Agnosticism & Atheism Sitemap - Page 5 2016-09-26

Court Decisions on the Ten Commandments: Promoting Religion and Religious Doctrines
Should displays of the Ten Commandments be allowed in public buildings? Should large monuments be erected on the grounds of courthouses or legislative buildings? Should there be posters of the Ten Commandments in schools and other municipal buildings? Some argue that they are part of our legal history, but others contend that they are inherently religious and, therefore, cannot be allowed.

Young Earth Creationism
About Young Earth Creationism: selected and annotated links to critiques of various arguments that claim that the earth is actually very young - maybe a few thousand years old.

Barack Obama on Religion, Atheism, and Secularism: What Does Barack Obama Believe?
Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama has made a number of comments about secularism, church/state separation, religion, and the role of religion in the public square. Unfortunately, some of these comments have been contradictory - one time he'll say something which appears to support strict separation and secular government, then he'll turn around and say something which supports weak separation and weakened secularism. What does Barack Obama believe, and why?

What is Christianity? Who Are Christians? What Do Christians Believe?
Christianity is best defined by what Christians do. Thus, Christianity is loving and good insofar as Christians are loving and good; Christianity is brutal and evil insofar as Christians are brutal and evil. That, however, begs the question of just who these 'Christians' are.

Constantine the Great: Who Was Constantine the Great? What is his Connection to Christianity?
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantine (c. 272 - 337), aka Constantine the Great, was the most important person in the development of the early Christian Church (after Jesus and Paul, naturally). He gave Christianity political and social legitimacy in the Roman Empire, allowing the young religion to establish itself, obtain powerful patrons, and dominate the Western world.

Crusades & Religious Violence: Muslims & Christians Killing Everyone Over Religion, Holy Sites, and Religious Beliefs
The Crusades were Christian military and religious expeditions launched both against rival religions (primarily Islam) and even other Christians. Not only did the Crusades lay the groundwork for medieval Christian society and feudalism, but they also laid the groundwork for contemporary violence between Muslims and Christians. Both Islam and Christianity become involved with mass murder over religion, holy sites, and religious beliefs for centuries. It's little wonder that so many see religion as more a force for violence than peace.

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code & the Holy Grail: Truth vs Fiction in the Da Vinci Code & the Holy Grail Legends
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is one of the most popular fiction books of recent memory, but it's just that: fiction. How many readers appreciate what this means? How many of Dan Brown's claims about Leonardo Da Vinci, the Last Supper, the Holy Grail, and other aspects of religious history are true? Is there any truth in The Da Vinci Code? What was the Holy Grail?

Justifying Anti-Atheist Bigotry: Excusing & Dismissing Anti-Atheist Bigotry - How do Anti-Athiest Bigots Excuse, Justify, Dismiss their Bigotry, Hostility?
Anti-atheist bigotry appears in many contexts and occurs in many formats. Its widespread prevalence, often as an unspoken assumption that's simply taken for granted, seems almost impossible to deny. Some do try to deny it, however, and insist that despite all the evidence to the contrary, atheists aren't even very generally despised. Arguments against the existence of anti-Atheist bigotry range from the merely ignorant to the outlandishly hostile.

Liberation Atheology as Feminist Liberation from Patriarchy, Male Privilege, Misogyny
Religion is a powerful force in the oppression of women. The fight for political, social, and cultural equality always means fighting religious leaders and institutions. Submission to religious traditions keep women submissive to men and patriarchy; removing religion removes religious and theological justifications for patriarchy. Insofar as patriarchy survives, it is weaker and harder to defend. Liberation atheology plays a role by undermining faith and confidence in traditional religion.

Freedom of Speech: Censorship, Propaganda, Free Speech, and More
Freedom of speech in America is established in the very first amendment to the American Constitution:

Hillary Clinton on Religion, Religious Faith, Secularism, Atheism - What Does Hillary Clinton Say on Issues that Matter to Secular Atheists & Separationists?
Whether she is elected president or not, Hillary Clinton is and will remain for some time a leading figure in the Democratic Party. Her views on matters like religion, the role of religion in government and public life, church/state separation, secularism, faith-based initiatives, reproductive choice, atheists and atheism, religion in public school, and related issues should matter to atheists. Secular atheists need to know where she really stands on religious and secular issues before they vote for her so they know exactly whom they are voting for and what long-term policies they are effectively supporting.

Islam and the Koran
Critiques of the Koran - history and transmission, errors, contradictions, violence and more.

John McCain on Religion, Faith, Secularism, Church/State Separation, Atheists, Atheism
John McCain has long been an important Republican politician, active both in his home state of Arizona as Senator and on the national scene as candidate for president. McCain's views on religion, religious faith, secularism, church-state separation have played an important role in his political policy choices, which means that atheists need to consider those views when evaluating McCain. How has John McCain injected his own Christian doctrines or prejudices into public policy and civil law? In what ways has John McCain opposed secularism, secular law, and religious neutrality? Does McCain really support Christian Privilege?

Mike Huckabee on Religion, Secularism, Church/State Separation, Atheism - What Does Mike Huckabee Believe about the Role of Religion in Government?
Mike Huckabee's campaign to be the Republican presidential nominee surprised a lot of people with its success. Huckabee's support came almost entirely from conservative evangelical Christians, the traditional base of the Republican Party. Usually politicians just pander to them, but Mike Huckabee presents himself as a true believer in their political agenda of Christian Nationalism. Many Republicans get votes from evangelical Christians without having to deliver, but Huckabee wants to deliver.

Liberation Atheology as Political Liberation from Authoritarian Politics and Faith-Based Politics
One of the most important goals for liberation atheology has to be political liberation; specifically, liberation from authoritarian political systems or agendas. Authoritarian politics can and does occur in secular contexts, but it is frequently justified and/or supported by authoritarian religious systems working hand-in-hand with repressive politics. Attacks on authoritarian politics cannot be successful if we ignore authoritarian religious traditions and tendencies.

Godless Political Notes: Notes, and Commentary on Politics and the Law from a Godless, Liberal Perspective
What are the proper limits of free speech? Should gay couples be allowed to marry? Can the war on terrorism be won? What impact has the Christian Right had on American politics and the Republican Party? These questions and more will be addressed in these short notes on political and legal issues from a godless, liberal perspective

Sarah Palin on Religion, Science, Secularism, Church/State Separation - Does Sarah Palin Support Secular Government and Science?
When John McCain announced that Sarah Palin would be his vice-presidential running mate for his presidential campaign, an unusual amount of scrutiny and criticism ensued. This is partly because Sarah Palin was an unexpected choice and partly because Sarah Palin comes with a lot of negative baggage — at least if you support secular government, reason, and science. For the conservative evangelicals, Palin's support for creationism, Christian Nationalism, and religious warfare are most welcome.

War on Terrorism: War, Civil Liberties, Ethics, and National Security
Is the so-called War on Terrorism like any other wars in American history? What is involved in such war and how far should people go in balancing civil liberties against safety and national security? Who are the Muslim extremists who are the primary targets of this war?

Islam & Muslims: Beliefs, History, and Practice
A closer, skeptical look at the Koran, the treatment of women, Muslim history and politics, Islamic theology, violence and more.

Church & State: Recent News, Events, and Posts on the Separation of Church and State
The separation of church and state is one of the most important legal and constitutional principles in America. Unfortunately, it's also a hotly debated principles. Some people advocate strict separation, some advocate accommodation, and others argue that church and state shouldn't be separated at all. Naturally, there are regular news stories dealing with the general issues surrounding the separation of church and state: debates, principles, speeches, lawsuits, and more.

Islamic Extremism and the Clash of Civilizations: Muslims and Violence
According to many world leaders, the world is at war; but according to those same leaders, it is not a war between the West and Islam, but is instead a war against terrorism. Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East, however, are either silent on the issue or proclaim that it is indeed a war by the West against Islam - and Muslims in the streets in cities across the Middle East seem to agree. Who is right, and why?

