Agnosticism & Atheism Sitemap - Page 6 2016-09-26

Book Reviews: Religious Violence, War, Intolerance, Terrorism
Religious leaders normally argue that religion is a force for good and love in the world. Yet, at the same time, we see religion regularly used for war, mass murder, terrorism, and even genocide. Why does this difference exist - how can religion be claimed as a basis for peace while so many use it as a basis for terrorism?

Book Reviews: Women, Religion, Feminism, Discrimination
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. Why?

News and Information about the War on Terror and in Iraq
How is the war on terrorism proceeding? What is happening with the war in Iraq? To what extent has the 'War on Terrorism' become a Crusade or War on Islam? Here you will find news, information, and updates about what is going on with the war on terrorism, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the occupation of Iraq, and the scandals surrounding the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

Book Reviews: Books on the Afterlife, Life after Death, Reincarnation, Mortality
Is this life the only one we have? When our bodies die, is that the end for us as individuals or does something unique to us - like a soul - live on and continue to experience events? Most people have believed in an afterlife but many others have rejected such a notion, arguing that we are fully mortal and after our deaths, there is no more life. Reviewed here are books that address claims about an afterlife, mostly from a critical perspective.

Book Reviews: Roman Catholicism, Catholic Beliefs, History, Politics
Roman Catholicism preserves many of the oldest traditions in Christianity and it is the largest Christian denomination in the world. With headquarters in the Vatican, they control more land and resources than probably any other religious organization in existence. However, some Christians regard the Catholic Church as a non-Christian organization. There are many books published every year dealing with Catholicism, with some of the best reviewed here.

Book Reviews: Conflict Between Israelis and Palestinians
Few people are unaware of the violence which keeps occurring between Israelis and Palestinians. Why is this happening - what are the causes, and are there any solutions? Everything comes back to religion: the disagreement and violence between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Understanding the role of religion in these disagreements is necessary to understanding the violence itself.

Book Reviews: Mormonism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Mormon Church, officially named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is an original American religion. It has grown rapidly and is even spreading around the world. Mormons consider themselves Christian, but many conservative Christian say they are a cult. What do they really believe? What is their history and politics?

Book Reviews: Nazis, Nazi Germany, Hitler, Fascism, Holocaust
The Nazis are widely considered to have been one of the most evil and vicious political organizations ever to have existed. They murderous regime killed millions, including around six million Jews in the Holocaust. What was behind their ideology? What motivated Hitler? What is the attraction of fascism and fascist beliefs?

Book Reviews: New & Forthcoming Books, Recently Received for Review
Here is a listing of some of the new and forthcoming books that have been received recently for review on this site. Although full reviews will eventually appear, you might want know now about some of the newest books that are or will soon be available on the topics of religion, atheism, philosophy, skepticism, and so forth.

Book Reviews: Pseudoscience, Paranormal Beliefs, Ideas, Systems
Is there a 'paranormal' world out there, where psychic powers work, where astrology can predict your future, and where aliens come and visit us in UFOs? Some people certainly think so, but others are doubtful about so much pseudoscience. Learn here about some of the best books describing and critiquing paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs.

Book Reviews: Philosophy, Philosophers, Philosophical Issues
It isn't easy to say what exactly philosophy is, how to study it, or how to 'do' it. So why has it long been one of the central subjects in Western academics? The reason why it is so difficult to categorize philosophy is because philosophizing makes up so much of what we do during life - there is no escaping it for anyone who want to think clearly or think about important subjects. So, we need to learn how to do it well. Read about some recently published books on philosophy.

Book Reviews: Religious Philosophy & the Philosophy of Religion
What is religion? Does religion serve any social or psychological purposes - and if so, how? These are just a few of the questions asked in the philosophy of religion. Studying religious philosophy is important for anyone hoping to learn more about religion generally - here you can find out about some recent books on the subject and whether they are worth buying.

Book Reviews: Roman Catholic Popes, Papacy, History
Who or what is the pope? The title pope stems from the Greek word papas, which simply means 'father.' Early in Christian history it was used as a formal title expressing affectionate respect for any bishop and sometimes even priests. Today it continues to be used in Eastern Orthodox churches for the patriarch of Alexandria.

Book Reviews: Race, Religion, Discrimination, Affirmative Action
Race has played an important role in American history; unfortunately, religion has played an important role in maintaining ideologies of racial prejudice and discrimination. Christian may peach the brotherhood of man, but in practice is supported the politics of white power and black subjugation. Why and what has been done about it?

Book Reviews: Religion, Religious Beliefs, Religious History
Religion is an important aspect of human culture and history - indeed, one can argue that it isn't possible to really understand culture and history without also understanding religion. There are many books published each year dealing with religion, religious history and religious issues. Archived here are reviews of books which tend to take a skeptical or scholarly perspective on religion, past and present.

Book Reviews: Relationship Between Religion and Politics, Diplomacy, International Relations
Religion is becoming more and more important on the international political scene. Many international conflicts have religious roots and religion is driving both hatred and violence. Can religion be used as a tool to foster peace? Can religion play a role in international relations and diplomacy?

Book Reviews: Religious Right, Christian Right & Christian America
The Religious Right has become a powerful force in American politics and society over the past 30 years. It has influenced presidential elections, sponsored constitutional amendments, and worked towards re-creating the United States along a more evangelical, fundamentalist Christian vision. Reviewed here are some recently published books about the movement and various groups and people involved.

Book Reviews: Science, Philosophy of Science, Scientific Research
The modern world is heavily dependent upon science and technology; unfortunately, most people don't know a great deal about either. Scientific literacy is rather inadequate to modern needs and very inadequate to public debates over the politics of science, the public funding of scientific research, and the ethics of using technology.

Book Reviews: Conflict Between Science and Religion, Religious Beliefs
Religion and science are often seen to be in conflict - whether the specific subject is biology, physics, or even social sciences like psychology. To what degree is this perception accurate and to what degree are science and religion actually compatible? Take a look at some recent books on the topic and find out what they have to say.

Book Reviews: Sex, Sexuality, Pornography, Erotica, Nudity
Sex sells, which means that sex can sell a lot of books. Naturally, there are all sorts of books out there dealing with sex and sexuality: sex in religion, sex in advertising, sex in culture, sex in the family, etc. Here you can find reviews of books dealing with sexuality, pornography, erotic matters, and more.

Book Reviews: Cults, New Religious Movements, New Religions

Book Reviews: Eastern Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism
People in the West tend to be most familiar with Western religions - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in particular. Because of that most of their assumptions about religion are based upon those religious traditions - that, however, ignores all of the religions of the East - for example Shintoism, Taosim, and Buddhism. These religious traditions are just as important as those in the West.

Book Reviews: Morality, Ethics, Ethical Problems, Dilemmas, Debates
What are ethics? How can we lead ethical lives? How can ethical principles be applied in our lives and to fields such as science, business and religion? These are just some of the questions which occupy ethical philosophers and which are covered in a variety of new books published every year. Here you will find reviews of a few of the best.

Book Reviews: Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, Science Education
The debate over evolution and creationism can be very divisive in the United States. Which is the best explanation of the current diversity of life on Earth? Should both be taught in public schools? Are both evolution and creationism science, religion, or psuedoscience?

