, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Richard Dawkins: Atheism’s Asset or Liability?

Dawkins_aaconf-387x369[1]Late last month, two heavy-hitters within organized atheism, activist Ophelia Benson and scientist Richard Dawkins, reached a detente of sorts about online debate and posted it on their separate websites. [Read more]

Values Voters: Evangelicals, Religious Values, and Government

Conservative evangelical Christians often use the label ‘values voters’ to describe those who vote on the basis of religious values. At least, that’s what they would like everyone to think. [Read more]

Christian Women Ordered to Stop Praying Inside US Shopping Mall

u-s-president-barack-obama-prays[1]Mall managers in Dublin, Georgia have ordered a group of U.S. shoppers not to pray openly inside a shopping area – not even over their meals. [Read more]

Carol Tavris on Accusations vs. Skepticism

After this post I’m going back to atheism, cats, food, and biology—at least for a while; but I thought that this talk, given by Carol Tavris at this year’s The Amazing Meeting, was a good complement to the discussion we had about Dawkins two days ago. [Read more]

Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?

140805_spencer_atheism[1]Many expressed surprise recently when, in one of its periodic surveys of Americans’ views of other faiths, the Pew Research Center found that atheists fare poorly—fully 40 percent of those polled described their views toward atheists as “cold.” [Read more]

Professors Lead “Atheism and Other Theisms” Workshop for Local Teachers

Four Colgate professors from a range of departments led a free arts and humanities workshop called “Atheism and Other Theisms” for 13 high school teachers representing area school districts from July 21–25. [Read more]

Mobile County Commission Won’t Hear on Displays for Atheists, Pagans, Keeps ‘In God We Trust’

-mg-8853jpg-08dbd7eb9b40b327[1]Religion was at the center of Thursday’s bi-weekly planning meeting at the Mobile County Commission, which stretched from its usual 20-30 minutes to two hours of public testimony for and against a Christian display in Government Plaza. [Read more]

The “War on Christianity”

A group of women walkers in Georgia who wanted to end their session by forming a circle and praying in a shopping mall were told that they could not do that. [Read more]

NSS Responds to Government Consultation on School Standards and ‘British Values’

350x[1]The National Secular Society has backed Government plans to tackle religious extremism in schools by reinforcing principles of equality and fundamental values – but has argued that the proposed standards don’t go far enough. [Read more]

Yes, Some ACE Schools WERE Using Misleading Advertising

Five weeks ago, this blog asked “Are ACE schools using misleading advertising?” Now, according to the Advertising Standards Agency, the answer—in at least one case—is yes. [Read more]

Australian State Bans External Religious Organisations from Running Prayer Groups in Schools

350x[1]The Education Department of Victoria has issued a directive clarifying rules on the Australian state’s requirements on secular education which could limit the activities of outside religious groups. [Read more]

Gay Games Inspire Some Faith Leaders to Call for a Re-Examination of Treatment of Gays

The upcoming Gay Games 9 are generating an interesting response in corners of the Christian community where homosexuality is considered to be unbiblical. [Read more]

How the Tables Have Turned on the Religious Right

screen_shot_2014-08-07_at_2.02.33_pm[1]Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker doesn’t want to talk about equal marriage, at least not so much anymore. ”I don’t think the Republican Party is fighting it,” Walker said last month when asked about the issue. [Read more]

I Was Traumatized by Christian Dogma: I Won’t Do the Same to My Child

Before I became a father, at the age of 36, I never suspected that adopting a young child, Nathan, would so powerfully dismantle my fortress-like evangelical beliefs. [Read more]

RaiseAChild.US Opposes New Bill That Allows Religious Foster & Adoption Agencies to Discriminate Against LGBT Parents & Families

gI_141976_Rich%20Valenza[1]A bill introduced in Congress by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) would allow religious foster and adoption agencies to deny services to same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and heterosexual singles, and people from other religions. [Read more]

This Apostate Hearts the Church of England

I am probably doing the Church of England no favors by praising them. After all, I am an apostate. I am now part of “the world.” [Read more]

Restaurant Drops ‘Praying in Public’ Discount After Legal Threat

53e34d0da1cc9.image[1]Mary’s Gourmet Diner has announced it will no longer offer occasional discounts to people who pray before eating, citing the threat of legal action. [Read more]

North Korea Catholics Say No to Pope’s Seoul Service Due to Military Exercises

An association of North Korean Catholics has declined an invitation to send attend a mass officiated by Pope Francis in Seoul during his scheduled visit to South Korea next week. [Read more]

‘Black Jesus’ May Drink, Smoke, and Curse, But He’s Still Messiah-ish

AP051011021469-237x300[1]It’s a narrow needle to thread, making a modern Jesus equal parts irreverent, full of genuine compassion, and still believable, but somehow “Black Jesus” creators Aaron McGruder and Mike Clattenburg have managed to do it. [Read more]

Revealing the Inner Cathedral: Humankind’s Spiritual Evolution

Many religions teach that to be sanctified and righteous one must worship at certain locations, say specific words, and believe particular tenets. [Read more]

Texas Cheerleaders Continue Court Fight Over Bible Banners

ap526970905967[1]Atheist groups say a Texas high school cheer team violated the separation of church and state by using banners inscribed with Bible scripture at its games. But the cheerleaders aren’t giving up without a fight. [Read more]

