Agnosticism / Atheism Sitemap - Page 46 2013-12-11
Book Review - The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Accommodating Pluralism, edited by Daniel Callahan.
The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: On the one hand, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has become increasingly popular over the past years. On the other hand, much of the medical establishment continues to be at least skeptical, if not outright hostile, to CAM treatments. Why does this difference exist? Is the public simply ignorant of science, or is the scientific establishment trying to protect its power?
Book Review - The Romans: From Village to Empire, by Daniel J. Gargola, Richard J. A. Talbert, and Mary Taliaferro Boatwright
The rise and fall of the Roman empire has fascinated not just historians but others as well for hundreds of years. Why did a small village on the Italian peninsula grow to dominate not only the region, but even much of western world? Once on top, why did that same empire then collapse and disappear except for ruined buildings and roads as a reminder of who might have once been there?
Book Review: Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, by Karl T. Pflock, Jerry Pournelle
Book Review: 'Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe,' by Karl T. Pflock, Jerry Pournelle. So what really did happen in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947? According to popular legend, a UFO crashed, and from the wreckage, the United States government obtained the bodies of dead aliens and all sorts of advanced technology. Ever since, the government has been involved in a complicated cover-up and a conspiracy of silence regarding the truth.
Book Review - M.N. Roy: Radical Humanist: Selected Writings, compiled by Innaiah Narisetti
When most people think of 'humanism' or 'secular humanism,' they probably think of western politics, philosophy, and culture. This is understandable, but it’s not entirely accurate. Humanism has also developed a rich tradition elsewhere in the world, especially in India. It’s unfortunate that more people in the West are unfamiliar with the course of humanism among Indian thinkers and writers.
Book Review: A Rumor About the Jews: Reflections on Antisemitism and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,' by Stephen Eric Bronner.
The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was a forged pamphlet, probably created by the secret police of Imperial Russia in the late 1890's. The goal was to get people to believe that it was actually the minutes of meetings of Jewish leaders plotting to take over the world. What it attacked, however, was not simply Jews but in fact the entire project of the Enlightenment - religious diversity, freedom, toleration, and social progress.
Book Review: Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions, by Daniel C. Maguire.
Family planning, contraception and abortion are all intimately related issues which are often subject to rancorous debates in modern society and international politics. According to conventional wisdom, traditional religious beliefs and institutions are opposed to all three. According to conventional wisdom, religion is inevitably anti-choice in such matters. What if conventional wisdom is wrong?
Book Review - Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul, by Ariel Glucklich.
Sacred Pain: For most people, pain is something to be avoided: it is a sign that something is wrong and that something needs to be fixed. But for a few people, at least some times, pain is something sought after. There are even religious reasons to seek pain and discomfort. But why would people do this? Are they insane, or do they know something the rest of us don't?
Book Review - The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics, edited by John D. Carlson, Erik C. Owens
Many in the West have assumed that the influence and power of religion in society would fade more and more until it disappeared entirely - maybe not from people's personal lives, but certainly from political considerations. While that has occurred to a degree in Western nations, it hasn't occurred elsewhere - and that has a profound influence on the relations between the West and other regions.
Book Review - Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium: An Interview With Peter Seewald, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Peter Seewald
As Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger wrote a number of books on Christian theology. In his role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had to defend the orthodox positions of the Catholic Church; as a theologian, he could explore religious issues with a bit more freedom. He also gave lengthy interviews which were collected into book form, and these combine both his personal views as well as his official positions on church matters.
Book Review - Same-Sex Marriage: The Moral and Legal Debate, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum
Those who support the legalization of gay marriage in America as well as those who oppose it are each convinced that theirs is the moral, legal, and rational position to hold. They couldn’t be farther apart in the contents of their beliefs, but they are very similar when it comes to the manner of holding those beliefs. How is one to determine who is correct?
Book Review - Sartre, by Neil Levy.
Sartre: Jean-Paul Sartre was acclaimed by the people of France in ways normally reserved for rock stars in other countries. When he died in 1980, fifty thousand people lined the streets of Paris to watch his coffin go by. What did he do to merit such respect and attention?
Book Review - Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy, by Shlomo Ben-Ami
Perhaps the most intractable political issue in the world today, and one which drives so many other international crises, is the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. These two groups have been at each other's throats for decades, each insisting that they alone have exclusive rights to control the same lands. Why has the situation gotten so bad, and is there anything that can be done about it?
Book Review - School Prayer: the Courts, the Congress and the First Amendment, by Robert S. Alley.
School Prayer: The First Amendment says that
Book Review - Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? edited by Paul Kurtz & Barry Karr
Debates about the compatibility of science and religion are regular features in academic discussions. On the one side we have those who argue that there isn't any conflict, perhaps because the two deal with different issues or because true religion is always in accordance with reality as described by science. Others insist that religion and science operate from fundamentally different methodologies and will inevitably bump up against each other, usually with negative consequences.
Book Review - Science Meets Alternative Medicine: What the Evidence Says about Unconvential Treatments, edited by Wallace Sampson, M.D. and Lewis Vaug
There's an awful lot in the news and in society about
Book Review - Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion. by Daniel S. Greenberg.
Science, Money, and Politics: Scientific research consumes billions of taxpayer dollars each year. Ideally, this money would be allocated based upon which research projects are the most promising and beneficial. Ideally, allocation would be a matter of science, not politics. But is that how things actually are?
Book Review - Science Wars: Debating Scientific Knowledge and Technology, edited by Keith Parsons
Every day, people in America make extensive use of technology and science, often when they aren't aware of it. Science and technology are arguably two of the most important creations of humanity. Yet perhaps only 'arguably,' because some argue that neither are as great as imagined. Instead, they are false idols or even con jobs perpetuated by an elite. Who is right, and why do such debates occur?
Book Review - In Search of Zarathustra: The First Prophet and the Ideas That Changed the World, by Paul Kriwaczek.
In Search of Zarathustra: Obscured by time, history, and overlays of conflicting religious dogmas lies a religion which few people understand, but which has arguably had a profound affect upon the lives of a large percentage of the people who have lived during the past couple of millennia: Zoroastrianism. Is it possible to cut through all of the interference and learn more?
Book Review - Seduced By Hitler. The Choices of a Nation and the Ethics of Survival, by Adam Lebor, Roger Boyes
In hindsight, it seems clear that Adolf Hitler's policies and beliefs were immoral to an extreme. Even at the time, the things he wrote and said should have made it clear to people that he should never have held any real power or authority and that his Nazi Party was a danger to society. How, then, were so many Germans led to give so much support to Hitler and the Nazis? What caused people to think that the Nazis were not only good, but better than the alternatives at the time?
Book Review - The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak
Is there a role for creationism or Intelligent Design in modern science classrooms? Absolutely not, because there is no room for them in modern science - they are remnants of ancient religious traditions whose time has long passed. It's not simply a matter of contrasting skeptical science with simplistic superstition, though. Critics may be tempted to regard creationism as little more than superstition, but it is much more than that - and the threat is poses is far more serious.
Book Review - September 11: Religious Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences, edited by Ian Markham and Ibrahim Abu-Rabi'
September 11: Terrorism today is rarely just about politics - often, it is at least as much about religion. Because such terrible acts of violence stem in so many ways from religious roots, they also raise uniquely religious questions about things like the nature of faith and the role of religion in society.
Book Review - Sexual Shame: An Urgent Call to Healing, by Karen A. McClintock
Questions about sexuality are fundamental to the health and welfare of Christian communities - the problem is, few Christians seem to realize this. Sexuality has become a proverbial elephant sitting in the room: no one can help but see it, but no one wants to acknowledge it, either. This, however, is part of what leads to scandals, abuse and worse. The more Christians suppress frank talk about sex and sexuality, the more they raise the risk of sexual problems for individuals and the community.