Book Reviews: Free Speech, Censorship, Freedom of Expression
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 recently published books which are reviewed here.

Book Reviews: God, Gods, Goddesses, Divinity, and Theism
Does God exist? If there is a God, or any gods, what are they like? Did they create the world or humanity? Are they a source for morality? Every year there are a number of new books about gods and belief in gods - what are they are and any of them worth reading? To be honest, most probably aren't - but a few take a rigorous, critical approach to the topic and are worth considering. Read about some of them here (as well as some of the bad ones).

Book Reviews: Secularism, Humanism, Humanists, Humanist Beliefs
What are secularism and humanism? Is it possible for a person to live without religion? Is it possible to be moral without religion? Must society have a religion in order to maintain order? Are secularism and humanism superior to traditional religions? These questions and more are addressed in the books reviewed here.

Book Reviews: Islam, Muslims, Islamic History, Beliefs, Islamism
What is Islam? Is Islam opposed to democracy and human rights? Are there good reasons to reject Islam and its theological claims? To what extent have politics and economics influenced the development of Islam in the Middle East? The books here answer those questions and more, presenting a critical and scholarly perspective.

Book Reviews: Jesus, Jesus' Life, Historicity, Impact
Who was Jesus of Nazareth, the person revered by Christians as the messiah? Did he really exist? If so, what did he do, what were his goals? Does he continue to have any relevance today? These questions and more are addressed in dozens of new books every year. Learn here more about some of the best recently published books about Jesus.

Book Reviews: Judaism, Jews, Jewish History, Beliefs, Antisemitism
Judaism is one of the oldest religions still actively followed today. Judaism is basically the

Book Reviews: Law, Legal Issues, Legal Problems, Debates
The law is not an esoteric subject that is irrelevant to our lives; on the contrary, much of what we do is constrained or aided by how the law is written and interpreted. Understanding the law often isn't easy, but every year there are a few good books that explain the law and offer a critical perspective on how the law is

Book Reviews: Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
What is alternative medicine? Does it do any good? Why do people pay money for it? The popularity of alternative medicine has increased dramatically in recent years, but understanding of scientific medicine hasn't. There are a lot of books out there which promote various alternative treatments, like homeopathy and acupuncture, but not as many which take a skeptical, critical look at the industry.

Book Reviews: Books on American Religion, Religious History, Religious Beliefs
Religion plays an important role in American society, just as it does in most societies. Religion in America is not, however, quite like religion in other countries. It has it's own unique history and it's own understanding of the nature of religion, of Christianity, and of civil society. Learn here about some of the best recent books published about religion in America.

Book Reviews: Books on Ancient Religions, Religious Beliefs, History
The religions we see today didn't pop out of nowhere - they evolved gradually from more ancient faiths which have largely, it not entirely, died away. What are some of these religions and how have their beliefs survived down through today? Learn about some recent books on ancient religious beliefs and what they have to offer.

Book Reviews: Books on Atheism, Atheists, Nonbelief in Gods
Atheism is often misunderstood and sometimes reviled - but it deserves neither. There aren't enough books which really do a good job at explaining what it is and help people to understand what it is about, but those that do exist are reviewed here. Find out what they say, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they compare to other books on atheism.

Book Reviews: Books on Bioethics, Medical Ethics, Issues, Dilemmas, Debates
What is the nature of life? What sort of value does life have - is it intrinsic, or dependent upon something like intelligence? What sorts of responsibilities do doctors have towards their patients - should they relieve any pain, even if it means killing a person? Bioethics is a field that addresses many of the most fundamental ethical questions facing us - especially in light of the growing importance of biotechnology. Reviewed here are some of the books recently published on bioethics.

Book Reviews: Christianity, Christians, Christian Beliefs, History
Every year there are hundreds of books published dealing with Christianity, Christian beliefs and Christian history. A few are worth taking a closer look at, and some of them are reviewed here. They can help you lean more about Christianity and the role it places in society.

Book Reviews: Christmas, Christmas Holidays, Christmas History
Most people in America have had some connection with Christmas celebrations; indeed, most have probably been celebrating Christmas in one way or another all their lives. That does not mean, however, that people really know much about the symbols, traditions or origins of what they do.

Book Reviews: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Freedom, Constitution
Should you have a reasonable expectation of being free from government observation of your political activities? 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? Should abortion be a right or a crime? These are a few of the issues addressed in the books reviewed here.

Book Reviews: Books About or Related to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction which he claims is based on historical fact. There is nothing wrong with basing a work of fiction around real events and people. A problem occurs when it isn't clear to readers where the history ends and the fiction begins. In Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, the fiction begins quickly because there are few facts.

Book Reviews: Separation of Church & State, Religious Liberty
The issue of the separation of church and state has been at the center of a tremendous number of debates in the United States. Questions about prayer in pubic schools, government support of religious events, and more have created a great deal of controversy and quite a few court cases. The books here represent some of the best current works support church/state separation.

Abortion & Contraception News: Political, Social, and Medical Debates over Abortion & Contraceptives
Abortion is a contentious issue in American society. Some regard it as an immoral abomination while others regard it as fundamental to reproductive liberty and privacy. Contraception is starting to be treated in a similar manner. It is, then, natural that there would be regular news stories involving abortion and contraceptives - what place do they have in society? Should they be legal and available?

Book Notes: Passages (and Commentaries) from Various Books
Collected here are short, interesting passages from some of the hundreds of books which are reviewed on this site. Each passage is accompanied by a brief commentary about its wider implications. If you don't have time to read all of these books yourself, you can at least derive some benefit from reading these book notes. Topics covered include religion, philosophy, ethics, science, and more.

Book Reviews: Books on Abortion and the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice Debate
Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in society - there seems little hope in getting the pro-choice and pro-life sides to agree on anything at all. Some people are certain that abortion is necessary for women's freedom while others are equally certain that it is a form of murder. Reviewed here are some of the best recent books dealing with abortion as a philosophical, religious and legal matter.

Boy Scouts of America: Discrimination, Bigotry, and Prejudice of the Boy Scouts Against Gays and Atheists
The Boy Scouts have long had an important place in American society, but do they continue to deserve the same respect and deference that they received in the past? If they discriminated against Jews or Asians, no one would defend them. Here you will find news, information, and court cases dealing with the Boy Scouts of America and their insistence on discriminating against gays and atheists without having to pay any social price for their positions.

Evolution and Creationism: Recent News, Events, and Posts Dealing with Evolutionary Theory
Wondering about what has been going on in the world when it comes to evolution and creationism? Where are politicians trying to get Intelligent Design in public schools? How are creationists trying to deny the basis of modern science and evolution theory? Where will these anti-science efforts lead us in the long term, even as science continues to grow in importance?

Skepticism and the Paranormal: Recent News Dealing with Skepticism, Paranormal, and Pseudoscience
Wondering about what has been going on in the world when it comes to skepticism and claims of the paranormal? It seems like there is always something new going on - crop circles, bigfoot, psychics, astrologers, faith healing, etc. Staying current on what is happening isn't easy, but here you have a handy index about all sorts of news stories dealing with paranormal claims and general skepticism. Included as well are reviews of recent books on these issues.

