Agnosticism & Atheism Sitemap - Page 9 2016-09-26

Liberation Movements - Atheology as an Instrument of Liberation in Society - Atheological Criticism of Religion Can Aid Liberation
Criticism of religion is a prerequisite of liberation because religion helps preserve, defend, or justify oppressive systems. Even progressive believers must engage and critique traditional forms of their own religion. Liberation theology religious reform from within; liberation atheology dispenses with religion as unreformable, complicit in oppression, and/or hopelessly reactionary. Ending oppression based on religious tradition and divine will render important tools of oppression impotent.

Are Godlessness & Secularism a Threat to Religious Liberty? Protecting Religion By Privileging Religion
A common complaint made about secularism is that it is contrary to religious liberty. At best this is a misunderstanding about secularism because a failure to endorse or promote any one religion should not negatively affect the religious liberties of individuals. On the contrary, the creation of spaces where religion is not endorsed or even required can, for many reasons, enhance religious liberty for everyone because it puts everyone one the same footing.

Old Testament Laws: Introduction to Problems and Issues with Ancient Laws in the Bible
There are a lot of really awful things in the Old Testament. This seems like a simple and obvious statement, but there are two slight problems with it. First, although nonbelievers and skeptics will superficially agree with it, many are unaware of what some of the specific laws and events actually are. This is particularly true when it comes to the laws because, lets face it, reading those lists of ritual laws can be quite boring.

Christian Supremacy, Christianism: Pushing the Dhimmitude of Non-Christians in America
In America, the notion of Christian Supremacy encompasses both a moral attitude and a political program. In the moral realm, Christian Supremacy is the idea that Christianity is superior to all other religions, and by extension, that Christians are superior to all non-Christians. Politically, Christian Supremacy is an agenda to get America's political institutions to reflect this superiority by favoring Christians over non-Christians and Christianity over all other beliefs.

Faith-Based Politics - Using Religion to Establish Power & Control over People; Faith-Based Politics & Authoritarian Politics, Enforcing Authoritarian
Ideally, democratic politics is the 'art of the possible' - the art of getting things done and governing a community in which diverse interests and perspectives exist. No one gets everything because everyone must be willing to negotiate and compromise.

Humanism & the Supernatural: Metaphysics of Humanist Philosophy
As a general principle, humanists are not particularly concerned with anything that might qualify as 'the supernatural.' Most humanists reject the existence of the supernatural entirely, but there is nothing self-contradictory about a person who is both a humanist and who believes in something that might qualify as supernatural.

Pentecostalism & Anxiety - Does Pentecostal Christianity Increase Anxiety? Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Fatalism Among Pentecostal Christians
Religion is sometimes presented as an important means by which people can cope with the problems they face in life, but religion can also add or magnify problems. People aren't necessarily happier and better off with religion than they would be without and this may be especially true when it comes to fundamentalist Christianity, including Pentecostal forms. Research has revealed a strong correlation between Pentecostalism and higher rates of anxiety, depression, and mental health disorders.

Abortion & Shame: How Christians Use Guilt, Shame to Control, Intimidate Women - Defending the Right to Choose, but Denigrating Women's Choices
Should the decision to have an abortion be treated as a valid, moral, and even normal choice in a woman's life? Many people don't think so, and that includes Christians who are anti-choice as well as Christians who are ostensibly supporters of legalized abortion. Does it make sense to defend a woman's right to choose, but then denigrate women who do choose? Actually it can make sense to support a right to choose but not agree with all choices, but not if you also denigrate those who choose.

Book Review - Atheism, Morality, and Meaning, by Michael Martin
Morality has played an important role in both religion and theism throughout human history. So deeply intertwined have the two been that most people today sincerely believe that morality isn't possible outside of religion or, at the very least, without belief in God. As a consequence, atheists are commonly thought of as being immoral and lacking any purpose or meaning to their lives.

Intelligent Design & Evolution - Intelligent Design's Attack on Evolution
Understanding the critiques of evolution that come from Intelligent Design is critical to understanding Intelligent Design itself. This is because Intelligent Design ultimately doesn't amount to much more than an assault on naturalistic, materialistic evolution. Intelligent Design was created to find a foundation for attacking evolution that sounded more rational than traditional creationism, but it hasn't grown beyond most of the fundamental problems behind all forms of creationism.

Book Review - Religion in the Modern American West, by Ferenc Morton Szasz
The American West has never been merely a geographical space. Instead, it has long played a nearly sacred role in the American imagination and sense of national identity. Because of the worldwide reach of American media, it even plays a role in the imaginations of others around the globe - very often, the American West becomes a symbol for America itself. But what role, if any, has religion played in the development and identity of the West?

Book Review - Natural Atheism, by David Eller
Religion, particularly forms of religion that are fundamentalist or fervent in nature, have experienced explosive growth in recent decades. Many have found this to be strange, considering that great scientific, social, and political progress made made in secular circles. What could be going on? What are people looking for that they don't find in secularism?

Creationist Tactics - What Tactics Do Creationists Use?
Creationists have been successful in convincing some people that their views have scientific merit and/or that evolution has flaws it does not really have. One of the ways this has been achieved has been through the spread of falsehoods. This is not true of all creationists, and sometimes it is not done intentionally; many creationists are simply ignorant of evolutionary science and pass on lies and distortions they picked up from creationist sources without recognizing them as such.

Scientific Laws - What Are Scientific Laws?
It's common to see religious apologists preaching about allegedly scientific

Evolution & Public Schools - History of Teaching Evolution in Public Schools
Evolution is the only area of science that courts have to render decisions on. No one initiates lawsuits over the teaching of gravity, physics, chemistry, or any other part of the science curriculum. It is important to understand how legislatures have tried to modify or restrict the teaching of evolution because it is an attack on the very basis of science education in America on behalf of a religious agenda.

God as Designer: Does God's Mind Evince Signs of Design?
People who argue that the universe is designed face numerous problems and contradictions in their arguments. One of the most interesting contradictions is that if everything with a useful purpose is necessarily designed, then isn't the same true of the mind of the alleged designer?

Dostoyevsky on Evil and Suffering
How much good must be experienced before the evil used to achieve that good is outweighed? Is it even possible for a good to be so 'good' that it's acceptable and reasonable to achieve it via evil means, even including means as horrible as the torture and death of an infant? If not, then standard theistic rebuttals to the 'argument from evil' can't succeed.

Tax Exemptions & Religion: Are Tax Exemptions a Church Subsidy?
One of the key arguments offered by those who oppose tax exemptions for churches and religious organizations is that tax exemptions constitute a type of subsidy for these groups. Subsidies for religious organizations are unconstitutional, however, because they represent a means by which churches are able to obtain public, taxpayer support for their religious goals.

American Corporate, Capitalist Culture Influences Christianity
American churches have aligned themselves with American nationalism in a way that has caused Christianity to be as 'American' as it is 'Christian' - sometimes as unlike European Christianity as it is unlike Islam. Nationalism, however, isn't the only force which has changed the nature of American Christianity. Major corporations are becoming heavily invested in finding ways to incorporate religion into their own agenda, transforming American Christianity into an arm of corporate capitalism.

Atheism as Rebellion & Pride: Are Atheists Just Rebelling Against God & Family?
There are many popular myths about atheism and atheists which claim that people are atheists on account of some sort of rebellion (against god, religion, church, families, fathers, etc.) or pride. These myths come primarily from Christians whose religious mythology gives an important place to rebellion against divine rules as the origin of evil in the world (Satan is depicted as having rebelled against God). At most, these myths might be true of some but not all or even most atheists.