Book Review - In the Shadow of the Prophet: The Struggle for the Soul of Islam, by Milton Viorst
For many people in the West, Islam appears to be a monolithic faith and Muslims an undifferentiated mass of fundamentalist believers. The existence of factions, debates, and disagreements either goes unrecognized or is simply undervalued, but this diversity - however muted it can be - may hold the keys for not only understanding the state of Arab Muslims societies today, but also for those societies' future.
Easter Challenge: Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Are the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first Easter, found in several places of the New Testament, true and historical? If so, it should be possible to bring them all together and tell the story of the first Easter - without omitting a single detail. That's the Easter Challenge presented by Dan Barker. Unfortunately, no one seems able to successfully do this.
Baths for Baptisms: Bribing Soldiers in the Desert
An Army chaplain in Iraq has used a supply of clean water to bribe soldiers into being baptized. Josh Llano, a self-described 'Southern Baptist evangelist,' allows soldiers to use pristine water if they attend an hour-and-a-half sermos and receive a baptism which involves an hour of quoting from the Bible. Is this moral? Is it constitutional? Does it reflect Christian charity and ethics?
The Invasion of Iraq, Islamic Extremism, & Terrorism
Will the invasion of Iraq produce more terrorists, or are Islamic extremism and Arab Muslim terrorism so closely linked to the religious traditions of Islam that it doesn't matter what others do? Both are right to a certain degree - to understand why, you need to understand why Islamic extremism is so popular. That, in turn, helps show how to solve the problem of Arab Muslim terrorism.
Divine Creation of Humanity: 57% Believe in Creationism; Deny Evolution (ADL, 2005)
How many people in America really reject science and evolution in favor of believing that humanity was specially created by a god? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 57% of Americans believe the Bible is a better explanation for the origins of human life than Darwinian evolution; among fundamentalist, evangelical, and charismatic Christians, 87% reject evolution in favor of the stories in the Bible.
God & Evolution: 67% Say its Possible to Believe in God & Evolution (CBS, 2005)
The debate between evolution and religion is usually treated as an either/or issue: either you accept evolution and science or you believe in God and religion. Some believers reject this dichotomy and insist that it's possible to both accept evolution and believe in God. A majority of Americans believe that you can accept evolution while believing in God; only 29% don't. Almost all of those who think this also happen to accept evolution.
Atheists & Agnostics Not Religious - Most Atheists & Agnostics in America are Not Religious (Harris, 2007)
It's possible for atheists and agnostics to be religious but it's not common, at least in America. Most atheists and agnostics in America are irreligious. According to a 2007 poll, 89% of atheists and agnostics say they are not very religious or not religious at all. Only 11% of atheists and agnostics in America say they are somewhat religious or very religious.
Atheists, Agnostics on the Word of God - Some Atheists, Agnostics Think the Bible is the Word of God (Harris, 2007)
Are there good reasons for atheists or agnostics to think the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, or the Book of Mormon is the Word of God? Some do - according to a 2007 poll, 5% of atheists and agnostics think the Old Testament is the Word of God, 6% think the New Testament is the Word of God, and 3% think the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. Why?
Creation Ex Nihilo - If God Created All Existence Ex Nihilo, How did God Exist?
The Bible claims that God created all of existence out of nothing, ex nihilo, but if nothing existed before God created it all how did God exist? It's absurd to say that God could exist outside of existence, the very notion is self-contradictory and ridiculous. If God existed then there was something, not nothing.
Creating a Firmament - Why did God need a Day to Create a Firmament of Heaven?
The Bible says that God took an entire day to create something called a firmament, without being clear exactly what it's supposed to be. It's absurd that a god would require an entire day to create this firmament merely to separate the waters. Why was any effort needed at all, and what is a firmament that it was even needed to begin with?
Teaching Creationism in Public School: 56% Want Creationism in Public Schools (ADL, 2005)
Debating the teaching of creationism alongside evolution is common, but how many Christians really want to see creationism taught in public school science classes? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 56% of Americans want to see creationism taught alongside evolution; among fundamentalist, evangelical, and charismatic Christians, 70% want to see creationism taught in public school science classes alongside evolution.
Prayer in Public Schools: 47% Favor Prayer in Public Schools (ADL, 2005)
Public school prayer is the subject of many debates and court cases, but what do Americans really think about the place of prayer in public schools? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 44% of Americans think that time should be set aside for prayer at the beginning of the day while 47% would like to see religious expression throughout the day, even including group prayers. Whatever happened to students just keeping religion to themselves?
Religion is Losing Influence in America? 53% Believe Religion is Losing Influence (ADL, 2005)
The fear that religion is losing influence in America - or more specifically that Christianity is losing influence in America - seems common among Christians. But just how many Christians really believe that their religion is losing influence? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 53% of Americans believe that religion is losing influence in America. Among fundamentalist, evangelical, and charismatic Christians 60% believe religion is losing influence.
Imposing Christianity on America: 45% Say Religious Right Imposing Christianity (ADL, 2005)
One of the fears some have is that the Christian Right is only trying to impose their particular religious beliefs and practices on the rest of America. How many Americans are concerned about the goals and tactics of the Christian Right? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 45% of Americans thought that Christian Right leaders wanted to impose their religious beliefs on everyone; even 35% of fundamentalist, evangelical, and charismatic Christians believed that as well.
Religious Displays in Public Buildings: 64% Want Religious Symbols in Public Buildings (ADL, 2005)
The idea that public buildings should display more religious images and symbols like the Ten Commandments is often heard in America, but just how many Christians believe this? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 64% of all Americans believe that public buildings should have more religion; 89% of fundamentalist, evangelical, and charismatic Christians want to see more religious images like the Ten Commandments on buildings like court houses.
Animals as Herbivores - Errors in Genesis About All Animals Being Herbivores
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, makes a scientific mistake about the diet of animals. According to Genesis, all animals started out as herbivores and none were carnivores or omnivores. Science teaches us that there have always been carnivores and omnivores, not just herbivores. Some animals simply can't survive without meat or blood.
Time for Creation - Errors in Genesis about How Long Evolution of Earth, Universe Required
Perhaps the most fundamental scientific error in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is the time required for the creation of the universe. Genesis depicts God as requiring just six days for creating everything. Science, in contrast, has revealed to us that the universe is already more than 12 billion years old and that new celestial objects - stars, planets, solar systems, and galaxies - have been formed throughout that time.
Moon is Not a Light - Errors in Genesis About the Light of the Moon
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, makes a scientific error by describing the moon as a light. In Genesis, God is depicted as creating two lights for the sky: the greater light is the sun and the lesser light is the moon. This contradicts what we know from science, though, because the moon is not a light like the sun. The moon only reflects light from the sun. It's an error to claim that the moon is any sort of source of light like the sun and stars are.
Origins of Humans - Errors in Genesis about the Origins of Human Beings.
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is mistaken about how long was required for human beings to appear. According to Genesis, humans appeared instantaneously out of dust and breath. Science, in contrast, teaches that humans evolved over millions of years and out of earlier species that no longer exist. This is one of the most obvious scientific errors in the Bible and an error that has become the subject of some of the most intense debates.
Plants Without the Sun - Errors in Genesis about Having Plants Without Sunlight
There is a scientific error in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, about the nature of plants. Genesis depicts God creating plants on the third day even though the sun, which is responsible for the ability of plants to live, isn't created until the fourth day. You can't have plants without photosynthesis and you can't have photosynthesis without the sun, so the biblical account of creation contradicts what we know from science.
Dangerous Plants for Food? Errors in Genesis About the Safety of Eating Plants
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, has an error about the safety of eating plants. According to Genesis, God provides for humans every plant for consumption. Science, however, makes it clear that some plants are poisonous and will kill us; in fact, we knew that some plants are dangerous even before science and science simply explained how and why. It's an error to claim that every plant is safe and appropriate for us to eat.
