Published: Sat, 22 Oct 2016 11:11:43 +0000
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZHillary 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
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe difference between being an atheist and being an agnostic should be pretty clear. Learn more about the differences and similarities.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZWhether 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZDeontological 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMany think agnosticism is more 'reasonable' than atheism and thus reject the label of atheist. The idea that atheism is dogmatic is incorrect.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZArguments can be deductive or inductive and you need to know the difference in order to properly create or evaluate an argument. Learn more.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAn argument might fail on its premises or its inferences. Because of this, it is necessary to distinguish between valid arguments and sound arguments.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZVirtue 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIdentifying basic characteristics common to religions, which taken together make religion distinct from other belief systems.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZDefining 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAccording 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMarx 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
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZObama 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAbortion is the focus of some of the most intense social, cultural, political, religious, and ethical debates in modern American society.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZEpistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it. Most debates between atheists and theists are ultimately epistemological disagreements.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIf you want to better evaluate the claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and critical thinking.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAn American philosophy developed during the early and mid twentieth century. Pragmatists identified the nature of truth with the principle of action.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMictlantecuhtli 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZYou 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZGodless liberalism is a liberal or progressive political perspective which doesn't rely on gods, revelation, or religion for its values, ideas, or policies.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZPhilosophy 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMictecacihuatl was the Aztec goddess of death who lived in Mictlan, the Aztec underworld, with her husband Mictecacihuatl. Learn more.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAtheists 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
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZYou need to know what an argument is in order to construct a sound, valid argument or to evaluate another person's argument.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMany 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe most common and popular arguments against gay marriage, mostly religious in nature, are easy to refute because they're based on serious errors.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIdealism is a category of philosophical systems which argue that reality is somehow dependent upon the mind rather than independent of the mind.
2016-10-22T11:11:43Z'Microevolution' and 'macroevolution' are often used by creationists who don't understand what they are. There is no real difference between them.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZSome 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
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZGiven how important devoutly religious people regard their faith in their god not only to their lives, but also to matters like morality, it would be a surprise if it weren't difficult for them to regard as fully equal those who reject their religion, their theism, and even that religion and theism are necessary or reasonable. Since how Hillary Clinton consistently insists that her religion is very important to her life, atheists should wonder what she really thinks about atheists and atheism.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZPerhaps 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43Z'Existence precedes essence' has come to be a classic, even defining, formulation of the heart of existentialist philosophy.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAndrew, 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43Zclass="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >God and Spousal
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThere don’t appear to be valid secular reasons for thinking that allowing gay couples to marry will have any deleterious effects on marriage generally.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe field of ethics is usually broken down into three different ways of thinking about ethics: descriptive, normative and analytic.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAtheists 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe quotes of Thomas Paine reveal him not only to be a political revolutionary but also a man who advocated for free thought over religion.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZDefinitions of religion tend to suffer from one of two problems: they are either too narrow or they are too vague and ambiguous.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZSecularism is largely responsible for defining the modern West, for good or for ill. Understanding secularism is thus critical for understanding the West today.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThere 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZCS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were close friends who also had serious disagreements over theology, apologetics, and the quality of Lewis' Narnia books.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAgnostic 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).
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIn the Bible, temptation is a test or trial designed give a subject the opportunity to do evil and sin against God. Sometimes the point is to confuse the subject about what good and evil really are. Sometimes the point is to simply see if they truly understand what good and evil are in the first place. Sometimes God does the tempting, sometimes Satan is given this task.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZGender Selection - ethical considerations for new technologies
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMany ex-Catholics are technically Catholic, at least according to the Catholic Church. Permanently changing that requires getting excommunicated. But how?
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe idea that America is a 'Christian Nation' is important for the Christian Right. They need people to believe this in order to sell their agenda to enshrine their form of Christianity over law, politics, and culture. It would be nice if liberal Christians consistently opposed this rhetoric, but not all do. Hillary Clinton, for example, doesn't go quite so far as to use the phrase herself but she has been more than willing to support the idea that America is a nation for 'people of faith.'
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZCelebrity 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZHumanism 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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?
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZChristians 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThere 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZWhat is monotheism? Learn about the belief in the existence of a single god and how it differs from polytheism and atheism.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMost 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThere 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZBiogeography not only provides significant inferential evidence for evolution and common descent, but it also provides testable predictions. Learn more.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe general attitude is that any religious morality is preferable to a secular morality; there are many reasons to think that this viewpoint is false.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZNietzsche 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIts not uncommon to find political arguments that commit the Begging the Question fallacy. This may be because so many people are simply unfamiliar with basic logical fallacies, but an even more common reason may be that a persons commitment to the truth of their political ideology may prevent them from seeing that they are assuming the truth of what they are attempting to prove. Page 3.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAh Puch was the Mayan god of death, disaster, and destruction. He ruled Mitnal, the lowest level of the Mayan underworld. Learn about this god.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZHalloween has traditionally been celebrated in schools by having kids dress up in costumes, take part in costume shows, and engage in a variety of activities relating to Halloween images of skeletons, pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and so forth. Quite a lot has changed in the last couple of decades, one of which is a growing number of religious challenges to Halloween celebrations in public schools. Are there any serious church/state issues that schools should worry about?