Religion News: Stories on Religion and Religious Beliefs Around the World
Religion is an important component of culture; as such, it ends up playing a significant role in politics, social issues, and ethical debates. Religion is also, therefore, involved in all sorts of news all around the world. Here you will find not only commentary and news on religion in general, but also commentary and news on specific religions or religious groups (Islam, Catholicism) as well as religious issues (violence, discrimination, sex).

Issues and Debates in the 2004 Election: What Matters? Why Vote?
Many believe that the 2004 elections, especially the presidential choice between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry, is one of the most important in recent memory. Elections that will help determine control of the Senate and Congress are also significant. How will the war on terrorism proceed? What should be done with the economy? What role should religion play in government?

Humanist Metaphysics: Humanism, Nature, and the Supernatural
What sort of metaphysical beliefs do humanists have? Humanists don't really have a metaphysical outlook because humanists don't normally accept the existence of anything which isn't a part of nature (or, if they do, they don't believe that it is 'more real' than our own existence). Humanists are essentially naturalists, explaining the nature of reality in naturalistic and materialistic terms. It is, though, worth examining how humanists address claims about the existence of non-natural beings.

Jews and Judaism: History, Theology, and Community of Judaism
What is Judaism and what is its connection to other religions like Christianity and Islam? What role have Jews played in history and how have adherents of other religions treated them?

Mesoamerican Myths & Religion: Mythology, Religion, Religious Beliefs, Gods, Goddesses in Mesoamerica
Mesoamerican tribes like the Aztecs and Mayans created a rich and varied religious mythology. A large number of gods and goddesses fulfilled roles similar to those in pantheons in other cultures, but with some unusual traits like the demand for blood and human sacrifices, the importance of people imitating gods, the role of jaguars, and so forth.

Scientology & Scientologists: Critical Review of Scientology Beliefs
About Scientology: basic information, critiques from people around the world, spoofs and satire, critiques of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's legal battles, and more.

About Psychics and Astrology
Skeptical treatments of astrology and psychics from your About.com Guide

Historical Humanism: Humanist Philosophy in Greece, Rome, Italy, and Other Cultures
As a label for a philosophical movement, Humanism dates the Italian the Renaissance. It did not, however, spring fully formed from the writings of a few Italian scholars. These early humanists created a philosophical movement based upon what they discovered in ancient Roman and Greek manuscripts. Humanist thought can also be found in ancient China, India, and other cultures. Humanism as a spirit of inquiry and thinking has a more ancient pedigree and a more widespread influence on human culture.

Humanism & Religion: Humanist Philosophy & the Philosophy of Religion
On the one hand, humanism is critical of traditional religions and religious ideologies; on the other hand, humanism is portrayed as a modern, philosophical replacement for religion. Some forms of humanism are explicitly religious. Thus, humanism can stands as both critic of and replacement for religion. Does that make humanism anti-religion because of its criticism, or pro-religion because it acknowledges the role religion has played in human culture and seeks to offer an improved version?

Reconstructionist Christianity
Reconstructionist Christianity is a Christian movement which seeks to impose Biblical laws - especially Old Testament laws - on America.

Religious Right - Women, Children and Family Values
People from the Religious Right often go on about 'family values' - well, what are those values anyway? Do they really work to promote family values?

Religious Right and the Christian Coalition
Religious Right: All about the Christian Coalition - its strategies, ideologies and legal problems.

Religious Right and Focus on the Family
All about Focus on the Family - the Relgious Right group run by James Dobson.

UFOs and Aliens
What is the 'Face on Mars?' What really happened at Roswell? Who are the Dogon?

Christian Identity
Christian Identity is a Christian movement which argues that Aryans are the true Israel and Jews are the spawn of Satan. They are a strong influence behind the KKK and other Christian extremist groups.

Christianism, Christian Nationalism: Christian Extremism, Hyper-Patriotism in America
Christianism or Christian Nationalism is analogous to Islamism. Just as Islamists seek to reform society along Islamic lines and force society to conform to conservative Islamic values, Christianists seek to reform society along Christian lines and force society to conform to their conservative Christian values. They are Christian Nationalists because they have combined conservative, evangelical Christian theology with extreme American nationalism.

Christian Right Agenda, Issues: What Does the Christian Right Want? What Does the Christian Right Believe?
The Christian Right is more a political movement than a religious movement. The Christian Right is animated by a very definitive political agenda which is concerned with very specific issues. The Christian Right cares more about sexual matters like abortion and contraception than questions of poverty and health care.

Cults & New Religious Movements: Are Cults Dangerous? What Are Cults?
Cults - basic information from supportive and critical positions.

Religious History: History of Religions, Religious Beliefs, Religious Philosophy
Religion is a central aspect of world history. It's impossible to understand most cultures, wars, and political developments without also understanding the background religious factors. The history of religion and religious beliefs is, in many ways, the history of human culture. The religious history here is presented from an independent, non-religious perspective so no one religion is favored.

Religious Intolerance & Bigotry: Violence, Discrimination, Prejudice
Although religion is often seen as a force for good, in reality it is often a force for evil, too. One of the ways in which religion can cause problems is by causing people to become intolerant: intolerant of other religions, intolerant of other races, etc. Here you can find information about and examples of intolerance, hatred, and bigotry arising out of religion and religious beliefs.

Religion Image Galleries: Photos, Woodcuts, and Drawings of Religious Figures, Events
These collections of photos, woodcuts, and drawings depict various gods, goddesses, temples, churches, cities, events, and other things relevant to the history and study of religion.

Nature and Structure of Religious Authority: Understanding the Nature of Obedience, Power, Authority, and Legitimacy
Like communities of any sort, religious communities are bound together by types of social forces which help provide stability and continuity. One of the most important, but often overlooked, is that of authority. What is authority? How is authority different from related concepts like power and legitimacy? And does the nature or structure of authority really matter all that much when it comes to understanding social groups?

Myths About Religious Violence: Common Errors & Misconceptions about the Nature, Source, and Reasons for Religious Violence, War, Brutality
Given how complex religion typically is, it's not a surprise that religious violence itself can also be a very complex phenomenon. Too often, though, people trying to explain or discuss religious violence try to simplify it too much and thereby create myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about what's really going on. This only impedes understanding and developing solutions. Recognizing some of the most common myths spread about religious violence will help your discussions about it.

What Do Atheists Say About Religion & Christianity? Are Atheists Anti-Religion?
Because atheists are so often seen critiquing religion, it's common for religious theists to wonder what atheists really think about religion and why. The truth is complex, however, because there is no single atheistic opinion about religion. Atheists' critical stance with regards to religion is more a product of cultural trends in the West than of anything internal to atheism itself, which is only the absence of belief in gods. Atheists have a wide variety of opinions about religion.

Do All Atheists Believe the Same Things? Follow the Same Philosophies?
Atheists believe many different things, and they believe in different things as well, but there is a popular misconception among religious theists that all atheists hold certain political, philosophical, or social views in common. This is a mistake because atheism is nothing more or less than the absence of belief in gods; what atheists go on to believe or deny is entirely up to them. No two atheists may share in common anything more than disbelief in gods.

Do Atheists Have No Reason to be Moral? Are There No Atheistic Moral Standards?
For most religious theists, their religion and their god provide the basis for their entire understanding of morality and moral values. They thus find it inconceivable that atheists who don’t believe in any gods and who have no religion could possibly have a basis for morality or even understand what true moral behavior is. Many go further and argue that this is a good reason to reject atheism, saying that it leads to immoral behavior, that it cannot account for the existence of morality, etc.

What if Atheists are Wrong? Aren't You Afraid of Hell? Can You Take the Chance?
A common logical fallacy is argumentum ad baculum, which literally means 'argument to the stick' and which is commonly translated to mean

Myths About Atheism, Science, Evolution: What Do Atheists Think About Science?
Atheism is commonly associated with science, which should be a good thing - right? What's wrong with science? It says something about the ideology and attitudes of some religious believers when they imagine that associating atheism with either science generally or evolution in particular somehow constitutes a criticism. One problem is how often people create myths about atheism and science. Most of these myths are relatively easy to dispel with a little research and time.

