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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: Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:56:12 +0000

 



Gender Selection - Ethics and Technology

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Gender Selection - ethical considerations for new technologies



What's the Difference Between Atheists and...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



How to Get Excommunicated from the Catholic...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Helping or Harming Religion? (part 2 of 2) -...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

When church/state separation is violated and religion is actively supported by the state, are churches actually helped or are they harmed? From your About.com Guide



Atheism vs. Agnosticism: What's the Difference?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



What is Religion? Defining the Characteristics...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



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

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Can Deontology Teach You to Be Ethical Without...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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 are the different types of ethical systems?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Types of Ethical Systems. Agnosticism & Atheism.



What is Jihad?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The nature of jihad is hotly debated in the press and even among Muslim theologians. Many apologists for liberal and moderate Muslims in the West argue that jihad has nothing to do with violence, but history says something very different.



Myth: Atheists Don't Want to be Exposed to...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Many opponents of church / state separation attempt to reframe the debate from being about permissible government support of religion to permissible public exposure of religion. This may seem like it should be impossible, but it's accomplished by using 'public' instead of 'government'; since public can be used either to mean 'supported by the state' or simply 'out in open view,' the fallacious shift in meaning is relatively easy to achieve. Thus atheists are completely misrepresented.



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

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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?



Religious Traditions on the Morality of Abortion

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Not all religious traditions condemn abortion, and those that do don't condemn it in every situation. Religious positions on the morality of abortion are much more varied.



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

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



How to Critique an Argument

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Religion as Opium of the People

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



What's Wrong With Judging Ethical Decisions By...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

What are teleological ethical systems? What are some problems with judging ethical decisions based upon their consequences?



Is Atheism a Religion? Defining Atheism and...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Many Christians seem to believe that atheism is a religion, but no one with a fair understanding of both concepts would make such a mistake. Because it's such a common claim, though, it's worth demonstrating the depth and breadth of the errors being made. Presented here are the characteristics which best define religions, distinguishing them from other types of belief systems, and how atheism utterly fails to even remotely match any of them.



axiological ethics

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Glossary of Religion and Philosophy - axiological ethics



Does God Exist? Overview of Resources on the...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

A common question which atheists hear a lot is 'why don't you believe in God?' Theists, religious or not, have trouble imagining why anyone would not believe in at least some sort of god, preferably their own. When a belief occupies such a central place in a person's life and even identity, this is understandable. The fact is, there are many reasons why atheists might not believe in any gods. Most atheists can cite multiple reasons and every atheist is different.



How Biogeography Supports Evolution

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Why We Need Epistemology to Understand Knowledge

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



homoiousios vs. homoousios

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > The terms  homoiousios



Karl Marx on Religion: The Opiate of the Masses?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Rastafarians

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Glossary of Religion and Philosophy - Rastafarians



Gospel Parables of Jesus

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

One of the most prominent features of the four canonical gospels in the New Testament is the parables attributed to Jesus. Estimates usually place the number of parables somewhere between thirty and eighty, though if the definition of 'parable' is expanded to include any simile or proverb, then just about every statement attributed to Jesus can qualify.



Why Does Religion Exist?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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 the Religious Right is Wrong about the...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Is the separation of church and state really just a myth, something the founders never actually intended?



How Fossil Evidence Supports Evolution

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



What Are Virtue Ethics?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



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

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Analysis of the Sixth Commandment: Thou Shalt...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The Sixth Commandment says 'thou shalt not kill,' but what does that mean? The answer isn't as obvious as many assume, leading to many debates.



A Timeline of the Third Crusade & Its...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



A Timeline of the Crusades: Fourth Crusade,...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Launched in 1202, the Fourth Crusade was in part instigated by Venetian leaders who saw it as a means to increase their power and influence.



Examining the Nature of Religion and Religious...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Philosophy of Mind: Philosophy of Thought,...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The 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.



Ah Puch - Mayan God of Death

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



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

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



What Are Analytic vs. Synthetic Statements?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Analytic and synthetic are distinctions between types of statements which was first described by Immanuel Kant as part of his effort to find some sound basis for human knowledge.



Religion vs Spirituality - What's the Difference?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Is such a distinction valid? It is important to keep in mind that it presumes to describe two fundamentally different types of things.



A Look at the Authorship Behind the Gospel of...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The text of the Gospel According to Mark does not identify anyone as the author. Not even 'Mark' is listed as the author. Learn more.



Should Atheists Respect Religion and Theism?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

There is an increasingly popular attitude that religion and theism deserve automatic respect and deference from everyone - even those who don't share that religion or that theism. People attack atheists for failing to show the 'appropriate' respect to religious and theistic beliefs. Atheists shouldn't say things which constitute pointed, direct, or harsh challenges to religious and theistic claims. At the risk of further accusations of being intolerant and disrespectful, this is nonsense.



