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Member since: Sun Jan 14, 2007, 01:51 PM
Number of posts: 7,981

Journal Archives

Fundamentalist Biology Textbook Publisher Drops Claim That Scottish Lake Monster Is Real

Pity the poor Loch Ness Monster! Not only has he (or she) been reportedly stuck in that gloomy, cold lake for decades, now the beastie has been unceremoniously tossed out of a leading creationist biology book – at least in the European edition.

As reported by The Herald of Glasgow, Scotland, the newest editions of Biology 1099 textbooks published by Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) out of Madison, Tenn., are absent lessons that the Loch Ness Monster is not only a real creature, but is still living today.

A previous edition of the book, which is popular with Christian fundamentalist educators and home-schoolers, asked: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

Lessons like that, and another since-removed claim that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur, are intended to debunk evolution because they “prove” that various organisms didn’t go extinct as legitimate scientists have said.

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 01:50 PM (3 replies)

Fox News and the Religious Right Attack Muslim Author


The Fox News channel launched another interview attack on reason, logic, and scholarship over the weekend. Their chosen target was renowned religious scholar Dr. Reza Aslan, in regards to his new book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.”

The book focuses on the life and works of Jesus Christ from a scholarly and historical standpoint. So why the fuss? Aslan is a Muslim.

Since the book’s release, Aslan has been met with praise, as well as harsh criticism. Sadly, though, the negative criticism that Aslan has seen has been not from fellow scholars interjecting with their opinions, criticising the work, but rather from conservative blogging hacks and hardcore religious-right-wingers who attack Aslan’s reasons behind writing the book.

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 06:58 AM (10 replies)

NYC BBQ Restaurant Responds to Claims It Booted Church for Homosexual Sermons

The worship services had been taking place every Sunday at the restaurant, until the church made plans to preach a sermon about same-sex attraction, according to Wyatt.

"After only meeting in our new space for a couple of months, we were asked to leave. The restaurant that was hosting us had received significant backlash from the neighborhood for hosting a Christian church in their space," Wyatt wrote on his blog post on The City Resource website.

"The backlash came before the sermon was even preached yet was enough to motivate the restaurant to end their partnership with us," Wyatt added.

The pastor went on to argue that although the church was paying a sizeable rent of $25,000 per year for the restaurant space as well as $150 to the restaurant's sound technician, "disassociating from a Christian church was more valuable" to the restaurant than the money.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Jul 29, 2013, 12:45 PM (10 replies)

Is the Presbyterian Church (USA) going to collapse?

The Presbyterian Church (USA) recently released the findings of its "Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2011" (the report). More than 6,000 clergy and members of the PC (USA) were asked to participate in the study for a three-year period. The goal was to sketch a broad landscape of the denomination in demographic and theological terms. The report is available here in its entirety. In many respects the report is grim reading. In fact, it points to the coming collapse of the PC (USA)demographic and theological realities will force the denomination to accept a new, diminished future.

The report reveals, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the PC (USA) is old and white. 94% of the randomly selected members reported their race as "white or Caucasian," as did the randomly selected Ruling Elders. Of clergy, 91% of pastors and 89% of specialized ministers (chaplains, professors, etc) reported their race as white. For all categories of respondent, more than 90% were born U.S. citizens. The study notes, most alarmingly, that the racial-ethnic makeup of the denomination has remained virtually unchanged in the last forty years. This discontinuity makes the future of the denomination untenable since it has not reached either immigrant communities or people of color in any meaningful way. While there are flickers of light in the 1001 New Worshipping Communities initiative, it seems to be rather too late for this to significantly offset coming losses.

The denomination also continues to age. The median age of members rose from 60 to 63 between 2008 and 2011. That means that if you were to list the ages of each of the member respondents, half of them would be older than 63 and half younger. The number is similar for ruling elders. The report also indicates that almost 50% of church members are not employed, while only 7% of members report being "full-time homemakers." Could it be that almost half of our church members are retired? Perhaps the PC (USA) should be called the AARP at prayer?

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Jul 29, 2013, 06:26 AM (9 replies)

AFA’s New Christian Coffee Company Proselytizes In Uganda, Funds Anti-Gay Hate In US

The American Family Association has launched the Thomas Street Coffee Company to “help share the gospel of Christ with unreached people,” and to harvest not only coffee beans from developing nations, but to convert growers and their workers into Christians — while harvesting the profits of unsuspecting indigenous peoples.

