After years of discussion, the University of Miami has accepted a $2.2 million gift from a wealthy atheist to endow what it says is America's first academic chair "for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics."
According to The New York Times, the gift was also the largest of the many Louis J. Appignani, a retired businessman and former president and chairman of the modeling school Barbizon International, has ever given to humanist and secular causes. The university has not yet publicly announced the new chair but is expected to conduct a search for a scholar to fill the position.
"I'm trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists," Appignani, who is 83 and lives in Florida, told the Times. "So this is a step in that direction, to make atheism legitimate." more >>
Famous atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has said that his 2006 best-seller The God Delusion, an extremely popular book in the secular movement, was a "one-off," and he won't be writing anti-religious books anymore.
In an interview with BBC News regarding the 40th anniversary of another famous book of his, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins was asked about his criticism of religion, and whether The God Delusion might have been a "step too far."
Dawkins responded: "I've stepped back. I haven't written any more books along those lines. The God Delusion is a one-off. Not one that I'm ashamed of; I'm very proud of it. But it's a one-off." more >>
New research into the religious beliefs of people in the U.K. has found that for the first time ever, those without a religion outnumber Christians, at least when it comes to the countries of England and Wales.
"The striking thing is the clear sense of the growth of 'no religion' as a proportion of the population," said Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary's Catholic University in Twickenham.
"The main driver is people who were brought up with some religion now saying they have no religion. What we're seeing is an acceleration in the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular basis, but not even ticking the box. The reason for that is the big question in the sociology of religion," added Bullivant, who analyzed data collected through British Social Attitudes surveys over three decades. more >>
An atheist group has filed a complaint against a Wisconsin-based Christian school for its decision to punish students who openly express transgender or homosexual behaviors.
St. John's Lutheran School of Baraboo, which receives federal funding for certain student aid programs, informed parents earlier this year that they reserve the right to punish homosexuality and transgender activity.
Patrick Elliot of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, the largest atheist organization in the United States, filed a complaint earlier this month against the school before the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. more >>
East Liverpool High School was forced by an atheist group to turn away from its 70-year-old tradition of singing the Lord's Prayer at graduation, but the valedictorian chose to lead the class in a recitation of the Christian prayer during the ceremony.
This year's graduating class was told by the school that the recital of the Lord's Prayer had been removed from the program due to a complaint from the nation's largest atheist organization, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, to East Liverpool's school administrators who didn't want to fight a legal battle.
The lead singer of the Missouri-based metalcore band The Order of Elijah announced on Saturday that he has renounced his faith, citing evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion with helping answer existential questions that he claims no Christian wanted to address.
On Saturday, Shannon Low, the lead singer of the band, confessed on the band's Facebook page that he has decided to shed his faith "like a cocoon."
In the post, Low explained that he was baptized at the age of 20, and once felt called to be a pastor. However, he derailed from that plan and spent over a decade doing drugs, having sex and playing guitar in metal bands. more >>