About this web site
Newly created or updated
the past six months. Planned essays.
In this web site, "SSM" is an acronym referring to marriage by a same-sex couple
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals
New and updated essays:
As of the beginning of 2016, our dedicated server at CoreSpace in Michigan contained about 11,000 essays
and menus. This includes our home page, thousands of menus and many thousands of individual essays. We have a goal of adding one new essay each day. We also update many dozens of essays each week.
We continually add to our interesting quotes section, We attempt to cover emerging stories related to religion, spirituality, morality, and ethics, as well as the historic beliefs and practices of many different religions.
There are lots of other religious web sites on the Internet that cover these same topics. However, they often reflect only the beliefs of their webmaster or sponsoring agency. Objectivity and balance are often weak or missing. Our web site is different. We try to explain all sides to each topic while remaining as free of bias as we can. When we do state our personal opinions, we identify them carefully.
We think that people can often understand a topic better by learning what others who hold different opinions believe and why they believe what they do. Unfortunately, religious liberals tend to listen and watch liberal news outlets like MSNBC and Sirius XM Progress. Conservatives tend to listen and watch Fox News and the Patriot channel of Sirius. Thus, many people rarely have their beliefs challenged. Most get a biased account of the news and thus do not have an accurate understanding of recent developments.
Essays planned for the near future:
We estimate that we need to write many thousands of essays
before our web site will be reasonably complete. Even then, there will
undoubtedly be new controversial moral/ethical topics continually emerging with a religious
content -- topics like gun control and polygamous marriages. The battle between fear-based and information-based sex education in schools will continue. With the arrival of marriage equality during mid-2016, both religious conservatives and the LGBT community almost instantly switched from gay marriage to assuring employment and accomodation security to the community, as well as equal
rights for transsexuals. These will necessitate the writing of countless new
We maintain a list of new topics about which we
are currently working on or plan to write "someday." We have
a larger list for internal use that, sadly, numbers in the many thousands of
Why do we have so many essays on sexual minorities?
In recent years, the conflict between religious conservatives and sexual
minorities -- defined either by their sexual orientation or gender identity --
have monopolized much of the news. Back in 2011-FEB, the Obama Administration decided to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Some commentators predicted that this would generate a tipping point on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) rights. This seems to have happened, because subsequent months saw an accelerating rate of change towards LGBT equality. The change has been so rapid that it has formed the bulk of our web site's new essays from 2011 until late 2015.
In most countries, marriage laws are created by a central government. The U.S. and Mexico are exceptions. In the United States, marriage equality has been fought on a state-by-state basis in state and federal courts, state legislatures, and via citizen initiatives. Instead of one country-wide battle, as in Canada and two dozen or so other countries, it has become 56 battles: one for each state, each of the five territories, and the District of Columbia. It has been the main religious/civil rights topic in recent years -- eclipsing even abortion access.
On 2015-JUN-26, the U.S. Supreme Court the High
in the case Obergefell
v. Hodges. SSM became immediately legal throughout the U.S., at least in principle if not in practice! The lives of the approximately 32 million Americans who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual -- or who will discover later in life that they have a minority sexual orientation -- have been profoundly changed by nine Justices.
"Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World," by David Silverman. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$17.80 plus postage in Paperback, $11.92 in Kindle format, or $16.45 plus postage in hardcover.
Also available in Audible and MP3 CD formats.
This book is written by an Atheist about Atheism. It might be very helpful for Christians and others who attempt to proselytize non-Christians. That is because it accurately reflects real beliefs of Atheists.
Amazon.com book description:
"Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman -- a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News -- discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent.
Silverman argues that religion is more than just wrong: it is malevolent and does not deserve our respect. It is our duty to be outspoken and do what we can to bring religion down. Examining the mentality, methods and issues facing the firebrand atheist, Silverman presents an overwhelming argument for firebrand atheism and reveals:
- All religion is cafeteria religion and almost all agnostics are atheists.
- American society grants religion a privileged status, despite the intentions of the Founding Fathers.
- Christian politicians have adversely (and un-Constitutionally) affected our society with regard to science, health, women's rights, and gay rights. ...
- It is not "Islamophobia" to observe dangerous teachings and disproportionate violence in Islam, including the governments of some predominately Muslim countries that execute Atheists, Muslims who leave Islam for another religion, and homosexuals.
- Atheists are slowly but surely winning the battle. ..."
Average rating in reviews by 77 Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars. That is unusually high for a book on such a controversial topic.
There are 35 new and revised essays activated so far during 2016-AUG:
- 2016-JUL: The World Health Organization may no longer classify being transgender as a mental disorder.
- Lammas, a Wiccan/Neopagan celebration held on AUG-01 in the Northern Hemisphere, & FEB-01 in the Southern Hemisphere
- Tentative selections of recommended books for future months: September & October, November, December & January, February, March, & April.