Humanist Billboard

“God works in mysterious ways” is a common saying, and one Moscow group decided to take that phrase and tweak it. The Humanists of the Palouse currently sponsor three bright pink billboards in Moscow that display the saying: “*Good* works in *non* Mysterious Ways.” [Read more]

Iraq Christians Flee as Islamic State Takes Qaraqosh

_76804500_4599df40-a326-42fd-84a5-cba899a2cbd0[1]Up to a quarter of Iraq’s Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority group’s biggest town. [Read more]

An Asian Angle on Spirituality Without Religion

It was not spirituality, unhinged from political and social realities, that reshaped India, but the impact of the life and teaching of the historical Jesus. [Read more]

Two Questions About Bible Translations

king-james-only[1]When confronted with conflicts, contradictions, mistakes, errors, etc, the Evangelical either tries to reconcile/harmonize the text, explain it away, or appeals to a lack of understanding. At no time is the text, and by extension God, ever wrong. [Read more]

What if Palestinians Became Israeli Citizens?

They still talk about a two-state solution as if this is possible, but I have little hope that it is. Israelis and Palestinians are trapped in a lose-lose scenario, and only some bold new initiative can change the status quo. [Read more]

Jesus in Tibet

Jesus-in-zazen[1]In 1887 a Russian war-correspondent, Nicolas Notovitch, visited India, and proceeding into Tibet, at the Lamassary or Convent of Himis, learned of the Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men. [Read more]

Vatican Bank’s TV Investment Loss Showed Cardinal’s Power

Two years ago, the Vatican bank invested 15 million euros in an Italian television company that makes family movies, including films about popes and a series about a bike-riding country priest who helps police solve crimes. [Read more]

Creationist Chiropractor Runs for School Board

fla-ark-11[1]There’s an interesting school board race in Pinellas County, Florida. The largest city there is Clearwater, Florida. The news is in the Tampa Bay Times, published in that county. [Read more]

Rev. David Rives Proves Noah’s Flood?

Everything suddenly went crazy around here. There were blaring sirens and flashing lights! We knew what it was. The Drool-o-tron™ was calling us. [Read more]

Church Blocks NHS Job Offer to Clergyman Over Same-Sex Marriage

350x[1]The first British clergyman to marry a same-sex partner has had a job offer as an NHS chaplain withdrawn after a Bishop revoked his permission to officiate. [Read more]

Board of Education Meeting Discusses Religion Course

The library at the Chippewa Middle School was standing room only at the July Board of Education meeting. One of the first points of interest was the public participation section of the program. [Read more]

Humanists Raise Funds for Unaccompanied Illegal Minors’ Legal Representation

illegal_0[1]Foundation Beyond Belief, the nation’s largest humanist charity organization, launched a campaign last month to raise money for the legal representation of “child refugees who have fled poverty and violence to reach the Southern border of the United States in recent months.” [Read more]

Husband a No-Show at Planned Meeting to Finally Free Estranged Wife with Religious Divorce

Rivky Stein, 24, has been trying for two years and counting to convince her estranged husband to grant her a Jewish divorce, and he indicated this week that he was ready. [Read more]

Kaiser: Americans’ Views of Hobby Lobby Ruling Are Evenly Divided

The U.S. public is evenly split in its view of the decision, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Roughly half of Americans (49%) say they disapprove of the ruling, while a similar share (47%) approve. [Read more]

Rick Wiles: ‘Ebola Could Solve America’s Problems With Atheism And Homosexuality’

Right before chatting with a Republican congressman on his on “Trunews” program yesterday, End Times radio host Rick Wiles said that an outbreak of Ebola in the U.S. might actually be a good thing if it ends up giving an “attitude adjustment” to all the gays and atheists, along with people who use pornography or have had an abortion, who will die if they aren’t “protected by God.” [Listen]

Fantastically Wrong: Why the Guy Who Discovered Uranus Thought There’s Life on the Sun

sun-660x568[1]There are a whole lot of places in the universe that aren’t exactly conducive to the proliferation of life: the vacuum of space, for instance, or the poisonous, boiling atmosphere of Venus, or anywhere Chuck Norris goes. [Read more]

Skulls, Bloodletting, and How to Teach Science

More than 100 scientists, teachers, researchers and others who share an interest in education gathered Tuesday at the Asia Society on Park Avenue for the 2nd Annual Scientific American and Macmillan Education Executive STEM Summit. [Read more]

Human Brain Subliminally Judges ‘Trustworthiness’ of Faces

4704953402_631194c066_m[1]The human brain can judge the apparent trustworthiness of a face from a glimpse so fleeting, the person has no idea they have seen it, scientists claim. [Read more]

Climate Change and Emotions – How We Feel Matters More Than What We Know

Some atmospheric chemists and climatologists and economists have belatedly come to appreciate that trying to influence how people feel about a risk is not simply a matter of teaching them the facts. [Read more]

Alien Life ‘Inevitable’ and We Could Detect It Within 20 Years

dnews-files-2014-08-exoplanet-life-670x440-140806-jpg[1]As astronomical instrumentation becomes more sophisticated, we are rapidly approaching a crossroads in the search for extraterrestrial life, according to a leading planetary scientist. It’s also “inevitable” that alien life exists in the universe given the preponderance of extrasolar planets that are being discovered — it’s up to us to seek out the extraterrestrial biosignatures. [Read more]