Does the Air Force ‘encourage atheism’ and ‘prosecute Christianity’?
[Fox News: masters of misinterpretation and princes of propaganda]
Todd Starnes of Fox News is claiming that a “double-standard at the Air Force Academy” has created an atmosphere that “encourage[s] atheism [and] prosecute[s] Christianity.” In Starnes’s eyes, the fact that the Freethinkers Club’s event was advertised over email and on bulletin screens indicates that the Academy is “[encouraging] atheism.”
And yet Starnes’s own piece quotes a statement from the Academy acknowledging that other groups do host such events: “‘The Academy allows all cadet groups to host information fairs regardless of espoused religious beliefs or no beliefs at all,’ the statement read—noting there were also events scheduled for Christians and Muslims.”
No, Buddhism is not “stupid,” judge tells Louisiana teacher
Excellent news! The parents of a sixth grade student in Louisiana whose teacher made fun of him because he is Buddhist have won their lawsuit against the school district. In the past, Rita Roark had told her students that the universe was created by God about 6,000 years ago and informed them that both the Big Bang theory and evolution are false. She told her students that, “If evolution was real, it would still be happening: Apes would be turning into humans today.”
This level of ignorance makes me wonder if this woman is actually a credentialed teacher. One test she gave to students asked: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The correct answer was “Lord,” but one child, known simply as “C.C.,” wrote in something else.
When informed that C.C. was a Buddhist and therefore didn’t believe in God, Roark allegedly responded, “you’re stupid if you don’t believe in God.”
The Humanist on the Boat—no mere fishing expedition
I am not a commercial fisherman like Captain Rob or Ronnie; I’m a marine biologist (my official title is “fisheries observer”) with the National Marine Fisheries Service. My job is to collect fisheries data for use in management and policy decisions; however, if you were to pass our vessel while out sport fishing for red drum, you’d most likely assume I was another commercial fisherman. I wear the same clothes, speak the same language, and even have the same untidy facial hair. The one major difference between me and most of the crew I work alongside is not immediately apparent: faith.
The topic always arises at some point during our time on the water and ultimately leads to the question: “Do you believe in God, Phil?” I reply I don’t. The tension becomes palpable but I’ve become adept at diffusing these situations. The fishermen ask me if I have ever been to church. I have a tendency to respond with a stifled chuckle and a nod. I was raised as a pastor’s child.
While I try to explain morality without a deity, they seem less interested in the details of my personal moral philosophy and more interested in how someone like me comes to have a worldview that is, to them, a novel one. This is where I start talking about the wonders of biology.
While promoting humanism is one of my passions, I am just as passionate about promoting ecology and biology. When I view nature in its purest form, I feel an almost religious sense of wonder. When I first gained this understanding, the Christian God became something that got in the way or cheapened the experience.
The destructive myth about religion that Americans disproportionately believe
This week, Pew Research Center published the results of a survey conducted among 40,080 people in 40 countries between 2011 and 2013. The survey asked a simple question: Is belief in God essential to morality?
In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, the majority says it is necessary to believe in God in order to be a moral person. “This position is highly prevalent, if not universal, in Africa and the Middle East,” says the report.
Interestingly, clear majorities in all highly developed countries do not think belief in god to be necessary for morality, with one exception only: the USA.
Only 15 percent of the French population answered in the affirmative. Spain: 19 percent. Australia: 23 percent. Britain: 20 percent. Italy: 27 percent. Canada: 31 percent. Germany 33 percent. Israel: 37 percent.
So what of the U.S.? A comparatively eye-popping 53 percent of Americans essentially believe atheists and agnostics are living in sin. Despite the fact that a research analyst at the Federal Bureau of Prisons determined that atheists are thoroughly underrepresented in the places where rapists, thieves and murderers invariably end up: prisons. While atheists make upward of 15 percent of the U.S. population, they only make up 0.2 percent of the prison population.
Atheist author leads event about listening to reason
Atheist author Peter Boghossian visited TCU [Texas Christian University] Wednesday to talk to the Freethinking Frogs student organization.
Peter Boghossian, a philosophy instructor at Portland State University, encouraged members of the audience Wednesday to use reason when evaluating their beliefs. Boghossian is currently touring the U.S. to talk about his new book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists.”
Boghossian is advocating that people “confront dangerous ideas and not cower to them.” The purpose of Boghossian’s new book is to help atheists convey their beliefs to convert everyone to atheism, from the common believer to theologians.