This is What Hypatia Alber Can Teach Us

Alber Saber is the Egyptian atheist who, last year, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of blasphemy, and later violently attacked by his enemies while he awaited his verdict.

Even though his appeal was denied by the courts, Saber paid his bail and left the country.

His second chance at life resulted in the birth of Hypatia Saber earlier this month:

Blogger Jonathan Moremi beautifully explains what Hypatia can teach the country of Egypt:

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This Must Be the House Jesus Wanted Him to Have

I knew Pastor Steven Furtick was a typical evangelical megachurch pastor, but I had no idea how much he fit the stereotype until now.

Furtick runs Elevation Church in North Carolina, home to upwards of 14,000 on any given weekend. Here’s a clip of him talking to his “haters”:

Anyway, Furtick recently purchased a $1,700,000 home:

Maybe that’s unfair to write. And maybe it’s unfair for local reporters to make a big deal about it. It’s not like he’s using the church’s money to buy his house, right? Just like Pastor Joel Osteen, Furtick says he paid for the house through sales of his popular books.

I didn’t even build that house with money from the church. I built it with money from my books and I gave money to the church from the books and you start getting real defensive and being like this ain’t right. This ain’t right,” Furtick said.

He’s getting defensive because a local news channel’s coverage of his purchase isn’t very deferential (and you know Furtick is used to people who just comply with his every wish). It turns out, the report says, that there’s a blurred line between Furtick’s personal wealth and his church’s income.

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How Should We React When a ‘Militant Atheist’ Beats Up a Pastor?

Over the weekend, a man named James Maxie went to church with his girlfriend… and ended up severely beating the pastor, Rev. Norman Hayes, after Hayes asked the girlfriend if she felt safe with him:

“I questioned his girlfriend in his presence if she felt safe,” Hayes said. “He was very, very upset that I’d even suggest that he would hurt her. Then he turned around and hurt me very badly.”

Hayes said Maxie was argumentative and confrontational during the service.

“It looked like he was looking for an argument,” Hayes said.

Maxie and the girlfriend, who attends the church, approached Hayes after the service. She told police that Hayes asked her if Maxie was abusing her, and Maxie became furious, striking pastor several times in the face in the church hallway.

“He came from nowhere and hit me … and knocked me down, and then he got on top of me and just kept hitting me over and over,” Hayes said. He pleaded for the beating to stop, stating he thought Maxie would kill him.

“It was fortunate he did stop,” Hayes said. “I really believe my life was in danger if he hadn’t stopped hitting me in the face over and over.”

The reason I mention this story is because it turns out Maxie is a “militant atheist”:

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Can You Criticize a Religion Without Studying It?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Can You criticize a religion without studying it?:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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Church That Initially Refused to Post Video of Debate Where Christians ‘Were Not Represented Well’ Finally Relents

A couple of days ago, Richard Wilson posted an article on this site explaining a debate he attended at Adventure Christian Church, a mega-church in Roseville, California.

The debate centered around the question of whether Christianity or Secular Humanism provided a better foundation for civil society. Dr. David Marshall represented the Christian side while Dr. Phil Zuckerman represented the non-theists.

As Richard noted, the church never posted the full debate online. Instead, they posted a few “rebuttal” videos responding to certain points made in the debate. But why not the actual thing so we could see it all for ourselves?

Zuckerman offered an explanation in a Huffington Post piece:

When I called pastor Bryan [Hardwick], and asked him why they are refusing to post the video — even after repeated promises of doing so — he replied, “It just didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. We were not represented well.”

In other words, we lost and we don’t want to embarrass ourselves any further.

That’s pretty much the worst thing they could’ve done. Had they posted it a week ago, it probably would’ve gone under the radar. Instead, after the posting on this site, the church’s Facebook page and several comment threads on Reddit were inundated with messages (from both sides) calling for the video to be made available.

Tonight, the church finally did the right thing and posted the video online:

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