My talk for Houston Oasis – “How to Discuss Controversial Topics”

On Nov. 16, I spoke for Houston Oasis, a freethought community in Texas. It was my first experience with what the media has labeled an “atheist church.” I didn’t know what to think before, but now I know that this group is nothing like a church. There was no charismatic pastor-figure, no prayers or hymns, and no rituals. It is a large group of like-minded thinkers who meet weekly and provide free daycare. Here is my presentation on how to discuss controversial topics in a friendly and effective way.

Letter Urges Hotels To Promote Diversity In Religious Material

In February, I launched a public funding campaign with the goal of purchasing copies of Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings for distribution in hotels, libraries, book stores, and more. Thanks to all of you, we reached (and surpassed) our $1,500 goal and I am now reaching out to hotels in my local area in hopes of getting their permission to place copies alongside their Bibles in each hotel room.

Here is the first draft of the letter I intend to send to hotel owners:

 

Dear hotel proprietor or manager,

I hope you’re well. I’m writing today to inform you of an outreach campaign aimed at providing a balance to the types of information available to hotel patrons.

As you are likely aware, the evangelical Christian group Gideons International is well-known for its efforts to ensure Christian Bibles are distributed in great numbers to hotels all over the world. While I understand that the group’s intentions are likely positive, as a non-Christian and advocate for secularism, I can’t help but see how diversity in reading material would be beneficial for everyone involved.

One option to address this disparity would be to allow other religious organizations to place their sacred books, too. Admittedly, this move may not be very practical. A second action, of course, would be to remove the religious reading material altogether. This would buck tradition, I’m sure, but would keep any group from being excluded and would enable you to perhaps allow Christian patrons to “opt in” to having a Bible placed in their nightstand. If neither of those methods work for you, and you sincerely seek to address this issue, you could also provide secular material to go alongside the Bibles already available.

As the result of a public funding campaign, I’ve recently purchased more than 300 copies of Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings, a critique on biblical literalism with an admittedly provocative title. The book cites chapter and verse throughout and examines the world of Christianity while attempting to refute many of its key principles. Because of the generous donations of hundreds of secular activists and fellow non-believers in the area, I am able to offer you free copies to accompany the Bibles, if you so choose.

Regardless of your action or inaction on this matter, I hope to hear your thoughts on this important and controversial issue.

Yours in reason,
David G. McAfee

Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings

Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings

If You Love Jesus, You Are Religious

If You Love Jesus, You Are Religious

By David G. McAfee

It’s perfectly understandable, in my opinion, to find good things in the teachings of Jesus Christ or any other figure, mythical or otherwise. But to base your life on the teachings of Jesus as they are portrayed in the Bible and claim that you are not religious is disingenuous.

“It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship!”

Without the religion, without the archaic and flawed holy texts, there wouldn’t be anything for you to manufacture a “relationship” with. Without the wars and forced conversions key to the religion’s spread across the globe, it may have died out long ago like so many others have. If that were the case, you wouldn’t know the characters of Jesus or God or Muhammad or any of the tales and myths associated with a particular faith. Religions concern themselves with preserving and worshiping these myths as realities, without regard to substantial evidence to the contrary.

If not from ancient religious texts, where does one glean knowledge of Jesus’ teachings? Can’t one simply be a good person without doing it in Jesus’ name or because he would have done the same? The fact is that without cultural indoctrination, all of us would be atheists or, more specifically, while many may dream up their own Gods as did our ancestors, they would certainly not be “Christian” or “Jewish” or “Muslim” or any other established religion. That’s because, without the texts and churches and familial instruction, there are no independent evidences that any specific religion is true. Outside of the Bible, how would one hear of Jesus? The same goes for every established religion.[1]

More importantly, what are Jesus’ unique teachings that are so crucial as to be valued above those of all others? I often challenge Christians to give an example of any of Jesus’ alleged ideas that were new to humanity, never used by anyone who lived before, without a definitive and novel answer. For many Christians, Jesus is worshiped in such a way that his followers actually change his teachings, sometimes to an extent that his original (biblically-attributed) claims are forgotten or marginalized. It is for this reason that, if a person needs a life advisor, I usually recommend a living person with fluid ideas over archaic and stagnant scriptures for guidance.