Light Without a Light Source - Errors in Genesis About the Source of Light
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, contains an error about the origins and nature of light. Genesis depicts God creating light on the first day before the creation of anything that could serve as a source of light. The stars and the sun aren't created until the fourth day, even though they would have to be the source of light described at the beginning. You can't have light without a light source, so the Genesis account of the creation of light is a mistake.
Sun, Stars, Moon in the Firmament - Errors in Genesis About the Locations of Sun, Stars, Moon
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, has an error about the locations of the sun, moon and stars. Genesis depicts God as placing the sun, moon, and stars in the 'firmament,' as if they were inserted into some sort of dome above the earth. Science tells us that they are all different distances from us, with the stars being great distances away. It's a mistake for the Bible to describe the sun, moon, and starts as being 'set' in a 'firmament' above us.
Firmament of Heaven - Errors in Genesis About a Firmament in Heaven
One scientific error in Genesis is the description of a firmament dividing the waters below from the waters above. Christians have believed that this firmament in Genesis was literally a dome or bowl which separates the sky from the earth. Into this firmament Christians believed God affixed the stars, the sun, and the moon. This is a scientific error because we know that no such firmament exists. It's little more than a myth.
How Did God Separate Day & Night? Errors in Genesis About Separating Day & Night
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, has an error in the depiction of night being separated from day. According to Genesis, God created light and separated day from night on the first day. However, the sun and stars which produce light weren't created until the fourth day. Since the sun is what separates day from night, that separation couldn't have happened until the fourth day. So what happened on the first day?
Evolution vs. Creationism: 51% Believe God Created Humans in Present Form (CBS, 2005)
According to CBS polling data, Americans overwhelmingly believe in some form of creationism: 51% believe that God created humans in their present form and 30% believe God has guided the process of human evolution. A mere 15% accept the idea of evolution proceeding naturally like other natural processes in biology, chemistry, or geology. The driving force behind this denial of basic science is religion and religion alone.
How Americans View God - Americans View God in Four Different Ways (Froese, Bader 2010)
Belief in God is popular in America, but not everyone who believes in God believes the same things about God. Indeed, beliefs about God vary so greatly that it can be argued that people almost believe in different gods entirely. According to one survey, it's possible to divide up the different American views of God into four very different categories of beliefs.
God is a Person - 70% Believe God is a Person They Have a Relationship With (PRRI/RNS 2011)
Americans hold many different beliefs about the characteristics of God, but the belief that God is a person rather than an impersonal force is one of the most common. According to 2011 PRRI poll, 70% of Americans say that the statement
Disasters are Signs from God - 38% in America Say Disasters are Signs from God (PRRI/RNS 2011)
Belief that God communicates to people through signs in natural events is popular in American Christianity, but only a minority seem to really accept it. According to a 2011 PRRI poll, 16% completely agree and 22% mostly agree that God uses disasters like earthquakes and floods as signs for humans. A majority, 51%, disagree that God uses disasters as signs.
God Controls Everything - 56% Say that God Controls Everything that Happens (PRRI/RNS 2011)
Americans tend to believe that everything is under God's control and thus everything that happens must happen according to God's wishes. According to a 2011 PRRI poll, 35% of Americans completely agreed that God controls everything and 21% mostly agreed. That leaves only 34% who disagreed at all. The belief that God controls everything that happens carries significant consequences for other beliefs about the world and politics.
God Punishes Nations for Sins - 29% Say God Punishes Nations for Sins of Citizens (PRRI/RNS 2011)
Only a minority of Americans believe that God punishes entire nations for the sins of some of its citizens. According to a 2011 PRRI poll, 13% completely agreed and 16% mostly agreed with the idea of God punishing nations. A whopping 40% completely disagreed. These numbers are interesting given the fact that God punishing entire nations for the sins of some is standard biblical fare and a part of orthodox Christian theology.
Natural Disasters Test Our Faith - 40% Say God Tests Faith with Natural Disasters (PRRI/RNS 2011)
When asked whether God uses natural disasters as a way of testing people's faith, quite a few Americans agreed: 16% completely agreed and 24% mostly agreed that natural disasters can be a test from God. Slightly more Americans disagreed, even though there are plenty of examples in the Bible of God uses disasters, illness, and other ills to test human faith.
We Live in End Times - 44% Say Natural Disasters Show We Live in End Times (PRRI/RNS 2011)
Belief in Armageddon and the End Times is more popular in American Christianity than elsewhere, though less than a majority of American Christians seem to accept it. According to a 2011 PRRI poll, 21% completely agree and 23% mostly agree that severe natural disasters are evidence that we live today in the End Times as prophecised in the Bible. A slim majority, 52%, disagreed that severe natural disasters point to the End Times
Atheism vs. Agnosticism: What's the Difference Between Atheism and Agnosticism?
Many who call themselves agnostic think that agnosticism is a more 'reasonable' than atheism and thus reject the label of atheist. Their believe that atheism is more 'dogmatic,' and indistinguishable from theism is incorrect.
Reproductive Rights Resources: Abortion, Contraception, and Sex Education - Politics & Ethics of Reproductive Liberty, Abortion, Contraception, Sex
Abortion gets the most attention, but all areas of reproductive rights are a major battleground in the Christian Right's 'culture war' on modernity, Enlightenment, and liberty. Christian Right activists, politicians, and religious leaders seek to limit or criminalize abortion, contraception, emergency contraception, sex education, and other means by which people exercise control over their sexuality. It's not just a matter of privacy, but of personal autonomy and liberty in a secular society.
Abortion & Contraception: What if They Really Were Private? What Would Happen? Imagine if Contraception and Abortion Occurred in Complete Privacy
Both abortion and contraception take place in a semi-public manner because they must be procured in public. Even contraception, which is used in the privacy of one's own home, must be purchased in public and is advertised in public. The public aspects cause the involvement of others in a public manner, making control and even restrictions easier. What if this could all change? Abortion and contraception are defended on the basis of privacy, so what if they really were completely private?
Confidence vs. Knowledge - Does Confidence in a Belief Equal Knowledge?
There seems to be a popular confusion between confidence and knowledge: the confidence with which a belief is held becomes confused with evidence that the belief is true. Those who appear most sincere are assumed to be the most truthful; those who are doubtful and questioning are assumed to be less reliable. This confusion between confidence and knowledge occurs in many subjects - especially politics - and is not at all limited to religion or theology. But is it perhaps more common in religion?
Smug, Arrogant Atheists - How Are Atheists Smug or Arrogant?
It's common to see complaints and accusations that atheists are arrogant or even smug. The point seems to be that atheists should re-frame their position radically so as to present themselves in a more appealing, amicable manner. There are at least two problems: it's not always clear that the accusation is legitimate and, even when it is, that the alleged arrogance is genuinely a problem. Too often, the accusation is made as if it were self-evidently true and bad. This needs to be challenged
Interview Your Political Candidates - Ask Politicians About Atheism, Secularism
How do you decide which political candidate to vote for? Do you vote for the same political party as usual? Do you go over a candidate's record and positions? Even if you do basic research, when was the last time you saw much or any information about a candidate's views on issues like equal civil rights for atheists and church/state separation? Such information is rare, which means you need to do some original research. You need to interview the political candidates asking for your vote.
What's So 'New' About 'New Atheism'? What is New Atheism?
If there were anything about 'new atheism' that was neutral or objective, then it would be possible to point to something genuinely 'new' which is common to all those who qualify as 'new atheists' and which cannot normally be found among 'old' atheists. The people using this label shouldn't have any trouble citing to the qualities, behaviors, or attitudes they think are new - but thus far, none have managed. Indeed, few if any have even tried.
