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What's New Archive2004March

What's New on the Secular Web?

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March 24, 2004

Added "Trouble in Paradise?: Michael Martin on Heaven," (a rebuttal to Martin) by Tom Wanchick, to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

"In a sampling of his Internet publications, Prof. Michael Martin has argued that, when closely evaluated, the concept of Heaven as historically construed by Christians is found to be a veritable mare's nest of philosophical difficulties and confusions. But his arguments are aimed largely at conceptions of Heaven that the vast majority of the Christian community would reject. And even those that are relevant are less than impressive. If Dr. Martin wishes to uphold his thesis that Heaven is without philosophical merit, he needs to revamp his arguments--for, to date, none of them work."

March 17, 2004

Added "God Is Smiling on Me," by Mary Elizabeth Thompson, to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Is God smiling on you? It is evident by how prosperous you have been in the world. According to some believers, God grants material rewards to the faithful. No material rewards? Then that's your own fault.

March 13, 2004

Added Humanists of Northeast Florida (HONEF) to the listing of Local Organizations Around the World in the Secular Web Organizations listings.

Based in the Ormond Beach area, the goal of HONEF is the application of reason and science to understand nature, and to exercise human compassion to solve human problems.

Added Society for Humanistic Judaism to the listing of International Organizations in the Secular Web Organizations listings.

Humanistic Judaism embraces a human-centered philosophy that combines the celebration of Jewish culture and identity with an adherence to humanistic values and ideas. Humanistic Judaism offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life.

March 11, 2004

Added "Liberty and Justice for All," by Denise Herman, to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

"We should separate God from civic life in every way. 'Individual liberty is the essential characteristic of free government,' writes Constitutional historian Melvin Urofsky. Allow religious beliefs to take precedence over democratic liberties and we're finished. Freedom of speech, Freedom of the Press, Right to Assemble, Habeas Corpus, Due Process--forget it. History, Thomas Jefferson reminds us, 'furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.'"

March 9, 2004

Added "From Missionary Bible Translator to Agnostic," by Ken Daniels, to the Testimonials section of the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

"The purpose of this testimonial is to open a window to my life as a Christian and my reasons for leaving the faith, allowing others to evaluate the authenticity of my former faith and the motivations for my doubts. To that end, I have liberally sprinkled my story with a healthy ... dose of personal prayers, correspondence and reflection. My hope is that this will help some of my family members and friends understand, if not appreciate, how I have come to where I am. Additionally, I would like to provide encouragement for those who recognize many of the problems of Christianity but who struggle to give wing to their doubts. I do not believe this will cause committed believers to leave the faith, but it is my hope that it will aid those who have already begun to question their faith."

March 4, 2004

Added "Self-Esteem and Christian Belief," by Merle Hertzler, to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Christian psychologists and psychiatrists have taken Christianity by storm with a seemingly unending supply of therapy, seminars, and books offering a variety of cures for those that suffer from low self-esteem. These healers set out to heal that damaged sense of self-worth, yet they seem not to acknowledge that Christian doctrine, itself, is likely a contributing factor to the very problem which they set out to cure. In this article, Hertzler looks at what both humanism and Christianity have to offer in terms of self-esteem.

March 1, 2004

Feature article: "'Miraculous' Cures: What Do They Tell Us?" by Anthony Campbell.

From time to time we read reports of people who have recovered from serious or normally fatal illnesses thanks to what appears to be miraculous intervention. Are these apparently "miraculous" cures evidence of divine intervention? If not, what is the explanation?

Book-of-the-Month: The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Share, Gossip, and Follow the Golden Rule, by Michael Shermer.

Psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates, how and why morality motivates the human animal, and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the implications of statistics for fate and free will; fuzzy logic for the existence of pure good and pure evil; and ecology for the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.

Video-of-the-Month: Penn & Teller: Bullshit!--The First Season.

"Self-proclaimed pit-bulls of truth," Penn and Teller tell it like it is, using "their trademark humor, knowledge of carnival tricks, and hidden cameras to blow the lid off popular notions about secondhand smoke, self-help products, diet claims, creationism, TV psychics, Feng Shui, bottled water," talking to the dead, skepticism in general, and more.

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