The tell-all book about the Church of Scientology Going Clear has reportedly been made into a HBO documentary that could premiere as soon as the Sundance Film Festival in January. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney is directing the film, which will "feature new revelations about the controversial religion and its famous followers Tom Cruise and John Travolta."
One day when I was 9 years old, I walked through my hometown wearing a white cotton T-shirt, handmade polyester pants meant to look like real jeans, and North Star runners. Everything felt good. I wasn’t wearing socks or underwear. I couldn’t feel any of my clothing. Nothing bothered me. I felt weightless, like I could walk forever, like I was a natural element, like wind, something that had always existed and always would. I didn’t feel anything but the sunshine on my skin and pure joy, pure confidence in myself and in my world. I can’t remember what happened that day before I started walking around town or why I felt so free. I just remember thinking everything was perfect, everything in life was perfect, and I fully belonged in the world, in that town, in those clothes, in my body. By the end of the day I would stop believing in God but I didn’t know it at the time.
An Oklahoma school is under fire for taking kids on a field trip to a Kansas zoo that promotes creationism and Christianity.
In what looks to be a clear case of indoctrination and a violation of the separation of church and state, Shiatook public schoolssanctioned repeated journeys to Safari Zoological Park in Caney, Kansas.
Normally, a field trip to a zoo would be a good learning experience because it provides students with an opportunity to see exotic wildlife with their own eyes, therefore adding to what they have been learning in science class. But these field trips didn’t just teach kids about animals. As it turns out, the zoo also served as a way to force religion upon students through the teaching of creationism, which drew a firestorm of criticism from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The mission statement of the zoo states their support of creationism and makes it very clear that their number one goal is to introduce kids to Christianity whether they like it or not.
ormer adult movie star, claiming membership in the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, was allowed to exercise her religious rights by having her Utah driver’s license photo taken wearing a colander on her head.
Asia Lemmon, also known as Jessica Steinhauser and previously known in the adult movie industry as Asia Carrera, became the fourth member of the church and the first in Utah to be allowed to wear the headgear in a license photo, reports The Spectrum.
According to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the colander is the official headwear of the satirical religious movement that mocks traditional religions, with members calling themselves ‘Pastafarians.’
Lemmon, who says she is an atheist, said claiming membership in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was a decision she’s proud of.
“I’m a really proud, outspoken atheist,” Lemmon said. “I am proud of Utah for allowing freedom of all religions in what is considered by many to be a one-religion state. I wanted to see if I could (wear the colander) in Utah. I wasn’t sure if they would let me.”
Most British people think religion causes more harm than good according to a survey commissioned by the Huffington Post. Surprisingly, even among those who describe themselves as “very religious” 20 percent say that religion is harmful to society. For that we can probably thank the internet, which broadcasts everything from Isis beheadings, to stories about Catholic hospitals denying care to miscarrying women, to lists of wild and weird religious beliefs, to articles about psychological harms from Bible-believing Christianity.
In 2010, sociologist Phil Zuckerman published Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment. Zuckerman lined up evidence that the least religious societies also tend to be the most peaceful, prosperous and equitable, with public policies that help people to flourish while decreasing both desperation and economic gluttony.
We can debate whether prosperity and peace lead people to be less religious or vice versa. Indeed evidence supports the view that religion thrives on existential anxiety. But even if this is the case, there’s good reason to suspect that the connection between religion and malfunctioning societies goes both ways. Here are six ways religions make peaceful prosperity harder to achieve.
Siyuan Huang & Shihui Han at Peking University, Beijing, strapped electrodes to the heads of a bunch of Christians and atheists to see how they reacted to pictures of people – Christians and atheists – in pain. To keep it balanced, they used the images of the same 10 models for both Christians and atheists. They just swapped the symbols hung round their necks for some participants. What they found was that both Christians and atheists had an emotional reaction to the images of people in pain – but that, in both groups, the reaction was stronger for images of people from their own group. So that’s interesting enough, but there’s a twist.
Lawrence Krauss says religion will disappear in a generation. A decade or so Daniel Dennett said religion would be pretty well gone by now. Others say a critical mass will cascade into rejection. Even the best minds are not able to analyze large numbers well, and fall prey to optimism bias. It is easy to compress tremendous amounts of information into neat stories and small numbers–the logic is quick and the implementation is slow. These stories in our heads sound so good we fall prey to them. Oprah implied a similar thing saying that we would just have to survive some racists. Many victims of racism hold onto their history not only as a fetish but as motivation to continue change in a better but not best world.
A Finnish television network recently filmed a Southern Baptist pastor as he visited secular Nordic countries and struggled to come to grips with widespread LGBT rights and atheism.
In an episode of Yle’s The Norden, Summit Church of West Georgia Lead Pastor Marty McLain tells the network that he is a creationist who believes in the story of the Garden of Eden, and that there is a “literal Hell.”
“The Bible does refer to — in the book of Revelations — the lake of fire,” he explains.
In a trailer for the episode, McLain interviews people on the street in an attempt to find someone in the Nordic countries he visits who believes in God.
“If there’s no god, why should I believe in him?” one man asks the pastor.