What About Metaphorical Gods? Metaphorical Gods are a Waste of Time
One of the most significant developments in Christian theology during the modern era may be the shift from talking about God as an actually existing person to God as impersonal force or even a metaphor for something else, like the 'ultimate ground of being.' Not all of theology or all theologians have made such a shift, but enough have in order to create an important strand in contemporary theological thinking. But does this lead us to a
How to Be More Skeptical - Steps to Improve Your Skeptical Thinking
It's easy to say 'be more skeptical' or 'exercise better critical thinking,' but just how do you go about doing that? Where are you supposed to learn critical thinking? Learning skepticism isn't like learning history - it's not a set of facts, dates, or ideas. Skepticism is a process; critical thinking is something you do. The only way to learn skepticism and critical thinking then is to do them... but to do them, you have to learn them. How can you break out of this endless circle?
Science Confirming Faith - Should Theologians Use Science to Confirm Faith?
Much ink has been spilled on the question of the nature of the relationship between science and religion. Most writings in this area can probably be classed as either attacks on religion's perceived encroachments on the scientific realm or apologetics for religion's insistence on knowing better than scientists - sometimes even in fields of scientific endeavor. Not everything is quite so polarized as this division sounds, but it describes the general trends well enough.
Megan Hartley Interview - Interview with Megan Hartley
What would you do if your community erected or permitted a religious creche display at Christmas, but nothing secular and nothing for any other religion? Megan Hartley complained and as it turns out, the borough council already knew that their actions were illegal so they immediately moved the creche. Local complaints led to a reversal of that decision, though the creche would be accompanied by secular displays.
Agnosticism / Atheism Readers' Choice Awards, 2011
Agnosticism / Atheism Readers' Choice Awards, 2011
Retrospective Design? Retrospective Reasoning Undermines Intelligent Design
Many arguments offered by religious apologists and Intelligent Design defenders runs along the lines of 'some feature of the world appears to be perfectly suited to us or some other inhabitant of the world, therefore it must have been designed specifically for those using it.' This is retrospective reasoning, which is to say that the nature of something is reasoned out retrospectively from the perspective of where it ends up rather than prospectively from the perspective of where it was headed.
Facts vs. Faith - How do Believers Separate Facts from Faith?
Debates about the nature and value of faith occupy a great deal of time in conversations between Christians and atheists - and it's a frequent subject for believers as well. It's not a concept that has been given an especially coherent and straightforward definition, unfortunately, and that's especially serious given just how central 'faith' is to so many religions. How can they insist on the importance of 'faith' unless they can reliably distinguish between faith and non-faith?
When Did God Separate Day & Night? Contradictions in Genesis on Day & Night
Genesis has contradictory statements on God creating light and separating day from night. First Genesis says that God created light then divided light from dark on the first day. Later, though, Genesis says that God created the sun on the fourth day - but for us, it is precisely the sun which creates our light and which separates our day from our night. So when did God really separate day from night?
How Did God Create Birds? Contradictions in Genesis on How God Created Birds
Genesis has contradictory accounts of how the birds were created by God. The Bible's first creation story says that the birds were created from 'the waters.' The Bible's second creation story says that the birds were created 'out of the ground.' Since it had already been established earlier in Genesis that the land had been separated from the waters, these two Bible stories contradict each other. So how were the birds created: from the waters or from the ground?
How Long Did Creation Take? Contradictions in Genesis on How Long Creation Required
Genesis has contradictory accounts of how long it took for heaven and earth to be created. The Bible's first creation story is the longer and better-known account of creation taking six days. The Bible's second creation story is much shorter and depicts the creation of heaven and earth requiring just one day. So how much time was required for the creation of heaven and earth?
How Was Eve Created? Contradictions in Genesis on How Eve Was Created
Genesis has contradictory accounts of when and how Eve, the first woman, was created. The Bible's first creation story says that Eve was created at the same time as Adam. The Bible's second creation story says that Adam was created first, then all the animals were created, and finally Eve was created from one of Adam's ribs. So when was Eve created relative to Adam and other animals?
When Did God Create Animals? Contradictions in Genesis on When God Created Animals
Genesis has contradictory accounts of when animals were created by God. The Bible's first creation story says animals were created first and humans were created second. The Bible's second creation story, though, says that the first man was created first and all the animals were created later. So when were animals created relative to humans: before humans or after humans?
When Did God Create the Stars? Bible Contradiction on When the Stars Were Created
The Bible has contradictory accounts of when the stars were created. The first creation story in Genesis says that the stars were created on the fourth day, the day after the earth was created. Job, however, says that at the time the corner stone of the earth was laid, the stars already existed. So when exactly did God create the stars: before or after God created the earth?
When Were Humans Created? Contradictions in Genesis on When Humans Were Created
Genesis has contradictory accounts of when humans were created. The Bible's first creation story has humans being created after all the other animals had been created. The Bible's second creation story has humans being created first. Well, to be specific it has the first man being create first, then all the other animals, then finally the first woman is created. So when exactly were humans created relative to other animals?
When Were Plants Created? Contradictions in Genesis on When Plants Were Created
Genesis has contradictory accounts of when plants were supposed to have been created. The Bible's first creation story says that plants were created on the third day while humans were created on the sixth day. The Bible's second creation story doesn't cite any days, but it does state that when plants were created there were no humans present and that the first humans were created after the plants. So when were plants created, exactly?
Was God Pleased or Displeased with Creation? Bible is Inconsistent on God's Reaction to Creation
Genesis has inconsistent depictions of how God feels about his creation - the earth and its inhabitants. Immediately after creation, Genesis says that God was pleased with his work. Later on, though, Genesis says that God displeased - so displeased, in fact, that God regrets creating at all and attempts to kill everyone. So was God pleased or displeased with his handiwork?
Is Reproduction Good or Bad? Bible is Inconsistent on Whether Reproduction is Good
The Bible is inconsistent on whether human reproduction is good or not. Genesis depicts God ordering the first humans to reproduce; in fact, the command to 'be fruitful and multiply' is sometimes treated as a command to have lots of children. Leviticus, in contrast, has God treating human reproduction as 'unclean' in a way that makes it seem like a sin or disease. So is reproduction good or bad?
Who Created Heaven & Earth? Bible Inconsistency on Who Created Heaven & Earth
The Bible has inconsistent accounts of who created the heavens and the earth. The Old Testament of the Bible is clear that God created everything alone. The New Testament, however, inserts Jesus into the stories and says that God and Jesus created everything together. So which part of the Bible is correct about who was involved with creation: the Old or the New Testament?
Religion is Under Attack in America? 64% Believe Religion is Under Attack (ADL, 2005)
The claim that religion is under attack, or even that Christianity specifically is under attack in America, is often heard from American Christians. But just how many really do believe that their religion is under attack? A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 64% of Americans believe that religion is under attack. Among Christians who attend church weekly, 75% who believe religion is under attack.
Agnosticism and Commitment: Are Agnostics Just Sitting On the Fence?
Many people treat agnosticism as a 'non-committal' approach to the question of God's existence - this is why it is so often treated as though it were a
Defining Agnosticism: Standard Dictionaries
To understand the concept of agnosticism, it can be helpful to learn a bit more about its history. It has been used in a variety of ways, not all of which are entirely compatible. They may be similar, but there enough differences that there can be some confusion.
Agnosticism & Thomas Henry Huxley: How Did Huxley Understand Being an Agnostic?
The word agnosticism was coined by Professor Thomas Henry Huxley at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in 1876. Huxley viewed agnosticism as rejecting the knowledge claims of both 'strong' atheism and traditional theism. More importantly, though, agnosticism for him was a method of doing things.
Agnosticism & Robert Green Ingersoll: How Did Ingersoll Understand Being an Agnostic?
Robert Green Ingersoll was a famous and influential proponent of secularism and religious skepticism during the mid- to late 19th century in America. He was a strong advocate both of the abolition of slavery and women's rights, something that was rather unpopular. The position which really caused him problems, however was his strong defense of agnosticism and his stringent anticlericalism.
