Albert Einstein was the most famous scientist of our time, and, because he was so smart, his opinions on non-scientific issues were often seen as incontrovertible. One of the most famous is a pronouncement much quoted by religious people and those claiming comity between science and faith. It comes from Einstein’s essay “Science and religion,” published in 1954: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” This quote is often used to show both Einstein’s religiosity and his belief in the compatibility—indeed, the mutual interdependence—of science and religion. But the quote is rarely used in context, and when you see the context you’ll find that the quote should give no solace to the faithful.
On Thursday, Pope Francis agreed to appoint a special ad-hoc “commission for the protection of minors” to address alleged and proven sex abuse by Catholic priests. The commission was suggested by a council of eight cardinals, tasked with advising the pope on church reform, who are meeting in Rome this week.
Pope Francis will set up a commission to advise him on protecting children from sexually abusive priests and on how the church should counsel victims, the Vatican said on Thursday. The step was his first to address one of the most sensitive issues facing his papacy. The timing of the announcement, two days after a United Nations panel criticized the Vatican over its handling of abuse cases, suggested that the pope and his closest advisers want to be seen to be tackling the issue with greater firmness than in the past.
A Michigan woman said she was denied proper medical treatment three times by a Catholic hospital because it would have conflicted with the church’s teachings. Tamesha Means said she was only 18 weeks pregnant in 2010 when her water broke prematurely, and she went to Mercy Health Hospital in Muskegon – the only hospital within a half-hour of her home. A lawsuit filed Nov. 29 by the ACLU claims health care providers did not tell Means that she had little chance of successfully continuing the pregnancy or that her own health was at risk if she tried to continue the pregnancy.
A county judge in Minnesota has given the Catholic Church just two weeks to turn over the names of at least 33 priests who are accused of abusing children. After nearly 30 years of fighting for the names to be released, advocates finally convinced Ramsey County Judge John Van De North to order the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to reveal the name of the alleged abusers, according to WCCO. The church compiled a list of the clergy accused of child abuse in 2004, but a 2009 ruling had kept it private. Judge Van De North also ordered the church to reveal any priests who have been accused since 2004.
There's a lot of criticism of what churches and religious organizations do, but maybe not quite so much of what they are. This is only natural since it's easier to point out flaws or problems in behavior than it is to argue that there is something inherently or intrinsically wrong in something's very nature. It's an issue that's worth approaching, though, because such an argument, if successful, will be much more devastating.
Late last week, the Texas Board of Education failed to approve a leading high school biology textbook—whose authors include the Roman Catholic biologist Kenneth Miller of Brown University—because of its treatment of evolution. According to The New York Times, critiques from a textbook reviewer identified as a "Darwin Skeptic" were a principal cause.
Yet even as creationists keep trying to undermine modern science, modern science is beginning to explain creationism scientifically. And it looks like evolution—the scientifically uncontested explanation for the diversity and interrelatedness of life on Earth, emphatically including human life—will be a major part of the story. Our brains are a stunning product of evolution; and yet ironically, they may naturally pre-dispose us against its acceptance.
A Shreveport, Louisiana pastor was denied bond and indicted on federal charges for allegedly taking underage girls in his church’s choir across state lines in order to commit illegal sexual contact with them. Lewis is accused of committing his crimes between January 1994 and December 2000, against three different victims during choir field trips to churches in Texas. One of the victims is believed to have been eight years old during her encounter with Lewis.
The Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Paprocki (above) held an exorcism of same-sex marriage yesterday. Present in the audience were grammar school students. Paprocki, dressed in a flowing purple robe, accused Governor Quinn of being “morally complicit” with the “Father of lies” — by bringing same-sex marriage to the Land of Lincoln, or, what he calls, ”institutionalizing an objectively sinful reality.” But members of the LGBT community and their allies shouldn’t be alarmed, Paprocki claimed, because “the church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion.”
Priest Frederick James Lyons of Alexandria, La., now retired, has been stripped of his title of monsignor and sentenced to “a life of prayer and penance” decades after charges of sexual abuse involving minors were brought against him early in his priesthood. The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, Rev. Donald P. Herzog, sent Lyons’ case to the Vatican and suspended all of his priestly duties in 2006 after two charges of sexual misconduct with minors.
"Determined to show that those who believe in nothing are just as good as those who believe in something, the faithless are establishing a church of their own, and a mega-church at that. On the surface it seems like a rather brilliant idea. What’s not to like about beating the faithful at their own game? Apart from the one small caveat that establishing a place of worship for the faithless, even a godless one, rather negates what atheism is supposed to be all about."
"What do you think is the error of thinking in atheism? Where do you think we all go wrong? I am curious about this."
The answer is below. It is a much more elaborate answer than I anticipated, which raises many points. I withhold my opinions here, and his name, so that everyone can peer into the opinion of the opposite side of the god debate, as I did when I first read this response.