What other baggage does Jesus have?

Jesus claimed to be God incarnate  (John 10:30). It is taught in the Bible that “Jesus” and “Yahweh” are the same omnipotent Creator, that the former was simply the latter’s physical form while on earth. This was no doubt a way for Christians to justify the blatant worship and idolization of Jesus, in light of the Old Testament God’s warnings not to worship “other gods” – an idea that is common in the Hebrew Scriptures and is highlighted in the first four of the Ten Commandments, which leave out such atrocities as rape and slavery.

This means that, according to Christian doctrine, and according to the vast majority of modern Christian denominations, Jesus IS God. Jesus is the same jealous and angry God that abhorred homosexuals and condemned them as “an abomination.” He is the same deity that gave instructions on how to beat slaves and the same divine Creator that suggested the stoning of non-believers and disobedient children. You have to accept the good along with the bad… after all, he came not to abolish the Hebrew laws, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). The jealous and angry God that justified the killings of millions and set plagues on first borns is the same God that Christians believe came to earth in Jesus. Whether Christians choose to obey early Old Testament laws or not, the deity hasn’t changed.

“But that’s the Old Testament!”

What we consider “moral” has changed greatly since the days of the Old Testament. The outdated moral laws present in the Hebrew Scriptures demonstrate Bronze Age ideals – and it’s understandable that modern Christians distance themselves from that era as much as possible. But to discount the entirety of the Old Testament is to discount the religion’s history and the actions of God “Himself.”

So, before you claim to hate religion and love Jesus, take a look at what Jesus claimed and understand that the Christian religion was built upon those teachings.

David G. McAfee is a journalist and author of Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings. He is also a frequent contributor to American Atheist Magazine. McAfee attended University of California, Santa Barbara, and graduated with dual-degrees in English and Religious Studies, with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.

"I hate religion, but love Jesus!"

“I hate religion, but love Jesus!”


[1] Quote from Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide To Coming Out as a Non-Believer.

David G. McAfee Interviews A Member of Westboro Baptist Church

David G. McAfee Interviews A Member of Westboro Baptist Church

Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.

Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based fringe religious group headed by Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., has become synonymous with extreme Christian fundamentalism especially as it relates to the group’s attitude toward homosexuals. WBC purports to represent primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles, and its members travel the United States picketing funerals of soldiers, well-known members of the LGBTQ community, and anything else likely to gain media attention. They have held more than 50,000 pickets in more than 915 cities, according to their website.[1]

WBC often preaches against the “God loves us all!” mentality that some cultural or liberal Christians have adopted, instead choosing to highlight the many times in the Bible in which God expressed his “divine hate.” Here are just a few of the church’s frequently cited biblical passages[2] about the hatred of God:

*Leviticus 20:23 – “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”

*Deuteronomy 32:19 – “And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.”

*Psalm 5:5 – “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

*Romans 9:13 – “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

On Jan. 12, 2014, members of WBC made stops throughout Los Angeles picketing various “Whorehouses,” “Dog Kennels,” and “Child Rapists” also known as liberal protestant and Catholic churches before making it to the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, where they protested those who will “try and preach Paul Walker into heaven.” During the WBC’s exhibition, I met up with lifetime member Isaac Hockenbarger to ask a few questions about cults, faith, and science.

David G. McAfee: Would you consider the Westboro Baptist Church a cult in any way?

Isaac Hockenbarger: I don’t care what you want to call us. If we’re a cult, well then our charismatic empathic leader is Christ.

McAfee: So, you don’t have a problem with the technical term “cult”?

Hockenbarger: I don’t care what you call us because, quite frankly, what Christ said was “If you love me, the world is going to hate you.” How awful a thing is it to call someone a cult? It’s pretty bad. The world hates us.

