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Austin Cline

Atheism April 2012 Archive

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Get Excommunicated! How To Get Excommunicated From the Catholic Church

Monday April 30, 2012
If you are an atheist who was once a Catholic, you should consider having yourself excommunicated. There are few more definitive and public steps you can take on behalf of ... Read More

Schizophrenia and our Biological Clocks

Monday April 30, 2012
The origin of mental illnesses has proven elusive, but the more scientists study the brain, the closer they come to understanding what's going on. That's because whether the mind is ... Read More

Book of the Week: What are the Odds? Chances of Extraordinary Events in Everyday Life

Monday April 30, 2012
Image courtesyPriceGrabber.com We can see the use of statistics in a wide variety of aspects of our lives. In the news especially we encounter statistics -- for example, about how certain ... Read More

Persecution of Witches: Witchcraft as a Means for Subduing Female Influences

Sunday April 29, 2012
Image Source:Jupiter Images The subservience of women to men was a common theme in early Christian writings -- an outgrowth of both traditional patriarchal attitudes and the extreme hierarchical nature of ... Read More

Kierkegaard, God, and Faith

Sunday April 29, 2012
Conservative evangelical Christians seem to be generally unfamiliar with the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. This is unfortunate because he pioneered many of the themes which are important to them: the ... Read More

Mailbag: Evolution and God, Part 5

Sunday April 29, 2012
From: "Martin" Subject: The Everlasting Man you know, the girl in my course thinks i dont think freely. she thinks i have been "well conditioned" and i laugh at that. the truth ... Read More

Myth: Religious Extremists Hijack True Religion, Give Religion a Bad Name

Saturday April 28, 2012
A popular way to define religion, as well as other complex concepts, is to identify an 'essential' feature and say it is the defining characteristic. There are many problems with ... Read More

Only American Christianity Will Survive

Saturday April 28, 2012
Christianity in America is vital, powerful, and constantly renewing itself. Christianity in Europe appears to be moribund and faltering. What's the cause of these differences? Why is America so much ... Read More

Fallacy of Equivocation

Saturday April 28, 2012
The Fallacy of Equivocation is the simplest and most obvious type of ambiguity fallacy. The Fallacy of Equivocation occurs when a term is used with two or more meanings in ... Read More

Constructing Atheist Identity - Atheists Must Construct Their Own Identity

Friday April 27, 2012
By itself, atheism doesn't really qualify as an "identity" or even much of a basis for an identity because mere atheism is simply the absence of belief in gods. Nevertheless, ... Read More

Seeing Purpose and Design in the World

Friday April 27, 2012
The essence of creationism of all sorts as well as of many defenses of theism is the claim that one can see design and purpose everywhere in the world around ... Read More

God Morally Approves of Parasites, Parasitism

Friday April 27, 2012
Genesis depicts God as looking over creation and declaring that all was 'very good,' including parasites and parasitism - nasty things which cause death and suffering. I think it's fair ... Read More

Scientifically, God Does Not Exist: Science Allows us to Say God Does Not Exist

Thursday April 26, 2012
A popular objection to atheists' arguments and critiques of theism is to insist that one's preferred god cannot be disproven -- indeed, that science itself is unable to prove that ... Read More

Using Intolerance

Thursday April 26, 2012
Photo © istockphoto/Steven AllanPoster © Austin Cline Intolerance is usually treated like a negative quality, and with good reason, but if intolerance is completely bad then why does it still exist? ... Read More

Weekly Poll: Would You Marry a Theist? Are you Married to a Theist?

Thursday April 26, 2012

Covenant & Testament: What is a Covenant? What Does the Bible Say About Tesatments?

Wednesday April 25, 2012
The Hebrew term for covenant is berit, meaning 'to bond or fetter.' It is translated into the Greek as syntheke, 'binding together' or diatheke, 'will, testament.' In the Bible, then, ... Read More

Do You Wanna Live Forever?

Wednesday April 25, 2012
CryogenicsPhil Banko / Getty Is cryogenics a fool's hope, a reasonable hope, or sound science? I have no evidence one way or another, but I strongly suspect that cryogenics is probably ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Is Anyone Voting for Obama?

