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Is the Brain the Key to Understanding Religion?

Is the Brain the Key to Understanding Religion? | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

What makes us human? The way we think is surely part of the answer. Among our thinking skills, self-awareness is a promising candidate for the cognitive capacity that sets us apart from the other animals on earth. The distinction is not absolute – evolutionary differences seldom are. We know that chimpanzees can recognise themselves in mirrors, and to that extent are self-conscious. But it is likely that we and only we have a really well-developed understanding of ourselves as subjects of experience — as animals with minds. [.] These capacities, for “theory of mind” and mental time travel, together with our closely related talent for language, have been identified by many contemporary thinkers — in psychology, anthropology and elsewhere — as the intellectual hallmarks of adult humankind. But if we want to understand how we experience the world, listing capacities does only half the job, as it says little about the content of our self-understanding. 

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The Atheism News Magazine aims to be your most comprehensive and dependable source of atheist news.
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Christopher Hitchens makes a shocking confession

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The Unbelievers (full version)

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Changes to Germany’s ‘church tax’ prompts exodus

Changes to Germany’s ‘church tax’ prompts exodus | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
Hundreds of thousands of German tax-payers are leaving their officially designated religions to avoid paying a 'church tax' levy on capital gains.
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Supernatural believers see minds at work behind random patterns

Supernatural believers see minds at work behind random patterns | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

“Theory of Mind” is the term used to describe the mental ability to put yourself inside the mind of someone else – to imagine what it is that they are thinking. Recently, there’s been some evidence that people who do not have a strong theory of mind are more likely to be atheists.

For example, studies have found that autistic-spectrum people are more likely to be non-believers, and maybe also atheists' preferences for video games could be connected. The basic suggestion is that belief is a natural extension of our ability to recreate minds in our own head.

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Rick Santorum plans to take movies out of the cinema – to show them in church

Rick Santorum plans to take movies out of the cinema – to show them in church | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
Former US senator unveils distribution system for faith-orientated films aimed at 'persecuted' Christians
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School District Removes Two Plaques That Contain Religious Content

School District Removes Two Plaques That Contain Religious Content | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
Two plaques that feature the words “God” and “Holy Christian Church” were covered at two elementary schools in Midlothian, Texas and will eventually be replaced after their religious content has angered some folks who believe they violate people’s Constitutional rights, reports Fox News. The plaques, which have stood in front of Mt.
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Ohio lawmakers want to ban schools from teaching scientific process

Ohio lawmakers want to ban schools from teaching scientific process | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

Science educators have recognized that teaching science as a large compendium of facts, without reference to the scientific process and theories that bind them together, simply leads to uninterested and uninformed students. So it's a bit mind-boggling to discover that an Ohio state legislator is attempting to ban educators for teaching anything about the scientific process. And for good measure, the bill's sponsor threw politics and creationism into the mix.

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Are conservative atheists really 'better'?

Are conservative atheists really 'better'? | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

Conservative atheist and television pundit S.E. Cupp has come out swinging against progressive atheists. In a clip (see above) for CNN’s “Crossfire,” she argues that conservative atheists are “better” than liberal nonbelievers. What’s more, Cupp says, those on the right respect and tolerate atheists more than liberals do. She’s wrong, and here are three reasons why.

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Dawkins now just telling random strangers why he hates them

Dawkins now just telling random strangers why he hates them | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

The former scientist leaves his house in Oxford at 11am and immediately begins hurling brief insults at anyone who comes within 10 feet of him.

According to local residents, a typical 30 second burst will include phrases such as ‘please don’t have children’, ‘you look like a baptist’, ‘everything about your shoes sickens me’ and ‘your face seems to be inside out’.

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Christian singer Vicky Beeching: 'I knew I was gay when I was 13'

Christian singer Vicky Beeching: 'I knew I was gay when I was 13' | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
A huge star on the American evangelical Christian scene, Vicky Beeching found the stress of being gay in a very conservative community almost intolerable and became seriously ill. Here she tells how she reached breaking point
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Bakery Owner Refuses Gay Couple After "Talking To Jesus"

Bakery Owner Refuses Gay Couple After "Talking To Jesus" | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

Growing up in Schuylkill Haven, Jennifer and Bethany Petrich, said they were very familiar with the Cake Pros bakery. That's why when the two were planning a ceremony to renew their vows the bakery seemed like an obvious choice to supply the cake. "They had called and said to her they were a christian bakery and the owner talked to Jesus for two weeks," Jennifer said. "And that because it was two females getting married she couldn't bake our cake."

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Conservative Christians infuriated that Navy orders Bibles removed from its lodges

Conservative Christians infuriated that Navy orders Bibles removed from its lodges | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

Religion News Service reports that the United States Navy has angered conservatives with its decision not to allow complementary Bibles in the guest rooms of its lodges.