McAfee: I for one don’t hate Westboro Baptist or any other church. And there’s a factual definition that determines whether or not it’s a cult, but I argue that any major religion is just a larger version of that.

Hockenbarger: The brainwash of God loves everyone is sad. It’s spelled out so many times in so many different ways across the Bible.

McAfee: Do you think that your sect of Christianity is more biblically literate than the majority of other denominations?

Hockenbarger: I don’t think you can call yourself a Christian without being biblically literate, and it’s an everyday thing. It’s constant learning. The most fundamental law of logic is that if there is but a single counter-example to your theory, you are wrong. As it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” We can’t just change definitions of words because we don’t like them. Hated means hated, but we aren’t talking about human hate. We are talking about a fixed determination to punish those who don’t follow his commandments.

McAfee: I agree that the Judeo-Christian god is portrayed in most of the Bible as hating homosexuals, or whatever your version of hating is, but you’re working under the presupposition that Christianity is true and that all that exists. You’re really just working with ancient texts like everybody else.

Hockenbarger: We could work under the presupposition of atheism being true, and what then?

McAfee: Since there’s no evidence to support the existence of any deities or supernatural entities of any kind, not believing should be the default position.

Hockenbarger: We can all think that we’re the smartest people in the world and ‘Stephen Hawking it up’ and what would it gain us?

McAfee: Intelligence, intellect, and education. By pursuing scientific advancement we can understand how the world how it actually it is.

Hockenbarger: If you’re right, so what. If I’m right, you’re screwed. That’s the simplistic version.

McAfee: That’s called Pascal’s Wager, and it’s long been debunked. But the typical wager there would be that you lost nothing. You guys have kind of lost your whole lives, following this really extreme sect.

Hockenbarger: What would you have gained?

McAfee: Living an evidence-based life is great. You don’t just listen to whatever your family tells you, or your culture or anything. You just look at facts.

Hockenbarger: You keep acting like you don’t want to offend me by saying cult, but you tell me I listen to my family. No, I don’t.

McAfee: Just like any Christian, you were born into a family and you listen to them. It’s still indoctrination if it’s a small cult or a big religion. You teach your children something and you don’t allow anything else other than that.

Hockenbarger: That’s a lie. We live absolutely normal lives.

McAfee: Are you encouraged to question your actual faith and interact with people who have left the church?

Hockenbarger: Absolutely, people leave all the time. Most of my family doesn’t belong to the church anymore.

McAfee: And you have nothing against them for that?

Hockenbarger: No, absolutely not. But I’m not buddy-buddy with them.

McAfee: Why not? They’re still your family. Have you been taught not to be “buddy-buddy” with them?

Hockenbarger: Because it’s simple. They went their way, I’m going my way. It’s in the Scriptures.

McAfee: But what if you look at the Scripture from another religion? Why is your religion’s Scripture the “right” one?

Hockenbarger: It’s what you choose to believe, just like you can choose to believe in the Big Bang, or whatever.

Click for video.

Click for video.

A Christmas Gift for William Lane Craig – Five Reasons Your Specific God Probably Doesn’t Exist

A Christmas Gift for William Lane Craig – Five Reasons Your Specific God Probably Doesn’t Exist

By David G. McAfee

On Friday, Christian apologist and philosophical theologian William Lane Craig published “A Christmas gift for atheists – five reasons why God exists,” in which he insists that most atheists “have no good reasons for their disbelief.” He then lists five numbered statements he says are meant to answer atheists’ “repeated slogan” that “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence!”

But Craig’s time-tested “defenses of Christian theism” fail for a number of reasons. His statements do not represent “evidence” for the existence of a God – and certainly not for his particular deity. Instead, his age-old “proofs” consist mostly of long-debunked arguments from ignorance and appeals to philosophical assumptions.