- The federal FADA: (First Amendment Defense
Act): A brief description of the status quo.
A concern of some Christian groups.
State versions of FADA.
- Marriage equality in Australia:
- 2015-OCT until now: Support for gay marriage in the U.S. Speculation about the future of marriage equality in the United States
- 2016-FEB to APR: Attention returns Rowan County, Kentucky: Kim Davis and marriage equality both win: a new marriage application form is approved for Kentucky
- About transgender persons: Pope Francis condemns telling children that they can "choose their gender"
- Cosmology and the shape of the Earth:
- Part 8: Passages from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) about the Earth's shape. Additional proofs that the Earth is not flat.
- Part 9: Proofs 16 to 19 that the Earth is not flat. Is the Flat Earth group sincere or perpetrating a hoax?
- Analysis of Jude 7 from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) -- a passage than many believe condems homosexual behavior
- An essay donated by Robert Mount: "My Pursuit of Truth."
Part 1 Part 2
- Atheist car license plates in Connecticut and Michigan
- North Carolina's "freedom to discriminate" law against transgender persons: (in 6 Parts)
- A recommended book selected for 2017-MAY: "How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying About God and the Bible" by Richard M. Smoley
- Links between astronomy, the life stories of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) and other deities
- About Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ)
- Registering web sites; Meta tag keywords; Monitoring your site's, acceptance & rating by others & whether it is on or offline: Part 1 Part 2
"Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Heart & Mind over Same-Sex Marriage," by Michael Coren. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $19.45 plus postage in Hardcover, $14.54 in Kindle format.
Amazon.com book description:
"From the posterboy of Catholic conservatism, a major change of heart and soul on one of the Church's most controversial and intractable stances. ..."
"Michael Coren had a profound spiritual and personal change of heart. Epiphany is about how and why that happened; the reaction from both sides of the fence; and how the Christian doctrine, when studied closely and without bias, heartily supports Michael's findings. As a middle-aged, very white, very straight, very Christian man, he was obliged, first reluctantly and then eagerly, to explore the complex dynamic between faith and homosexuality and to work out a new narrative. The crux of that narrative: God is love.
Honest, brave, and rigorous in its scholarship, Epiphany is a groundbreaking book on one of society's most pressing issues.
This book was released on 2016-APR-26. There are no reviews by Amazon.com customers yet.
There were 35 new and revised essays activated during 2016-JUL:
Reducing the U.S. abortion rate: Contraceptive (Birth Control)
methods for regulating fertility: Part 2 Part 3
Washington State law requires pharmacies to not discriminate against customers seeking emergency contraception: Part 1 Part 2
Estimates of the number of transgender persons in the U.S.
Mississippi: "Religious freedom to discriminate" bill signed into law and later declared unconstitutional by a federal district court. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
A brief list of major developments in Canada about same-sex marriage from 2005-JUN until now. Current status
About the Orlando shooting: Motivation (Con't): FBI discounts sexual orientation. Catholic World Report concludes jihadism was his main motivation. Rev. Denise Anderson holds church responsible.
Reasons people have given for their belief when human life becomes a human person
2016: Heart-stopping vote on gay marriage at the 2016 Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
United Methodist Church: Year 2016 General Conference: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Discrimination against transgender persons and transsexuals in the military:
- Part 1: 2011/2012: Overview. Support. Current military policies. Care for veterans.
- Part 2: 2016: Previous ends to discrimination of various groups. Pentagon announces
an end to discrimination against transgender members.
- Part 3: 2016: More negative reactions to the ending of discrimination.
A personal message from Armin Navabi, who converted from Islam to Atheism and founded the Atheist Republic.
Part 5 2016: The Conservative Party of Canada modifies platform to take neutral position on gay marraige.
Part 7 of the flat earth/spherical earth conflict: Arguments about the Earth's shape. One more proof of a spherical Earth. More Bible passages about the Earth's shape.
Brief reviews of books that are either for or against same-sex marriage.
Full disclosure: the personal beliefs about abortion access by the main author of this web site.
Abortion access beliefs of Senator Tim Kaine, the presumptive candidate for U.S. Vice President for the Democratic Party.
Abortion access: developments during 2016: California enacts a law requiring Crisis Pregnancy Centers to be open and transparent about their services. Fourteen states have passed a total of thirty anti-abortion bills during the first five months of 2016
Glossary of religious terms starting with the letters "Ia" to "Inf," and with the letters "Ini" to "Iz"
FADA (The First Amendment Defense Act): All points of view: Some view it as defending
the freedom of religion; others as defending people's
& denigrate others: Menu + 5 essays.
2016-June's book selection
"Freedom from Religion," by Noel McGivern
Although this book advocates that people abandon religion, it should also be of interest for believers who engage in the proselytizing of others. It should teach you what others believe about religion, and make your proselytizing more effective.
