Agnosticism / Atheism Sitemap - Page 86 2014-06-17

Berkeley Sued for Denying Special Privileges to Bigoted Scouts
The city of Berkeley, California, has decided to stop giving a Scouting group three free berths at the docks because the group discriminates against gays and

Can Ideas Encourage Ignorance?
Most people value the spread of knowledge and perhaps think that increases in ideas will, in the long run, increase what we know. Maybe that is true, but in the

Jewish Terrorist Wants to Secede From Israel
It may be starting to dawn on Jewish extremists that Israel is likely to remain a generally secular, democratic state. Their desire to create a fundamentalist

Litmus Tests for Judicial Nominees
Everyone decries the use of litmus tests for judicial nominees - but only the litmus tests used by others. Everyone has their own litmus tests - some are better

Poverty & Religion
That poverty and hunger are world-wide problems is undeniable. The causes are often pretty clear. So what is to be done about it? Of particular interest is what

Being a Woman is an Insult
If you think about the various insults that can be applied to people, a lot of them are actually references to women. Vulgar terms for women are insults used

Ethics of Abortion: Is it Moral or Immoral to Have an Abortion?
Usually debates about abortion focus on politics and the law: should abortion be outlawed and treated like the murder of a human person, or remain a legal

Kicking the Secularist Habit
Is secularism a doomed and failed experiment of the past? Is the future of society religious — religious institutions, religious beliefs, and religious values?

Discussion: Robot Ethics
A forum member asks: Let us say that humans are able to create a mechanical automata with cognition, consciousness, and feelings equal to or superior to that of

Fundamentalists Against Theocracy
Opposition to the separation of church and state, and encouragement of theocratic beliefs, are typically associated fundamentalism. Not all fundamentalists are

Catholic Church and the Holocaust
Recently Received: The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, by Michael Phayer. Publisher: Indiana University Press. Criticism of how the Catholic

Cline on Church/State Separation and Intelligent Design
Cline believes that the Kitzmiller case striking down the endorsement of Intelligent Design in public schools was wrongly decided. Cline believes that cases

Jesus on the Job
More and more companies are introducing religion into the workplace. Sometimes, this simply means having Bible studies or prayers at some point during the day -

Weekly Quote: Heinrich Heine on Burning Books
“That was mere foreplay. Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.” (German: “Das war Vorspiel nur. Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt,

Newsletter 01-16-06
News items from the past week include how Intelligent Design was conceived as a tool for theocracy, how people try to privilege religion in modern society, the

Crusades: Timeline of the Third Crusade & Aftermath, 1187 - 1197
Launched in 1189, the Third Crusade was called because of the Muslim recapture of Jerusalem in 1187 and the defeat of Palestinian knights at Hittin. It was

Equality and Redistribution in a Just Society
Most people believe that equality is an important foundation in liberal democracy, but what sort of equality should be aimed for and what should be done to

This Date in History: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries
January 17, 1990: Decided: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries v. Board of Equalization of California Should religious organizations be totally exempt from taxation

Evangelicals in Muslims Lands: Targeting Christians?
Usually when we hear about evangelical Christians proselytizing in Muslim lands, we think of them going around trying to convert Muslims to Christianity - and

Islam, Denmark, and Free Speech
To what extent should everyone in society avoid saying or doing anything that might offend the religious sensibilities of others? Most would probably agree that

Should the Government Help Rebuild Churches After Fire?
Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has pledged USD $1 million to help rebuild the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, destroyed in a recent fire. Blagojevich

This Date in History: Is America a Christian Nation?
January 18, 1844: Senator (later President) James Buchanan introduced a resolution in the United States Senate that the United States be declared a Christian

Saudi Arabia: Uncompromising, But Still Changing?
Saudi Arabia seems to be defined by being changeless - not just the sands, but the attitudes and social polices. Nevertheless, there are signs of a a few small,

Discussion: Is the Declaration Constitutional?
A forum member writes: My fourth grader, who is in a public school, must recite the preamble of the Declaration of Independence each day, whereas it is

This Date in History: Third Crusade
January 21, 1188: Henry II Plantagenet of England and Philip II of France meet in France to listen to Archbishop of Tyre Josias describe the loss of Jerusalem

Women in Saudi Arabia: Conflicting Opinions
The most striking thing which most visitors to Saudi Arabia notice is the way women are treated: their lower social status, fewer rights, restrictive dress, and

Bible Commentary: Jesus Walks on Water: Faith During a Storm (Mark 6:45-52)
Here we have another popular and visual story of Jesus, this time with him walking on water. It is common for artists to portray Jesus on the water, stilling

Nationalist Mythology in the Middle East
Recently Received: Jealous Gods and Chosen People: The Mythology of the Middle East, by David Leeming. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Most nations rely

Crusades: Timeline of the Fourth Crusade, 1198 - 1207
Launched in 1202, the Fourth Crusade was in part instigated by Venetian leaders who saw it as a means to increase their power and influence. Crusaders who

Church Attendance and Political Compromise
Negotiation, concession, and compromise are all critical in the politics of a liberal democracy because politicians in such a state all represent divergent

Honesty: An Endangered Species With Intelligent Design Supporters
Science does not tolerate dishonesty very well. There will always be scientists who try to cheat and commit fraud, but they are all found out eventually. In the

Michael Medved on Brokeback Mountain: No One's a Bigger Idiot?
Religious conservatives are having a hard time dealing with the popularity - critical as well as general - of the movie Brokeback Mountain. Many of those

Questioning Alien Abductions
Are there people out there who have been abducted by aliens? Well, quite a few people certainly think that they have - indeed, they are absolutely convinced

Vatican Trashes 'Intelligent' Design
Supporters of Intelligent Design like to claim that Darwinian evolution is incompatible with their religious beliefs - by which they mean Western monotheism

Catholic Church and Nazi Germany
Recently Received: The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, by Guenter Lewy. Publisher: Da Capo Press. Catholics were not a majority in Germany when the Nazi

Daily Poll: Was Pope John Paul II too Sick to Continue As Pope?
Pope John Paul II had grown quite ill over the years and he became of the longest-serving pontiffs ever. Some believe that he should have stepped down because

Rights vs. Funds, Faith vs. Liberty
Jewish organizations in America have been put in an quandary. Traditionally, they have been staunch supporters of civil rights and religious liberty,

The Neglected Legacy of Joseph McCabe
Few people have heard of Joseph McCade, despite his importance not only in the history of American freethought, but also of efforts in America to disseminated

