Study Shows That Young ‘Nones’ Are Not Just Spiritual Seekers

According to a new report by researchers Barry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar, nearly 30% of college students are “Secular” (as opposed to “Religious” or “Spiritual”).

The report is part of the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) series from Trinity College and was produced in conjunction with the Center for Inquiry.

So what did we learn?

The biggest finding may be that, among the students who identified as “Secular,” more than 80% didn’t identify with any religion. Neither did more than 40% of the “Spiritual” crowd.

We know that “Nones” are on the rise but the common wisdom has been that a lot of those young people aren’t really atheists. They’re more like “spiritual-but-not-religious.” Not so, says this study:

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The Kansas Board of Education (Seriously) Just Got Sued for Promoting the Teaching of Evolution in Science Classes

Somehow, the Kansas State Board of Education is being sued for — I can’t believe this — promoting atheism by way of evolution. You can’t even say “Kansas” and “Science” in the same sentence without including a chuckle, but this is really happening.

The group Citizens for Objective Public Education, Inc. (COPE) has filed the lawsuit because they believe the new science standards adopted by the Board of Education, which include the teaching of evolution, are endorsing an atheistic worldview:

The Complaint alleges that the Kansas Board’s adoption on June 11, 2013, of A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (the F&S) “will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview” in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Riiiiight. Because if you’re not teaching Creationism or Intelligent Design, you must be pushing anti-Christian ideas… To be fair, the truth of evolution only allows for God’s fingerprints if you twist your theology, but the state standards are by no means pushing atheism. If you come to that conclusion because of what you learn in science class, you did it on your own.

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Atheists Could Learn a Lesson from These Christians

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how atheists could (seriously) learn a lesson from a group of forgiving conservative Christians:

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...]

Pastor-Turned-Atheist Teresa MacBain Caught in Resume Fabrication

Last Friday, the New York TimesSamuel Freedman reported on Teresa MacBain‘s new job. In the span of about 18 months, Teresa went from being a Methodist pastor who secretly didn’t believe in God… to the newly-hired director of the Humanist Community Project at Harvard, where she would help form Humanist communities nationwide. Along the way, she worked for the Humanists of Florida Association and American Atheists.

Freedman’s article included a section that I basically ignored when I first read it because it was just biographical information:

Finally, [before Easter in 2012] she realized her faith crisis was over. She no longer believed in God. The daughter of a minister, the product of a divinity school, the enthusiastic evangelist doing the Lord’s will, she told her followers that she was resigning her pulpit.

At the Clergy Project, where MacBain was the first Executive Director, the speakers list (still) reiterates that information about her educational background:

Teresa MacBain became a non-believer after more than twenty years of ministry. She started her career in ministry serving along side her father, a Baptist minister. She taught in Christian Schools, served as a worship pastor, associate pastor and senior pastor. Teresa received her bachelor’s degree from Samford University in Christian Education followed by her Masters in Divinity from Duke Divinity School.

After the NYT article was published last week, though, a Duke official contacted Freedman:

After Saturday’s article appeared, the executive director of communications for Duke Divinity School, Audrey P. Ward, contacted The Times to state that the school had no record of Ms. MacBain’s having taken graduate school classes or earning a master’s degree.

Ms. Ward wrote in a subsequent e-mail that divinity school records showed that Ms. MacBain attended a Summer Course of Study School in 2010. She took the first-year course of a five-year program for licensed pastors under appointment and working ministers that does not lead to a Duke degree.

In short, MacBain took a class in 2010 that wouldn’t have earned her a degree even if she took the remaining four classes in the program… but said on her resume that she had graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Duke in 2005. Considering the program takes three years of full-time work to complete and MacBain’s resume says she was working somewhere else in the years prior to 2005, I’m surprised no one picked up on it sooner.

Two days ago, Freedman called MacBain to confirm what the Duke official had told him, and she confessed that she never really earned the M.Div. degree.

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So This Is How You Make a Creationist Documentary…

Tyler Francke found Ray Comfort‘s notes:

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