Sunday School 23rd May 2021
May 23, 2021 at 11:10 am #37759
Countries with the most atheists in 2021.
The FFRF has won its case against a Texas judge who opened each session with prayer.
In Britain a bill to end compulsory worship in non-faith schools is proposed.
How can Nonbelievers defend themselves against Religious Persecution?
Catholic tax cheats were given $82 million of taxpayers’ money.
The 1,000-day old GDPR complaint about leaving the Catholic church. *
Blasphemy a tool used by weak men to silence women’s rights activists in Pakistan.
A letter from just another self-righteous, arrogant Christian asshole.
A brief history of American evangelicals in politics.
Biden White House officials hold first meeting with atheist, secular groups.
What the world’s religions have to say about justice.
World of Woo: On “shedding” spike proteins.
Environment: Disasters uprooted more people than conflict in 2020.
Non-religious people were less likely to die from COVID since the start of the pandemic.
I know you are too smart to fall for any bullshit!
How to deconstruct the world.
60 years later, is it time to update the Drake Equation?
What the world’s religions have to say about justice.
The mysterious microbes that gave rise to complex life.
Long Reads: Catholic church filed charges against a victim of their abuse. Should moral evolution lead to religious evolution? On asking questions that were once beyond the pale. Can Machines control our brains? We are nature.
This week I will order this book: Galileo and the Science Deniers.
Some photographs taken last week.
While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……
Podcast: The early history of Secularism.May 23, 2021 at 11:11 am #37761
Have a great week everyone!
*GDPR = European Data Protection law.May 23, 2021 at 12:15 pm #37762
Thanks, Reg!May 23, 2021 at 1:27 pm #37763
A Belgian friend of mine asked to be “de-baptised” which means she will be struck from the records as ever being a member of the Catholic church. Luckily in Belgium the whole process has been made extremely user friendly. You just have to send off a form letter to the church you were baptised in, with a copy of an identity card and a signature. It supposedly takes a month or two to process which is actually typical of European bureaucracy and she’d be quite surprised if there were any issues getting it done. Belgium is very very quickly becoming a-religious.
May 23, 2021 at 2:14 pm #37765
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Davis.
We had a website in Ireland called “Count Me out” so people could easily defect. It gained so much traction that the Church changed Canon Law as they need to keep their numbers up.
Atheist Ireland are still on the case. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the 2022 Census on religious
afflictionaffiliation in Ireland. It was Covid postponed this year.May 23, 2021 at 3:06 pm #37766
I was baptized as a child. It didn’t take. (Probably because neither of my parents were religious at the time). I have no idea if I am counted as Catholic somewhere.
Last month I filled out the Canadian census. I was one of the 25% of households given the long form questionnaire which asks about religion, so I was ‘no religion’ there, at least. I don’t know if we’ll see census data compiled for another year or two. The overwhelming majority of people probably did it online, so you’d think it would be faster this time.May 23, 2021 at 3:49 pm #37767
My parents baptised me solely because it meant soooo much for their best friends to be my God parents. They chose the least religious protestant church in the Black Forrest and had the service done. Last te they ever set foot in a church appart from other people’s weddings and the first time they had since they were children. I doubt they’d remember which church it was and I don’t feel like writing a letter in German. I doubt that little church kept records and none of us consider it a legitimate baptism. I don’t really regret it because I love my God parents veryich and we never speak religion anyways.May 23, 2021 at 3:56 pm #37768
The phrasing of the questions about religion can be problematic as is where on the census they are placed in order not to “prime” people for answers. I have had complaints from teenagers in the past about how their parents compile the form on their behalf and just tick the “Catholic” box.
I also know several people who profess to be Catholic but don’t attend church on Sunday, read or even own a Bible and do not believe that Catholics eat the actual flesh of Jesus (because it is unbelievable) when getting communion which they also seldom receive.
“Oh you know, I’m really a Catholic in my own way”.
This is where I usually tell them that I play water polo. But I don’t follow the rules of the sport because I don’t play team sports and can’t swim and don’t have a ball or any equipment and I hate getting wet. But I really take water polo serious because it give my life meaning.May 23, 2021 at 4:01 pm #37769May 23, 2021 at 4:03 pm #37770May 23, 2021 at 4:24 pm #37771
I have had complaints from teenagers in the past about how their parents compile the form on their behalf and just tick the “Catholic” box.
