Non-Religious Weddings Are on the Rise in Ireland

Just weeks after I posted about the rise of godless funerals in Ireland, there’s another trend worth noting in the country:

Demand for the Humanist Association of Ireland’s secular weddings has surged as the moral authority of the once almighty Catholic Church collapsed in recent decades amid sex abuse scandals and Irish society’s rapid secularisation.

But statistics show rising demand for non-Church weddings. In 1996, 90 percent of Irish weddings were performed by the Catholic Church or the Church of Ireland. But by 2010 that percentage had fallen to 69 percent.

The pent-up demand from those who want more than a civil ceremony in a registry office but reject a religious wedding has created a major backlog for the humanist group’s ceremonies director.

More godless weddings and more godless funerals. Let’s hope there’s no connection.

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Should Atheists Pray?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Should atheists pray?

Herb Silverman offers his take on a similar question here.

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! [Read more...]

The Duck Dynasty Patriarch Actually Used Pascal’s Wager to Make His Point

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family in Duck Dynasty, spoke at Rick Warren‘s Saddleback Church over the weekend.

He’s a Christian, and the sermon was pretty much what you might expect, but at one point, he did something I’m surprised any Christian still does: He used Pascal’s Wager:

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Atheists Counter Christian Protesters Outside Comic-Con

If you visited Comic-Con in San Diego over the weekend, you may have encountered street preachers near the Civic Center trolley stop. It’s really a perfect spot for them, given all the sinners walking into the convention hall…

On Saturday afternoon, though, Brian Stone and a few of his friends decided to respond to them with signs of their own :)

See if you can guess which ones they are:

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It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Mock Church Culture

Richard Clark over at the Christ and Pop Culture blog has a problem with people who “hate-watch” the church, looking for any reason to point out its numerous flaws. He specifically calls out the excellent site Stuff Christian Culture Likes, which is targeted to those “who have been harmed by Christian culture.”

Clark writes:

But these Internet communities too often aren’t about healing. Not really. They funnel all of these triggers into one place, providing an opportunity for us to direct all of our rage, anger, and malice at what we have deemed to be rightful and deserving targets. These places of supposed healing become places of malice and mockery.

Here’s why I find this trend so frustrating and distasteful: biblical healing doesn’t happen this way. Hate doesn’t solve spiritual problems, and God’s Church isn’t sanctified by mercilessly mocking those who have done us wrong. These groups are hate-watching real-life drama, laughing at all the horribly written lines, mocking each villain’s downfalls, and gawking at bizarre plot twists. But these characters are human beings, whom the Bible refers to as neighbors. These plot twists have real consequences.

Clark is ignoring that fact that mockery is a form of healing. It’s why so many atheists love(d) to listen to comedians like George Carlin rail against the Church — he let you know that it was okay not to respect a flawed belief system run by a corrupt organization. Even if you are religious, it’s important that you call out your leaders when they screw up, and SCCL does an excellent job of that.

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