This Date in History: The Council of Trent
January 26, 1564: The Council of Trent issued its conclusions in the Tridentinum, establishing a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Financial Disclosure Bill for Churches is Defeated
The Massachusetts House had been considering, but then overwhelmingly rejected, a proposed law that would have required religious organizations to file limited

Religious Marriage vs. Civil Marriage
All marriages in America are civil marriages because all marriages require a civil license. Some people have a religious ceremony, but the ceremony has no legal

Christian History: Timeline of Modern & Reformation, 1600 - today
When did King James commission the Bible that would come to be named after him? When did the Puritans establish their colony in North America? When was the

Discussion: Ethics & Philanthropy
A forum member writes: I was listening to an interesting radio discussion this morning about the ethics of accepting money on behalf of others from various

Unpacking the Anti-Gay Marriage Agenda
Is it possible to offer a serious, considered argument against gay marriage? Yes. Unfortunately, almost no one who argues against gay marriage does so - just

Bible Commentary: Jesus' Further Healings (Mark 6:53-56)
Eventually Jesus and his disciples make it across the Sea of Galilee and arrive at Gennesaret, a town believed to have been located on the northwestern shore

Church As Communion
Book of the Day: Pilgrim Fellowship Of Faith: The Church As Communion, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). Publisher: Ignatius Press. Before

The Christian Right and Civil Rights
While clerking for Justice Robert Jackson in 1952, former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote a memo arguing that the Court should not strike

This Date in History: Thomas Paine
January 29, 1737: Political essayist Thomas Paine was born.

Britain: Muslim Culture Festival Excludes Gay Event
All over Britain there is a national festival designed to introduce people to the variety of cultures that occur in the context of Islam. Muslims are only

Crusades: Timeline of the Cathar & Baltic Crusades, 1208 - 1300
Although Muslims obviously suffered at the hands of good Christians throughout the Middle Ages, it should not be forgotten that pagans and other Christians

Newsletter 01-30-06
News items from the past week include the situation among women in Saudi Arabia, how suffering provides reason to reject theism, the common religious factors

This Date in History: Pope Clement VIII
January 30, 1592: Clement VIII elected pope. The last pope of the Counter-Reformation, Clement recognized Henry IV as king of France, helping secure the peace

Homophobic Teachers Refuse to Declare Classes Safe for Gay Students
Trying to overcome a history of noxious anti-gay bigotry, the San Leandro high school in California authorized the creation and display in every class room of

This Date in History: Nazi War Criminals and the Vatican
January 31, 1947: The Yugoslav government accuses the Vatican of conspiring to hide war criminals and help them escape to South America.

Tolerance Excludes Christianity
Dan Secrist is the Senior pastor at Faith Assembly of Lacey, Washington, and for over 35 years, participated as a chaplain in the Washington State Legislature.

Blogsnark: Misrepresenting the Difference Between Public and Private Religion
One of the most common ways which opponents of church/state separation make their case is to engage in a fallacy of equivocation by using multiple definitions

Criticism of Atheists
In 2004, Robyn L. Blumner wrote in the St. Petersburg Times about being an atheist. She received a lot of reactions, positive and negative, some of which she

Newsletter 02-01-06
News items from the past week include fundamentalists continuing to believe in repressed memories, how attitudes towards homosexuality have changed in law and

Making Gay Teens Safe is 'Intolerant' Towards Christians
A few days ago I wrote about how some teachers in San Leandro High School in California got upset when they were told to put up posters which declared that the

This Date in History: Bertrand Russell Dies
February 02, 1970: British philosopher Bertrand Russell died in Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales.

Satanic Female Drivers in Afghanistan
Under the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were denied most basic civil rights and most of the social privileges accorded to men - including the ability to drive.

Bible Commentary: Jesus Breaks Bread, Breaks Tradition (Mark 7:1-13)
We have seen before that Jesus is willing to overturn traditions if current needs seem more important. In chapter 2, he and his disciples refused to fast when

Prudishness in India: Crackdown on Sexual Honesty
Hinduism has a long history of openness and frankness about not just sex, but sexual pleasure. Today, though, self-appointed morality police are cracking down

Secular Humanism in Public Schools?
One commonly heard complaint from the Religious Right is that our public schools promote secular humanism - an argument made largely on the basis of the fact

This Date in History: Roger Williams
February 05, 1631: Roger Williams first arrived in North America. He would soon question the rigid religious policies in the Massachusetts colony, leading to

Discussion: Sense of Entitlement
A forum member writes: I was wondering if people encounter those with an attitude that they are entitled to a continued lifestyle of financial comfort. The

This Date in History: Pius XI
February 06, 1922: Pius XI was elected pope. Pius was especially concerned with restoring peace in the wake of World War II, but he would become infamous for

Gadamer: Pragmatist or Opportunist?
Hans-Georg Gadamer was one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, influencing many students and readers around the world. He is also one of the

Muslim Basic Beliefs: What Do Muslims Believe? Holy Days, Holy Sites, Beliefs
Many Muslim beliefs are similar to the beliefs in Christianity and Judaism, but other beliefs do differ. The most central beliefs are contained in the Five

Political Hack Censors NASA Science to Conform to Christian Beliefs
First they came for the evolutionary biologists... and did you say anything? How about when they came after geologists? If not, you should have, because now the

This Date in History: Priests Sexually Abusing Children
February 07, 2003: Pope John Paul II approved of revised rules for dealing with priests accused of molesting children, revealing that the Congregation for the

Town Creates Zoning Rules Favoring Religious Groups
In Telluride, Colorado, the town council has given all houses of worship an exemption from zoning ordinances, allowing them to build steeples or towers taller

Islam's Holy Days: Muslim Calendar of Holidays and Holy Days in Islam
The Islamic calendar begins in the Western year 622 A.D. on the date which Muhammad and his closest companions moved from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra.

