?

Our ability to make choices — and sometimes mistakes — might arise from random fluctuations in the brain’s background electrical noise, according to a recent study from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis.

[Read more]

Which Country Does the Most Good for the World?

It’s an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet.

[Read more]

The Science of Mental Time Travel: Memory and How Our Ability to Imagine the Future Made Us Human

insearchoftime[1]“To be human,” writes Dan Falk in In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time (public library), “is to be aware of the passage of time; no concept lies closer to the core of our consciousness” — something evidenced by our millennia-old quest to map this invisible dimension. One of the most remarkable and evolutionarily essential elements of experiencing time through human consciousness is something psychologists and cognitive scientists call mental time travel — a potent bi-directional projection that combines episodic memory, which allows us to draw on our autobiographical experience and call up events, experiences, and emotions that occurred in the past, with the ability to imagine and anticipate future events. [Read more]