Backlash Against Tax Exemption Laws: Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection
It is a fact of law that charitable organizations, including churches, which have tax-exempt status are not allowed to participate in political campaigns on behalf of political candidates. A focus of current efforts is to make a direct change in how the laws read in order to ensure that churches can become fully active in political campaigns.

Adolf Hitler Promoted Christians as the Foundation for Moral, Ethical Life
What did Adolf Hitler think about Christianity vs. atheism? Hitler said: 'By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values.'

Are Atheists are Developing a Victim Complex & Crying Wolf?
People who deny that atheists are victims of bigotry and prejudice frequently insist that atheists are just 'crying wolf' and suffering from a victim complex. This accusation can be directed at various groups objecting to discrimination and bigotry, and sometimes it may even be true. The mere fact that some people may seek the status of victimhood in order to feel special or be treated better does not, however, justify asserting that this is true in any particular case.

Is Divine Command Morality Even Moral?
The divine command theory of ethics is the idea that nothing is right or wrong outside of God's will. If God wills something, then it's good. If God wills that something not be done, then it's wrong. Good and evil are not independent of God and God's will. Can we really say that this is a genuine theory of morality, though? If not, then divine command theory isn't merely a wrong theory of morality, but isn't even a legitimate theory of morality in the first place.

Why is the Pope the Leader of the Catholic Church?
Today the pope is regarded generally as the supreme head of the Catholic Church and, among Catholics, as the head of the universal Christian Church. Although principally the bishop of Rome, he is much more than just 'first among equals,' he is also the living symbol of the unity of Christianity. Where does this doctrine come from and how justified is it?

Politics & Ethics of Reproductive Liberty, Abortion, Contraception, Sex
Abortion gets the most attention, but all areas of reproductive rights are a major battleground in the Christian Right's 'culture war' on modernity, Enlightenment, and liberty. Christian Right activists, politicians, and religious leaders seek to limit or criminalize abortion, contraception, emergency contraception, sex education, and other means by which people exercise control over their sexuality. It's not just a matter of privacy, but of personal autonomy and liberty in a secular society.

Freedom & Liberty Need Liberal Democracy, Not Religious Populism
Populism is defined as a concern with the interests of the common people; democracy is a political system in which the people rule. So, populism and democracy should go well together, right? Perhaps not — perhaps the two can actually conflict, which raises interesting questions for American politics. This is especially problematic when the populism takes the form of religious populism instead of traditional economic populism. Religious populism can be a mask for religious privilege.

Jesus' Exorcisms in the New Testament
The belief that people can be inhabited or even possessed by evil spirits has been a common feature of many societies. Concomitant with this, naturally, is the presence of people who can detect and drive the spirits away. While possession of one sort or another can be found in ancient Jewish scriptures, the concepts of possession and exorcism in the Bible are almost entirely limited to the synoptic gospels in the New Testament.

People Who are Bigoted Against Atheists also Hate Atheists, Atheism
Perhaps the most hypocritical response to atheists' denunciations of anti-atheist bigotry is the excuse that

Using Christianity to Justify Oppression, Murder, Slavery, and Worse
Slavery is, obviously, supported in the Bible. Slavery was defended in the Old South by good white Christians who relied on the Bible to justify their immoral, unjust, and oppressive culture. What many don't realize, though, is how extensively intertwined Christianity and slavery were in the Old South. In many ways, the Civil War as a much a defense of Christianity as it was a defense of slavery: the elimination of slavery meant the elimination of an institution grounded in Christian doctrine.

Trying to Justify the Supernatural by Misrepresenting the Scientific Method
Many theistic arguments in defense of the existence of a god involve arguing that certain events that have not yet been fully explained by naturalistic science are unexplainable in principle by naturalistic science. Thus, the only

Is God Required for Morality? Do We Need Objective Moral Standards?
If religious theists find that they aren't getting anywhere arguing that there can't be any moral standards without their god, they sometimes switch to arguing that without a god to provide an objective set of standards then there is no way to choose which is the best among the various human standards — why not accept Nazi standards, for example? It's a mistake to assume that only a set of objective, absolute standards can provide us with any guidance in moral matters, though.

Do You Need to Imagine God just to Treat Human Beings Decently?
Many Christians try to 'sell' Christianity based on the idea that it is focused upon an instance where God and humanity became one. This is supposed to special and unusual among religions; in reality, though, many religions have found ways to fuse the human and the divine. Hinduism, for example, not only has its own tradition of unions between humanity and God but also they occur far more often. Why would anyone think that this something that only occurs in a Christian context?

Why Logic and Reason are Inseparable
Not many people study the nature of logic - it's a complicated subject and often difficult to understand. Ignorance of logic, however, is just as detrimental to good reasoning as ignorance of grammar is detrimental to good use of language. Unfortuantely, few people understand these connections.

Powerful Vested Interests Deny Own Power to Exercise it Behind Scenes
Perhaps the best way for a group or person to exercise power in a manner that harms others is to convince people that one doesn't actually have any power to begin with. This is the tactic adopted by many conservative religious institutions in America: despite wielding tremendous direct power as well as indirect power through their influence, they have persistently argued that they are powerless due to American culture being secularized.

Privileging Religion and Christianity in the Media
The general prejudice in modern society is to accord religion, religious beliefs, and religious people special privileges that are not granted to anyone else or any other belief system. This is especially true in the modern media.

Definitions and Concepts in Critical Thinking: Connotation vs. Denotation: Which Comes First?
The meaning of words can change over time because people will use them in different ways, but any change in meaning might represent an extensional change (in what the word denotes), an intensional change (in what the word connotes), or both. For example, the word 'marriage' doesnt currently denote (for most people) unions between two members of the same sex. If we began to denote such unions by 'marriage,' would it require a change in connotation (what characteristics the word intends) or not? Page 2.

Meaning: Denotation and Connotation
Understanding the difference between denotation and connotation is important to understanding definitions and how concepts are used. Unfortunately, that is complicated by the fact that these terms can be used in two different ways: grammatical and logical. Even worse, both uses are worth keeping in mind and both uses are relevant to project of logical, critical thinking.

Philosophy of Education, Learning, and Instruction
For many religious theists, religious education is an indispensable part of the learning process because religions is necessary for instilling values and morals. Many would like to see this happen in public schools, believing that their religion should be taught as a basis for social order. Atheists typically oppose such measures, but this can be done on a firmer basis if one has a better understanding of what education is all about.

Jesus Feeds the 5,000: Loaves and Fishes (Mark 6:30-44)
The story of how Jesus fed five thousand men (were there no women or children there, or did they just not get anything to eat?) with just five loaves of bread and two fishes has always been one of the most popular gospel tales. It is certainly an engaging and visual tale - and the traditional interpretation of people seeking

Witches, Women, and Witchcraft: History and Background
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.

Hammer Time: Portrayal of Witches, Witchcraft, and Female Sexuality in Medieval Christianity
Basic portrayals of witchcraft and satanism in church records are actually quite amusing. Most clerics seem to have been rather limited in creativity, so witches were shown as behaving a simplistically opposite fashion from Christians. Since Christians kneeled, then witches stood on their heads when paying homage to their masters. Communion was parodied by a Black Mass, and so forth. Page 2.

