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10 Most Un-Christian Church Signs

screen_shot_2014-06-11_at_12.28.14_pm[1]Last month, we  rounded up up some of the most absurd right-wing Christian billboards that accost drivers with messages of fire and brimstone. But the billboards are dwarfed by the seemingly countless number of offensive plain old church signs. Apparently, creativity flows when there are fewer financial constraints. So, without further ado, here are 10 cringe-inducing signs deemed appropriate to place in front of houses of worship. 1. Offensive and illiterate. [Read more]

13 Ways Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos Sent Creationists into Total Freakout Mode

shutterstock_171967673-edited[1]One of the most anticipated shows of 2014 was Fox’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” hosted by notable astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth McFarlane and Ann Druyan, the widow of Carl Sagan, the host of the original “Cosmos” series. The new “Cosmos” had the largest worldwide debut of a mini-series, capturing an audience of over 8 million viewers in the U.S. Controversy surrounded the show immediately, thrusting Tyson into the spotlight of religious fundamentalists and science deniers on the extreme right. [Read more]

Narcissism and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church Movement

narcissistic-preachers[1]Most Americans are narcissistic to some degree or another. We tend to be a self-centered, me first culture. This should not surprise us because we had been told from birth:

  • We are special
  • We are unique
  • We are an exceptional people and culture
  • God favors us above all others and has a special plan for us and our country
  • We can be anything we want to be, even President [Read more]

State of the Bible Survey: Bible Skeptics on the Rise

boy-holding-a-bible[1]The American Bible Society recently found a rise in the percentage of Americans who view the Bible skeptically, according to its Annual State of the Bible report. Since 2011, the percentage of those who believe that the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice” has risen from 10 percent to 19 percent of those surveyed. The report, conducted by Barna Group, details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and other information about the best-selling book of all time. [Read more]

Man With Cerebral Palsy Calls Out Faith Healer As a Fraud Before Congregation

bentley_facebook2[1]Invited to testify before a revival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a wheelchair-bound man with cerebral palsy called out a faith healer, labeling him a “worker of iniquity.” Justin Peters, who runs Justin Peters Ministries in Oklahoma, attended a crusade held by Lakeland, Florida-based, faith healer Todd Bentley (pictured above) intending to call out the traveling minister over what he believes to be deceptive healing practices. [Read more]

Thousands of Christians Flee Islamic Jihadists’ Rampage Through Iraq City

members-of-the-iraqi-security-forces[1]Christians in the northern Iraq city of Mosul are terrified with a Catholic cleric reporting “an apocalyptic situation” is unfurling as thousands of fighters from the ISIS group wreak terror as they move toward Baghdad. The Italian newspaper La Stampa reported Thursday in its Vatican Insider that it received an email from a Dominican cleric who said, “I am writing in a critical and apocalyptic situation.” The cleric said, “The majority of the inhabitants of the city have already fled their homes and have ran away to the villages; they sleep out in the open without anything to eat and drink. [Read more]

The Isla Vista Shootings and Why We Need Humanist Heroines and Heroes

valenti_jessica-300x199[1]On June 7, 2014, Jessica Valenti received the Humanist Heroine Award at the American Humanist Association’s annual conference. Through her writing and filmmaking, Valenti has championed women’s equality, advocated for human rights and exposed the toxic nature of evangelical Christianity’s culture of sexual “purity.” Her work exemplifies feminist and humanist values, and she has revitalized issues of gender equity for a new generation. [Read more]

Bowdoin College Says Gays Must Be Allowed to Join and Vie for Leadership in Christian Groups on Campus

bowdoin-college[1]Despite claiming in a statement Tuesday that “religious freedom and spirituality are alive and thriving” on the campus, Bowdoin College, a private liberal arts school in Maine, insisted Friday that Christian groups on campus will lose their recognition status if homosexuals cannot become members or allowed to vie for leadership. “They are discriminating and that is a violation of our policy if they were to do that. So they would lose their recognition,” explained Scott Hood, vice president for communications and public affairs at Bowdoin College in an interview with The Christian Post Friday. Bowdoin has been at the center of a tense battle unfolding across America between colleges and Christian groups on campus over bias policy since a New York Times article featured the fight between the school and the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship as a case study in a report Monday. [Read more]

The Politics of Religion in Russia

Pussy_Riot_protest-830x460[1]Last Wednesday the Kennan Institute within the Woodrow Wilson Center held a panel seminar titled “The Politics of Religion in Putin’s Russia” that aimed to address the current state of religious liberty in Russia, as well as how Putin’s leadership has affected the religious landscape there. The panel consisted of Catherine Cosman, the Senior Policy Analyst at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). [Read more]

Atheist vs. Agnostic – What’s the Difference Between an Atheist and an Agnostic?

