Monday, October 31, 2005

Required Reading

I remember reading about this study several weeks ago via The Electric Commentary. I was finally able to get a hold of the actual study rather than b-grade news reports that labled it "controversial."

Here's the abstract:

Large-scale surveys show dramatic declines in religiosity in favor of secularization in the developed democracies. Popular acceptance of evolutionary science correlates negatively with levels of religiosity, and the United States is the only prosperous nation where the majority absolutely believes in a creator and evolutionary science is unpopular. Abundant data is available on rates of societal dysfunction and health in the first world. Cross-national comparisons of highly differing rates of religiosity and societal conditions form a mass epidemiological experiment that can be used to test whether high rates of belief in and worship of a creator are necessary for high levels of social health. Data correlations show that in almost all regards the highly secular democracies consistently enjoy low rates of societal dysfunction, while pro-religious and anti-evolution America performs poorly.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What happens when two cults combine?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'll take a grande' non-fat latte', no God please.

Coffee drinkers could get a spiritual jolt with their java in the spring when Starbucks begins putting a God-filled quote from the Rev. Rick Warren, author of the mega-selling The Purpose-Driven Life, on its cups.

It will be the first mention of God in the company's provocative quote campaign, The Way I See It. In 2005, Starbucks is printing 63 quotes from writers, scientists, musicians, athletes, politicians and cultural critics on cups for company-run and licensed locations to carry on the coffeehouse tradition of conversation and debate.

I don't really see a big problem with this besides my dislike of giving money to religidiots. Religious quotes can indeed be thought provoking. Maybe these will result in some good atheist-creating coffe house debates. We can only hope that they will include some Sam Harris or Penn Quotes as well.

But they probably won't.
The Religion Clauses

The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment often come into conflict. Sometimes it is hard to make a policy that allows for free exercise that does not respect the establishment of religion. Sometimes it is hard to prevent the government from respecting the establishment of religion without hampering someone's free exercise.

This is not one of those situation.

Iowa prison officials have permitted a religious group at the Newton correction Facility "to take over an entire unit and to turn it into an evangelical Christian church," a lawyer contended Monday.

Inmates can be accepted into the Newton prison rehabilitation program "only by being subjected to religious indoctrination," said Alex Luchenitser, representing American United for Separation of Church and State of Washington, D.C.

His group is suing Iowa prison officials and Virginia-based Prison Fellowship Ministries, contending the program, known as the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, unconstitutionally represents a merger of state and religion.

More here:

A Christian prison program subsidized by the state is discriminatory, giving preferential treatment to inmates who enroll, a lawyer for an advocacy group argued Monday.

Participants live in a special unit that is more like a college dorm than a prison, with separate bathrooms and doors that are unlocked by keys given to inmates, Luchenitser said.

They get special visits from family members and are guaranteed jobs and access to computers, benefits other inmates may not have access to.

InnerChange inmates receive classes required for early parole while inmates not enrolled in the program have to wait to take the classes, Luchenitser said.

They receive in-house discipline, which Luchenitser said "makes misconduct invisible to the Board of Parole."

Inmates who don't subscribe to the "evangelical teachings" of Innerchange "are treated badly" and expelled from the program, he said.

This is EXACTLY what the framers of the establishment clause were trying to prevent. If there were a program that rewarded prisoners for rejection the notion of god (a far more noble goal) the religious right would be in uproar and citing the First Amendment left and right.
Required Reading
For my first post here I was going to try to sum up what this blog was going to be about. But this guy just said exactly what I was thinking.

If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong

We live in a twisted world, where right is wrong and wrong reigns supreme. It is a chilling fact that most of the world's leaders believe in nonsensical fairytales about the nature of reality. They believe in Gods that do not exist, and religions that could not possibly be true. We are driven to war after war, violence on top of violence to appease madmen who believe in gory mythologies.

Read the whole thing.