Published: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 11:12:26 +0000
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe difference between being an atheist and being an agnostic should be pretty clear. Learn more about the differences and similarities.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZHillary 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
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZArguments can be deductive or inductive and you need to know the difference in order to properly create or evaluate an argument. Learn more.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZMany think agnosticism is more 'reasonable' than atheism and thus reject the label of atheist. The idea that atheism is dogmatic is incorrect.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZDeontological 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAn argument might fail on its premises or its inferences. Because of this, it is necessary to distinguish between valid arguments and sound arguments.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIdentifying basic characteristics common to religions, which taken together make religion distinct from other belief systems.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhether she is elected president or not, Hillary Clinton is and will remain for some time a leading figure in the Democratic Party. Her views on matters like religion, the role of religion in government and public life, church/state separation, secularism, faith-based initiatives, reproductive choice, atheists and atheism, religion in public school, and related issues should matter to atheists. Secular atheists need to know where she really stands on religious and secular issues.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZVirtue 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZDefining 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZMarx 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
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZEpistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it. Most debates between atheists and theists are ultimately epistemological disagreements.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAccording 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZObama 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZPhilosophy 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAtheists 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAn American philosophy developed during the early and mid twentieth century. Pragmatists identified the nature of truth with the principle of action.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZYou need to know what an argument is in order to construct a sound, valid argument or to evaluate another person's argument.
2016-09-25T11:12:26Zclass="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >God and Spousal
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZGender Selection - ethical considerations for new technologies
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZYou 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIdealism is a category of philosophical systems which argue that reality is somehow dependent upon the mind rather than independent of the mind.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZPerhaps the most basic reason for not believing in any gods is the absence of good reasons for doing so. Since the burden of support lies first and foremost with those making the positive the claim the theistic, religious believers who say their god exists non-believers don't need reasons not to believe. They may help, but they aren't particularly necessary. Instead, what is required are reasons to believe.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZScientific theories all have common characteristics which differentiate them from unscientific ideas like faith and pseudoscience.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAtheists 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
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAbortion is the focus of some of the most intense social, cultural, political, religious, and ethical debates in modern American society.
2016-09-25T11:12:26Z'Microevolution' and 'macroevolution' are often used by creationists who don't understand what they are. There is no real difference between them.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIf you want to better evaluate the claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and critical thinking.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZMany 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe most common and popular arguments against gay marriage, mostly religious in nature, are easy to refute because they're based on serious errors.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAndrew, whose Greek name means 'manly,' was one of Jesus' twelve apostles. The brother of Simon Peter and son of Jona (or John), Andrew's name appears on all of the lists of apostles, and his being called by Jesus appears in all three synoptic gospels as well as Acts. Andrew's name comes up multiple times in the gospels - the synoptics show him at the Mount of Olives and John describes him as a one-time disciple of John the Baptist.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZTheists 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZSecularism is largely responsible for defining the modern West, for good or for ill. Understanding secularism is thus critical for understanding the West today.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZMictlantecuhtli 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZDefinitions of religion tend to suffer from one of two problems: they are either too narrow or they are too vague and ambiguous.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZHumanism 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAh Puch (Hun Ahau, Cum Hau, Hunhau, Hunahau, Yum Cimil, 'Lord of Death') was the Mayan god of death, disaster, and destruction. Ah Puch ruled Mitnal, the lowest level of the Mayan underworld. The Mayans believed that Ah Puch stalked them like a hunter stalks his prey. You can't worship Ah Puch so much as try to keep him at a great distance, so to hedge your bets you should mourn with loud wailing in order to scare him away and prevent him from taking anyone else to Mitnal.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe general attitude is that any religious morality is preferable to a secular morality; there are many reasons to think that this viewpoint is false.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZCS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were close friends who also had serious disagreements over theology, apologetics, and the quality of Lewis' Narnia books.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe field of ethics is usually broken down into three different ways of thinking about ethics: descriptive, normative and analytic.