Witches, Women, and Witchcraft: The Use of Torture in Medieval Christianity
Inquisitors often resorted to torture in order to extract information or confessions from accused witches. Red-hot tongs were applied to womens' breasts and genitalia. Researcher Nancy van Vuuren has written that

Witches, Women, and Witchcraft: Salem and the Modern Witch-hunt
Witch hunts also touched the shores of America, as many Americans know. The Salem witch trials among the Massachusetts Puritans have entered American consciousness as being quite a bit more then just the killing of witches. They, like the trials of Europe, have become a symbol. Page 4.

Differentiating Religious Authority, Power and Legitimacy
The term 'authority' refers to an abstract concept with both sociological and psychological components. As a child born of a myriad of different social situations which have some rough similarities, no easy definition exists. Of particular concern throughout the literature on the topic is the entanglement of the concepts of authority, power, and legitimacy.

Why Are There No Atheistic Aesthetics?
Aesthetics almost never comes up in atheists' discussions about religion, but perhaps it should. First, religious and theistic ideas are often communicated in various forms of art (including film, books, and games) rather than in formal arguments. Atheistic critiques of religion cannot ignore this and it's impact on people's religious beliefs. Second, atheists themselves can do the same: communicate criticism of religion, religious beliefs, and theism through works of art and images.

Top Conversation Killers for Atheists
Atheists and theists frequently get into debates over the existence of gods, the nature of religion, whether religions do more harm than good, etc. Every atheist and theist are different, but a lot of these conversations hit the same topics and run into the same problems. Both sides can be at fault, but there are errors which theists make that kill any chance at having a productive, interesting, and substantive discussion. These errors can be avoided if theists know about them in advance.

Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus - Was She Really a Virgin?
The synoptic gospels (but not John) identify Mary as the mother of Jesus. Mark describes Jesus as the 'son of Mary.' In Jewish tradition, a man is always identified as the son of his father, even if the father is dead. Mark may not have done this because Jesus' birth wasn't legitimate - that his parents weren't married and, therefore, his biological father wasn't also his

Jesus on How the Rich Get to Heaven (Mark 10:17-25)
This scene with Jesus and a rich young man is probably the most famous biblical passage that tends to be ignored by modern Christians. If this passage were actually heeded today, it is likely that Christianity and Christians would be very different. It is, however, an inconvenient teaching and so tends to be glossed over entirely.

Top Myths About Atheism & Atheists: Answers, Refutations, Responses
There are many myths about what atheism is and who atheists are - even the definition of atheism is misunderstood. These myths need to be identified as the fallacies they really are because that is the only way genuine arguments and dialogues can be made possible.

Language, Meaning, and Communication in Arguments
Although it might sound trivial or even irrelevant to bring up such basic matters as language, meaning, and communication, these are the most fundamental components of arguments - even more fundamental than propositions, inferences, and conclusions. We cannot make sense of an argument without being able make sense of the language, meaning, and purpose of what is being communicated in the first place.

Language, Meaning, and Communication: Emotional Language in Arguments
Being able to separate emotional and informational language is a key component of understanding and evaluating an argument. It isnt unusual for the lack of substantive reasons for accepting the truth of a conclusion to be masked by the use of emotional terminology - sometimes deliberately, sometimes not. Page 2.

Matthew the Apostle - Profile and Biography
Matthew is recorded as one of Jesus' original disciples in all four gospels and in Acts. In the gospel of Matthew he is described as a tax collector; in parallel accounts, however, the tax collector Jesus encounters is named 'Levi.' Christians have traditionally thought that this was an example of a double naming.

Is Creationism Science?
Creationists commonly argue that their position is not only scientific, but even that it is more scientific than evolution. That is a pretty dramatic claim, especially since it has been established that evolution is very scientific, and it deserves closer consideration. This article will explain how and why creationism isn't science or scientific according to the standards of science.

Evolution vs. Creationism: An Argument In Favor of Science
Questions and answers that emphasize the importance and validity of evolution, the only science that's been made into a legal issue.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42) - Analysis
The story of Jesus' doubt and anguish at Gethsemane (literally 'oil press,' a small garden outside the eastern wall of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives) has long been thought one of the more provocative passages in the gospels. This passage launches the

Protestant Ten Commandments: Different Versions of the Ten Commandments
Protestants (which here refers to members of the Greek, Anglican, and Reformed traditions - Lutherans follow the 'Catholic' Ten Commandments) usually use the form which appears in the first Exodus version from chapter 20. Scholars have identified both Exodus versions as having probably been written in the tenth century BCE.

Catholic Ten Commandments: Different Versions of the Ten Commandments
The use of the term 'Catholic' Ten Commandments is meant loosely because both Catholics and Lutherans follow this particular listing which is based upon the version found in Deuteronomy. This text was likely written in the seventh century BCE, around 300 years later than the Exodus text which forms the basis for the 'Protestant' version of the Ten Commandments. Some scholars believe, however, that this formulation could date back to an earlier version than the one in Exodus. Page 2.

Catholic vs. Protestant Ten Commandments
One interesting difference occurs in how Catholics translate the Deuteronomy verses into actual commandments. In the Butler Catechism, verses eight through ten are simply left out. The Catholic version thus omits the prohibition against graven images. The Protestant versions of the commandments retain the prohibition against graven images, but it seems to be ignored since statues and other images have proliferated in their churches as well. Page 3.

Quotes from Adolf Hitler Expressing Belief & Faith in God
If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God's work? Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality. Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God.

Quotes from Adolf Hitler Expressing Belief & Faith in God
If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God's work? Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality. Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God.

Jesus Heals a Blind Man in Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26)
Here we have yet another man being healed, this time of blindness. Alongside another giving-of-sight story that appears in chapter 8, this frames a series of passages where Jesus gives 'insight' to this disciples about his coming passion, death, and resurrection. Readers must remember that the stories in Mark are not arranged haphazardly; they are instead carefully constructed to fulfill both narrative and theological purposes.

Profile and Biography of Judas Iscariot
Every story needs a villain and Judas Iscariot fills this role in the gospels. He is the apostle who betrayed Jesus and helps the Jerusalem authorities arrest him. Judas may have enjoyed a privileged position among Jesus' apostles - John describes him as the band's treasurer and he is often present at important times. John also describes him as a thief, but it seems implausible that a thief would have joined such a group or that Jesus would have made a thief their treasurer.

Documentary Hypothesis - Authorship of the Pentateuch
Did Moses really write the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible? Not according to the Documentary Hypothesis! Biblical scholars developed the Documentary Hypothesis to explain all the problems that exist in the texts if we assume one person writing over the course of one lifetime. Scholars have concluded that many different, anonymous writers and editors produced the Pentateuch over the course of many centuries.

History of Christian Celebration of Easter
Like pagans, Christians celebrate the end of death and the rebirth of life; but instead of focusing upon nature, Christians believe that Easter marks the day that Jesus Christ was resurrected after spending three days dead in his tomb. Some argue that the word Easter comes form Eostur, the Norse word for spring, but it's more likely that it comes from Eostre, the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess.

Too Many Gods, Too Many Religions: All Can't Be True
It is difficult to credit any one religion as being True or any one god as being True when there have been so many throughout human history.

Should Parents Perpetuate the Santa Claus Myth?
Although Santa Claus was originally based upon the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas, a patron saint of children, today Santa Claus is wholly secular. Some Christians object to him because he is secular rather than Christian; some non-Christians object to him because of his Christian roots. He is a powerful cultural symbol which is impossible to ignore, but this doesn't mean that he should simply be accepted without question. There are good reasons to dispense with the tradition.