Atheism, Agnosticism, and Freethought: News and Events Dealing with Atheists, Atheism, Agnostics, and Freethought
Curious about what has been going on with the atheism and atheists both in America and around the world? What are atheists themselves saying about atheism, religion, and politics? Atheism doesn't come up very often in the media, but that doesn't mean that there isn't anything to say or to report about. There are very regular stories involving atheists and atheism if you look closely.

Danish Cartoons of Muhammad: Free Speech vs. Submission to Religion, Islam, and Blasphemy
Extremist Muslims have rioted, burned embassies, engaged in economic boycotts, offered bounties for murder, and called for the death of anyone who slanders Islam. Allegedly respectable and moderate Muslims have called for and end to free speech protections for anything that insults or defames religions, especially Islam. What caused all this? Twelve satirical cartoons in a Danish newspaper. This is a battle between free speech rights and demands for deference & submission to religious beliefs.

Christmas News: Events and Commentary on the 'Christmas Wars'
Conservative evangelical Christians are becoming increasingly upset that Christmas in modern America is more secular than religious. They blame liberals and atheists for this development, despite the fact that it's more a product of commercialization and culture - and it's been going on for more than a hundred years.

2004 Election Polls: Register Your Opinion on Election Issues
Many believe that the 2004 elections are the most important in recent memory. There are many issues at stake: how the war on terrorism should proceed, what to do in Iraq, what to do with the economy, gay marriage, and more. Do you think that George W. Bush has done a good job and should be reelected or should John Kerry take his place as president?

Atheism Polls: Register Your Opinion on Atheism & Atheist Issues
Atheists are a very diverse group of people - all they really have in common is not believing in the existence of any gods. Atheists and agnostics come from different religious backgrounds, they have different political opinions, and they have different philosophies about life and the universe.

Bioethics Polls: Register Your Opinion on Questions about Bioethics and Medical Ethics
Bioethics is one of the more important fields in contemporary moral philosophy. Knowledge and technology in science and biology are advancing very rapidly - perhaps more rapidly than our ability to determine if we should do all of the things we now can do. Should we manipulate the human genome? Should we clone people? When does life begin and end?

Church & State Polls: Opinions on the Separation of Church and State in America
The separation of church and state is an important issue many different societies. Should the government actively support and endorse any particular religions or religion generally? Should the government suppress religion in public so as to prevent sectarian strife? Or should the government remain generally neutral, neither helping nor hindering any religions? These questions come up in a lot of different specific issues - and you can make your opinion known by voting in some of the polls.

Ethics Polls: Register Your Opinion on Ethical Questions and Issues
Ethics is a difficult subject - everyone tends to have opinions on different ethical and moral questions, but rarely can they agree with on another. There are ethical dilemmas in politics, science, medicine, religion - everywhere that more than one human being interacts with another. Moral questions come up in a lot of different issues - you can make your opinion known by voting in some of the polls.

Evolution Polls: Register an Opinion in the Evolution vs. Creationism Debate
The debate between evolution and creationism is far more than just a scientific question. It has become a pressing social, political, and religious issue as well. People think that the truth of evolution would undermine a great deal of what they believe in - but are they right? Is evolution a religion? Is creationism scientific?

Free Speech Polls: Register Your Opinion on Censorship & Free Speech
It seems as though people approve of free speech, but only when they approve of the content of that speech. As soon as the speech turns to political views they dislike or sexual material that offends them, the principle of freedom of speech disappears. What do you think about efforts to censor speech - is censorship a good ideas sometimes?

God Polls: Register Your Opinion on God, Theism, and Related Issues
Does God exist? Does God even matter? Theists certainly think so on both accounts, but is theism so irrational that should simply discount such beliefs? There's a lot of different opinions on gods, theism, theists, and related matters - what do you think?

Polls on Social and Political Issues
It's difficult to get people to agree on most political or social issues. Whatever the topic, ten different people are likely to have ten different opinions - and that is especially true with atheists because atheism doesn't imply any particular political or social ideologies. Here, though, you can find out what sorts of trends exist among atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and other nonbelievers.

Skepticism Polls: Register Your Opinion on Paranormal Claims and Issues
There are a lot of paranormal and supernatural claims out there - psychics, astrologers, alien abductions, alternative medicines, ghosts, life after death, and much more. Is there anything at all to any of these claims? Are people deluded? Is it all just a matter of wishful thinking? Might these beliefs be modern substitutes for traditional religions?

Terrorism Polls: Register Your Opinion on the War on Terrorism
The 'War on Terrorism' has produced a great deal of debate. Is it a proper war, like World War II, or a metaphorical war like the 'War on Drugs'? Does it justify limiting freedoms to enhance security? Is it a just a war against terrorists or is it really a war against Islam? Is everyone who is not 'with' America therefore 'against' America?

Gay Rights Polls: Register Your Opinion on Gay Rights, Gay Marriage
Questions about what sorts of rights should be recognized for gays and lesbians have divided American society. Some say that homosexuals should have all the rights as heterosexuals, including the ability to enter into same-sex marriages. Others argue that homosexuality is an abomination and should not be condoned or accepted in any way. What do you think?

Demonization Rhetoric from the Christian Right
Sometimes the rhetoric heard from American conservatives, especially religious conservatives, almost sounds more like a medical report than a political analysis: America suffers from 'decay' and is 'sick' because of the 'corruption' and 'infection' of liberal, subversive elements. In order for America to be 'healed' and once again start down the road to greatness, the infection has to be removed

Where do Rights Come From?
Are rights crated by people through the political process? Are rights created by some god and then bestowed on humans? Quite a large number of religious believers insist that the latter is the case; some even argue that unless that is the case, then rights can't exist.

Capital Punishment, Catholicism and Cathars
Today the Catholic Church stands resolutely against capital punishment. The validity of executions has not been rejected completely, but the situations in which they are licit are so narrow and limited that they are practically impossible, at least if one adheres to Catholic teachings faithfully. This wasn't always the case, though.

The Inferiority of Gay Americans, According to Conservative Christians
Members of the Christian Right sometimes like to say that their policy towards various 'illicit' behaviors is to 'hate the sin but love the sinner' and, therefore, while they hate homosexuality, they don't hate homosexuals. Their actions and statements, though, betray their true feelings: they believe that gays are inferior citizens and inferior human beings.

Religious Views Doctor-Assisted Suicide
People without any religious affiliation are more likely than Christians to say that there are circumstances in which patients should be allowed to die and far more likely to agree that doctors should be allowed to help patients die faster, at least in some cases.

Suppressed Evidence Fallacy
When true and relevant information is left out for any reason, the fallacy called Suppressed Evidence is committed. The fact that all included premises have to be true also means that all true premises have to be included.

Protestant Catholic Reactions to Nazism
Christianity was instrumental for the Nazi seizure of power in Germany. Some reasons, like the fact that most voters were Christian, are obvious. Other reasons are not so obvious and one of these is the fact that many Christian leaders actively reassured Germans that Hitler and the Nazis not only were no threat to Christian civilization, but were in fact a source of hope.

