Controversial Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth author, Reza Aslan, has hit back against atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher, who've blamed Islam and religion as a whole for violence and terrorism around the world, arguing that conflicts are much more complex than a single cause.
"New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are not atheists, they are anti-theists. They don't just not believe in God, they believe that religion is an insidious evil that has to be forcibly removed from society. And their views about religious people and religion in general are extreme and in no way representative of the majority or the mainstream view of atheists," Aslan said in an interview with the Vancouver Observer published on Tuesday.
He added that such anti-theists get their ideas "from the most simplistic, the most unsophisticated and the most knee-jerk reaction to the very real problem of religious violence around the world," and argued that it is "nothing less than idiotic to blame religion for religious violence without recognizing the multiple factors that are involved in violence of any sort." more >>
Oklahoma's Supreme Court ruled that a Ten Commandments display on the capitol grounds of Oklahoma City must be removed.
In a 7-2 decision released Tuesday, the state's highest court concluded that the privately-funded 6-foot tall granite monument violates the Oklahoma constitution, which states, "No public ... property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any ... system of religion ...."
"Because the monument at issue operates for the use, benefit or support of a sect or system of religion, it violates Article 2, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution and is enjoined and shall be removed," concluded the opinion, overturning a lower court decision. more >>
The First Church of Cannabis, a so-called religious group, says it will abstain from using marijuana during its opening worship service, according to it's leader, amid concerns that police might arrest those in attendance because pot is illegal in Indiana.
The Indianapolis-based "church," which garnered national headlines earlier this year by becoming an officially recognized religious sect, announced Monday that marijuana will not be part of its first service.
Bill Levin, leader of the group, commented on social media that he's concerned about potential police action against the First Church of Cannabis if people use the banned substance during Wednesday's service. more >>
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has reportedly expressed his "deep concern" over a resolution inside the U.S. Episcopal Church's House of Bishops that is seeking to remove references to marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman, among several other changes.
"While recognising the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships," the Anglican Communion News Service reported on Tuesday.
Resolution A037 in question refers to new marriage liturgies for trial use and a canonical change approved by the Episcopal House of Bishops, which will need to also be approved by the House of Deputies before they can come into effect. more >>
Justin Bieber, 21-year-old recording artist and model, was attending the Hillsong Conference in Sydney, Australia, this week and recently shared that the Pentecostal church's New York City pastor Carl Lentz has made a tremendous impact on his life.
Bieber, who has been known to spend time with Lentz, Hillsong NYC co-pastor and worship leader Joel Houston, City Church Pastor Judah Smith, and other influential young Christian leaders, reportedly interrupted a television network's interview with Lentz on Tuesday to state: "I'm glad to know him. He's changed my life."
Duke University's Islamic Studies Center director says the "violent and savage attacks" being carried out by ISIS terrorists during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan "shocks the decency" of Muslims around the world, and all slaughter of innocent life is a "great affront" to the teachings of Islam.
Omid Safi told The Christian Post on Tuesday that ISIS' brutal attacks and slaughter or Iraqis, Syrians and humanitarian aid workers has shown that it "abides neither by the letter nor by the spirit of Islamic teachings."
The jihadists, who have captured significant territory across Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility of three separate terror attacks on Friday, carried out in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait, in which dozens of people were killed. more >>