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Category Archives: Atheism

Everyone’s suspicious of atheists even other atheists – SBS

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:43 pm

In the U.S. and plenty of other places around the world, atheism is on the rise. In just under half of the worlds countries, according to Pew Research Center, the second-largest religious group is people who claim no religion at all. In the United States, while recent research has shown an uptick in the number of people who identify as atheist, definitive numbers are hard to come by; one survey last year put it around 10 percent, whilea more recent study argued that it was as high as 26 percent.

Whatever the true number is, though, there remains a disconnect between atheisms popularity and its reputation: According to a new study published last week in Nature, people all over the world connect immorality with atheism. In fact, the moral prejudice against atheists is so strong that it holds even in countries like the Netherlands, where most people arent religious. Even atheists themselves, according to the study, are inclined to see nonbelievers as more wicked than the faithful.

According to a new study published last week in Nature, people all over the world connect immorality with atheism.

Entrenched moral suspicion of atheists suggests that religions powerful influence on moral judgements persists, even among non-believers in secular societies, the authors wrote.

The study, led by University of Kentucky psychology professor Will Gervais, surveyed more than 3,000 people in 13 countries, including nations with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and non-religious majorities: Australia, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Participants read a description of a man who tortured animals as a child and became even more sadistically violent as he grew up, eventually murdering five homeless people and hiding their dismembered bodies in his basement. The survey then asked some participants if they thought the man was more likely a teacher or religious teacher. Other participants were asked if they though the man was more likely a teacher or an atheist teacher. This setup meant that no one was directly asked if they thought the man was or was not an atheist, but researchers could draw conclusions by comparing how many participants said the man would be an atheist teacher versus how many said he would be a religious teacher.

Entrenched moral suspicion of atheists suggests that religions powerful influence on moral judgements persists, even among non-believers in secular societies, the authors wrote.

As they had hypothesised, the researchers found a universal suspicion of atheist morality across all 13 countries. People overall are roughly twice as likely to view extreme immorality as representative of atheists, relative to believers, they wrote. Consistent with predictions, extreme intuitive moral distrust of atheists is both globally evident and variable in its magnitude across countries.

The association was somewhat stronger in more religious countries, but even in very secular countries in the study Australia, China, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom people were more likely to associate serial killing with atheism, although the gap was narrower. The survey also asked participants to describe their religious beliefs, which allowed the research team to determine that even atheists connected immoral acts to atheism more often than to religious belief.

The authors concluded that people around the world see religion as a necessary restraint on depraved and dangerous behavior. In other words, despite the fact that we live in an increasingly secular world, people still fear those who arent God-fearing.

That finding didnt surprise Joseph Baker, author of American Secularism and a professor in the East Tennessee State University sociology department. An anti-atheist bias is really common and really well established, he said. In the United States, atheists used to be the most disliked among a number of unpopular groups, but are now tied at the top with Muslims, he said; what this new study adds is good data showing that the feeling is international.

Louise Antony, a philosophy professor at UMass Amherst who has written about atheism and morality, also found the study results unsurprising. I could predict it just from what I know about the stereotypes that people hold of atheists, she said.

It wouldnt be surprising that atheists who grow up in cultures disparaging atheists have the same associations.

But Antony also cautioned against drawing too much significance from experiments that may reveal only implicit bias, but not accurately portray peoples more holistic feelings about atheists. For example, Antony said, she has a terrible fear of spiders, the result of some deep-seated association that she wishes she didnt have, since she knows that spiders are almost entirely harmless and kill pests like mosquitoes. Likewise, people even avowed atheists may be handicapped by an implicit connection between atheism and immorality, despite a genuine belief that they themselves are as moral as believers.

The study might also be picking up on a fairly superficial response, Antony said: It wouldnt be surprising that atheists who grow up in cultures disparaging atheists have the same associations.

But even superficial biases can have very real effects, she added. Thats especially true in moments of hot cognition, when people dont have time to stop and reason out their beliefs before taking action, Baker noted.

This latest study is more evidence that atheists are still mistrusted in contemporary society, he said. It means that people who are secular still have a long way to go in terms of getting equal footing in civil discourse. Theres still a lot of prejudice they have to overcome.

This article originally appeared on Science of Us: Article 2017. All Rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content.