What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism? What Does Atheism Say to Religion, Theism?
It is strange that atheism would be so difficult to understand, but it must be - otherwise, there wouldn't be so many arguments over what it means, what it entails, and what significance it has for society. The same questions and same arguments keep coming up over and over again: what is atheism? What is theism? What is the difference between belief and disbelief? Is atheism anti-religion? Who has the burden of proof in debates? Is atheism morally and intellectually significant?

Godless Marriage, Families, Children: Atheist Families Don't Need Religion, God for Family Values
America's Christian Right invests a lot of effort arguing for a connection between family values and their religion, but what basic family values require their religion or belief in their god? Godless families exist because values like love, respect, and sacrifice don't depend upon theism. You don't even have to be a theist to oppose abortion or support sexual abstinence until marriage. None of the positive family values necessary for raising healthy children are undermined by being godless.

Atheists vs. Christians; Atheism vs. Christianity: Are Atheists Anti-Christian, Trying to Suppress Christianity?
An essential element of Christianity, one which goes back to the origins of Christianity, is the belief that Christians will necessarily be persecuted for their faith. This was true of early Christians, but many today think that this is a permanent condition and must be the case for all 'true' Christians now. Thus they seek out examples of persecution where none exist and it's popular to claim that atheists are trying to oppress or marginalize Christians in America.

Atheism, Religion, Respect: Are Atheists Intolerant By Not Respecting Religion? Religious Theists Demand More Respect & Tolerance, But What Does that Mean?
For religious theists, their religion, religious beliefs, and theism are very important to them. They hold their beliefs and institutions in high regard, so become defensive when irreligious atheists are sharply critical of religion and religious beliefs. Theists demand that atheists show more respect and tolerance, but is this justified? What are they really asking for? It can be argued that they are demanding others admire and defer to their religion, which is an illegitimate demand.

Causes & Sources of Religious Violence: Why Are Religions Violent? Can Religions Be More Peaceful?
Religious violence has probably existed for as long as religion. History has done nothing to calm the passions, hatred, and brutality expressed in the name of religion; if anything, the progress of science and technology have enabled religious extremists to hate and kill ever more effectively. Almost everyone would like to end the violence, but few understand its causes. Even worse, some religious believers are in denial about the causes and connections between violence and their religion.

Who Are the Atheists? What Does Being an Atheist Mean?
There are a lot of misunderstandings about who atheists are, what they believe, and what they don't believe. People become atheists for many different reasons. Being an atheist isn't a choice or act of will - like theism, it's a consequence of what one knows and how one reasons. Atheists are not all angry, they aren't in denial about gods, and they aren't atheists to avoid taking responsibility for their acts. It's not necessary to be afraid of hell and there are advantages to being an atheist.

Atheism as Rebellion & Pride: Are Atheists Just Rebelling Against God?
There are many popular myths about atheism and atheists which claim that people are atheists on account of some sort of rebellion (against god, religion, church, families, fathers, etc.) or pride. At most, these myths might be true of some but not all or even most atheists; even if true, however, none of these myths would have any implications for the truth or reasonableness of atheism itself.

Everyone is Religious, Worships Something: Atheists Worship Satan, Themselves
Many religious theists insist that everyone worships something: they have some sort of god and some sort of religion. Because of the central importance of their religion and worship to their own lives, they assume that atheists not only have a religion and worship something, but also that these things hold a similarly central position in atheists' lives. There are a lot of suggested candidates for what atheists must worship, but none of them are true because the premise itself is false.

Myths on Atheism, Meaning, Morality: Atheists Lead Meaningless Lives of Despair
Theists who cannot defend theism or criticize atheism through logic or evidence are left attacking the alleged implications of atheism itself. Even if they cannot prove that atheism unreasonable, they hope to prove that the consequences of atheism are so abhorrent that no one will want to take the chance. Among the more popular targets are to claim that atheism leads to hopelessness and despair, that atheism makes life meaningless, or that atheism eliminates any reason to be moral.

Atheism is Not a Religion, Ideology, Belief System, Philosophy, World View, or Anything Similar
Many Christians seem to believe that atheism is a religion, but no one with an accurate understanding of both concepts would make such a mistake. Atheism lacks every one of the characteristics of religion. At most, atheism doesn’t explicitly exclude most of them, but the same can be said for almost anything. Thus, it’s not possible to call atheism a religion. It can be part of a religion, but it can’t be a religion by itself. They are completely different categories.

Capital Punishment: Debates & Arguments About the Death Penalty - Is It Just? Is it Moral?
Debates about the death penalty sometimes take a back seat to those over matters such as abortion, but they don't really end and they rarely seem to arrive at any sort of conclusion. This shouldn't be a surprise - capital punishment has been in regular use in the West for thousands of years, and no one started to question it in a serious manner until a couple of centuries ago.

Abiogenesis & The Origin of Life: Ideas, Research, and Myths
Traditionally, scientists have thought that life began billions of years ago in a muddy pool on the Earth’s surface. Recently, though, evidence has begun pointing to the possibility that life might have started deep under the surface within geothermally heated rocks in hot, high-pressure conditions. If it turns out that the formation of life is not only not unusual, but in fact occurs under extreme conditions, then it is much more likely that we will discover life on other planets.

What is Evolution? Evolution Defined and Explained
Evolution can be a difficult concept for people to come to terms with, especially if they do not have much experience with life sciences. Is evolution a fact or a theory? Does evolution explain the origin of life or not? These are important questions which people need to be able to understand and answer. Evolution is not a minor matter - it is, in fact, the cornerstone of all modern biology.

Evolution & Religion: Is Evolution Religious? What Does Evolution Say About Religion, Christianity?
Are evolution and religion complimentary or contradictory? Should religious people oppose the teaching of evolution because is necessarily violates their beliefs or should they embrace it as an example of how the human mind can discover and learn about the very nature of our existence here on earth?

Fundamentalist Atheists, Fundamentalist Atheism: They Don't Exist Because There is Nothing for Atheists to be Fundamentalists About
Atheists are called

Kitzmiller v. Dover: Teaching Intelligent Design in the Dover Schools is not Constitutional
In Dover, Pennsylvania, the school board decided to introduce Intelligent Design into 9th grade science classes and undermine the teaching of evolution be describing it as merely a theory, different from the rest of science. This was done for religious reasons and the school board was sued. A long, scathing decision explored the religious nature of Intelligent Design and ruled against Dover.

Atheism & Religious Experience: Atheists Haven't Experienced True Religion or the True God
Atheists have constructed many trenchant critiques of both religion and theism over the years. Some of these critiques can be responded to reasonably, but others are much more difficult to address in anything like an adequate manner. Sometimes, it may be easier to simply find a way to dismiss atheists entirely by claiming that atheists have never had any of the relevant and necessary experiences to teach them about God and religion. If they did, they would understand and believe.

Myth-Defining Atheism: Common Myths About the Definition of Atheism - You Can't Critique Atheism if You Don't Know What Atheism Really Is
Religious theists and apologists often have a lot invested in false definitions of atheism. Many of their arguments in defense of theism and against atheism are dependent upon misrepresentations of what atheism is, so it's not hard to imagine why they would be desperate to find some basis for rejecting the truth when atheists explain to them what atheism really is. As a consequence, a number of myths about the definition of atheism have developed; fortunately, they are easy to refute.

Ethics and Morality of War: Is War Justified? Is War Just? Articles on the Ethics of War
People should participate more in the discussion about the morality of war. No particular war can be adequately justified without us first having gone through the question of whether and how any war can ever be justified morally. Perhaps we cannot assume the actual decision-making authority, but we can frame the context for those who do make the decisions.

Arguments Against God: Atheological Arguments for Atheism and Against the Existence of God
What are the principle arguments in favor of atheism? Why is atheism more reasonable or rational than theism? Among the arguments raised are those from evil, from non-belief, from cosmology, from incoherence and more.

Arguments for God: Theological Arguments for the Existence of God and the Reasonableness of Theism
There are a wide variety of arguments used by theists in their claims that their god exists. Here you will can read critiques of such arguments, including arguments from design, cosmology, morality, Pascal's Wager and more.

