Atheism and religion in the news XX

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Howdy all, on the advice of sapient, I'm starting increasing the size of the quoted article. Hope you don't find it too long.







Atheists' MySpace page restored after hacking incident


Looks like myspace did something right for a change.


The "Atheist and Agnostic Group" MySpace page has been reactivated, a month after the page was deleted following a November 2007 hacking incident where unauthorized users renamed it "Jesus is Love."

The incident is the second reported high profile cyberattack in recent months on a religion-oriented webpage. Last month, the Church of Scientology's website experienced disruptions after it was threatened by a hacker group.

Bryan Pesta, a Cleveland State University assistant professor and the atheist group's founder, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer last week that his 35,000-member webpage had been shut down twice by the social networking site since its 2004 founding.






Rejection of status for atheist club sparks fiery Internet reaction.


A followup to an earlier story I posted in a previous blog, the atheists are revolting. J


The rejection of a group representing atheists and other "freethinkers" as a campus club at Wilfrid Laurier University has touched off a firestorm on the Internet.

Angry e-mails and at least 19 blogs, some with international readership, are condemning the decision.

Writers professing "atheism, agnosticism, humanism, or just general non-belief" are blasting the university's students' union for intolerance toward people with no religious affiliation, said Anatolijs Venovcevs, co-founder of Laurier Freethought Alliance.

The writers are particularly incensed that religious groups have campus club status.

"It has been so widespread, so rampant, so angry. Honestly, I did not ... expect it to be blown up to this proportion," said Mr. Venovcevs, adding he's "sickened" by the response.





Muslims Vs. Wikipedia.


First the cartoons, now wikipedia.


THE Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has again stirred up controversy - this time over a biographical entry on the prophet Mohammed.

According to World Wide Religious News, almost 100,000 Muslims worldwide have signed a web-based petition demanding that Wikipedia removes all depictions of the Prophet from its English-language entry.

The creator of the petition asks:

I request all brothers and sisters to sign this petitions so we can tell Wikipedia to respect the religion and remove the illustrations.

Opposition among Muslims to images of Muhammad has its roots in the prohibition of "graven images" in the Ten Commandments, but has varied over time.

Notre Dame history professor Paul M Cobb told the New York Times:

Islamic teaching has traditionally discouraged representation of humans, particularly Muhammad, but that doesn't mean it's nonexistent. Some of the most beautiful images in Islamic art are manuscript images of Mohammed.

All four images on the English-language Wikipedia page "are rather lovely Persian and Ottoman miniatures from the 14th through 16th centuries". The two later ones depict Mohammed's face as covered by a white veil, but the earlier pair show his full face.



The Atheist Conspiracy.

A listening of some of the arguments used by christians in America.

Are Godless Atheists a Threat to America?:
Christian Right attacks on atheists have helped ensure that atheists remain the most despised minority in America. These attacks are not a series of isolated criticisms; instead, they are integrated and coordinated. Taken together these attacks effectively portray godless atheists as involved in a conspiracy against America, American values, and Christianity. Atheists have no respect for traditions, for values, for religion, or for anything that makes America what it is.


Godless Atheists Are Enormously Powerful, if Few in Number:
Every good conspiracy theory needs a powerful enemy to fight and atheists are no different. The number of irreligious people in America continues to grow, but the number of open atheists continues to be relatively small; despite these numbers, however, godless atheists are portrayed as wielding incredible power over society, culture, and politics. How else could they be at the root of all America's ills? This may also lie behind the need to portray all liberals as godless.





Why is Evangelical Support for Israel shrinking?


An interesting development regarding Israel.


An unexpected result has emerged in the US following the one-day Annapolis meeting aimed at kick starting Palestinian Israeli negotiations. Christian Zionists admitted that their power has started to weaken. "The evangelical support for Israel is shrinking," stated the Jerusalem Connection International in its latest newsletter entitled "Post Annapolis where do we go from here?"


Wikipedia says that Christian Zionism "is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy and, furthermore, that bringing the Jews home will hasten the Second Coming..


This belief is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with Christian Dispensationalism, mainly in English-speaking countries outside Europe. British theologian and preacher John Nelson Darby who lived in England in the 19th century is regarded as the father of dispensationalism and its prodigy, Christian Zionism.

The Jerusalem Connection, which highlights the letters USA in the middle of the word Jerusalem, is run by a retired brigadier general in the US army, the Reverend James Hutchens. Hutchens, who says he demonstrated in protest, along with other Christian Zionists, outside the Naval base in Annapolis blames the reduction in evangelical support for Israel to a handful of evangelical leaders who signed a statement" supporting the two-state solution."






Breaking the Science Barrier.


A video series by Dawkins is available on google video, or purchase if you want a hard copy.


Link to google video




Another Scientology member turns on the "church."


Looks like another person found out what its like to leave.


THE Church of Scientology is facing two major battles, as the niece of the cult's leader has gone public about bizarre rituals she was forced to endure while an anonymous group begins an online war.

Jenna Hill Miscavige, 24, the daughter of David's older brother Ron, recently came out in support of Andrew Morton's Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, and slammed the star for "supporting a religion that tears apart families, both in the media and monetarily".

Since then, Jenna claims she's been subjected to harassment, report the NY Post.

"The church has contacted several of my friends, telling them that I am smearing the church and I am going to be declared a suppressive person and asking my friends if they would disconnect from me and, in at least one case, insisting that they do," Jenna said.

"At least eight friends have removed themselves from my MySpace page," she said, and blames the church for it.

Jenna, who was raised as a Scientologist, attacked the religion in an open letter to a senior sect official, praising the Andrew Morton book.





Scientolgy tax-exempt status challenged.

And in a related story.

A Jewish couple's bid to take a tax deduction they say the Internal Revenue Service reserves only for members of the Church of Scientology is getting a friendly reception from a federal appeals court, increasing the possibility of a ruling that could create a tax break for taxpayers of many religions who pay tuition to religious schools.

During arguments on the case this week, three judges who ride the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals expressed deep skepticism of the IRS's position that the way the agency treats Scientologists is irrelevant to the deductions the Orthodox Jews, Michael and Marla Sklar, took for part of their children's day school tuition and for after-school classes in Jewish law.

"The view of the IRS is it can unconstitutionally violate the Constitution by establishing religion, by treating one religion more favorably than other religions in terms of what is allowed as deductions, and there can never be any judicial review of that?" Judge Kim Wardlaw asked at the court session Monday in Pasadena, Calif.







Morte alla tyrannus et dei