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IRS Settles with Atheists, Agrees to Crack Down on Churches for ‘Electioneering’

Church-Polling-Credit-Kushal-One-300x225[1]The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reached a settlement with a prominent atheist organization, agreeing to crack down churches and religious groups for infringements of its prohibition against  ‘electioneering.’ As previously reported, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, sued the IRS in 2012, asserting that many non-profit religious organizations have been “blatantly and deliberately flaunting … electioneering restrictions,” but the government has not enforced its rules pertaining to the matter. [Read more]

Freedom from Religion Foundation, IRS Settle Lawsuit Over Political Activity by Church Groups

The Internal Revenue Service has instituted a protocol for investigating tax-exempt churches and religious organizations involved in political activity, according to a Wisconsin-based group representing atheists and agnostics that filed a federal lawsuit over the issue. [Read more]

Children Exposed to Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact from Fiction: Researchers

child-praying-on-shutterstock[1]A study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science determined that children who are not exposed to religious stories are better able to tell that characters in “fantastical stories” are fictional — whereas children raised in a religious environment even “approach unfamiliar, fantastical stories flexibly.” [Read more]

Big News: God Was Not a Klingon

Poor Ken Ham: the media has been distorting his words. They claim that he said all the space aliens are damned to hell. He did not! He plainly said: “And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel.” [Read more]

Americans Dislike Muslims and Atheists the Most But Hatred Not One-Way

chitchens-485x325[1]The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project’s new study, “How Americans Feel About Religious Groups” reveals, unsurprisingly, that “Jews, Catholics & Evangelicals [are] rated warmly, atheists and Muslims more coldly,” by Americans. [Read more]

#MarriedWomen and Male Entitlement

This popped up on my feed not hours after I wrote about the toxicity of male entitlement and its ubiquity. So… Oh boy. [Read more]

Driver Says God Told Her ‘I’ll Take It From Here,’ So She Let Go Of Wheel; Promptly Runs Over Motorcyclist

god-driving-car[1]Depending on how you look at it, either God drove a car into motorcyclist Anthony Oliveri or – more likely – a woman took a leap of faith and the laws of physics did the rest. [Read more]

Hearing the Still Small Voice of Reason

There was never a time when the question of God was not important in my life. As a child, I was disinclined to believe. I was appalled by the story of the testing of Abraham—God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son. [Read more]

US Missionary Accused of Sex Abuse in Kenya Blames ‘Pseudo-Tribal Psychological Voodoo’

Matthew-Durham[1]A 19-year-old Oklahoma man accused of sexually abusing children while volunteering in Kenya is blaming his actions on “pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo.” [Read more]

Americans United Welcomes Obama Order Barring Discrimination Against LGBT Americans

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today thanked President Barack Obama for issuing an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. [Read more]

Religious Right Evangelical Megachurch Leaders Set To Infiltrate DC, As GOP Congressmen

Screen_Shot_2014-07-21_at_9.03.03_AM[1]America’s Christian Evangelical religious right has never been shy about spreading the word of God, nor about using any means to do so. [Read more]

Philosopher John Gray Denigrates Reason and Promotes Religion on the BBC

John N. Gray (b. 1948) is an English political philosopher  who is an emeritus professor at the London School of Economics. [Read more]

‘Godless Cities’ and ‘Religious Enclaves’? The Distribution of Religion and Nonreligion in England and Wales

fig-1[1]Data from the 2011 Census has been available to the public since late 2012, but internet users can now visualise the geographical distribution of these data across England and Wales, thanks to DataShine. [Read more]

Airplanes Evolve by Intelligent Design, Therefore . . .