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 suffocates them. The horrors of crucifixion are glossed over by the gospel authors, however, in favor of the deeper theological meanings behind these events. Perhaps that is why the gospel authors are inconsistent in describing what happened.

Criticism of Religion Starts With Knowing Logic & Arguments
Because so few people ever learn about logic, logical fallacies, and logical arguments, almost everyone makes a lot of basic errors in the arguments they offer and in their critiques of others' arguments. Irreligious atheists who want to do an effective job in critiquing religion, religious beliefs, and theism, absolutely need some grounding in basic logic in order to both avoid those common mistakes and to be able to point them out when reading others' arguments.

Introduction to Logic & Arguments
The term 'logic' is used quite a lot, but not always in its technical sense. Logic, strictly speaking, is the science or study of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. Logic is what allows us to distinguish correct reasoning from poor reasoning. Logic is important because it helps us reason correctly - without correct reasoning, we don't have a viable means for knowing the truth or arriving at sound beliefs.

Defining Atheism as Not Worshipping Gods: Atheism Is About Worship, Not Belief? Are Atheists Simply Those Who Don't Worship Any Gods?
Some have argued that rather than define atheism as the absence of belief in gods, it makes more sense to define atheism as not worshipping any gods. There are advantages and disadvantages to this idea. A principal advantage is the fact that there is no need to go through contortions when it comes to apparently

Creating a Firmament - Why did God need a Day to Create a Firmament of Heaven?
The Bible says that God took an entire day to create something called a firmament, without being clear exactly what it's supposed to be. It's absurd that a god would require an entire day to create this firmament merely to separate the waters. Why was any effort needed at all, and what is a firmament that it was even needed to begin with?

Propaganda and Persuasion: Misuse of Language and Meaning
When most people think of propaganda, they tend to think of the posters and songs created by or with the aid of a government during wartime, yet the truth of the matter is that propaganda has a much broader application. It refers not only to efforts by a government to get people to adopt certain beliefs or attitudes, but it can also be applied to the ways in which corporations try to get you to buy things.

Flag Fetishism: America's Cult of the Flag and Fetish Behavior Around the American Flag
Americans' obsession with the American flag isn't just an example of patriotism or nationalism - it's an example of fetishism. Some Americans, at least, have developed a cult around their flag in which that flag is treated almost as it if had supernatural powers, and certainly as if it were more than merely a symbol of America. The flag is treated as if it were America itself - as if it were a substitute for America, such that how you treat it were how you treat America.

Have a Godless New Year: Atheist New Year Resolutions
Being an atheist doesn't require much effort. There aren't any creeds to memorize or religious services to attend regularly. So long as you don't believe in any gods, even if you never give the subject a second thought, you're an atheist. Never thinking about it may not be the best course of action in modern society, though. There are good reasons to think that making a conscious effort to be open and deliberate in your godlessness would be better for you and those around you.

Atheism, Holidays and Rituals: Questions, Problems, Advice
Atheists spend quite a lot of time discussing religion and deeper questions of whether or not there is any rational justification for believing in gods. However, there are also much more practical issues which merit close discussion. One issue which affects pretty much all atheists is how, or even if, they might celebrate local religious holidays (or secular holidays with an important religious component).

We Wish You a Godless Christmas: What's Secular or Godless About Christmas Holidays?
Many Christians insist that Christmas is a Christian religious holiday which belongs exclusively to them. While there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in a Christian manner, the simple fact is that there are many important elements to popular Christmas celebrations which have nothing whatsoever to do with religion or Christianity. These secular elements of Christmas are at least as important as the religious ones. So if you want to celebrate Christmas, you can do so without religion.

Christmas in America: Atheists, the Christian Right, and Christmas Traditions
Perhaps the mid-winter holiday season centered around Christmas should be a time of festivities, but in America many other things intrude as well. Atheists are faced with questions about whether they should participate and if they should reveal their atheism. Conservative Christians insist that Christmas is meaningless without their religion - and say that both are under assault from atheists. Should parents lie to encourage belief in Santa? How reliable are gospels stories about the Nativity?

Atheist Signs at Christmas - Should Atheists Challenge Christmas Displays? Is It Hate Speech or Intolerant to Challenge Religion at Christmas?
Christians sometimes complain that atheists and secularists are trying to remove religion from the public square, but the truth is that Christians are so accustomed to having the public square all to themselves that they can't stand it when they cease to be privileged and others are treated equally. We can see this in the reactions to atheists erecting signs alongside religious holiday displays at Christmas: atheists are accused of intolerance and hate speech for mild criticisms of religion.

Silent Night, Godless Night: Surviving Christmas Eve & Christmas Day as a Godless, Irreligious Atheist
The term 'juggernaut' is thought to come from a Jagannath, an idol of Krishna pulled along on a cart under whose wheels devotees would throw themselves. Christmas in contemporary America is a juggernaut in that respect: people willingly throw themselves under its wheels and it crushes everything it comes into contact with. You can't escape it and it dominates everything in culture, politics, and media for upwards of two months. What's an irreligious atheist to do?

Credibility of Bible Miracles: Any Reason to Believe?
Christians often act as though the biblical accounts of miracles are self-evident reasons to believe in the truth of Christianity and in the reliability of the Bible itself. Incredible tales that wouldn't normally be accepted at face value in any other context are suddenly treated as meeting the highest possible standards of truth and reliability.

Ayn Rand: Living High on Government Assistance?
The importance of Ayn Rand for modern conservatism would be difficult to underestimate. This has always been ironic given her staunch atheism, something that

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

What Is Religion? Functional vs Substantive Definitions
Many scholarly and academic attempts to define or describe religion can be classified into one of two types: functional or substantive. Each represents a very distinct perspective on the nature of function of religion. Although it is possible for a person to accept both types as valid, in reality most people will tend to focus on one type to the exclusion of the other.

Atheism & Hell: What if You Atheists Are Wrong About Hell?
Why don't you just be an atheist? If there is a god, and it is moral and loving and worthy of respect, then it won't mind if people have rational doubts about it and rational reasons for not believing in it. This god won't punish people for exercising their critical thinking skills and are skeptical of the claims of other, fallible humans. Thus, you wouldn't lose anything.

Biographical Profile of Philosopher Socrates
Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who became very influential in the development of Greek philosophy and, thus, Western philosophy in general. The most extensive knowledge we have of him comes from Plato's many dialogues, but there is a little information about him in the historian Xenophon's Memorabilia, Apology and Symposium, and in Aristophanes' The Clouds and The Wasps. Socrates is best known for the dictum that only the examined life is worth living.

Biographical Profile of Greek Philosopher Aristotle
Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle helped develop both Western philosophy and theology. His ideas during his early days differed from Plato's.

Islam's Holy Days - Muslim Holidays & Holy Days
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. During the twelve lunar months there are a number of important holidays, or holy days, including: Al-Hijra, Ashura, Mawlid al-Nabi, and Eid Al-Adhha. The term Eid is the Arabic term for festivity or celebration, and is only attached to a couple of holy days in the Muslim year.

Pragmatic Theory of Truth - Definition
An American philosophy developed during the early and mid twentieth century. Pragmatists identified the nature of truth with the principle of action.

Observing Evolution - How Evolution Has Been Observed
The most basic direct evidence of evolution is our direct observation of evolution occurring. This is also the most basic lie which creationists tell about evolution because they constantly claim that evolution has never been observed when, in fact, it's been observed both in the lab and the field repeatedly. Creationists count on this lie getting traction because they lie about what evolution is and repeat the lies often enough that they are believed through sheer, dishonest repetition.

