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Preview: About.com Agnosticism / Atheism: Most Popular Articles

About.com Agnosticism & Atheism: Most Popular Articles



These articles are the most popular over the last month.



Published: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 11:11:47 +0000

 



What's the Difference Between Atheists and...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The difference between being an atheist and being an agnostic should be pretty clear. Learn more about the differences and similarities.



Atheism vs. Agnosticism: What's the Difference?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Many think agnosticism is more 'reasonable' than atheism and thus reject the label of atheist. The idea that atheism is dogmatic is incorrect.



Deductive and Inductive Arguments: What's the...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Arguments can be deductive or inductive and you need to know the difference in order to properly create or evaluate an argument. Learn more.



Karl Marx on Religion: The Opiate of the Masses?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Marx is well known for saying that religion is the opiate of the masses, but his perspective on religion is more complex and nuanced than many realize



What Do Atheists Do During Christmas Holidays?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for atheists. Are there some alternative, more inclusive celebrations that atheists can participate in?



How to Critique an Argument

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

An argument might fail on its premises or its inferences. Because of this, it is necessary to distinguish between valid arguments and sound arguments.



Can Deontology Teach You to Be Ethical Without...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Deontological morality is defined by obedience to a set of independent moral rules. The most common are systems where the rules are established by some god.



What is Religion? Defining the Characteristics...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Identifying basic characteristics common to religions, which taken together make religion distinct from other belief systems.



Religion as Opium of the People

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

According to Karl Marx, religion is like other social institutions in that it is dependent upon the material and economic realities in a given society. It has no independent history; instead it is the creature of productive forces. As Marx wrote, ‘The religious world is but the reflex of the real world.‘. Page 4.



Is It Moral or Immoral to Have an Abortion? 9...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The legality of abortion is debated more than the morality of abortion, so fundamental ethical questions aren't given the attention they deserve. Some believe that the law shouldn't legislate morality, but all good law is based upon moral values. A failure to openly discuss those values can obscure important discussions.



The Problem of Defining Religion, Mythology and...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Defining what religion is and what is not isn't easy and has long been debated, but it is possible to construct a useful, strong definition of religion.



When Does a Fetus Become a Person with Rights?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Abortion is the focus of some of the most intense social, cultural, political, religious, and ethical debates in modern American society.



What Are Virtue Ethics?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Virtue ethics focuses on the development of sound moral character rather than moral rules. It's believed that having a virtuous character leads to virtuous decisions.



Pragmatic Theory of Truth

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

An American philosophy developed during the early and mid twentieth century. Pragmatists identified the nature of truth with the principle of action.



Why We Need Epistemology to Understand Knowledge

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it. Most debates between atheists and theists are ultimately epistemological disagreements.



Existence Precedes Essence: Existentialist...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

'Existence precedes essence' has come to be a classic, even defining, formulation of the heart of existentialist philosophy.



What Is an Argument?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

You need to know what an argument is in order to construct a sound, valid argument or to evaluate another person's argument.



Microevolution vs. Macroevolution: What's the...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

'Microevolution' and 'macroevolution' are often used by creationists who don't understand what they are. There is no real difference between them.



God as Abuser: Similarities Between the...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >God and Spousal



Nonreligious Ways to Celebrate the Christmas...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Although Christmas has largely been a faith-based holiday, there are nonreligious ways to celebrate the occasion. Find out how with these tips.



How Does an Atheist View Ethics and Morality?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

You can't debate the nature of morality or even specific moral issues unless you understand what sorts of disagreements can exist and how to address them.



Catholic Liberation Theology in Latin America

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The primary architect of liberation theology in the Latin-American and Catholic context is Gustavo Gutierrez. A Catholic priest who grew up in grinding poverty in Peru, Gutierrez employed Marx’s critiques of ideology, class, and capitalism as part of his theological analysis of how Christianity should be used to make people’s lives better here and now rather than simply offer them hope of rewards in heaven.



