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Missing Fred Phelps? — Five Top Contenders for Christian Hater of the Year

god-hates[1]For decades Fred Phelps held an unparalleled position in the spectrum of American Christianity. Arch conservative and biblical literalist, he was a hater among haters, a bigot among bigots. Any public disaster afforded an opportunity to revel in God’s wrath. Even in the presence of anguish—whether the anguish of a family whose gay son had been murdered in Wyoming or the anguish of a family whose straight son had been killed in Afghanistan—Phelps stood resolute in his role as the Prophet Jonah, preaching divine judgment on a degenerate people. Phelps was horrid—contentious and cruel; and as someone who spends a great deal of my life energy trying to call attention to the corrupting cruelties of biblical Christianity and the Bible itself, with its barbaric Iron Age texts, I considered him an ally. [Read more]

How Religion Obscures Seeing People as They Are

greg-brown[1]On Saturday, Polly I and  will drive to SE Ohio to pay our respects to a man who was once a vital part of the church I pastored in Somerset. The family has asked me to conduct the funeral and I am delighted that they asked me to do so. (they asked for a non-religious service) It has been 20 years since I have seen this family face to face. In recent years, I have reconnected with some of the children via Facebook. It will be good to see them, the children now in their 30′s with children of their own. As I ponder what to say on Saturday, I can’t help but think about the 11 years I spent as their pastor. They knew me when I was a fire-breathing Baptist fundamentalist preacher and school administrator. They also knew me when I was a fundamentalist Calvinistic Baptist. They remember my preaching, the rules, the standards.  They remember my commitment to the God and the Bible. I also hope they remember my goodness and kindness. [Read more]

China’s War on Christians: Biblical Statues Destroyed As Part of Widening Crackdown in Country’s ‘Jerusalem’

article-2617985-1D6F298300000578-775_634x395[1]Christian monuments have been destroyed by the Chinese government in a move that will fuel fears of a state sponsored crackdown on the religion. On Saturday, fifty officials blocked entry to Longgang Hill, in the city of Wenzhou – know as China’s Jerusalem – a site of pilgrimage for the country’s Christians. They used cranes to rip up statues and built walls around three others – depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint Jospeh – which weigh up to five tonnes each. There were no clashes with worshipers, as government workmen kept a promise not to damage the three bricked-off statues. [Read more]

Americans Unite With ‘One Voice’ on ‘Day of Prayer’ While Secularists and Atheists Continue Push for ‘Reason’

catholics-pray-during-a-mass-at-saint-patricks-cathedral-in-new-york-feb-11-2013[1]The National Day of Prayer Task Force, the organizer of the annual nationwide event, states that although its efforts are “executed specifically in accordance with its Judeo-Christian beliefs,” the “government-proclaimed day is offered to all Americans, regardless of religion, to celebrate their faith through prayer.” While an increasing number of participants in National Day of Prayer events have been Americans of various faiths, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and others, one group that definitely will not be joining the May 1 festivities is the American Humanist Association, which continues to successfully push for more states to recognize its “National Day of Reason.” [Read more]

Islamic Extremists Now Crucifying People in Syria—and Tweeting Out the Pictures

1398851357757.cached[1]Public crucifixions are mostly ceremonial these days, staged rituals that some Christian communities enact as part of their Easter observance. But the real thing may be returning to Syria. Two men were reportedly crucified in Raqqa on Tuesday, their bloody corpses displayed in the center of a town controlled by the most severe of Syria’s Islamist factions. Among the forms of slaughter that have become commonplace in Syria’s civil war, crucifixion may be no more brutal than barrel bombs or sarin gas attacks. But the revival of an ancient form of torture is one sign of what life is like under the rule of one of Syria’s powerful Islamist factions. [Read more]

Brunei Adopts Sharia Law, Others in Southeast Asia Consider It

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The sultanate of Brunei this week becomes the first East Asian country to introduce Islamic criminal law, the latest example of a deepening religious conservatism that has also taken root in parts of neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei, a tiny former British protectorate of about 400,000 nestled between two Malaysian states on Borneo island, relies on oil and gas exports for its prosperity, with annual per capita income of nearly $50,000 (29,715 pounds). It is the first country in east Asia to adopt the criminal component of sharia at a national level. [Read more]