Logical Fallacy Division
The Fallacy of Division involves someone taking an attribute of a whole or a class and assuming that it must also necessarily be true of each part or member.

Republicans Support Making Christianity the Official Religion
A 2013 poll reveals that just over a third of all Americans and just over a half of all Republicans support making Christianity and official religion of their state. Support for a Christian theocracy in individual American states is also high among older Americans and people with just a high school education.

Appeal to Poverty / Appeal to Money - Fallacy of Appealing to Money or Wealth
It's a fallacy to argue that a person's wealth or poverty is relevant to believing what they claim. It's also a fallacy to argue that the cost of an item is relevant to how good it is. When you see such arguments, you're encountering a fallacious appeal to poverty or a fallacious appeal to money.

Complex Question Fallacy
The Complex Question fallacy occurs when an argument depends upon hidden premises that aren't defended or explained. It is often categorized with Fallacies of Ambiguity because the hidden premises introduce uncertainty into the argument.

Quoting Out of Context Fallacy (Changing Meaning)
Every quotation is a quote without some context because you can't quote absolutely everything. A quotation becomes a fallacy of quoting out of context when you use a selective quotation that distorts, alters, or even reverses the originally intended meaning. A fallacious out-of-context quote can be done accidentally or deliberately.

Is There a War on Christmas? American Public is Divided
The so-called 'War on Christmas' makes an appearance every year when conservative evangelicals complain about being persecuted. But how successful has their propaganda been? The American public is fairly evenly divided, with about the same number of people believing that such a war exists as believing there is no such war.

Appeal to Age - Fallacy of Appealing to Age, Tradition, or Custom
The Appeal to Age fallacy, also known as the argumentum ad antiquitatem, occurs when one argues that the when something is old, then this somehow enhances the value or truth of the proposition in question.

How Was Eve Created? - Contradictions in Genesis
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 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?

Who Were the Canaanites? - Old Testament History
The Canaanites play an important role in the story of the Israelites' conquest of their 'Promised Land,' especially in the Book of Joshua, but the ancient Jewish scriptures contain almost no substantive information about them. The Canaanites are the villains of the story because they are living on land promised to the Israelites by Yahweh.

What is Gullibility? What Kinds of Beliefs are Produced by Gullibility
Gullibility is a failure to properly apply reason, logic, and skepticism to a claim or idea. It encourages false, irrational, and even dangerous beliefs.

Profile of the Dead Sea - Biblical History, Geography, Religion
The Dead Sea is a lake which the Jordan River empties into. It plays an important role in both biblical history and biblical prophecy.

How are Hell and Sheol Presented in the Bible?
In religions in the West, hell is believed to be a place of punishment for the souls of those who sinned during their lives.

Reliability of Eyewitness Accounts in the Gospels
Even if the gospels in the Bible were genuine, first-hand, eyewitness testimony, they wouldn't be reliable; unfortunately for them, they aren't even that good.

Moral Panic Over Gays: Defending Traditional Marriage, Control of Women
The idea that gay marriage will undermine marriage makes no sense, but that's because the true, underlying complaint is unstable gender roles.

Genetic Fallacy & Morality: Can We Critique Christian Morality on its Origins?
Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Christian morality is based on the 'slave morality' of the slaves in ancient Rome and was born from the resentment which slaves felt towards their masters. Is this an example of the Genetic Fallacy or a legitimate critique?

Morality, Law, Power Might Make Right?
All human cultures have a morality of some sort, but do they all have the same morality? No, and this has led some to argue that there is no such thing as a universal morality. Instead, all morality is simply relative to time, place, and/or culture. The most extreme versions of this practically deny the existence of any sort of morality entirely, a position has led to extreme reactions from the other side.

Abraham Lincoln on God and Politics
It's rare for politicians in America to not try linking their policies with religion and God, at least when it comes to anything important or major. Since this happens on both sides of any issue, the upshot is that God is invoked as both favoring and opposing whatever is being debated.

Family Values and Sexual Control in Christian America
One of the implied meanings of 'family values' which doesn't get enough attention is the idea of sexual control - that is to say, control over sexual orientation, sexual activity, and sexual expression.

Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger): Life, Biography, Ideas, Doctrines, and Beliefs
Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope on April 19, 2005, and adopted the name Benedict XVI. At 78 years old, he became the 265th pope according to the official lists. Ratzinger was formerly Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the organization once known as the Inquisition. Joseph Ratzinger was long known as one of the most powerful forces for conservatism in the Vatican.

Electing the Next Pope: Index of Resources on Papal Elections and Electing Popes
Every human is mortal, and that includes popes. Some live and reign for extraordinarily long times while others only serve for a few days, but in the end all die and a new pope must be elected. How are papal elections run? A papal election is a process that is shrouded in secrecy; the details of any one election are supposed to be kept hidden, but general information is known.

Pope John Paul II: Biography, History, and Policies of the Pope
John Paul II was one of the longest-lived and most influential popes in the history of the Catholic Church. For good or for ill, his policies and personality helped shape not only the current character of Catholicism but also the direction Catholicism will take for generations to come. Because of that, it's important to take the time to carefully consider what his policies were and how they affected Catholics around the world.

Persecuting Witches & Witchcraft: Christian Persecution of Witches, Witchcraft, and Women
Witches have long been feared and hated in Christian circles. Even today, pagans and Wiccans remain a target of Christian persecution -- especially in America. It seems that they long ago took on an identity which reached far beyond their own existence and became a symbol for Christians -- but a symbol of what? Maybe an examination of the events will give us some clues.

Ethics & Morality: Reasoning about Morality, Ethics, Ethical Behavior
There is a great deal of debate on the issue of morality: how can an atheist be moral? does morality require religion? Is Christian morality best?

Teleology and Ethics: Actions and Consequences
If you judge the morality of actions by the consequences, then you are following a teleological moral system, also known as a consequentialist system.

Second Law of Thermodynamics and Evolution
Creationists say the Second Law of Thermodynamics disproves evolution, but their argument is a complete misrepresentation of the science in question.

Christianity and Violence: The Reformation
Christians associate their religion with peace, but the worst violence in European history occurred when Protestants and Catholics warred with each other.

Why Do People Believe in Astrology?
Given how little connection astrology has with reality or science, why do people believe it? Because it's reassuring and comforting.

Is Astrology a Pseudoscience?
Astrology is a pseudoscience, not a science, as demonstrated by the fact that is has absolutely none of the attributes which characterize modern science.

Artificial Wombs: The End of Natural Motherhood?
Someday scientists will create artificial wombs, separating reproduction from motherhood. What impact will they have on issues like abortion or cloning?

Libertarianism in Moral Philosophy
According to moral libertarianism, humans have the free will which is necessary for moral responsibility. Why and how we have it is debated, though.

Introduction to Existentialism: History and Existentialist Thought
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: Trends & Ideas in Existentialist Thought
Although often treated like a philosophical school of thought, it would be more accurate to describe existentialism as a trend or tendency that can be found throughout the history of philosophy. If existentialism were a theory, it would be unusual in that it would be a theory that is generally opposed to philosophical theories. Page 2.