Wednesday April 25, 2012
There's no question that Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president in the 2012 national elections. This should make him the obvious and automatic choice for any liberal ... Read More

Agnosticism Basics: Agnosticism and Commitment

Tuesday April 24, 2012
Many people treat agnosticism as a 'non-committal' approach to the question of God's existence - this is why it is so often treated as though it were a "third way" ... Read More

Humans Evolve... Rapidly, Too

Tuesday April 24, 2012
Human Evolution - SkullsNYT / Getty People in denial about evolution often ask why humans aren't still evolving; even some who accept the reality of evolution wonder about this. In fact ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Errors in the Bible

Tuesday April 24, 2012
There are entire books detailing errors, flaws, problems, and contradictions in the Bible. We shouldn't need more than one or two such books, but the fact that believers refuse to ... Read More

Atheists Can Advertise, Evangelize with Freethought, Atheist Tracts

Monday April 23, 2012
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 ... Read More

Anne Graham Lotz: Anti-Atheist Bigot

Monday April 23, 2012
Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, is a real chip of the old block. Just as her father is bigoted against atheists, she too is an anti-atheist bigot. And ... Read More

Book of the Week: The Black Humanist Experience: An Alternative to Religion, edited by Norm R. Allen Jr.

Monday April 23, 2012
Image courtesyPriceGrabber.com Humanists come from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds; however, quite often it seems as though most humanists are whites of European descent. This perception is not without foundation, ... Read More

Catholicism and Healthcare: Effects on Doctors in Catholic Hospitals

Sunday April 22, 2012
Even non-Catholic doctors working at a non-Catholic hospital suddenly find themselves under severe restrictions when their institution merges with a Catholic hospital. A doctor's admitting privileges, scope of practice, participation ... Read More

Matt Barber on How to Deal with Bullies

Sunday April 22, 2012
Getty Photo: John Cumming / Photodisc So, the Christian approach to dealing with bullies is to turn the other cheek, right? Not according to Matt Barber -- at least, not when ... Read More

Mailbag: Evolution and God, Part 4

Sunday April 22, 2012
From: "Martin" Subject: The Everlasting Man okay, sure maybe we can look at some amateur websites or discussion forums where amateurs congregate to say that there is proof of evolution. maybe they ... Read More

Atheism 101: Introduction to Atheism & Atheists - Answers to Questions & Mistakes

Saturday April 21, 2012
I see a lot of misunderstandings and errors about atheism and atheists all over the net. People don't understand what atheism is, what the definition of atheism is, or the ... Read More

Religion, Science, and Porn Prohibition

Saturday April 21, 2012
Sex on the ComputerJeffrey Coolidge / Photodisc / Getty There is, unfortunately, very little in the way of hard data regarding the use and misuse of pornography. We know it's popular, ... Read More

Explaining How God Could Morally Punish People Who Can't Comprehend Right or Wrong?

Saturday April 21, 2012
According to Genesis, Adam and Eve didn't know good and evil - but God still punished them for disobedience. Is it just or moral to punish someone who doesn't comprehend ... Read More

Propaganda Poster: Beware of Atheists, Skeptics, Liberals

Friday April 20, 2012
Image © Austin ClineOriginal Poster:National Library of Medicine Faith is a critical pillar in the religious ideology of Christian Nationalists. Faith here is not simply a religious virtue, but also a ... Read More

Tennessee: Holding Hands & Kissing are 'Gateways to Sex'

Friday April 20, 2012
Gateway to SexHulton / Keystone / Getty If you thought conservative attitudes towards sex and sex education couldn't get any worse... in Tennessee, legislators are looking at a bill that ... Read More

Origins of the Israelites - Where Did the Israelites of the Bible Come From?

Friday April 20, 2012
The Israelites are the focus of the Old Testament. Who were the Israelites and where did they come from? The Pentateuch and Deuteronomist give explanations, but extra-biblical sources and archaeology ... Read More

Atheism Basics: Atheists & Religion: Do Atheists Hate Religion? Are Atheists Anti-Religion?

Thursday April 19, 2012
There are frequent debates not only between atheists and theists, but also among atheists on the subject of religion. Why? Because there is no unanimity among atheists on religion. Different ... Read More

Social vs. Economic Conservatism on Gay Marriage

Thursday April 19, 2012
Marion Huibrecht and Christel VerswyvelenFirst Gay Couple to Marry in BelgiumMark Renders / Getty It's common to see conservatives, even conservative Christians, complain about "government handouts" and people who are a ... Read More

Weekly Poll: Does Islam Oppress or Liberate Women?

