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Religion 101

Religion 101

Atheism & Agnosticism Archives

Discrimination and the Boy Scouts of America

posted by Reed Hall

In a controversial move (controversial among many religious conservatives), the Boy Scouts of America recently reversed their longstanding policy banning “open and avowed homosexuals” from becoming Scouts. In other words, the BSA now affirms that it’s okay for Boy Scouts […]

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At the Intersection of Church and State, the Violations Continue…

posted by Reed Hall

In a previous blog entry, I commented upon a recent news story involving the cancellation of an Arkansas school district’s elementary school graduation ceremonies in the wake of a local controversy over prayer, which the district had intended to incorporate […]

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It’s Not About Being “Too P.C.” or Not Wanting to “Offend”; It’s About the LAW

posted by Reed Hall

There seems to be a rather widespread misunderstanding regarding the actual underlying motivations of people who object to schools leading prayers and courts posting copies of the Ten Commandments, or who protest against “under God” being in the Pledge of […]

New Film: “The Unbelievers” (2013)

posted by Reed Hall

Documentary films relating to matters of religion and belief are always worth knowing about, and often worth checking out. A new film entitled The Unbelievers, looking at the importance of reason and science — and casting a critical eye upon […]

Religion and Science (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

Finally, another way of attempting to underscore and clarify how science and religion can be viewed as each occupying and specializing in very different, and even non-overlapping, domains or areas of inquiry (which, being non-overlapping, would mean that they cannot […]

Religion and Science (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

So, what happens if or when religion ventures beyond its own purely non-empirical (or strictly “spiritual”) backyard, and starts making claims regarding empirical (detectable, testable) matters? Such claims would fall properly within the purview of empirical science, which possesses the […]

Religion and Science (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

Some observers suspect that, as science continues to advance, it may eventually succeed in eclipsing religion altogether. According to this perspective, both religion and science are essentially all about explaining or accounting for various mysteries of existence; if and as […]

Religion and Science (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

In some of the community college world religions courses I teach, as the end of the semester draws near we sometimes begin to shift our focus away from looking just at individual religions, from exploring the details of their particular […]

On Atheism and Agnosticism (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

A fair percentage of my community college world religions students (and also of the general public, whom my students probably represent a fairly representative sample of) often exhibits some confusion or uncertainty over the precise meaning of such terms as […]

On Atheism and Agnosticism (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

As mentioned in my previous blog, a fair percentage of my community college world religions students (and also of the general public, whom my students probably represent a fairly representative sample of) often exhibits some confusion or uncertainty over the […]

On Atheism and Agnosticism (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

Many of the students who enter my community college world religions courses each semester (and much, for that matter, of the general American public, of whom such students probably represent a fairly representative sampling), sometimes seem to exhibit varying degrees […]

One Nation: But “Under God”?

posted by Reed Hall

Recent blog posts have addressed some controversial matters arising from the intersection (some might say collision) between religion and our secular culture in general — and our secular public schools in particular. I’ve addressed common misconceptions and misinformation revolving around […]

School Prayer: Yea or Nay?

posted by Reed Hall

In recent blogs, I’ve been concerned with clearing up some common misconceptions relating to areas of interface (sometimes involving significant controversy and conflict) between religion and secular American culture. Having previously discussed why teaching creationism in public school science classes, […]

Why the Ten Commandments Do NOT Belong in Public Schools (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

To attempt to put a more “human face” upon all of this abstract armchair argumentation over the constitutionality and legality (or otherwise) of the government posting or supporting displays of the Ten Commandments in U.S. public schools, let’s wrap things […]

Why the Ten Commandments Do NOT Belong in Public Schools (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry, I underscored the fact that since U.S. public schools are secular state institutions, they therefore cannot endorse or promote religion in general, or any specific religions or religious doctrines in particular. And this means that […]

Why the Ten Commandments Do NOT Belong in Public Schools (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry, I mentioned the fact that U.S. public schools are taxpayer-supported, government-operated state institutions (teachers and other public school staff members are state employees), and that, as state institutions, U.S. public schools are therefore required to […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Five)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, there simply is no alternative scientific theory in legitimate, evidence-based competition with evolution. “Creation scientists” frequently attempt to present what they take to be valid empirical data in support of creationism (or […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, the theory of evolution is far from “a theory in crisis,” and is in fact fully accepted by the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide. Within the U.S. alone (where belief in creationism […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, a sizable proportion of the American public in general fails to understand that in science, a theory is not just a working hypothesis or a mere educated guess, but actually a systematic, […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, a sizable proportion of the American public in general seems to have the impression that creationism and evolution are equally legitimate heavyweight contenders in the scientific marketplace of unsettled ideas. With so […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

A sizable proportion of the American public in general — which, of course, includes a correspondingly sizable proportion of the community college students who enroll in my world religions classes each semester — evidently believes that creationism and evolution are […]

No, America is NOT a “Christian Nation”

posted by Reed Hall

A surprising number of students who enter my world religions classes every semester seem to have the idea that the United States is a “Christian nation.” It isn’t. Now, we must of course be careful to clearly define our terms […]

Previous Posts

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Six)
Specifically Christian newcomers to the study of Judaism frequently puzzle over  why -- as they themselves often put it -- Jews "don't believe in Jesus." The reality is simply that the entire Jewish concept of who and what a Messiah actually is (or does) is just nothing like what Christians them

posted 4:45:00pm Jun. 29, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Five)
Aside from the several other frequent areas of confusion which sometimes puzzle newcomers to the study of Judaism (areas which I've been discussing in my last several blog entries), there is yet another hazy area that is often uniquely puzzling to specifically Christian newcomers: why, as they thems

posted 10:01:32pm Jun. 27, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Four)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about many of the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge of the Jewish faith, and may even harbor some fa

posted 9:16:07pm Jun. 25, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Three)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge of the Jewish faith, and may even harbor some fairly com

posted 6:27:16pm Jun. 22, 2013 | read full post »

Midsummer (Litha)/Yule 2013
Tomorrow (Friday, June 21, 2013) is the date of the summer solstice within the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, by contrast, tomorrow will be the date of the winter solstice. Solstices have long been observed as important seasonal festivals in many traditional cultures. Accordingl

posted 5:05:38pm Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

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