Shia Muslims marked the Day of Ashura with a traditional self-flagellation ceremony in the Greek city of Piraeus on Tuesday. The men chant, beat their chests and whip themselves with chains bearing blades, usually until they bleed.
Ashura is the holiest day of the year for Shias, and commemorates the martyrdom of Muhammad's grandson, Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was killed in Karbala in 680.
Hussein's death, marked on the tenth day of Muharram, was one of the main events which resulted in the current division between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
An federal district court in Oregon has declared Secular Humanism a religion, paving the way for the non-theistic community to obtain the same legal rights as groups such as Christianity. On Thursday, October 30, Senior District Judge Ancer Haggerty issued a ruling on American Humanist Association v. United States, a case that was brought by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and Jason Holden, a federal prisoner. Holden pushed for the lawsuit because he wanted Humanism — which the AHA defines as “an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces” — recognized as a religion so that his prison would allow for the creation of a Humanist study group. Haggerty sided with the plaintiffs in his decision, citing existing legal precedent and arguing that denying Humanists the same rights as groups such as Christianity would be a violation of the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which declares that Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
n Ham explained recently that creationists like himself did believe in climate change, but he said that there was no reason to be alarmed because the Earth was just “settling down” from the great biblical Flood.
In a Saturday column on his Answers in Genesis blog, Ham said that secularists insisted on using observational science instead of so-called “historical science” to explain the universe because “they want people to have a wrong understanding of what the word science means.”
According to Ham, “the secularists have spread their propaganda” that creationists deny climate change, which he said was not true.
As the world’s most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins is no stranger to criticism from religious believers.
But in recent months, a few of his opinions have riled many in the atheist community as well. Remarks he made on Twitter and elsewhere on subjects ranging from sexual harassment (“stop whining”) to Down syndrome fetuses (“abort and try again”) have sparked suggestions from some fellow nonbelievers that he would serve atheism better by keeping quiet.
We have an important follow-up to our story about Louie Gohmert and his impassioned stand against a Muslim prayer service at Washington’s National Cathedral. As we mentioned in that piece, the actual prayer service on Friday was interrupted by a Christian who was just shocked and horrified that a decent Christian church would play host to a gathering of people who believe in a slightly less-old Abrahamic religion.
Well! Turns out there’s a lot more to know about the lady who started shouting her thoughts at the Muslims gathered in the National Cathedral! Her name is Christine Weick, and she was featured in WorldNetDaily over the weekend, so she could share her testimony about being a Persecuted American Christian.
Heroes of the Quiverfull Movement, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggars, recently exhibited themselves kissing on their official Facebook page … and invited other loving married couples to share pics of their smooches. That’s when it all went horribly haywire for the stars of the American reality show 19 Kids and Counting. The “wrong” sort of loving couples joined in the snog fest, and pictures went on the Baptist couple’s page faster than they could trash them.
Abortion will continue to be one of the most polarizing and controversial subjects in American culture. We don’t have to like it, and we don’t have to support it. However, we should never be arrogant enough to think that we have the authority to tell a woman she cannot obtain one when it is her legal, moral, and medical right. Oftentimes the abortion debate becomes diluted with religion, emotion, and “facts” that are anything but. Katha Pollitt, the author of the recently published Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,wrote an article for Time outlining the six biggest myths surrounding abortion. Here they are, written in plain English. Arm yourself with the facts, and never back down.
Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.
The church’s disclosures, in a series of essays online, are part of an effort to be transparent about its history at a time when church members are increasingly encountering disturbing claims about the faith on the Internet. Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City. But they did not know the full truth about Smith.
We begin by suggesting a framework of secular belief. It begins with the simple question, How can I justify any of my beliefs?
When thinking about why we believe in anything, we quickly realize that every belief is based on other preexisting beliefs. Consider, for example, the belief that brushing our teeth keeps them healthy. Why do we believe this? Because brushing helps removes plaque buildup that causes teeth to decay.
But why do we believe plaque causes decay? Because our dentists, teachers, and parents told us so. Why do we trust what our dentist says? Because other dentists and articles and books we’ve read confirmed it. Why do we believe those accounts? Because they presented many more pieces of information confirming the link between plaque, bacterial growth, and tooth decay. And why do we believe those pieces of information?
More than half of Britons believe that religion does more harm than good, with less than a quarter believing faith is a force for good, the Huffington Post UK can reveal today.
Even 20% of British people who described themselves as being ‘very religious’ said religion was harmful to society, and a quarter of said atheists were more likely to be moral individuals than religious people.
The exclusive poll for the HuffPost UK reveals that just 8% of Britons describe themselves as very religious, with more than 60% saying they were not religious at all.
Every year Salem is inundated with street preachers during out Halloween celebrations. They spend most every weekend during October telling us to "Turn or Burn." I've been recording their interactions with people for a couple of years now for a long running art project, and while this young guy was preaching, a little girl just ran up and started laying into him.
People should not assume that religion will always be a part of human society just because it has existed for so long, according to theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. Religion could disappear in the span of a single generation.
“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that.’ But I point out that… this issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you have a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is. It’s gone. One generation is all it takes,” he said at an event called the Victorian Skeptics Cafe 2014.