More on the Quebec Communion Wafers
Early in January, I wrote about how communion wafers are being sold in Quebec as a snack food. The story struck me as incredible and I received email from a

Theism in America: Belief in God Down to 82%
According to a poll done by Harris Interactive in December 2005, the number of those who believe in the existence of God is down to just 82%. Eight percent

This Date in History: Civil Rights of Atheists
February 08, 1964: Congress debated an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1963 which would have removed the protection of prohibitions against religious

Christmas Wars Not Quite Over
Did you think that all the debates and complaints over Christmas were over for another year? Not quite! You may remember Christian Right leaders lying about a

Discussion: Why Liberal Americans Hate Christians...
A forum member writes: ...according to a local conservative talk show host: The reason liberals in the US today hate Christians is because they themselves are

Evangelical Christians Buying Off Progressive Christians?
Normally we might expect to see liberal, progressive Christians opposing efforts by the Religious Right to force American culture to conform to their religious

Pastor's Arrest Over Gay Sex: Unconstitutional?
Last month I wrote about how Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church and one of the leaders of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention, had

Can Atheists Teach Philosophy of Religion?
There is nothing to bar an atheist from teaching the philosophy of religion - indeed, in some places this may be the norm rather than the exception. On the

GOP Leader Opposes Equal Rights for Gay Americans
John Boehner, Congressman from Ohio, has been chosen by House Republicans as their majority leader. Was it a coincidence that during the first ballot, there

This Date in History: Pope Pius XI
February 11, 1929: Pope Pius XI signed a Concordat and Lateran Treaty with Benito Mussolini, agreeing to discriminate against Jews and Protestants while

Fundamentalism vs. Pluralism
Why do fundamentalists typically have so much difficulty with modern society? Arguably, their most basic conflict lies in their inability to accept the

Manufactured Nostalgia
Book of the Day: Culture Industry, by Heinz Steinert. Publisher: Polity Press. We are all surrounded every day by the culture industry - it influences what

This Date in History: McCarthy & Communists
February 12, 1950: Senator Joe McCarthy claimed to have list of 205 communist government employees.

Intelligent Design is a War on Reason
The immediate focus and target of defenders of Intelligent Design is evolution; the long-term target is, they admit, is methodological naturalism and

Touchy, Anti-pluralistic Monotheisms
For some reason, at least some adherents of monotheistic religions tend to look down on polytheists and pagans - but why? It seems as though many have the

This Date in History: Jeremy Bentham Born
February 15, 1748: English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was born. Bentham was a social and political philosopher who proposed radical ideas about government,

Free Ordinations
Are you looking for more information on how to get ordained for free? It may sound strange, but quite a few atheists become ordained ministers. Some do it as a

Authoritarian vs. Freedom: Deconstructing Attitudes on the Christian Right
The mindset of the Christian Right is, for the most part, fundamentally authoritarian in nature: it assumes the priority of government power and authority over

Does Satan Make Sense?
Belief in a powerful, evil, supernatural being is important to many religions, but perhaps more important in Christianity than in any other. At the same time,

Replacing Secular Government With Bible-Government
The American government is secular, not Christian as so many on the Christian Right like to claim. That they recognize just how secular government in America is

This Date in History: Billy Sunday
February 17, 1889: The famous American evangelist Billy Sunday held his first public crusade in Chicago. Over the course of his career as a popular religious

Muslim Basic Beliefs: What Do Muslims Believe? Holy Days, Holy Sites, Beliefs
Many Muslim beliefs are similar to the beliefs in Christianity and Judaism, but other beliefs do differ. The most central beliefs are contained in the Five

Photographs in Public Cannot Be Restricted by Religion
With the furor over the publishing of cartoons deemed offensive by Muslims, some have wondered if we might enter an era when all the media are unofficially

This Date in History: Crusaders and Peace Treaties
February 18, 1229: Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen signs a treaty with Sultan Malik Al-Kamil of Egypt and thus acquires controls of Jerusalem, Nazareth,

Christianity's Similarities with Hinduism
Everyone knows that Christianity grew out of Judaism and, therefore, naturally has a lot of similarities to it. Less well known are the similarities that

Blogsnark: Free Exercise of Religion Requires Government Religious Discrimination?
More and more we are seeing legal cases where Christians in government abuse their positions by promoting and endorsing their religious beliefs. They are

Religion is Falling Behind Reality
Many traditional religions purport to offer believers absolute certainty about the world, the universe, and their place in it. Unfortunately, that often

This Date in History: Jimmy Swaggart
February 21, 1988: During a live TV broadcast, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart admitted that he had visited a prostitute and announced that he would leave his

Mega-Churches Causing Problems
Those massive churches that attract hundreds, if not thousands, of parishioners can be very popular among the religious - but not always so popular among

This Date in History: Muslim Massacre in India
February 22, 1983: Rioting Hindus killed at least 3000 Muslims in Assam, India.

David Irving, Holocaust Denial, and Free Speech
A reader wrote to me: At the moment I am watching on Sky News that [David Irving] has been jailed in Austria for three years for Holocaust Denial. This gives

Christian Reconstructionism & Intelligent Design
Defenders of Intelligent Design insist that it is a program of scientific inquiry, not religious faith. Evidence makes it clear, however, that in addition to

Crusades: Timeline of the Fifth Crusade, 1215 - 1221
Called in 1217, only Leopold VI of Austria and Andrew II of Hungary participated in the Fifth Crusade. They captured the city of Damietta, but after their

International Baccalaureate is Anti-American & Anti-Christian?
Upper St. Clair used to be the only school in the Pittsburgh region, and one of just 35 in the entire nation, to offer the International Baccalaureate

Pat Robertson: Too Candid?
Pat Robertson is an important, influential, and powerful figure for the Religious Right. He is also a bit too outspoken for the tastes of some - he has a

This Date in History: Female Eucharistic Ministers
February 23, 1970: For the first time, women were permitted to serve as Eucharistic Ministers in Roman Catholic Church services.

First Amendment Protects Church
Does the First Amendment of the Constitution exist solely to protect religion from government and not to protect the government from religion? There are quite a

This Date in History: Israel and the Holocaust
February 24, 2004: Writer and Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer criticized Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians people, claiming that it was very similar to

Discussion: Jesus Story
A forum member writes: Supposedly, God gave up his son to save mankind. The death of Jesus Christ was predetermined; the Son was always fated to die for

Sikhs and Sikhism: Sikhism in India Today
Library of Congress report on the state of Sikhism and Sikhs in contemporary India: The existence of the Khalsa creates a potential division within the Sikh

The Future of Humanities
Is the study of the humanities a valuable end in and of itself, or does it only have in value insofar as it serves as good training for some future career in

Bible Commentary: Jesus Heals the Deaf and Blind (Mark 7:31-37)
We find that Jesus has left one Gentile area for another, traveling from Tyre and Sidon in the Province of Syria down south through the region dominated by

Ethics of Organ Transplants
Book of the Day: Raising the Dead: Organ Transplants, Ethics and Society, by Ronald Munson. On the face of it, there seems to be little reason to question

This Date in History: World Trade Center Bombing
February 26, 1993: At approximately 12.18 p.m., an improvised explosive device exploded on the second level of the World Trade Center parking basement.