Is Religion Defined by Belief in God? Can...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Are religion and theism effectively the same thing, such that every religion is theistic and every theist is also religious? Because of some common misconceptions, many people are inclined answer that question positively. It isn't uncommon even among atheists to simply assume that religion and theism are equivalent.



History of Humanism With Ancient Renaissance...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The humanism of the Renaissance isn't just important to the development of modern secular humanism, but of modernity and the modern world as a whole.



When Was the Gospel According to Mark Written?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Scholars conclude that Mark was written during the war between Rome and the Jews (66-74). Most early dates for Mark fall around 65 CE and most late dates fall around 75 CE.



When Does a Fetus Become a Person with Rights?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



The Problem of Defining Religion, Mythology and...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



What Is Monotheism?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



What Is Idealism? History of Idealist Philosophy

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



A Timeline of the Second Crusade, 1144 - 1150

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



John the Apostle: Profile & Biography of...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

John, the son of Zebedee, was called along with this brother James to be one of Jesus' twelve apostles who would accompany him on his ministry. John appears in the lists of apostles in the synoptic gospels as well as Acts.



Substantive and Essentialist Definitions of...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The basic problem with substantive definitions of religion is that when they are general enough to perhaps apply to all religions, they are too vague to be very useful and end up being applicable to belief systems or beliefs which just shouldn’t be labeled religions. Once they are no longer too vague, however, they describe as 'essential' to religion something which not all religions actually have and which is not alone in structuring religious beliefs.



Are Public School Graduation Prayers Constituti...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Questions about the constitutionality of graduation and commencement prayers are difficult to answer because the case law varies across the nation.



Jesus’ Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Jesus explains the power and importance of faith - it is faith in God that gave him the power to curse the fig tree and make it wither overnight and similar faith on the disciples' part will give them the power to work other wonders. They may even be able to move mountains, though that is arguably a bit of hyperbole on his part.



God or god? To capitalize or not to Capitalize

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Existence Precedes Essence: Existentialist...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Yugoslavia - Religious Issues

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Religion in the former Yugoslavia: General Religious Issues.



Jones v. Clear Creek School District (1992)

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

If government officials do not have the authority to write prayers for public school students or even to encourage and endorse prayers, can they allow the students themselves vote on whether or not to have one of their own recite prayers during school? Some Christians tried this method of getting official prayers into public schools and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it's constitutional for students to vote on having prayers during graduation ceremonies.



10 Common Arguments Against Gay Marriage

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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 You Should Care About Metaphysics, the...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



false cause

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Glossary of Religion and Philosophy - false cause



Simple and Easy Procedure to Become an Atheist

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

So, do you want to be an atheist? Now you can learn the simple and easy way to become an atheist. If you follow these steps, you'll be an atheist in no time at all!



Islam and Conflict

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Islam and Conflict - Why are Muslim nations involved in so much conflict with their neighbors? Is this just a coincidence, or does the cause lie with their political history and religious doctrines?



An Atheist's Analysis of the Seventh Commandment

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

The commandment to not commit adultery sounds easy, but it's not. What is adultery, exactly? The Hebrews defined it differently than people today do.



Introduction to the Book of Genesis

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Genesis is where it all starts in the Bible, literally and figuratively. It's the story of creation and the origin of all the Bible's major themes. Genesis is the first book of the Bible, the first book of the Pentateuch, and the first book of the Torah. The name Genesis comes from an ancient Greek work meaning birth or origin; this comes from ancient Hebrew Bereshit, or 'In the beginning' which is how the Book of Genesis starts.



Introduction to Agnosticism: What Is Agnostic...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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).



Godless Views on the Legality and Morality of...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Abortion debates in America tend to focus on religious perspectives and what religious believers think. Godless views on whether abortion is moral and whether a woman's right to choose abortion should remain legally protected are almost never consulted. This is somewhat understandable, given the fact that there is no single atheist position on abortion and no authority to determine what atheists are supposed to think. This doesn't mean, however, that atheists have nothing to offer.



Albert Einstein Quotes on Life After Death

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Albert 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.



Coherence Theory of Truth

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Mictlantecuhtli: Mictlantecuhtli, God of Death...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Macro vs. Micro-Evolution and Their Definitions

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Because the distinction between macroevolution and microevolution is fairly minor, you won't find the terms defined and separated in every science book. You don't have to look too hard and too far to find the definitions, though, and it's important to note that macroevolution and microevolution are defined consistently across many types of scientific resources: Collected here are definitions from three types of books: biology texts, popular books on evolution, and scientific reference works.