2016-09-25T11:12:26Z'Existence precedes essence' has come to be a classic, even defining, formulation of the heart of existentialist philosophy.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZCourt 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZNietzsche 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere seems to be some confusion at times over just whether and how religion and philosophy should be distinguished from each other. Learn more.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZBiogeography not only provides significant inferential evidence for evolution and common descent, but it also provides testable predictions. Learn more.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAgnostic 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).
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZSome 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
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIf you want to understand the Bible, you need to understand the Pentateuch. Here in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, you'll find most if not all of the major themes that recur throughout the Bible as well as important characters and stories that continue to be important.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhy 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?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThis list of popes is arranged in alphabetical order. It starts with Adrian and ends with Zosimus. Alternative names are given, years of reign are listed, and all names are linked to short biographies that describe major dates in their papacy, controversies, and important events at the time.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhat is monotheism? Learn about the belief in the existence of a single god and how it differs from polytheism and atheism.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWho were the Israelites and where did they come from? The Pentateuch and Deuteronomist give explanations, but extra-biblical sources and archaeology produce different conclusions.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhat 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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 Marxs critiques of ideology, class, and capitalism as part of his theological analysis of how Christianity should be used to make peoples lives better here and now rather than simply offer them hope of rewards in heaven.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIt 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZEvery study shows that atheists are more distrusted and despised than any other minority in America. Atheists seem to represent everything Americans fear about modernity.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZTheism is a lot simpler than most realize: it's just the belief in the existence of at least one god of some sort. It's not a religion or a belief system.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZGregory the Great created the definitive list of seven deadly sins: pride, envy, anger, dejection, avarice, gluttony and lust. Each can inspire troubling behavior, but not always. Anger, for example, can be justified as a response to injustice and as a motivation to achieve justice. Christianity's seven deadly sins fail to address behaviors which harm others and instead focus on motivations: torturing and killing isn't a deadly sin if one is motivated by love rather than anger.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere don’t appear to be valid secular reasons for thinking that allowing gay couples to marry will have any deleterious effects on marriage generally.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZMost of the time when encountering a definition, we are looking at a lexical definition. A lexical definition (sometimes also called a reportive definition) is any definition which explains how a word isactually used - it is thus distinct from stipulative definitions which simply propose a possible way to use a word and which may or may not be accepted. Therefore, lexical definitions are capable of being true or false, of being accurate or inaccurate.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZMany ex-Catholics are technically Catholic, at least according to the Catholic Church. Permanently changing that requires getting excommunicated. But how?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZPostulating too few causes results in oversimplification; too many causes is exaggeration. These fallacies mask the true causes of an event.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe idea of atheists attending church services seems contradictory. Doesn't that require belief in God? Doesn't a person have to believe in a religion in order to attend it's worship services? Isn't freedom on Sunday morning one of the benefits of atheism? Although most atheists don't count themselves as part of religions which require regular attendance at churches or other houses of worship, you can still find some who do attend such services from time to time or even regularly.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZA selection of quotes on ethics, morality, humanity and universal causation from Albert Einstein: Humans, not Gods, define morality.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZFor most religious theists, their religion and their god provide the basis for their entire understanding of morality and moral values. They thus find it inconceivable that atheists who don’t believe in any gods and who have no religion could possibly have a basis for morality or even understand what true moral behavior is. Many go further and argue that this is a good reason to reject atheism, saying that it leads to immoral behavior, that it cannot account for the existence of morality, etc.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZBecause 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZFor whom was Mark writing? It is easier to make sense of the text if we read it in light of what the author intended, and that in turn would be heavily influenced by the audience he wrote for. Mark likely wrote for one specific Christian community, the one he was part of. He certainly can’t be read as if he were addressing all of Christendom down through the ages, centuries after his own life ended.