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Why We Should Be Compassionate Toward Atheists – National Catholic Register (blog)

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Blogs | Aug. 18, 2017

Atheism is gaining converts every day, and we have a rather daunting job of evangelizing those who would rather God did not exist.

Dr. Thomas Nagel, professor of philosophy at New York University, wrote in his 1997 book, The Last Word:

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-formed people I know are religious believers. It isnt just that I dont believe in God and, naturally, hope that Im right in my belief. Its that I hope there is no God! I dont want there to be a God; I dont want the universe to be like that.

Whether or not Dr. Nagel intended to speak for anyone other than himself, I suspect his sentiments are shared by many atheists who not only dont believe there is a God, but dont want there to be a God.

From the standpoint of Christianity, this prompts this question: Why would anyone not want a loving God to exist? This is a question that all apologistsindeed, all Christians who seek to evangelize atheistsmust ask and attempt to answer. Because if we dont know the answer to that question, we can have all the other answers to all the other questions, and it wont matter. For instance, we can talk about the inexplicable characteristics of the Shroud of Turin, the tilma of Guadalupe, the sun dancing at Fatima, the incorruptibles, and the Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano, but we may not have addressed the real issue for those who wish atheism to be true.

There may be lots of reasons for atheisms recent prevalence, but it is clear that the rise in atheism has taken place alongside the fall of the family. Is there a connection between the two? In his book Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, psychologist Dr. Paul Vitz answers in the affirmative.

Specifically, Vitz argues that a father often exerts a powerful influence on his childs concept of God. (Since his original book was published in 1999, other studies have provided support for this point.) Dr. Vitz takes a biographical tour of modern atheists and discovers a relatively consistent thread: Looking back at our thirteen major historical rejecters of a personal God, we find a weak, dead, or abusive father in every case. Of course, it is not true, nor is Vitz making the case, that every atheist had a bad fatheror that the mere absence of a father must propel one to atheism. It would also be a fallacy to claim that each atheists fundamental reason for embracing atheism is his paternal relationship. But to Vitzs point (and consistent with the findings of other studies), it is legitimate to argue that some persons may be predisposed to atheism because of their family circumstances.

In his book, Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI makes an interesting point along the same lines, alluding to the connection between fatherhood and faith. Pointing out that the Our Father is a great prayer of consolation, insofar as it recognizes and professes God as our Father with Whom we have a personal relationship, Pope Benedict XVI notes that consolation is not experienced by everyone:

It is true, of course, that contemporary men and women have difficulty experiencing the great consolation of the word father immediately, since the experience of the father is in many cases either completely absent or is obscured by inadequate examples of fatherhood.

As Pope Benedict suggests, the idea of God as a father can be a painful reminder that their own father did not, could not, or would not love them. Thus, the idea of spending fifteen minutes, much less eternity, with a father is remarkably unpleasant.

Where does that leave those who are sincerely and charitably trying to convey Gods love to those who are so desperate to disbelieve? Perhaps it starts by recognizing that they are hurt, and what we should do is act with compassion instead of trying to win a debate with them. If you convince someone that their best hope is to spend eternity with a Being they equate with someone who has been abusive to them, you have done them no favors. You may do well to first explain to them who God is, and what Gods love means to you. Along with true knowledge, love and mercy are the essential qualities of a Catholic apologist.

Try to explain Gods love to them, and ask the Holy Spirit for the right words. Sad though it may be, its entirely possible that no one has ever triednever talked about Gods love to them. Its entirely possible that no one has ever told them that God wants them to be happy.

Patience is also critical. Some might seem obstinate in their refusal to believe, or in their inability to admit the possibility that they might be wrong. Respond with patience, and remember that though the argument at hand might be Saint Thomas Aquinas five proofs for Gods existence or the Shroud of Turin, for instance, that may not be what they are actually arguing about. They might be really arguing about their parents, the past, and their pain. Thus, for them, the Shroud of Turin serves as a spiritual Rorschach test in which they dont see Gods pain, but their own. Explain to them that no one wants to ease their pain more than God. It sometimes helps to explain to them how God has eased your own. Dont forget that comforting the afflicted is a spiritual work of mercy not just for other Christians, and it very often must precede instructing the ignorant.