Tax Exempt Churches: Religious Freedom vs Tax Exemptions & Tax Deductions
Should churches receive tax exemptions on their property? Should religious organizations be tax exempt in their businesses - even those which compete with for-profit companies? Should individuals receive tax deductions for expenses at private religious schools? It is important to understand what sorts of exemptions exist, why they exist, and how the various court cases have proceeded. The more you know, the better informed your judgment will be.

Normative Ethical Systems: Deontological, Teleological, and Virtue
Normative ethical systems can be broken down into three categories: deontological, teleological and virtue ethics. The first two are considered deontic or action-based theories of morality and the question

Modern Culture and Ethics: Problems, Dilemmas, and Issues
Important questions regarding ethics, morality and social behavior as they relate to issues raised in modern culture - for example reality television, prostitution, copyrights, and more.

Privacy and Personal Autonomy - Ethical, Moral, and Political Issues
Many worry about the extent of their privacy and the limits of their personal autonomy. Both the government and large corporations show signs about wanting to restrict both - either for our own good or for their good. These are political as well as ethical issues because they involve serious social consequences, raise questions about the nature of our duty to one another, and impact social relationships generally.

Pledge of Allegiance: Are We One Nation Under God?
The Pledge of Allegiance has been recited by tens of millions of school children over the years and is familiar to most Americans - but was the 1950s addition of the phrase

Religion in Schools: Prayer, Bible Reading, and Religious Clubs
Should public schools include more religion than they currently do, or would that just create violations of the separation of church and state? Should prayer and Bible reading once again become part of public school life? Is religion necessary to maintain good behavior?

Religious Privilege: Privileging Religion in Modern Society, Giving Religious Believers Special Rights
The main premise employed by those who advocate religious privilege in modern society is that religion, religious groups, religious beliefs, and religious believers should not have to be bound by the same laws as everyone else. The primary argument against religious privilege should therefore be that neutral laws should be binding on everyone.

Religious Symbols & Holidays: Can the Government Promote Religious Symbols and Holidays?
Can the government take a religious holiday and make it an official state holiday? Is it an establishment of religion when a religious holy day becomes an official state holiday? Because the United States has historically been dominated by Christians, there are many Christian practices which have become part of American culture - including the state recognition of Christian holidays.

Secularism & Separation: What is Secularism? Who Are Secularists? Secularism and the Separation of Church and State
Secularism is one of the most important movements of the modern West. The influence and power of secularism serve to differentiate the modern West from the Middle Ages as well as from other regions around the world. Secularism defines the modern West; for some, that is a reason to cheer secularism on, but for others it is a reason to mourn.

What is Theism? Who Are Theists? Believing in God and Gods
Critiques of and basic information about theism: What types of theism exist? Do gods exist? What is the difference between theism and religion? What is the difference between theism and atheism? In what ways is theism flawed or insufficient?

Introduction to Theology: What is Theology? Origins of Theology, Nature of Theology, Crisis of Theology
Theology describes the study, writing, research, or speaking on the nature of gods, especially in relation to human experience. Typically the concept includes the premise that such study is done in a rational, philosophical manner and can also refer to specific schools of thought - for example, progressive theology, feminist theology or liberation theology.

Freethought & Freethinkers: What is Freethought? Who are Freethinkers?
Documents and definitions of freethought. Who is a freethinker? Why is freethought important? What is the history of freethought?

Agnosticism Polls: Register Your Opinion on Agnosticism & Agnostics
Agnostics are a very diverse group of people - all they really have in common is not claiming to know if any gods exist. Some still believe in some sort of god, some don't. Agnostics come from different religious backgrounds, they have different political opinions, and they have different philosophies about life and the universe.

Bible in Pictures: Images of People, Places, and Stories in the Bible
Biblical stories have been illustrated for generations. Often lavishly illustrated Bibles were passed down from one generation to the next. Bible studies for all ages have come with pictures and images of various sorts. These pictures reveal how people have envisioned biblical characters, places, and concepts. A Bible in pictures can be very revealing

Places & Cities of the Bible: Profiles of Places and Cities in the Old and New Testatments of the Bible
For many, the Bible is a historically accurate record and a reliable guide to people, places, and events in the past. For most scholars, the Bible records events from the past but only through the filters of religious, political, and social agendas - filters thick enough to make it difficult at best to disentangle fact from fiction. Despite this, most if not all places described in the Bible not only existed then but also exist today - and continue to play a part in religion and politics.

Bible Study, Commenary & the Gospels: What is a Gospel? What Do the Gospels Say About Jesus?
This online Bible study provides commentary on the gospels and their place in the Bible. The word 'gospel' stems from the Middle English godspel (god: good, spel: news) which itself comes from Greek and means the 'good news' of some important event (like a birth or a victory). The term gospel appears often in Paul’s letters in reference to the significance of the person, life, and ministry of Jesus. Justin Martyr was the first to refer to 'gospels' in the plural, around 150 CE, and today the term is limited almost entirely to the four canonical gospels that appear in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Separation of Church & State 101: Basic Issues, Categories, and Problems
What is the separation of church and state? What does it mean for religion, religious organizations and the government? Does it really mean anything for people personally, or is it only a function of large groups? What does it mean to be a separationist, accommodationist, or non-preferentialist?

Church & State in the Constitution: What Does the Constitution Say About the Separation of Church & State?
The principle of the separation of church and state in America is derived from the Constitution, but not everyone agrees on whether this is legitimate. What exactly does the Constitution say about religion in the government and the separation of church and state? Is separating church and state truly constitutional?

Court Decisions on the Separation of Church & State and Religious Liberty
Understanding religious liberty and religious freedom in America requires understanding the varying and often contradictory court decisions which have been made in this area. Here you will find an index of summaries and expalantions of major Supreme Court decisions dealing with religion and religious freedom.

Definition of Atheism: Dictionaries, Atheists, Others Define Atheism
What is the definition of atheism? How do atheists define atheism? How do dictionaries, standard and online, define atheism? There is some disagreement about the definition of atheism and it is interesting to note that most of that disagreement comes from theists - atheists themselves tend to agree on what atheism means. Christians in particular dispute the definition used by atheists and insist that atheism means something very different.

Atheists and Religious Ceremonies: Issues, Problems, and Questions
Many atheists wonder what they should do during religious ceremonies: should they refuse to go? Should they refuse to participate? Would it be hypocritical or contradictory for atheists to have anything at all to do with religious functions like christenings or baptisms? Many believers wonder if it would be insulting to offer any atheists invitations to participate in religious ceremonies. Or would it be more insulting to ignore them completely by not inviting them?

Atheism, Holidays and Rituals: Questions, Problems, Advice
It might seem obvious to say that if you no longer adhere to a particular religion, and in fact even regard the entire system to be a mass of superstition, then it would logically follow that you would also not observe the relevant holidays. Some atheists do take this position, but I think that the matter is a bit more complicated. Many, albeit not all, religious holidays are a great deal more on both the individual and the social levels than simply acknowledging religious beliefs.

Atheists and Marriage: Questions, Problems, Conflicts
Marriage is a very important and intimate relationship - but can marriages between atheists and theists work? What problems face atheists when married to religious spouses? How about when your in-laws are devoutly religious as well? What happens when your spouse grows more religious over time, or you more atheistic?

Atheists & Children: Problems, Conflict, Family, Advice
Of all of the problems that atheists might experience with their families, those involving their own children are perhaps among the most emotional and difficult to resolve. Many people honestly believe that children require religion and God in order to be raised morally and properly - so if atheist parents don't offer that, they will feel compelled to intervene and replace what they believe the parents are failing provide.

Atheists & Family: Problems, Conflicts, Resolutions
Most people and most families are religious to one degree or another. As a result, most atheists will at some point have to contend with close family members who are religious and don't share that atheism. Sometimes, family members can be very devoutly religious and object to atheism and atheists, especially within the family.

Atheists and Weddings: Questions, Conflicts, Advice
Atheists are human too, and so of course atheists are just as likely as anyone else to participate in many of the common social experiences which mark a society. One of them is, of course, weddings - both their own and the weddings of friends and relatives. Unfortunately, wedding ceremonies are commonly religious in nature - what is an irreligious atheist to do?