Einstein Quotes on Atheism & Freethought
Albert Einstein is sometimes claimed by religious theists seeking the authority of a famous scientist for their theistic views, but Einstein denied the existence of the traditional concept of a personal god. Was Albert Einstein therefore an atheist? From some perspectives his position would be seen as atheism or no different from atheism. He admitted to being a freethinker, which in a German context is much the same as atheism, but it's not clear that Einstein disbelieved in all god concepts.

What Was Catharism? What Did Cathars Believe?
The Cathars came from the region west-north-west of Marseilles on Golfe du Lion, the old province of Languedoc. They were a heretical sect of Christians who lived in Southern France during the 11th and 12th centuries. One branch of the Cathars became known as the Albigenses because they took their name from the local town Albi. Cathar beliefs probably developed as a consequence of traders coming from Eastern Europe bringing teachings of the Bogomils.

State Laws on Flag Desecration, Burning, and Abuse
Why do some state laws ban publicly desecrating the flag instead of banning it in private as well? Why do some specify that it doesn't matter if you deface your privately owned flag? What does it mean to make it a crime to 'cast contempt' upon or 'speak evilly' about the American flag? Why do some state that a crime occurs only when an act outrages the 'sensibilities' of those watching? Why do some states make it a crime to deface or cast contempt upon the Confederate flag?

What Does the Bible Say About Leprosy and Lepers?
Also known as Hansen's disease, leprosy is a skin infection caused by a mycobacterium. Leprosy was at one time incurable and lepers were segregated into colonies; today the infection is readily cured - it's just a matter of reaching victims of the disease and fighting the social taboos surrounding it. Leprosy is rare in the West yet widely known through biblical references. Biblical references to leprosy, however, are to a wide array of skin diseases, few if any of which are Hansen's disease.

Are Weddings Religious? - Atheists and Weddings
There is a common perception that marriage is a fundamentally religious institution - that it is based upon religious values and exists to serve religious ends. Thus, if a person is not religious, then it might seem natural for that person to avoid entering into marriage - and that would include many atheists as well.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree (Mark 11:12-14)
One of the more infamous passages in the gospels involves Jesus’ cursing of a fig tree for not having any fruit for him despite the fact that it wasn’t even the season for fruit. What sort of petulant individual would deliver a gratuitous, arbitrary curse? Why would this be Jesus’ only miracle in the environs of Jerusalem? In reality the incident is meant as a metaphor for something larger — and worse.

John the Apostle: Profile & Biography
John, the son of Zebedee, was called along with this brother James to be one of Jesus' twelve apostles who would accompany him on his ministry. John appears in the lists of apostles in the synoptic gospels as well as Acts.

What is a Blessing? How are People in the Bible Blessed?
In the Bible, a blessing is depicted as a mark of God's relationship with a person or nation. When a person or group is blessed, it is a sign of God's grace upon them and perhaps even presence among them. To be blessed means that a person or people take part in God's plans for the world and humanity.

Freedom as Self-Determination, Democracy as Independence from Religion
To be 'free' must mean that people can form opinions and pursue goals relating to the direction of their life with minimal interference from the state.

Something from Nothing?

Ayn Rand: Sociopath Who Admired a Serial Killer?
If you've ever had the feeling that there was something fundamentally sociopathic about Ayn Rand's philosophy, you may have been on to something. Apparently

Vatican Admits Priests are Raping Nuns Around the World
It's not just little kids who are endangered by Catholic priests -- Catholic nuns also have reason to fear. The Vatican has finally admitted that nuns all

Top 10 Conversation Killers for Atheists
Atheists and theists frequently get into debates over the existence of gods, the nature of religion, whether religions do more harm than good, etc. Every

Muslim Iran: Pre-Teen Girls Raped Before Being Executed
The Muslim prohibition on executing virgins might at first seem like a mercy -- a weak mercy, to be sure, but at least it should preserve some women's lives.

God: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
You should count yourself lucky if you never have to deal with someone suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you're a Christian, Jew, or

Padre Pio Faked Stigmata with Carbolic Acid? No, Because Pope is Infallible
Maria De Vito was the cousin of a pharmacist and, according to a book by Italian historian Sergio Luzzatto, she supplied Padre Pio with carbolic acid and that

Norse Mythology is the Best Religious Choice
Many Christians are convinced that not only is theirs the only true and valid religion, but also that this should be obvious to anyone who looks. Is it really

Help, My Daughter is Dating an Atheist Who's Actually Good!
Atheists exist throughout society, often where religious theists aren't even aware of them. Sometimes these atheists actually interact with religious theists

Is Israel a Religious or a Secular State?
Ever since its creation, there have been debates and disagreements about the nature of the state of Israel. Formally, it's a secular democracy where Judaism is

Discrimination Against Christians in America
Many conservative Christians argue that they are being discriminated against and persecuted in America. Why? Basically, because they have lost their

The Importance of Logic and Philosophy
Few people in society today spend much time studying either philosophy of logic. This is unfortunate because so much relies on both: philosophy is a fundamental

Ten Questions to Ask Christians
Sometimes it seems like every Christian with an internet connection thinks that they are have the skills and knowledge to become evangelists to religious

Religious vs. Secular Terrorism
Terrorism comes in a variety of forms, but these days religious terrorism is the most common and leads to the most destruction. Not all terrorism is equal -

Using Religion to Control Others
It has been argued that one of the reasons for the existence of religion is that it's an effective means for society's powerful to control everyone else.

Social Conservatism vs. Economic Conservatism
One thing that many conservatives seem unaware of is the presence of a very serious tension between social and economic conservatism. Social conservatism

Nonbeliever vs. Atheist
Many people are bothered by the label

Women Should Not Play Sports
Women's sports has been growing steadily for the past couple of decades, in large part because of government mandates that women's sports be funded equally at

Kill All Muslims?
Christian rage at Islam has been growing since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Even early on there were vicious verbal attacks against Muslims, but

Prince and the Jehovah's Witnesses
Prince has had an interesting career - but many may be unaware of the fact that he has recently converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Even fewer are probably

How To Beat Your Wife
Are you a man interested in learning more about how best to beat your wife? Are you a woman who thinks that she could stand to be better corrected and

Are the Gospels Reliable About Jesus' Birth?
The nativity story occurs in just two of the four gospels, Matthew and Luke, and that they hardly agree on any of the details. It's almost as if they are describing two entirely different people being born.

Godless Thanksgiving: Do Atheists Have Anyone to Thank?
There's a common belief among many American Christians that the American Thanksgiving holiday is somehow religious. Aside from the apparent desire to turn everything into an expression of their religion, the primary reason behind this seems to be the idea that the whole point must be to give thanks to their god - not any other gods, just theirs, thus making it a Christian holiday too. If that's true, then it makes no sense for non-Christians, or at least non-theists, to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Everyone is Religious, Worships Something: Atheists Worship Satan, Themselves
Many religious theists insist that everyone worships something: they have some sort of god and some sort of religion. There are a lot of suggested candidates for what atheists must worship, but none of them are true because the premise itself is false.

Atheists Celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas
Should you participate in acknowledging, much less celebrating, any aspect of a religious holiday? If a holiday has no other aspects to it but religion and religious ritual, there are few opportunities for atheists to participate. In such cases, if you do participate, it will likely be because some other factor like family unity weighs more heavily on you than does the principle of avoiding religion.

