Fear is the key to belief in god

As someone who was a very religious (but not fundamentalist) Christian before becoming an atheist, I am drawn to other similar conversion stories. Daniel C. Maguire, a professor of theology at the Jesuit Marquette University has written a book Christianity without God: Moving beyond the Dogmas and Retrieving the Epic Moral Narrative describing his own similar journey.
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A curious twist to religious patriarchy

The three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are all patriarchal in the roles they assign to genders within the family. The husband is the head of the household and calls the shots and the wives and children follow his orders, at least in theory. Women are supposed to bear children (the more the better) and be responsible for taking care of them and for cooking, cleaning, and otherwise maintaining the household. These roles become more pronounced and extreme the more fundamentalist the believers are.
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Lost in translation

A Southern Baptist minister of a large church came under fire because in his Christmas message he suggested that the Ten Commandments were ‘sayings’ or ‘promises’, rather than mandates. Initially he responded to the backlash by defiantly saying, “If those who are angry at what I said about The 10 Commandments were actually following all 10, the world would be such a better place!”
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The power of Satan to frighten the religious

The Satanists have been on a roll recently in showing that political pandering to the religious is a double-edged sword and that any special privileges given to Christians necessarily means that other religions should be able to walk through that same open door. Other groups like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have tried to do the same thing but with less success which prompts the question of why it is that the Satanists are more effective at using this tactic to expose the hollowness of those who claim they are fighting for general religious freedom when in reality they are pushing for special privileges for just their own religion.
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Are these cases legally equivalent?

There were three recent court cases that tested the extent to which commercial establishments could refuse to serve certain customers because of their religious beliefs. The cases involved florists, bakers, and photographers who declined to provide their services to the weddings of same-sex couples because they disapproved of such marriages on religious grounds. All these cases are at various stages of litigation, though so far the rulings have tended to go against the businesses.
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Orthodox Jews believe the Sun goes around the Earth?

When one thinks of religious people objecting to scientific views of the world, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims immediately come to mind. Jews are less often pictured because they seem to be less committed to fixed ideas about how the world works. But there is a sector of Jews who are as bad as other religions when it comes to rejecting accepted scientific views.
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The heavenly tourism scam

I had heard of Colton Burpo, a young boy who claimed that he had gone to heaven and returned, and whose book Heaven Is For Real (written with his father) became a best-seller and also a film. In it, he describes meeting his grandfather and the other usual stuff people believe about heaven. His co-author father happens to be an evangelical pastor and the fact that the heaven described coincides with his beliefs did not seem to strike people as suspicious. The other co-author was Sarah Palin’s co-author, which didn’t help much.
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On holding everyone responsible for the actions of a few

The odious Rupert Murdoch has weighed in with a series of tweets that all Muslims are essentially responsible for the Charlie Hebdo killers, and author J. K. Rowling and others have responded ridiculing him. Jon Stewart and a panel of The Daily Show correspondents used the Murdoch episode as a springboard to discuss the double standard of those like Murdoch who demand that all Muslims denounce all acts of violence by any Muslim anywhere.
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