Existentialism: What Isn't Existentialism? Contrasting Existentialist Ideas With Other Philosophies
Existentialism encompasses so many different trends and ideas that have appeared over the history of Western philosophy, thus making it difficult to distinguish it from other movements and philosophical systems. Due to this, one useful means of understanding existentialism is to examine what it isn't. Page 3.

Existentialists Before Existentialism: The Development of Existentialist Philosophy
Because existentialism is a trend or mood involving philosophical themes rather than a coherent system of philosophy, it is possible to trace through the past a number of precursors to the self-aware existentialism that developed in Europe during the early twentieth century. These precursors involved philosophers who may not have been existentialists themselves, but did explore existentialist themes and thereby paved the way for the creation of existentialism in the 20th century. Page 4.

What Is Parapsychology?
Defining parapsychology is not an easy task. The researchers who would have been expected to clarify things have actually contributed to the problem. Most definitions of parapsychology tend to emphasize negative aspects, defining it according to what it is not rather than what it is. The absence of a substantive definition is one of the things that prevents parapsychology from being taken more seriously.

What is Existentialism? History of Existentialism, Existentialist Philosophy, Philosophers
Existentialism is more a trend or tendency that can be found throughout the history of philosophy. Existentialism is hostile towards abstract theories or systems that propose to describe all of the intricacies and difficulties of human life through more-or-less simplistic formulas. Existentialists focus primarily on matters such as choice, individuality, subjectivity, freedom, and the nature of existence itself.

Ad Hoc Explanations, Causes, and Rationalization
An ad hoc explanation is a defective explanation used to salvage a failed argument by trying to create special conditions or reasons for accepting it.

Oversimplification and Exaggeration Fallacies
Postulating too few causes results in oversimplification; too many causes is exaggeration. These fallacies mask the true causes of an event.

Welsh v. United States (1970)
The Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot limit conscientious objector status to only those who have religious reasons for their position.

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
The Supreme Court ruled that schools cannot force students to salute or pledge allegiance to the flag, citing freedom of speech and religion.

Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940)
The Supreme Court ruled that local governments cannot require religious groups to get a special license to spread their message door to door.

Good News Club v. Milford Central School (1998)
The Supreme Court ruled that if the government open facilities to non-religious groups, then religious groups must be allowed the same access.

County of Allegheny v. ACLU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter (1989)
The Supreme Court ruled that governments can host religious holiday displays, but only in a context that doesn't signal endorsement of the religion.

Are Paranormal Beliefs Similar to Religious Beliefs?
Is there a real connection between religion and belief in the paranormal? Some, particularly adherents of various religious faiths, will often argue that the two very different types of beliefs. Those who stand outside of religion, however, will notice some very important similarities which bear closer consideration.

Do Atheists Lead Meaningless Lives?
This is a very common claim heard from religious theists, especially Christians. It is also a very curious claim because it sidesteps the issues which most atheists would regard as central: does God exist? Is theism reasonable? Is atheism reasonable? By ignoring the important questions about the validity of theism and atheism, this claim is an example of the Red Herring fallacy, attacking an ultimately irrelevant issue.

The Coherence Theory of Truth
The Coherence Theory of Truth, developed by Hegel and Spinoza, often seems to be an accurate description of how our conception of truth actually works. The Coherence Theory of Truth says: a belief is true when we are able to incorporate it in an orderly and logical manner into a larger and complex system of beliefs.

Structuring, and Wielding Religious Power
Whenever the nature and structure of authority becomes a subject of discussion, Max Weber's tripartite division of types of authority figures inevitably plays a role. That is especially true here because religious authority is especially well suited for being explained in terms of charismatic, traditional, and rationalized systems.

Types of Religious Authority: Charismatic
Charismatic authority is perhaps the most unusual of the bunch - it is relatively rare compared to the others, but it is especially common to religious groups. Indeed, many if not most religions have been founded on the basis of charismatic authority. This sort of authority derives from the possession of 'charisma,' a characteristic which sets a person apart from others. Page 2.

Traditional Authority: Bonds of Tradition, Customs, and Habits from the Past
A social group that is organized along the lines of traditional authority is one which relies heavily upon traditions, customs, habits, and routines in order regulate human behavior, to distinguish right from wrong, and to assure sufficient stability to allow the group to survive. Whatever has come before is assumed to be the way things should be, either because they have always worked or because they were sanctified by higher powers in the past. Page 3.

Rational, Legal, and Professional Authority: Modernized, Rationalized Bonds of Office
Aspects of rationalized or legal authority can be found throughout human history, but it has achieved the most widespread acceptance in the modern industrialized era. Probably the most pure form of rationalized authority is the bureaucracy, one which Max Weber discussed at some length in his writings. It would be fair to say, in fact, that Weber considered the bureaucratic form of administration to be very much a symbol of the modern world. Page 4.

Ten Commandments: Basis for American Law?
Many argue that the Ten Commandments are the basis for American law and this justifies the creation of of Ten Commandments plaques, monuments, or displays on government property. Having the Ten Commandments displayed is thus supposed to be a way of acknowledging the roots of our laws and our government. But is this argument valid?

Ten Commandments: Comparison of Each Commandment with American Law & Justice
One argument frequently offered for the constitutionality of Ten Commandments plaques, monuments, or displays on government property is that they are the foundation of American (or Western) law. Let's look at each commandment to see if any are reflected in any way in American law. Page 2.

Equal Rights vs. Special Privileges - Civil Equality
A common Christian Right argument against protecting gays' basic civil rights is that gays are seeking 'specia' rights unavailable to others. This is untrue, but it's rhetorically powerful and sounds convincing. It's also hypocritical because if any group in America is benefiting from and defending special rights for themselves, it's religious believers. Why do Christians favor restrictions on gays which they would never accept for themselves?

Religious Doctrines are Self-Contradictory: How Can They All Be True?
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.

All Evidence Points to Life Being 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

Doesn't Atheism Lead to Communism?
A common complaint made by theists, typically those of the fundamentalist variety, is that atheism and/or humanism are essentially socialist or communist in nature. Thus, atheism and humanism should be rejected since socialism and communism are evil. Evidence indicates that bigotry and prejudice towards atheists in America is due in no small part to anti-communist activism by conservatives Christians in America, so this claimed connection has had serious consequences for American atheists.

Myth: Religious Neutrality is Hostility toward Religion
A common mantra from Christian Nationalists is that secular society is hostile to religion whenever strict neutrality is observed. People imagine that if government officials are prevented from endorsing or promoting their religion while exercising their authority or fulfilling the duties of their office, that is an expression of hostility towards their religion. Atheists are furthermore accused of being behind this hostility because they want to use the government to destroy religion.

How the Christian Right Undermines the Right to Contraception
Opposition to birth control is increasing in evangelical circles which are, curiously, relying heavily on Catholic teachings. While Catholic teaching officially rejects the use of contraceptives, you don't see Catholics trying to undermine access to them - but that's what some evangelicals seem to have in mind. This is strange given the traditional Protestant support for family planning, but it makes sense in the context of the Culture Wars and some Christian traditions.

Evolution: Fact Or Theory? Or Both?
There is some confusion about evolution as a fact and evolution as a theory. Often you can find critics claiming that evolution is just a theory.