In October, Craig gave some advice to a Christian who read Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings and was subsequently finding it “hard to believe in God.” Craig’s response was to tell the confused person to, “Quit reading the infidel material.” So, in honor of Craig’s own efforts to limit the availability of secular material to Christians, I thought it would be appropriate to republish Craig’s best defenses of the Christian God in their entirety and make them (and my responses) available to everyone. Since I don’t generally speak in absolutes, I’ve called my response, “A Christmas Gift for William Lane Craig – Five Reasons Your Specific God Probably Doesn’t Exist.”

1.  God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe.  Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.

Craig makes a number of assumptions in this point, the first of which is that philosophical arguments constitute real evidence. When asked for evidence, for instance, that a particular person committed a particular crime, would a prosecutor merely assert that, philosophically speaking, the crime must have been committed? Craig then uses these vague “philosophical arguments” to misrepresent all atheists’ various positions by asserting that they believe the universe “merely popped into being,” while ignoring the logical conclusion that his deity would have had to do the same. In essence, he makes the centuries old mistake of claiming that the universe is too complex to exist without a Creator. But what is by definition more complex than the universe? A being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfect. He somehow doesn’t see the need for a designer there, though.

2.  God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe. Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life.  That is to say, in order for intelligent, interactive life to exist, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature must fall into an incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range.  There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design. The first two are highly implausible, given the independence of the fundamental constants and quantities from nature’s laws and the desperate maneuvers needed to save the hypothesis of chance. That leaves design as the best explanation.

Craig’s (and others’) assertion that the universe is “fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life” simply plays on the very basic and well-understood illusion of apparent design. It ignores that the fact that earth is our only data point for life, and that even here the environment could easily be less harmful, less wasteful, and much more conducive to life. It also ignores the fact that there could be an infinite number of parallel universes with different physical constants. In the end, this argument is best-refuted by Douglas Adams, who says, “Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!”

3.  God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.

Saying we get our morality from religion is like saying we get our trees from houses, because it’s completely backward. Religion gets its morality from humanity, not the other way around. We have morals because our ancestors realized the importance of cooperation. Without it they wouldn’t have survived on a long-term timeline. But cultures throughout history fused their religious origin mythologies with their local laws in order to ensure adherence. These various religions’ holy codes are nearly impossible to change, which is why it’s often the religious groups that hold back scientific progress and civil rights progress. The so-called holy books provide moral codes that necessarily become antiquated and irrelevant after a period of time, which is why the stagnant morals of any holy book will always work to inhibit our own moral evolution. Today, in modern times, we have a system in which people are employed by the government to investigate, arrest, prosecute, and detain offenders based on the violation of laws that are as fluid as our ideas and can be amended as such. So, when Craig asserts that the Christian God best explains morality, I’d be forced to ask why, if God gave 10 fundamental rules that outline how human beings can live happy and moral lives, rape and slavery are mentioned in none of them and the first four are about preserving God’s name?

4.  God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact.  Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary. I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave:  God raised Jesus from the dead.

Occam’s razor states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Aside from the fact that Craig has attempted to misrepresent the understandings of “most historical scholars,” his problem lies within assuming that the most likely result of an empty tomb is a being miraculously resurrected from death through a mysterious connection with its father/self. More likely scenarios include a stolen body, a mismarked grave, a planned removal, faulty reports, edited scriptures, etc. No magic required.

5.  God can be personally known and experienced.  The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.

“Down through history [Muslims] have found through [Muhammad] a personal acquaintance with [Allah] that has transformed their lives.” Your personal religious experience can and should be disputed in the same way you might dispute the alleged personal experience of a Bigfoot believer or someone who claims to have been abducted by aliens. Your strong feelings, anecdotal accounts, emotional reactions, and scripture are not evidence of the supernatural. Believers often forget that most atheists used to be religious, that many non-believers used to think they had a personal relationship with their God and they used to “feel” the power of prayer. They’ve since learned that it was all a farce, that their feelings were internal emotions and not some external force.

