Christian conservatives: Analyzing modern civilization with ancient superstition

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A “blood moon” on September 27 was treated by some religious conservatives as a godly omen.

Before the advent of science and the ubiquity of light pollution, human beings gazed up at the stars and ascribed great meaning to astral events, treating them as omens from the gods. Many of these mystified people still wander the earth, untouched by modern knowledge of gravity and geometry. They aren’t just hiding out in the Amazonian wilds, either; many of them follow Glenn Beck’s Facebook page. Continue reading

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Umpqua is far less about Christian persecution than it is firearm proliferation

This image of presidential candidate Ben Carson has sparked a hashtag movement, but the FBI's hate crime statistics show it's hardly a bold or courageous stand.

This image of presidential candidate Ben Carson has sparked a hashtag movement, but the FBI’s hate crime statistics show it’s hardly a bold or courageous stand.

Christians are experiencing grief and solidarity over reports that the Umpqua Community College gunman who killed nine people and himself in Oregon on October 1 was targeting their religion. There are conflicting testimonies about what the shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, said to his victims, but all say religion was a theme in the killings.

Horrific as the massacre in Oregon was, it is not sufficient to establish the existence of a war on Christians. FBI statistics for 2013 show 116 hate crimes perpetrated against Catholics and Protestants out of nearly 6,000 hate crime incidents, or less than 2 percent. Continue reading

Corporate Christianity has a very bad week

Creflo Dollar, a televangelist at World Changers Church International, called on followers to help him purchase a $65 million luxury jet.

Creflo Dollar, a televangelist at World Changers Church International, called on followers to help him purchase a $65 million luxury jet.

For opponents of corporate Christianity and fans of schadenfreude, the last week has been a good one. Two high-profile stories put the entire for-profit Christianity enterprise up for public scrutiny. HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver aired a segment chronicling the shameless charade of televangelism – still a lucrative American enterprise – and Sam Rader, a popular Christian YouTube celebrity, was outed as a paid client of AshleyMadison.com, a site that seeks to help married people carry out an affair. Continue reading

Atheism is not the best alternative to religion

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The “A” is a logo often used by atheist groups.

There are a seemingly infinite number of ways a person can define him or herself in relation to the spiritual world. Regardless of your views on religion, the supernatural and the metaphysical, there is likely a word to describe you – believer, agnostic, atheist, deist, spiritual, and all manner of subcategories in between. A tragedy is buried here, though, and it’s the fact that people must identify as one of these or another in the first place. Continue reading