Atheism is gaining converts every day, and we have a rather daunting job of evangelizing those who would rather God did not exist. Many people have had difficult and painful family experiences, and they deserved better. We need to help people understand that God is better. Scripture does not assure us that our own parents will love us; quite the contrary, God warns us that some parents will not love their own children. Thats terribly sad, but its connected with an overwhelming promise that we need to remind people again and again and again: God will never stop loving you. This message is made many times in Scripture, but perhaps most explicitly in passage that must be in our hearts and on our lips going forward in our discussions. It is Isaiah 49:15, and it reads: Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.

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Atheism

Posted: at 6:02 pm

About Atheism [Index]

Various introductions to atheism, including its definition; its relationship to agnosticism, theism, and noncognitivism; and its value.

Arguments for Atheism [Index]

In this section, “arguments for atheism” means “arguments for the nonexistence of God.” In the jargon of the philosophy of religion, such arguments are known as “atheological arguments.” The argument from evil (sometimes referred to as ‘the problem of evil’) is by far the most famous of such arguments, but it is by no means the only such argument. Indeed, in the 1990s atheist philosophers developed a flurry of atheological arguments; arguably the most famous of such arguments is the argument from divine hiddenness (and the related argument from nonbelief).

Atheism, Theism, and the Burden of Proof [Index]

Debates [Index]

Links to transcripts or reviews of debates specifically about atheism (as opposed to debates about Christianity, Islam, creation/evolution, etc.).

Media & Reviews [Index]

Books, magazines, movies, and book reviews having to do with atheism.

Morality and Atheism [Index]

This page addresses the relationship between morality and atheism, especially in the following four areas: (1) on average, are atheists as moral as theists? (2) why should atheists be moral? (3) can life without God have meaning? and (4) does atheism entail a certain view on specific moral questions? (NOTE: this page does not address moral arguments for God’s existence, or whether morality is subjective.)

Outreach [Index]

Links to various articles which discuss whether atheists should engage in outreach and, if so, how they may do so effectively.

Recommended Sites [Index]

This page is NOT intended to be a list of all personal home pages maintained by atheists. Rather, this page is only intended to list some exceptionally good home pages on the Internet.

Jeffery Jay Lowder maintains this page.

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Atheism

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Beware the War Against ASEAN’s Atheists | The Diplomat – The Diplomat

Posted: at 6:02 pm

There is one minority that knows no borders, isnt divided by race or gender, and yet still faces persecution across the world: atheists. And in recent weeks, they have been under attack in Malaysia. The government has announced that it will hunt down atheists who, it says, could face prosecution exactly what for remains in question. This all began earlier this month, when the Kuala Lumpur branch of the Atheist Republic, a Canada-based organization, posted a photo of their annual meeting on social media.

The Hunt for Atheists Continues

In response, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department, Malaysias religious watchdog, said it is now constantly monitoring atheists groups, presumably those also online, and its director said that they would provide treatment to those caught. Shahidan Kassim, a minister in the Prime Ministers Department, said later that: I suggest we go all-out to hunt down these groups and we ask the media to help us identify them because this is a religious country.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar upped the ante when he commented that the the police would scrutinize the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should the atheist group cause anxiety among Muslims, as FreeMalaysiaToday, an online newspaper, put it.

One can make many things of this comment. Primarily, though, if a few dozen, mostly young people who gather once a year in private can make Malaysias Muslims anxious (note Khalid cared little about the nerves of Malaysian Christians or Buddhists) then isnt his comment an affront to their commitment to the faith itself?

But the Malaysian authorities took the issue back to a perennial one: apostasy.

According to Malaysias federal laws, apostasy is not a crime. But in practice, the countrys state-run courts, which hold the sway over religious matters, rarely allow Muslims to formally leave the faith. Instead they are punished with counseling, fines, or jail time. Similarly, atheism is not strictly illegal in Malaysia, but blasphemy is. This makes atheism a grey area, since the most fundamental point of it is the belief that there is no god.

A similar problem exists in Indonesia. In 2012, Alexander Aan was almost beaten to death by a mob and then sentenced to two and a half years in prison while his attackers were set free after he posted a message on Facebook that read: God doesnt exist. The commentary surrounding the case frequently asked whether atheism was illegal in Indonesia or not. Most pundits took the opinion that it wasnt illegal: Alexander Aan, they said, wasnt convicted for his atheism but for blasphemy. To some, that was no more than intellectual contortionism at work.