Thirteen Different Fields of Philosophical...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Philosophy addresses issues from all facets of life - an expert on all of philosophy would have to be an expert on all of life's most fundamental questions.



Separation of Church and State: Is It Actually...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Some argue that the only rights we have are those spelled out explicitly in the Constitution, but that's nonsense. It's not how the Constitution works



10 Common Arguments Against Gay Marriage

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The most common and popular arguments against gay marriage, mostly religious in nature, are easy to refute because they're based on serious errors.



Why C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien Argued Over...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were close friends who also had serious disagreements over theology, apologetics, and the quality of Lewis' Narnia books.



What Is Idealism? History of Idealist Philosophy

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Idealism is a category of philosophical systems which argue that reality is somehow dependent upon the mind rather than independent of the mind.



Introduction to Agnosticism: What Is Agnostic...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Agnostic theism is explored, as well as its relation to agnosticism, and how these two views differ in terms of spiritual belief and doubt in god(s).



What is Logic? What is Critical Thinking?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

If you want to better evaluate the claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and critical thinking.



Objective Truth: Are Things True Regardless of...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The idea of objective truth is the idea that no matter what we believe to be true, some things will always be true and other things will always be false. Beliefs have no bearing on the facts of the world around us. That which is true is always true - even if we stop believing it and even if we stop existing at all.



What Are Barack Obama's Religious Beliefs?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Obama has been accused of being a Muslim and an atheist; the truth is that his background is more secular and diverse than has been traditional.









Is Jesus the Reason for the Season? Godless...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Many conservative evangelical Christians at this time of year want to 'put Christ back in Christmas' and insist that 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season.' Unfortunately, they don't have much of a case.



What's so Christian about Santa Claus?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The most common, popular, and recognized symbol for Christmas today isn't an infant Jesus or even a manger scene, but Santa Claus. It's Santa who graces all the ads and decorations, not Jesus. Santa Claus is not, however, a religious figure or symbol.






How to Get Excommunicated from the Catholic...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Many ex-Catholics are technically Catholic, at least according to the Catholic Church. Permanently changing that requires getting excommunicated. But how?



Do Godless Morals and Values Exist?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The general attitude is that any religious morality is preferable to a secular morality; there are many reasons to think that this viewpoint is false.



Modern Humanist Philosophy and Religion

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Humanism as a philosophy today can be as little as an perspective on life or as much as an entire way of life; the common feature is that it is always focused primarily on human needs and interests. Philosophic Humanism can be distinguished form other forms of humanism precisely by the fact that it constitutes some sort of philosophy, whether minimalist or far-reaching, that helps define how a person lives and how a person interacts with other humans.



Why Don't Atheists Believe in Gods? 10 Common...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Atheists are often asked 'why don't you believe in God?' Here are some of the most common reasons why atheists don't believe in any gods.



We Wish You a Godless Xmas: What's Secular,...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Many Christians insist that Christmas is a Christian religious holiday which belongs exclusively to them. While there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in a Christian manner, the simple fact is that there are many important elements to popular Christmas celebrations which have nothing whatsoever to do with religion or Christianity. These secular elements of Christmas are at least as important as the religious ones. So if you want to celebrate Christmas, you can do so without religion.



What is Belief? What Does it Mean to Say "I...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Atheists are frequently challenged to explain why they are so critical of religious and theistic beliefs. Why do we care what others believe? Why don't we just leave people alone to believe what they want? Why do we try to



Crusading Against Christians

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Most histories of the Crusades tend to focus on the Crusaders themselves and the perspectives of European Christians seeking conquest and plunder in the Holy Land. But what about the Muslims whose lands were invaded and cities sacked? What did they think about these religious armies marching out of Europe? Page 2.



Jean Paul Sartre Biography

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Jean-Paul Sartre was a French novelist and philosopher who is perhaps most famous for his development and defense of atheistic existential philosophy.



Nietzsche, Nihilism, Nihilists, &...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Nietzsche wrote a great deal about nihilism, but that was due to his concern about its effects on society and culture, not because he advocated nihilism.