Blue Laws Burden Other Faiths
The existence of Blue Laws have been defended in America on a number of grounds. Some say that they are simply traditional - and anything that traditional must

Christian History: Timelines of Christian History
When was the Gospel of Matthew written? When were the Salem Witch Trials? When did Constantine convert to Christianity? comprehensive timelines of Christian

Florida: Priest Banned for Saying 'Vagina'
Priests have to be careful about what they say. That probably seems obvious, but evidently they have to be really careful about even being too clear and

This Date in History: Pledge of Allegiance and the Constitution
February 27, 2003: United States Representative Lucas from Oklahoma introduced House Joint Resolution 27 which would add an amendment to the United States

Discussion: Can Atheists Be Spiritual?
A forum member writes: I often hesitate to call myself an atheist because, for me, its a very complicated position to explain. I would say the scientist,

Pity Poor James Dobson, Under Fire from Christian Homophobes
Colorado is considering a new law that would allow people to more easily establish a partnership with someone which would include things like hospital

Christians Who Won't Go See Brokeback Mountain
Quite a few Christians are avoiding the movie Brokeback Mountain. Why? Well, apparently many of them fear that they will find the depiction of homosexuality as

Discussion: Women Changing Names in Marriage
A forum member writes: When I decided to get married, I never really considered or entertained changing my name. I was 34, and had never been married, had never

This Date in History: John Hus
March 01, 1420: Pope Martin V called for crusade against followers of John Hus.

Conservatives' Double Standards on Free Speech and Censorship
Conservatives in America have reacted very strongly against the failure of American newspapers to reprint the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. Conservatives have

Sikhs and Sikhism: Sikh Debates
Like any religion, Sikhism has both its conservative and progressive aspects. As a result, many of the religious conflicts which occur within the Sikh community

What Makes a War Just?
The morality of war is an interesting and vexing question. Ideally, of course, war would never happen and never be morally licit - so much death and destruction

All the News that Halal
Few developments in the modern American media have been as depressing as how newspapers and television news programs have fallen all over themselves to avoid

Christian Conservatives Decry Atheists Seeking Equal Rights
Atheists in America are starting to become more assertive in their demands to be treated as fully equal citizens - and they are taking notes from the gay rights

Freedom of Expression and Poking Fun at Religion
Protecting freedom of expression and speech is absolutely critical for freedom in a liberal democratic society. When freedom of expression is not protected, the

Guantanamo Bay Military Base
Were you searching for more information about the Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba? The detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has become a symbol for

Discussion: Choosing the Gender of your Baby
A forum member writes: Is it immoral or unethical to choose the gender of your baby? If you are carrying a fetus that is not the desired gender is it immoral to

Bible Commentary: Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand (Mark 8:1-9)
At the end of chapter 6, we saw Jesus feeding five thousand men (just men, not women and children) with five loaves and the two fishes. Here Jesus feeds four

Obey God's Law, Not Man's Law
Apparently, American courts and politicians have betrayed God by putting their own liberal, atheistic preferences in front of His will and laws. They are guilty

Oligarchy and Capitalism Abroad
Americans sometimes complain about how much of society is controlled by so few powerful individuals and companies. The situation in America, however, is

This Date in History: Zionist Terrorism
March 05, 1947: A group of Jewish mayors in the area around Tel Aviv joined with the Rabbinical Council of Palestine to issue a harsh condemnation of Zionist

Discussion: Is 'Moral Atheism' a Contradiction in Terms?
A forum member writes: I see all atheists who sincerely profess or advocate certain moral positions as irrational ideologues. If there is no God, then all moral

Evangelical Forces Reshaping Liberal Mainline Christianity
Mainline Protestant churches have long been an important force for theological liberalism in Christianity - but for how much longer? This status may not last

This Date in History: Clean Monday
March 06, 2006: Clean Monday: in Eastern Orthodox churches, this date marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of penitential preparation of Easter.

America is a Religion
Many people regard America as being an idea or ideal - but is it a religious idea? There may be some merit to that. Many of the first colonists in America saw

Blogsnark: Amy Sullivan: Democrats Should Abandon Secularism, Atheists Should Shut Up?
It seems that everyone has a different idea about what the Democrats should do in order to be more competitive with the Republicans, especially when it comes to

Puritanism vs. Pornography: Contradictions of America's Culture
America is more religious and had more religious diversity than most nations in the world - certainly more than other industrial nations of the West. America

This Date in History: Changing How Mass is Celebrated
March 07, 1965: Celebrating mass at a parish church in Italy, Pope Paul VI faced the congregation instead of having his back to it as had been the custom for

Discussion: Why Are Organ Sales Banned?
A forum member writes: Thousands of people die needless deaths every year because of a lack of transplant organs. Many times more people die every year taking

Mixed-Faith Marriages: Cruel?
Are marriages between Christians and atheists a bad idea? Some think so - including some atheists. Some Christians, however, find the idea to be positively

Crusades: Timeline of the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth Crusades, 1245 - 1300
Led by King Louis IX of France, the Seventh and Eighth Crusades were complete failures. In the Seventh Crusade Louis sailed to Egypt in 1248 and recaptured

Intelligent Design Dishonesty: Creating Extremism to Attack
Intelligent Design is almost entirely based upon criticism of evolution and science - it has nothing of substance to offer itself. Because of this need for

Discussion: Women in the Military
A forum member writes: I am sure most remember the assertion being made that the nation would never accept having their daughters come home in body bags. Now

Politics of Christianity
Elaine Pagels is a well-known researcher into early Christian history and beliefs - her book The Gnostic Gospels (1979) has become a standard work on early

Book Reviews: Books on 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

Religious Biases in Danish Cartoon Debate
One of the arguments made against the publication of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad is that they portray all Muslims as terrorists when, in fact, suicide

This Date in History: Being Force to Salute the American Flag
March 11, 1943: Argued: West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that a school district violated the rights of students by

Who Are You Calling Evil?
Religious language is common in politics - it gives voice to many shared ideas, ideals, and values. Religious language communicates in a manner that more

Woman Fired for Liberal Politics
With so many conservatives insisting that liberals and traitors and that war criticism undermined the war effort, it was only a matter of time before someone

Types of Religion, Defining Religion
Were you searching for information on different types of religion or on how to define religion? Defining religion must take into account the fact that there are

Crop Circles Provide Insight On Religion
Crop Circles appear to be especially popular paranormal phenomena. Can they, then, tell us something important about how people form beliefs - even religious