Philosophic Origins of Agnosticism: Agnostics Before Huxley
Although Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term agnosticism, it did not spring fully-formed from his mind. On the contrary, Huxley was relying upon a long philosophic tradition of religious and epistemological skepticism when he argued that we should approach the question of the existence of God in the 'agnostic' fashion he described.
Strong Agnosticism vs. Weak Agnosticism: Different Agnostic Perspectives
Agnosticism may simply be the state of not knowing whether any gods exist or not, but people can take this position for different reasons and apply it in different ways. These differences then create variations in the ways in which one can be an agnostic. It is thus possible to separate agnostics in two groups, labeled strong agnosticism and weak agnosticism as analogs to strong atheism and weak atheism.
Introduction to Agnosticism: What is Agnostic Theism? Believing in God, but not Knowing God
Many people who adopt the label of agnostic assume that, in doing so, they also exclude themselves from the category of theist. There exists a common perception that agnosticism is more 'reasonable' than theism because it eschews theism's dogmatism. Is that accurate or are such agnostics missing something important?
What is Agnosticism? A Short Explanation of the Agnostic Position
So, what is the definition of agnosticism? Some imagine that agnosticism represents an alternative to atheism, but those people have typically bought into the mistaken notion of the single, narrow definition of atheism. Strictly speaking, agnosticism is about knowledge, and knowledge is a related but separate issue from belief, the domain of theism and atheism.
Pleasures of Atheism: Why Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics Find Joy in a Godless Existence
It's impossible to count how many times atheists, agnostics, secularists and freethinkers are told by religious folks of various faiths that we will regret our 'godless' or 'sinful' life sooner or later. I can honestly say I haven't had any regrets for my decision to trade in what I perceived to be the miseries of traditional Catholicism for the pleasures of freethinking.
Critiquing Christianity: Defining Christianity, Christians, and the Christian Religion
When criticizing Christianity, what is it that we criticize? Are we only attacking a 'false' form of Christianity, ignoring the 'True Christianity' which is immune to such comments? That is certainly what many Christian apologists believe, basing their arguments upon subtle but often question-begging assumptions about what qualifies as 'real' Christianity.
What Type of Religion is Christianity? Defining Christianity, Christians, and the Christian Religion
Approximately one-third of all people in the world belong to the Christian religion. There is no question that as a religion, Christianity is one of the largest and most powerful forces on the planet - indeed, it would probably dominate the planet if it were not for the fact that it is divided in so many different ways. But what sort of religion is Christianity?
What is Christianity? Defining Christianity, Christians, and the Christian Religion
What is Christianity? That's a difficult question to answer, but it is also an important question. There are obvious implications for Christians themselves: unless they have some sort of definition in mind, how can they discern who is and is not an adherent of their religious faith? But it is also crucial for those who would offer critiques of Christianity because without some sort of definition in mind, how can they tell what and whom they are criticizing?
Demographics of World Christianity: Defining Christianity, Christians, and the Christian Religion
People are often interested in statistics concerning how many people in the world are Christian, how many actually go to church, how many Christians are Catholic, and so on. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get any sort of really accurate information on such topics, whether involving Christianity or any other religion.
Professors on the Take: Selling Out Students to Publishers
Everyone who has taken any college classes is probably familiar with the ordeal of purchasing textbooks. Some books can cost in excess of a hundred dollars while the full textbook requirements for some classes can cost a student two or three hundred dollars total. Presumably these books are chosen by the professor because he feels that they are the best and most appropriate for that class in that subject - but what if that isn't the only factor in such choices?
Animal Suffering & Religious Obligations: Questions of Morality and Ethics
Devout religious believers are generally given a fair amount of leeway in society when it comes to their ability to follow the dictates of their conscience and their religious obligations. They are not allowed to willfully ignore general laws, at least not usually; but in turn those laws are often framed in such a way as to provide space for religions to operate. Should this hold true when it comes to ritual animal slaughter, or should traditional religious methods of killing animals be banned?
What are we, who produce 'art'? Art, Technology, and Humanity
The creation of human art has always been deeply intertwined with questions about technology, in part because technological development has helped drive the sorts of art possible, and in part because it causes us to reconsider just what we think art is supposed to be. But at every stage there has continued to be a human element to the production of 'art' - technology's role, as medium or mediator, has remained only partial. What happens when the human element is removed?
Atheism for Beginners - The Very Basic Facts About Atheism
There are a lot of resources here about atheism for beginners: what atheism is, what it isn't, and refutations of many popular myths about atheism. I've discovered, though, that it isn't always easy to direct people to all of the information they need - there are too many people who believe too many falsehoods about atheism and atheists. That's why I've collected here some of the basics about atheism for beginners that I find myself linking to most often.
God, Morality, & Principled Choices: Is Divine Command Morality Even Moral? Obedience to Arbitrary Commands Rather than Principled Reason Isn't Moral
The divine command theory of ethics is the idea that nothing is right or wrong outside of God's will. If God wills something, then it's good. If God wills that something not be done, then it's wrong. Good and evil are not independent of God and God's will. Can we really say that this is a genuine theory of morality, though? If not, then divine command theory isn't merely a wrong theory of morality, but isn't even a legitimate theory of morality in the first place.
Evolution Chronology - Chronology of Events in Evolutionary Theory
The development and events surrounding the theory of evolution can be as interesting as the progress of evolution itself. From the life of Charles Darwin to the various legal battles in America over teaching evolution in public schools, few scientific theories have been associated with as much controversy as the theory of evolution and the idea of common descent. Understanding the timeline of background events is important to understanding evolutionary theory itself.
Evolution & Law - Why Care About Laws on Teaching Evolution?
Does it really matter if legislatures try to limit or eliminate the teaching of evolution? Is it all that important when school boards try to force science teachers to include non-scientific theories about the development of life alongside evolution in their lessons? Yes, people who care about science, religion, and secularism should care very deeply about efforts by some Christians to get schools to undermine proper science and replace it with theology that is falsely presented as science.
Evolution Textbook Disclaimers: Should Biology Texts Have Disclaimers?
In recent years a popular tactic among creationists has been to get 'disclaimers' put in school science texts. Because creationist efforts to have creationism taught alongside evolution have failed, they want to use disclaimers to cast doubt on the truth of evolution by telling students something like 'evolution is only a theory.' In fact, the close similarity of all these disclaimers is a sign that they are part of an organized effort by Evolution Deniers to undermine science in schools.
Transitional Fossils & Evolution - What Are Transitional Fossils?
Fossils that show intermediate characteristics are called transitional fossils - they have characteristics that are intermediate in nature to organisms that existed both prior to it and after it. Transitional fossils are strongly suggestive of evolution because they indicate the progression of from just as evolutionary theory predicts. Transitional fossils are frequently misunderstood, and like macroevolution, creationists tend to redefine the term to suit their purposes.
Re-booting Humanism: Modern Humanism Has Become Outdated; Humanists Need a New Humanism Today
It's not that a key element of humanism isn't atheism (or agnosticism), it's that the negative and combative stance of humanism-as-atheism (or secularism) wins no friends and more enemies. A re-booted humanism would recognize ethics and naturalism as its core. It would be defined as a sociopolitical philosophy, both democratic and non-hierarchal, which is informed by scientific naturalism, and promotes individual freedom, economic and social equality, human cooperation and planetary peace.
Humanism & The Afterlife: Metaphysics of Humanist Philosophy
Belief in an afterlife has been an important feature of many, albeit not all, religions in human history. There are many possible reasons for why such a belief might have developed, all hotly debated by scholars in different fields. What is not debated very much, however, is the fact that such a belief is certainly attractive - after all, who wants to die? The promise of being able to live on even after one's physical demise certainly has advantages.