Where Did the Israelites of the Bible Come From?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Who were the Israelites and where did they come from? The Pentateuch and Deuteronomist give explanations, but extra-biblical sources and archaeology produce different conclusions.



Atheism, Holidays and Rituals: Questions,...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Atheists spend quite a lot of time discussing religion and deeper questions of whether or not there is any rational justification for believing in gods. However, there are also much more practical issues which merit close discussion. One issue which affects pretty much all atheists is how, or even if, they might celebrate local religious holidays (or secular holidays with an important religious component).



Gender Selection - Ethics and Technology

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Gender Selection - ethical considerations for new technologies



Ethics: Descriptive, Normative, and Analytic

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The field of ethics is usually broken down into three different ways of thinking about ethics: descriptive, normative and analytic.



Agnosticism for Beginners

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

There are a lot of resources here about agnosticism for beginners: what agnosticism is, what it isn't, and refutations of many popular myths about agnosticism. I've discovered, though, that it isn't always easy to direct people to all of the information they need. That's why I've collected here some of the basics about atheism for beginners that I find myself linking to most often.



What Is Monotheism?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

What is monotheism? Learn about the belief in the existence of a single god and how it differs from polytheism and atheism.



Is Christmas a Religious or Secular Holiday?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Should Christmas be treated like a secular holiday or is it a religious holiday? As the traditional birthday of Jesus, why is it a national holiday?



Why Does Religion Exist?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

There have been as many theories as theorists and all offer important insights on the nature of religion and possible reasons why religion has persisted through human history.



Why Ban Flag Burning? Evaluating Arguments for...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Although the connections may not be obvious, there are significant ties between efforts to ban the burning or desecration of the American flag and Christian Nationalism. Nothing profane can be desecrated, thus the very idea that the flag can be desecrated is derived from the belief that the flag is sacred in some fashion. This belief is most actively promoted by Christian Nationalists, for whom true patriotism and true religion have been fused into an anti-democratic political movement.



Coherence Theory of Truth

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The Coherence Theory of Truth, developed by Hegel and Spinoza, often seems to be an accurate description of how our conception of truth actually works. The Coherence Theory of Truth says: a belief is true when we are able to incorporate it in an orderly and logical manner into a larger and complex system of beliefs.



Who Were the Canaanites?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The Canaanites play an important role in the story of the Israelites' conquest of their 'Promised Land,' especially in the Book of Joshua, but the ancient Jewish scriptures contain almost no substantive information about them. The Canaanites are the villains of the story because they are living on land promised to the Israelites by Yahweh.



Oversimplification and Exaggeration Fallacies

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Postulating too few causes results in oversimplification; too many causes is exaggeration. These fallacies mask the true causes of an event.



Objective vs. Subjective in Philosophy and...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Being objective is being free of personal bias; being subjective is being influence by personal bias. Is one better than the other, though?



Which Religions Believe in One or More God?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

There are many forms of theism, from believing in one god to believing in many gods. They aren't all the same, and can't be critiqued in the same way.



Basic Rights Not Spelled Out in the Constitution

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

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.



Hillary Clinton's Religious Background &...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Hillary Clinton grew up in a Methodist household, she taught Methodist Sunday school like her mother, is a member of a Senate prayer group, and regularly attends the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington. Hillary Clinton can be placed in the moderate to liberal wing of American Christianity, but she appears to share a number of attitudes with more conservative American Christians. Clinton's liberalism is a relative matter



What is Secularism?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Secularism is largely responsible for defining the modern West, for good or for ill. Understanding secularism is thus critical for understanding the West today.



Humanism and the Reformation History

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

It is a historical irony that the Reformation created a political and religious culture in northern Europe that was especially hostile to the spirit of free inquiry and scholarship that characterized Humanism. Why? Because the Protestant Reformation owed so much to the developments of Humanism and the work done by humanists to change how people thought.



