The Time to Be Happy is Now: A Film About Atheists in the Gambia

Last time we heard from filmmaker Zenon Kalafaticz, he had created an English-language documentary about how atheism fares in Poland.

His latest work focuses on atheism in The Gambia, an African nation that’s 90% Muslim. Specifically, he shows the work of the Gambia Secular Assembly.

I haven’t had time to watch the whole thing yet, but this appears to be a fascinating look at atheists in an area of the world we rarely pay enough attention to:

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The Awful Lessons Learned Through Cartoons in the Accelerated Christian Education Curriculum

Jonny Scaramanga has done a wonderful job exposing the fundamentalist-homeschooler-approved “Accelerated Christian Education” curriculum, usually by quoting from it verbatim).

Now, he shows us the lessons learned from ACE by way of the cartoons in the textbooks. Like the fact that the schools depicted in them always seem to be segregated…

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Saint Teresa of Ávila Gives Spain’s Government a Hand — Again

Teresa of Ávila, a Catholic mystic and Carmelite nun, has been the unofficial patron saint of Spain for some 400 years. She rose to fame in the 16th century when she first began to inflict “various tortures and mortifications of the flesh” upon herself, and then graduated to the imagined penetration by a heavenly seraph, like so:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God.

The pain was so great that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. 

These days, I bet she would be a writer for — or maybe an adviser to the Spanish government.

The Guardian explains:

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Actually, Those Are Five Pretty Good Reasons To Leave Your Church

Aaron Loy (below), writing for the Chrsitian site RELEVANT, offers “five really bad reasons to leave your church”.

As it turns out, he’s right. They’re really bad reasons:

1. “I’m not being [spiritually] fed”

“As a Christian, you shouldn’t require spoon-feeding for the rest of your life. Eventually you need to learn how to feed yourself so that, in time, you can actually feed others.”

2. “It’s getting too big”

“If you have a problem with big churches… you definitely won’t like heaven.”

3. “I don’t agree with everything that is being preached”

“The truth is when you choose to stay despite disagreeing on some things, you, your pastor and your church are better for it.”

4. “My Needs Aren’t Being Met”

“The Church doesn’t exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the world.”

5. Unresolved Conflict

“When we leave at first sign of real conflict, it shortchanges God’s best work in our midst. It sidesteps the process of repentance, forgiveness and grace.”

Here’s the problem: All of these things boil down to one idea: If you want to leave the church, there’s something wrong with you. The church and the pastor can do no wrong. It’s worth getting more specific, though, and for those of us who don’t go to church, feel free to replace that word with “college” because the arguments are almost identical.

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Should Religious and Atheist Hardliners Try Harder To Break Out of Their Co-Dependent Cycle of Indignation?

Fellow Patheos blogger Ben Corey heaves a deep sigh over the American Atheists’ digital billboard that will be on display outside Metlife stadium during the 2014 Superbowl.

Corey considers the billboard a bit of a dick move. He doesn’t like it when people of faith are mocked, and he’s tired of all Christians getting tarred with American Atheists’ broad brush.

Cards on the table: I unreservedly mock religion at least a few times a week (usually while dining on a Christian baby) and would consider the world a darker place without the wit of Monty Python, Bill Maher, and George Carlin.

Now let’s look at what Corey is saying and think about it from a media strategy point of view.

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