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Intellectual Life – Why Atheists Should Be Intellectuals

If a person has a reputation of being an “intellectual” that can be a mixed bag. Among some that would be regarded as a compliment but among many others it would be treated as more of an insult. There is, in fact, widespread anti-intellectualism in some circles which seems incomprehensible to those who would treat the “intellectual” label as something positive. [Read more]

What My Christian School Taught Me About Atheism

M5NHgFy[1]ACE schools don’t have teachers, they have “supervisors” and “monitors.” Most of the week, the children work in isolated cubicles called “offices,” completing worksheets (“PACEs”) that incorporate Bible lessons into every academic subject. If they need help, they raise one of two flags. The Christian flag will bring a supervisor who (in theory) helps with academic questions, while the national flag summons a monitor, who gives permission to do stuff like go to the bathroom or score their work (students mark their own work from answer keys). Since ACE students can’t do anything without permission, monitors are busy. [Read more]

YouTube Given 24 Hours to Remove ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film

innocence-of-muslims.si[1]Google must remove from YouTube a polarizing anti-Muslim film that incited international demonstrations, as leaving it online would infringe on the rights of an actress who was coerced into starring in the movie, a split federal court ruled Wednesday. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia argued that she had not signed a release regarding her appearance in “Innocence of Muslims.” Garcia filed suit, claiming that she therefore owned a copyright in her performance and that when she sent a takedown notice to YouTube (which is owned by Google) the site was legally compelled to remove the video. [Read more]

Evolution and Creationism Debated in Indianola

A debate held in Indianola about Genesis 1-3 and the creation of the universe found a reverend from Florida at odds with a professor from Iowa State University about the existence of a perfect God. Hector Avalos, who holds a Ph.D. in Bible studies from Harvard, argued that the very existence of the universe supports atheism and not theism. [Read more]

Alabama House Approves Ten Commandments Bill

MONTGOMERY — The Ten Commandments could be displayed in Alabama public schools and state government buildings if mixed with historical and education documents, under a proposed constitutional amendment approved Thursday by the Alabama House of Representatives. Lawmakers voted 77-19 in favor of the measure, which now moves to the Alabama Senate. Voters must also approve the amendment for it to become law. [Read more]

Gay Patient says Catholic Chaplain Refused Him Last Rites

A Catholic chaplain at MedStar Washington Hospital Center stopped delivering a 63-year-old heart attack patient Communion prayers and last rites after the man said he was gay, the patient said Wednesday, describing a dramatic bedside scene starting with him citing Pope Francis and ending with him swearing at the cleric. [Read more]

Call for Vatican to Discipline Bishop Finn Sprung from Kansas Citian’s Effort

aqAYt.St.81[1]If you doubt the power of one person, listen to what happens when one soul is motivated by faith. The Vatican, maybe even Pope Francis himself, may at long last hear the concerns of many Catholics within the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese. Parishioners here have seen their diocese battered financially, their churches unfairly tarnished by the sins of pedophile priests. For too long, that hurt was intensified rather than lightened by the underwhelming response of church leadership. [Read more]

British Christian Leaders Attack Government’s Welfare Cuts

(Reuters) – Leading Christian clergy in Britain, including the head of the Church of England, attacked welfare cuts by the Conservative-led government on Thursday, putting them at odds with Prime Minister David Cameron. As Britain struggles to reduce its large budget deficit, the government has embarked on a radical shake-up of the welfare system that makes up 20 percent of public spending and has vowed to cut costs if returned to power in an election next year. [Read more]

Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High

The share of countries with a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion reached a six-year peak in 2012, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. A third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high religious hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Religious hostilities increased in every major region of the world except the Americas. The sharpest increase was in the Middle East and North Africa, which still is feeling the effects of the 2010-11 political uprisings known as the Arab Spring. There also was a significant increase in religious hostilities in the Asia-Pacific region, where China edged into the “high” category for the first time. [Read more]

Gods Are Too Similar to Believers: Gods Probably Created in the Image of Humans

One of the oldest objections to popular religious beliefs and popular forms of theism is something that should be obvious, but which is too often ignored: the gods people believe in look remarkably and disturbingly like the theists who are promoting their beliefs. Sometimes these similarities have been physical in nature, but more often they are matters of philosophy, temperament, and/or attitude. Generous people believe in a generous god, harsh people believe in a harsh god, tolerant people believe in a tolerant god, and so forth. [Read more]