This was a criticism for the census that just passed. It was the fist national census to include gender. While it wasn’t integrated well, it was still a step forward from the previous census. But one of the issues raised was it would be difficult for people in some households to answer honestly if they were still closeted to their family, or if their parents simply answered for them. The same could apply to religion, which I believe is included on the short form census every ten years.
With the census going online, it should have been relatively simple for individuals to answer their own sections privately, excepting, perhaps, younger children.
I also know several people who profess to be Catholic but don’t attend church on Sunday, read or even own a Bible and do not believe that Catholics eat the actual flesh of Jesus (because it is unbelievable) when getting communion which they also seldom receive. “Oh you know, I’m really a Catholic in my own way”. This is where I usually tell them that I play water polo. But I don’t follow the rules of the sport because I don’t play team sports and can’t swim and don’t have a ball or any equipment and I hate getting wet. But I really take water polo serious because it give my life meaning.
When I was a kid in the 80s/ 90s, attitudes toward religion were very different. Being seen as pious or devout had a certain value. Even if you weren’t religious, knowing a family went to church every Sunday lent them a sort of wholesomeness, or knowing someone was a minister lent them a sort of trustworthiness. It was odd because it’s not like we didn’t know that anyone from any walk of life could be a total monster, or even just an everyday shithead, but I guess it was some sort of cultural hangover from decades prior.
There are still a number of god-fearing neighbourhoods across the country, but I get the sense that religious affiliation less and less holds any sort of cache with the general public. About a decade ago, I believe Christ-worshippers still made up the majority of the population with Catholics having the bigger slice of that pie. But church attendance was dismally low. I don’t know if it’s a factor of age or immigration patterns or just attitude shifts, but it seems less people are keeping up appearances of religious affiliation, sort of like cleaning out the cupboards and drawers and realizing that shirt you’ve kept but not worn for over a decade is never going to be worn again.May 23, 2021 at 5:38 pm #37772
I understand the next census here will include questions about gender rather than just an M or F tick-box for sex. The questions are not compulsory. I have not seen the format of proposed changes to the questions so I may not be fully correct in my interpretation.
About 30 years ago Ireland changed. No longer was the priest, bank manager or local politician revered. The latter two have been somewhat redeemed at local level.
I would also posit that emigration has had a positive effect on attitudes. I live in west Dublin where about 25% are non native Irish. A local school has children whose parents come from 87 different countries. I find it even more cosmopolitan that London , where I spent 5 years. I am spoiled for choice when it comes to asking “What to eat tonight” questions. Well, I will be again soon, once lock-down is further lifted. The Irish regularly emigrate to “anywhere” so inward migration to Ireland is one of the best things to happen here.May 23, 2021 at 6:07 pm #37773
Should moral evolution lead to religious evolution?
This is an interesting article, about the book “Progressive atheism: how moral evolution changes the god debate” (J. L. Schellenberg). I think the premise is, that given the broad moral/utilitarian “improvements” that have happened (at least in the West) over the past 1,000 years, God needs to catch up, going from something like a vengeful father to a loving mother figure. But the loving mother figure wouldn’t allow all the horrors and violence that we see, so this undermines the case for God.
That’s an interesting premise in itself. But it’s also interesting to note, differences between religious and atheistic thinking. To my mind, religion has a vision of how things should be, and if ideas deviate from this vision, they’re just wrong: e.g., that justice is perfect, and that God always makes everything turn out for the best.
Broadly, the skeptical theist claims that we should be agnostic about whether God has reasons for allowing certain evils, since God could have reasons for allowing evil that we cannot know.
But atheists, and Buddhists, deal with things as they are. We don’t believe that justice is perfect, or that things always work out mysteriously for the best.May 23, 2021 at 6:08 pm #37774
The Drake equation article got me doing some googling and I stumbled upon this article touting evidence (“evidence”?) of life on Mars by someone claiming to have been a NASA astrobiologist.
For a few moments, I was half-considering giving him some credence UNTIL, that is, I clicked on the logo at the top left to examine the site’s main page. There, the amount of woo promoted by the site is both deep and stinky.
The site seems to believe in a Nazi “Dark Fleet” with a base on the far side of the moon and that this Nazi fleet is currently in the service of an intergalactic reptilian empire.
There’s also a Nazi/reptilian+psychic connection worth some belly laughs:
May 23, 2021 at 7:02 pm #37776
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Unseen.
Yes, Dr. Michael Salla is one of a legion of nutjobs and shysters that haunt our planet. Even his dog Ralph has left him.
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