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More Christians denounce Accelerated Christian Education

1-john-davies[1]As you’re no doubt bored of hearing, I was on BBC1′s The Big Questions last week, debating the question “Can children be damaged in fundamentalist religions?”. While Twitter was busy talking about my hair, something fairly historic took place. On British television, for the first time to my knowledge, two Christians (of very different sorts) publicly denounced Accelerated Christian Education. [Read more]

The Destructive Myth About Religion that Americans Disproportionately Believe

jesus_christ-620x412[1]This week, Pew Research Center published the results of a survey conducted among 40,080 people in 40 countries between 2011 and 2013. The survey asked a simple question: Is belief in God essential to morality? While clear majorities say it is necessary, the U.S. continues to be an outlier. In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, the majority says it is necessary to believe in God in order to be a moral person. [Read more]

Why Vermont is not Godless

140318160030-parini-vermont-religion-story-top[1]Once again a new Gallup Poll has reported that Vermont is the least religious state in the country, with only 22% of the people willing to call themselves “very religious.” On the other side of the poll, there is Mississippi, where a whopping 61% of citizens lay claim to that self-description. But what does it really mean to be “very religious” and not just spiritual? [Read more]

Losing Faith: 21 Percent Say Religion ‘Not That Important’

140313-catholics-jhc-954_4af6a0cacf60a0ec9ea8d299c78628ab.nbcnews-fp-1360-600[1]One in five Americans say religion does not play an important role in their lives, a new NBC/WSJ journal poll shows – the highest percentage since the poll began asking participants about their focus on faith in 1997. Twenty one percent of respondents said that religion is “not that important” to their lives, compared to 16 percent who said the same in 1999. [Read more]

Cathy seeks to put gay marriage flap behind Chick-fil-A

031614_chick_fila__02[1]As the same-sex marriage debate rages, one person says he won’t be weighing in on the subject anymore: Dan Cathy, CEO and president of Chick-fil-A. Almost two years after he made headlines by throwing his support behind traditional marriage and later decried a pair of Supreme Court decisions that favored same-sex unions, Cathy hasn’t changed his mind. But he said Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has no place in the culture wars and regrets making the company a symbol in the marriage debate. [Read more]

Lucien Greaves, Satanic Temple Spokesperson, Claims He Will Turn Fred Phelps Gay After Death

Westboro Baptist Church Case to be Heard by Supreme CourtWestboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Sr. has been making headlines this week with news surfacing that the anti-gay pastor is “on the edge of death.” VICE reached out to Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for the New York-based Satanic Temple, to get his take on the imminent death of Westboro’s notorious founder. [Read more]

Why Iranian Politics Is So Hard To Understand

2-how-iran-political-system-works-infographic-NDI-300x213[1]Analyzing Iranian politics is a hard thing to do. The analysts have tried again and again to predict things the right way, but they have failed. The Iranian people and the regime have manged to take everyone by surprise time and time again. Also, on the part of most western media and readers a complete lack of understanding and simplistic generalizations is seen – many times those simplistic generalizations are perpetrated by Iranians themselves who should know better. [Read more]

Florida Pastor Offers to Pay for Church Members’ Tattoos

tattoo19n-9-web[1]Their faith is not only deeply engrained — it’s permanently inked on their skin. Christians at a Florida church are going under the needle after their pastor promised to foot the bill. During a recent sermon about Christian unity, Lutheran pastor Zach Zehnder was talking about rules that tend to divide Christians — rules about drinking, smoking, and getting tattoos. He offhandedly told his assembled congregants at theCross Mount Dora he would pay for them to get tattoos of the church’s colorful cross logo. [Read more]

Salvation Army in New York Settles Long-Running Religious Discrimination Suit

salvation-army[1]The Salvation Army has settled a lawsuit brought a decade ago by now-former employees who accused the U.S. charity of pressuring them to follow its religious mission while they worked on government-funded social service projects. The organization’s greater New York division agreed to provide employees of its government-funded services including daycare centers and homeless shelters a document saying it will not ask about their religious beliefs or require them to profess adherence to its religious policies, said the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs. [Read more]

Carl Sagan Took My Faith — and Gave Me Awe

large_Sagan_Viking[1]I was not always an atheist. I was once a devout and sincere believer in the Christian faith. I am the son and grandson of pastors and missionaries. My family founded one of the country’s largest Bible colleges, Christ for the Nations, from which I earned a theology degree. For years, I contemplated, and began strategizing, a run for national political office under the banner of Christian reform. I did not begin to question, nor finally abandon, my faith…until I discovered science. [Read more]

Global Warming: Democrats and Republicans Agree

elephant-donkey-300x165[1]Contrary to the polarized positions that politicians and commentators often take in the media, Americans do not disagree about global warming or what to do about it. The vast majority of citizens in every U.S. state believe global warming has been happening and that human actions are part of the cause—including residents of states that vote strongly Republican. [Read more]

Conscience Creep: How “Religious Freedom” Spiraled Out of Control

religous-freedom-sorry-mary[1]Secular Americans and many liberal people of faith have been horrified by the Right’s most recent ploy: “religious freedom” claims that would give conservative business owners license to discriminate. Until Arizona made the national spotlight, the need for lunch counter sit-ins had seemed like a thing of the past. But in reality, advocates for religious privileges have been circling toward this point for some time. [Read more]

What U.S. Learned From ‘Heathen School’ Wasn’t Part Of The Lesson Plan

9780679455103_custom-fc9206edbd1e9de3fb1e0637888062799d2c2d93-s2-c85[1]Picture this. You’re a young girl, living in a remote town in Connecticut in 1825. You’ve taken refuge in a neighbor’s house and, as night falls, you peek out a window to see your friends and family members assembling outdoors around two crude paintings: One is of a young white woman (you); the other painting is of a man, a Native American. As church bells begin to toll, some of the townspeople carry forward fake bodies meant to represent you and the man in the painting; someone else ignites a barrel of tar and the effigies begin burning — an image of looming eternal damnation. [Read more]

Why Doesn’t God Kill Bill Maher?

If god was willing to wipe out almost every thing on the Earth (except fish) in one great flood because he was ticked off with human beings, why is he letting Maher walk around unscathed? If anyone deserved a righteous smiting, surely Maher does? [Read more]

Series Review – The Bible

This week, I watched the TV series The Bible which was aired in the UK some months ago. To be honest, I am not at all sure what I was supposed to get from it because my overwhelming feeling, having gone through all 8-ish hours in 5 nights is, to shrug my shoulders and say “meh”. [Read more]

Do We Know What Life Is?

Neil degrasse Tyson and the Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey team dropped the ball in the episode on life and evolution that just aired. It’s not that Tyson and his team said anything wrong. So what was missing? [Read more]