Faith is being put back at the “heart of government,” as it was under Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher, a minister will say today.
The Coalition is one of the “most pro-faith governments in the West,” Baroness Warsi, the Minister for Faith, will say. “More often than not, people who do God do good.”
Churchill and Thatcher would have welcomed the Coalition’s promise to protect the right of town halls to hold prayers and the creation of more faith schools under Michael Gove’s Free Schools programme, she will say.
Public policy was “secularised” under the previous, Labour government, Lady Warsi will tell an audience at the Churchill Archives at the University of Cambridge.
But Churchill saw totalitarian regimes as “godless” while Thatcher regarded politics as second to Christianity in defining society, she will say.
The group American Atheists, Inc. unveiled a billboard with the group’s holiday message on Wednesday, asking why anyone needs “Christ” in their Christmas at all. “This season is a great time of year for a hundred reasons—none of them having to do with religion,” said American Atheists President David Silverman via press release. “This year, start a new tradition: Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends — or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money.”
Sarah Silverman is a comedian who's become known for her biting critiques of religion which she incorporates in her stand-up comedy shows. It will thus come as no surprise that she describes herself as godless - such critiques can indeed come from believers, but they seem to come more often from nonbelievers who stand outside of religious traditions. It's probably also no surprise that Sarah Silverman describes herself as "fascinated" by religion. Aside from the fact that her sister is a rabbi, people who don't care about religion don't also invest much effort into critiquing it. That said, though, what is a surprise - and a disappointment - is that despite admitting being godless, she thinks that other godless people are "obnoxious."
An Illinois park district has refused a $3,000 donation by an atheist blogger to avoid controversy. The Morton Grove Park District had lost about $2,600 in funding after a local veterans group pulled its donations because an atheist park board member refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Naperville teacher Hemant Mehta asked readers of his “Friendly Atheist” blog to donate money to the park district and sent a check, but an official said the check was returned. Tracey Anderson, executive director of the park district, told Mehta in an email that the board had “no intention in becoming embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.” She also said officials don’t want to appear to be taking sides with “any particular political or religious cause.”
In the child sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church, Mahony is a singular figure. He became the leader of America's largest archdiocese at the very moment the church was being forced to confront clergy molestation. Because he was just 49 when he took office, he was in power for the entire arc of the abuse crisis. Long after peers had retired or died, Mahony was around to face the public's wrath. Because of the unique way abuse lawsuits played out in California, his files on molesters became public while in most other corners of the church, they remain under lock and key. The archdiocese's confidential personnel files, released this year as part of a massive settlement of civil lawsuits, provide the most detailed accounting yet of how clergy abuse was handled in a U.S. diocese.
Michigan Right to Life, a pro-life organization, recently gathered enough signatures to advance what pro-choice advocates call "rape insurance" to the state legislature. The legislative initiative would ban abortion coverage in all health insurance plans, including in the cases of rape or incest. Women would have to buy an additional plan to be covered for abortion. However, they would not be able to buy the extra plan after being raped.
One of Britain’s most senior judges has blamed a decline in religion and traditional moral values for the growing number of laws needed to maintain order.
Lord Sumption, a Supreme Court Justice, said laws now reached into areas of life once left untouched by such regulation with 3000 new criminal or administrative offences added to the statute book during Tony Blair’s premiership between 1997 and 2007.
The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia said a ban on women driving in the conservative state protects society from “evil,” in remarks published in the press on Thursday. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, in a speech delivered Wednesday in the western city of Medina, said the issue of giving women the right to drive should not be “one of society’s major concerns.” The kingdom’s most senior cleric called for “the matter to be considered from the perspective of protecting society from evil” which, according to him, included letting women drive.
Apologists for crime and abuse in the Catholic Church seem to have no limits to the depths they will go to come up with excuses for pedophile priests who abuse and rape children. Often they find some way to blame the children who were victimized by the priests; for example, priests in Poland have said that the kids came from broken homes and were just looking for love.
The context of some of these comments is the revelation that Polish priests in the Dominican Republic that have been accused of child abuse. Prosecutors in Warsaw have been given a large number of documents, but no decisions about extradition have been made.
Richard Dawkins has threatened punitive action against anyone giving or receiving his books for Christmas. Dawkins took action after seeing his books displayed at Waterstones next to ‘Unto Us A Child Is Born’ wrapping paper, which he feared would give people ideas. He said: “Christmas is a gateway holiday, leading to ignorance, pro-life lunacy and moral complacency."
When you get anxious or emotionally aroused, you sweat. Not a lot, but enough to be detected using electrodes on the finger tips.
And it turns out that if you take a bunch of atheists, and get them to dare god to do horrible things, they get sweaty.
A team from the University of Finland got 16 atheists and 13 religious people to read aloud statements like "I dare God to make someone murder my parents cruelly" and "I dare God to make me die of cancer".