200066838-001[1]An atheist is anyone who doesn’t happen to believe in any gods, no matter what their reasons or how they approach the question of whether any gods exist. This is a very simple concept, but it’s also widely misunderstood. For that reason, there are a variety of ways to state this. Atheism is: the lack of belief in gods, the absence of belief in gods, disbelief in gods, not believing in gods. The most precise definition may be: an atheist is anyone who does not affirm the proposition “at least one god exists.” [Read more]

Indian Miracle Buster Exiled in Finland, Fears Persecution by Church

Sanal[1]A man of Indian origin who found the spotlight after exposing miraculous feats of holy men as mere tricks has exiled himself in Finland after being accused of blasphemy, fearing he will be sent to prison or assassinated even if he decides to return. It all started when a Hindu fakir said on live television that he could kill anyone with mysterious chanting. Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, decided to take on the challenge and instantly proved that the fakir was making false claims. [Read more]

Sri Lanka Shaken by Religious Violence

665003303001_3624715791001_201461694828905734-20[1]Sri Lankan police have fired tear-gas and enforced a curfew in two coastal towns popular with tourists in an attempt to end clashes between Muslims and Buddhists that threatens to set off wider religious violence. The police said on Sunday they were widening a curfew in Aluthgama to the neighbouring town Beruwala, a predominantly Muslim area, after violence threatened to take hold in the region. [Read more]

A Muslim Reporter’s Icy Welcome from Texas GOP: ‘Where Are You From?’

DXZkj.St.58[1]Even conservatives were quick to criticize a Keller school trustee’s bigotry. But while most of north Tarrant County denounced Jo Lynn Haussmann’s Muslim-bashing last week, another story unfolded in downtown Fort Worth. UT Arlington senior Heba Said, opinion editor of The Shorthornwrote Wednesday about the disgusted looks and comments of “you people” and “y’all Muslims” directed her way as she covered the Republican state convention. [Read more]

White Hindu Stereotypes

hippie-girl[1]It took me a while to realize that when people think of westerners identifying as Hindu, this is what they imagine: This girl is lovely and I have nothing against her personally, but she and I are quite different. And this stereotype of what a western Hindu looks like and I are quite different. Popular Stereotypes: 1. Wears Lululemon Clothes – I just found out about this brand recently because I have a coworker who used to work for them. Apparently they make nice looking sweatpants. People like to wear them to do yoga. I’m sorry to say when I wear sweatpants, they’re from Old Navy or Goodwill. I don’t like to spend money on clothes (or at all, really). [Read more]

Religion, Humanity’s Most Effective Con

purpose%20of%20religion[1]What is the purpose of religion? Why did it originate? Such a question is important to answer in being an Atheist, not so that one might convert back into these antiquated concepts, but so that we may understand individuals who still adhere to them. The Theory: So lets get to my theory, what are Homo sapiens known for, our ability to adapt tools that allow us to conquer our environment, no? [Read more]

Brain Versus Brawn: The Evolution of Humans and Other Animals

zoo-ape[1]One of the most important questions we can ask – and one that continues to take up much of the time of scientists, philosophers and the religious minded alike – is why are humans so different to the rest of the living world? Philosophers and physicists have even celebrated the appearance of humans 200,000 years ago on the African savannah as marking the arrival of consciousness or self-awareness for the universe. [Read more]

GOP Candidate In Oklahoma Comes Out In Favor Of Stoning Homosexuals To Death

6966_stoning[1]Scott Esk is running for House District 91 state representative.  On his website, he is a self-described conservative who is “largely libertarian” who holds a desire to apply biblical laws to the state of Oklahoma. He has expressed some rather extreme views on Facebook. Rob Morris, who runs Moore Monthly was researching political candidates when a friend alerted him to Esk. [Read more]

Oregon School Shooter’s Journal Reveals He Was Devout Mormon Out to Kill ‘Sinners’

