Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Bar chart showing why different religiously unaffiliated groups are unaffiliated. In general: 25% question a lot of religious teachings, 22% because they don’t believe in God, 18% don’t like the position churches take on social or political issues, 9% say religion is irrelevant to them, 6% don’t like religious organizations, 2% don’t like religious leaders, and 19% say none of those are very important reasons. For atheists: 11% question a lot of religious teachings, 75% because they don’t believe in God, 4% don’t like the position churches take on social or political issues, 6% say religion is irrelevant to them, 2% don’t like religious organizations, and those who don’t like religious leaders or say none of those are very important reasons are too small to see on the chart. For agnostics: 38% question a lot of religious teachings, 17% because they don’t believe in God, 14% don’t like the position churches take on social or political issues, 15% say religion is irrelevant to them, 5% don’t like religious organizations, 2% don’t like religious leaders, and 9% say none of those are very important reasons. For the rest of the unaffiliated: 25% question a lot of religious teachings, 8% because they don’t believe in God, 21% don’t like the position churches take on social or political issues, 8% say religion is irrelevant to them, 7% don’t like religious organizations, 3% don’t like religious leaders, and 28% say none of those are very important reasons.]

This is the breakdown of reasons why atheists, agnostics, and others aren’t affiliated with a religion, according to Pew’s data. It shows that despite usually being lumped together, these are very different groups.

  • [] Data shows a surprising campus free speech problem: left-wingers being fired for their opinions

    I have to wonder if anyone is really surprised by this.

  • [] Province celebrates Pride weekend with plans for human rights commission

    Oh, hell yes, BC. Reinstating your human rights commission would have been nice enough on its own. But you really went the extra mile with this headline, and made my weekend.

  • [] Denialism: what drives people to reject the truth

    This is an excerpt from an upcoming book, and it is fascinating. There’s so much in even this short excerpt – observing that the psychology of denialism isn’t pathological, a discussion of the new phenomenon of “post-denialism”, and more. Here’s just one tantalizing bit: There is a salutary lesson here: in democratic societies at least, denialism cannot be beaten legally, or through debunking, or through attempts to discredit its proponents. That’s because, for denialists, the existence of denialism is itself a triumph. […] For the denialist, every day barrels of oil continue to be extracted and burned is a good day, every day a parent doesn’t vaccinate their child is a good day, every day a teenager Googling the Holocaust finds out that some people think it never happened is a good day.

  • [] Humanists condemn “the politics of division”, resurgent in many parts of the world

    Very nice statement by the IHEU.

  • [] Should you raise your kids religious? Here’s what the science says

    My own mother, while not religious herself, was one of those people who believed her kids needed religion to be good. Thankfully, the religious teaching we got didn’t stick, and my siblings and I all found ways to be good without gods. Times have changed since she was a young mother, and I doubt she would feel the same today – in fact, I doubt most atheist parents today seriously entertain the notion that they need to church their kids so they don’t grow up to be intolerant pedophiles. (Yes, the irony there was deliberate.) But it’s still important to get real science on the issue, and this article offers plenty of that.

  • [] Is it good for you to be good?

    Of course you should be good because it’s good for others. But if it’s also good for you… I mean, bonus, right? This piece represents an interesting perspective that’s hard to give justice to in a blurb: being good increases your integrity – it decreases the dissonance caused by putting on a mask of goodness while actually not being good – which makes you perform better. That’s not just good for you, it’s good for everyone around you, because you’re performing better… which is yet another level of benefit to being good. Pretty interesting, eh?

  • [] It’s a bit rich for Saudi Arabia to accuse Canada of meddling, says analyst

    Unless you’ve been off the grid for the past week, you’ve heard of the “diplomatic spat” between Canada and Saudi Arabia, triggered by a pretty run-of-the-mill tweet by Global Affairs Canada criticizing the Kingdom for arresting Samara Badawi (again). This set off a full-on freak out by the Saudis, with them expelling Canada’s ambassador, freezing trade, and even revoking student visas. Much to Canada’s credit, our government stood by the tweet, and their right to criticize human rights violations by other countries – even Trudeau showed uncharacteristic backbone. Much to the discredit of virtually ever other country… pretty much no one else is standing by us. As you can probably imagine, there’s no shortage of opinion pieces about what’s going on, including the inevitable pearl-clutching whines about “conducting diplomacy on Twitter”. However, others have pointed out that Prince Salman is basically batshit crazy, and increasingly demonstrating his incompetence at statesmanship, and the fact that Saudi Arabia thinks it could get away with this display of histrionics over a mundane tweet criticizing human rights violations… and appears to be right… should make us worry about the current level of dedication to human rights being shown by governments worldwide.

  • [] Why America’s ‘nones’ don’t identify with a religion

    There is a painful dearth of really good, hard data about nonbelievers, largely because there was active disinterest in studying this group for many years. There is especially little data about the difference between actual atheists and “nones” – that is, people who are not affiliated with any religion – in general; usually they’re just all lumped together, which gives rise to stupid headlines like “Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians (in case it’s not clear, that article is not talking about atheists, it’s talking about “nones”… and says so clearly in the article, once you get past the dumb headline and opening paragraphs). It’s only very recently that there have been signs that researchers are getting serious about studying nonbelief itself, and nonbelievers, rather than simply bundling them up along with everyone who doesn’t want to affiliate themselves with a recognized religious group. Here Pew gives us some interesting facts about the difference between atheists, agnostics, and “nones” in general. The number one reason, by far, that atheists don’t affiliate with a religion is – and this is hilariously obvious – they don’t believe in gods! I mean, duh, right? The number two and three reasons are “I question a lot of religious teachings” and “religion is irrelevant to me”. For agnostics, the top three reasons break down as: questioning teachings, irrelevance, then “I don’t like the positions churches take on social/political issues”. For other “nones”, the top three reasons are: questioning teachings, not liking the positions of churches, and “I don’t like religious organizations” (with “I don’t like religious leaders” as a close fourth, probably within the margin of error). What that tells is that despite the stereotypes, most atheists are really not about opposition to religion – most of them, in fact, really don’t give a fuck about religion. In fact, the people most opposed to religion are those “nones” who don’t identify as atheist!

  • [] Expert Worries Italy’s Vaccine Flip-Flop Could Sway Parents In Canada

    This is a bit of a bummer. Personally, I’m on the fence about mandatory vaccinations – I don’t oppose in theory, but like the experts in this article, I worry it could backfire in practice. But Italy had good reason for making it mandatory; they had a literal body count due to vaccine denial. It would have been nice if they stuck to it.

  • [] Ontario Sex Ed Human Rights Challenge Led By 11-Year-Old Student

    This is kind of awesome. I’ve been on the lookout for more info about this student, but nothing’s out there so far, so I wonder if they’re intending to remain anonymous. I wouldn’t blame them. Even if they do opt for anonymity, they still deserve kudos for their courage.

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