Zach Anner Learns About Islam

No criticism here. I think this is a genuinely good idea.

Internet celebrity Zach Anner, who calls himself a “religious idiot,” is learning about various religions for a webseries called “Have a Little Faith.”

His first one to explore: Islam:

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Ask Richard: My Non-Religious Relatives Want to Attend Church for Their Future Children

Note: Letter writers’ names are changed to protect their privacy.

Dear Richard,

Recently my sister called to tell me that despite neither she nor my brother-in-law being religious people, and despite the fact that they both reject the idea of Jesus as a supernatural figure, she and my brother-in-law have decided to attend church regularly. Obviously, if that’s what they want to do with their Sunday mornings, that’s their business. My concern has to do with one reason my sister gave for wanting to attend church: they are planning to have children soon, and she wants to raise her children with a religion.

She said she wouldn’t care if they chose to leave the church when they got older, but seems to think that some sort of religious foundation is necessary. The other, somewhat more baffling reason is that she wants to make it easier for any of her children who would want to have a religious wedding in the future, since a friend of hers had to attend a lot of classes before getting married to a Catholic man, as this friend had not grown up Christian and was never baptized.

I realize the ultimate decision is theirs, but as a concerned sister and aunt-to-be, what can I do in this situation to help mitigate the harm I my sister will be doing to her children by allowing them to be indoctrinated this way? This seems as irresponsible to me as if she’d told me that she was anti-vax.

Nicole

Dear Nicole,
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Justice Antonin Scalia: The Devil is ‘Getting People Not to Believe in Him or in God’

We’ve known for a long time that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia bases his legal decisions on what the Constitution’s original writers would have wanted, regardless of what society may think or believe today. (Somehow, in his mind, that legal theory can apply to technologies that only became available in the past few years as well as social changes that couldn’t have been anticipated when our nation was founded.)

In an interview with New York Magazine‘s Jennifer Senior that’s getting a lot of press today, we “learn” that Scalia’s not just conservative, he’s a conservative Catholic who believes in the Devil:

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Yale Humanist Community Applies for Official Recognition from Campus Ministries… and Gets Rejected

When the Yale Humanist Community formed last year, they were hoping to eventually become one of Yale’s Religious Ministries — given the same sort of credibility and weight, so to speak, as the Roman Catholic, Quaker, Sikh, Hindu, Baptist, etc. communities. Yes, they were non-religious, but they offered many of the same benefits to students as the other groups did, provided a solid foundation and identity for non-religious students on campus, and sought to become a part of the larger dialogue about faith on campus.

Unfortunately, they recently received word that their application was rejected:

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The Discovery Institute is Mad at Ball State University for Offering the Most Awesome Class Ever

A couple months ago, I wrote a bit about Ball State University, its president, Jo Ann Gora, and a science class that was not very scientific.

I was pretty excited to be writing about BSU because Gora was taking a stand for all that is good and true in this world — namely, teaching science in science classes.

After Ball State hired a professor (Eric Hedin) who was encouraging the “theory” of Intelligent Design in his physics class, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint. In a great move, Gora and Ball State put the kibosh on that situation, drawing the ire of The Discovery Institute. A representative from the pro-creationism group criticized Gora, calling her insistence of teaching science in science courses “Orwellian.”

Since then, it seems that they have been keeping their beady little eyes on Ball State, ready to spring into action for any real or perceived religious offenses.

They found what they were looking for in an honors course called “Dangerous Ideas.”

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