Thursday April 19, 2012

Marriage: What is Marriage? What Does the Bible Say About Monogamy, Polygamy?

Wednesday April 18, 2012
Marriage is an institution which can be found in every human culture. Although the forms and rules differ, marriages always involve some form of legally legitimized sexual relationship. Traditionally, marriages ... Read More

T.D. Jakes: Homophobic Bigot, Hates Gays

Wednesday April 18, 2012
Bishop Thomas D. JakesNAACP Image AwardsBecause bigotry is a great 'image' to have© Kevin Winter / Getty During a recent appearance on Oprah's latest show, megachurch bishop T.D. Jakes was asked ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Problems with Free Will and Creation

Wednesday April 18, 2012
Image Source:Wikipedia There are a number of interesting conflicts that revolve around belief in a creator god and belief in free will. They can be interesting to investigate because Christians are ... Read More

Atheism Basics: What is Atheism?

Tuesday April 17, 2012
Theism, broadly defined, is simply the belief in the existence of at least one god. Contrasted with this is atheism: broadly defined, it is the absence of belief in the ... Read More

Rick Warren: Ignore Jesus, Follow Rand

Tuesday April 17, 2012
"Mmmm... Tax exempt donations!Rick Warren© David McNew / Getty> You might have noticed that what Christian leaders in America preach doesn't always match the ideals that they should probably value. This ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Gays Want Special Rights?

Tuesday April 17, 2012
Fundamental Civil RightAnti-Prop 8 Protest in Pittsburgh© Bonnie Cline, 2008 One of the most popular attacks on gay marriage is the idea that gay people are asking for "special rights" rather ... Read More

Atheism for Public Libraries - Get Atheist Books in the Public Library

Monday April 16, 2012
Atheist Books in Public LibrariesPhoto: Getty/Stockbyte If you enjoy some of the books written by prominent atheists, haven't you also wished that more people could be encouraged to read them as ... Read More

Kirk Cameron: Christian Reconstructionist

Monday April 16, 2012
Kirk CameronCPAC 2012Win McNamee / Getty Well known for his promotion of creationism and conservative evangelical Christianity, Kirk Cameron has started moving quietly into the realm of Christian Reconstructionism. At no ... Read More

Book of the Week: Onion Breath, by Steph and Dan Allosso

Monday April 16, 2012
Religious parents have a large supply of materials to teach children about their religion, their god, and their doctrines in a manner which integrates it all into life generally. What ... Read More

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code & the Holy Grail: What's the Truth?

Sunday April 15, 2012
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is one of the most popular fiction books of recent memory, but it's just that: a work of fiction. How many readers who are ... Read More

Tim Tebow and American Christianity

Sunday April 15, 2012
Tim Tebow, 2011Demonstrating the importance of ostentatious displays of religion© Garrett Ellwood / Getty When Tim Tebow spoke at an outdoor Easter church service he drew a massive crowd -- about ... Read More

Mailbag: Evolution and God, Part 3

Sunday April 15, 2012
From: "Martin" Subject: The Everlasting Man i see one of your articles menioned the "onus of proof", that is, who should be proving their ideas? i say that if creation came first, ... Read More

Should We Respect Religion? Does Religion Deserve Respect?

Saturday April 14, 2012
An increasing source of conflict in the world today is centered around religious believers' demands for respect. Muslims demand 'respect' that would forbid criticism, satire, or mocking of their religion. ... Read More

Demented American Voters - No, Really

Saturday April 14, 2012
American Dementia© Photodisc / Getty American voters are increasingly demented - literally. More and more Americans are suffering from one form of dementia or another and there is nothing that stops ... Read More

Fallacy of Illicit Observation

Saturday April 14, 2012
The fallacy of Illicit Observation is committed when you use two terms in an argument as if they were negations or opposites of each other when they really aren't. The ... Read More

Papacy: Pope John Paul II on Contraception and Abortion

Friday April 13, 2012
It is arguable that one of the most consistent themes running throughout John Paul II's papacy was his concern with sexual morality: contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, and all of the ... Read More

Christians Threaten School over Gideon Bible Distribution

Friday April 13, 2012
Reading a Gideon Bible Evans / Getty In Ontario, the Bluewater District School Board has decided that they won't continue with a program of the Gideons distributing Bibles in the public schools. ... Read More

