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Ellen Page’s Response To A Stranger Who Wanted To ‘Save’ Her ‘Struggling’ Soul Is Pretty Funny


Whether you’re gay or straight or somewhere else on the spectrum, it’s up to you how you want to practice religion. Some people embrace it, some people reject it. It’s complicated! [Read more]

I Watched God’s Not Dead So You Don’t Have To

Photo_GodIsNotDead2-300x168[1]This past weekend I subjected myself to the grueling, one-hour-and-fifty-three-minute experience of the new Christian film God’s Not Dead, in theaters now. As I purchased my ticket, I hesitantly asked the box office attendant if many people had come to see the film. I regretted the question the moment I heard her say yes. The anticipation was heightened by the thirty minutes of advertisements and movie previews displayed before me in the dark theater I shared with only fifteen other people. As the lights dimmed and the opening scene unfolded onscreen, I could already feel myself getting irritated. [Read more]

Atheism vs. Freethought

Are Atheists all Freethinkers? What is Freethought? [Read more]

Don’t Mess With Graven Image

10Cs[1]A Ten Commandments display in Sandpoint’s Farmin Park is creating a stir — but not in Sandpoint. A letter sent in November all the way from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., recommended the city remove the 42-year-old monument from public land, and the Sandpoint City Council last week started gathering public opinion over what to do. The overwhelming response — keep it. Whether the opinions are religious based, or parkgoers just fancy seeing it there, it’s obvious Sandpoint intends to protect the monolith. Some dissenters, who are few, argue the monument should be moved to private property, saying the town is welcome to all viewpoints, and isn’t there supposed to be a separation of church and state? Some contend no one is forced to look at the thing, so let it be. Move on/Lindsey Treffry, Moscow-Pullman Daily News Editorial Board. [Read more]

Now 8 States Are Waging War FOR Christmas

nativity[1]Every December, Americans celebrate many different holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, the Winter Solstice and even Festivus because the days have personal and social meaning. Now at least eight states have passed or are advancing legislation to ensure public-school students and teachers are allowed to recognize and celebrate the holidays in the classroom. But not everyone is happy about the idea of recognizing religious holidays in public education. Left-leaning organizations like the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association and the ACLU don’t believe public schools should allow holiday celebrations. They argue that these activities support a particular religious view and proselytize students. [Read more]

Pope Francis Says Marriage Between Man And Woman As Icon Of God’s Love

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCEPope Francis stressed the importance of marriage between a man and a woman at his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday (April 2), saying the two were united in “one flesh” as “icons of God’s love.” “When a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God is reflected in them,” the pontiff told an estimated 45,000 pilgrims who gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “As ‘one flesh’, they become living icons of God’s love in our world, building up the Church in unity and fidelity,” he said. [Read more]

Your Sins Will Find You Out

Big news! I’ve just been announced as a speaker at this year’s QED conference in Manchester. I’ll be on a panel with Nate Phelps, son of Fred Phelps, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church leader, and Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association. More info on the panel here, and get your tickets here. [Read more]

Meet the Real Wall of Separation: Protecting Religious Freedom in Today’s World

border-G-620x362[1]I’ve seen many walls in my life; even a few famous ones. I’ve seen one that separates our southern border from Mexico; I’ve touched the ancient stones of the Walls of Thessaloniki. I’ve even got a small piece of the one Ronald Reagan demanded that Mr. Gorbachev tear down. Walls serve several purposes. Usually, they’re meant to keep what is outside, out. For our southern border, it’s the illicit activity so common in that region. For the Greek leader Kassandros, it was about protection against those who would invade his vital port city of Thessaloniki. For the Soviet Union, it was about keeping the West from influencing its Communist ways (and to keep its freedom from continuing to entice mass emigration). [Read more]

Controversial Mega-Minister Faces Mega-Mutiny Over Abuse

mark-driscoll[1]Calvinist super-star Mark Driscoll is the iconic figure at the heart of a church empire that spans five states and fifteen locations. Founder of the Mars Hill franchise, Driscoll boasts a flock of 14,000 members plus hundreds of thousands of listeners and readers via web and print media, including, until last month, 466,000 followers on Twitter alone. While fans and critics heatedly debate whether Mar’s Hill is a church or a cult, there can be little doubt that the brand relies heavily on a cult of personality. Every Sunday Driscoll appears on stage not only in person at his primary location but on life-sized screens at others. He opens at times with a rock band that one secular detractor confessed was “the best indie music I’ve heard all year” and that Driscoll himself has said will “melt your face off.” [Read more]

Catholics, Other Christians Support Immigration Reform, But Say Faith Plays Small Role

Several prominent U.S. Catholic bishops called attention to immigration reform today in Nogales, Ariz., along the border with Mexico. The bishops celebrated Mass and said they would “pray for and remember” the migrants who have died trying to cross the border. Their goal, they said, was to highlight “the human consequences of a broken immigration system and call upon the U.S. Congress” to fix it. Immigration reform also came up during last week’s meeting between President Obama and Pope Francis. [Read more]

Who Gets to Decide if Noah is Biblical?

