Feat-Exit-sign

The Daily Beast: The Cost of Non-belief in America

It’s a political season—a long, long political season—and politicians invoke the name of God and even try to court powerful voting blocs. But what if you’re not a religious person in the United States? Atheists, agnostics, and others among the non-religious are used to not having representation in government.

In fact, for many, political representation rank among some of the least significant costs of being non-religious in America.

In my recent piece at The Daily Beast, I interview four former Christians now turned nonbelievers, and asked them about the personal and social consequences of their de-conversion. From a grandfather who is no longer able to see his grand kids to a woman told that her children would be better off dead, their stories are worth reading if one wants to understand what life can be like for some without faith in America.

Below is an excerpt. Read the entire article at The Daily Beast.

“…America is still ‘Christ haunted’—to use the words of Flannery O’Connor. Fears of public shunning and the risk of losing family connections and employment, keep many atheists quiet about their identity. There is a significant difficulty in being honest about disbelief in a country where prominent religious leaders warn that it leads to a nation’s demise.

‘I have 5 grandchildren now, and 4 of them I have never held,’ says Dave Warnock, a former pastor and now board member for The Clergy Project (TCP), a safe place and network for former religious professionals who no longer have supernatural beliefs. ‘They [his children] also withhold relationships from my wife—their mother, simply because she stays married to me, an apostate.'”

Jesse-Oricco-Brain-2

HuffPost: Study Shows Counterfactual Thinking Increases Faith In God

It’s been almost two years since I last wrote for HuffPost and a little longer for the science section, but I have a piece up this week about an interesting study I recently read. “There But for the Grace of God: Counterfactuals Influence Religious Belief and Images of the Divine” is in this month’s Social Psychological and Personality Science. Want to know more about the research, click to my article at HuffPost below.

In this new study (“There But for the Grace of God: Counterfactuals Influence Religious Belief and Images of the Divine”), published in this month’s Social Psychological and Personality Science, authors Anneke Buffone (University of Pennsylvania), and Shira Gabriel and Michael Poulin (State University of New York at Buffalo), found that religious faith was increased in participants when they were asked to deliberately consider the “it could be worse” scenario.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post…

Gutenberg-Bible

The Daily Beast: C. J. Mahaney Returns to T4G Amid Protests

My new piece is up at The Daily Beast (“Pastor Accused of Covering Up Abuse Returns to Spotlight“) and it looks at the uproar over having a controversial minister, C. J. Mahaney, at a large Calvinist-Evangelical conference, known as Together for the Gospel 2016. Mahaney was president of Sovereign Grace Ministries (now Sovereign Grace Churches), which has been the subject of a scandal regarding sexual abuse. The initial civil suit against he (as its then president) and other pastors was dropped due to statute of limitations, but his presence at the conference became the subject of protest this last week.

“I know in this room that C.J. Mahaney has 10,000 friends,” said Albert Mohler Jr. at Together for the Gospel 2016 last week, a Calvinist conference that regularly draws big names and large crowds.

The April 12-14 gathering held at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, became the focus of controversy when it invited Mahaney, the senior pastor at Sovereign Grace Church in Kentucky, to speak. He and other pastoral colleagues have been accused of covering up child sex abuse in their churches. The lawsuit against them was eventually dismissed on a technicality.

Maybe the irony wasn’t lost on Together for the Gospel organizers and attendees, that a conference whose 2016 theme was to celebrate the “Protest” in “Protestants” was itself under protest.

Read the full article at The Daily Beast…

Sheikyh-Zayed-Mosque-UAE

The Daily Beast: Where Christianity Is A Minority Religion

It’s been a while since I posted on my author blog. I’ve still been writing, but with concentrated attention on a book and my regular blog, thecuriousape.com. I’ve also been working on some articles and this week I had one go up at The Daily Beast.

In it, I look at the difficulties Christians face in being a minority religion internationally, as compared to the Western world where it is the majority religion. Blasphemy laws and social intolerance often leads to violence against Christians. It leads to violence with other faiths and for nonbelievers as well, but only so much can be covered in one piece.

The free expression of belief and nonbelief is an important part of establishing human rights. It is something I’ve written about before (see, for example, my piece on blasphemy laws from the Religion News Service last September or my book Consider No Evil) and I’m looking to do it more often. For my recent piece, see my “Christians Are Still Persecuted Around the World. Here’s Where” at The Daily Beast. Continue reading…