We’re really going out on a limb here, because it’s difficult to predict what the Discovery Institute might do next, but we’ve seen enough of their antics and gyrations that we’re likely to be right about this. Look what we just found at PhysOrg: Law of physics governs airplane evolution. [Read more]

Obama’s LGBT Executive Order Threatens Religious Liberty, Say Advocates

IMG_4415-e1405970964167[1]Unwilling to wait for Congress to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, Obama signed an executive order Monday prohibiting organizations with federal contracts from discriminating against employees who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or transgender. [Read more]

Politicians and Atheism Won’t Mix

Politicians will stay away from open alliances with ‘Atheism’ mostly because no clear civic or political agenda is securely attached to atheism. Atheism displays all sorts of public faces, and it is viewed as pursuing discordant agendas. [Read more]

When Will We Have an Atheist President?

LincolnMemorial[1]So far this year, a rightward-leaning Supreme Court has issued two major rulings granting sweeping new privileges to religious belief. [Read more]

Romanian Exorcist Released from Prison, Becomes New Folk Devil

In 2005, world news reported on an exorcism in Tanacu, Romania, in which Irina Cornici, a 23-year-old nun, died after being gagged and bound to a cross without food for three days. [Read more]

Right-Wing Defender of Israel’s Gaza Attack Makes Same Argument As Osama bin Laden

434993aac11d6fbe367a416edf6a19d7643fa875[1]Professor Thane Rosenbaum took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal on Monday to argue that Gazans dying and suffering from Israeli bombardment are not truly innocent civilians in the normal sense of the word. [Read more]

Jihadists Stone Syria Woman to Death for ‘Adultery’

Jihadists in the northern Syrian province of Raqa have accused a woman of adultery and stoned her to death, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday. [Read more]

Orthodox Jewish Leaders Negate Complaints of Child Sexual Abuse

jewish[1]A few senior Orthodox Jewish leaders in Australia are under investigation for allegedly negating multiple complaints of child sexual abuse. [Read more]

Americans United Blasts ‘Disgraceful’ Senate Vote On Workers’ Access To Birth Control

It is deeply disappointing that the U.S. Senate did not approve legislation that would have stopped bosses from using their religion to deny essential health care to women, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says. [Read more]

Why Science Is Important

8C8B5B14-C590-4C3A-A9DB5E90AE4D8C1D_article[1]Science is the engine of prosperity. Economists have said that a third to a half of U.S. economic growth has resulted from basic research since World War II. [Read more]

What the Surveys Don’t (and Can’t) Say About the Rise of the “Spiritual But Not Religious”

The pollsters now regularly tell us that religion is on the decline and commentators can’t say enough about the so called, “Spiritual, but not Religious” (or SBNR)—the now common moniker for many (but not all) of the religiously unaffiliated. [Read more]

How Creationists in Texas Are Pressuring Schoolbook Publishers to Bring God into Biology

shutterstock_112035557-edited[1]It seems creationists in Texas have resorted to bullying and lying in an attempt to force evolution out of the classroom. In November 2013 the Texas State Board of Education adopted new science standards for its textbooks that will bring evolution into the Texas public school classroom. [Read more]

Timeline of Human Origins Revised: New Synthesis of Research Links Changing Environment with Homo’s Evolutionary Adaptability

Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them. [Read more]

Study Says Religious Kids Are Easier to Fool

BibleKids-Reality-0012821362315[1]From the parting of oceans to transubstantiation, when it comes to storytelling the Bible is a riveting page-turner. But while adults can choose what tales to accept as myth, parable or literal truth, it appears that kids exposed to religious teachings often take them at face value. [Read more]

Nigerian Put in Mental Hospital for Atheism

The Independent and the BBC report that perfectly healthy man has been confined in a Nigerian mental institution simply because he claimed that he doesn’t believe in God. [Read more]

When Should Christians Authenticate Commands From God?

book[1]All Christians pick out their own specific passages from the bible which they believe God expects them to follow. [Read more]

Mocking Versus Understanding Religion

The majority of the time, someone who says, “Don’t you feel silly?” or even “Do you feel silly?” is implying that they think there’s a good reason for the person to feel silly. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that a given person who asks such a question is including that implication in it. [Read more]

Sudan Government Bans Christians from Constructing Churches

sudan-church[1]The worshiping space for Christians in Sudan is shrinking after the government ordered a ban on the construction of new churches in the mostly Muslim nation. [Read more]