Christian Existentialism
The existentialism we see today is rooted most prominently in the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, and as a consequence, it might be argued that modern existentialism started out as being fundamentally Christian in nature, only later diverging into other forms. It is thus important to understand Christian existentialism in order to understand existentialism at all.

Christian Existentialism: Tillich, Bultmann, and Evangelical Protestantism
Paul Tillich was one Christian theologian who made extensive use of existentialist ideas, but in his case he relied more upon Martin Heidegger than Søren Kierkegaard. For example, Tillich used Heidegger’s concept of “Being,” but unlike Heidegger he argued that God is “Being-itself,” which is to say our ability to overcome doubt and anxiety in order to make the necessary choices to commit ourselves to a way of living. Page 2.

The Piety of Tyrants - Aristotle on Politics and Religion
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

Why Science and Scientific Research are not a Religion
Calling science a religion should be instantly recognized as an ideological attack rather than a neutral observation of facts. Sadly this is not the case, and it has become far too common for critics of modern, godless science to claim that it's inherently a religion, thus hoping to discredit scientific research when it contradicts genuine religious ideology. Examining the characteristics which define religions as distinct from other types of belief systems reveals how wrong such claims are.

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.

What Is Evolution and Evolutionary Theory?
Evolution can be a confusing term because it is used in more than one way. Many people in the general population have developed an incorrect understanding of evolution for a number of reasons. One is the misinformation spread by creationists - by misrepresenting evolution, they may hope that it will be easier to get people to disregard it. Another is simple ignorance of the topic itself and the specific ways in which science uses certain terminology.

Scientific, Historical Errors and Mistakes in the Bible
The Bible is filled with errors and mistakes. Other ancient texts also have errors and mistakes, but this isn't a problem because people don't expect the authors of those texts to be perfect. The Bible, in contrast, is claimed by many believers to be infallible, inerrant, perfect, etc. Many base their entire religious ideology around the presumption that the Bible is free from errors or mistakes, so demonstrating the presence of errors is key to rebutting their religious claims.

God Is Omnibenevolent: What Does It Mean to Be All-Loving?
The concept of omnibenevolence stems from two basic ideas of God: that God is perfect and that God is morally good. Therefore, God must possess perfect goodness. Being perfectly good must entail being good in all ways at all times and towards all other beings - but there remain questions. First, what is the content of that goodness and second what is the relationship between that goodness and God?

Angst: Dread, Anxiety, and Anguish in Existentialist Thought
As a general principle, existentialist philosophers have emphasized the importance of psychologically critical moments where basic truths about human nature and existence come crashing down upon us, upsetting our preconceptions and shocking us into a new awareness about life. These 'existential moments' of crisis then lead to more generalized feelings of dread, anxiety, or fear.

Negative Theology (What God Is Not) - Definition
A Christian theological system that attempts to describe the nature of God by focusing on what God is not rather than on what God is.

What Is Religious Humanism?
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.

Barnum Effect and Gullibility: Flaws in Reasoning and Arguments
A common reference point as to why people believe the advice of psychics and astrologers - not to mention many other nice things said about them - is the 'Barnum Effect.' Named after P.T. Barnum, the Barnum Effect is based upon his famous saying 'There's a sucker born every minute.'

Atheism 101: Introduction to Atheism and Atheists
I see a lot of misunderstandings and errors about atheism and atheists all over the net. People don't understand what atheism is, what the definition of atheism is, or the difference between atheism and agnosticism. People claim that atheism is a religion, that it requires faith, that it's a form of denial, that there are no real atheists, and that there are no atheists in foxholes. This introduction to atheism answers most of the most common questions and mistakes about atheism.

What is Philosophy? How Does Philosophy Relate to Irreligious Atheism? Atheists Need Philosophy for Critiques of Religion, Theism, and Ideas
Philosophy comes from the Greek for 'love of wisdom,' giving us two important starting points: love (or passion) and wisdom (knowledge, understanding). Philosophy sometimes seems to be pursued without passion as if it were a technical subject like engineering or mathematics. Although there is a role for dispassionate research, philosophy must derive from some passion for the ultimate goal: a reliable, accurate understanding ourselves and our world. This is also what atheists should seek. Page 2.

Atheists Trusted Less Than Rapists
The distrust of atheists in America is well known, but did you know that atheists are distrusted as much as or possibly a bit more than rapists? When presented with an apparently random person doing illegal and unethical things, few people were willing to identify the person as a Christian, more were willing to identify them as a Muslim, and the most were willing to identify them as a rapist or an atheist.

Distinguishing Between Hypotheses, Theories and Facts
There's confusion over the terms hypothesis, theory and fact in science. We have popular usage, popular impression of how scientists use the terms, and how the terms actually get used in science. All three share some things in common, but none match.

Supreme Court Decision - Zelman v. Simmons-Harris
Supreme Court Decisions on Religious Freedom and Liberty - summary and analysis of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.

Prescriptions & Kickbacks: Is your doctor influenced by drug companies?
Prescriptions & Kickbacks: Is your doctor influenced by drug companies when choosing what medications to prescribe to you? Is your doctor receiving things from drug companies and not giving you medicine based solely upon your needs as a patient?

Affirmative Action & Ethics: Affirmative Action is Reverse Discrimination
Affirmative Action & Ethics: Affirmative Action is Reverse Discrimination. According to many critics, affirmative action does not help cure discrimination because it is itself a form of discrimination - reverse discrimination. Because discrimination is unjust and unethical, so is affirmative action.

Ethics of Sexual Autonomy & Prostition: Sex Sells, but Should Sex be Sold?
Ethics of Sexual Autonomy & Prostition: Sex Sells, but Should Sex be Sold? Scott A. Anderson argues that legal prostitution - selling sex - would allow the violation of people's sexual autonomy. Is this a good argument against legalizing prostitution?

Antiwar Arguments: Killing Innocent People is Wrong
Antiwar Arguments: Killing Innocent People is Wrong. Some argue that war is immoral because it causes the deaths of innocents and that, itself, is inherently immoral. Is this a valid argument?

Bioethics: What is Death?
Bioethics FAQ: What is Death? When exactly does life end and death begin? How should we define the moment of death?

Genes and Identity: Can our genetic code tell us who we are?
Bioethics: Genes and Identity: Can our genetic code tell us who we are? Some people believe that expensive genetic tests will reveal their genetic and, hence, ethnic background - telling them their heritage and giving them an identity. But does our identity really lie in our genes?

Bioethics - Paternity Fraud: Fatherhood, Child Support, and DNA
Bioethics - Paternity Fraud: Is Fatherhood Just a Matter of Biology? When a DNA paternity test shows that a man isn't really the father of child he has been paying child support on, should he be required to continuing paying child support for a child that isn't his?

Bioethics - Artificial Wombs: The End of Natural Motherhood?
Bioethics - Artificial Wombs: The End of Natural Motherhood? Some day scientists will be able to create artificial wombs so that a fetus can grow outside the mother - but should we do this? What implications does such technology have for abortion, cloning, and other issues in bioethics?

Xenotransplants: Ethics of Transplanting Organs from Animals to Humans
Bioethics FAQ: Xenotransplants - Ethics of Transplanting Organs from Animals to Humans. Should we use the organs from other animals to put into humans? What are the health risks?