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIn order to debate well on any topic and think critically about all of the opinions we encounter, we need the proper skills. Whether reading advertising, listening to politicians, buying a used car, or considering arguments for religion, we need to know how to carefully examine what is being said and consider the validity of the content or structure.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhat are teleological ethical systems? What are some problems with judging ethical decisions based upon their consequences?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere are a lot of misunderstandings about who atheists are, what they believe, and what they don't believe. People become atheists for many different reasons. Being an atheist isn't a choice or act of will - like theism, it's a consequence of what one knows and how one reasons. Atheists are not all angry, they aren't in denial about gods, and they aren't atheists to avoid taking responsibility for their acts. It's not necessary to be afraid of hell and there are advantages to being an atheist.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere are many reasons to believe that everyone and society as a whole will be better off now that gay marriage is legal, contrary to the dire predictions of critics.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZJames was present at the resurrection of Jarius’ daughter, at Jesus’ transfiguration, and at the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested. Learn more.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhat does Osama bin Laden want, and why does he want it? These questions can best be answered by studying the development of this tradition of Islamic extremism in the Middle East, especially since World War II. Although these fundamentalist groups preach a theology which values the earliest traditions of Islam, it remains nevertheless a very modern movement which has achieved broad popularity, especially among like-minded thinkers who have created what has become known as Islamism.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZLeonardo Da Vinci is thought of first and foremost as an artist but he was also a very important humanist, scientist, and naturalist in the Renaissance.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZBelief in astrology has a lot to do with the psychological benefits it provides. Learn about the link between astrology and psychology.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe Christian Right regularly claims that America is a 'Christian Nation' and was founded on Christian principles. If this is the case, then those principles should be identifiable in America's founding legal document, the Constitution. If the Constitution explicitly reflects Christian principles and doctrines, then the Christian Right is correct that America was founded on Christianity; otherwise, their claims are wishful thinking at best. So where are God and religion in the Constitution?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe 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?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAtheism is the absence of belief in gods; anti-theism is a conscious and deliberate opposition to theism. Many atheists are anti-theists, but not all.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZShould 'god be capitalized or not? Many atheists use a lowercase 'g' while Jews, Christians, and Muslims, always capitalize the G. Who is right?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZWhy bother to learn about logic and arguments? The most immediate and obvious benefit is that it helps you improve the quality of the arguments you use.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZChristians are expected to act much like Peter. Also, the gospels describe Jesus as calling Peter his “rock” upon which the future church would be built.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZUnderstand what Wahhabi Islam teaches, what's so dangerous about it, and why those teachings differ from other branches of Islam.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAlbert Einstein's denial of the existence of life after death suggests that he didn't believe in any gods and is part of his rejection of traditional religion.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAlbert Einstein consistently and unambiguously denied believing in personal gods who answered prayers or involved themselves in human affairs.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThe Philosophy of Mind is a more recent field that deals with questions of consciousness and how it interacts with the body and the outside world. The Philosophy of Mind asks not only what mental phenomena are and what gives rise to them, but also what relationship they have to the larger physical body and the world around us.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAn overview with links to lots of resources about atheism, including refutations of many popular myths about atheism.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZAttempts 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.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZThere is a strong correlation between being an atheist and being irreligious, but there is no necessary and inherent connection between the two.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZReality shows have become a fixture on American TV, but are they as real as advertised? And what are the ethical implications of creating or watching them?
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZIt's popular for self-proclaimed agnostics, and more than a few theists who aren't agnostics, to proclaim that agnosticism is more rational and reasonable than atheism. Sometimes agnostics may also include theism as being less rational, but typically atheism is the only target. This reveals the underlying problem: the goal is simply to attack atheism, not to make a case for agnosticism, so both atheism and agnosticism are misrepresented to make the latter look more sensible than the former.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZCreationists frequently complain that evolution isn't valid or genuine science, but exactly the opposite is the case: evolution meets the criteria generally accepted by scientists as defining science and the vast majority of scientists accept evolution as science. Evolution is the central organizing framework for the biological sciences and is just as scientifically valid as analogous theories in other scientific fields: plate tectonics, atomic theory, quantum mechanics, etc.
2016-09-25T11:12:26ZA 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.