Humanism in Ancient Greece: History of Humanism With Ancient Greek Philosophers
Although the term 'humanism' was not applied to a philosophy or belief system until the European Renaissance, those early humanists were inspired the ideas and attitudes which they discovered in forgotten manuscripts from ancient Greece. This Greek humanism can be identified by a number of shared characteristics...
Humanism in Ancient Rome: History of Humanism With Ancient Roman Philosophers
Although much of what we regard as the ancient forerunners of humanism tend to be found in Greece, the original humanists of the European Renaissance first looked to the forerunners who were also their own ancestors: the Romans. It was in the philosophical, artistic, and political writings of the ancient Romans that they found inspiration for their own move away from traditional religion and otherworldly philosophy in favor of a this-worldly concern for humanity.
Being a Humanist: What Does It Mean to Be a Humanist?
Knowing about humanism isn't necessarily the same as understanding humanism - in particular, it doesn't tell you what is necessary for being a humanist. So what does it mean to be a humanist - is there a club to join? Is there a church that you attend? What does being a humanist require?
Cultural & Literary Humanism: Humanist Philosophy & Cultural Traditions
The label 'miscellaneous' might seem derogatory, but it isn't meant to be such. The types of humanism covered in this section are the types which are simply not commonly thought of when humanism is discussed. They are valid categories, to be sure, but they aren't the focus of most of the discussions on this site.
Deism & Humanism: History of Humanism With Ancient Deistic Philosophers
Deism is not generally thought of as a type of humanism, but it did play an important role in the development of humanist thinking in Europe. For deists, the universe was believed to be rational and ordered because that is how God wanted it to be; God, in turn, is also a rational being with rational desires, rational goals, and rational methods which are understandable through human reason. It is perhaps obvious why such a god would be appealing to Enlightenment rationalists.
Humanism & Evil: Philosophy of Religion in Humanism
One of the central concerns of religion and much that goes on in theology is that of evil and human suffering. Why do they exist and what can be done about them? A variety of different explanations and coping strategies have been devised in the various religions of the world, but most of them have been rejected by humanism.
Humanism & Gods: Philosophy of Religion in Humanism
As with the supernatural generally, humanists are also not very concerned with gods specifically. Indeed, if it weren't for so many believers insisting upon the importance of their various gods, humanists probably wouldn't have much at all to say about their possible existence. The Humanist Manifesto of 1933 doesn't even mention gods, the second Humanist Manifesto of 1973 mentions God just three times...
Philosophic Humanism: Modern Humanist Philosophy and Religion
Humanism as a philosophy today can be as little as an perspective on life or as much as an entire way of life; the common feature is that it is always focused primarily on human needs and interests. Philosophic Humanism can be distinguished form other forms of humanism precisely by the fact that it constitutes some sort of philosophy, whether minimalist or far-reaching, that helps define how a person lives and how a person interacts with other humans.
Secular Humanism: Not Just for Atheists - How can Secular Humanism be Compatible with Theism?
Admittedly, it's a rather odd philosophical niche to occupy: a secular humanist theist. Some might argue that it's impossible to be both theistic and a secular humanist - I must be some sort of religious humanist instead. Yet one may legitimately ask whether the
Humanism and the Reformation: History of Humanism With Ancient Reformation Philosophers
It is a historical irony that the Reformation created a political and religious culture in northern Europe that was especially hostile to the spirit of free inquiry and scholarship that characterized Humanism. Why? Because the Protestant Reformation owed so much to the developments of Humanism and the work done by humanists to change how people thought.
Humanism & Religion: Philosophy of Religion in Humanism
Much of the time, the humanistic perspective on religion is critical: humanists critique religious dogmas, religious violence, religious history, and the belief in the supernatural common to so many religious systems. It is easy, then, to regard the relationship between religion and humanism as fundamentally antagonistic. But is that really all there is?
Religious vs. Secular Humanism: What's the Difference?
The nature of religious humanism and the relationship between humanism and religion is of profound importance for humanists of all types. According to some secular humanists, religious humanism is a contradiction in terms. According to some religious humanists, all humanism is religious - even secular humanism, in its own way. Who is right?
What is Religious Humanism? Humanist Philosophy as a Religious Position
Because Modern Humanism is so often associated with secularism, it is sometimes easy to forget that humanism also has a very strong and very influential religious tradition associated with it. Early on, especially during the Renaissance, this religious tradition was primarily Christian in nature; today, however, it has become much more diverse.
Renaissance Humanism: History of Humanism With Ancient Renaissance Philosophers
The title 'Renaissance Humanism' is applied to the philosophical and cultural movement that swept across Europe from the 14th through 16th centuries, effectively ending the Middle Ages and leading into the modern era. Pioneers of Renaissance Humanism were inspired by the discovery and spread of important classical texts from ancient Greece and Rome which offered a different vision of life and humanity than what had been common during previous centuries of Christian domination.
What is Secular Humanism? Ethics of a Philosophy Focused on Humanity and Human Needs
Secular humanism of course shares with other forms of humanism the basic principles of an overriding concern with humanity, the needs and desires of human beings, and the importance of human experiences. For secular humanists, it is the human and the humane which must be the focus of our ethical attention.
Is Secular Humanism a Religion? Many Say It Is, but Secularists Say It Isn't
Many people disagree with or even loathe secular humanism. A common complaint heard from critics, usually Christian fundamentalists, is that secular humanism is actually a religion - but upon what basis would they make such a claim? Is secular humanism really a religion?
Humanism & Souls: Metaphysics of Humanist Philosophy
Souls are typically a feature of supernatural beliefs - not inherently, but because belief in them is supported by religious tradition and not by any scientific evidence. While humanism does not necessarily exclude belief in anything supernatural, it does tend to exclude belief in things which are not only unsupported by science, but which in fact is contradicted by science.
Humanism & the Supernatural: Metaphysics of Humanist Philosophy
As a general principle, humanists are not particularly concerned with anything that might qualify as 'the supernatural.' Most humanists reject the existence of the supernatural entirely, but there is nothing self-contradictory about a person who is both a humanist and who believes in something that might qualify as supernatural.
Humanism & the Universe: Metaphysics of Humanist Philosophy
Many of the basic questions in metaphysics are centered around the reality we exist in - or, more specifically, the universe we exist in. What is it, why does it exist, and what fundamental nature does it have? The humanistic view of the universe is fundamentally naturalistic.
What is Humanism? What is Humanist Philosophy?
At its most basic, humanism involves any concern with humans (including human needs, human desires, and human experiences) first and foremost. Often, this also translates into giving human beings a special place in the universe on account of their abilities and faculties.
Was Jesus Married? Is it Possible that Jesus Married Mary Magdalene and Had Children?
A question which has intrigued many biblical scholars, and which has been made more popular by fictional books like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, is whether Jesus ever married. There are no explicit statements in the Bible that Jesus was married or that he was not married; thus, any conclusions either way must be based upon circumstantial evidence. Orthodox church tradition says that Jesus was unmarried, but could orthodoxy and tradition about Jesus be wrong?
Holy Foreskin! Whatever Happened to Jesus Foreskin?
The power and popularity of relics in Medieval Europe was dependent upon the saintliness of the original
Branches of Philosophy: Thirteen Different Fields of Philosophical Inquiry
Philosophy is not usually treated as a single, unified subject. It is typically broken down into several specialties and it is common for contemporary philosophers to be experts in one field but know little about another. Philosophy addresses complex issues from all facets of life - being an expert on all of philosophy would entail being an expert on all of the life’s most fundamental questions.
What is Philosophy? Overview of Philosophical Resources and Information
Philosophy is not the same as
Imagine all the People: Human Nature, War, Peace & Humanism - A Humanist View on War, Peace and Human Nature
Humanism means different things to different people. Some focus on metaphysics and note that humanism is free of the dogma and supernaturalism of theism. Others point to methodology, advocating for scientific naturalism and skepticism. And still others emphasize the social justice elements of the humanist tradition. But what if we hold so dearly to one of these ideals that we forfeit the others to the supernaturalists or authoritarians?