Skepticism & Astrology: Introduction to Critiquing Astrology
Because astrologers so often argue that astrology is scientific, it is reasonable to submit their specific claims to scientific scrutiny. Science is essentially

Calvinism and Arminianism
Were you searching for information about the differences between Calvinist and Arminian theology? Arminianism was a Protestant reaction to the more extreme

Sikhs and Sikhism: Sikh Khalsa
The Khalsa is an organization of especially devout Sikhs created by the Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, as a means to help unite the Sikhs and encourage devotion to

Carnival of the Liberals #8
The eighth edition of the Carnival of the Liberals is now available at Brainshrub — and it’s in Haiku! That’s right, Paul took each entry and wrote a Haiku poem

Christianity Defending Capitalism
Is Christianity a religion of the poor, the downtrodden, and the less fortunate among us or is it rather a religion for the rich, the very fortunate, and

Dalai Lama
Were you searching for material related to the Dalai Lama? The Dalai Lamas, each a Buddhist monk, have been traditionally the spiritual and temporal leaders

Gay Adoptions, Immigration, and American Catholics
On the east coast, Catholic Charities is discontinuing adoption services in Boston rather than continue to place kids with gay families. Conservatives are happy

Morals vs. Ethics
Were you searching for more information about the difference between morality and ethics, or perhaps information about what the study of morality and ethics

Should Politicians Swear to Uphold the Bible?
Democratically elected representatives are typically expected to swear to uphold the laws and the Constitution. Some, though, act like part of their job is to

Saudi Women and Hypocrisy
In Saudi Arabia, there are many restrictions on what women can and cannot do, can and cannot wear. In fact, their lives are restricted in a myriad of ways that

Thank God for Slavery! New Republican Slogan...
Most people today have trouble understanding how Christians in the past could have supported slavery and even owned slaves themselves. Such beliefs and behavior

Daily Illini? Daily Cowards: Editor Fired by Email Over Cartoons
Acton Gorton was the editor of the Daily Illini who chose to publish some of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. He was almost immediately suspended and even

Sikhs and Sikhism: Sikh Sects
The Sikh religion is not an entirely monolithic faith - there are several sects which are not recognized by the majority of Sikhs as orthodox in their teachings

This Date in History: Knights Templar Burned
March 18, 1314: Thirty-Nine French Knights Templar are burned at the stake.

Bible Commentary: Jesus on the Leaven of the Pharisees (Mark 8:14-21)
Throughout the gospels the primary opponents of Jesus have been the Pharisees. They keep challenging him and he keeps rejecting their authority. Here, Jesus

Famous Philosophers
Were you searching for more information about famous philosophers? This site has biographies - short and long - of dozens and dozens of important and

This Date in History: William Jennings Bryan
March 19, 1860: American politician and fundamentalist religious leader William Jennings Bryan was born.

Discussion: Free Will vs. Determinism
A forum member writes: There are a couple of possibilities where you can accept determinism and (maybe) still have some form of free will. One is that the brain

Oklahoma Votes to Segregate Gay-Themed Books in Libraries
The Christian Right agenda to marginalize gays continues at a steady pace in Oklahoma where the state house voted to withdraw funding from public libraries that

Philosophy of Science and Technology
Were you searching for information about the philosophy of science and technology? Although this site does not specialize in that topic, we do have some

This Date in History: Aum Shinrikyo Terrorist Attack
March 20, 1995: Several people died during a nerve-gas attack on the subway system of Tokyo, Japan, during the morning rush hour. Officials would later learn

Discussion: Is Homophobia Irrational? Dangerous?
A forum member writes to an anti-gay forum member: If an individual contributes to a culture of prejudice against a group of people (by, for example, labelling

What is Fundamentalism?
Were you looking for information about religious fundamentalism? Fundamentalism is a religious position typically characterized by a rigid adherence to what are

Crusades: Timeline of the Ottoman Empire on the Offensive, 1300 - 1600
Although the Crusades themselves were long finished, Christian Europe continued to be under pressure from the expanding Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans would make

Human Evolution Proceeding
Every so often, someone repeats the claim or assumption that human evolution has essentially stopped because human culture and technology have so reduced

Martin Luther & the Reformation
Were you searching for material about Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk who was largely responsible for initiating and driving the Protestant Reformation?

This Date in History: Right to Contraceptives in America
March 22, 1972: Decided: Eisenstadt v. Baird The right of people to have and know about contraceptives was expanded by the Supreme Court to unmarried couples

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

Colloidal Silver
Were you searching for more information about Colloidal Silver? Once a common ingredient in a variety of alternative medical treatments, but primarily for

Discussion: 100 Years From Now
A forum member writes: It is the year 2104 and you have stepped out of your time machine. What do you see? How do people think Will there be more religion? No

God's Senator: Sam Brownback Seeks Christian Fascism, Theocracy
Sam Brownback is a Republican Senator from Kansas who would probably like to be President. The far Christian Right also seems to want him to be the next

Jihad: War and Violence in Islam
Were you searching for more information about the Islamic concept of jihad? The nature of jihad is hotly debated in the press and even among Muslim theologians.

This Date in History: Terri Schiavo Appeals
March 24, 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal brought by the parents of Terri Schiavo. Terri Schiavo fell into a coma brought on buy her

This Date in History: Marcel Lefebvre
March 25, 1991: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of Switzerland dies in Martigny, Switzerland. Lefebvre had broken with Rome following the Second Vatican Council and,

This Date in History: Construction of Auschwitz
March 27, 1940: Heinrich Himmler ordered the construction of the concentration camp of Auschwitz at Katowice, Poland.

People in the Bible: Christians During New Testament Times
The definition of Christian is a matter of great debate - every Christian group seems to have their own definition that includes themselves but excludes many

This Date in History: Jews Expelled
March 28, 1917: Turkish authorities expelled all Jews from Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

Carnival of the Liberals #9: Ask And Ye Shall Receive
When putting out calls for submissions for this ninth edition of the Carnival of the Liberals, I requested that people try to write about religious and

Discussion: How To Live?
A forum member writes: Atheism, cut loose from all this, needs something else--or does it?--to show us a way, some way, any way. Biology and genetics and

This Date in History: Student Prayers at Football Games
March 29, 2000: Argued: Santa Fe School District v. Doe The Supreme Court ruled that official, student-led prayers before a school football game violated the

Judas Iscariot: Contradictions in Gospel Accounts of Judas' Betrayal of Jesus
There was no option for Jesus not to be executed because without his crucifixion, he could not rise again in three days and thus save humanity. To be executed,