Amazon.com book description:
"Why is belief a useless guide to truth? Why do we need to understand the danger of religious identity? Was Moses a ruthless psychopath? What led to the Catholic Church's moral cowardice over the Nazis and child-abusing priests? How harmful have Islamic interpretations been for women in Arab countries? What are the best answers to claims the Bible is inerrant? Are spiritual experiences just products of the mind? Freedom from Religion explores the evidence and makes a powerful case for walking away from religion. It's a guide for those defending non-belief and deeply challenging to those within religion."
Noel McGivern was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1962, and left at the age of 19 for a degree in politics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. A major reason for leaving Belfast was his desire to be free from the religious identities imposed by that divided society. He spent many years seeking the truth at the heart of religion and spirituality, eventually reaching the conclusion that such beliefs are often barriers to human and political progress. He embarked on a study of how religion affects individuals and society. This book, sometimes funny, and at others deeply serious, is the outcome of that.
Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.6 out of 5 stars, which is unusually high for a book on such a religiously controversial top
New and revised essays during 2016-JUN:
There were 29 new or updated essays in June including the above recommended book.
Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA)
Allegations of Satanic Ritual Abuse at Charleroi, Belgium
An essay donated by Dr. Tony Larsen: "Why You Should Not Be A Unitarian Universalist"
A glossary of religious and spiritual terms starting with the letter "O"
2016-JUN-12: The Orlando, FL mass shooting, at the Pulse LGBT nightclub:
The Yazidi branch of Yazdanism. Allegations of genocide perpetrated by ISIS: Part 1 Part 2
Cosmology: modern, biblical and Pagan beliefs
Recent reactions to the Trinity Western (TWU) law school controversy over a "religious freedom to discriminate" action.
Reducing the abortion rate: Contraceptive methods Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Washington State: Law requires pharmacies to not discriminate against customers seeking emergency contraception: Part 1 Part 2
2016-May's book selection
"Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family" by Amy Ellis Nutt
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$16.20 plus postage in Hardcover, or
$13.30 in Kindle format.
Book description by Erin Kodicek:
" 'Why IS it such a big deal to everyone what somebody has in their pants?' Excellent question, posed by an unusually astute transgender girl, the subject of Amy Ellis Nutt’s emotional and illuminating Becoming Nicole. It’s also a little ironic, since Nicole’s story makes a bit of a deal of it, but in a much different way than other stories we’ve been hearing lately, from celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner and television shows like Transparent. Nicole, her twin brother Jonas, mom Kelly, and dad Wayne, are your typical middle class American family. They live next door to you -- are shuttling from work, to Cub Scouts, to softball practice. … They’re also coming to terms with the fact that one of their own has Gender Dysphoria, a medical condition whereby a person does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. And so Wayne and Kelly Maines discover that they don’t have two sons at all, but a son and a daughter. This is a particularly hard pill for Republican, Air Force veteran, Wayne, to swallow, and his journey from denial to accepting and championing his daughter, is one of the more powerful and moving side narratives in a book chock full of them. That is why I really struggled to write this review, because Becoming Nicole is an important book that imparts important lessons, and the ones that resonate most have nothing to do with what’s in anyone’s pants: Be true to yourself, live an authentic life, exercise compassion. –
Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.4 out of 5 stars. It was selected as Amazon's Best Book of October, 2015; a New York Times notable book; one of People's ten best books of the year; and Men's Journal's one of the best books of the year!
New and revised essays during 2016-MAY:
There were 43 new and updated essays, including the above recommended book.
A brief list of some genocides in biblical and modern times: Part 1 Part 2
Tennessee: 2016-JAN to APR: A state law was passed to allow counselors, therapists, and mental health professionals to refuse service to LGBT people, atheists, divorced people, literally anyone, by simply claiming that it violates their "sincerely held religious beliefs." Signed into law in late April. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
An introduction to climate change, global warming,
- Part 1: Cartoon. Webmaster's note.
- Part 2: A tweet & two quotes. What would happen if/when
the glaciers melt? Why discuss
climate change on a religious web site? An infographic.
A conflict between a FTM transgender
school teacher and a Roman Catholic School board in Saskatchewan, Canada.
The root causes and resolutions of three major religious/secular conflicts:
Two Pagan views, one modern view, one hoax, and one conspiracy theory about the shape of the Earth:
- Part 1: Overview about cosmological beliefs. Ancient Pagan view originating in Sumer.
- Part 2: Revised Pagan Greek view, which was generally accepted by the early Christian Church, with a couple of exceptions.
- Part 3: Greek Pagan cosmology (Cont'd). Modern view of the solar system. The big lie: that the church taught a flat earth during the Middle Ages.
- Part 4: The flat earth belief is reborn as a modern-day conspiracy theory. Two proofs that it is not valid.
