evangelicals, trump. pence, white house, pro-life

Trump’s voter base made easy bedfellows of politics and religion, blurring the line of separation between church and state. But as white evangelicals shrink to a smaller fringe in the Secular Age, will their political power also decline?

By James A. Haught

White evangelicals put Donald Trump into the White House.  They swarmed to the 2016 election in high numbers and gave an amazing 81 percent of their votes to the vulgar, obnoxious, race-baiting, gambling billionaire who favors the rich, tries to take health care away from 20 million, and brags about grabbing women by their genitals.

Although he once seemed to favor women’s rights, Trump campaigned on a promise to appoint only pro-life Supreme Court justices–those who would jail women and doctors for ending pregnancies. 

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Mandisa Thomas, Black Nonbelievesrs, African American

An overwhelming majority of African Americans self-identify as Christians, putting them ahead of both whites and Latinos. Black Nonbelievers, Inc, aims to revolutionize the community and its deeply entrenched relationship with religion through community-building events like the one here discussed.

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Mandisa Thomas is the Founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., one of, if not the, largest organizations for African-American or black nonbelievers or atheists in America. The organization is intended to give secular fellowship, provide nurturance and support for nonbelievers, encourage a sense of pride in irreligion, and promote charity in the non-religious community. It is affiliated with the Center for Inquiry, Ex-Muslims of North America, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, among other associations.

From the page:

“We connect with other Blacks (and allies) who are living free of religion and other beliefs, and might otherwise be shunned by family and friends. Instead of accepting dogma, we seek to determine truth and morality through reason and evidence.”

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pakistan, ex-muslim, atheist, death threats, blasphemy, asylum

” ‘The day you step foot in Pakistan, as soon as you get out from the airport we will kill you’, said my mother.” Kubra recounts her experiences as a child in a devout Shia household and the price she pays for critically confronting her religion.

Sarah Mills

Her mother threatened her with death, recounts a woman who agreed to let me refer to her as Kubra.

” ‘The day you step foot in Pakistan, as soon as you get out from the airport we will kill you’, said my mother. I had just told her that I had left Islam when she asked me to come back to Pakistan as she missed me. I had to tell her why I could not return to my home country and so she gave me this angry impetuous response.”

Kubra was born in Lahore to a conservative, devout Shia family. From a young age, she relates, Islam was the “be all and end all” of her identity.

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chaplain, atheist chaplain, Jason Heap, navy

“If the U.S. Navy appointed its first atheist chaplain…what could his duties as a chaplain be? Perhaps he could tell a sailor seeking spiritual solace in the face of death not to worry, he has no soul, anyway,” writes the nameless author.

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

The navy has rejected the application of Jason Heap, a doctor in theological history, who had applied for the position of atheist chaplain, The Washington Times reports.

The author of the article, conspicuously anonymous, indulges in a ‘witticism’ on the apparently paradoxical nature of the position: “If the U.S. Navy appointed its first atheist chaplain, as the organized atheists demanded (twice), what could his duties as a chaplain be? Perhaps he could tell a sailor seeking spiritual solace in the face of death not to worry, he has no soul, anyway.”

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metamemetic, psychology, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, end of fear project, diego fontanive, extremism, fundamentalism

What is metamemetic learning, and could reforming the way we think combat extremism, political polarization, and irrational fears?

By Sarah Mills

It isn’t an insult to say that we, as humans, and irrespective of our innate intelligence or predilection for learning, are not inclined towards objectivity. We acquire information that shapes our behavior in a variety of ways, including operant and classical conditioning and observational learning. Our beliefs are molded by cultural values, a consequence of environmental factors, but also volatile and arbitrary in so far as they are subject to laws other than logic. Our firmest convictions are passed on through storytelling and reinforced through punishment and reward systems. Author Jag Bhalla writes, “Every culture bathes [its] children in stories to explain how the world works and to engage and educate their emotions,” transmitting social norms in the process. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt states, ‘The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor,” which is fine, if storytelling is a vehicle for logic. But this is, sadly, not always the case, as evidenced by the willingness of so many to die and kill for myths.

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atheism, logical fallacies, theism, deism

Is it logically sound to equate a lack of belief in something for which there is no evidence with belief in it? Jonathan Edwards explores the fallacies in placing the onus upon atheism to disprove the existence of God.

By Jonathan Edwards

In much of America, an admission of atheism doesn’t make you any new friends. You may even lose friends. Nowhere is this more the case than in the Deep South, where I live. The word atheist is rarely interpreted as the innocuous rejection of conviction without evidence. To many, it literally means the rejection of all that is holy. And who wants to be friends with the devil?

Atheism, however, is simply a natural consequence of rationalism. The Atlantic’s Emma Green wrote an article entitled The False Equation of Atheism and Intellectual Sophistication equating the intellectual rigor of faith with atheism. The article was written several years ago, but the arguments it contains are no less pertinent today. And the fallacies and misguided premises contained therein are in no less need of addressing.

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