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January 9, 2013

Wednesday's News & Ideas

About 100 million Christians persecuted around the world
Reuters: About 100 million Christians are persecuted around the world, with conditions worsening for them most rapidly in Syria and Ethiopia.

None means none (not atheist, agnostic, unbeliever)
Religion Dispatches: Religion commentators strain to define a demographic that, by definition, resists definition.

Same-sex weddings to begin at Washington National Cathedral
Washington Post: In unsurprising but symbolically powerful move, Washington National Cathedral has decided to start hosting same-sex weddings.

First atheist church opens in London
Washington Post: The first atheist church has opened in London, reminding us of three facts connected to the ongoing cultural struggle between many believers and non-believers.

How to allocate your time, and your effort
Harvard Business blogs: Colleagues that zoom ahead with seemingly less effort have learned to recognize and excel in what really counts -- and to aim for less than perfect in everything else.

The Spark

Worry...a lot...that so many of us are so worried
Here's something worrying. People are worried. A recent survey found that increasing numbers of people are pessimistic about the future, Big Think reports. We all need to worry about such pessimism, because worry does all sorts of harm, both personally and to society.

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1 Comment

Wednesday's News & Ideas

It is a very lazy analysis indeed that conflates theism with religion, secularism with irreligion, and atheism with irreligion.

"Nones' who say they believe in a god or spiritual force are still irreligious - they still do not choose to affiliate with an organized religion.

Secularism is the separation of governance from religion. Its proponents include many who are religious and/or theist - including Rev Barry Lynn, Exec Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Many if not most Western Buddhists, and many in the East, are religious but atheist.

As it is hard to believe that the author is truly ignorant of these distinctions, the question arises whether she is engaging in a bit of confirmation bias-fueled pseudo-analysis - starting with a belief-driven desired conclusion, then cherry-picking and massaging the data to fit.

Unfortunately, most pundits on this topic, from all sides and agendas, seem to do the same violence to evidence-based, scientific data gathering and analysis.

The common victim is the truth. Until we are able to engage in a factual, rational discussion on issues of faith, governance and society in the US, we will not make genuine progress in realizing a more-perfect Union.

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