Young Atheist’s Handbooks Sent to Secondary Schools

Secondary schoolAfter Michael Gove gave copies of the King James Bible to every school in England, the British Humanist Association is this week sending out copies of The Young Atheist’s Handbook to secondary schools in England and Wales. Subtitled Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God, the book is by science teacher Alom Shaha and tells of his upbringing in a Bangladeshi Muslim community in south-east London, “how he overcame his inner conflict surrounding his atheism, and the lessons he learnt in leading a good life, full of awe and wonder, based on humanist principles”, said the Association. [Read more]

200 Girls Still Missing, Victims of Nigeria’s Religious War

protestnigeria_302[1]In a nightmarish act of violence, Islamist insurgents, members of Boko Haram, forcibly kidnapped 240 girls in the middle of the night on April 14th, burning their school. While a few girls escaped, 200 or so are still missing. The name “Boko Haram” translates to “western education is a sin,” and the kidnapping of these young girls is a way to put the fine point on what the group detests: education. The kidnapping is also a way to let their enemies know what they want: an Islamic state in Nigeria. [Read more]

Churches Fail to Stop Kenyan President Signing Polygamy Bill Into Law

kenyan-president-uhuru-kenyatta[1]Shrugging off criticism from Christian groups and female lawmakers, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed a bill that legalizes polygamy and can allow men to marry as many wives as they want. The Marriage Act 2014 matches civil law with customary law whereby some Kenyan cultures allow a man to have more than one wife. An amendment included in the law that requires no consultation of prior wives before a man takes additional wives stirred controversy. [Read more]

A Good Metaphor For Evaluating Faith Claims

800px-The_Creation_of_Adam[1]The problem with New Atheism is that, before the God-argument, there is an epistemological argument. How can we know things, how can we investigate claims? Of course, the Ur-New Atheist framework is the framework of experimental science. Never mind that this framework, great though it is, is only suitable for a specific and narrow set of claims, and that it’s literally impossible to be a human being and only have experimental science as an epistemological framework (experimental science can’t tell you that you exist, nor anything else; and in fact, it is based on a non-scientific theory of knowledge which must be taken, literally, on faith). [Read more]

Your Church is Too Gay

gaychurch_302[1]“Your church is too gay.” That’s the reason one man gave me recently for leaving our church—a non-denominational, progressive congregation in Columbia, South Carolina. As a pastor, I’ve heard every excuse under the sun when people choose to withdraw from our small community. They don’t like the music, they don’t like the location, they don’t like the scheduled meeting time, they don’t like the theology, or they simply prefer the Church of the New York Times, or nature on a Sunday morning. Honestly, when people want to check out of a church, any old excuse will do. [Read more]

Dan Caplis Says Racists Must Be Atheists

racism[1]Between Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, and Dan Caplis it’s been a banner week showing Chief Justice Roberts to be an unmitigated idiot when he says racism no longer exists in America. As if it weren’t obvious everywhere. After all they aren’t hanging blacks in Texas anymore though there seems to be some love of heating them to death in prison. But that’s not a color thing, just a poverty thing. And what is the racial profile of poverty and those in prison? [Read more]

Church Leaders, Academics Reveal Divide Among Black Christians on Homosexuality

the-revs-floyd-and-elaine-flake-dr-obery-hendricks-and-bishop-harry-jackson-jr[1]A recent panel featuring prominent church and academic leaders from various states not only led to a vibrant discussion on social justice and political issues, but also affirmed a rift in attitudes among African Americans on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Working from the theme of “reframing the church and state debate,” the panel took on matters related to civil rights, same-sex marriage and women’s rights. The dominant theme, however, became the issue of same-sex marriage and the Bible’s apparent “ambiguity” on homosexuality being a sin, as Dr. Obery Hendricks, professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary, put it. [Read more]

The Wife of Jesus Tale

WELL.v19-32.May5_.Allen_.KarenLKing2012[1]After an 18-month trial separation, “Jesus’ wife” is back with her man. Only this time with a postnup, a distinctly limited right to the marital property she has previously claimed, and a continuing unresolved debate over whether that big diamond on her ring finger is real or fake. On the evening of September 18, 2012, Karen L. King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School and a longtime publicizer of Gnosticism and other “alternative Christianities” of the ancient world, surprised her fellow academics attending a Coptic conference in Rome with the unveiling of a papyrus document that she said dated to the fourth century a.d. The papyrus, actually a tiny 1.5-by-3-inch scrap apparently torn or cut from a larger sheet, appeared to state—for the first time in recorded history—that Jesus of Nazareth was married. [Read more]