Atheists at Work: Conflicts, Discrimination, Prejudice
People spend at least as much time at work as they do with their families; it is, then, natural that something as important as religion will come to play a role in the work environment. This means avoiding topics like belief in god and religion may be very difficult; if you are or seem to be the only atheist around, problems can result. What if you are not religious and other people's religion begins to interfere with your job performance?

Revealing Your Atheism: Should You Come Out of the Closet as an Atheist? Atheists are So Despised and Distrusted in America, Many Have to Hide It
Many atheists hide their atheism from friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family because they are afraid of the reactions of others if they find out. So many religious theists, especially Christians, are intolerant of atheism and atheists that atheists are forced to hide their true feelings. It would be better if more atheists could and did come out of the closet, but they need to be prepared.

Godless America, Americans: Godless Government, Culture, Media, and Social Institutions
It's common to hear laments about the absence of God in government, media, culture, or society. The truth is that a godless America is good for everyone: it's good for the government, it's good for employees, and it's good for all the citizens. A godless America is better than a theocratic America - this is especially true in an increasingly religiously pluralistic society like modern America.

Godless Atheists & Godless Politics: What Can Godless Atheists Offer America?
Critics, primarily the Christian Right though some progressives have succumbed to the temptation to join, have been using 'godless liberals' and the 'secular left' as scapegoats for everything they don't like in contemporary American politics. Godless liberals and the secular left, insofar as they exist, have little to no influence and no real power. This is not a situation that has to continue, though. Godless liberals do exist and they could create a secular left, if they wanted.

Godless Living in America: What Can the Godless Do in a Religious Society, Culture?
Godless Americans are like other people in America: they grow up, date, get married, raise children, celebrate holidays, and all the other things which religious theists do. Godless Americans simply do it without the structures provided by religion or theism. For many religious theists, this may seem impossible; for godless Americans, it's normal life. Some can experience difficulty, though, because so much of American society is set up to privilege religious beliefs and religious behavior.

How Can I Change Things? Fighting Anti-Atheist Bigotry, Discrimination: Godless Americans can Make a Difference for the Future
Godless atheists are the most despised and discriminated against minority in America. They face bigotry in a wide variety of ways and when it's known that they are godless or secular, their views on various political and social views may be immediately dismissed. Religion generally and Christianity in particular benefit from widespread privileges, but godless atheists can make a difference if they want. There are ways to fight and to promote justice for themselves as well as other secularists.

Atheist Dictionary - Atheism Definitions & Dictionary for Atheists
Dictionary of essential definitions, terms, concepts, and ideas for atheists. There are many philosophical terms to define in order to best understand atheism and atheists. Collected in this dictionary are many of the key definitions for atheists and atheism.

Religious Critique FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions About Criticism of Religion
Criticism of religion is a contentious issue in society. Many religious believers want to protect religion from any sort of outside criticism while many secular atheists see critique of religion as vital to social, political, and moral progress. What is the history of religious critique? What are the goals of religious critique?

News and Views on Religion, Atheism, Freethought, Secularism, Church/State, Evolution/Creationism
What's going on in the world in terms of religion, the paranormal, evolution, creationism, secularism, atheism, and freethought? Several times a day this site has updated news and opinions on events in the world, especially those events that are relevant to atheism, religion, and skepticism, so don't miss out.

Atheist Recipe Book: Collection of Recipes from the Atheist Community
Can atheists cook? You bet they can — and they come up with some pretty good recipes, too. Collected here on this site are a wide variety of recipes from atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanists, and other members of the forum community and site members. If you have some really great recipes you use at home, consider contributing them to this collection so that they can be shared with the wider community.

Book Reviews: Books on Atheism, Religion, Philosophy, Politics, More
Hundreds of books on a wide variety of subjects are reviewed on this site, including books on: atheism, agnosticism, humanism, religion, Christianity, Islam, philosophy, politics, science, the separation of church and state, evolution, creationism, and much more. The most recent book reviews appear at the top; older book reviews are are organized according to topic in folders along the side.

Atheist Mailbag & Hate Mail: Selections from Agnosticism/Atheism Mail
Collected here are some of the more interesting and outrageous emails I reveive as a consequence of running and writing for this site. Some is genuinely hateful and threatening, but much is simply amusing. I really have to wonder what people expect to achieve by writing such insult and attacks to a person they don't know and have never met.

User Polls: Vote in Polls on Religion, Politics, Ethics, Atheism, and More
Vote in some of the dozens of polls dealing with: separation of church and state, ethics, abortion, science, evolution, the Ten Commandments, and more.

Agnostic Dictionary - Agnosticism Definitions & Dictionary for Agnostics
Dictionary of essential definitions, terms, concepts, and ideas for agnostics. There are many philosophical terms to define in order to best understand agnosticism and agnostics. Collected in this dictionary are many of the key definitions for agnostics and agnosticism.

Church & State Surveys - Poll & Survey Results on American Attitudes on Church & State
What do Americans really think about the separation of church and state? Do Americans support or oppose keeping church separate from state? What do Americans think about specific church/state separation issues like school prayer, teaching creationism in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings, etc? Lots of surveys have been conducted over the years and there's lots of data on American attitudes towards the separation of church & state.

Belief in Evolution & Creationism - Surveys & Polls on Beliefs about Evolution & Creationism
Evolution is accepted in lower numbers in America than any other western nation, and lower than almost any nation in the world except Turkey. Creationism is far more popular in America than any other nation, too. But just how popular is the anti-evolution and pro-creationism sentiment? Surveys and polls consistently put the support for creationism at over 50% and support for naturalistic evolution at under 25%. These numbers have profound implications for American science policy.

Criticisms of Agnosticism - Responses to Criticism and Critique of Agnosticism
Many regard agnosticism as obvious, natural and reasonable, but many others are strongly critical of agnosticism - or at least they are critical of what they perceive agnosticism to be. Many criticisms of agnostics are created by misunderstandings of what agnosticism is. Even worse, some of those misunderstandings come from agnostics themselves - if they misrepresent what agnosticism really is, they create unnecessary criticism that wouldn't apply to true agnosticism.

History of Agnosticism - Historical Background & Development of Agnosticism
The word 'agnosticism' is relatively recent, but the idea of not claiming to know for sure if any gods exist or not is not recent at all. Neither is the stronger stance of denying that any human can possibly know for sure if any gods exist or not. These forms of agnosticism can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Even a theological agnosticism, which is not claiming to know what, exactly, the nature of any gods might be, has existed for quite some time.

Types of Agnosticism - Different Types and Forms of Agnosticism
Because agnosticism is so broad - anyone who doesn't claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not qualifies as agnostic - it can appear in many different forms or types. The differences all have to do with sort of approach one has towards agnosticism, knowledge, and claims about gods or what sorts of other beliefs and ideas one combines with agnosticism. None of this changes the core definition of agnosticism; instead, they describe how different people conceive of their own agnosticism.

Agnosticism & Agnostics: What Do Agnostics Believe? What's Agnosticism
There are many misconceptions about agnosticism, agnostics, and the reasons why anyone would adopt a position of agnosticism in the first place. This is unfortunate, because whether agnosticism is conceived of as a philosophy or simply an isolated position on the existence of gods, it is eminently reasonable and defensible.

Evolution vs. Creationism: Conflict Between Science and Religion
Is evolution a science? Is creationism a science? What is science? Is there evidence for either? Religious fundamentalists often attack evolution, but rarely from a positions of really understanding what evolution is and how it works. These articles will not only teach you more about the nature of evolution and evolutionary theory, but also explain some of the more common complaints and where they go wrong.

Humanism & Humanist Philosophy: What Do Humanists Believe? What Does Humanism Teach?
In this century, humanism has come to refer to a philosophy that rejects traditional religious dogmas and usually theism itself. Although it is possible to be both a theist and a humanist, most who consciously use that term are atheists - especially if they are secular humanists . This modern humanism is a direct outgrowth of the Renaissance Humanism.

Life After Death and Immortality
Does prayer work? Do people have Near Death Experiences? Can miracles be proven?

About Skepticism, Skeptical Thinking, and Freethought
Articles and organizations which take a skeptical approach to paranormal, fantastic, and supernatural claims. Information is presented about critical thinking and logical fallacies, skeptical treatments of psychics, astrology, prayer and religion, pseudoscience, politics, UFOs and skepticism in general.

