Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Columnist Says That To Reinvigorate Failing Churches, Christians Should Try Harder To Push Their Faith On Others

atheistassessment:

The Item is a small newspaper in South Carolina that occasionally publishes the thoughts of a faith columnist called Jamie Wilson. In her latest piece, quoted approvingly by the Christian Post, Wilson says that dwindling church attendance can be reversed…

christiannightmares:

Archbishop of Newark putting half-million dollar addition on his vacation home while church shuts down schools for lack of funding (To read the story, click image or here; Found at Boing Boing; For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/22072604283/catholics-against-proposed-law-that-would-force)

christiannightmares:

Archbishop of Newark putting half-million dollar addition on his vacation home while church shuts down schools for lack of funding (To read the story, click image or here; Found at Boing Boing; For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/22072604283/catholics-against-proposed-law-that-would-force)

I don’t claim to know an over-arching ‘Meaning of Life,’ but I do operate under the understanding that life should not be lived under the pretense that it is simply a test propagated by an invisible, intangible, Creator-God. And it should not be spent identifying with religious traditions and organized groups that, historically, have been at the root of a tremendous amount of oppression and violence.

David G. McAfee — Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist

The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.

United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

Pope Francis has simply changed the subject.

(Source: patheos.com)

confrontingbabble-on:

"Billy Graham is an American evangelical Christian evangelist who has a net worth of $25 million" http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/billy-graham-net-worth/
Because, telling others to be more like penniless Jesus…is a great way to get them to give you their money…

confrontingbabble-on:

"Billy Graham is an American evangelical Christian evangelist who has a net worth of $25 million" http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/billy-graham-net-worth/

Because, telling others to be more like penniless Jesus…is a great way to get them to give you their money…

Secular victory: Religious income tax exemption ruled unconstitutional

…The unconstitutional law, passed by Congress in 1954, allows a clergy member to use the untaxed income to purchase a home, and then, in a practice known as “double dipping,” deduct interest paid on the mortgage and property taxes.

The 1954 bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peter Mack, argued ministers should be rewarded for “carrying on such a courageous fight against this (godless and anti-religious world movement).”…

…“The Court’s decision does not evince hostility to religion — nor should it even seem controversial,” commented Richard L. Bolton, FFRF’s attorney in the case. “The Court has simply recognized the reality that a tax free housing allowance available only to ministers is a significant benefit from the government unconstitutionally provided on the basis of religion.”

All too many preachers, while agreeing that evolution is true and Adam and Eve never existed, will then blithely go into the pulpit and make some moral or theological point about Adam and Eve in their sermons without once mentioning that, of course, Adam and Eve never actually existed! If challenged, they will protest that they intended a purely ‘symbolic’ meaning, perhaps something to do with ‘original sin’, or the virtues of innocence. They may add witheringly that, obviously, nobody would be so foolish as to take their words literally. But do their congregations know that? How is the person in the pew, or on the prayer-mat, supposed to know which bits of scripture to take literally, which symbolically? Is it really so easy for an uneducated churchgoer to guess? In all too many cases the answer is clearly no, and anybody could be forgiven for feeling confused.

Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth

confrontingbabble-on:

Support education…not religious superstition…
Are you happy that your parent’s religion gets tax free status and is therefore subsidized by all tax payers? Now replace “your parent’s” with “a militant radicalized fundamentalist’s”, and reconsider. Now insert “a multimillionaire  tel-evangelist’s”, and reconsider again…
___
"The first recorded tax exemption for churches was during the Roman Empire, when Constantine, Emperor of Rome from 306-337, granted the Christian church a complete exemption from all forms of taxation following his conversion to Christianity circa 312. The law against churches intervening in political campaigns was passed by the US Congress in 1954. Since then, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been successful in using the law to revoke the tax-exempt status of only one church: the Church at Pierce Creek in Binghamton, NY, which had placed an advertisement in USA Today and the Washington Times rebuking Bill Clinton four days before the 1992 presidential election.If the “parsonage exemption” on religious ministers’ housing costs were revoked, American clergy members would cumulatively lose an estimated $2.3 billion over five years.In spring 2010, the state of Oklahoma awarded tax-exempt status to a Satanist group called The Church of the IV Majesties.According to former White House senior policy analyst Jeff Schweitzer, PhD, US churches own $300-$500 billion in untaxed property. New York City alone loses $627 million in annual property tax revenue due to 9,500 churches being tax-exempt, according to a July 2011 analysis by New York’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Office.
The “parsonage exemption” on ministers’ homes makes already-wealthy pastors even richer at taxpayers’ expense. The average annual salary for senior pastors with congregations of 2,000 or more is $147,000, with some earning up to $400,000. In addition to the federal exemption on housing expenses enjoyed by these ministers, they often pay zero dollars in state property tax. Church leaders Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International had three tax-free parsonages: a million-dollar mansion in Atlanta, GA, a two-million-dollar mansion in Fayetteville, GA, and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, leaders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, TX, live in a church-owned, tax-free $6.2 million lakefront parsonage.”
Read in full the pros and cons… http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org/
Watch Some Maryland pastors get tax exemptions on multi-million dollar homes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny6NNUZCaY8
 

confrontingbabble-on:

Support education…not religious superstition…

Are you happy that your parent’s religion gets tax free status and is therefore subsidized by all tax payers? Now replace “your parent’s” with “a militant radicalized fundamentalist’s”, and reconsider. Now insert “a multimillionaire  tel-evangelist’s”, and reconsider again…

___

"The first recorded tax exemption for churches was during the Roman Empire, when Constantine, Emperor of Rome from 306-337, granted the Christian church a complete exemption from all forms of taxation following his conversion to Christianity circa 312.

The law against churches intervening in political campaigns was passed by the US Congress in 1954. Since then, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been successful in using the law to revoke the tax-exempt status of only one church: the Church at Pierce Creek in Binghamton, NY, which had placed an advertisement in USA Today and the Washington Times rebuking Bill Clinton four days before the 1992 presidential election.

If the “parsonage exemption” on religious ministers’ housing costs were revoked, American clergy members would cumulatively lose an estimated $2.3 billion over five years.

In spring 2010, the state of Oklahoma awarded tax-exempt status to a Satanist group called The Church of the IV Majesties.

According to former White House senior policy analyst Jeff Schweitzer, PhD, US churches own $300-$500 billion in untaxed property. New York City alone loses $627 million in annual property tax revenue due to 9,500 churches being tax-exempt, according to a July 2011 analysis by New York’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Office.

The “parsonage exemption” on ministers’ homes makes already-wealthy pastors even richer at taxpayers’ expense. The average annual salary for senior pastors with congregations of 2,000 or more is $147,000, with some earning up to $400,000. In addition to the federal exemption on housing expenses enjoyed by these ministers, they often pay zero dollars in state property tax. Church leaders Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International had three tax-free parsonages: a million-dollar mansion in Atlanta, GA, a two-million-dollar mansion in Fayetteville, GA, and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, leaders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, TX, live in a church-owned, tax-free $6.2 million lakefront parsonage.”

Read in full the pros and cons… http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org/

Watch Some Maryland pastors get tax exemptions on multi-million dollar homes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny6NNUZCaY8

 

The Origins Of An Epidemic: How Right-Wing Religious Communities Give Measles A Chance To Spread

cangal:

think-progress:

Hard to believe this is STILL a problem in our country.

Measles, mumps, whooping cough, and a rare but nasty (and often  deadly to babies) bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b. All preventable with proper vaccination, all showing up again b/c of anti-vaccers of all types. :(