But none of this should have come as a surprise. A 2016 report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union found Malaysia to be one of the least tolerant countries in the world of atheists. The report singled out Prime Minister Najib Razak for criticism. In May of that year, he described atheism and secularism, along with liberalism and humanism, as deviant and a threat to Islam and the state. He stated clearly: We will not tolerate any demands or right to apostasy by Muslims.

Over the years I have met a number of Malaysian atheists. Many have to hide their lack of faith from their families, lest they be ostracized. Social media, here, has been a massive help. And many are forced to hide behind less-controversial monikers, like freethinker, in order to avoid the thought police. By way of a comparison, I have met Vietnamese pro-democracy activists more willing to criticize the Communist Party in public places than Malaysian atheists willing to talk about religion at coffee shops. I am worried. I have already accepted that something might happen to me that I might be killed, one Malaysian atheist recently told Channel News Asia.

No Freedom From Religion

We are often told that Malaysia and Indonesia are secular nations. That is not quite true. At best, they are secular-lite. Secularism has three main components, and that is often forgotten conveniently by some. The first is a genuine separation of the church or mosque, or pagoda and the state. The second is freedom of religion, which brings with it pluralism and religious tolerance. Put simply, all faiths have equal status within the eyes of the state.

Malaysia and Indonesia do to some extent practice these but certainly not the third, which is freedom from religion. It means that I, a non-believer, am not interfered with by the forces of religion, and am protected against this by the state. It also means that a believer is allowed, by law, to remove himself from a religion. As has been indicated above, that is not quite the case by any means.

More Than Politics

Some pundits will simply claim that politics is at hand. Malaysian elections are approaching, and Malaysias ruling party is playing the religious card, fearful that Malay-Muslims will vote for one of the opposition parties. In Indonesia, the arrest and imprisonment of Basuki Ahok Purnama for blasphemy, coming as it did during the Jakartas mayoral election, was also politicians using religion, some say. President Joko Widodo weighed in here with the opinion that the anti-Ahok protests, some of the largest Indonesia has ever witnessed, were steered by political actors who were exploiting the situation.

There is some merit in this view, but it is far from the whole picture. For starters, if they are exploiting conservative religious sentiments, then surely those sentiments themselves must have been there in the first place and must be thought by a sizeable number of people for opportunistic politicians to take notice. That itself is something that ought not to be ignored, since it is the root cause of the issue we are addressing here.

Second, if it is only politicians exploiting the situation, why havent the moderate Muslim organizations come out and defend the atheists, for instance, or, to take a more specific example, why didnt they campaign for Ahok? As some experts have already noted, Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Indonesian Muslim organization, with more than 50 million followers, made a lot of noise against the radical protestors at the time, but was conspicuously quiet on defending Ahoks right to say what he did.

A More Radical Mainstream?

Some have argued that the extremists in Malaysia and Indonesia are becoming more open. But there is also some evidence that points to the mainstream, or even the public at large, being more conservative. For instance, in 2013, the Pew Research Center conducted a worldwide survey on the attitudes of Muslims towards different elements of faith. When Indonesian respondents were asked if they favored making Sharia the national law of the country, 72 percent said they would it is currently only the law in the semi-autonomous state of Aceh. Of Malaysian respondents, 86 percent said they would, higher than the percentages recorded in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt, countries which are not typically described as moderate.

Some might argue that Muslims were merely responding in such a way because they perceived that doing so was in line with what their religion called for and what it meant to be a good, practicing Muslim. But what was striking was that, of those respondents who favored introducing Sharia, 41 percent from Malaysia and 50 percent from Indonesia thought it should apply to all citizens, not just Muslims. And 60 percent from Malaysia and 48 percent from Indonesia thought stoning to death was an appropriate penalty for adultery.

One can quibble with any single poll or statistic or development. But the point here is that there are enough of each of these out there for a level of concern to be raised. Or, at the very least, for more attention to be paid to a relatively neglected issue.

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How TV Host Ray Comfort is Confronting Atheism | CBN News – CBN News

Posted: at 6:02 pm

Ray Comfort is trying to get atheists to change their minds.