Jared-Padgett-via-screencap-615x345[1]The diary of the 15-year-old Oregon high schooler who shot and killed a classmate and injured a teacher before turning the gun on himself revealed that the teen was a religious fundamentalist who was out to kill “sinners.” According to the New York Daily News, freshman Jared Padgett was known at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Gresham, OR as being quiet, but was “highly regarded for his spirituality” by church elders. [Read more]

Has Religion Made Christians Less Creative?

erwin-raphael-mcmanus-joins-cp-newsroom-to-talk-about-the-relationship-between-being-an-artist-and-being-a-christian-on-may-30-2014[1]Have Christians neglected how they were intended to live out their faith starting in the end of the Middle Ages? According to filmmaker, fashion designer and author Erwin Raphael McManus, since the Renaissance and Reformation, many Christians have often wrongly limited their faith calling to an intellectual vocation and not a creative one. “If you look back at the time of the Renaissance, art, faith, beauty, was assumed to be part of faith, spirituality and the essence of the movement of Jesus,” McManus told The Christian Post recently. [Read more]

Texas Megachurch Promises 100 Percent Refund in Tithe Challenge if ‘God Doesn’t Hold True to His Promise of Blessings’

many-u-s-protestant-churches-carry-out-a-90-day-challenge-to-encourage-non-tithers-to-start-giving-regularly[1]Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by “bringing (their) tithes and offerings to the House.” “Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House,” reads a description of the 90-Day Challenge. [Read more]

Southern Baptists’ Paige Patterson Apologizes for Muslim Student as Other Schools Work Across Faiths

RNS-SBC-PATTERSONThe head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offered an emotional apology to Southern Baptists for accepting a Muslim student into his school’s Ph.D. program — an unusual step for an evangelical seminary but one other schools have taken for years. “I made an exception to a rule that I assumed, probably wrongly, the president has the right to make if he feels that it is that important,” Paige Patterson told Southern Baptist delegates on Wednesday (June 11). “He was admitted as a special student in the Ph.D. program.” [Read more]

David Brat, Religion and Redskins: How the Fringe Continues to Dominate the Conversation

bt-redskins[1]As Americans Google ‘David Brat’ to find out how this unknown college professor came to unseat one of the most prominent (on the right) and loathed (on the left) members of the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, an intense battle of cultural ownership continues to simmer at a national scale. I’ve read over a dozen analyses of yesterday’s primary election and it does seem that the ‘perfect storm’ hypothesis is most fitting: Cantor’s flip-flopping on immigration reform. [Read more]

Oklahoma Tea Party Candidate Supports Stoning Gay People to Death

scottpic.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge[1]Given how savagely anti-gay the mainstream Oklahoma Republican party is, it’s no surprise that the state’s Tea Partiers are so rabidly hateful that they come across more as dark satire than as serious bigots. To wit: This week, an Oklahoma magazine discovered that last summer, Tea Party state House candidate Scott Esk endorsed stoning gay people to death: “I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” he said in a Facebook post. Esk went on to add nuance to his position. [Read more]

The Ten Commandments And The 4,300-Year-Old Dinosaur: Michael Peroutka’s Web Of Christian-Nation Influence

Two weeks ago, the Creation Museum — the anti-evolution themepark run by the advocacy group Answers in Genesis — received a huge gift: a $1 million dinosaur skeleton meant to help the museum illustrate its belief that dinosaurs were part of the original creation 6,000 years ago and coexisted with humans until well after Noah’s flood.

[Read more]

Joel Osteen: Homosexuality is a Sin, Now and 200 Years from Now

“Homosexuality is a sin — I believed it before, and I still believe it now,” says Joel Osteen. Appearing Tuesday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Osteen, the pastor of mammoth Lakewood Church in HoustonTexas, said his beliefs are rooted in scripture. “Two hundred years from now, the scripture is still going to say that [homosexuality is a sin].

[Read more]

Christian Chaplain: Satan Has Blinded Atheists, They’re Possessed by Demons

Echoing what E W Jackson, one-time candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, had to say earlier this year, Christian right chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt said atheists are demonic on his June 6 program Pray in Jesus Name.

[Read more]

Should Humanists Boycott Religious Businesses?