Give Me That Old-Time Ex-Gay Snake Oil

After losing prominent “ex-gay” mouthpieces to apology (Alan Chambers), scandal (George Rekers) or enlightenment (John Paulk), the religious right is scrambling for a new face to sell its snake oil. [Read more]

Philippines’ Christian Group Builds World’s ‘Largest Indoor Arena’

philippine-arena[1]Filipino home-grown church, the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) is to celebrate its centenary on July 27, and the group opened a huge arena at a ceremony attended by Philippine President Benigno Aquino. [Read more]

Christian Exodus from Iraq

ISIS or ISIL or IS terrorists have been throwing Christians out of Iraq. These terrorists declared Christians have to convert to Islam, or to pay tax for being Non Muslims, or to be slaughtered. [Read more]

Happiness Is Confusing Even Our Smartest Scientists

Big_think_Bentham's_Happiness_Bucket[1]Happiness has gotten confusing. Despite its importance it’s puzzling even our smartest scientists. “Bentham’s bucket error” is to blame, but “Plato’s Pastry” parable and a rare case of reality in Freud can help. [Read more]

The Problem of Church History for Opponents of Divorce

Theological conservatives within the church have reacted with re-assertions, some of them quite stinging, of the ancient and unchanging teaching on marriage and divorce: that marriage is an act of God that cannot be undone, that people who divorce are violating a direct judgment of Jesus, and that those who remarry are obliged to repent and refrain from sex with their new pretended spouse or be excommunicated. [Read more]

World Council of Churches Says It Will Not Invest in Fossil Fuels

stanford-university[1]The World Council of Churches says it will not invest in fossil fuels its main governing body has decided as part of its ethical policies, commitment to caring for creation and reversing climate change. [Read more]

As an Ex-Muslim I Cannot Stop Caring About Islam Because It Still Defines My Life

As I have mentioned I recently submitted to Hiba Krisht’s project Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal a guest post entitled 101 Sins I Commit During the World Cup and Ramadan Just in One Day. [Read more]

Walking the Aisle: A Few Thoughts on Altar Calls

altar-call[1]Toward the latter third of my time in the ministry I came to see that the altar call was a tool used by pastors to manipulate emotions and give the illusion that God’s power was on them and that God was using them. [Read more]

Right Wing Morality is Costing the Church of England Dearly

he Church of England’s General Synod has voted to allow women bishops. A disastrous failure to do so in 2012 preceded Rowan Williams’s departure as Archbishop, and led to huge public and political pressure to secure the “Yes” vote this time. [Read more]

What’s the Deal with Matthew’s Genealogy?

jessetree-capuchins-bible-c-1180-bibliothc3a8que-nationale-de-france-paris-cropped[1]Even early readers of Matthew realized that his genealogy ought to be understood in theological terms rather than literal ones — especially those who had Luke’s genealogy to compare it with. [Read more]

The Power of Vulnerability

Breaking free of defensive communication routines requires a willingness to be vulnerable. Only while bringing down our guard are we able to effectively examine why certain unsavory situations occur repeatedly in our lives. [Read more]

Humans Aren’t the Pinnacle of Evolution and Consciousness–We’re Only a Rung on the Ladder

In his latest video, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games and techno-poet, Jason Silva, explores the universe’s tendency to self-organize. Biology, he says, seems to have agency and directionality toward greater complexity, and humans are the peak.

[Read more]

10 More Things Atheists Wish Christians Knew About Them

The other day I came across this great video: an interview with Neil Carter, who participated in an interview at a church in Jackson, MS, in conjunction with the “National Interview an Atheist at Church Day”, which is apparently a thing.

[Read more]

The Neuroscience of Consciousness

Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE, is a British scientist, writer, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords. Specialising in the physiology of the brain, Susan researches the impact of 21st century technologies on the mind, how the brain generates consciousness and novel approaches to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

[Read more]