Biography: Pope John XXIII
Glossary of Religion and Philosophy - Short Biography of Pope John XXIII

The Bible, Race, and Slavery
One of the worst chapters in the history of how the Bible has been used involves how Christians used the Bible to justify racism and slavery.

God is Dead: Nietzsche on Killing God
When Nietzsche wrote the words 'God is Dead,' he put them in the mouth of a character who was telling people about the death of the concept of god.

About Religion and Religious Beliefs: Examining the Nature of Religion, Religiosity, and Religious Faith
What is religion? What are some varieties of religions? What is theism, and what are some of the varieties of that? Atheists aren't theists, but they can be religious - understanding what theism and religion are is key to understanding why that is true.

Barack Obama's Religious Beliefs and Background
Obama has been accused of being a Muslim and an atheist; the truth is that his background is more secular and diverse than has been traditional.

Three Religions, One God? Judaism, Chrisianity, Islam
Do adherents of the three major Western monotheistic religions - Jews, Christians, and Muslims - all believe in and worship the same God?

What is Panentheism? God is the Universe, But Also More
Panentheism posits the existence of a god that interpenetrates every part of nature, but which is also nevertheless fully distinct from nature.

What is Pantheism? Is the Universe or Nature God?
Pantheism is either the belief that the universe is God and worthy of worship, or that God is the sum total of all there is in the universe.

What is Monotheism? Belief in a Single All-Powerful God
Monotheism is a belief in the existence of a single god. It usually incorporates worship of that god as well as a religion based upon that worship.

Supreme Court Decisions on Privacy
The realm of private property and conduct facilitates the moral, personal, and intellectual development of individuals, without which democracy isn't possible.

Normative Ethics: What Moral Standards Should We Use?
Normative ethics involves creating or evaluating moral standards and figure out what people should do or whether their moral behavior is reasonable.

What is Agnosticism? Index of Answers and Resources
The term agnosticism is used primarily for one issue: do any gods exist? Those who disclaim knowledge of gods or that such knowledge is possible are agnostics.

A Priori vs. A Posteriori: Types of Knowledge
The terms A Priori and A Posteriori refer to types of knowledge: knowledge before evidence and experience or knowledge after evidence and experience.

Common Arguments Against Gay Marriage
The most common and popular arguments against gay marriage, mostly religious in nature, are easy to refute because they're based on serious errors.

Atheism Myths: Is Atheism a Religion?
Of all the myths about atheism, the most pernicious may be the belief that atheism is a religion. This myth misrepresents both atheism and religion.

Pope Joan: Was There Really a Female Pope?
Many have believed that there was once a woman who became pope. The legends of a Pope Joan are intriguing, but probably not true.

What is Logic? What is Critical Thinking?
If you want to better evaluate the claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and critical thinking.

Metaphysics - Philosophy of Existence, Being and Reality
Metaphysics is looked down upon by some atheists, but as the study of the nature of reality it is probably the best subject for atheists to focus upon

Strong Agnosticism vs. Weak Agnosticism
Strong agnosticism says that knowledge of gods is impossible; weak agnosticism says that the person in question had no knowledge of gods.

How is Science Defined?
At its heart, science is a method of getting reliable knowledge about our world and of developing reliable explanations for why things happen.

Is Separation of Church and State in the Constitution?
Some argue that the only rights we have are those spelled out explicitly in the Constitution, but that's nonsense. It's not how the Constitution works

Loving v. Virginia: Is Marriage a Basic Civil Right?
Loving v. Virginia ended bans on interracial marriage and held that marriage is a basic civil right which can't be restricted by religious beliefs.

History of Humanism With Ancient Renaissance Philosophers
The humanism of the Renaissance isn't just important to the development of modern secular humanism, but of modernity and the modern world as a whole.

Analysis of the Sixth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill
The Sixth Commandment says 'thou shalt not kill,' but what does that mean? The answer isn't as obvious as many assume, leading to many debates.

Black Liberation Theology in North America
Developed by James Cone, Black Liberation Theology is critical of the behavior and theology white Christians, especially in their treatment of blacks.

What is Agnosticism? A Short Explanation
Agnosticism is the state of not claiming to know if any gods exist or not and is compatible with theism and atheism, not a third way between them.

Faith in God vs. Faith in Mumbo Jumbo
What does it mean to 'have faith in God'? For that to make any sense, the speaker must be able to explain what exactly they mean by 'God'.

Humanism and 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?

Atheists Should Focus on Naturalism and Science
Many atheists object to the labels 'atheist' and 'atheism

Should Atheists be Skeptics? Should Skeptics be Atheists?
Reasonable skepticism is an essential basis of Freethought, or the idea that decisions about religion should be made independently and without relying on the demands of either authority or tradition. It is not the ultimate conclusions which are being described, but instead the method of arriving at those conclusions. Atheists should strive to consistently employ a methodology of naturalism, skepticism, and empiricism - not just with religion and theism, but broadly in all areas of life.

What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism?
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?

Is Evolution a Religious Belief System Based on Faith?
It is common for critics of evolution to claim it is a religion being improperly supported by the government when it is taught in schools. No other facet of science is singled out for this treatment, at least not yet, but it is part of a wider effort to undermine naturalistic science. An examination of the characteristics which best define religions reveals just how wrong such claims are.

Myth: Atheists Are Becoming More Rude by Criticizing Religious Believers
One complaint which some religious theists keep raising is how allegedly 'militant' atheists are 'rude' because of the ways in which they publicly, unapologetically, and pointedly challenge religious believers. Such atheists ask that believers actually defend and support the claims they publicly make. Such atheists criticize those beliefs, pointing out the flaws in them and argue that they are mistaken, wrong, or even dangerous. Some religious theists find this intolerable.

Religious Conflicts over Neutral, Civil Laws
When, if ever, should personal religious morality take precedence over neutral, public laws and standards of justice? In a civil, secular society the answer should probably be 'never,' but not all religious believers agree with this. One issue which underlies so many religious conflicts, not to mention religious extremism, is the conviction held by many religious believers that their religious morality, supposedly from their god, should take precedence when they believe the law has failed.

How & Why Witnesses Fade from Congregations
Most religious believers are free to leave their denomination at any time they choose without repercussions. They may face some pressure from associates if they become atheists, but their families will usually continue speaking with them and their business relationships will be unaffected. Not so when one of Jehovah's Witnesses becomes an atheist. For Jehovah's Witnesses, the potential problems associated with being disfellowshipped and shunned lead to many choosing instead to just fade away.

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.

Myth: Atheists Are Angry That God Didn't Do Something
The myth that atheists are angry in general is itself already quite popular, but the myth that atheists are angry specifically at God for not having done what they want may be more popular. This combines the idea that atheists are angry, that they are prideful enough to think that they know better than God, and that they are rebelling against what God wants for the world. Atheists are thus attacked from a variety of convenient directions, except for the fact that the claim is all wrong.

Secularism is Not an Atheist Conspiracy
Because the concept of the secular is normally conceived as standing in opposition to religion many people may not realize that it originally developed within a religious context. This may also come as quite a surprise to religious fundamentalists who decry the growth of secularism in the modern world. Rather than an atheistic conspiracy to undermine Christian civilization, secularism was originally developed within a Christian context and for the sake of preserving peace among Christians.