This Date in History: Terri Schiavo Dies
March 31, 2005: After 13 days without her feeding tube, Terri Schiavo dies in Florida. Terri Schiavo fell into a coma brought on buy her bulimia and the loss of

This Date in History: Death of Amalric II
April 01, 1205: Death of Amalric II, king of both Jerusalem and Cyprus. His son, Hugh I, assumes control of Cyprus while John of Ibelin becomes regent for

Bible Commentary: Peter's Confession About Jesus as the Christ (Mark 8:27-30)
In the previous verses Jesus is depicted as helping a blind man to see again - not all at once, but gradually so that the man first perceives other people

This Date in History: Siege of Constantinople
April 02, 1453: Ottoman sultan Mehmed II arrives at Constantinople. Mahomet will be successful in his siege of the city largely because of the acquisition of

Virtue Ethics vs. Ethical Rules: How Should War be Conducted?
The pursuit of war is constrained by rules: civilians must be treated according to certain rules, soldiers must be treated according to certain rules,

Crucifixion of Jesus: Contradictions in Gospel Accounts of Jesus' Crucifixion
Crucifixion may be one of the most horrible methods of execution ever invented. A person is nailed to a cross or stake and hangs there until their own weight

Discussion: Point of Prayers
A forum member writes: I think for many people there is some slender warrant for prayer. It is more than just talking to yourself. If we accept the premise that

This Date in History: Siege of Constantinople
April 04, 1453: Siege of Constantinople begins. By this time the authority of the Byzantine Empire had shrunk to little more than the city of Constantinople

Lie Detectors Don't Lie... or Do They?
People have faith in the ability of polygraph machines (more commonly known as lie detectors) to help police find the truth in criminal investigations. In

Western Christians Support Christians' Rights Only
There was a lot of publicity about Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who converted from Islam to Christianity and was put on trial for this. He faced the death penalty,

Discussion: What Should We Do With Our Lives?
A forum member writes: What I should and what I want have seldom been compatible for me. I always had a dream of living out in the woods beyond the power grid,

Gay and Evangelical Christians
Some of the fiercest critics of homosexuality in America are evangelical Christians. They argue that homosexuality is a sin, that the homosexual lifestyle is

Scientology Influencing Arizona Laws
The Church of Scientology is as much of an opponent of mental health care in the medical field as conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are opposed to

This Date in History: Brigham Young
April 06, 1868: Mormon leader Brigham Young married his 27th and final wife.

Women in Islam: Image Gallery of Muslim Women in Burqas, Chadors
One of the points on which Islam is criticism by both Muslims and non-Muslims is the treatment of women. Under Islam, women often must remain covered, are

This Date in History: Jesus Crucified?
April 07, 0030: According to the estimates of some scholars, Jesus would have been crucified by Roman troops in Jerusalem on this date.

Discussion: Accepting Mortality
A forum member writes: I guess we all assume that we are immortal (until something happens to disabuse us). But as well as this naive assumption, I also grew up

Gay Clergy, Female Clergy, and Divorced Clergy
There was a lot of complaints about the confirmation of the election of a gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Many of those who were upset were also upset when

Kaaba in Mecca: Image Gallery with Photos, Drawings, Illustrations
The Kaaba (Ka’aba, Ka’bah, “Cube,” “House of God”) is a shrine located in a square adjacent to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. The Kaaba itself

Discussion: Why Have Kids?
A forum member writes: I can (sort of) understand why those that follow the dogma of religion bring children into this world. Either/and/or they believe their

Muhammad Drawings, Pictures, Cartoons: Images of the Prophet Muhammad
Muslims have rioted over Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad. Why? One claim has been that Islam forbids visual depictions of Muhammad, which is strange given

This Date in History: Loving v. Virginia
April 10, 1967: Argued: Loving v. Virginia A Virginia law against interracial marriages would be struck down, with the Supreme Court declaring that marriage is

Bait & Switch at School Assembly
Students at Oyster Bay High School in New York saw an enjoyable program about tolerance, put on by All Access Productions. They and students at other schools

George W. Bush's Republican Dictatorship: Another Step Forward
Attempts to establish a Republican-controlled dictatorship seems to have moved another step forward. Republican Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has

American Courts Violating Constitution?
Are the courts in America violating the Constitution by interpreting the laws and the Constitution itself incorrectly? Some people in the United States

Church/State Fundamentals: O’Bannon v. Indiana Civil Liberties Union (7th Circuit Court, 2001)
Is a massive monument displaying the Ten Commandments constitutional and secular when it includes other legal documents from history - like the Bill of

Privacy & Personal Data: Who Owns Your Information?
Information has great value, which explains why private corporations are so anxious to learn all they can about actual and potential customers. They want to

This Date in History: Karl Jaspers
April 14, 1945: Philosopher Karl Jaspers was supposed to be arrested by the Gestapo, but the American army entered Heidelberg on March 30 and the plans were

Discussion: Are You Satisfied With Your Life?
A forum member writes: Does anyone feel comfortable enough with their lives to the point of satisfaction? Maybe its greed and ill-advised youthfulness that

Islam in the World
Book of the Day: Islam Under Siege: Living Dangerously in a Post-Honour World, by Akbar S. Ahmed. Publisher: Polity Press. Muslims are under pressure

This Date in History: Excommunicating Liberal Catholics
April 15, 1996: Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, excommunicated all Catholics in his diocese who continued to belong to organizations which

Discussion: Is the World Getting Smaller or Bigger?
Kate writes: As we know, the wonders of modern technology mean we can all talk to each other easier than ever - through the net, on the phone, etc. We can share

This Date in History: Excommunicating Segregationist Catholics
April 16, 1962: In Louisiana, Catholic archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel excommunicated three segregationists for refusing to integrate church schools.

This Date in History: Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms
April 17, 1521: Martin Luther appeared before the Diet of Worms. The next day Luther refused to repudiate his works unless convinced of error by

Alan Keyes Defends State-Level Theocracies
Should state governments be able to create a theocratic order by establishing particular churches and religions as a preferred form of worship and belief? Most

Christian Anchor: Working for Competition is Religious Right
Frank Turner is a news anchor WXYZ-TV, a Detroit-based ABC affiliate station. He is also a born-again Christian who regularly preaches and makes no effort

Defining Theocracy Down: Is the Risk of Theocracy Overblown?
Quite a lot of liberals express concerns about whether America is heading in the direction of theocracy because of the theocratic goals and efforts of the

Joseph of Arimathea: Who Was Joseph of Arimathea? Did He Carry the Holy Grail?
The role and behavior of Joseph of Arimathea is one of the few things discussed in all four gospels. According to the gospels, Joseph of Arimathea was a

This Date in History: Assault on the Branch Davidians
April 19, 1993: A new ATF assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, lead to a fire which killed 72-86 people, including Davidian leader David

Discussion: War on Abortion
A forum member writes: Before Roe, there were safe and legal abortions in the US, but a woman might have to travel to another state (which could be too

This Date in History: Pope Leo XIII on Human Rights
April 20, 1884: Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Humanum genus, rejected the idea that humans have equal rights and should be sovereign.