Why Should Theists Prove that God Exists? Why Do Atheists Ask for Proof of God?
When atheists and theists debate the existence of gods, atheists generally ask for some sort of proof of the god or gods that the theist claims exist. Why do they do this?

Should Atheists Distribute Freethought, Atheist Tracts?
A popular means used by religious believers, and Christians in particular, to spread their ideas is the ubiquitous religious tract. Tracts are so common and have spread so far that people tend to overlook them and forget they are there. This is unfortunate because I believe that it causes atheists to also overlook the impact atheist tracts might have. Religious organizations and churches are not the only ones who can benefit from short pamphlets focusing on particular issues.

Bible & Religious Scriptures: Commentary, Analysis, History
Collecting the holy scriptures of Christianity and Judaism, the Bible has become a central text in Wester history, culture, and rleigion Here youcan find detailed, indexed information about the Bible, including: history, authorship, contradictions, alleged Bible Codes, prophecies, critiques and more.

Atheist Activism: How Can Godless Atheists, Agnostics, and Nonbelievers Be More Active in Society?
A common question atheists have is how they can make a difference in society. Atheists are not just a minority, but often a despised minority - more people feel comfortable expressing bigotry, hatred, and discrimination towards atheists than any other group. It's safe to say things about atheists that people would never say about others. How can atheists change this? What sorts of activism can they engage in? Is there a place for atheist activists in modern America?

About Atheism, Atheists, Agnosticism, and Agnostics
What is atheism? Is it a religion? Are all atheists communists? What is the difference between atheism and agnosticism? Atheism is often misunderstood and even vilified; a better understanding of it, however, reveals that many of the attacks made upon atheism and atheists are based upon errors and mistaken assumptions.

Is Pentecostal Christianity Especially Superstitious?
Some forms of Christianity are arguably more superstitious than others; Pentecostal Christianity fits readily into this category.

Theology vs. Atheology: Systematic Engagement with Religion and Theism
Atheology begins by questioning and challenging the validity of basic religious beliefs, treating them questionable at best and maybe false.

Defending and Justifying 'under God' in the Pledge
The best defenses and justifications for keeping 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance offer no good reasons not to get rid of it.

How Religion, Religious Groups, and Religious Beliefs are Privileged
Religious privilege, the favoring of religion, religious beliefs, and religious figures, has been much harder to kill than other types of privilege

Theocrats and the Separation of Church and State: Who Are the Theocrats? What Do They Want?
Theocrats wish to create a theocratic government in the United States. Theocrats consider even the most conservative Christians to not be 'godly' enough.

Godless Liberalism, Godless Liberals, and American Politics
Godless liberalism is a liberal or progressive political perspective which doesn't rely on gods, revelation, or religion for its values, ideas, or policies.

Mass Democracy Works Against Dissent, Individuals
Popular religion in America today demands deference and submission, making dissent and criticism difficult.

Argument from Justice: Must Justice Exist in the Afterlife?
According to the Argument from Justice, God or an afterlife must exist because Justice must exist and only they can deliver Justice.

Christian Anti-Intellectualism - is Conservative Christianity Anti-Intellectual? Should Conservative American Christians Fear Intellectual Inquiry?
Both religious and political conservatives in America are frequently accused of being anti-intellectual, but such accusations would carry more weight if we understood why such anti-intellectualism would exist and what form it would take. That, in turn, requires understanding what being an intellectual means and why intellectuals would be feared or hated by religious and political conservatives. There are good reasons why American conservatives would develop a tradition of anti-intellectualism.

Is Abortion Too Easy? Denigrating Women's Choices, Autonomy - When Women are Assumed to be Inferior, Their Choices are Treated as Inferior
There seems to be a common attitude shared even by some abortion rights supporters that abortions shouldn't be too easy to obtain. People feel that if abortions are easy to get, then they would be abused - as if women can't be trusted. Does it make sense to treat abortion as a constitutional right, but not one women should have easy access to? We don't do this with other rights but it allows religious authority figures can interfere without having to fight legal battles over criminalizing it.

Atheists & Roadside Memorials - Atheist Responses to Roadside Memorial Crosses
It's common to see roadside memorials where people have died in car accidents. These memorials are usually private and not technically permitted - when the state cleans up along the roads, they should take down the memorials. Some would like the see such memorials protected, even if they are large and send a religious message. Are you ever bothered by the increasing number of memorial crosses littering America's roadsides? If so, you can and should do something.

Atheism & Faith - Atheism & Atheists Don't Rely on Faith
Faith is a subject of much debate not only between atheists and theists, but even among theists themselves. The nature of faith, the value of faith, and the appropriate subjects of faith - if any - are topics of intense disagreement. Atheists frequently argue that it's wrong to believe things on faith while theists argue that not only is faith important, but that atheists also have their own faith. None of these discussions can go anywhere unless we first understand what faith is and is not.

Christian Reconstructionists: Leading Figures of Christian Reconstructionism in America
Christian Reconstructionism is a Calvinist movement in origin, therefore most leading Christian Reconstructionists have either been Calvinists or have been educated in the tradition of Reformed Theology. Christian Reconstructionists all generally agree that biblical law needs to be applied to modern American society, that all social ills can be traced to attempts by humanity to rule itself independent of God's will, and that Christianity should be privileged in culture and law.

Belief vs. Disbelief: Believing, Not Believing, and Denying Gods
People's misunderstanding about the nature of atheism can sometimes be traced to a misunderstanding about the nature of disbelief. Comprehensive dictionaries generally define atheism as the 'disbelief in or denial of the existence of gods,' and atheists commonly refer to atheism as simply not believing in any gods - but is not believing something the same as denying it?

Christianism, Christian Privilege & Christian Supremacy: Understanding Christianism and Christian Nationalism in America
One of the most significant developments in American Christianity in recent years has been Christian Nationalism. An ill-begotten blend of extreme nationalism and even more extreme Christianity, it would supplant liberal democracy with illiberal theocracy. Few Christians are conscious adherents of this ideology (also known as Christianism, Christian Supremacy, Dominion Theology, and Christian Reconstructionism), but many have been seduced by milder forms like Christian Privilege.

Christianity and Contraception: History and Development of Christian Perspectives on Birth Control
Christianity has a complicated relationship with contraception. Like most religions with roots in the ancient world, Christianity has a generally pro-natalist position, which means that fertility and having children is valued highly. This makes sense given how precarious life could be in the ancient world. Over time, though, support for birth control and family planning has increased and come to play a larger role in the lives of Christians.

Primitive Atheism & Skepticism - Atheism & Skepticism in Primitive Cultures
Almost as popular as belief in gods and religions is the belief that theism and religion are 'universal' - that theism and religion can be found in every culture that's ever been studied. The apparent popularity of religion and theism seems to give religious believers some comfort against the skeptical critiques of atheists. After all, if religion and theism are universal, then there is something odd about secular atheists and they must be the ones with the burden of proof... right?

Audacity of Godlessness: How and Why Being Godless in America Requires Audacity
Unless you're going to hide what you are and stay in the closet, being godless in many countries will require a great deal of audacity on your part. This is because godlessness requires setting aside all of the assumptions, traditions, and comforts provided by traditional religions. It therefore means stepping out on your own, challenging those traditions in risky, insolent, and even disrespectful ways.