The filmmaker and best-selling Christian author has joined up with Living Waters to create, “The Atheist Delusion,” a documentary that dives into the mindset of atheists.

“The Atheist Delusion” pulls back the curtain and reveals what is going on in the mind of those who deny the obvious,” says the film’s website. “It introduces you to a number of atheists who you will follow as they go where the evidence leads, find a roadblock, and enter into a place of honesty that is rarely seen on film.”

Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron hosts the show “The Way of the Master.” Comfort has authored more than 80 books.

The show involves Comfort and Cameron evangelizing to people in the streets, and sharing the gospel with them.

Cameron speaks highly of the new documentary.

“Classic Comfort mixed with high-resolution logic, breath-taking creation, topped off with quality humor and compassionate Gospel interviews,” he said. “Ray has taken his message to a new level…I’ve never been so proud of my friend Ray’s work. Show it to everyone you know, especially your teens.”

Moody Radio Host Janet Parshall calls it, “Absolutely magnificent!”

And Todd Friel, host of Wretched Radio/TV spoke praised it as well.

“No need to tune-in to the Hallmark Channel for tear-jerkers,” Friel said. “Watching the faces of atheists as Ray lovingly and truthfully witnesses to them will make you cry. Just beautiful.”

Click here to find out more about the film.

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Religion and racism, atheism and the Alt-Right – Patheos (blog)

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 4:59 am

When it comes to hateful ideological movements, religion has always provided hateful tyranny a helping hand. As James Madison observed, Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not.

This is true for religions role in slavery and segregation and the subjugation of women and terrorism and LGBTQ rights and on and on. This list is incredibly long, but a few recent examples ought to suffice. Martin Luther King, Jr.s wonderful Letter from the Birmingham Jaila piece I reread every few monthswas written to his fellow clergymen, specifically, the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South.King took to task the white churchmen [who] stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities amid the mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice.

Bob Jones, the televangelist and founder of an eponymous religious school, infamously declared that segregation was scriptural in his 1960 Easter sermon: If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God . . . . Bob Jones University enjoyed tax exemption, a privilege. But the IRS revoked the tax exemption because the school discriminated on the basis of race. In the 1980s, BJU sued the government, arguing that its religious beliefs required the discrimination and that the government could not remove its privilege because of its religion. Fortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed and backed up the IRS.

Jones was not a lone Christian minister fighting for segregation in his gods name. Many other churchmen joined him. The KKK is itself an explicitly Christian organization. Hell, Klansmen began burning crosses to spread the light of Jesus into the countryside. The unconstitutional anti-miscegenation law struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, was religious, Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Even now, as CEOs, business leaders, and politicians scramble to distance themselves from Trumps toxicity, his evangelical councilmade up self-proclaimed moral leadersis standing by their man and defending Trumps Tuesday bigotry.

If recent reports are to be believed, the clarity of this history is getting murky. In a recent NPR story, George Hawley, a professor at the University of Alabama and author of Making Sense of the Alt-Right explained, based on interviews he conducted, who makes up the Alt-Right.

AUDIE CORNISH: Youve interviewed many people who consider themselves part of the alt-right. Can you give us a profile? Who does this ideology appeal to?

HAWLEY: I would say it is definitely a young movement. Id say that it is predominantly white millennial men. It is not sort of stereotypically conservative in its profile. Id say that probably it is a more secular population than the country overall. That is, there are a lot of agnostics and atheists or people who are just generally indifferent to religion. And I think that it is a fairly well-educated movement on average, that as I think that probably the model alt-right member has at least some college education.

Peter Beinart wrote an article for the Atlanticon this topic and was also interviewed by NPR (NPR does great work). Beinart spoke with a bit more nuance than Hawley and addressed the bigger question, why?: [W]hat Im trying to suggest in my piece is there seems to be some evidence that as culturally conservative people disengage from religious institutions, they redraw the boundaries of us versus them from religious and moral terms to a divide over race and nation.

Beinart also suggests that the Black Lives Matter movement is to some degree the flip side of this coin: African-Americans remain more tied to church than do white Americans. And yet, you see this same divide generational divide where younger African-Americans are substantially more likely to be disengaged from religious affiliation. I suggest in the piece that the Black Lives Matter movement is to some degree a product of that.