An ongoing debate among some of my atheist/humanist friends is whether to patronize businesses which publically promote their religious views.  Examples include stores which play Christian music year-round, flaunt signs about Jesus, or have the number of a biblical verse on a business card.  I have always tried to avoid these businesses and (nicely) explain why. [Read more]

Casey Rewrites Intelligent Design’s History

Those who care about such things are very much aware of the origin of today’s intelligent design (ID) movement. The facts surrounding ID’s history were thoroughly explored in the Kitzmiller case. We wrote about it here: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Who is the Intelligent Designer? [Read more]

Brazil Furious Over Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro in Italian Football Colours

Days before England play Italy in their first match at the World Cup, the Italians are in hot water in Brazil for a television commercial in which Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue is dressed in a giant Italian football shirt. [Read more]

School Prayers – Are Prayers Allowed in School?

Students should be allowed to pray in school – and they are! Some people act and argue as though students were not permitted to pray in school, but there is no truth to this. At best, they are confusing the difference between official, state-sponsored, state-mandated prayers led by school officials and personal, private prayers initiated and said by the student. At worst, people are being deliberately deceitful in their claims. [Read more]

Does the Bible Contain True Prophesies?

When I was a Christian, one of the biggest reasons I had for believing the Bible was that it contained actual prophecy — or so I thought. I mean, if a book gave specific, detailed prophecies that no one could have guessed, and then they came true, wouldn’t that be good reason for believing that God may have had something to do with that book? [Read more]

Christianity Today Publishes a Rapists’ Story

Remember when the Good Man Project posted an article by an unrepentant rapist, supposedly as an example of things to avoid? Well, Christianity Today recently posted an article by a youth pastor who had sex with one of his students and is supposedly repentant—but doesn’t really sound that way. [Read more]

Allah’s Law

ISIS captured Iraqi soldiers and killed them. Soldiers were wearing civil dress, because they were trying to escape in civil dress. What does ISIS want? ISIS wants to establish Allah’s law in Iraq and Syria for the moment.Then in the whole world. [Read more]

Texas City Reverses Decision, Allows Christian Ministry to Hold Monthly Bible Study

The Agape Resource and Assistance Center, Inc. previously received a cease-and-desist letter from the city of Plano indicating that it could no longer hold its monthly Bible studies at any of its several ministry homes because the large gathering violated the city ordinance that no more than eight people may seek shelter in one home. [Read more]

Defining True Religion: A Job for the Government?

Those who support the idea of the government becoming more entangled with religion tend to overlook a critical issue: what sorts of religion should the government endorse, support, or encourage? It’s impossible to do this equally with all religions and those who do the most to push such things wouldn’t want that anyway. [Read more]

ACE BBC FTW

So yesterday I was on the Jeremy Vine show. UK listeners can catch up on BBC iPlayer here (You want the episode dated 12/06/2014, and my segment starts at 1:09:29). International readers, I hope to have a way for you to hear it in the near future. There’s also an accompanying BBC News article online called “Life in a Christian ‘fundamentalist’ school“. [Read more]

Sam Harris and the Moral Landscape Challenge

I’ve now read (and blurbed) Sam’s new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, which is a provocative synthesis of neuroscience, spirituality, and Sam’s own adventures in meditation and drug-taking. I recommend it, though I told Sam that I thought he’d get pushback from that segment of the atheist community (not including me) who cringe when they hear the word “spiritual.” [Read more]

6th Circuit Upholds ACA Contraceptive Mandate Accommodation For Religious Non-Profits

In Michigan Catholic Conference v. Burwell, (6th Cir., June 11, 2014), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied preliminary injunctions to several Catholic non-profit entities that object to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage accommodation. [Read more]

A Warning to Lebanon, Missouri: Another State High School Successfully Sued for Promoting Religion

As far as I know, ever since the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to the Lebanon, Missouri school superintendent and school board, objecting to Lebanon High School principal Kenneth Lowery’s prayer to God at graduation, there has been no response. None, that is, except for Lowery’s two apologies, which weren’t really apologies because he said he was sorry “if he’d offended anyone.” [Read more]

Ken Ham: The Sole Source of Morality

This thought-provoking item is found at the personal blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. Hambo is famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum. [Read more]

Religious Pluralism: Debating Social Justice

Many religious believers think that their religion holds the keys to morality, justice, and political order. Indeed, it’s likely that most believers think this – if they didn’t, they’d have much less reason to continue belonging to their religion. Quite a few of these believers are also certain that if only their religion and/or religious values were enforced by law, everything in the world would be better. [Read more]

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