Introduction to Philosophy: Why Do Atheists Need Philosophy? We Need to Reason Well About Life
Defining and explaining philosophy is no easy task - the very nature of the subject seems to defy description. The problem is that philosophy, in one way or another, ends up touching upon nearly every aspect of human life. Philosophy has something to say when it comes to science, art, religion, politics, medicine, and a host of other topics. This is also why a basic grounding in philosophy can be so important for irreligious atheists.
Is Religion Necessary for Morality, Democracy, and Justice?
One common complaint about secularism is that religion and belief in God are prerequisites for morality, justice, and a democratic society. The basic premise here is that the only values which ultimately matter are those which are transcendent, and such values can only be perceived and understood through religious tradition and a connection with the divine.
Religion as Faith and Ultimate Concern: What is Religion?
There is a common perception that religion is defined not so much by particular doctrines (like the existence of a god) or in particular functions (like providing a structure for morals) but instead by attitude. One of the most famous ways this has been expressed in theologian Paul Tillich's idea that religion and even theism is the focus of our 'ultimate concern.'
Adolf Hitler: Fascism is Closer to Christianity than Liberalism or Marxism
What did Adolf Hitler think about the relationship between Christianity and Fascism? Hitler wrote: 'The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy ...proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism, to which the so-called Catholic Center Party sees itself so closely bound, to the detriment of Christianity today and our German people.'
Adolf Hitler: As a Christian, I Feel that My Lord and Savior was a Fighter - Adolf Hitler was a Christian Who Looked to Jesus as a Model and Inspirati
What did Adolf Hitler think about Jesus Christ? According to Hitler's own words: 'My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.'
Adolf Hitler: Compromises with Atheism Destroy Religious, Ethical Values - Adolf Hitler Promoted Christians as the Foundation for Moral, Ethical Life
What did Adolf Hitler think about Christianity vs. atheism? Hitler said: 'By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values.'
Third Reich Christianity: Nazi Germany as Implementation of a Christian Agenda - How Was Nazi Germany an Example of Christian Nationalism & Power?
Hitler and the Nazis are often cited as an example of the horrible crimes which atheists have committed in the 20th century. They are only assumed to be atheists, though, because people can't imagine Christians doing such things; in reality, Hitler explicitly appealed to Christianity on a regular basis and this was part of why he was popular. Not every Christian supported the Nazis, of course, but he was most popular with conservative Christians seeking a restoration of traditional values.
Race vs. Gender in Nazi Germany & Modern America: Christian Nationalists Using Biology to Define Social Roles
If there are biological differences of race, why is it invalid to treat people of different races in different ways but valid to treat different sexes in different ways? What arguments against differential racial treatment don't also work against differential gender treatment? I'm not sure there are any. Might this mean that people who accept one are likely to accept the other - that people who accept differential treatment of the sexes are more likely to accept differential treatment of races?
Alternative Holidays for Atheists? Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
A question which faces many atheists is whether or not they should avoid prevalent religious holidays and instead adopt their own holidays. One method would be to develop new, uniquely atheist or humanist holidays - for example a celebration of historical developments in freethought. Another method is to adopt a holiday which is used by some but which might also have significance beyond religion, for example Winter Solstice.
Celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas: Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
Should you participate in acknowledging, much less celebrating, any aspect of a religious holiday? If a holiday has no other aspects to it but religion and religious ritual, there are few opportunities for atheists to participate. In such cases, if you do participate, it will likely be because some other factor like family unity weighs more heavily on you than does the principle of avoiding religion.
Saying Grace With Family: Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
A common tradition among many religions is to say some sort of thanks to their god for the food which people eat. As with participation in holiday services at churches, people who might otherwise never bother with
Atheism, Holidays and Rituals: Questions, Problems, Advice
Atheists spend quite a lot of time discussing religion and deeper questions of whether or not there is any rational justification for believing in gods. However, there are also much more practical issues which merit close discussion. One issue which affects pretty much all atheists is how, or even if, they might celebrate local religious holidays (or secular holidays with an important religious component).
Finding Meaning in Holidays: Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
So, the way in which an atheist might best approach the question of religious holidays and the creation of new atheist holidays is to ask: What might this mean to me? Are you going to let Christians
Revealing Atheism on Religious Holidays: Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
Perhaps a core issue which will influence all others is whether or not those around you even know of your unbelief. If they do, then they will be aware of the fact that you may feel, at the very least, uncomfortable or uninterested in the more religious aspects to the holiday season. But if they do not realize that you are an atheist, it will become much more difficult to assert yourself in any fashion and resist social pressures to conform to traditional religious observances.
Families and Traditions: Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
Perhaps the biggest loss in not attending religious ceremonies at a church and not participating in religion-themed rituals is the loss of joint family activities and the diminishing of a family tradition. If this bothers you and others in your family, you should entertain the possibility of developing some substitute activities and starting some new traditions which might genuinely include all of the family regardless of belief.
What are Holidays and Rituals? Atheism, Holidays and Rituals
Holidays can serve to form a connection to your own past by evoking memories of past celebration. Holidays can form and reinforce connections with the friends and family with whom you celebrate. Holiday events can also create connections across an entire society as people develop parallel experiences which forge subtle bonds.
Mixed Marriages with Atheists & Theists: Are they doomed or can they work?
Can mixed marriages between atheists and theists work or are such people so different that their marriage would be doomed to failure? Marriage is one of the most intimate and serious relationships a person can have in their lives; it is thus understandable that people wonder if the gap between atheism and theism will create further differences which prevent individuals from making a marriage work.
Technology and Religion, Technology as Religion
Many secularists and nonbelievers of various sorts tend to regard religion and science as fundamentally incompatible. This incompatibility is also imagined to extend to the relationship between religion and technology, since technology is a product of science and science cannot proceed without technology, especially today. Thus atheists marvel in disbelief how many engineers are also creationists, how many people in high-tech industries display high-energy religious motivations.
Where is the Virgin Mary Today? Pareidolia: Seeing Religious Faces Everywhere - Why Do People Think They See Mary or Jesus on Windows and Toast?
Sometimes it seems that every other week, someone is claiming to see images of religious figures (Mary and Jesus are the most common) on walls, in windows, or in their breakfast foods. What prompts these visions? Why would Jesus or Mary wish to make an appearance on someone's toast some morning? There's a curious disconnect with such incidents because the people can believe in them fervently, but religious authorities and institutions tend to be much more skeptical and critical.
Acknowledging Religion & Establishment: Can Government Acknowledge God & Religion?
No government body or institution is permitted to promote, endorse, or support any religion. Conservative Christians who want government to do exactly that have trouble arguing directly in favor of it, so they seek ways to argue that such actions are something different entirely. For example, positive government references to Christian beliefs and practices are merely ways to 'acknowledge' the importance of belief in God in American history, not an endorsement of that belief. Right?
Gods' Contradictory Characteristics: Making God Impossible to Exist - How Credible is God, Theism, When the Characteristics are Contradictory?
Theists often claim that their gods are perfect beings; they describe gods, however, in contradictory and incoherent ways. Numerous characteristics are attributed to their gods, some of which are impossible and some combinations of which are impossible. As described, it's unlikely or impossible for these gods to exist. This doesn't mean that no god could possibly exist, just that the ones theists claim to believe in don't.
Religion & Religious Doctrines are Self-Contradictory: How Can They All Be True? - Contradictions in Religion are a Reason Not to Believe Them
No religion is perfectly consistent when it comes to doctrines, ideas, and history. Every ideology, philosophy, and cultural tradition has inconsistencies and contradictions, so this shouldn't be surprising — but other ideologies and traditions aren't alleged to be divinely created or divinely sanctioned systems for following the wishes of a god. The state of religion in the world today is more consistent with the premise that they are man-made institutions.