American Belief in God Drops When Alternatives Offered

Friday April 13, 2012
Most Americans say they believe in God or some sort of god, but the number of Americans who say they believe in a god goes down the more alternatives they ... Read More

Roadside Memorials: Roads are Not Exclusive Venues for Religious Messages

Thursday April 12, 2012
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 ... Read More

Want to Keep Your Faith? Don't Think Too Hard or Too Deep

Thursday April 12, 2012
Deep ThinkingHulton Archive / Getty There seems to be a connection between intelligence and atheism -- something that keeps coming up in many different studies done by many different people. Some ... Read More

Weekly Poll: Should City Council Meetings Open with Prayers?

Thursday April 12, 2012

Why Are Atheists Disliked, Distrusted, and Discriminated Against?

Wednesday April 11, 2012
Atheists in modern America have more freedom and can be more open about their atheism than at any time in history. Paradoxically, this openness has led to more direct and ... Read More

Mental Illness in the Origin of Civilization, Religion

Wednesday April 11, 2012
Aurignacian Period, Cro-Magnon Artist Gargas CaveField Museum Library / Getty A lot of people struggle with mental illness and there's no question but that mental illness creates a lot of difficulty ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Religion & Therapy

Wednesday April 11, 2012
PsychoanalysisBruce Ayres / Getty Lots of people need therapy at one point or another for different reasons and that includes atheists too. The problem is that some therapists are too religious ... Read More

Focus on Religion: Religion vs. Theism

Tuesday April 10, 2012
Are religion and theism effectively the same thing, such that every religion is theistic and every theist is also religious? Because of some common misconceptions, many people are inclined answer ... Read More

Republican Family Values: Stay in Abusive Marriages

Tuesday April 10, 2012
Abusive MarriageLarry Dale Gordon / Getty Don Pridemore is a state representative in Wisconsin and he has asserted that divorce is wrong for any reason, even when the wife is being ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Redefining Immorality and Morality

Tuesday April 10, 2012
You may have noticed at some point that the defenses of "morality" from the Christian Right tend to look a lot more like promotions of gross immorality. How does that ... Read More

Is Abortion Too Easy? Denigrating Women's Choices, Autonomy

Monday April 9, 2012
There seems to be a common attitude shared even by some abortion rights supporters that abortions shouldn't be too easy to obtain. People apparently feel that if abortions are easy ... Read More

NYC Wants to Ban the Word 'Evolution' From Tests

Monday April 9, 2012
Human Evolution - SkeletonsHulton Archive / Getty I wouldn't have expected New York City to be a place where teaching evolution would be such a problem, but apparently it is. The ... Read More

Sam Harris Profile - Profile of Sam Harris' Ideas, Beliefs, and Impact

Monday April 9, 2012
Sam Harris has established himself as one of the most influential and popular writers on skepticism and atheism during the early 21st century. His first book, The End of Faith, ... Read More

Atheists & Political Issues: What Do Atheists Believe About Political Issues?

Sunday April 8, 2012
It's popular to imagine that atheists all share common views on various political issues. Since this assumption is frequent with those who think the same thing about all 'true' Christians, ... Read More

Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs Complains that Council Member Doesn't Pray!

Sunday April 8, 2012
Prayer Outside the Supreme CourtChip Somodevilla / Getty Images What's councilwoman at-large Rebecca Williams doing that has caused Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs to become so upset? Well, she "grunts" during meetings, ... Read More

Mailbag: Evolution and God, Part 2

Sunday April 8, 2012
From: "Martin" Subject: The Everlasting Man assuming youre an atheist, your faith in no god is based purely on the theory of evolution. since charles darwin publicised the theory of humble beginnings ... Read More

Catholicism: Married Catholic Priests

Saturday April 7, 2012
You aren't likely to hear a great deal about married Roman Catholic priests, but they do exist. They are Roman Catholic priests and many are married - so many, in ... Read More

Principal Randy Gebhardt Bans "Jesus is Not a Homophobe" Shirt, Gets Sued

Saturday April 7, 2012
In Waynesville, Ohio, high school principal Randy Gebhardt has banned a gay student from wearing a shirt saying "Jesus is Not a Homophobe." The student, Maverick Couch, wants to wear ... Read More

Why Are Atheists More Liberal than Christians, Especially Evangelical Christians?