Religious Authority vs. Secular Authority

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

One issue which faces all systems of religious authority is how to structure their relationship with the rest of civil society. Even when the form of government is theocratic and therefore controlled by religious interests, there remain aspects of society which are ostensibly distinct from traditional spheres of direct religious control, and thus some form of working relationship is required.



Which Religions Believe in One or More God?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Absurd and Absurdity in Existentialist Thought

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

An important component of existentialist philosophy is the portrayal of existence as being fundamentally irrational in nature. Whereas most philosophers have attempted to create philosophical systems that produce a rational account of reality, existentialist philosophers have focused upon the subjective, irrational character of human existence.



Agnosticism for Beginners

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Theories in Epistemology: Are Our Senses...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Theories in epistemology attempt to describe the relationship between our knowledge and the objects of that knowledge.



Elijah: Profile & Biography of Elijah, Old...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Elijah was an important Israelite prophet whose name in Hebrew means 'my Lord is Jehovah.' Accounts of Elijah’s life and actions are recorded through 1 and 2 Kings. Aside from coming from the village of Tosabe in Gilead (about which nothing is known), nothing is recorded about his background before he appears suddenly to promote traditional, orthodox Jewish beliefs.



Skepticism - What is Cold Reading?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Skepticism and Critical Thinking: What is Cold Reading? How do cold readers operate? Astrologers, mediums, psychics and others appear to have an amazing ability to tell people about themselves - how do they do it? Cold Reading is a technique which is commonly used.



What Is a Hypothetical Proposition?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

What is the definition of a hypothetical proposition? A hypothetical proposition is a conditional statement which takes the form: if P then Q.



What is Logic? What is Critical Thinking?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



Crusading Against Christians

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Atheism 101: Introduction to Atheism and Atheists

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

I see a lot of misunderstandings and errors about atheism and atheists all over the net. People don't understand what atheism is, what the definition of atheism is, or the difference between atheism and agnosticism. People claim that atheism is a religion, that it requires faith, that it's a form of denial, that there are no real atheists, and that there are no atheists in foxholes. This introduction to atheism answers most of the most common questions and mistakes about atheism.



A Timeline of the First Crusad, 1095 - 1100

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Astrology: History and Background

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Astrology History: a review of the long history of astrology, going back to the Babylonian Empire, through Ptolemy and down to today.



What is Theism? Who are Theists?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Theism 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.



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

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Court Decisions on the Ten Commandments

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Should displays of the Ten Commandments be allowed in public buildings? Should large monuments be erected on the grounds of courthouses or legislative buildings? Should there be posters of the Ten Commandments in schools and other municipal buildings? Some argue that they are part of our legal history, but others contend that they are inherently religious and, therefore, cannot be allowed.



Jesus Cleanses the Temple (Mark 11:15-19) -...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

After cursing the fig tree, Jesus reenters Jerusalem where he cleanses the Temple of moneychangers. Why? What did he accomplish?



Are there Any Atheistic Religions?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

People can be adherents of some religions without bothering to believe in any gods, thus allowing for a person to be a religious atheist.



Who Were the Canaanites?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Objective vs. Subjective in Philosophy and...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



The Real Reasons Why People Believe in God

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



How Does an Atheist View Ethics and Morality?

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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.



Logical Fallacies: Begging the Question

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

It’s 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 person’s 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.



Argument Against the Person - Argumentum ad...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Even people who don't know much at all about logical fallacies are probably familiar with the ad hominem fallacy. This fallacy occurs whenever someone tries to rebut an argument by focusing on the person making the argument rather than on the qualities of the argument itself.



Einstein Quotes on Ethics & Morality:...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

A selection of quotes on ethics, morality, humanity and universal causation from Albert Einstein: Humans, not Gods, define morality.



Supreme Court Decision on Privacy &...

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Supreme Court Decisions on Privacy & Abortion: summary and analysis of Roe v. Wade. Should women have the right to make their own decisions about pregnancy and birth, or should the government be able to outlaw abortion and tell women that they are required to carry a pregnancy to term?



Pragmatic Theory of Truth

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

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



James the Apostle: Profile & Biography

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

James was present at the resurrection of Jarius’ daughter, at Jesus’ transfiguration, and at the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested. Learn more.



Friedrich Nietzsche on Justice & Equality

2017-03-13T11:56:12Z

Justice (fairness) originates among those who are approximately equally powerful... where there is no clearly recognizable predominance and a fight would mean inconclusive mutual damage, there the idea originates that one might come to an understanding and negotiate one's claims: the initial character of justice is the character of a trade.