“This ambiguity attribute is interesting as it gives people latitude to form interpretations of religious beings that are personally appealing and plausible,” Dr Swan says. And whereas fictional beings were given character traits that defined them as heroes or villains, religious beings were more ambivalent and associated with similarContinue Reading We found that the most trusted religious group in New Zealand is a small non-Christian group: Buddhists. In the most recent 2013 Census 58,000 Buddhists are recorded, out of about 3.9 million people who replied to the religious question. More people feel positively about Buddhists than not – 35Continue Reading

On March 1, 2013 the @washingtonpost published an article about survivors of clergy abuse. Here's the image the newspaper lead with. It represented all survivors.There's no need to forget that anyone can be a victim and anyone a perpetrator. — MaleSurvivor (@MaleSurvivorORG) October 4, 2018 To the average person, this demand of Canon Law 277 imposes a seemingly impossible task, namely perfect and perpetual continence. Although the church propagates the myth that bishops and priests are celibate, this is not based on fact. Several modern studies have used various methods to measure the degreeContinue Reading The Vatican has rolled back on a recommendation by Pope Francis that parents seek psychiatric help for children who show homosexual tendencies. The pope made the comments to journalists as he was flying back to Rome from Ireland, but the Vatican later removed his phrase from its official account,Continue Reading Second, science is unusual compared to other social enterprises such as religion and fashion design in having a remarkable amount of agreement among its practitioners. Although there are many controversies in physics, chemistry, and biology concerning the best theories, there is also remarkable agreement about central theories such asContinue Reading Secular humanism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making. Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. Freethought holds thatContinue Reading Controversy erupted this week with reports that Pope Francis denied the existence of hell (link is external). Quoted by an Italian journalist who is both a friend and frequent interviewer of the pontiff, Francis reportedly said that sinners who die without eternal salvation “are not punished” but that insteadContinue Reading It’s worth noting that Francis is not the first pontiff to redefine the notion of hell. Pope John Paul II (link is external) also caused a stir when he rejected the concept of a literal hell as commonly understood. “Rather than a physical place, hell is the state ofContinue Reading The historian J Gordon Melton of Baylor University in Texas says that the word ‘cult’ is meaningless: it merely assumes a normative framework that legitimises some exertions of religious power – those associated with mainstream organisations – while condemning others. Groups that have approved, ‘orthodox’ beliefs are considered legitimate,Continue Reading