The Vatican Christmas tree is lit up after a ceremony in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican December 14, 2012. (REUTERS)

The Vatican Christmas tree is lit up after a ceremony in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican December 14, 2012. (REUTERS)

Exposing Christians To Secular Material: Response To William Lane Craig

Exposing Christians To Secular Material: Response To William Lane Craig

By David G. McAfee
 

Christian apologist and philosophical theologian William Lane Craig was contacted this week by a Christian who read my book, Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings, and was subsequently finding it “hard to believe in God.” Craig’s response: “Quit reading the infidel material.”

The question, posed in this week’s Q&A section of Craig’s site, was published alongside Craig’s answer and entitled, “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” The anonymous questioner stated that he or she “wants to believe in God,” but is having trouble believing after being exposed to Disproving Christianity, Richard Dawkins, and atheist friends.

“Hi, Dr. Craig, I’m currently reading ‘Disproving Christianity’ by David McAfee. I’ve also been listening to Richard Dawkins. I want to believe in God, but I’m having trouble with my faith. I’ve always been a Christian, but since I started talking to my atheist friends, I find it hard to believe in God. When I think about it, it doesn’t make much sense to me to belive in a creator of the universe. It makes even less sense for me to believe in a God who intervines in our lives. Please, I want to believe in God, any suggestions?”

Craig begins by saying that he is “utterly baffled” by how many “ill-equipped” Christians expose themselves to material that is destructive to their faith.

“I remember vividly that when I first became a Christian I was very careful about what I read because I knew that there was material out there which could be destructive to my newfound faith and that I had a lot, lot more to learn before I was ready to deal with it,” Craig wrote. “Do we forget that there is an enemy of our souls who hates us intensely, is bent on our destruction, and will use anything he can to undermine our faith or render us ineffective in God’s hands? Are we so naïve?”

Craig goes on to offer the questioner four “suggestions” to help resolve his or her crisis of faith.

  1. “Make first and foremost a recommitment of your heart to Christ.”
  2. “Quit reading and watching the infidel material you’ve been absorbing.”
  3. “Begin a program of equipping yourself in Christian doctrine and apologetics.”
  4. “Attend some apologetics conferences.”

If Christianity is the transcendent truth and superior to all other faithful and non-faithful worldviews, as Craig believes, then why does it need to be protected from criticism? Why do Christians, in Craig’s view, need to “equip” themselves before being exposed to such material?

My view is the opposite. Where Craig says “believe,” I say investigate. I would never encourage an atheist to avoid the Bible, for example, out of fear that its strong arguments might compel that person to believe. In fact, I frequently encourage the opposite approach: I recommend believers and non-believers alike educate themselves about all of the world’s religions, including a basic understanding of the traditions’ core tenets and Holy Books.

If you study comparative religion, it’s more difficult to be religious because the great faiths are all very similar at the most fundamental level. Each organization has similar cult beginnings and “prophets,” they each began as local and cultural myths before being applied to a global context, and they are almost always spread through a combination of violence and proselytization.

Non-believers don’t have to be fearful of theistic material because there’s simply no evidence for the existence of deities, therefore every argument is automatically philosophical in nature and regards a general “higher power,” and not any specific deity – like Jesus or Allah.

All that said, I’m encouraged by the original questioner. This person decided, against Craig’s advice, to seek out material from someone else’s perspective. They didn’t let the fear of damaging faith keep them from exposing themselves to multiple sides of possibly the longest debate in human history. For any other believers who wish to do the same, please send an e-mail to DisprovingChristianityPDF@gmail.com for a free PDF of my first book, Disproving Christianity.

"Garbage In, Garbage Out"

Q&A on William Lane Craig’s website.

David McAfee’s Atheist Q&A

davidgmcafee:

Religious FAQs from Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-Believer.

Originally posted on Reality - Thoughts and Theories:

I so thoroughly enjoyed reading David McAfee’s “Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist” and in many ways it helped me find the confidence within myself to “come out” as a non-believer by allowing me the words for the many feelings I held within myself for so long. I felt the Q&A section of his book was so well-written, I figured I should share it here. I would definitely suggest the entire book to anyone who is having trouble like I was. This book, among others, helped me gain the courage to stop hiding.

