“Why did God allow my baby to die?”

How would you respond if a co-worker asked you such a question? This was a question that was asked of a person who watches Pat Robertson’s 700 Club show and she decided to ask the big guy (Robertson, not god) what the response should have been.

Of course, no one is likely to ask an atheist like me such a question but if I had been asked it during the time I was a lay minister in the church, I would have been stumped. After all, the problem of theodicy has challenged the most famous religious apologists down the ages and their answers, when stripped of all the theological verbiage, essentially boils down to “Beats me. Who the hell knows? Just believe that it makes sense somehow.”
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What is the Thinking Housewife thinking these days?

I periodically check in on the website known The Thinking Housewife to see what issues are concerning her and her readers. The site espouses quite appalling views but in the most genteel and proper language. That site has a strange fascination for me, like entering a time warp where I find myself in a world that never really existed except in the imaginations of those who think that we have become a decadent, hedonistic society that has abandoned all moral standards largely because we have lost contact with our religious, especially Roman Catholic, roots. They see warning signs of the decline everywhere.
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Why not a church that uses cannabis?

As we all know, Christians are a highly persecuted group in the US, forced against their deeply held beliefs to not discriminate against the LGBT community. The situation has got so bad that various states are passing their own versions of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to provide relief to this beleaguered group. Indiana is one of those states that passed such legislation and the governor of the state Mike Pence signed it into law
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Please support Taslima Nasrin

The recent murders of three secular bloggers Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das in Bangladesh by religious extremists purportedly linked to al Qaeda have resulted in serious concerns for the safety of others who are still there. One of the FtB bloggers Taslima Nasrin lived in India and had also been targeted with death threats. Given the recent history in that part of the world, this was not a threat to be taken lightly and the local police did not inspire confidence in their ability to protect her.
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The Irish vote for marriage equality is a victory for humanity

I was of course pleased that the Irish voted in favor of same-sex marriage and delighted that the margin of victory (62% in favor) was so large. The fact that a country that is so closely identified with Catholicism gave such a strong affirmation that all people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation has sent shock waves through not only the Catholic establishment but through much of the anti-gay world.
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What the hell is wrong with these people?

Although I did not pay much attention to them, I had of course heard of the Duggar family, stars of a reality show called 19 Kids and Counting, referring to the number of children that the parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had. You could not avoid reading about them. From the little bits of news that crossed my path, they seemed like a bunch of insufferable Christians who looked down on everyone who did not follow in their religious, home-schooled, sex-puritan ways. But they were feted by right wing Christian types, including politicians, as upholding true Christian values.
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Ireland holds referendum on same-sex marriage on Friday

If there is one country in Europe that is seen as being quintessentially Catholic, it is Ireland. That country has for a long time long had it policies determined largely by church doctrine and also had its government cover up the horrendous abuses of the church. It is really quite remarkable how recently they have moved to give people even minimal sexual freedoms.
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Sharp rise in religiously unaffiliated in the US

The Pew Research Center’s forum on Religion and Life today released its latest survey on the religious landscape in the US and they find that there are currently about 56 million religiously unaffiliated people in the US and they are the most rapidly growing group, jumping from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014. That is a huge increase. Non-Christian faiths showed a smaller increase over that same time period, from 4.7% to 5.9%. The big losers were Catholics (23.9% to 20.8%) and mainline Protestants (18.1% to 14.7%). Evangelicals have also dropped by about one percent.
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