Advice for Atheists: Marriage, Family, Children, Religion, and More
People have a lot of questions about atheism and atheists, but such questions don't just come from theists. Atheists also have questions - not only about the nature of atheism and what other atheists think, but about how they should deal with theists, how to deal with telling others about their atheism, marriages, funerals, children, etc.

Apparitions and Hauntings
Apparitions and Hauntings: Is there evidence for ghosts, haunted hauses, and spiritual apparitions?

Atheism Myths & Misconceptions: Exposing the Ways Theists Misrepresent Atheism & Athiests
There are many myths and misconceptions about what atheism entails and who atheists are - not surprising, since even the basic definition of atheism is so misunderstood. Many of the myths and misconceptions addressed here will follow a similar pattern, exposing fallacious reasoning, faulty premises, or both. These arguments need to be identified as the fallacies they really are because that is the only way genuine arguments and dialogues can be made possible.

Separation of Church and State: Politics, Religion, and Culture
Find out about religion in public schools, like school prayer, the national motto, the Boy Scouts, government support of religion, legislation favoring religion, the philosophy and history of the separation of church and state, and more. The freedom of religious belief is dependent upon the freedom from other people's religious beliefs.

Larry Darby: Alabama's Atheist Law Center, Holocaust Denial, White Nationalism, & Larry Darby's Atheism
Larry Darby is a prominent atheist activist. He founded the Atheist Law Center in Alabama and was involved in high-profile chruch/state cases, like Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument. He is involved in Holocaust Denial and White Nationalism, making Larry Darby an embarrassment to atheists. He invited David Irving to speak at an Atheist Law Center event, spoke at a White Nationalist meeting, and ran for attorney-general on a racist platform. Larry Darby is an atheist, but an embarrassing one.

Parapsychology & Psychic Phenomena: Is Parapsychology a Science or a Religion?
Hyman's Categorical Imperative states: Do not try to explain something until you are sure that there is something to be explained. (Quoted from Ray Hyman) Unfortunately, parapsychology appears to be one massive violation of what Hyman advises. There is no particularly good reason to think that there is anything “paranormal” to explain in the first place, much less that parapsychology has anything substantive to offer in terms of explaining human experiences or the universe.

Alternative Medicine, Prayer, and Faith Healing
Critiques of prayer - does it work? what's the point?

Religious Right and Christian Right
All about the Religious Right organizations and people: select annotated links from your About.com Guide

Skepticism & Atheism: Skepticism of Gods, Skepticism of the Paranormal, Skepticism of Religion
The application of skepticism has commonly been limited to specific claims about paranormal or miraculous events. Skeptics rarely take on fundamental religious claims directly, and certainly not within bounds of their normal skeptical investigations. I, however, find any such a division to be artificial and without significant merit. Skepticism towards claims about astrology and psychic healers should go hand in hand with skepticism towards the claim that gods exist or that I am a sinner.

Questions About Atheism & Atheists: What is Atheism? Who Are Atheists?
Theists often have a lot of basic questions about the nature of atheism and about atheists themselves. This resource will address questions from both atheists and theists; the commonality is that everything here deals with atheism: what atheism is, what atheism is not, what atheism is all about, what atheists believe, how atheists and theists can relate, etc.

Albert Einstein on Science, God, and Religion: Was Albert Einstein an Atheist? A Freethinker? Did Einstein Believe in God?
What did Albert Einstein think about God, Religion, Faith, and Science? Given his stature in the field of science, it's hardly surprising that everyone might want to claim him for their own agenda. Given the equivocal nature of some of his statements, this isn't as difficult as one might hope. Nevertheless, Einstein wasn't always equivocal: he often stated clearly that he rejected the existence of a personal God, of an afterlife, of traditional religion, etc.

Objectivism and Religion
Libertarian and Objectivist views about religion, Christianity and faith.

Book of Mormon - History and Critiques
Mormonism - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Read about the Book for Mormon - is it reliable?

Roman Catholicism & Homosexuality: Issues, Politics, and Doctrines
What is the official Catholic position on homosexuality? It's unusual: homosexual behavior is not approved, but the orientation is accepted. Unfortunately, disapproval of the former often leads to condemnation of the latter. The Catholic Church is locked into this difficulty because any changes regarding homosexuality would affect the position on things like abortion and birth control.

Critiques of Objectivism
Articles and sites critical of objectivist philosophy, principles, politics Ayn Rand and more.

Introduction: Existentialism, Existentialist History, Existentialists
Existentialism may be difficult to explain, but it is possible to communicate some basic principles and concepts, both regarding what existentialism is and what it is not. On the one hand, there are certain ideas and principles which most existentialists agree on in some fashion; on the other hand, there are ideas and principles which most existentialists reject - even if they don't then agree on what to argue for in their place.

Existentialism and Philosophy: Existentialism's Relationship with Other Philosophies
Existentialism has an unusual relationship with different philosophical systems. Most of the time a person will adhere to one system or another, but not both - thus a person might be a Logical Positivist or a Pragmatist, but not both. Existentialism, however, can coexist with many different philosophies. That co-existence isn't always peaceful because existentialism is likely to be critical of some premises within any given system.

Types of Existentialism: Existentialist Philosophy Comes in Many Forms and Schools of Thought
Existentialism can appear in a number of different forms. Because it is not a single school of philosophy, existentialist ideas and perspectives can become integrated into any number of other philosophical schools, ideologies, and even religions. Sometimes this existentialist trend is self-conscious and deliberate; other times it is simply an expression of common human questions and problems. Ultimately more that unites rather than divides them - that is, after all, why so many trends can be brought together under a single label.

Existentialist Philosophers: Biographical History of Existentialism and Existentialists
Who are the existentialists? Existentialism is a modern movement, but there are many earlier philosophers who dealt with existentialist themes or who might qualify as existentialists, even if they had never heard of the term. At the same time, in the modern era, there are philosophers who seem obviously existentialist even though they would dismiss the label while others may adopt the label for themselves even though it doesn't really apply.

Topical History of Existentialism: Themes and Ideas in Existentialist Thought
Because existentialism is more of a mood or trend in philosophy rather than an organized and systematic approach to philosophy, one way a person can come to a better understanding of it is through an analysis of some key topics and themes. Different philosophers may have understood or used them in slightly different ways, but there is enough commonality that a good sense of what existentialism is about can be had through reading up these topics.

Joseph Smith - History and Critiques
Mormonism - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Read about Joseph Smith - what sort of man was he?

Mormon History
Mormonism - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Read about the way in which history has been distorted by Mormon church leaders and authors.

Mormon Theology - Critiques
Mormonism - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What is Mormon theology? What are Mormons taught?

Aztec Gods & Goddesses: Names, Art, Worship, Origins of Aztec Gods and Goddesses
The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican tribe located in what is currently Mexico. The Aztecs believed in a wide variety of gods and goddesses. In the Aztec pantheon, gods and goddesses regularly required sacrifices of some sort, often blood or even human sacrifices. Aztec religious mythology is rich, but often bloody.

Catholic Saints: What is a Saint? How Does One Become a Saint? Saints and Sainthood in Roman Catholic Christianity
The label saint is used in a special sense in the Roman Catholic Church for those people believed to have entered God's presence in heaven and thus can provide special benefits to humanity when they are asked to do so through prayers directed at them. Technically, they share in the Beatific Vision, which is a face-to-face experience of the presence of God. The nature of the holiness of saints varies, and it is argued that there are more saints than on the official, canonical list.

Christianity - Unification Church
Christianity - Unification Church - history, theology and critiques.

Days of Easter Season: Easter is a Season of Holy Days, Not a Single Holiday
A very popular spring holiday, Easter has roots not only in Jewish and Christian traditions, but also in ancient pagan beliefs as well. Although Easter is viewed as a Christian holiday today, much of Easter is more pagan than Christian - and even many of the Christian elements have pagan parallels as well. There is much more to Easter than meets the eye.