- Part 5: Five more proofs that the flat earth belief is false.
Civil Unions bill in Italy awaits the Prime Minister's signature.
"Bathroom bills:" Who gets to use a women's public washroom and who gets to use a men's room.
President Barack Obama issues a proclamation for Mother's Day that recognizes transgender mothers
About the child ritual abuse hoax of the 1980's and 1990's:
A personal note by the Webmaster on the
death of Prince, and
ambiguities in the Bible concerning salvation, and the afterlife
A progressive Christian and non-Christian viewpoint of the atonement Part 1 Part 2.
Gods, Goddesses and other deities: Background material. Differentiating
among Theists, Agnostics, and Atheists:
Analysis of the Exodus version of the Ten Commandments:
Atheism: Belief in no God, or no belief in God. Quotations and an overview
"NeWFism," a proposed biblically-based new religion An essay donated by Alton C. Thompson.
Misc. links to other web sites: Part 1 Part 2
Harold Camping predicted the rapture and world end for 2011. Neither happend but Rapture Party Day lives on
Religious data from the UK showing a gradual slide from belief in Christianity into secularism:
Comments by delegates to the United Methodist Church's 2012 conference. Webmaster's comments. 2016 conference
decides to "punt" on the LGBT issue
Atheism: Belief in no God, or no belief in God. Quotations and an overview
Major events and current status of gay marriage in Canada Part 1: 2001 to 2005-MAY; Part 2: 2005-JUN to now.
Adam and Eve's original sin and the concept of the Atonement in Christianity
2016-April's book selection:
"Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics," by Mark A Smith
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
Available for U.S.$18.51 plus postage in Hardcover, or $10.96 in Kindle format.
Average rating in reviews by 4 Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
A group of editorial reviews:
David Campbell, University of Notre Dame: "A beautifully written and richly substantive book that convincingly explodes conventional wisdom. On an array of issues, from slavery to divorce, homosexuality, and women’s rights, Smith’s exhaustive research clearly shows that the doctrines of America’s major religious traditions have shifted to conform with contemporary societal norms. Readers will learn much from this book—even those who already consider themselves familiar with one or more of the issues it explores."
Alan Wolfe, Boston College: "Far from holding fast to traditions and principles, religion, like everything else, changes to meet the times. Smith adds to our understanding of America's presumed culture wars by showing how often this has happened in our history."
Chicago Tribune 2015-SEP-14: "Smith show[s], over and over again, on issue after issue, that religious leaders have changed their tune on almost every subject to accommodate more sweeping changes taking place in broader American society. . . . Smith is after something bigger than just thumbing his nose at those who claim to have The Answer. Instead, [he] wants Americans to take a step back from the culture wars. He wants us to realize that, despite apocalyptic pronouncements that Americans are more polarized than ever before, we actually agree on quite a bit."
Catholic Library World 2015-DEC-30: "Has culture driven changes to the Christian faith and adjusted its tenets? Smith argues that this is the case. ... His arguments and critique of Christianity will arouse discussion in many contexts."
About the Author:
Mark A. Smith is professor of political science and adjunct professor of comparative religions at the University of Washington. He is the author of two [other] books: "The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society" and "American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy,"
New and revised essays during 2015-APR:
There were 15 new and updated essays during April including the above recommended book. This is significantly reduced from our normal output of one new or updated essay a day because a great deal of our time was committed to income tax preparation this month:
- A three part essay donated by John A. Dixon: One writer's beliefs about homosexuality: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- A revamp of our main menu on Islam
- Quotes on various aspects of religion, written by
authors with names
with the letter H to P.
- 2016-APR The LGBT community takes new initiatives to overcome discrimination against the trans community
- North Carolina: City of Charlotte amends human rights law to include protection for transgender community; State kills ordinance.
- "Divorce and the LDS Church" describes divorce in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the main Mormon church.
- This web site has a special feature that we have never seen on another religious web site: an errata section in which we record errors which we have found or have been told about via emails from site visitors, and have since corrected.
- The Hindu menu and two of its associated essays have been updated. One deals with the number of Hindus in the U.S., Canada & the rest of the world. The other deals with the larger than normal ratio of boy to girl children in India which appears to be caused by sex-selective abortions and, to a lesser degree, the abandonment of girl newborns.
- Analysis of an article in Aljazeera Magazine, a Muslim periodical, in opposiion to gay marriage, with readers'comments. Part 1 Part 2
- The RU-486 "abortion pill" becomes available in Canada.
- Climate change & other environmental concerns:
- Part 1: Cartoon. Webmaster's note. Scientists' warnings. Variation in CO2 levels. Why do we discuss this topic here?
- Part 2: A tweet & two quotes. What would happen when
the galciers melt? Why discuss
climate change on a
religious web site? An infographic.
- More environmental concerns and climate change: "Christians,
Republicans' & Democrats'