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Austin Cline

Updated Articles and Resources

By Austin Cline

    Updated Articles and Resources
    • Myths About Relationship Between Religion & Government Created: Thursday, October 01, 2009 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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 re...
    • Religion and the Public Square - Religion's Role in the Public Square Created: Thursday, November 12, 2009 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      Does a 'naked public square' end up demeaning religion and discriminate against religious believers? No, because strict separation of church and state does not demean or discriminate against religi...
    • Agnostic Theism Cannot Exist? Agnostic Theists Cannot Exist? Created: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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.
    • America’s Godless Public Schools: Value of a Godless Education, Godless Schools Created: Thursday, July 20, 2006 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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... Created: Saturday, June 19, 2010 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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 ea...
    • What is Atheism? Overview of How Atheism is Defined in Dictionaries, By Atheists Created: Saturday, May 14, 2005 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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 Created: Saturday, December 16, 2006 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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?
    • Einstein Quotes on Science & Religion: Do Science and Religion Always Conflict? Created: Saturday, August 11, 2007 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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 nece...
    • Naturalism & Materialism vs. Supernatural, Magical, Paranormal Beliefs Created: Monday, August 16, 2010 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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 Created: Monday, August 16, 2010 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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.
    • Myth: Fundamentalists & New Atheists View God Simplistically, Unhistorically Created: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014
      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?
    • Jesus' Family Values (Mark 3:31-35) Created: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 Updated: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
      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 in their Heart 'There is no God' Created: Saturday, January 13, 2007 Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
      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 "fools" and imagine that they can avoid taking responsibility for doing so - after all, they are just quoting the Bible so it's not really them saying it, right?
    • Theistic Evolution & Evolutionary Creationism: Combining Evolution & Creationism Created: Monday, May 16, 2005 Updated: Friday, July 04, 2014
      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 the Godless Do in a Religious Society? Created: Sunday, December 10, 2006 Updated: Friday, July 04, 2014
      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! Basic Rights Not Spelled Out in the Constitution Created: Thursday, May 18, 2006 Updated: Friday, July 04, 2014
      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.
    • If Flag Desecration is a Crime, What is Prohibited? Created: Sunday, June 11, 2006 Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
      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 bu...
    • Albert Einstein: Immortality & Use of the Afterlife to Promote Morality Created: Saturday, August 11, 2007 Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
      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. ...
    • Myth: If People Fail to Believe in God, They Will Believe in Anything Created: Wednesday, January 03, 2007 Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
      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...
    • Creationist Misrepresentations of Macroevolution & Microevolution Created: Thursday, June 24, 2010 Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
      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 microevolutio...
    • Social vs. Private Masks: Is it Wrong to Act Differently in Public? Created: Thursday, April 06, 2006 Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
      Everyone acts differently around different people: they behave one way with their spouse, another with strangers, another with parents, and still another with
    • Introduction to Existentialism, Existentialist History, Existentialist Thought Created: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
      Existentialism may be difficult to explain, but it is possible to communicate some basic principles and concepts, both regarding what existentialism is and what it is not. On the one hand, there ar...
    • Does Evolution Require Atheism? Created: Thursday, August 13, 2009 Updated: Wednesday, July 02, 2014
      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. Accord...
    • Military & Political Outcome of the Crusades Created: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 Updated: Wednesday, July 02, 2014
      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...
    • Existentialism and Philosophy Created: Saturday, January 22, 2005 Updated: Wednesday, July 02, 2014
      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 Posi...
    • Myth: Atheism is Incompatible with Belief in Souls or Spirits Created: Sunday, February 10, 2013 Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
      Atheists don't believe in any gods and some conclude that atheists therefore cannot believe in anything supernatural or paranormal, including souls or spirits. Such beliefs may be rare among secula...
    • Hitler on Secularism, Atheism: Quotes from Hitler Opposing Secularism & Atheism Created: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
      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...
    • Myth: Atheists Believe In Nothing: Don't Atheists Care About Anything? Created: Friday, December 08, 2006 Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
      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 whatsoev...
    • Hillary Clinton on Religion, Religious Faith, Secularism, Atheism, Church/State Created: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
      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 gover...
    • Revealing Your Atheism: Should You Come Out of the Closet as an Atheist? Created: Sunday, December 10, 2006 Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
      Many atheists hide their atheism from friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family because they are afraid of the reactions of others if they find out.
    • Gallup Polls & Other Surveys on American Attitudes Towards Atheists Created: Monday, December 11, 2006 Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
      The 2006 University of Minnesota study made a lot news about its revelation of how atheists are the most despised minority in America, but this wasn't news to atheists — it was just the most r...
    • Is Atheism a Religion? Defining Atheism and Religion Created: Sunday, December 18, 2005 Updated: Monday, June 30, 2014
      Many Christians seem to believe that atheism is a religion, but no one with a fair understanding of both concepts would make such a mistake. Because it's such a common claim, though, it's worth dem...

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