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Strippers take topless protest to church that harassed them as ‘whores, tramps’ for years

Strippers take topless protest to church that harassed them as ‘whores, tramps’ for years | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
A group of topless dancers in Ohio on Sunday turned the tables on a fundamentalist church that has picketed their club for almost nine years. According to the Coshocton Tribune, at least six bare-b...
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Irreverence is Not a Crime! #OccupyEffigies

Irreverence is Not a Crime! #OccupyEffigies | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist." - Salman Rushdie As many of you have already recently read, a Pennsylvania teenager is facing up to two years beh...
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One In Three Americans Want 'Under God' Removed From Pledge Of Allegiance

One In Three Americans Want 'Under God' Removed From Pledge Of Allegiance | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

"One nation under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 to respond to Communism. Now, more than a third of Americans want it removed. A poll finds that more than one in three Americans think "one nation under God" should be removed from the official version of the Pledge of Allegiance. The phrase was not in the original pledge -- it was added in 60 years ago when the nation feared the threat of communism. But most Americans are completely unaware the phrase isn't part of the original -- just as many Americans wrongly believe that America was founded as a Christian nation.

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30 more religious state schools open their doors in the UK

30 more religious state schools open their doors in the UK | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

22 more religious Free Schools are opening for the first time this week, along with a number of new sponsored Academies and existing schools converting to gain a religious character. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has voiced concern about the continuing expansion in the number of state-funded ‘faith’ schools.

 

The newly opening religious Free Schools, which make up over a third of all the new mainstream Free Schools, include five Church of England schools, two Roman Catholic schools, ten other Christian schools (including two sponsored by Chapel St, one sponsored by Oasisand one sponsored by United Learning), three Muslim schools sponsored by Tauheedul, one Sikh school, and one Steiner school.

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Florida youth pastor busted for child porn

Florida youth pastor busted for child porn | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

Last year Lucas Dillon Brandenburg delivered a sermon slamming a ‘depraved culture’. Yesterday he was arrested for sharing child pornography. According to this report, the 30-year was taken into custody after investigators said that they found a computer at his home “sharing” indecent images. A statement from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that the St Gabriel Episcopal Church youth pastor was arrested on 10 charges of possession of child pornography.

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Violent, religious bigotry -- How not to react when your child tells you that he's gay

A perfect example of how much hate and intolerance still exists today. This family gave a young man two options: attend a pray the gay away intervention, or ...
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Human altruism traces back to the origins of humanity

Human altruism traces back to the origins of humanity | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

Humans are generally highly cooperative and often impressively altruistic, quicker than any other animal species to help out strangers in need. A new study suggests that our lineage got that way by adopting so-called cooperative breeding: the caring for infants not just by the mother, but also by other members of the family and sometimes even unrelated adults. In addition to helping us get along with others, the advance led to the development of language and complex civilizations, the authors say.

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BoD Boards the Ice Bucket Bandwagon

BoD Boards the Ice Bucket Bandwagon | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
A couple of us guys from Better Off Damned took on the Ice Bucket Challenge... because why not? Dusty Smith, Peter Thurston, & Andre Oliver, we're calling on you to perform the next round. For ...
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Atheist politicians may run the UK, but they remain closeted in the US

Atheist politicians may run the UK, but they remain closeted in the US | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

ust because they’re not out does not mean there are no atheists in the halls of Congress. “We already know of 24 members of Congress who have told us privately that they don’t believe in God, but they won’t come out, of course, and if we tried to out them they would deny it.” [.] That’s not the case in England. When former Prime Minister Tony Blair asked staffers whether he should add “God bless Great Britain” to the end of a speech they told him, “This isn’t America.”

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Wedding Venue Must Pay $13,000 For Refusing A Lesbian Couple's Wedding

Wedding Venue Must Pay $13,000 For Refusing A Lesbian Couple's Wedding | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
A popular New York wedding venue just discovered the high cost of discrimination.
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Atheists On Religion, Science, And Morality (The Point with Anna Kasparian)

Can we prove there is no God? Does it make sense to equate religion with science? Do theists have a monopology on morality or is secular morality superior? W...
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The Great Decline: 61 years of religiosity in one graph, 2013 hits a new low

The Great Decline: 61 years of religiosity in one graph, 2013 hits a new low | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it
The Great Decline continues: 2013 had the lowest level of religiosity of any year we can measure.
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"Religion without a church? Humanism almost qualifies."

"Religion without a church? Humanism almost qualifies." | The Atheism News Magazine | Scoop.it

So, can you have religions without a church? Humanism almost qualifies. It sacralises humanity, claiming for us a significance that is not to be derived from either biology or physics. Organised humanism clearly has unified beliefs and practices. It even has the world’s most lugubrious and sentimental hymn: John Lennon’s Imagine. Like all modern religions it has universalist aspirations, claiming to explain the lives of non-believers better than they can do so themselves. It can inspire heroism and self-sacrifice, but also be used to legitimise intolerance – see Sam Harris and his friends.

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