College Students Today Are Less Religious Than Ever Before

This graph will put a smile on your face.

The numbers, from a study called “The American Freshman,” show that college freshmen are abandoning their faith labels in record number, with self-professed “Nones” comprising more than 27% of students, the highest percentage in 40 years.



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This Finnish Band Just Released a Stunning Music Video Drawing Inspiration from the Work of Richard Dawkins

The Finland-based symphonic metal band Nightwish is about to release their new album, drawing inspiration from the natural world and the work of Richard Dawkins. (In fact, Dawkins appears on the album as a narrator for two of the songs.)

You can see the first single from the album, “Élan,” below. Gotta say, I’d never heard of the band before, but the video and music are just incredible:



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Why Video Glitches Aren’t Evidence of Aliens Living Among Us

Captain Disillusion explains why glitches in online videos aren’t evidence of the secret reptilian alien conspiracy! (Which, apparently, some people believe…)



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Here’s Your Marriage License… and a Bible

The Washington Post‘s Monica Hesse has a fascinating profile of Bobby Martin, one of the probate judges in Alabama who has had to deal with the U.S. Supreme Court and Alabama’s own Chief Justice telling him contradictory things about whether he can marry gay couples over the past week:



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Ask Richard: Parents Pressure Atheist to Persuade Her Sister to Have a Catholic Wedding

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

Hi Richard,

I’ve never actually come out and told my family that I’m an atheist, but it’s something of a poorly kept secret. They certainly know that I’m no longer a Catholic as I was raised, as I’ve refused to have my daughter baptized. But now my parents have decided that it is my lack of faith that has pulled my sister away from the Church, and now that my sister and her fiancé have set a wedding date, this has become an issue that must be immediately remedied.

Both my parents have separately taken me aside and “requested” in the strongest possible terms that I try to persuade my sister to have a Catholic wedding. She doesn’t want to have a Catholic wedding, her fiancé doesn’t want a Catholic wedding, and I think that should be the end of the matter. But my parents want them to have a Catholic wedding, and his parents want a Catholic wedding, so somehow that’s my problem? I would try to talk to the parents about it, but frankly, I’ve never been able to have a rational and reasonable conversation with my parents.

I’m tempted to just stay away from my parents for a while until they cool down, but there are two things that make me hesitant to cut them off. First is my daughter, she spends a day with them every week, and they are wonderful to her, and everyone would be truly crushed if they didn’t get to spend the day together. The second is that I don’t want my little sister to feel that I have abandoned her. She and her fiancé are capable of standing up for each other, and have been more honest with their parents than I have, even though they are much younger, and I don’t want them to feel that they have to make this stand alone.

So I guess my question is, do I just walk away from the situation and hope things calm down? Or do I allow myself to get dragged into this drama and actively try to keep everyone calm in what appears to be a hopeless situation?

Sandra

Dear Sandra,

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