*The author in no way condoned the use of his work in this context, so any flack should be directed at me and me only.

McAfee, David G (2012-12-12). Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer (Kindle Locations 1201-1213). Dangerous Little Books. Kindle Edition.

Q: I know you don’t believe in the…

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Highlights From The Great Lakes Atheist Convention In Toledo

Highlights From The Great Lakes Atheist Convention

By David G. McAfee

Last weekend, I attended – and gave a talk for – my very first atheist conference, the Great Lakes Atheist convention in Toledo, Ohio, which ran from Aug. 16-18. I’d like to start by saying that the group that sponsored the event, led by Barbara Williams, did an incredible job planning and implementing this first-time convention.

The event featured a number of well-known speakers, including author and former pastor Jerry DeWitt, atheist blogger and co-founder of Skepticon JT Eberhard, and political activist Zack Kopplin. Rebecca Vitsmun, known for her post-tornado interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, also showed up as a last-minute addition at the end of the convention. Continue reading

48% Of Americans Think Non-Religious Trend Is Bad For Society

48% Of Americans Think Non-Religious Trend Is Bad For Society
By David G. McAfee
 

Nearly half of U.S. adults think that the growing trend of non-religiosity is a “bad thing,” according to a survey released Tuesday by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

When asked whether having “more people who are not religious” is a good thing, a bad thing, or doesn’t matter, 48 percent of Americans said the trend was a bad thing, compared to 11 percent who said it was good and 39 percent who were indifferent. The findings are based on a nationwide survey of 4,006 adults conducted in March and April.

“[T]here has been a modest uptick over the past decade in the share of U.S. adults who say they seldom or never attend religious services,” the Pew Forum said in an announcement. “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion also has grown in recent years; indeed, about one-fifth of the public overall – and a third of adults under age 30 – are religiously unaffiliated as of 2012.”

The survey, which breaks down answers by the religious denomination, found that white evangelical Protestants are especially likely to say the growing number of people who are not religious as a negative thing for American society, with 78 percent reporting the trend as a bad thing. Majorities of black Protestants (64%) and white non-Hispanic Catholics (56%) said the same. Fewer than one-in-ten in each of the three groups says the trend is a good thing for society, according to the Pew Forum.

Even among the non-religious, the survey showed that the trend of non-religiosity is not considered a good thing. Only 24 percent of those who have no religious affiliation said it is a good thing that more people are not religious, while 19 percent said it was bad and a 55 percent majority said it doesn’t make much difference for society.

This report is based on telephone interviews conducted March 21-April 8, 2013, among a national sample of 4,006 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

Growth of the Nonreligious

Growth of the Nonreligious

12-Year Old Girl Can’t Play Football Because Of The Bible

A 12-year old girl was booted from her Georgia school’s football team because the school’s CEO said she would provoke lustful thoughts, citing the Bible, WSBTV’s Jeff Dore reported Thursday.

Maddy Blythe, who attends strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove, Ga., plays on the school’s younger league for students before they reach high school. Maddy’s mom, Cassy Blythe, said it was her daughter’s dream to get a scholarship and be one the first female football players in college, according to WSBTV.

But all that changed this week when the school’s CEO said boys have “lustful thoughts” and cited the Bible.

“Just for the fact that I’m a girl,” Maddy said. “That men and women are created equal but different, and he said that he prayed about it and it was the wrong thing to do.”

“I think it’s kind of crazy and I think it’s very archaic and he needs to get with the times,” Cassy Blythe added.

Update: Cassy Blythe told me late Thursday that they are waiting to hear from the school before making a decision on an appeal. She also said  her religion teaches not to discriminate.

“There is nothing in the Bible that says these acts of discrimination are OK or justified,” Cassy Blythe said via Facebook.

Nobody from the school was immediately available for comment late Thursday.

The Blythes told WSBT that they hope the school administrators will change their mind. They also started a Facebook page called Let Her Play, devoted to all girl athletes.

"Let Her Play"

“Let Her Play”