Ah Puch - Mayan God of Death

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Ah Puch was the Mayan god of death, disaster, and destruction. He ruled Mitnal, the lowest level of the Mayan underworld. Learn about this god.



Examining the Definition of Religion and...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Definitions of religion tend to suffer from one of two problems: they are either too narrow or they are too vague and ambiguous.



Why You Should Care About Metaphysics, the...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Metaphysics is looked down upon by some atheists, but as the study of the nature of reality it is probably the best subject for atheists to focus upon



What is Religion?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Many scholarly and academic attempts to define or describe religion can be classified into one of two types: functional or substantive. Each represents a very distinct perspective on the nature of function of religion. Although it is possible for a person to accept both types as valid, in reality most people will tend to focus on one type to the exclusion of the other.



How Biogeography Supports Evolution

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Biogeography not only provides significant inferential evidence for evolution and common descent, but it also provides testable predictions. Learn more.



What Is Nihilism? History, Profile, Philosophy...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The term nihilism comes from the Latin word 'nihil' which literally means 'nothing.' A brief look at its origins, history, books and philosophy



Fallacy of Accent

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z




Mictlantecuhtli: Mictlantecuhtli, God of Death...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Mictlantecuhtli was the Aztec god of death and the underworld. To honor Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec sacrificed an impersonator of Mictlantecuhtli at night and at a temple named Tlalxicco, which means 'navel of the world.' When Hernan Cortes landed, Aztec ruler Moctezuma II thought that it was the arrival of Quetzalcoatl, signalling the end of the world, so he stepped up human sacrifices to offer the skins of victims to Mictlantecuhtli in order to placate him.



Quotes From Atheist Carl Sagan on Religion

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Celebrity scientist Carl Sagan was born a Jew, but his quotes reveal he didn't believe in God. Learn about Sagan's atheism in his own words.



Religious vs. Secular Humanism: What's the...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The nature of religious humanism and the relationship between humanism and religion is of profound importance for humanists of all types. According to some secular humanists, religious humanism is a contradiction in terms. According to some religious humanists, all humanism is religious - even secular humanism, in its own way. Who is right?



Supreme Court Decisions on Privacy

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The realm of private property and conduct facilitates the moral, personal, and intellectual development of individuals, without which democracy isn't possible.



How Fossil Evidence Supports Evolution

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The fossil record has an important, unique characteristic: it is our only actual glimpse into the past where common descent is proposed to have taken place.



Engel v. Vitale (1962) - Prayers in Public...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

What authority does the government have over religious rituals like prayer? Can the government write specific prayers for public school students to recite every day?



What You Should Know About Pragmatism as a...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

According to Pragmatism, the truth or meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences rather than anything metaphysical.



God or god? To capitalize or not to Capitalize

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Should 'god be capitalized or not? Many atheists use a lowercase 'g' while Jews, Christians, and Muslims, always capitalize the G. Who is right?



The Criteria for Science and Scientific Theories

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Scientific theories all have common characteristics which differentiate them from unscientific ideas like faith and pseudoscience.



Atheism for Beginners

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

An overview with links to lots of resources about atheism, including refutations of many popular myths about atheism.



What Do Atheists Say About Religion &...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Because atheists are so often seen critiquing religion, it's common for religious theists to wonder what atheists really think about religion and why. The truth is complex, however, because there is no single atheistic opinion about religion. Atheists' critical stance with regards to religion is more a product of cultural trends in the West than of anything internal to atheism itself, which is only the absence of belief in gods. Atheists have a wide variety of opinions about religion.



Can Atheists Be Religious? Are there Religious...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

There is a strong correlation between being an atheist and being irreligious, but there is no necessary and inherent connection between the two.



What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism?

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

It is 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. The same questions and same arguments keep coming up over and over again: what is atheism? What is theism? What is the difference between belief and disbelief? Is atheism anti-religion? Who has the burden of proof in debates? Is atheism morally and intellectually significant?



