Posts Tagged ‘atheism’

January 21st, 2014

CFP: Secularism and Secularity

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It was a successful first year for the Secularism and Secularity Program Unit of the American Academy of Religion, which sponsored or co-sponsored four panels at the AAR’s annual meeting in Baltimore this past November. The call for papers for the 2014 meeting in San Diego is now available, and the deadline for submissions is March […]

October 31st, 2013

Stand still and watch

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How will the relationship between the state and religion in China evolve in the next decade, presumably under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping? To make any sensible predictions about the future development of the state-religion relationship in China, we have to go back in time. Two reference points are especially important: 1979 and 1966.

In 1979, after thirteen years of failed attempts to eradicate religion from the entire society, the ban on religion was lifted. A limited number of churches, temples, and mosques began to reopen for religious worship services. It is important to know that this new policy stemmed from pragmatic considerations rather than from doctrinal change: its purpose was to rally people from all walks of life, including religious believers, for the central task of economic development under the new leadership of the CCP.

October 10th, 2013

Secular belief, religious belonging

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A recent Gallup poll found that almost half of China’s people (47 percent) say that they are “convinced atheists”—the highest rate of atheism in the world. However, surveys conducted by Fenggang Yang and others show high levels of religious practice—as much as 85 percent of the population carry out rituals to honor ancestors, seek out good fortune, ward off evil, celebrate festivals, and accumulate merit for a good afterlife. Ethnographers have also documented the construction of many churches and temples, elaborate festivals, rituals for healing, and the cultivation of the mystical forces of qi. How, then, can we reconcile reports of widespread atheism with those of widespread religious practice?

October 1st, 2013

What is religion in China? A brief history

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The complex and ever-changing relationship between the Chinese state and the nation’s religions stretches back thousands of years. While the state never struggled with religious leaders for power, it governed an embedded religiosity in the population, one best described as diffused, non-exclusive, and pluralistic. As a companion to The Immanent Frame’s newly launched series of essays on the state of religion in China, this piece embarks on a brief historical survey, outlining the wide variety of beliefs and practices that religion in China encapsulates, and paying particular attention to the events and philosophies that have shaped the policies of the atheist People’s Republic of China.

July 10th, 2013

Is the increase in the non-religious a “bad thing”?

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A new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that an increasing number of American adults identify as religiously unaffiliated, and nearly one half of respondents said that the increase in non-religious individuals is a “bad thing” for American society.

December 5th, 2012

Funding for atheists

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Recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison gave the student organization, Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics (AHA) $69,000, the largest amount of grant money ever given to a non-theistic, student-led organization by a college or university.

August 28th, 2012

A hard road for an atheist preacher

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In an article in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Robert F. Worth writes about the four days he spent with Pentecostal preacher turned itinerant atheist speaker Jerry DeWitt.

July 30th, 2012

Voting for an atheist?

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In a recent article, Religion News Service discusses a Gallup poll survey, in which a majority of Americans said they would vote for a “well-qualified” atheist for President.

July 19th, 2012

The “New New Atheists”

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Christopher R. Beha discusses a recent article he had written for Harper’s Magazine in which he considers three publications, written by authors he classifies as the “New New Atheists.”

April 9th, 2012

Harmful prayer?

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On April 2nd, Dallas District  Court Judge Martin Hoffman ruled that it is legal to pray for God to harm someone as long as no one is actually threatened or harmed.