Why Do Atheists Promote Atheism? Are Atheists Just Evangelists for Atheism and Secularism?
Sometimes theists find it odd that atheists would have web sites explaining, discussing, and defending atheism. If atheism is not a philosophy or religion, what's the point? If atheists don't believe in God, why spend so much time discussing God? These theists are, I believe, misunderstanding the purpose and reason for atheist sites. The reason for this misunderstanding may lie in the fact that atheism and religion are completely separate categories, and as such cannot be directly contrasted.

No Reason to Believe in Gods: Without Good Reasons, Belief is Impossible - Theists Fail to Provide Good, Rational, Sound Reasons to Believe in God
Perhaps the most basic reason for not believing in any gods is the absence of good reasons for doing so. Since the burden of support lies first and foremost with those making the positive the claim the theistic, religious believers who say their god exists non-believers don't need reasons not to believe. They may help, but they aren't particularly necessary. Instead, what is required are reasons to believe.

Evolution Meets the Criteria for Scientific Theories
Creationists frequently complain that evolution isn't valid or genuine science, but exactly the opposite is the case: evolution meets the criteria generally accepted by scientists as defining science and the vast majority of scientists accept evolution as science. Evolution is the central organizing framework for the biological sciences and is just as scientifically valid as analogous theories in other scientific fields: plate tectonics, atomic theory, quantum mechanics, etc.

Catholic Liberation Theology in Latin America
The primary architect of liberation theology in the Latin-American and Catholic context is Gustavo Gutierrez. A Catholic priest who grew up in grinding poverty in Peru, Gutierrez employed Marxs critiques of ideology, class, and capitalism as part of his theological analysis of how Christianity should be used to make peoples lives better here and now rather than simply offer them hope of rewards in heaven.

Different Versions of the Ten Commandments: Originals & Sequels
As many people are aware, but perhaps tend to forget, the Ten Commandments had to be written down twice. Moses got them once, but upon his return to camp he found that people had started the party without him. Naturally incensed, he made the blunder of smashing the tablets upon which God had written his commandments. This was God's first work as an author, and now it was lost! Page 3.

Different Versions of the Ten Commandments: How Was the Sequel?
Now, God wasnt happy that Moses broke the tablets with all of this information on them, but he was willing to give it another go: 'And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.'. Page 4.

Introduction to the Ten Commandments
Quite a few politicians and citizens want the government to display the Ten Commandments on public grounds and in various government buildings, like schools. In such a situation, it becomes reasonable to ask: What exactly are these 'Ten Commandments'? What many dont realize is that there arent really 'the' Ten Commandments; instead, there are multiple versions of the Ten Commandments.

Introduction to the Ten Commandments: Is There a Standard Version?
Any time someone chooses to place a listing of the Ten Commandments in a home, office, church, or public space, they will be making choices. They will have to choose which biblical passage to rely upon, which translation to use, and typically which shortened version to use. These are all religious, linguistic, social, cultural, and political choices. Page 2.

Flaws in Theistic and Religious Morality
Moral values can differ from religion to religion, but there are common themes in religious moral systems which can be identified and criticized. There are flaws in most religious systems of morality and thus a basis for rejecting the idea that religion is necessary for moral values.

Flaws in Reasoning and Arguments: Avoiding the Question
When trying to make a case for some position or idea, we frequently encounter questions which challenge the coherency or validity of that position. When we are able to adequately answer those questions, our position becomes stronger. When we cannot answer the questions, then our position is weaker. If, however, we avoid the question altogether, then our reasoning process itself is revealed as possibly weak.

Myth: Atheists Have No Reason to Be Moral
The idea that atheists have no reason to be moral without a god or religion may be the most popular and repeated myth about atheism out there. It comes up in a variety of forms, but all of them are based on the assumption that the only valid source of morality is a theistic religion, preferably the religion of the speaker which is usually Christianity. Thus without Christianity, people cannot live moral lives. This is supposed to be a reason reject atheism and convert to Christianity.

Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner: Attacking Sins Can Lead to Attacking People - Irreligious Atheists Must Take Care When Criticizing Religion
The idea that Christians should 'hate the sin but love the sinner' is a popular defense of Christian attacks on homosexuality, abortion, and other behavior which they consider abhorrent. Critics rightly point out that hating the sin can quickly become hating the sinner as well, something which many Christians appear to indulge in when it comes to gays, for example. Is this a problem with atheist critics of religion can succumb to as well?

Agnostic Theism Cannot Exist? Agnostic Theists Cannot Exist?
Agnosticism is the label applied to not knowing for sure if any gods exist; theism is the label for belief in at least one god of some sort. Some people argue that the two aren't compatible because every religion demands believers to know for sure that their god exists. If any believer says that they don't know for sure, even though they continue believing anyway, then they cannot remain good adherents of their religion anymore. This is not a valid objection to the concept of agnostic theism.

Religion & Government - Myths About Relationship Between Religion & Government
In arguing against church/state separation, Christian Nationalists promote myths, misconceptions, and even lies about the relationship between religion and government. Confusing people about how religion and government should interact helps convince people that it's appropriate for the state to promote, endorse, or even fund one religion in particular. Seeing the right relationship between religion and government, however, reveals why the state should be secular and separated from religion.

America's Godless Public Schools: The Value of a Godless Education and Godless Schools in America
One of the preeminent battlegrounds for the Christian Right's war on modernity is America's secular public school system. The Christian Right cannot stand the fact that instead of infusing the entire curriculum with their brand of conservative Christian principles, the government maintains a neutral stance on religion with a secular system. The godlessness of America's public schools is an advantage, not a defect. Public schools should be secular, not extensions of religious institutions.

What is Atheism? Overview of How Atheism is Defined in Dictionaries and By Atheists
It seems 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. Because the same questions and same arguments keep coming up over and over again, it's important to have a central resource where people can inform themselves or to which they can refer others.

Einstein Quotes on Science & Religion: Do Science and Religion Always Conflict? Albert Einstein Saw Many Conflicts Between Science and Religion
The most common interaction between science and religion seems to be conflict: science finding that religious beliefs are false and religion insisting that science mind its own business. Is it necessary for science and religion to conflict in this manner? Albert Einstein seems to have felt not, but at the same time he often recounted just such conflicts occurring. Part of the problem is that Einstein seems to have thought there existed a 'true' religion that couldn't conflict with science.

Secularism vs. Superstition: Secularization Promotes Reason over Superstition
Politically and socially, secularization is the creation of institutions independent of ecclesiastical authority - the authority of churches and religious groups. In the past, religious figures held the authority to govern, deliver medical care, and educate; today, such responsibilities have been taken over by non-religious authority figures who deliver the services independent of church structures. Independence from the church, though, also means independence from superstition.

Jesus' Family Values (Mark 3:31-35) - An Analysis
In these verses we encounter Jesus' mother and his brothers. This is a curious inclusion because most Christians today take the perpetual virginity of Mary as a given, which means that Jesus would not have had any siblings at all. His mother isn't named as Mary at this point, which is also interesting. What does Jesus do when she comes to talk to him? He rejects her!

Myth - Atheists Are Fools Who Say "There Is No God"
Christians seem to love to quote the above verse from Psalms. Sometimes, I think this verse is popular because it allows them to call atheists

Theistic Evolution & Evolutionary Creationism
Theistic evolutionists vary in how they believe their god intervened in the evolutionary process because those beliefs are connected to subtle details of other theological positions. They accept modern science on the fact that evolution occurs and how it occurs, but they rely on their god to explain things currently unexplained by science (like the origin of life) or outside the purview of science (like the origin of the soul).