Angst: Dread, Anxiety, and Anguish in...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

As a general principle, existentialist philosophers have emphasized the importance of psychologically critical moments where basic truths about human nature and existence come crashing down upon us, upsetting our preconceptions and shocking us into a new awareness about life. These 'existential moments' of crisis then lead to more generalized feelings of dread, anxiety, or fear.



A Timeline of the Third Crusade & Its...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Launched in 1189, the Third Crusade was called because of the Muslim recapture of Jerusalem in 1187 and the defeat of Palestinian knights at Hattin. It was ultimately unsuccessful.






Examining the Nature of Religion and Religious...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

What is religion? What are some varieties of religions? What is theism, and what are some of the varieties of that? Atheists aren't theists, but they can be religious - understanding what theism and religion are is key to understanding why that is true.



A Timeline of the First Crusad, 1095 - 1100

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

A timeline of the First Crusade, 1095 - 1100 : Christianity vs. Islam. Launched by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095, the First Crusade was the most successful.



Why is the Pope the Leader of the Catholic...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Today the pope is regarded generally as the supreme head of the Catholic Church and, among Catholics, as the head of the universal Christian Church. Although principally the bishop of Rome, he is much more than just 'first among equals,' he is also the living symbol of the unity of Christianity. Where does this doctrine come from and how justified is it?



Atheism and Existentialism: Philosophy and...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Although there is no denying that many Christian and even some Jewish theologians have made use of existentialist themes in their writings, it remains a fact that existentialism is much more readily and commonly associated with atheism than with any sort of theism, Christian or otherwise. Not all atheists are existentialists, but an existentialist is probably more likely to be an atheist than a theist - and there are good reasons for this.



The Real Reasons Why People Believe in God

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Theists offer all sorts of reasons for why they believe in a god but the only respectable reason is one which, if proven false, would at the very least cause them to seriously reconsider their belief and perhaps drop it entirely.



Affirming vs. Swearing Oaths: What's the...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Court scenes in American movies, television, and books typically show people swearing an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Usually they swear an oath 'to God' and with a hand on the Bible. Such scenes are so common that most people seem to assume that it's required, but it's not.



Top Thomas Paine Quotes on Religion

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

The quotes of Thomas Paine reveal him not only to be a political revolutionary but also a man who advocated for free thought over religion.



Religion is: Belief in Supernatural Beings -...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Belief in the supernatural, especially gods, is one of the most obvious characteristics of religion. Some people mistake mere theism for religion itself.



If Flag Desecration is a Crime, What is...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

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 burning the American flag, but the truth is that past and current laws against flag desecration cover far more than just burning the flag. Perhaps if people thought more about just what they are outlawing, they wouldn't be so quick to support flag desecration bans.



Freedom From Religion vs. Freedom of Religion...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

This claim is common, but it rests on a misunderstanding of what real freedom of religion entails. The most important thing to remember is that freedom of religion, if it is going to apply to everyone, also requires freedom from religion. Why is that? You do not truly have the freedom to practice your religious beliefs if you are also required to adhere to any of the religious beliefs or rules of other religions.



A Timeline of the Second Crusade, 1144 - 1150

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Launched in response to the capture of Edessa by Muslims in 1144, the Second Crusade was accepted by European leaders due to St. Bernard of Clairvaux who was determined to reassert Christian domination in the Holy Land.



Popes of the 5th Century

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the fifth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the starting and ending dates of their reigns, and finally the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read short biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Roman Catholic Church.



State Laws on Flag Desecration, Burning, Abuse,...

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

Why do some state laws ban publicly desecrating the flag instead of banning it in private as well? Why do some specify that it doesn't matter if you deface your privately owned flag? What does it mean to make it a crime to 'cast contempt' upon or 'speak evilly' about the American flag? Why do some state that a crime occurs only when an act outrages the 'sensibilities' of those watching? Why do some states make it a crime to deface or cast contempt upon the Confederate flag?



The Meaning and Implications of Each Commandment

2017-02-19T11:11:47Z

People think they know the Ten Commandments, but not only can't people even list them, but most can't explain what they mean or how they should be applied.