Should data back up the anecdotal interviews about nonbelievers in the Alt-Right, there will be an overflow of religious commentators who will try to paint all atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers as racist bigots. But such data would no more show that the racists were motivated by their atheism than it would show that they were motivated by their college education, especially since the younger demographic is uniformly more nonreligious anyway.

As FFRF pointed out in our statement on Charlottesville, Raw racism does not spring from religion or irreligion. It is a harmful xenophobic tribalistic instinct that manifests itself in a certain subpopulation of our species. Religion has been a justification for racism, but it does not follow that religion is the cause. Nor would it follow that atheism is the cause.

Absolutely true. But one thing is clear: Ideas have consequences. Believing that one raceyour raceis superior dehumanizes those of other races. This idea has consequences. When others are made less than human it is easier to hate them, discriminate against them, marginalize them, and even murder them. This is why Nazis denigrated Jews as cockroaches and rats. Its why the Hutus called the Tutsis cockroaches, as well. It is sadly straightforward to treat animals like animals. Ironically, genetics prove that thereis only one race, the human race.

Religious ideas have consequences too. As I write this, we are finding out about the attack in Barcelona that left 13 dead on one of my favorite streets, Las Ramblas. No claim of responsibility yet, but ISIS is already celebrating. The parallels to Charlottesville are haunting: An attack in which an ideologically twisted individual drove a car through crowds of innocent people, different only in body count and, in all likelihood, motivating ideology.

If you believe your religion is superior to all others, that makes you special and everyone else lesser. If you believe that you are righteous and everyone else is wicked, that idea has consequences. The bible itself is inherently racist as FFRF Co-President Dan Barker has shownin his new book. FFRFs new website catalogs the racist verses and the verses in which god himself is a slavemonger Go have a look.

Religion is an idea or, more properly, a set of ideas like any other. However, religious ideas differ in two important ways. First, their authority supposedly derives from divine fiat. People who believe they have a divine sanction tend to have the worst ideas. (This makes sense; the ideas are not standing or falling on their merits, but on the basis of authority alone). Secondly, religious ideas are explicitly and deliberately held on the basis of faith. That is, they are knowingly held without evidence or in spite of evidence. As a result, religious ideas are significantly more tenacious. But every mind possessed of these bad ideas is capable of changing. There are plenty of atheists who were once preachers and reverends and Muslims. There is hope. There is hope because good ideas will eventually and inevitably triumph over bad ideas.

By Andrew L. Seidel Constitutional Attorney, Director of Strategic Response Freedom From Religion Foundation

FFRF is a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping state and church separate and educating about nontheism. We depend on member support, pleasejoin today.

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How TV Host Ray Comfort is Confronting Atheism – CBN News

Posted: at 4:59 am

Ray Comfort is trying to get atheists to change their minds.

The filmmaker and best-selling Christian author has joined up with Living Waters to create, “The Atheist Delusion,” a documentary that dives into the mindset of atheists.

“The Atheist Delusion” pulls back the curtain and reveals what is going on in the mind of those who deny the obvious,” says the film’s website. “It introduces you to a number of atheists who you will follow as they go where the evidence leads, find a roadblock, and enter into a place of honesty that is rarely seen on film.”

Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron hosts the show “The Way of the Master.” Comfort has authored more than 80 books.

The show involves Comfort and Cameron evangelizing to people in the streets, and sharing the gospel with them.

Cameron speaks highly of the new documentary.

“Classic Comfort mixed with high-resolution logic, breath-taking creation, topped off with quality humor and compassionate Gospel interviews,” he said. “Ray has taken his message to a new level…I’ve never been so proud of my friend Ray’s work. Show it to everyone you know, especially your teens.”

Moody Radio Host Janet Parshall calls it, “Absolutely magnificent!”

And Todd Friel, host of Wretched Radio/TV spoke praised it as well.

“No need to tune-in to the Hallmark Channel for tear-jerkers,” Friel said. “Watching the faces of atheists as Ray lovingly and truthfully witnesses to them will make you cry. Just beautiful.”

Click here to find out more about the film.

