Thoughts of an atheist teaching in “faith” schools *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

 Even finding the best parking space at the local casino apparently depends on how many in the car can chorus the ‘Hail Mary’ in unison.… Read the rest

Obama overstates Indonesia’s tolerance *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

Just last April Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of Indonesia’s Blasphemy Act.… Read the rest

Religious doctors’ rights don’t trump women’s rights *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

Deploying conscience claims as a means to deny women’s access to lawful services lacks all moral legitimacy.… Read the rest

The biblical-womanhood-industrial complex *

Nov 12th, 2010 | Filed by

In a biblical home and church, the man is the head and the woman must submit.… Read the rest

A “truth” was now defined and enforced by law

Nov 11th, 2010 5:58 pm | By

Charles Freeman on a crucial moment in history (from The Closing of the Western Mind):

In January 381 Theodosius issued an imperial decree declaring the doctrine of the Trinity orthodox and expelling Homoeans and Arians from their churches…

This council, together with the imperial edicts which accompanied it, was the moment when the Nicene formula became part of the official state religion (if only for the moment in the Eastern empire). All those Christians who differed from it – Homoeans, Homoiousians, Arians and a host of other minor groups – were declared to be heretics facing not only the vengeance of God but also that of the state. The decision of Constantine to privilege one Christian community over another

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Jesus and Mo discuss God and the miners *

Nov 11th, 2010 | Filed by

Or do they.… Read the rest

What questions are unanswerable by science? *

Nov 11th, 2010 | Filed by

Are there any? Will “is Hamlet better than Macbeth?” do? How about “why is this flower pretty?” Or “how shall we then live?”… Read the rest

Where bad science comes from *

Nov 11th, 2010 | Filed by

Is it lax editing? Or is it something wrong with peer review, or the Royal Society, or the organization of symposia?… Read the rest

Ireland: male staff rate looks of female staff *

Nov 11th, 2010 | Filed by

Photographs featuring various young female financial staff were circulated among the men and each woman was judged on her looks and desirability.… Read the rest

New report: child abuse in lesbian households 0% *

Nov 11th, 2010 | Filed by

None of the 78 NLLFS adolescents reports having ever been physically or sexually abused by a parent or other caregiver.… Read the rest

Let it shine

Nov 10th, 2010 4:27 pm | By

A couple of pastors have realized that they don’t believe the stuff they preach any more, and they’re stuck.

The two, who asked that their real identities be protected, are pastors who have lost their faith. And these two men, who have built their careers and lives around faith, say they now feel trapped, living a lie.

That must be a horrible situation. (It’s interesting that they don’t go on to say – that we’re told, at least – that nevertheless they still feel they are providing something their parishioners need. They feel trapped and crappy and dishonest; they don’t feel helpful or benevolent.)

Jack said that 10 years ago, he started to feel his faith slipping away. He grew

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An inviolable religious obligation

Nov 10th, 2010 4:08 pm | By

I wonder how that cop feels.

Elizabeth Smart’s ordeal as a kidnapped polygamist child bride could have ended weeks after her abduction when a policeman challenged her captor to lift her veil.

But he backed off when Brian Mitchell insisted that it was an inviolable religious obligation, condemning the 14-year-old to another eight months as a sex slave.

When a police detective approached an oddly dressed teenager in a Salt Lake City library and asked her to lift her veil, Mr Mitchell refused, saying their religion only permitted her husband to see her face.

“He said he was looking for Elizabeth Smart,” Ms Smart told an engrossed courtroom…

Smart said that the policeman “asked if he could be

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“Religious obligations” are the kidnapper’s friend *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

A cop looking for Elizabeth Smart asked her to lift her veil but her kidnapper said no, it was a religious obligation; the cop walked away.… Read the rest

Climate change no problem: god promised *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

US Representative John Shimkus wants to chair Energy Committee, quotes the bible to show that god won’t destroy the earth.… Read the rest

Atheist pastors and their struggles *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

One says his initial doubts about God came as he read the work of the so-called New Atheists.… Read the rest

Banaz Mahmod ‘honour’ killing cousins jailed for life *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Mahmod was seen by her father and uncle to have brought shame on her family after she left her violent husband.… Read the rest

Iran, Saudi Arabia bid for global gender policy role *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Iran and Saudi Arabia may get seats on the board of a new UN super-agency to promote women’s rights. Yes really.… Read the rest

US atheist groups start ad campaign *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

One way to end the stigma attached to atheism is to show that there are a lot of us. “It’s the same idea as the out-of-the-closet campaign for gay rights.”… Read the rest

Pakistan: gang rape of child by powerful men *

Nov 10th, 2010 | Filed by

The perpetrators wanted to take revenge on her brother for his help in arranging a love marriage.… Read the rest

Science and absolute theological truths

Nov 9th, 2010 6:01 pm | By

Charles Freeman replies to James Hannam’s reply to Freeman’s criticism of Hannam’s book God’s Philosophers.

My most important point, and one that Hannam does not even address in his response, is that, in comparison to the Greeks the natural philosophers operated within the context of a much more authoritarian society. Christianity brought the concept of absolute theological truths, many ring-fenced as “articles of faith” which, as Hannam notes, apparently with approval, were unchallengeable.

That has to have been a considerable stumbling block, surely.

As intellectual life evolved in the Middle Ages, no one quite knew where the boundaries lay, the threat of heresy was used all too widely in personal power struggles between opposing factions and individuals and the ultimate

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