Saturday April 7, 2012
What do you think the reasons are for why conservatism is relatively rare not only among atheists and agnostics, but also among religious theists who aren't Christians? Why do you ... Read More

Religion as Faith and Ultimate Concern

Friday April 6, 2012
There is a common perception that religion is defined not so much by particular doctrines (like the existence of a god) or in particular functions (like providing a structure for ... Read More

Distortion of Pro-Life Values?

Friday April 6, 2012
Image Source:Source: Getty / Digital Vision Rep. Ron Stephens in Georgia is running into trouble with Georgia's "Peach Tea Party" because he wouldn't vote for the latest anti-abortion bill there. ... Read More

Ceremonial Deism as a Mask for Christian Privilege in America

Friday April 6, 2012
Kneeling in Prayer at the Supreme CourtAlex Wong / Getty Images Including Christian practices in government functions is often justified by arguing that such practices are not really Christian but are ... Read More

What is Christianity?

Thursday April 5, 2012
What is Christianity? That's a difficult question to answer, but it is also an important question. There are obvious implications for Christians themselves: unless they have some sort of definition ... Read More

The Value of Righteousness

Thursday April 5, 2012
The quality of self-righteousness is treated as very negative, but could it have had a positive, necessary impact on human social and cultural evolution? Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at the ... Read More

Weekly Poll: What Effect Will Gay Marriage Have?

Thursday April 5, 2012

Teach the Controversy: Teach Kids All the Theories about Sex!

Wednesday April 4, 2012
Photo © istockphoto/Bryan Faust & Laura NealPoster © Austin Cline The complaints and arguments raised by conservative Christians about teaching evolution in public schools are uniformly false when applied to teaching ... Read More

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem: It's a Sin to Refuse Sex to your Husband

Wednesday April 4, 2012
Muslim Women Under ShariahPhoto: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images University of Hertfordshire Student Union Islamic Society had invited Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem to give a talk about "Marriage in Islam," but he's been barred ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Sexual Intimacy vs. Intellectual Intimacy

Wednesday April 4, 2012
Usually when someone thinks about the idea of two people sharing an "inappropriate" level of intimacy, what they have in mind is probably something sexual or at least physical. But ... Read More

Catholicism and Healthcare: Who Cares?

Tuesday April 3, 2012
The basic situation is that the nearly 600 Catholic hospitals in America are governed by rules prescribed by the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. These doctrines are in turn ... Read More

Alan Dick: Women Should Get a Man's Permission for Abortion

Tuesday April 3, 2012
Birth Control PillsPhoto: Don Farrall, Photodisc, Getty Images Alan Dick represents Alaska's District 6 in the House of Representatives. He also represents the increasingly extreme, authoritarian, and misogynist wing of the ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Life, Death, and Disposing of the Body

Tuesday April 3, 2012
What Now?Darrin Klimek / Digital Vision / Getty What do you want to have done with your body after you die? The mere fact that such a question is asked is ... Read More

What is Easter? History of Christian Celebrations of Easter, Spring Equinox

Monday April 2, 2012
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 ... Read More

Trinity TV: Living Large and High on the Hog

Monday April 2, 2012
California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network is the world's largest Christian TV channel and it's currently involved in a massive financial scandal. Former employees, who also happen to be relatives of the ... Read More

Book of the Week: Quest for Paradise

Monday April 2, 2012
Image courtesyPriceGrabber.com Human cultures and religions exhibit a great deal of variation in doctrines and beliefs. However, there are also quite a few areas where they exhibit strong similarities - not ... Read More

Resurrection: What is a Resurrection? What Does the Bible Say About Jesus' Resurrection?

Sunday April 1, 2012
The concept of resurrection refers to the idea of dead people who have found special favor with their deity such that they rise from the dead, restored to bodily form. ... Read More

Republican Social Values: Help the Poor by Letting them Starve

Sunday April 1, 2012
Paul RyanChip Somodevilla / Getty I've read the New Testament a few times and I don't remember Jesus advising his followers to not provide too much help to the poor lest ... Read More

Mailbag: Evolution and God, Part 1

Sunday April 1, 2012
From: "Martin" Subject: The Everlasting Man i have an idea. i have just read heaps of your articles that appear to be attacks on theism (hey, everybody is biased right? dont dispute ... Read More

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