Mary Magdalene: Image Gallery of Mary Magdalene, Disciple of Jesus
Mary Magdalene is not mentioned often in the gospels, but she does appear at key moments and has become an important figure for those interested in the role

This Date in History: Toleration of Catholics
April 21, 1649: The Maryland Assembly passed the Toleration Act, providing protection to Roman Catholics against Protestant harassment and discrimination, a

Joseph of Arimathea: Image Gallery of Joseph of Arimathea
The role and behavior of Joseph of Arimathea is one of the few things discussed in all four gospels. According to the gospels, Joseph of Arimathea was a rich

Bible Commentary: Transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:1-8)
Jesus appears here with two figures: Moses, representing Jewish law and Elijah, representing Jewish prophecy. Moses is important because he was the figure

Secularization of Buddhism
Can Buddhism be promoted as a secular belief system rather than a religion? That seems to be one of the goals of Master Hsin Yun, a Buddhist monk in Taiwan. He

This Date in History: United Methodist Church
April 23, 1968: In Dallas, the Methodist and the Evangelical United Brethren churches unified to form the United Methodist Church, creating the second largest

This Date in History: Cardinal Francis Arinze on Abortion
April 24, 2004: According to Cardinal Francis Arinze, a top Vatican official from Nigeria often cited as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, Roman

This Date in History: Augsburg Confession
April 25, 1530: The Augsburg Confession was read publicly at the Diet of Worms. Written mainly by Philip Melanchthon, it was the first official explanation of

Discussion: Evolution, Science, and Religion
A forum member writes: Call me old fashioned but when exactly did evolution put itself in the camp of science, when all it is, is a religion? The problem with

Price of Religious Zealotry
When religious extremism increases, pushing aside the values of tolerance, compromise, and love, the negative effects are experienced not only by those targeted

This Date in History: Charles Darwin
April 26, 1882: Charles Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Discussion: Is Hell Just Temporary?
A forum member writes: I was debating with a Christian recently about the existence of his God and brought up the Problem of Hell. His response, which quite

Myth vs. Religion
Christian fundamentalists, like fundamentalists of all religions, are continually in search of hard, empirical evidence that might prove the literal truth of

Sexual Liberty & Same-Sex Marriage
Book of the Day: Case For Same Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment, by William N. Eskridge. Publisher: Free Press. What exactly is

Profile of Ibn Warraq
There is a great deal of interest among Americans to learn more about Islam, but most of the perspectives offered are either apologetic in nature or intensely

This Date in History: Saddam Hussein
April 28, 1937: Saddam Hussein, former dictator of Iraq, was born.

Discussion: Confucianism & Sexism
A forum member writes: I consider myself confucian, but have trouble reconciling some of the sexism apparent in confucian texts. I know many have written it off

Knights Templar: Who Were the Knights Templar? Did Templars Hide the Holy Grail?[R]
Founded in 1118 by Hugh de Payens in order to help protect pilgrims to the Holy Land and they were originally housed close to the site where Solomon’s Temple

Bible Commentary: Reactions to Jesus' Transfiguration (Mark 9:9-13)
As Jesus returns from the mountaintop with the three apostles, the connection between Jews and Elijah is made more explicit. It is interesting that this

Discussion: Ending Prejudices
A forum member writes: I think that the only real way to end prejudices and racism is not by embracing differences, but by ignoring differences. It may seem

Embattled Secularism
People who favor America being more a secular society do so because of the great damage that religious passions can cause. Religious believers tend to regard

Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury Tor: History, Religion, Background
Some believe that Glastonbury Abbey is the site of the oldest above-ground Christian church in the world, dating back as far as 63 or even 37 CE. The first

Richard John Neuhaus: Freedom is Submission
What is human freedom? Many may be forgiven for imagining that freedom involves being able to act and think as they wish, but some disagree. Some seem to

Philosophy Fundamentals: Who Was Socrates?
Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who became very influential in the development of Greek philosophy and, thus, Western philosophy in general. The

This Date in History: Forced Sterilization Upheld
May 02, 1927: In the Carrie Buck case (Buck v. Bell), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Virginia statute allowing sexual sterilization of institutionalized

Constantine the Great: Who Was Constantine the Great? Was he Christian?
According to tradition, the night before he was to launch an attack on his rival just outside of Rome, Constantine received an omen. Eusebius records that

This Date in History: Fifth Lateran Council
May 03, 1512: Pope Julius II officially opened the Fifth Lateran Council. Because it took place over the course of twelve sessions which lasted through

Christian Leaders: Deny Gays Equality in Constitution
Prominent Christian leaders in America are becoming ever more vocal and active in the effort to deny equal rights and liberty to gay Americans. Christian

This Date in History: Second Council of Constantinople
May 05, 0553: The Second Council of Constantinople opened. Under the leadership of Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, the council would condemn various

Anti-Semitism as a Reaction to the Holocaust
In the past, anti-Semitism was a product of many different religious and social forces. Anti-Semitism in Europe today, though, appears to have a different

German Bishops Want to Ban Satirical Cartoon
Muslims are not the only ones who want to ban cartoons they find blasphemous and disrespectful. In the German state of Bavaria, bishops and other Catholic

This Date in History: Sack of Rome
May 06, 1527: Under the command of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, German, French and Spanish troops sacked Rome. The soldiers wanted to make Martin Luther their

Alexis de Tocqueville and American Democracy
Alexis de Tocqueville is best known for his praise of American democracy and society; less well known, however, are later criticisms he made of both. Apparently

Bible Commentary: Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit, Epilepsy (Mark 9:14-29)
In this interesting scene, Jesus manages to arrive just in the nick of time to save the day. Apparently while he was on the mountaintop with the apostles

This Date in History: Morning-After Pill
May 07, 2004: Against the recommendation (23-4) of a federal advisory panel, the FDA refuses to allow a morning-after pill to be sold without a prescription.

This Date in History: Buddhists vs. Christians in Vietnam
May 08, 1963: A religious crisis began in Vietnam when the Diem government, controlled by a Roman Catholic family, broke up demonstrations in the city of Hue.