Flag Burning Cases: Supreme Court Cases on or Relating to Flag Burning, Desecration
A number of cases have come to the Supreme Court dealing or relating to the burning, defacement, or desecration of the American flag. In some cases, people have burned an American flag in order to protest polices and actions by the government. In other cases, people have done things with an American flag which others insisted was disrespectful. In a few cases, the government has tried to restrict people's ability to communicate messages with symbols rather than words.

State Laws on Flag Burning, Desecration, Commercial Use of American Flags
Every state in America except two has laws dealing with the misuse, abuse, and desecration of flags: the American flag, the state flag, and sometimes the Confederate flag. The laws prohibit defiling, defacing, casting contempt upon, and sometimes even satirizing these flags. Most laws specify actions, but some criminalize words. A few include other venerated objects in their protections.

Islamic Extremism: People Who Have Created Extremist Islam
Islamic extremism has been driven by some very powerful personalities through the 20th century. Here you will find personal and intellectual biographies of some of the most important individuals who have lead to the current radical Islamist ideologies.

Pentecostalism and America's Christian Right - Politics, Religion, Influence
The Pentecostal Church is a conservative Protestant Christian denomination which has had significant influence on American politics and the growth of America's radical Christian Right. Pentecostal Christianity is not the same fundamentalist or even conservative evangelical Christianity. Not all fundamentalists are also Pentecostal, but Pentecostals are generally fundamentalist in their theology. Pentecostalism tends towards anti-intellectualism, anti-science, and anti-modernity.

Science Polls: Register Your Opinion on Science and Scientific Issues
Ideally, science knows no dogmas and no sacred cows - this means that everything is open to questioning and testing. As a consequence, many favored beliefs may come under scrutiny and perhaps rejected - this includes but is not limited to religious and paranormal beliefs. If you have an opinion about the relationship between science and other aspects of society, you can vote in the polls here.

Science & Religion: Do they Conflict?
Are science and religion destined to conflict? Does quantum physics prove the validity of mystical insights? How did the universe originate? Is evolution a valid scientific theory? All this and more...

About L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology
Information and critiques of the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientology Books & Spoofs
Although Scientology almost spoofs itself, critics and dissenters have nevertheless managed to create witty satire based upon Scientology beliefs and attitudes. There are also several online books about Scientology that offer a lot of information.

Christianity vs Judaism: Christian Anti-Semitism and Persecution of Jews
The relationship between Christianity and Judaism has traditionally been very poor. Over the past two millennia, Christians have engaged in or supported persistent, hateful anti-Semitism which has seen the death and suffering of millions of Jews in Europe and beyond. Christian Antisemitism and anti-Judaism can be traced back to the earliest days of Christianity, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust of the 20th century. Is Christianity inherently anti-Semitic?

Court Decisions: Cases Dealing with Privacy, Civil Rights, and Liberty
Understanding liberty and freedom in America requires understanding the varying and often contradictory court decisions which have been made in this area. Here you will find summaries and expalantions of major Supreme Court decisions dealing with civil rights, privacy, and other liberties.

George Bush News & Information: Religion, Atheism, Church & State
Index of recent news stories and events dealing with Presidnent George W. Bush. Particular attention is paid to his religion, his religious claims, and how all of that impacts his political decisions. Who is George Bush? What are his thoughts about God, atheism, religion, the separation of church and state, science, and other things? Read more about the Bush campaign and Bush's views here.

Islam, Muslims, and Islamism: Recent News, Stories, Posts, and Commentary
Islam is one of the largest religions in the world and it has an even larger impact on world events - too often in a negative way because of the role being played by Islamic extremists and Muslim terrorists not only in the Middle East but elsewhere as well. Learn about recent news dealing with Islam, Muslims, Islamism, Islamic extremism, Muslim terrorists, and much more.

Jehovah's Witnesses News: Recent Court Cases, Conflicts, Stories, and Commentary
The Jehovah's Witnesses are a small Christian denomination which started in America but which can now be found in many nations around the world. Jehovah's Witnesses are often found fighting to defend their own religious liberty and, by extension, the religious liberty of all. They come in conflict with political authorities over things like their refusal to salute flags and medical authorities over their refusal to accept things like blood transfusions. Read more here on recent news and stories involving Jehovah's Witnesses.

News, Information on John Kerry: Religion, Atheism, Church & State
Index of posts, articles, and other information relating to John Kerry, presumptive Democratic nominee for the President of the United States.Who is John Kerry? What are his thoughts about religion, atheism, the separation of church and state, and science? Learn more about the Kerry campaign and Kerry's views here.

Jews, Judaism, and Antisemitism: Recent News, Posts, and Commentary
Judaism is one of the oldest world religions and continues to have an important influence on world events, despite its relatively small size. Wondering about what has been going on in the world when it comes to Jews, Judaism, and Antisemitism? There is regular news about the conflict between Jews and Palestinians in Israel, about Antisemitism in the world (including in the context of Mel Gibson's film The Passion), and the state of Jews in American and European societies.

Mayan Gods & Goddesses: Mayan Gods, Goddesses in Mayan Religious Mythology
The Mayans were a Mesoamerican tribe located in what is currently Mexico. The Mayans believed in a wide variety of gods and goddesses. In the Mayan pantheon, gods and goddesses regularly required sacrifices of some sort, even blood or even human sacrifices. Mayan religious mythology is rich, but bloody at times.

Mormon News: Recent News and Commentary on Mormonism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is one of the fastest growing Christian denominations in the world. They are having increasing influence in American politics and culture - for example spending millions to oppose same-sex marriage. Collected here are recent news stories involving the Mormon Church and what they have been doing.

Religion and Sex News: Recent News, Stories, and Commentary About Religion and Sexuality
Religion and sex don’t always have a very good relationship. It’s not uncommon for people to try to censor sexual expression or sexual material because of religious taboos against them. This is especially true in America where Puritan attitudes continue to dominate. Many political and social conflicts in America today can be traced to religious conflicts of sexuality and sex-related issues. Read about some of the ways in which religion and sex interact today.

Religion, Violence, and Discrimination: Recent News, Information, Posts, and Commentary
Religious believers tend to see their faith as a source of peace and good, but very often religion is also a source of hatred, division, bigotry, and violence. There are a lot of events and stories where violence is committed in the name of religion: people are killed, driven out of their homes, or simply treated like second-class citizens. Where is this happening and why?

Religious Right (Christian Right): Recent News, Information, and Commentary
The Religious Right, also known as the Christian Right because of how it is dominated by Christian groups, has become a major force in American politics. The Religious Right seeks to overturn many of the cultural changes that have occurred in America over the pasts few decades but, despite their political power, they have generally failed. Some even wish to establish a theocracy by overturning America's liberal democratic system. Read more about what they have been doing recently.

Roman Catholicism: Recent News, Commentary, and Posts on the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination and organization in the world. The actions of the Catholic Church affect a large percentage of the people in all nations, not just Catholics. Catholic positions on sexuality, abortion, religious liberty, and other issues play an important role in the politics and culture of many countries. Learn about recent news dealing with Catholic doctrines, Catholic beliefs, Catholic actions, etc.

Scientology in the Courts
Information and original legal texts from court cases involving Scientology. Read about how they have been sued for wrongful death and how they have sued people to keep their policies and beliefs secret.

Church of Scientology: Recent News, Information, Posts, and Commentary
The Church of Scientology is an American religious group founded by L. Ron Hubbard. For a long time it wasn't treated as a genuine religion and even today many people argue that is more of a scam or at least a cult than a regular religion. Whenever Scientology appears in the news, it's usually involved in scandals, strange comments by media personalities, court cases, conflicts, and so forth.

Scientology vs. the Internet
Read about how the Church of Scientology has waged an active campaign against critics on the internet, trying to silence anyone who opposes them.

Spring Holidays: Religious Holidays & Holy Days in Spring, Around the Spring Equinox
Most religions have holidays in the spring - celebrating the beginning of Spring may be among the oldest seasonal holidays in human culture. The earliest reference we have to such a holiday comes to us from Babylon, 2400 BCE. The city of Ur apparently had a celebration dedicated to the moon and the Spring equinox which was held some time during our months of March or April.