Do Atheists Choose Atheism and to be Atheists?
I frequently hear the claim that atheists choose atheism, usually for some morally blameworthy reason like a desire to avoid taking responsibility for their sins. My response is basically the same every time: You may not believe me, but I didn't choose any such thing, and I can't just 'choose' to start believing. Maybe you can, but I can't. I do not believe in any gods. Evidence would make me believe in some god, but all the playacting in the world isn't going to change that.

Godless Intellectual Values
When people in America talk about 'values,' they are usually talking about moral values -- and moral values concentrated around controlling people's sexuality, to boot. Neither moral values nor sexual morality are the only sorts of values that exist, however, and they certainly aren't the only sort which should be emphasized. There also exist very important intellectual values which are necessary for human society. If religious theists won't promote them, then irreligious, godless atheists must.

Gay Rights and Marriage vs. Religious Liberty
Opposition to equal civil rights for gays comes in many forms. Religious conservatives are losing the argument that there is something necessarily wrong with homosexuality, so they appear to be turning to a new one: treating gays like fully equal citizens and human beings is incompatible with conservatives’ religious liberty. Since when did the preservation of religious liberty require treating members of a minority like second-class citizens?

American Flag as Religious Icon
Discussions of efforts to amend the Constitution typically focus on the desire to ban burning the American flag, but current and past proposals have included criminalizing 'physical desecration' of the American flag. Desecration is defined as violating the 'sacredness' of something. Something is 'sacred' when it is 'holy' or 'worthy of worship, religious veneration.' Thus, efforts to ban the desecration of the American flag are efforts to transform it into an object of religious worship.

How Intolerant Religions Lead to War & Suffering
Religion, through warfare and various other sorts of conflict, has been at the root of a great deal of human suffering and misery. The question is not so much whether religion has played a role in all of this but, rather, how and why - because it’s clear that religion isn’t always involved in warfare or conflict and it’s also clear that non-religious beliefs have done their part to cause human suffering as well.

Christianity and Violence: Filling Heaven, Not Earth
If getting to heaven is more important for Christians than any good that they might do here on earth, violence and killing can be easier to justify.

Does Truth Depend Upon the Person, Culture, or Time?
According to doctrines of epistemological subjectivism or relativism, there are no 'truths' which are not subjective to persons and/or relative to individual beliefs, cultures, time periods, etc. Obviously this position covers a lot of potential ground - two people might both be relativists, but they might disagree on just what truth is relative to.

What's the Point of Marriage, Gay or Straight?
A common question in the debate over gay marriage is: what the point is for gays to marry? Aside from property and legal issues that could, in theory, be solved by other laws, what point are gays trying to make in attempting to get married? Why is it so important to be able to hold up a marriage certificate and say ‘we're married‘ instead of simply saying ‘we're a couple‘ without a certificate?

Gay Marriage: What is Marriage, Gay or Straight?
Setting aside all of the loaded arguments about raising children and heterosexual relationships, the most fundamental characteristic of civil marriage which differentiates it from other contractual relationships is the fact that it establishes, legally, socially, and morally, a new kinship — and by extension, a new family. Page 2.

Definition of Religion: Social Science References on the Definition of Religion
Although people usually go to dictionaries first when they need a definition, specialized reference works can have more comprehensive and complete definitions - if for no other reason, than because of the greater space. These definitions can reflect greater bias, too, depending upon the author and the audience that it is written for. Page 2.

Definitions of Religion From Various Sources
Although people usually go to dictionaries first when they need a definition, specialized reference works can have more comprehensive and complete definitions - if for no other reason, than because of the greater space. These definitions can reflect greater bias, too, depending upon the author and the audience that it is written for.

What is NOT an Argument?
Arguments aren't always easy to spot, and very often people will offer things which they claim are arguments but definitely are not.

Why Do Atheists Hide Atheism from Families?
Many atheists hide their beliefs because they're afraid of others' reactions - so many religious theists are intolerant of atheism and atheists.

Fallacies of Ambiguity: The No True Scotsman Fallacy
What is 'The 'No True Scotsman...' fallacy and how is this fallacy committed?

Why Do Atheists Object to Evangelism, Proselytization?
Evangelists believe they are doing good, but from the other side it often doesn't appear very positive. This can be difficult for many to understand.

Is Science a Religion for Atheists that Requires Faith?
It's not surprising that some religious believers resent the success of science and deny that science is any different from religion.

Myth: It's Harder to be a Christian than an Atheist
Some religious believers, though mostly Christians in my experience, seem to have a need to perceive themselves as being persecuted and oppressed. Despite controlling all the levers of power in the American government, some Christians act like they are the powerless. I believe that this myth is a symptom of that attitude: the perceived need to be the one who is struggling the most and who is having the hardest time. The truth is that being religious in modern America is not a hard task.

I'm Having Doubts About Religion... What Do I Do?
Questioning a religion you have grown up with is something many go through and which every devoutly religious person should be prepared to do.

Are Atheists Intolerant By Not Respecting Religion?
Theists demand that atheists show more respect and tolerance, but is this justified? What are they really asking for?

Was God Expelled from Public Schools?
The Supreme Court has never held that students can't pray in school; it has ruled that the government cannot have anything to do with school prayer.

Jean Paul Sartre Biography
Jean-Paul Sartre was a French novelist and philosopher who is perhaps most famous for his development and defense of atheistic existential philosophy.

Did the Supreme Court Rule America's a Christian Nation
If America is a Christian Nation, the government would have the authority to privilege, promote, endorse, support, and encourage Christianity.

Myth: Atheism Cannot Explain the Origin of the Universe
Whoever is saying this is inappropriately categorizing atheism as something which should be expected to explain the universe and of all of existence.

Are Atheists be Hated Without Anti-Atheist Hate Crimes?
The truth is that hatred and distrust of atheists is more widespread, prevalent, and socially acceptable than the hatred of any other group in America

How Can Atheists Be Certain That God Doesn't Exist?
When theists ask how and why atheists can be certain that no gods exist, they do so under the mistaken assumption that all atheists deny the existence or possible existence of any gods and that such denial is based upon certainty. Although this is true of some atheists, it is not true of all - indeed, it seems unlikely that it is true of most or even a significant minority of atheists. Not all atheists deny the existence of all gods and not all of those who do claim absolute certainty.

Do Atheists Worship Science? Is Evolution Atheists' Creed?
Apologists sometimes argue that science is a religion and evolution a creed for atheists, but that claim misrepresents every concept being used.

Rene Descartes - Profile of the Philosopher
A French philosopher widely regarded as the 'founder' of the modern age of philosophy, treating it as an integral part of fields like math and science.

What Is Exorcism? What Does an Exorcist Do?
The English word exorcism comes from the Greek exorkosis, which means 'out-oath.' It is an attempt to evict demons or spirits from the body of a (normally living) human being. Belief that demons can be evicted follows automatically from belief in demons capable of possessing people. So long as there is a belief that demons can possess a person, there will be belief that some people have power over those demons, forcing them to cease their possession.