The Venerable Shakespeare was a Secular Humanist

shakespeare_math[1]Though Shakespeare doesn’t address religion specifically, the wars between Protestants and Catholics, would have ensured that he was at least familiar with protestant rites and rituals since it was the national religion by law. While it must be inferred what Shakespeare thought, the complete lack of anything in the way of praise to religion should be proof enough that he certainly didn’t consider ituseful or praiseworthy. You will find if you say this to religious people who love Shakespeare they will gasp and stutter and then insist no one knows for sure. A new book “The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe” by Dan Falk places Shakespeare on the stage of the Humanist Renaissance in Elizabethan England. [Read more]

Love and Compassion – The True Drivers of the Human Experience

lord-buddha-18a[1]From Prime Creator were birthed polarities from a field of compassion: Yin and Yang; Light and Dark. We were born into this maya—this separation or illusion. The whole universe seems so real and finite to us, yet now many scientists believe we are part of multiple universes, a multiverse. The illusion runs even deeper into other dimensions, particles demonstrating intelligence, and holographic connectivity. Not just inside the universe—within our own bodies, we’re dancing with electricity. [Read more]

Town Upset After Atheists Force School District to Paint Over Bible Verse on Gym Wall

painter-painting-on-wall-on-shutterstock[1]West Virginia school officials have painted over a Bible verse on a gymnasium wall after receiving complaints from an atheist activist group. The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to officials with the Wood County School District last month claiming that the Scripture on the wall of Parkersburg South High School violated the separation of church and state. Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” — had been on a wall outside the gymnasium, as well as the wrestling team’s motto, for more than a decade. [Read more]

Is This a Trend Now? Another Christian Movie Pits Christian Student Against Atheist Professor

Following on the heels of the unfortunately successful God Is Dead, there’s another movie coming out this fall pitting another godless professor up against a faithful Christian student and her father. This one’s called A Matter of Faith and the trailer features the scare-line: “The guy’s an evolutionist!”

[Read more]

Glenn Beck Preaches Mormon Theology at Liberty University 

Glenn Beck believes Joseph Smith was a prophet. Glenn Beck believes he is wedded to his wife for eternity. Glenn Beck wears special garments under his clothes to remind him of promises he has made to God. But none of this is startling because, well, Glenn Beck is Mormon.

[Read more]

Atheist Candidate for Congress Takes on Christian Right Darling

Polls show that atheists remain the most distrusted and despised minority in America. A University of Minnesota study found that 40 percent of Americans believe atheists “do not agree with my vision of American society.” [Read more]

China Blames Religious Extremists for Station Bombing

An attack at a train station in China’s western city of Urumqi was carried out by two religious extremists, who both died in the blast, the government said on Thursday. [Read more]

James Inhofe Opines On How Obama ‘Suppresses Our Judeo-Christian Values’

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) all but accused President Barack Obama Wednesday of promoting Islam while “suppressing our Judeo-Christian values.” The senior senator from Oklahoma held forth on the Senate floor on the greatness of George Washington, marking the 225th anniversary of the first president’s inaugural address. [Read more]

Why Do The Religious Insist Atheists Lie?

The printing press has long been credited for the colonialism of the bible due to access. The internet is being credited for the expansion of atheism for the same reason. [Read more]

Pat Robertson: Don’t Try to Prove God Exists to Atheist ‘Swine’ on Facebook and Twitter

TV preacher Pat Robertson on Thursday advised his viewers not to engage atheists — who he said were like “swine” — on social media about the existence of God. During the viewer questions segment of Thursday’s 700 Club broadcast, one email asked about how to handle atheists who wanted to “argue” whether God was real. [Read more]

Dorm Report: Did Swinney Push the (Religious) Envelope?

Dabo Swinney was under the microscope a few weeks ago when a story came to light that the Clemson football coach was reportedly pushing his religious faith on both players and other staff members at the South Carolina state school. [Read more]

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