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Pledge of Allegiance: Information, History, Arguments

Was the 1950s addition of "under God" unconstitutional? Not only that, it's fundamentally immoral because it tells people that there is an inherent, officially supported connection between American patriotism and belief in a particular sort of god.

Agnosticism / Atheism Spotlight10

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.

Einstein Quotes on Science & Religion: Do Science and Religion Always Conflict?

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.

Myth: Fundamentalists & New Atheists View God Simplistically, Unhistorically

One of the most common complaints made by liberal and moderate believers is that atheist critics are focused on versions of theism and religion which are too 'simplistic' to be legitimate. Atheists are ignoring 'sophisticated' versions of theism and religion which happen to be immune to atheists' arguments. At best atheists are therefore just theologically illiterate; at worst they are targeting a straw man in order to make a weak position look stronger. Is this a fair objection?

State Laws on Flag Desecration, Burning, Abuse, Defacing, 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?

Audience of Mark's Gospel

For whom was Mark writing? It is easier to make sense of the text if we read it in light of what the author intended, and that in turn would be heavily influenced by the audience he wrote for. Mark likely wrote for one specific Christian community, the one he was part of. He certainly can’t be read as if he were addressing all of Christendom down through the ages, centuries after his own life ended.

Anger, Christianity, and Sin

Although the concept of 'seven deadly sins' no longer holds the same authority as it once did, the degree to which many of them have come to be viewed positively is remarkable. Even anger, one of the few which Jesus is recorded as specifically speaking out against, is treated as having positive value by Christians today.

Auschwitz, Anti-Semitism, and Modern Christianity

Christian anti-Semitism has a long and sordid history. Many Christians would like to believe that Christian anti-Semitism has had primarily cultural or political causes but the truth is that animosity towards Jews and Judaism is firmly rooted in religion. Indeed, it's arguable that eliminating anti-Semitism from Christianity would be difficult at best.

Christian Nationalism and Presidential Elections

It's become common in America for religion to be used as a political football. Implicitly or explicitly, there are many who argue that a person should receive or be denied people's votes based upon the candidate's religious beliefs. There is actually a long tradition of this in America - but it's not one that anyone should want to be part of.

God vs. Democracy: Is Democracy Compatible with Belief in God?

Is belief in the traditional monotheistic god of Islam and Christianity compatible with democracy? That's hard to say. Many adherents of both religions are certainly supporters of democratic society, but many others are not - and they effectively use their religious doctrines to justify why democracy is anti-God: it replaces God's will with human will.

Religious Identity in Modern American Society

Religion is important in people's lives, but is it important enough to form the basic core of a person's identity - their sense of self? Should religion be more significant in a person's identity than things like their race, their family, or their socioeconomic background? Perhaps, but even if this is the case it can surely be taken too far.

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