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Malaysian Police Official: Atheists Have To Stop Causing Anxiety Among Muslims – Patheos (blog)

Posted: at 4:59 am

Earlier this month, a picture of an Atheist Republic gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia went viral, leading to a government crackdown. This is a nation that, in theory, celebrates the freedom of religion, but those rules dont apply to Muslims who leave their faith and certainly not to Muslims who become atheists. Government officials wanted to know if there were any ex-Muslims in that picture because they could be fined or prosecuted.

Shahidan Kassim, a minister in President Najib Razaks Cabinet, even said on camera that atheists in the country must be hunted down, because their lack of religion amounted to illegal thought crimes.

Now the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has weighed in with even more idiotic advice. He just issued a warning to atheists.

Stop hurting the feelings of Muslims.

I advise this atheist group not to cause uneasiness, particularly among Muslims who reject atheism, he told a news conference after witnessing a transfer of duty in the narcotics criminal investigation department and pinning on new rank insignias for senior officers.

Khalid said the nations constitution recognised Islam as the official religion without any provision in it for atheism.

He said the police would scrutinise the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should the atheist group cause anxiety among Muslims.

Just a reminder: The picture above was a gathering of atheists. They werent starting arguments outside a mosque; they were just talking amongst themselves.

And how can atheists not cause anxiety against Muslims when many Muslims get offended over perceived slights against their faith? If moderates get mad over drawings of Muhammad, radicals kill over westernized culture, and the Malaysian government getting anxious over atheists hanging out, theres really nothing atheists can do to protect their feelings.

Other than just shutting up about their atheism. Which, lets face it, is what the Malaysian government really wants.

One reporter asked the top cop what hed do about Muslims who threaten atheists, which is an excellent question. Too bad the response was disappointing.

If [atheists] are threatened and there is an infringement of the laws, we will investigate and take action, he said.

Great. Theyre going to go after hateful Muslims with the same urgency that Donald Trump will go after white supremacy groups. Im sure all the atheists feel safe.

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Malaysian Police Official: Atheists Have To Stop Causing Anxiety Among Muslims – Patheos (blog)

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IGP warns atheist group not to cause uneasiness – Free Malaysia Today

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm

The police chief reminds group that Islam is the official religion and there is no provision for atheism in the constitution.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police today warned an atheist group not to cause uneasiness among Malaysians, particularly the Muslims, with their activities.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, who issued the warning, said the group must abide by the laws.

I advise this atheist group not to cause uneasiness, particularly among Muslims who reject atheism, he told a news conference after witnessing a transfer of duty in the narcotics criminal investigation department and pinning on new rank insignias for senior officers.

Last week, the special officer to the prime minister, Rizal Mansor, expressed his concern over the appearance of an atheist club in Malaysia.

Rizal said the club should not be treated lightly.

Khalid said the nations constitution recognised Islam as the official religion without any provision in it for atheism.

He said the police would scrutinise the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should the atheist group cause anxiety among Muslims.

The IGP was also asked what action the police would take if the group received threats from Muslims.

If they are threatened and there is an infringement of the laws, we will investigate and take action, he said.

On the discovery of the body of a South Korean woman found bound in a hotel room toilet in Genting Highlands today, Khalid said police had identified the killer and were hunting him.

We believe the killer is a Korean citizen and we have alerted the authorities at all exit points to detain him if he tries to leave the country.

This case involves a gambling debt. We believe it is connected with lending money to South Koreans to gamble in Genting Highlands.

When the borrower is unable to repay, this sort of thing happens, he said.

On the issue of Selangor menteri besar Azmin Ali seeking a court order to compel the IGP to arrest businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low in connection with the 1MDB scandal, Khalid said he would wait for the courts decision.

No matter, we wait for the courts order, he said.

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Enrique Valds Pliego, Atheist Republic Oaxaca City Consulate – The Good Men Project (blog)

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen:Was there a background in atheism, in thefamily?Within that family background, was there a surrounding culture that brought forth a critical mindset towards religion? If so, how? If not, why not?

Enrique Valds Pliego:Myfathers background has a religious mindset. So I lived with him my first 9 years. I was a believer then, but at the dissolution of my parents marriage, I lived with my mothers family who is scientist and agnostics. At that point, I developed my critical thinking skills. They had a library, a big area to read. I had a lot of time to read. My mothers family never took to me to participate in any religious activity, but we used to visit museums and watch movies, theatre and a lot of other activities.