Criminal Punishment and Execution as Public Theater
Why do we punish criminals? One reason is to prevent more crime. Another is to exact retribution form the criminal. An overlooked reason, though, may be to send

This Date in History: Evangelicals vs. Islam
May 09, 2003: The National Association of Evangelicals, a group of evangelical Christians, condemned Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Vines, Pat

When Is Bigotry Really Just Disagreement?
Sometimes claims of bigotry are genuine - for example, when we encounter someone arguing that atheists are undeserving of the same legal and political

New Godless: Science is the Only Game in Town
Godless atheists are becoming more and more vocal - not just about their atheism, but also about their critiques of theism, religion, faith, and traditional

Resurrection: What is a Resurrection? What Does the Bible Say About Jesus and the Resurrection?
The concept of resurrection refers to the idea of dead people who have found special favor with their deity such that they rise from the dead, restored to

Discussion: Eats, Shoots and Leaves
A forum member writes: That is the title of a really funny and insightful book by Lynne Truss on punctuation and grammar. Change punctuation in these examples

This Date in History: Repealing Laws Banning Christmas
May 11, 1682: After two years, two key laws were repealed by the General Court of Massachusetts: one which prohibited people from observing Christmas and

Church/State Fundamentals: Newdow v. U.S. Congress (2002)
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

Discussion: Pet Loss
A forum member writes: My beloved cat died earlier today of heart failure at age 12. I want to get another cat again someday, but I think it will be at least a

Politicians Walking with Jesus
For quite a while now, politicians have competed with each other not over their ability to understand the issues or the quality of their management skills, but

Christianism & Christian Nationalism in America
One of the most significant developments in American Christianity in recent years has been Christian Nationalism, also sometimes referred to as Christianism. An

Constantine the Great: Who Was Constantine the Great? What is his Connection to Christianity?
According to tradition, the night before he was to launch an attack on his rival just outside of Rome, Constantine received an omen. Eusebius records that

Discussion: Why don't you believe in Christianity??
A forum member writes: I ask this question in an attempt to learn why people choose atheism or agnosticism over Christianity! I have my own doubts so anything

This Date in History: Pantheon Dedicated
May 13, 0609: Pope Boniface IV turned the Roman Pantheon into a Catholic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs. This was also, therefore, the

Atomic Bombs, America, and Japan
There is a lot of disagreement over whether America should have dropped atomic bombs on Japan in order to end World War II. Some believe that it was necessary

Discussion: Calling All Ex-Mormons!
A forum member writes: This afternoon, a couple of Mormons turned up. So I took them out onto the verandah, we had a chat, and they left me a copy of the Book

This Date in History: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
May 16, 2002: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, sometimes described as a leading candidate for the next papacy, was in Rome to receive an

America: Civil Religion & the City on the Hill
Many people regard America as being an idea or ideal - but is it a religious idea? There may be some merit to that. Many of the first colonists in America saw

Crusades: Timeline of the Second Crusade, 1144 - 1150
Launched in response to the capture of Edessa by Muslims in 1144, the Second Crusade was accepted by European leaders primarily due to the tireless effort of

Discussion: Would Catching Bin Laden Make a Difference?
A forum member writes: Yes and no. Al Qaeda will likely spawn a new head and continue on. However it will help to destroy some of the mystique around Bin Laden

This Date in History: George W. Bush and the Taliban
May 17, 2001: The United States government, under the administration of George W. Bush, gave USD $43 million to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to aid in

Sikhs and Sikhism: Glossary of Sikh Terminology
Important terms and concepts which crucial to understanding Sikh beliefs, Sikh traditions and Sikh history. Read Article: Glossary of Sikh Terminology

Book Reviews: Books on 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

Book Reviews: Books on 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? Is

Discussion: John Kerry in 2008?
A forum member writes: It looks like John Kerry is headed for the presidential race again. It seems like his platform in 2004 was that he wasn’t George Bush.

House Votes against Religious Diversity, Liberty in Armed Services
As part of a new defense authorization bill approved by the House of Representatives, military chaplains will gain the authority to evangelize to others in the

This Date in History: Americans Torturing, Abusing Iraqi Prisoners
May 20, 2004: In the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal where Iraqi prisoners were abused and tortured by American soldiers, the United States pushes for

Bible Commentary: Jesus on Children, Power, and Powerlessness (Mark 9:33-37)
Some theologians have argued that one of the of the reasons why Jesus did not make things plainer to his disciples in the past can be found here in their

Book Reviews: Books on 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

Christian Reading Comprehension (Or Lack Thereof)
Every so often, I check for copyright violations against this site - that is to say, I check to see if people are simply copying material from here without

Discussion: Fair Sharing of Resources
A forum member writes: How do we prevent a wide gap between the haves and the have nots? When one person with one machine can do the work of 100, what do the

Nuclear Insanity: Vietnam vs. Iran
In theory, it makes some sense to not eliminate the option of using nuclear weapons whenever the possibility of actual armed conflict exists. In practice, it

Read My Lips: No New Taxes (Except to Raise Taxes on Teenagers)
In 1999, while campaigning for president, George W. Bush made a pledge never to raise taxes on anyone, whether private individuals or businesses. A new tax

This Date in History: Prayers in Public Schools
May 21, 1963: The highest governing body of the United Presbyterian Church stated for the record its opposition to mandatory prayers in public schools,

Religion in Ancient Egypt
Book of the Day: The Ancient Gods Speak: a Guide to Egyptian Religion, by Donald B. Redford. Ancient Egypt produced one of the most fascinating religious

This Date in History: Council of Trent, Reformation
May 22, 1542: Pope Paul III called the Council of Trent to deal with the Reformation and renewal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Conservative Reactions to American War Crimes
Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha has gone public with revelations that a group of Marines are being investigated for atrocious war crimes - killing

How the Media Hypes Numbers, Statistics
Media reports on social issues are commonly accompanied by statistics about the issue - but to what extent can those statistics be trusted? Sometimes, numbers

This Date in History: Adolf Eichmann
May 23, 1960: Israeli Premier David Ben-Gurion announced the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. According to the Israeli government, Eichmann left

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

Discussion: Questions about Souls
A forum member writes: Does a human need a brain and a heart in order to have a soul, so that he/she can then be saved and go to heaven? (This is a couple of

This Date in History: Students Voting on School Prayer
May 24, 1996: Decided: ACLU v. Black Horse Regional Board of Education Third Circuit Court ruled that a school could not allow students to vote on whether or