Critiques of Scientology
Skeptical critiques and attacks on Scientology, scientologists, Scientology principles and Scientology practices in America and around the world.

Faith Based Funding and Programs: Recent News, Posts, and Commentary
President George W. Bush has worked hard to get the government to finance religion and religious programs. This 'faith based funding' is designed to provide financial aid to religious groups regardless of discrimination and evangelization. Thus, a church receiving federal money for job retraining could discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, or sexual orientation with that money. Read about some of recent news dealing with faith-based funding fiascos and programs.

Islamic Extremism: Groups and Movements That Have Created Extremist Islam
Islamic extremism has been driven by some very powerful groups and movements through the 20th century. Here you will find background information on the history and acts of some of the most important organizations who have lead to the current radical Islamist ideologies.

Nihilism, Nihilists, and Nihilistic Philosophy: Losing Values, Morality, Authority
Nihilism is not so much a school of philosophy as it is a general trend or attitude in philosophy, moral philosophy, and politics. What all forms of nihilism share in common is a sense that some basic facets of life - be it morality or structures of political authority - are in reality baseless and without genuine substance. Although nihilism may seem at first to be a very negative perspective, nihilists themselves would be quick to dismiss such a conclusion.

Epistemology Introduction: Understanding the Nature of Truth, Knowledge, and Belief
Epistemology involves questions about the nature and definition of truth. Epistemology is the study of human knowledge - the grounds and conditions under which we can know anything. Knowledge, in turn, is normally defined in terms of truth - only true things can be known so no false ideas qualify as knowledge. Therefore, any discussion about knowledge must implicitly also be a discussion about the nature of truth - but what do we mean by 'true'? And what does it mean to say something isn’t true?

Philosophy of Religion: What is Religion? Why Does Religion Exist?
One of the more entertaining aspects of the philosophy of religion is to examine how religion influences modern culture and how culture in turn influences religion. Religion in film, religion in books, economic analyses of religion - these are all a part of religious philosophy.

Pledge of Allegiance: News, Court Cases, and Information
The Pledge of Allegiance is a statement of patriotic loyalty - it is also a religious oath because it contains the phrase 'under God.' There are, therefore, debates over whether forced recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violates the separation of church and state. Should students be expected to say it? Should politicians be recalled if they don't recite it? Here you will find news and information dealing with the inclusion of the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Religion in Public Schools - News, Information, Cases
America's public schools are a regular source of debates and controversy over the separation of church and state. Parents, students, and teachers come into conflict over prayer, Bible readings, meetings of religious groups, religious studies classes, and more. Here you can find news, information, and other events dealing with the connections between religion and public schools. Issues include school prayer, Bibles in public schools, distributing religious messages, and more.

Ten Commandments: News, Information, Court Cases
Should displays of the Ten Commandments be allowed in public buildings? Should large monuments be erected on the grounds of courthouses or legislative buildings? Should there be posters of the Ten Commandments in schools and other municipal buildings? Some argue that they are part of our legal history, but others say that they are inherently religious and, therefore, cannot be allowed. Here you can find recent news and events dealing with the Ten Commandments and the separation of church and state.

Terri Schiavo News: Facts, Myths, Arguments, and Issues in the Terri Schiavo Case
Terri Schiavo fell into a coma brought on buy her bulimia and the loss of blood flow to her brain caused it to die - her cerebral cortex was gone and spinal fluid was all that remains. Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, wanted the feeding tube removed and said that was what she would have wanted. All courts agreed, but Terri Schiavo's parents fought it - and lost

Bioethics News: Latest on Stem Cells, Cloning, & other Ethical Issues
The intersection of medical technology, medical practice, and ethical principles is an important field of study, but the rapid advance of medical technology has made it perhaps the most important field of ethics today. Bioethics concerns some of the most troubling topics, like the nature of life, the nature of death, and what sort of life is worth living.

Book Reviews: Books from Fortress Press of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Recently Reviewed Books from Fortress Press: Fortress Press is academic imprint for Augsburg Fortress Publishers, publishing house for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Every year Fortress Press publishes a wide variety of books on theology, biblical studies, Christian history, and more.

Book Reviews: Books from Oneworld Publications
An independent publisher based in Oxford, England, Oneworld Publications specializes in books on topics like comparative religions, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and more.

Book Reviews: Books from Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press publishes some of the most interesting and informative books currently being written on religion, philosophy, history, and politics. OUP is the world's largest university press and can trace its roots back to 1478 when the first book was printed in Oxford, England. Each book is subject to strict scrutiny and peer-review before being chosen for publication. If I am looking for a book on a particular topic, my choice will sometimes be influenced if it is published by OUP.

Book Reviews: Books from Prometheus Books, Leading Publisher of Books on Atheism, Skepticism, and Secular Humanism
Prometheus Books is the leading publisher of materials relating to atheism, skepticism, and secular humanism in the United States. They publish material that you won't find anywhere else and that other publishers probably wouldn't touch — if it weren't for them, we'd all be missing out on a lot. Naturally I review quite a few of their books on this site and in fact have often purchased books primarily because they have published it. Watch for the PB logo on the spine when browsing in a store.

Ethics News: News, Events, and Issues Dealing with Ethics and Morality
Ethics and ethical dilemmas are continuing features of our lives. Every day we are asked to make ethical decisions. Usually we do so without a great deal of reflection, but other times we are faced with serious dilemmas that tax our skills at ethical reasoning. There are often interesting news stories deal that touch upon important ethical questions, dilemmas, and debates.

Free Speech: News and Events on the Freedom of Speech
Is freedom of speech an absolute right, or are there legitimate reasons for restricting it? What role does the media play in promoting free speech and in informing the public? What effect to large corporations have when it comes the people's right to know and to disseminate information? These are some of the issues discussed in these recent news stories

Gay Marriage and Homophobia: News, Information, Events on Gay Rights, Homosexuality, and Gay Marriage
Should same-sex marriage be legal? Should gays and lesbians have the same civil and social rights as everyone else? Should religious groups continue to discriminate against homosexuals? How is religion being used to justify bigotry and discrimination? These issues - and gay marriage in particular - are getting more attention lately. Learn about what is going on and what people are saying.

Women and Religion: News on Women, Sexism, and Feminism in Religion
It's frequently the case that religions treat women as inferior to men - women have been denied leadership roles, they are told to be submissive, and religious doctrines are used to control them both in society and the family. Here you will find recent news and information about the relationship between women and religion, the ways religion can be repressive to women, and how some women are fighting back.

Book Reviews: Bible, Biblical History, Interpretation, Use
The Bible is one of the most important, influential and widely read books in Western Civilization. Thus, learning more about it and what it says is helpful in understanding more about Western culture and history - not to mention Judaism and Christianity, two religions based upon what we know as the Bible.

Books on Harry Potter: Christian, Leftist, Philosophical Critiques of Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has become wildly popular all over the world. That popularity and the ways in which it has manifested itself can tell us a lot about popular culture and the ways it can influence ideology and how childhood is constructed. Most people who read the Harry Potter books don't even begin to think about such things, but they can provide a great deal of insight on the culture around us and is worth the effort.

Book Reviews: Gay Rights, Gay Marriage, Homosexuality, and
Homosexuality is the subject of much political, religious, and cultural debate today. Gays have historically been treated as second-class citizens, but today they are fighting hard for equal rights - for example, the right to marry. Books reviewed here address the nature of homosexuality, arguments for gay rights, gay marriage, and more.

Book Reviews: Skepticism, Critical Thinking, Paranormal Beliefs
Society today requires science more than at any time in the past. Unfortunately, people today are often scientifically illiterate - they don't understand science and they don't understand how to think skeptically. Every year there are hundreds of books published which deal with science and skepticism, some of which deserve a closer look. A few of those are reviewed here on this site. Find out more about these books and also the skeptical, scientific approach to nature.

Book Reviews: Sociology, Psychology, Social Sciences
Both psychology and sociology influence politics, law, and many more facets of modern life. Despite this, most people don't entirely understand what sorts of finding modern psychological and sociological research offer. A few of the books published every year dealing with psychology and sociology are skeptical of commonly held beliefs while others providing interesting insight into human nature.