Category Archives: religion

Proof that I have philosophy cred

Maarten Boudy and I wrote two papers for Philosophical Psychology. The first was a critique of a paper by philosopher Neil van Leeuwen, who argued that religious beliefs weren’t at all like “real” beliefs, but more often had a status as “fictional imaginings.” We took issue with that. Van Leeuwen then criticized us, and we […]

Open thread: Susan Jacoby talks about people who go through religious conversion

by Grania There’s an interesting interview with Susan Jacoby over on Fresh Air (NPR) about her new book Strange Gods: A Secular History Of Conversion. Susan looks at people in history as well as current examples, and examines reasons why people choose to exchange one god for another. Interestingly, the answer is very rarely, as she calls it, […]

Come home Cardinal Pell

by Grania Tim Minchin has published a new song. It’s poignant, catchy and like several of his other songs, deeply controversial. But it shouldn’t be controversial at all. It is simply a protest about a case in Australia which requires Australian Cardinal George Pell to give evidence in the investigation into the horrific child sex abuse scandal […]

Obama’s coddling of faith

President Obama just paid his first visit to a mosque, which is good insofar as it lets people know that Muslims are Americans too, that they enjoy the same rights as other Americans, that demonizing Muslims as individuals will not be tolerated in a diverse society, and that all religions enjoy the same Constitutional freedoms. What […]

Is religion a superstition?

There are two things that theists always yell at me about: characterizing faith as “belief without evidence” (which in fact the Bible says it is!), and calling religion a “superstition.” I decided to look up “superstition” in the Oxford English Dictionary (University of Chicago online version) to see if religion fit the definition. In the […]

Invent a religion that transcends but unifies existing faiths—and win $5000!

The PuffHo “Religion” section is an endless source of fun, for it’s really a combination of religion, “spirituality,” and self-help, usually with a generous dose of Isalamophilia. Here, for instance, is some of today’s page: The “How to Live Life Fully” video has virtually nothing to do with religion, but includes these old chestnuts, promoted for centuries. Don’t hold […]

Does seeing things from God’s point of view make you less biased?

Does seeing things as if you were God rather than yourself make you less biased towards members of outgroups? Acccording to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Jeremy Ginges et al. (reference below, free access, and Scott Atran is a co-author), the answer is “yes.” This was the result of […]

Christian Today gives the wrong answer to question of why are less wealthy countries more religious?

The Telegraph gives some new data from a Pew survey on how people in various countries feel about religion. The one graph shown depicts the percentage of people from 40 countries who say that religion is “very important in their lives.” Here it is:   The good news is that countries like the UK and Australia are […]

We Got Scared: a paean to science and rationality

This nine-minute piece was created by DogmaticCure, which has produced a number of rationalist videos. It touts rationality and science as a palliative for the fear and divisiveness produced by ideology and religion. It’s essentially a visual presentation of Pinker’s Better Angels of Our Nature, though it doesn’t really mention the decline of violence in the last few centuries. […]

The UK is a Christian nation: damn those pesky High Courts and Humanists

by Grania Spingies Although most Americans correctly regard Europe as a fairly secular place with far lower levels of religiosity than the US; countries within Europe often find that there are still people in positions of power who find this immensely annoying and pine for the imaginary halcyon days of yore when European nations all bent […]