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An Atheist with Atheists United

An Atheist with Atheists United

By Kile Jones….
On February 28, 2011, I attended a meeting of Atheists United at the Center for Inquiry (CFI) in Hollywood, California. It was a typical day in southern California—sunny, beautiful, without a cloud in sight—when I pulled into the parking lot of the CFI. On a nearby mountain you could see the famous Hollywood Sign looming in the distance. The CFI is located next to a Mexican Pentecostal Church and a Christian Science Reading Room, proof of the religious diversity in Los Angeles. From the outside, CFI looks like more like a warehouse than a Church. Its electric sign, found on the street corner, not only announces headlines and CFI news, but also provides one of the only ways of detecting the building. While in the parking lot I was approached by the treasurer of Atheists United, Norm, who politely asked me if I was attending their meeting.

Averting Your Eyes: The Devastating Consequences of Ignoring Women’s Rights

Averting Your Eyes: The Devastating Consequences of Ignoring Women’s Rights

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, State of Formation….
Jerusalem’s Old City when a bearded man with narrow eyes reached out his hand and tried to grab my breast. I did not know him. I had not made eye contact. I was not acting provocatively—in fact, despite a heat wave that added insult to the already injurious desert summer, I was burning up in the long-sleeved shirt and ankle-length skirt that’s customary for the region. In response, the man with whom I was traveling reached out and struck the stranger’s hand, causing him to trip sideways into the crowd.

Not Theology, but Authority: Rob Bell and the Evangelical Institutional Establishment

Not Theology, but Authority: Rob Bell and the Evangelical Institutional Establishment

Michael J Altman…….
Rob Bell challenges the authority of the (Calvinist) evangelical establishment and they don’t like it. For example, Bill Walker has a compared Bell’s ideas in Love Wins with conservative evangelical darling and Presbyterian Church in America pastor Tim Keller’s ideas in The Reason for God. As Walker lays it out, the two share a lot in common. They both lean heavily on C.S. Lewis for their ideas and Bell even cites Keller’s other bookProdigal God in his “further reading” section of Love Wins. Yet, Keller is beloved by those in the pews and quoted by those in the pulpits while Bell is dangerous.

25 Leading Rabbis (and two students!) Speak Out Against Islamophobia

25 Leading Rabbis (and two students!) Speak Out Against Islamophobia

By Joshua Stanton…..
Ever since the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, hatred and discrimination against Muslim Americans has been growing. Over the past year, the rhetoric has only gotten louder and more violent. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. These are also essential American values.

The Real News Story

The Real News Story

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, State of Formation….
Here’s a news headline for you: The trial begins in Phoenix today for Faleh Hassan Almaleki, the Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his daughter for becoming too Westernized. The prosecution’s argument goes like this: Almaleki ran over his 20 year old daughter with a Jeep Cherokee because she was abandoning their traditional Muslim values, having moved in with her boyfriend’s family.

A Humanist Resolution to Overcome the Faith Gap

A Humanist Resolution to Overcome the Faith Gap

By Chris Stedman, Huffington Post….
The week following Christmas has passed and we find ourselves in a new year. With a new year comes new work. One of the projects I am most excited about is “Challenge the Gap,” a new initiative of the Foundation Beyond Belief, an atheist and Humanist charitable foundation, which aims to find common ground between the religious and the secular. It is, to my knowledge, the first time that an explicitly atheist and Humanist foundation is funding interfaith cooperation.

Reasonful Meditation, or “I Suck at Breathing!”

Reasonful Meditation, or “I Suck at Breathing!”

By James Croft, State of Formation….
First it’s the sound of my breath entering my nose, a slight whistle created by my stuffed-up nostrils. Then it’s the cars rumbling outside, the vibrations passing through the window and catching my attention. Next, the shifting weight of the person next to me, the grumble in my stomach as it digests the pizza I’ve just inadvisably eaten, the thoughts of an argument I had with a friend two days ago, ideas about what I’m going to write in this post. At each interruption, I try to reign my focus back to my breathing, but my mind is a skittish horse and refuses to be led. A hot panic begins to….

Strangers Among Us

Strangers Among Us

By Kelly Figueroa-Ray, State of Formation….
The Huffington Post reports that Phillips demanded the closure of the United Methodist Church after he toured the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC. There he saw a sign in support of the DREAM Act and declared the United Methodist Church “pro-illegal immigration” and the “religious arm of socialism”. The DREAM Act is a piece of legislation that failed passage in the Congress this past month.

S.A.D. Lights and Advent Candles: What is the purpose of religion?

S.A.D. Lights and Advent Candles: What is the purpose of religion?

By Kari Aanestad, State of Formation….
One might say that religion has been prescribing this treatment plan for centuries. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah (the Festival of Lights), the Hindu celebration of Diwali (the Festival of Lights), the Scandinavian, Australian, and New Zealand celebration of Yuletide, the Christian celebration of Advent and Christmas, and many more are examples of ways in which religion has sought to not only name the power of evil and darkness in life but also celebrate that light still shines. In other words, there seems to be a fascinating diversity of tradition around the celebration of light in the midst of seemingly impenetrable darkness.

Who ‘owns’ religious practice?

Who ‘owns’ religious practice?

Brad Bannon, State of Formation
“The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) reaffirms that Yoga, “an inward journey, where you explore your mind, your awareness, your consciousness, your conscience”, is an essential part of Hindu belief and practice. But the science of yoga and the immense benefits its practice affords are for the benefit of all of humanity regardless of personal faith. Hinduism itself is a family of pluralistic doctrines and ways of life that acknowledge the existence of other spiritual and religious traditions. Hinduism, as a non-proselytizing religion, never compels practitioners of yoga to profess allegiance to the faith or convert. Yoga is a means of spiritual attainment for any and all seekers.”

Grilling Glee: A Divided Duet

Grilling Glee: A Divided Duet

Glee club member Finn makes a grilled cheese sandwich and sees the face of Jesus in it. Not sure if praying to Jesus works like a Genie, he prays that three wishes be granted — for the his high school football team to win a game, for his girlfriend and Glee club colleague Rachel to allow him to touch her breasts, and to be restored to the position of quarterback on the team. After the first of these prayers is realized, he requests that the Glee club sing songs praising Jesus, which concerns Rachel, who is Jewish. Kurt, another member of the Glee club, faces a personal crisis as his father suffers a heart attack…..