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

That's Not in the Constitution! Rights Not Spelled Out
Debates about whether some particular right is in the Constitution or not are really debates about how to read and interpret the Constitution. Those who claim that the Constitution doesn't say 'right to privacy' or 'separation of church and state' are relying upon the assumption that unless a particular phrase or specific words actually appears in the document, then the right doesn't exist.

What Flag Desecration Laws Can Ban (With Examples)
Attempts to ban flag desecration, either through statute or through constitutional amendment, would ban much more than most people seem to realize. Usually people only think about trying to stop burning the American flag, but the truth is that past and current laws against flag desecration cover far more than just burning the flag. Perhaps if people thought more about just what they are outlawing, they wouldn't be so quick to support flag desecration bans.

Albert Einstein: Immortality & Life After Death
What did Albert Einstein think about immortality and life after death? Einstein wrote: 'Immortality? There are two kinds. The first lives in the imagination of the people, and is thus an illusion. There is a relative immortality which may conserve the memory of an individual for some generations. But there is only one true immortality, on a cosmic scale, and that is the immortality of the cosmos itself. There is no other.'

Does Atheism Eliminate Any Standards for Belief?
Many religious theists think that their God creates or otherwise provides a set of objective standards against which they can measure all their beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, etc. Without their god, they can't imagine how anyone could possibly differentiate true from false beliefs, moral from immoral behaviors, proper from improper attitudes. Atheists who don't believe in any gods are thus capable of believing and doing absolutely anything, having nothing at all to hold them back.

Is It Wrong to Act Differently in Public?
Everyone acts differently around different people: they behave one way with their spouse, another with strangers, another with parents, and still another with

Creationist Misrepresentations - Macro, Micro Evolution
Almost everything creationists say or write about evolution is ultimately some sort of misrepresentation of science, but there is a special grouping of misrepresentations dealing with microevolution and macroevolution specifically. This is because questions about microevolution and macroevolution lie at the heart of creationist arguments against evolution today. Only the most foolhardy creationist denies the reality of microevolution, but they try to deny that this is 'real' evolution.

Humanism & The Afterlife
Belief in an afterlife has been an important feature of many, albeit not all, religions in human history. There are many possible reasons for why such a belief might have developed, all hotly debated by scholars in different fields. What is not debated very much, however, is the fact that such a belief is certainly attractive - after all, who wants to die? The promise of being able to live on even after one's physical demise certainly has advantages.

Murdered Popes: Crime and Conspiracy in the Vatican
Today the Catholic Pope is a generally respected figure, but that hasn't always been the case. Some have been very despicable people, involved in all sorts of nasty situations. Aside from those who were martyred during the earliest decades of Christianity, a number of popes have been murdered by rivals, cardinals, and even supporters.

Does Accepting Evolution Require Atheism?
One thing which seems to cause many people to be inclined to reject evolution is the idea, perpetuated by fundamentalists and creationists, that evolution and atheism are deeply intertwined. According to such critics, accepting evolution necessarily leads a person to being an atheist (along with associated things communism, immorality, etc.). Even some concern trolls who claim to want to defend science say atheists should be quiet lest they give the impression that evolution contradicts theism.

Military & Political Outcome of the Crusades | Military, Political, Religious, and Social Consequences
The first and perhaps most important thing we should bear in mind is that when all is said and done, from a political and military perspective the Crusades were a massive failure. The First Crusade was successful enough that European leaders were able to scratch out kingdoms which included such cities as Jerusalem, Acre, Bethlehem, and Antioch. After that, though, everything went downhill.

Social & Religious Outcome of the Crusades
Socially speaking the Crusades had an impact upon the Christian stance on military service. Before there was a strong prejudice against the military, at least among churchmen, on the assumption that Jesus' message precluded warfare. The original ideal forbade shedding blood in combat and was expressed by St. Martin in the fourth century who said 'I am a soldier of Christ. I must not fight.' For a man to remain holy, killing in warfare was strictly prohibited. Page 2.

Economic & Ideological Outcome of the Crusades | Military, Political, Religious, and Social Consequences
Of great importance was the increased demand for trade goods - Europeans developed a tremendous appetite for cloth, spices, jewels, and more from the Muslims as well as lands even further east, such as India and China, spurring an increased interest in exploration. At the same time, markets were opened in the East for European goods. Page 3.

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

Existentialism, Marxism, and Communism: Existentialism and Philosophy
In the minds of some there is a close association between existentialist philosophy and Marxist or communist politics. There is some justification for this because one of the most prominent existentialists, Jean-Paul Sartre, was also a Marxist. Nevertheless, there are a number of significant incompatibilities between existentialism and Marxism - incompatibilities which even Sartre had difficulty reconciling. Page 2.

Existentialism & Humanism: Jean-Paul Sartre
One of Jean-Paul Sartre's most important works was 'Existentialism is a Humanism' - so are all existentialists humanists? Are all humanists also existentialists? Not necessarily - there is a close affinity between existentialism and humanism, but they aren't quite the same thing. Still, Sartre's point is a valid one and deserves to be considered. Page 3.

Existentialism and Darwinism: Evolutionary Theory and Existentialist Philosophy
Initially, at least, there wouldn't appear to be any particular connection between Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and existentialist philosophy - but first impressions can be deceiving. As a matter of fact, there are important connections between the two. This is not to say that there is any sort of causal relationship because existentialism didn't inspire evolution and evolutionary theory didn't help produce existentialism. Page 4.

Existentialist Aesthetics: Existentialism, Beauty, Literature, and Art
Aesthetics is the philosophical study of beauty and taste, but few philosophical systems or trends take aesthetics quite as seriously as does existentialism. Aesthetics has traditionally been part of other philosophical pursuits like the investigation of epistemology or ethics. In existentialism, however, art is in some ways the very medium through which philosophy is expressed and communicated. Page 5.

Why It Is Important to Understand the Nature of Disagreement
When people argue about something, it is because they disagree. If they already agreed, they probably wouldn't be offering arguments for or against anything. Unfortunately, when people are in the midst of a disagreement, it isn't always clear to them or to others just what they are disagreeing about. Figuring out where the actual disagreement lies and where potential agreement might exist can be very helpful.

Quotes from Hitler Opposing Secularism & Atheism
Claims from Christian apologists about Adolf Hitler being an example of the evils committed by secularism and atheism are effectively refuted by Hitler's own words condemning secularism and atheism. Adolf Hitler did nothing to promote or encourage Germany's godless, atheists, and freethinkers but he spoke and acted regularly to promote and defend traditional Christian beliefs, values, and political policies.

Myth: Atheists Believe in Nothing
This question is based upon a misunderstanding of what atheism is. Many theists think that atheists don't believe in anything at all; evidently, we have no goals, no ideals, and no beliefs whatsoever. Such theists cannot understand how it could be otherwise because their beliefs in and about their god often constitute the most important parts of their lives and are especially important when it comes to their goals, ideals, morality, etc. Without their god, then, those things can't exist.

Hillary Clinton on Issues That Matter to Atheists
Whether she is elected president or not, Hillary Clinton is and will remain for some time a leading figure in the Democratic Party. Her views on matters like religion, the role of religion in government and public life, church/state separation, secularism, faith-based initiatives, reproductive choice, atheists and atheism, religion in public school, and related issues should matter to atheists. Secular atheists need to know where she really stands on religious and secular issues.

Should You Be Open About Your Atheism?
Many atheists hide their atheism from friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family because they are afraid of the reactions of others if they find out.