noahfaceoff_302[1]As anticipated well before its release Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has seen Glenn BeckKen HamJerry Johnson, and others express outrage at the film’s departures from the Bible. In response, articles in SlateNational Catholic Register, and numerous blogs have turned to Genesis 6-9 to gauge the film’s fidelity to “the original.” Teasing his Daily Beast article, for instance, Yale’s Joel Baden tweeted: “The new  movie: just how biblical is it?” Meanwhile, James Tabor of UNC Charlotte, observes on HuffPo that “none of these Christian critics explain why this ancient story, written by Jews, and part of the Hebrew Bible, should fall under Christian purview or guardianship in terms of its interpretation,” and opines that “these two Jewish guys, Aronofsky and his former Harvard roommate and writing partner, Ari Handel… have ended up in my view producing a film that profoundly reflects biblical themes that have been lost in most common readings of the Noah story in Genesis 6-9.” [Read more]

Protester Gets 9 Months for Promoting Hatred Against Muslims

eric_brazau.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo[1]A notorious protester convicted of willfully promoting hatred against Muslims and criminally harassing a Muslim man and his family was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in jail. Eric Brazau handed out a flyer that “vilified Muslims and disparages their religion,” Ontario court Judge S. Ford Clements said in February, when he found Brazau guilty. The case was far from being on the borderline between “rough and tumble debate” and hate speech, as Brazau had argued, Clements said in a College Park courtroom. [Read more]

Why Christians Now Rule Hollywood

1396373733162.cached[1]When last weekend’s box office numbers were revealed one superstar came out on top. It wasn’t Denzel Washington, Robert Downey, Jr. or any of the other usual names from Hollywood’s A-list. In fact, this A-lister did not even appear in any film credits at all, but may have just become Hollywood’s hottest commodity. The new power player: God, or more specifically God and his many Christian followers. For the first time, two Christian themed films appeared in two of the top box office slots. [Read more]

Miss. Lawmakers Pass Religious-Practices Bill

1396409252000-AP-A01-MANNERS-JACKSON-1109883[1]A bill that opponents say would legalize discrimination in Mississippi was approved by the state Legislature on Tuesday and now awaits action by the governor. The measure, titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was approved 79-43 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate. It’s the third iteration of the bill, which started out similar to an Arizona proposal that was dubbed the “turn away the gays” bill because opponents said it would allow business owners to refuse service to gay couples or interracial couples on religious grounds. [Read more]

Traditional Values and Family Values in America

The phrases “traditional values” and “family values” play an important role in American political and cultural debates. They’re typically used by political conservatives and evangelical Christians to advance their agendas but they are also frequently used by others, perhaps because of how often they appear generally. [Read more]

Historians Claim Holy Grail Sits In Spanish Museum

slide_343733_3573028_free[1]Let’s hope they did not choose… poorly. Two historians claim they’ve identified the holy grail that Jesus drank from at the last supper, according to AFP. León University medieval history lecturer Margarita Torres and art historian José Manuel Ortega del Rio make the claim in their book “Kings of the Grail,” published last week. Crowds flocked to see the goblet of the Infanta Doña Urraca in the Basilica of San Isidoro in León, northern Spain once the historians’ claim came to light. The Australian explains the historians’ case. [Read more]

Renouncing One’s Faith

There’s a lot of (understandable) anger in the world around forced religious conversion. It’s a problem that’s been happening to different people from different religions around the world at different points in history. Sometimes it is caused by a religion that thinks it is the only possible Truth and must get everyone else to practice it no matter the cost. Sometimes it is caused by political powers trying to maintain control of the populace. [Read more]

Zoroaster & the Dawning of Monotheism

zoroaster[1]Zoroaster is often considered the first monotheist (Please note this is a fact challenged with some vigor at my Facebook page by some of a more scholarly turn than I), although as his dates are in fact far from certain some Jews might reasonably object. When the Jewish faith evolved from henotheist (the belief in many gods but yours is best) to monotheist (only one deity worthy of the name) is debated. But we know with certainty Judaism is monotheistic from the Babylonian Captivity in seventh century before the common era, when it appears to have taken its modern contours. At the same time it looks like the mainstream of scholarship is drifting in the direction of the tenth century before Jesus for Zoroaster, which makes him a competitor only with the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who is probably better described as a henotheist than a monotheist… [Read more]

Ted Cruz: Religious Liberties Under Attack

Possible Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz said Wednesday that religious Americans have a duty to take a stand against policies, such as President Barack Obama’s health care law, that could threaten their liberties. “As believers, we are called to action; not just sitting quietly and hiding our faith under a bushel but to stand and speak no matter what the consequence,” the Texas senator told students at Liberty University. [Read more]

The De-Conversion Worldview Crisis

freefall[1]I’m a pastor’s daughter. As such, I’ve been spoon-fed Bible stories since I could crawl. My first language was “Christianese.” Just as a kid blindly believes in Superman and Santa, I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was probably only four years old. The hardest part about this process of de-conversion is that my entire worldview has been constructed in such a way that my life is meaningless without God. I memorized that line in the Westminster Catechism: “What is the chief end of man? To Glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Whenever anything was stressful or scary, all I had to do was pray to calm down, because I knew that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” I’ve never lived a day without God in the picture, providing peace and purpose and all that jazz. [Read more]