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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

America’s Godless Public Schools: Value of a Godless Education, Godless Schools

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.

You Might Be a Militant Atheist If...

It's common to hear religious theists complain about "militant atheists," but just what is a militant atheist? What separates militant atheists from regular (pacifist?) atheists? It's not always easy to tell and the people most likely to call atheists "militant" seem to be the least likely to try to explain the label. So here is a guide to militant atheism derived from the sorts of situations where religious theists insist that atheists are being too militant.

What is Atheism? Overview of How Atheism is Defined in Dictionaries, 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.

Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner: Attacking Sins Can Lead to Attacking People

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?

Naturalism & Materialism vs. Supernatural, Magical, Paranormal Beliefs

Skepticism of the paranormal and skepticism of religious and theistic claims are often treated separately - but they shouldn't be because both criticisms generally stem from a common commitment to a naturalistic and materialistic view of the universe. Both atheists and skeptics reject the paranormal, supernatural, and magical thinking which underlies both theistic religion and popular paranormal superstitions. Skepticism and atheism have far more in common than many realize.

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.

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