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZPeople 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZTheists 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAlthough the term 'humanism' was not applied to a philosophy or belief system until the European Renaissance, those early humanists were inspired the ideas and attitudes which they discovered in forgotten manuscripts from ancient Greece. This Greek humanism can be identified by a number of shared characteristics...
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZTo what extent, if any, may the government allow prayers at the graduation ceremonies of public schools? The answer is simple, although difficult to apply in practice: if the government has any say or controlling function over the words being said, then prayer and evangelism may not be a part of those words. This is the underlying principle which ties together a number of important court cases dealing with school prayer during football games, graduation ceremonies, and other school events.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZWho were the Israelites and where did they come from? The Pentateuch and Deuteronomist give explanations, but extra-biblical sources and archaeology produce different conclusions.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAtheism 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZToday 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?
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZBecause 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZBurning and hanging were the most popular forms of execution for accused witches in medieval Europe. Burning seems to have been most common in continental Europe while hanging was more common in Britain -- and thus also in the American colonies later as well. The death penalty was imposed on a wide variety of crimes in this era, but witchcraft in particular was punished by death on the basis of Exodus 22:18. Page 10.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZOne of the vital animating principles of existentialist philosophy has always been the importance of subjectivity over objectivity. This subjectivity extends over a wide range of issues: morality, values, truth, commitment, faith, and so forth. Indeed, most of the basic themes of existentialism can't be fully understood without appreciating the importance of subjectivity.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIt 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZDoctrinally, the pope is regarded as the successor of St. Peter, leader of the apostles after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is an important factor in the tradition that the pope is believed to have jurisdiction over the entire Christian church in matters of faith, morals and church government. Reviewed here are basic questions about how the papacy developed, whether popes are infallible, debates about who has been pope, and more.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAs 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43Z...while there is a staggering amount of data, phenomena, of human experiences and expressions that might be characterized in one culture or another, by one criterion or another, as religion - there is no data for religion. Religion is solely the creation of the scholar's study. It is created for the scholar's analytic purposes by his imaginative acts of comparison and generalization. Religion has no existence apart from the academy.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZWhat 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZTheism 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe commandment to not commit adultery sounds easy, but it's not. What is adultery, exactly? The Hebrews defined it differently than people today do.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAlbert Einstein consistently and unambiguously denied believing in personal gods who answered prayers or involved themselves in human affairs.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThere 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZMost 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZA selection of quotes on ethics, morality, humanity and universal causation from Albert Einstein: Humans, not Gods, define morality.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZCourt 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZPostulating too few causes results in oversimplification; too many causes is exaggeration. These fallacies mask the true causes of an event.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZJean-Paul Sartre was a French novelist and philosopher who is perhaps most famous for his development and defense of atheistic existential philosophy.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIn 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThe 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?
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZThere 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.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZConfessions of witchcraft, extracted under torture or threat of torture, commonly came attached to denouncements of other possible witches, keeping the Inquisitors in business. In Spain, church records tell the story of Maria of Ituren admitting under torture that she and sister witches turned themselves into horses and galloped through the sky. In a district of France, 600 women admitted to copulating with demons. Some entire villages in Europe were may have been exterminated. Page 6.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZScientific theories all have common characteristics which differentiate them from unscientific ideas like faith and pseudoscience.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZA number of people in the New Testament are named Mark and any could, in theory, have been the author behind the gospel of Mark. Tradition has it that the Gospel According to Mark was written by Mark, a companion of Peter, who simply recorded what Peter preached in Rome (1 Peter 5:13), and this person was in turn identified with 'John Mark' in Acts (12:12,25; 13:5-13; 15:37-39) as well as the 'Mark' in Philemon 24, Colossians 4:10, and 2 Timothy 4:1.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZAs most Americans know, witch hunts also affected the American colonies. The Salem witch trials pursued the Massachusetts Puritans have entered American consciousness as being much more then just the killing of witches. They, like the trials of Europe, have become a symbol. In our case, the witch trials have become a symbol of what can go wrong when mobs of ignorant people go crazy, especially when egged on by just as ignorant and/or power hungry leaders. Page 11.
2016-10-22T11:11:43ZIt 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?