Thursday, July 12, 2012

Religion Takes It on the Chin

Recently, the Huffington Post reported that hundreds of clubs for young atheists have opened up in schools around the country. “Some clubs exist in states that have large numbers of people who claim no religious affiliation, such as New York, Washington and California. Others are located in more religion-centered states,” including North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, the site reported.

The trend is reminiscent of the 1960s when the God is Dead movement appeared.  That was in response to the Vietnam War.  This loss of faith these days seems to be a reaction to the news radiating from the religious sector of society.

In addition to the on-going abuse of children covered up for years by the Roman Catholic Church and in other faiths, there are plenty of other shenanigans to raise questions about any beliefs:

For example:  A pastor in Winfield, Alabama used religious reasoning to explain why he created a conference called his “Annual Pastors Conference All White Christians Invited." The title didn't sit well with everyone.  "Business people are upset. The city is upset. The city of Winfield does not condone this," Mayor Wayne Silas said.

Pastor William Collier
Pastor William J. Collier’s explanation was that "we don't have the facilities to accommodate other people. We haven't got any invitations to black, Muslim events. Of course we are not invited to Jewish events and stuff."  Maybe that’s because his conference featured symbols of the Ku Klux Klan, Confederate flags and white supremacy slogans.

"We are not breaking any laws, we are not violating any ordinances, we are bringing the word of God to people who want it ... who are part of the chosen race," he told the news outlet. 

No question: religion, the exclusive society.  By the way, Collier is not saying anything new.  The Bible was an important buttress for slavery in the pre-Civil War days.

Michael; Salman
Then there’s a Phoenix man who wanted to hold Bible study classes in his home and didn’t care about zoning laws.  "Any time you are holding a gathering of people continuously, as he does – we have concerns about people being able to exit the facility properly in case there is a fire," Phoenix's chief assistant city prosecutor Vicki Hill told Fox News Radio. "It came down to zoning and proper permitting."

Michael Salman (left) naturally saw this as religious persecution.  “They're cracking down on religious activities and religious use," Salman told Fox News Radio. "They're attacking what I as a Christian do in the privacy of my home."
Abdus Salam

That's right: religion is above the law.

Then, in Pakistan, officials there have removed the name of Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel laureate, from textbooks.  Why?  His research into how fundamental forces govern the overall dynamics of the universe.  The recent discovery of the Higgs boson, also known as the "God particle" is helping scientists understand the early evolution of the universe.

Unfortunately and inconveniently, his work also undermines Islamic teaching.  

So, Pakistani officials made a choice: the heck with facts.  Let’s make sure the kids remain dumb and faithful.

Where does lack of education lead to?  To Georgia – the country near Russia – which was forced to issue a statement that the country’s new electronic identity cards do not bear Satan’s mark. Residents thought ID cards were encrypted with the 666, “the mark of the beast” in the biblical book of Revelation.  The reality that the number 666 in that "holy" text actually refers to Emperor Nero, who died about 1,940 years ago, didn’t occur to the well-educated Orthodox believers.

To cap off this unholy run, the Roman Catholic Church reported losing 14.9 million euros, the fourth annual loss in the last five years.  Not to worry: donations were up.  Those pesky payments to people abused as children have cut into the bottom line, along with a downturn in the financial markets.

Fortunately, the Church, as all religions, can count on the faithful to chip in and make up the difference.  Everyone, that is, except for the growing number of young people joining atheist clubs.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at

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