Jacobsen: Through these threads of family and surrounding culture, what made for the pivotal moments in development as an atheist?

Pliego:There were a lot of pivotal moments, but some of them were like moments of revelation, when a bunch of religious ideas had not sensed, or when a religious community used to act violently against free people, I disagree with religious events where Iobliged to shut up just because if I express my self it could be dangerous. but the most important pivotal moment was understanding some concepts like freedom, opinion, law, belief, respect, persuasion, and profit.

Jacobsen: Also, a- as a prefix in atheism means many things because it is both denial and affirmation. What is affirmed there to you? What is denied to you?

Pliego:In my mind, Ithink strongly its a free theme, so theres affirmed that even God in existence, people like me will defend always our rights when some people use that freedom to believe or not believeand is denied to leave our freedom on abuse or swindler hands.

Jacobsen: How did you find the Atheist Republic? What do you do for them? What are your tasks and responsibilities?

Pliego:Ifound AR because people need to talk about common themes, protection, people with common issues. Ido community links, produce messages, questions, replicate notices, and act as a community manager. We work with freedom. Our work is free. We just have a couple of easy rules. Respectis always a base. Our responsibilityis to build a web of free people, to guarantee it, not to fight against religious people, butbuild bridges toward civilization.

Jacobsen: How does an Atheist Republic consulate work? What are its daily operations? How do you make sure the operations function smoothly?

Pliego:Each civilization, each community, city or town grow up independently, even AR. so each consulate hassimilar rules, is part of a mesh that works as a train, lot of peoplego in and go out, if they needsomething we could offer them, with out fees, just because we are real people who want to give to our time the other opportunity to future, options. each one its different, each person has rights.

Jacobsen: Why volunteer for them? What meaning comes from it?

Pliego:Whyhelp people? why build better communities? why is the sense of build civilization a struggle? why make divisions? why disrespect other with same rights? why people arrive at the moon or finding lots of advances? A lot of meanings are inside people, each one of us, but even objective things, because its function, peaceful communities, educated communities are possible, even the opposite.

Jacobsen: How does the Atheist Republic, in your own experience and in conversing with others, give back to the atheist community and provide a platform for them even to simply vent from social and political conventions that hold them either in contempt or in begrudging silence for fear of loss of life quality?

Pliego:When people grew up inside a religious world, with lots of fears, even a tiny, little, very small opportunity of freedom is a great experience, thats why we want to provide a big community for religious refugees. We do not provide disrespect, we want to achieve the common place of meeting, brainstorming, options to kids, their parents, just people who need say any thing related to religiosity, what they feel, what they need, what they lived, what they could give to the community. everybody must live freely. everybody deserves it.

Jacobsen: What do you hope for the future of atheism? What are the movements next steps?

Pliego:Not hopes, its a reality, some places, some countries, towns, who known about rights, about liberty are convinced of taking care of it. the future is related to spread of liberty, with rights, not religious issues, an atheist is not a furious stubborn, is not a politician giving recommendations, is not a leader, is just common people who love freedom as anyone who had to prove it. the next step is the common objectives, freedom anywhere, and maintenance of it. even we have a local activities calendar and sometimes a common calendar at whole consulates. You could check with the consulates, some of them have a complete project while others are building

Jacobsen: Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?

Pliego:No one deserves disrespect, abuse, lack of freedom; everybody deserves human rights anda healthy world. obviously, we must take decisions, but this kind of decisions could have sense between human rights.

Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Enrique.

Pliego:Good night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. He works as an Associate Editor and Contributor for Conatus News, Editor and Contributor to The Good Men Project, a Board Member, Executive International Committee (International Research and Project Management) Member, and as the Chair of Social Media for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, Executive Administrator and Writer for Trusted Clothes, and Councillor in the Athabasca University Students Union. He contributes to the Basic Income Earth Network, The Beam, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Check Your Head, Conatus News, Humanist Voices, The Voice Magazine, and Trusted Clothes. If you want to contact Scott: [emailprotected]; website: http://www.in-sightjournal.com; Twitter: https://twitter.com/InSight_Journal.

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Enrique Valds Pliego, Atheist Republic Oaxaca City Consulate – The Good Men Project (blog)

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