In case you missed these, here are a roundup of recent articles about religion that merit discussion:
Should Religions Be Taxed?
Real Time host Bill Maher says that churches, like corporations, should pay their fair share of taxes.
“There are 300,000 religious congregations in this country that pay no taxes,” Maher explained. “And they own $600 billion in property.”
Some 22.8 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheist or agnostic, which means “almost a quarter of us Americans are being forced to subsidize a myth that we’re not buying into,” Maher says. “Why in heaven’s name don’t we tax religion — a sexist, homophobic magic act that’s been used to justify everything from genital mutilation to genocide?”
Watch Maher’s commentary here and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Religion Declines, Spirituality Grows in United States
“By many measures, religious practice and affiliation has greatly declined in the United States in the last 50 years. And yet spirituality, religion’s free-spirited sibling, appears to be as strong – if not stronger – than ever,” Antonia Blumber writes in the Huffington Post.
“Yes, religious affiliation has declined,” she says, “But feelings of spiritual peace and wellbeing? Wonder about the universe? Both have significantly increased in the last decade across religious and nonreligious groups:
Some 54 percent of atheists say they regularly feel a sense of awe and wonder. This percentage grew 17 points between 2007 and 2014.
Read more about the change in religious and spirituality beliefs and share your thoughts about the religion vs. spirituality debate. Is one path better than another?
Is Religion a Forbidden or Non-Topic?
Although most people still don’t know what fork to choose when there’s more than one to the left of their plate, the admonitions from etiquette experts against discussing religion have taken hold.
“About half of U.S. adults tell us they seldom (33%) or never (16%) talk about religion with people outside their family. And roughly four-in-ten say they seldom (26%) or never (13%) discuss religion even with members of their immediate family,” the Pew Research Center reported April 15th.
Is this a sign that people respect other’s sensitivity on the subject, are afraid to share their own views or just don’t care enough to bring up the topic at the dinner table or office?
Where do you think the topic of religion belongs? Please join the discussion below
Belief in Flying Spaghetti Monster Not a Religion
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Pastafarianism is not a protected religion.
The movement is a “parody, intended to advance argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education. Those are important issues, and FSMism contains a serious argument—but that does not mean that the trappings of the satire used to make that argument are entitled to protection as a ‘religion,'” the court ruled.
Despite the court’s ruling, does the parody make a valid point? Does it encourage the kind of free discussion that will help people become more open about the topic of religion? Or is belief in a “flying spaghetti monster” so crude that it invites further division among people of different faiths?
Please share your thoughts below: