Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Reason Review 1-3

The Reason Review - Volume 1 Issue 3


Editorial Message

Dear Readers,

Thanks to those of you who helped organize and who attended the first ever Out And Out event hosted by SSOMIT. The event has become the talk of the ex-Muslim and secular community, thanks to many who retweeted posts about it and the video.

Speaking of retweets, we now have a Twitter account too. Please follow us at @SecularMIT for live updates and notifications.

We have a bunch of fascinating news bites this issue, including a conspiracy by neo-Crusaders to murder Muslims door-to-door, a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Dawkins' The God Delusion, the release of a Deeyah Khan (this is a big deal) documentary on ex-Muslims, and Hindus and Muslims ganging up on atheists organizing in India (ah, to bring people of different religions together is so rewarding). Also check out Bonya Ahmed's take on feminism in Bangladesh in Opinion, and Dillahunty's debates in Media. Finally, there's the brilliant Dr Dennett on the evolution of belief, featured as this issue's Classic.  

Looking forward to our next Out And Out event on Nov 1st, and to seeing you there.

Hope you enjoy the issue.


Sohan Dsouza
Editor of The Reason Review

Contact editor:
Contact SSOMIT:

Sign up for The Reason Review:


Out And Out of Hinduism coming soon!

After the success of the Out And Out of Islam event, we're looking forward to the next event in the series -- this time, approaching Hinduism and Dharmic religions in general from a secular perspective. Timed around the Hindu festival of Diwali, the main feature is particularly relevant: a screening of Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues, which is an alternative and slightly blasphemous look at the Hindu epic known as the Ramayana. The film will be followed by a moderated discussion about themes related to irreverence, feminism, euhemerism, mythology, and tradition, as they relate to the Dharmic religions of South and Southest Asia. More details to come in a special announcement.


Out And Out of Islam

The Secular Society of MIT held it's first Out and Out event ( on October 3rd. Attendees were treated to a live keynote speech by's secularism advocate Faisal Saeed al Mutar, recorded messages of support by ex-Muslim bloggers/podcasters/authors Eiynah "NiceMangos" and Yasmine "Confessions of an Ex-Muslim", and a live panel discussion with Karim and Muna from Ex-Muslims of North America. Plenty of great discussion, questioning, networking, and laughter. Congratulations to the one extra-lucky attendee for winning a hardcover copy of Ali A Rizvi's The Atheist Muslim in the Javascript-powered raffle. Video at (1hr 55 min long)

Kansas militia men calling themselves ‘Crusaders’ charged in terror plot targeting Somali Muslim immigrants

According to the complaint, the investigation was prompted by a paid confidential informant who had attended meetings with a group of individuals calling themselves “the Crusaders,” and heard plans to attack Muslims, whom they called “cockroaches”.

Top Evangelical College Group to Dismiss Employees Who Support Gay Marriage

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA says it will start a process for “involuntary terminations” for any staffer who comes forward to disagree with its positions on human sexuality, which hold that any sexual activity outside of a husband and wife is immoral.

Louie Gohmert: Christians Will ‘Literally’ End Up In Shackles Because Of Hate Crime Laws 

When Loesch asked Gohmert about Trump’s “shackles” comment, the Texas congressman went off on a bizarre tangent about how the 2009 hate crimes law will result in Christians in America literally ending up in shackles.

Preacher on UGA campus arrested after reportedly elbowing student in the face

The man, his wife and two children preached outside the Tate Student Center near Lumpkin Street, holding signs reading "You deserve hell" and reportedly telling passing students they were "sinners" and "whores." The student who was hit, Keaton Law, said it was his "personal mission" to remove the preachers from campus.

Atheists Reflect on the Impact of The God Delusion Ten Years After Its Release

It was 10 years ago today when Richard Dawkins‘ book The God Delusion was first published in the UK. The book went on to sell more than 3 million copies and, anecdotally, led countless people away from the religions of their youth. In fact, you could argue that The God Delusion has created more atheists than any other book in history… with the sole exception being the Bible.

Islamic communities contain 'tsunamis of atheism' that are being suppressed, says leading ex-Muslim

Speaking ahead of the release of Exposure, an ITV documentary that explores the lives of ex-Muslims faced with abuse and discrimination, Ms Namazie told The Independent: “There is a large group of people who are not seen and heard. Many young people living in Britain have left Islam and are facing huge ostracisation and isolation from their communities as a result.

Final hearing for Christian woman facing execution for blasphemy in Pakistan

Pakistan’s supreme court will hear the case of Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five from the rural village of Ittan Wali in Punjab, eastern Pakistan, who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 after allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhamed during a row with other women over water.

Hindu, Muslim groups come together in violent protest against meeting of atheists in Mathura

A private meeting of atheists dubbed “Nasthik Sammelan” was called off in Mathura district’s Vrindavan on Friday after both Hindu and Muslim religious groups staged a violent protest outside the ashram of Swami Balendu. Balendu, a self-style “atheist guru” who was once a spiritual leader, had called for a two-day conclave on atheism. However, on Friday morning, hundreds of protestors arrived armed with sticks, with police officials backing them.

Cairo University Abolishes ‘Religious Identity’ from All Official Paperwork

Students and both academic and administrative staff at Cairo University, one of Egypt’s top universities, will no longer be required to disclose their religious identity on any paperwork. According to Cairo University’s President Gaber Nassar, the move is aimed at eliminating any potential discrimination arising from the disclosure of religious identity.


Riaz Osmani -- Penal Code 377: The bane of Bangladesh’s LGBTQI population

After the murder of gay rights activist Xulhaz and gay cultural activist Tonoy by Islamic militants earlier this year, gays in Bangladesh are now in hiding, fearful of their lives. Those who are able to are leaving the country. This is a sorry state of affairs and needs to change soon.

Bill Maher -- Atheists Suck at Voting

You’d think not believing in God would free up more time for civic engagement, but apparently not. According to The Washington Post, atheists and assorted nonbelievers make up a growing percentage of the population, but a constant and small portion of the electorate.

Bonya Ahmed -- Talk in Women in Secularism 2016

In Bangladesh, though we have a secular constitution, a secular criminal law, and a secular civil law…the Family law continues to follow religious rules. As a Muslim girl, I was allowed to receive 1/2 of the property that my fictitious unborn brother would receive. Since we did not have a brother, 1/4 of my parents property would go to my uncles.


SSOMIT Out And Out Of Islam -- event for ex-Muslim atheists and secular supporters

The audio track from the Secular Society of MIT's (@SecularMIT) first event in the Out And Out series, a set of events for atheists coming from specific religious communities and backgrounds to share their unique experiences with one another, with other secular people, and with religious guests.

ITV -- Exposure: Islam's Non-Believers

Current affairs series. Award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan investigates the lives of people who have left Islam as they face discrimination from within their own communities.

Polite Conversations -- PC Panel Discussion 4 - Australian Hate Speech Laws (Part 2)

A continuation of last week's episode on Australian hate speech laws. In this part we discuss the Cronulla Riots, and how our backgrounds shape our views on this subject.

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 130 - Janet Heimlich, Founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project 

Janet Heimlich is the founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, and author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, both of which examine child abuse and neglect that is enabled by religious belief in the United States. I spoke with her about the way children suffer at the hands of religion, whether teaching kids about Hell constitutes abuse, and what atheists can do to help.

ScathingAtheist 190: Vulgarity for Charity 4 Edition

In this week’s 90 minute special edition, Deepak Chopra will yell into a mirror while crying. Iran asks Salem, Massachusetts for advice on how to deal with lady chess players, and Tom and Cecil from the Cognitive Dissonance podcast will join us for the extended conclusion of Vulgarity for Charity.

ScathingAtheist 191: Snatch Snatch Edition

In this week’s episode, Lucinda brings us a special this Roast in misogyny, Donald Trump does some attention grabbing, and the Quran will get repetitive for the Quran.

The Thinking Atheist -- Buddhism

 Is Buddhism a religion?  A philosophy?  Both?  Something else?  Many Buddhist organizations - physical and online - promote it as a way of "finding peace within oneself.   What about atheists who are Buddhists?  Is this a spiritual journey, or a method for framing a physical one?

The Thinking Atheist -- Health, Woo-trition, and The Food Babe

How do we separate "nutrition" from "woo-trition?"  This show is about the science (and pseudoscience) of food.   We also spend time on nutrition celebrity "The Food Babe," Vani Hari, a best-selling author and activist named by Time Magazine as one of the 30 most influential people on the internet, despite the fact that she has no degree or expertise in the field of health and nutrition. Joining our discussion are actual health and science educators

#GSPodcast -- Ep#91 – Terry McDermott – Perfect Soldiers 

Terry McDermott (@TerryMcdermott) is an American author and Journalist. He joins me on The #GSPodcast to discuss his book Perfect Soldiers. Who were the 9/11 hijackers and why did they do what they did? We also talk about the intelligence services, journalism, 9/11 truthers, Al- Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden and much more.

#GSPodcast -- Taking The Myth – 14 Oct 2016 Edition

This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight (@Gspellchecker) and Iram Ramzan (@Iram_Ramzan) discuss the big topics. We talk about Louis Theroux’s ‘My Scientology Movie’, CAGE, 9/11 Conspiracy theories, ‘No Hijab Day’, Iranian chess competitions and Ascotsman Abroad (@AScotsmanAbroad) joins us to put the Catholic Church in their place. And of course, the ASLAN Awards!

Atheistically Speaking -- AS284: Vaccines Are Not Killing Us! with Ken Camargo

My guest today is Dr. Ken Camargo. We discuss the anti-vaccination movement, the facts about vaccination, and what is behind all the misinformation out there.

Atheist Debates - Dillahunty vs Slick - Is Secular Humanism superior to Christianity? 

Dallas, TX, October 2nd, 2016 - Matt Dillahunty and Matt Slick debate the question "Is Secular Humanism superior to Christianity?"

Atheist Debates - Discussion - Is there evidence for God? Matt Dillahunty and Satyan Devadoss 

Recorded in San Jose, in conjunction with The Village Forum and the Saratoga Federated Church - I sit down with mathematician Satyan Devadoss to discuss whether or not there's sufficient, good evidence to warrant belief in the Christian god.

Atheist Experience 20.39 with Russell Glasser and Jen Peeples

The Atheist Experience episode 20.39 for October 2, 2016, with Russell Glasser and Jen Peeples. Vaccinations. Jen addresses some misconceptions about vaccines.

Atheist Experience 20.40 with Matt Dillahunty and John Iacoletti

The Atheist Experience episode 20.40 for October 9, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and John Iacoletti. Viewer Calls. Matt and John take callers.

Point of Inquiry -- Godless Infidels: Leigh Eric Schmidt on Atheism in the 19th Century

Point of Inquiry welcomes Leigh Eric Schmidt, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis and author of the new book, Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation. Schmidt gives a detailed account of what it was like to be secular in a society where God was considered to be the sole source of all morality.

Mythicist Milwaukee -- African Americans for Humanism w/ Norm Allen Jr.

Norm R. Allen Jr. was the first and only full-time African American secular humanist activist traveling the world promoting secular humanism and skepticism. Norm Allen is also the president of NP Solutions, a writing business headquartered in Buffalo, NY. In Africa, he helped establish and/or strengthen 72 humanist groups in 30 African nations.


Is Religion Man Made? Evolution of Belief | Daniel Dennett 

Daniel Dennett gives a lecture about the evolution of belief. Get a religious friend to watch this. Maybe they'll learn a thing or two. This is an old video so I tried to clean it up a bit and also cut out all the fat (introductions and questions) that didn't contribute much. This lets you get right to the point.

Feel free to share this issue and blog far and wide.

Discuss in the comment space below.

Email the editor with any questions or feedback.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Reason Review 1-2

Editorial Message

Dear Readers,

Whew, we've made it to our second issue. There's a lot in this one too, so if you're pressed right now, bookmark it and take your time with it over the next couple of weeks until 1-3 comes out.

We're getting ready for our first Out And Out event, this one being for the ex-Muslim community and their secular supporters.

In local news, a Christian minister is being forced to take a course on Islam because she assaulted a Muslim tenant. While I am all in favor of educating people about religions in an unbiased manner (have to wonder about how unbiased this course would be), I would think the appropriate response to bigotry-motivated assault is to take a class on anger management and dealing with differences, which would result in a more broad-reaching tolerance -- that would be useful if she also had, say, a Hindu tenant or an atheist tenant. The implications of such a precedent would be rather absurd if applied universally: would one have to take a class on quantum healing if one assaulted a Chopramaniac, or a class on Thetan mythology if one assaulted a Scientologist? Or no class if one assaulted an atheist (since atheism is lack of belief)?

My old home, Dubai, is also in the news for upgrading its Quran Park, where the promoters will trot out -- among other claims -- the long-debunked nonsense about Islamic prescience of scientific discoveries. Poor Ken Ham must be salivating over how easy it is for non-secular countries to just build these kinds of things with state money, while he wrestles with scandal over the tenuously-justified state tax breaks he managed to get in the US for his Christian Noachide Ark theme park. Given how awful a failure said park turned out, it is amusing that a similar venture coming up in Canada has also made the issue.

A couple of days ago, -- Sep 30th, to be precise -- we celebrated International Blasphemy Rights day, which a Canadian province just recognized. I hope all of you got around to something at least a little blasphemous. Indeed, a lot of blasphemy and general irreverence made the issue, and is being cracked down on -- in Ireland (by censorship), in India (by criminal law), in Pakistan (by criminal law), in Singapore (by criminal law), in Myanmar (by criminal law), and in Jordan (by criminal law, and then by vigilante murder, sadly).

Our Reports section includes a worrying report on the rise of creationism in Europe, and a more hope-raising comprehensive report on atheism in America. There's a sketchy report on divorce and religion, which may be confusing correlation with causation -- check it out and see for yourselves.

Highlights from the Opinion section include great pieces on the perception of atheism in The Atlantic and on the history of secularism in the Post Gazette. Our classic hit for the issue is a TED talk on gullibility. We also have a ton of other media linked, including a flurry of publishing activity from Matt's Atheist Debates, so be sure to check them out over the next couple of weeks, and subscribe to the makers' podcast/video channels.

Hope you enjoy the issue.


Sohan Dsouza
Editor of The Reason Review

Contact editor:
Contact SSOMIT:


SSOMIT event for ex-Muslims and friends tomorrow!

Hope you've blocked off your schedules for tomorrow evening (Monday, October 3rd), which is when we're having our first "Out And Out" event. Keep up to date with the event on the Facebook Event page, where we've posted extended profiles on our panelists, public figure supporters, and grand raffle prize. See you in 56-114 tomorrow at 7pm!


Forced to learn Islam? Mass. minister fights ruling

New York Law School professor Robert Blecker said the order does not appear to violate Obi's constitutional rights.
"We're not requiring her to embrace any (religious) principles. We're requiring her to learn about them," Blecker said.
Suffolk University law professor Christopher Dearborn disagreed, saying that although Obi's conduct may be considered highly offensive, he believes the judge should have ordered her to attend anger management classes or counseling instead of ordering her to take a course on Islam.

Arizona high school boys soccer team refuses to play team with two female players

The players voted not to play unless midfielders Alyssa and Colette Hocking were allowed to play.
“Actually, it was the team’s decision,” Foothills coach Steven Rains said. “They would not play without their team. They felt the girls earned the right to be on the team. And they won’t play without them.“

Kentucky Student Says His Car Window Was Smashed In Because He Had a Poem About Atheism on the Seat

A woman named Brittani wrote a poem called “What God Needs” for her Creative Writing class at a college in Paducah, Kentucky. It’s a piece that clearly has an atheist bent, referring to “A daughter with lymphoma” and “An ethics class, maybe three.”
Her boyfriend Aaron had a copy of it lying in his car where anyone could see it… and did I mention this was in Kentucky?

Evangelical Pastor: Donald Trump Under ‘Concentrated Satanic Attack’

Pastor Darrell Scott said that five years ago, an unnamed “nationally known preacher” claimed that if Trump ran for president, he would come under a “concentrated satanic attack.” Scott said the preacher warned of “a demon, principalities and powers, that are going to war against you on a level that you’ve never seen before.”

Giant ark planned for Bible-based theme park near Moose Jaw, Sask.

A cemetery south of Moose Jaw, Sask., has been approved as the future home of a theme park complete with full-sized replicas of biblical structures from a tabernacle to Noah's ark.
"This will be a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction and I think there will be people coming from all over the world to visit," said Marc L'Hoir, who manages Sunset Cemetery in the city.

Believe it or not: Victoria proclaims Blasphemy Rights Day

"That repeal is more than cleaning up old elements: it's sending a message to these countries like Jordan and Ireland that blasphemy laws are not okay in the 21st Century."

Dubai’s Quran Park gets a cave and glass house 

“The park is considered a great opportunity to explain the meanings of a lot of wonders and miracles mentioned in the Holy Quran in the scientific and medical fields, and the benefits of the plants mentioned in the Holy Quran and how modern medicine is highly dependent upon these plants for treatments as well as their environmental benefits.”

Dutch tourist charged for insulting religion 

“The foreigner has been detained in police custody because the immigration department and the head of the sermon recital team are pressing charges,” said Police Captain Hla Myint of the tourist police.
U Kyaw San, who was delivering the sermon, filed charges at the police station in Maha Aung Myay township under section 295 of the penal code for intending to insult religious feelings or beliefs, and under section 4 (2) and 13 (1) of the Myanmar Immigration Law.

Singapore jails teen blogger Amos Yee for anti-religion posts

Amos Yee, 17, will spend six weeks in jail for deliberately posting videos and comments critical of Christianity and Islam.
Judge Ong Hian Sun told the court that Yee's actions could "generate social unrest".

Saudi Arabians, Muslims lash out at Myriam Fares over 'anti-Islam photo'

The 33-year-old singer was merely congratulating them on the 86th anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s National Day.
However, the large majority from the conservative Muslim country weren't too keen on seeing Myriam's fully made-up face on their flag, which has the words "There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is his Prophet" written on it.

Indian ‘atheist’ held for criticising Islam on social media

A self-proclaimed atheist youth was arrested in Indian city of Kolkata for ‘hurting religious feelings’ after he re-posted a critique of Islam on Facebook.
Tarak Biswas, 32, reportedly routinely criticised several religions on the social media, evoking strong reactions and sparking debate. The youth, however, was held after he re-posted the material relating to Islam from another website.

Christian Teen Charged with Blasphemy Over Mecca Photo

A Pakistani Christian teen has been charged with blasphemy over a derogatory picture of Islam’s holiest place, police said on Tuesday.
Nabeel Chohan was arrested for liking and sharing on social media a disparaging photograph of the Kaaba, the building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that Muslims turn and pray to five times a day.

Nahed Hattar shot dead: Prominent Jordanian writer charged with offensive Facebook post killed

A Jordanian writer who was arrested for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam has been shot dead.
Nahed Hattar was assassinated in front the Supreme Court in Amman with local media reporting he was shot three times in the head.

Nissan commercial featuring same-sex couples rankles religious Israelis

The Hotam Forum, comprised of religious research institutes in Israel, launched its campaign on Wednesday, The Times of Israel reported, posting an image of the ad with a stop sign covering it. Another photo shows a family with a mother, father and two children. A banner reads: “In our family car there is a mother and a father.”

Female chess players forced to wear hijab as governing body awards world championship to Iran

Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don't cover up.
In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game's scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to protest Ireland’s strict abortion laws

Last year, Ireland became the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote—a remarkable victory in a country where the Catholic church has historically wielded a great deal of power. But while Irish citizens may be drifting from the church, the country’s strict abortion ban shows that Catholicism retains influence over their everyday lives.

UPDATE: My Scientology Movie will not be released in Ireland

The film has a UK distributor, Altitude and is set to be released over there on October 14th. However as we reported earlier this year, an Irish distributor has yet to be confirmed and it's looking likely that none will be. 
The main stumbling block seems to be Ireland's blasphemy laws and in particular the The Defamation Act of 2009. According to that piece of legislation, any "publication or utterance of blasphemous matter" against any religion is an offence and carries a fine of €25,000.


Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back

Today, nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated—three times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older). While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation.

Creationism Invades Europe

For years, although creationists were growing in number in European countries and gradually developing an influence in schools and local communities, they mostly kept under the radar and were not a major concern. Not until, at least, about a decade ago, when the Council of Europe issued a warning against the growth of creationism and the potential threat to the educational system it posed.

In Tibet, religious freedom with Chinese characteristics

It is not so simple for religious figures and institutions, experts say.
"Temples, monasteries... Of course, they are controlled," said Jens-Uwe Hartmann, a specialist in Buddhism at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and an expert on Tibet.
"What they are doing is very closely observed."
If religious leaders emerge who are not approved by the Chinese Communist Party, they simply disappear, Hartmann said, adding: "So you'd better keep your mouth shut."

Sufi Sect of Islam Draws ‘Spiritual Vagabonds’ in New York

“Sufism has never been embraced by mainstream Islam,” said Daisy Khan, founder of the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality and one-half of the couple who in 2010 sought to open a community center in Lower Manhattan, mislabeled the “ground zero mosque.”
For Ms. Khan, the ethereal buzz of Sufism is its great appeal, a faith that is “beyond the realm of this world,” dealing with the “supernatural, the magical and love.”

How decades of divorce helped erode religion

“A lot of the narrative around the rise of the nones, or the rise of the non-affiliated, has focused on how there’s changing cultural preferences, that people are choosing to move away from religion,” said Daniel Cox, one of the researchers on the new study. “I think there’s also a structural part of the story that has not gotten as much attention. We wanted to focus on the way millennials were raised, which is different from any previous generation. And part of that is they’re more likely to have grown up with parents who are divorced.”


‘Women Atheists Are Genuinely Considered Monsters’

The term “atheist” is a slur. There’s no way anyone in the 17th or 18th century wanted to be called an atheist. It’s a slur within Christian theological discussions about people who are libertines, who are living as if there is no God.
There were other terms that were seen as ways of sidestepping the slur of atheism. You might think of yourself as a freethinker or you might call yourself a deist. But even those were dangerous labels to assume.

Why do we Need to Support Progressive Muslims?

I, therefore, believe that secular Muslims, ex-Muslims and people of other faiths must form a strong bond with Muslim reformists. We have more similarities and less differences. The people that Islamists despise the most are not Atheists but those who have taken up the task to re-interpret Islam and challenge Islamists doctrinally.
Islamists don’t want to see themselves challenged scripturally and this is precisely why they keep targeting such Reformist Scholars. A few years ago, two Modernist scholars Doctor Shakeel Auj and Doctor Muhammad Farooq Khan were murdered by the extremists for their modern views on Islam.

How to Fight Extremism with Atheism

New Atheism has already succeeded in shifting the cultural landscape of Western civilization, making it far more acceptable to be openly atheist, giving atheists unprecedented public visibility, buttressing the legal boundaries of secularism and changing the nature of public discourse about faith, belief, God and religion.

Why ‘God And Country’ Christianity Is Just Another Phony Prosperity Gospel

This form of American Christianity is a frustrating faction of the faith. There are passionate but generic references to God, calls for fervent prayer and public pleas for “morality.” But the alleged No. 1 devotion to God is usually tied to a No. 1a devotion to the Stars and Stripes, as if one must always be tied to the other.
It’s a gospel that pays lip service to a god that’s in control, but it’s heavy on emotions that say man is really the one who protects us. In other words, it’s a gospel that downplays or ignores the complete sovereignty of God.

Where religion and politics meet 

The political theories of Rousseau, Hobbes and Locke placed humans at the center of the universe and in social contract with one another. Their concepts were adapted by the founding fathers to create American democracy.
The United States, however, was founded by refugees of religious persecution, and therefore the First Amendment, prohibiting an official religion, was crucial in establishing a society different from Europe’s. But old habits die hard.


Atheist Debates - What does atheism offer?

I've frequently been asked "What does atheism have to offer?" - and it's come up so many times that it seemed like a good idea to offer a little more than the obvious answer.

Atheist Debates - You're not an atheist, you're an agnostic

Do the labels matter? What if they get in the way? Weren't we having a great issue-based conversation before you decided to change the topic to the labels?

Atheist Debates - Preparing for debates

A talk given to the Rationalists of East Tennessee, discussing how I view and prepare for debates, with tips for discussions that aren't formal debates.

Atheist Experience 20.38 with Matt Dillahunty and Greta Christina

The Atheist Experience episode 20.38 for September 25, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and guest Greta Christina. Bat Cruise lecturer Greta Christina talks about her books and current projects.

Atheist Experience 20.37 with Russell Glasser and Tracie Harris

The Atheist Experience episode 20.37 for September 18, 2016, with Russell Glasser and Tracie Harris. Viewer Calls. Tracie and Russell take a special caller, then move on to other calls.

The Thinking Atheist -- The Superstition Summer Camp Solution

Summer has come and gone, but for many of us, our memories of summer camp remain fresh in our minds, partially because those camps were more interested in Christ than they were in campfires, swimming holes, nature hikes, team sports, friendships and fun.
In this broadcast, we share some stories from our listeners, highlighting their own "Jesus Camp"-esque experiences, and we highlight Camp Quest, a secular summer camp which is providing a welcoming, woo-free alternative to the church-run (and church-funded) religious camps that sell camp...but deliver church.

The Thinking Atheist -- Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism (with Aron Ra)

Aron Ra has a new book based on his popular YouTube video series, "Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism." We talk to Aron about these falsehoods, and the new book.

Atheistically Speaking AS278: NO CHILD LEFT ALONE

For the next two episodes I bring you a fascinating discussion with two of the three researchers who conducted the study described here. This is the perfect topic for this show because it illustrates how badly our intuitions track the data sometimes. It’s also a critical issue that could affect any of us! I hope you enjoy hearing from the researchers who brought us this study as much as I did!

Atheistically Speaking AS279: NO CHILD LEFT ALONE, PART 2

Today we delve even further into the study found here. We talk more about the implications and possible explanations for the ultimate finding, which of course was a strong effect of people evaluating the danger of a situation not based on actual risk but on moral judgment.

Point of Inquiry -- Editing Our Pasts: Dr. Julia Shaw on The Illusion of Memory

Even when it comes to our most confident recollections, the potential for memory error has proven to be profound, and Dr. Shaw believes understanding the science of memory can help us deal with our brains’ tendency to rewrite the past.

Polite Conversations -- Episode 15 - Michael Sherlock: opposing tribes & "befriending bigots"

Here's my fun chat with Michael Sherlock - activist, atheist, secularist and author.

Polite Conversations -- PC Panel Discussion 4 - Australian Hate Speech Laws (Part 1)

While, of course I am incredibly against anti muslim bigotry, I don't think legislating speech will be an effective form of combating it. Incitement to violence and harm, harming someone's private property excluded of course.
On the other hand, this also demonstrates to me that refusing to address underlying problematic attitudes in minority communities (out of good intent to protect them from discrimination)can result in furthering divides.

The #GSPodcast -- EP#89 – HAYDAR ZAKI – PREVENT

Haydar Zaki (@HaydarZaki1) is the Outreach & Programme Coordinator for The Quilliam Foundation. We talk about the link between beliefs and violence, the Prevent strategy, Malia Bouattia, radicalisation in universities, Anjem Choudary, #Right2debate, criminalising hate speech, the Iraq war and more!


This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight (@Gspellchecker) and Iram Ramzan (@Iram_Ramzan) discuss the big topics. We talk about The Secularism 2016 conference, violence at a Sikh wedding, Tommy Robinson’s anti-ISIS flag, criminalising speech, Andy Burnham and Prevent, the death of Labour, the cult of Jeremy Corbyn and more!

ScathingAtheist 188: Gay Math Edition

In this week’s episode, we get ready to say hurtful things on the internet for a cause, a homophobic teacher tries out historical math instead of observational, and the Quran will continue to have words in it.

ScathingAtheist 189: Vulgarity for Charity 2 Edition

In this week’s episode, Canada decides to borrow some american stupid, Donald Trump gets a magical demon shield to help with his debate prep, and Tom and Cecil join us to make people regret asking us to roast their loved ones.

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 129 - Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt, Author of Village Atheists

Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt is the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics in 2011. He previously taught at Harvard and Princeton. He has appeared in and on all kinds of media to talk about his work and he’s the author of several books. His latest is Village Atheists: How America's Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation.
We spoke with Leigh about whether we were ever a "Christian nation," why the "New Atheists" really aren't new at all, what we can learn from a cartoonist who lived a century ago.

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 128 - Frank Schaeffer, Former Evangelical Christian Leader

In another life, Frank Schaeffer would probably be an evangelical leader and someone with a powerful position in conservative politics. His father was the influential Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer and Frank himself, along with his father, helped create the modern Religious Right. Frank is the author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back" and, more recently, "Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God."
We spoke about his role in creating the Religious Right, why evangelicals are flocking to Donald Trump when he shares almost none of their values, and what he would say to anyone who might vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

Mythicist Milwaukee -- Promoting Skepticism Through Comedy w/ Willie Barcena

Comedian Willie Barcena is not afraid to take on religion as a stand-up comedian. In his 2016 Netflix special “The Truth Hurts” he challenges the existence of God and the accuracy of the Bible.

Je Suis Muslim: How Universal Secular Rights Protect Muslim Communities the Most

Author and anti-Islamist activist Maajid Nawaz explains how certain members of the "regressive left" threaten progress within minority communities, in particular liberal Muslims.
Nawaz' argument is simple: If we claim to support human rights and classical liberalism, why do we pull punches when it comes to criticizing minority communities and cultures that don't live up to those standards?


Why people believe weird things | Michael Shermer Why do people see the Virgin Mary on cheese sandwiches or hear demonic lyrics in "Stairway to Heaven"? Using video, images and music, professional skeptic Michael Shermer explores these and other phenomena, including UFOs and alien sightings. He offers cognitive context: In the absence of sound science, incomplete information can combine with the power of suggestion (helping us hear those Satanic lyrics in Led Zeppelin). In fact, he says, humans tend to convince ourselves to believe: We overvalue the "hits" that support our beliefs, and discount the more numerous "misses."

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