Gods Are Too Similar to Believers: Gods Probably Created in the Image of Humans - How Likely is it that God Would Look, Think, Act Just Like Believers
A few cultures, like ancient Greece, have postulated gods which appear to be as natural as human beings, but in general gods are supernatural. This means that they are fundamentally different from human beings or anything on earth. Despite this, however, theists consistently describe their gods in ways that make the supernatural appear almost mundane. Gods share so many characteristics with humans that it has been argued that gods were made in the image of man.
Too Many Gods, Too Many Religions: All Can't Be True, But All Can Be False - Multiple Gods & Religions Are a Reason Not to Believe in Any
It is difficult to credit any one religion as being True or any one god as being True when there have been so many throughout human history. None appears to have any greater claim to being more credible or reliable than any other. Why Christianity and not Judaism? Why Islam and not Hinduism? Why monotheism and not polytheism? Every position has had its defenders, all as ardent as those in other traditions. They can't all be right, but they can all be wrong.
Who Made God? An Atheological Argument from Design
Who Made God? According to some, nothing so complex as the universe could exist without having been designed by a creator. But where does that leave the traditional concept of God? Isn't God more complex than the universe? Doesn't God require a creator?
Immorality of the Biblical God: Can God be both Moral and Immoral?
An important objection against the existence of the god of the Bible focuses on this god's character. The god of the Bible isn't simply an ideal abstraction; in Western religious traditions we find many stories about what God has done or commanded believers to do. Often such actions are contrary to basic moral principles; at the same time, God is described as the source of morality. How can this be?
Omnipotence and Evil: Can Evil Exist with an Omnipotent God?
Is the existence of evil compatible with the existence of an omnipotent god with the ability to desire to eliminate evil? That seems unlikely and many atheological arguments have been based upon just that. A solid argument makes the existence of the traditional God unlikely at best - and belief in it unreasonable.
Perfect Creator: Is It Possible for a Perfect Creator to Exist? (First Argument)
Two qualities often attributed to God are perfection and being the ‘creator‘ of the universe (if not more). Are these qualities compatible or incompatible? There are two good arguments that they are incompatible; and to the degree that they are valid, the existence of such a god is improbable at the very least, if not impossible.
Argument from Virtue: Can a Perfect God be Virtuous?
The God traditionally believed in under philosophical theism must be all-virtuous, but certain virtues (like courage) can only be developed in the context of flawed, fallible creatures. Ergo, a perfect God cannot be all-virtuous. If God is perfect, God cannot be virtuous; if God is virtuous, God cannot be perfect. One or the other attribute must give way and if theists insist on ascribing both to God, then God is logically impossible.
Argument from Common Consent: Does God Exist Because People Believe It?
This argument was once used by theologians and philosophers, but has fallen out of favor among those who know what they are talking about. The reason, as it shall be seen, is that this is not simply an flawed argument but can also be a logical fallacy.
Argument from Consciousness: Does the Human Mind Prove the Existence of God?
According to this argument, neither naturalism nor materialism can give an adequate explanation of mental events like consciousness. Consequently, divine and supernatural explanations are needed to explain why we are conscious and how our brains work.
Cosmological Argument: Does the Universe Require a First Cause?
The Cosmological Argument covers a lot of ground and takes a number of different forms. The most common deal with two ideas: that the existence of the universe requires a god as an explanation (First Cause - this form is also called the Etiological Argument) or that order in the universe requires a god as an explanation.
America a Christian Nation - Is the United States a Christian Nation?
Even some ostensible supporters of church/state separation think America is or was founded as a Christian Nation and this belief is very poplar among Christian Nationalists, Christian Supremacists and all opponents of church/state separation. The central problem with this claim is its ambiguity: what does
Myth: Democracy is Based on Christian Principles, Requires Christianity - Would Democracy Not Exist without Christianity, Christian Teachings?
The ideal of democracy is such an important aspect of American history, government, and politics that it has become part of how Americans identify themselves. Many Americans also construct their identity around Christian beliefs, so it is understandable that democracy and Christianity would become intertwined and some would insist that democracy itself is a product of Christianity. Some Christians even argue that without Christianity and Christian principles, there can be no democracy.
Myth: Equality is a Christian Principle and is Based on Christianity - Does Equality in Society Require the Background of a Christian Culture?
Among the many things which some Christians try to take credit for is the ideal of human equality that lies behind modern democratic institutions. Democracy functions on the premise that all people are equal and should have an equal voice in how their community is governed. No accident of birth, race, religion, gender, or anything else should elevate anyone to a stronger, more powerful position in political contexts. This is an important principle, but it has nothing to do with Christianity.
In God We Trust - Trusting in God as a National Motto
Opponents to church/state separation cite the national motto, 'In God We Trust,' as evidence that there is not and should not be a strict separation of church and state and that America is supposed to be a Christian Nation. These accommodationists fail to explain why the national motto itself is constitutional or why Americans or the American government should be trusting any particular gods. Even worse, they often use the national motto as a reason for further breaches in separation.
Myth: Limited Government is a Christian Principle, Requires Christianity - Does Limited Government Depend on a Christian Culture, Christian Beliefs?
The idea of a limited government which not only has limited authority over the people, but which is also answerable to the people, is important in American politics. The American colonies broke away from England in part due to complaints over a lack of representation in a government that was itself insufficiently limited in power. What this myth is trying to claim, however, is that the very idea of a limited government is somehow dependent upon Christian principles. This is an absurd notion.
Evil Conflicts with the Existence of God: God Doesn't Care or God Doesn't Exist - How Can Perfect Gods Exist With So Much Evil, Suffering in the World
Closely associated with taking action that should be considered immoral is the fact that there is so much evil in the world today. If there are any gods, why don't they act to eliminate it? The absence of substantive action against evil would be consistent with the existence of evil or at least indifferent gods, which is not impossible, but few people believe in such gods. Most claim that their gods are loving and powerful; the suffering on Earth makes their existence implausible.
Faith is Unreliable & Unreasonable: Faith is Not a Source of Knowledge
A common characteristic of both theism and religion is their reliance on faith: belief in the existence of a god and in the truth of religious doctrines is neither founded upon nor defended by logic, reason, evidence, or science. Instead, people are supposed to have faith — a position they wouldn’t consciously adopt with just about any other issue. Faith, though, is an unreliable guide to reality or means for acquiring knowledge. Faith can be used to defend anything and everything equally.
Scientifically, God Does Not Exist - Science Allows us to Say God Does Not Exist - No Role for God in Science, No Explanation that God can Provide
A popular objection to atheists' arguments and critiques of theism is to insist that one's preferred god cannot be disproven - indeed, that science itself is unable to prove that God does not exist. This position depends upon a mistaken understanding of the nature of science and how science operates. In a very real and important sense, it is possible to say that, scientifically, God does not exist - just as science is able to discount the existence of a myriad of other alleged beings.
Life is Material, not Supernatural: We Are Material, Natural Beings - All Evidence Points to Life Being Material & Natural, Not Supernatural
Most religions say that life is much more than the flesh and matter we see around us. In addition, there is supposed to be some sort of spiritual or supernatural realm behind it all and that our
Gods & Theists Behave Immorally: How Can Moral Gods Behave Immorally? Why Believe in Immoral Gods? Why Believe the Claims of Immoral Theists?
In most religions, gods are supposed to be the source of all morality. For most believers, their religion represents an institution for promoting an ideal model of morality. In reality, though, religions are responsible for widespread immorality and gods have characteristics or histories which make them worse than the most vile human serial killer. No one would tolerate such behavior on the part of a person, but when with a god it all becomes laudable — even an example to follow.