Religious News and Notes from the Distaff Side - 5/23/2017


 

Religious News and Notes from the Distaff Side - 5/23/2017
 


23 May 2017 at 9:42:54 AM
salon

Didn't realize that early christians were called atheists because they didn't believe in pagan gods. IRONY ALERT!!! 

One such remembrance in the form of a story related in a letter from one Christian group to others is the Martyrdom of Polycarp (written in the decades following Polycarp’s death in the 160s CE). It is here that we find the explicit charge of atheism. The angry crowds shout out “away with the atheists!” in reference to the Christians. And, when Polycarp is brought before the Roman governor (proconsul) of Asia for final trial, Polycarp turns the accusation on his accusers (something more than “I know you are but what am I” is going on):

“Therefore, when he was brought before him, the proconsul asked if he were Polycarp. And when he confessed that he was, the proconsul tried to persuade him to recant saying, ‘Have respect for your age,’ and other such thngs as they are accustomed to say: ‘Swear by the Genius [guardian spirit] of Caesar; repent, say, ‘Away with the atheists!’ So Polycarp solemnly looked at the whole crowd of lawless heathen who were in the stadium, motioned toward them with his hand, and then (groaning as he looked up to heaven) said, ‘Away with the atheists!'” (Mart. Poly. 9.2; trans. by J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer and revised by Michael W. Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992]).

Similar charges of “atheism” and “impiety” were brought against Christians in Lyons in France in the 170s CE (see H. Musiurillo, Acts of the Christian Martyrs [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972], 64-65). The perception of early Christians as atheists was not uncommon.

 Atheist Sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia

The man, Ahmad Al-Shamri, lost two appeals before the ruling by the Saudi Supreme Court earlier this week. He was initially arrested in 2014 and charged with atheism and blasphemy, both punishable by execution, after denouncing the Prophet Muhammad in videos he uploaded to social media, according to the Independent newspaper, which cited local media reports.

Al-Shamri is only the latest atheist condemned by the Saudi government. In 2013, blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a fine for “insulting Islam.” His lawyer was also jailed for what the Saudi government called “making international organizations hostile to the kingdom.”

Facebook’s Director of AI Research Rejects Speaking Gig in Anti-Atheist Saudi Arabia

As an avowed atheist, I could be considered a terrorist, according to a 2014 public declaration by the Saudi Interior Ministry. The declaration defines terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.”

I’m sure that there are plenty of closet atheists in Saudi Arabia, and they are probably doing just fine. But as a vocal advocate of atheism and rationalism, and as a humanist and a proponent of human rights (including the rights of women), I cannot accept an invitation from a country that sees me as the enemy.

Real number of atheists in US may be higher than you think

That's why a new study from the University of Kentucky might surprise you.

It says the real number of atheists in the United States may be way higher than we thought:

It estimates more than a quarter of all American adults are atheists. They don't believe in God, or a higher power.

That's about 62 million people - the population of Florida and California combined!

But the same study says a lot of those atheists never talk about it.

Unlike me. 

Thought this was funny. Even the Church of Satan was weirded out by Trump touching the orb.

 

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