The American Family Association is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian group that claims — possibly for tax reasons — to be a “ministry,” and is included among the Southern Poverty Law Center’s active anti-gay hate groups list.

Thomas Street Coffee has been in the works for months, with the website being registered in March, a promo segment on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show, and a Twitter presence indicating a “soft opening” without any fanfare earlier this month, but the official announcement came Monday via the AFA’s One Million Moms’ Facebook page.

While we’re not exactly sure what “unreached people groups” are, we’re certainly sure what “TSC helps underwrite the ministry of our parent organization, The American Family Association” means. It means that every cup of Thomas Street Coffee sold, every pound, goes toward furthering an agenda of anti-gay hate. That is strong coffee!


Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 25, 2013, 06:55 PM (3 replies)

David Letterman Mocks Pope, Catholic Church

David Letterman pulls every punch he can when it comes to President Barack Obama, but he has no qualms mocking the Pope or the Catholic Church.

On the July 23 edition of CBS’s The Late Show, Letterman brought up Pope Francis’s recent visit to Rio as part of World Youth Day.

“And I’m telling you if there’s anything the kids can’t get enough of, it’s a 76-year-old virgin. Come on! World Youth Day. Or as the Vatican calls it, salute to altar boys.”

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 25, 2013, 06:43 PM (6 replies)

American Catholics want Pope Francis to address abuse scandal

Pope Francis made significant updates to the Vatican City’s laws today, addressing (among other things) issues related to child sexual abuse. Sexual violence, prostitution and possession of child pornography are now classified as crimes against children and can be punished more harshly, according to the Associated Press.

These laws apply only to the small population of the Vatican City State – an estimated 839 people – and are not part of the Catholic Church’s canon (religious) law, so they will not directly impact how the scandal continues to play out around the world. But Pew Research Center polling shows that addressing the sex-abuse scandal is something American Catholics consider important.

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 25, 2013, 12:31 PM (1 replies)

Secular Wedding Services Have Huge Backlog In Catholic Ireland

Traditionally Catholic Ireland has allowed an atheist group to perform weddings this year for the first time, and the few people certified to celebrate them are overwhelmed by hundreds of couples seeking their services.

Demand for the Humanist Association of Ireland's secular weddings has surged as the moral authority of the once almighty Catholic Church collapsed in recent decades amid sex abuse scandals and Irish society's rapid secularization.

Until now, those who did not want a religious wedding could have only civil ceremonies. Outside of the registrar's office, only clergy were permitted to perform weddings.

But statistics show rising demand for non-Church weddings. In 1996, 90 percent of Irish weddings were performed by the Catholic Church or the Church of Ireland. But by 2010 that percentage had fallen to 69 percent.

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 25, 2013, 06:54 AM (2 replies)

Americans differ on meaning of 'religious'

WASHINGTON (RNS)—A lopsided divide exists in America about what it means to be a religious person, with a majority believing it’s about acting morally but a strong minority equating it with faith.

Nearly six out of 10 Americans (59 percent) say being a religious person “is primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing,” as opposed to more than one-third (36 percent) who hold being religious “is primarily about having faith and the right beliefs.”


Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 24, 2013, 12:59 PM (2 replies)

Religion to Disappear By 2041 Claims New Study - Correction

The Correction

The Las Vegas Guardian Express writer, Rebecca Savastio, falsely attributes to me the claim that religion "will completely disappear by 2041." What I do project is that religious people will be a minority by that date, which is a very different prediction. - Nigel Barber


Author and noted biopsychologist Nigel Barber has completed a new study that shows Atheism is most prevalent in developed countries, and, according to his projections, religion will completely disappear by 2041. His findings are discussed in his new book “Why Atheism Will Replace Religion.” A new study that clarifies his earlier research will be published in August. His findings focus on studying trends within countries around the world and the fact that “Atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries”-

"In my new study of 137 countries, I also found that atheism increases for countries with a well-developed welfare state (as indexed by high taxation rates). Moreover, countries with a more equal distribution of income had more atheists. My study improved on earlier research by taking account of whether a country is mostly Moslem (where atheism is criminalized) or formerly Communist (where religion was suppressed) and accounted for three-quarters of country differences in atheism."

His main thesis stems from the phenomenon of religion declining as personal wealth increases. He cites the reason as people having less of a need for supernatural beliefs when the tangible, natural world is providing for their needs. He says the majority of the world will come to view religion as completely irrelevant by 2041.

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 24, 2013, 05:37 AM (43 replies)
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