WRITTEN BY LIZ EMERY, AAI NEWS TEAM
Atheists long enjoyed watching Christopher Hitchens “slap” believers, especially during formal public debates. But debaters accepting Hitch’s baton must likewise prepare diligently or get “slapped” themselves during debates. In the following article, Liz Emery offers valuable insider’s advice to atheists intent on debating Mormons. Raised and homeschooled by Mormon parents in Utah, Liz served in multiple Church leadership roles and was accepted to study at Bringham Young University. She instead attended Utah State University, where she wrote a weekly column for the university’s newspaper. Today she lives in Chicago, but continues to study the Mormon Church.
The recent debate between biblical literalist Ken Hamm and scientist Bill Nye has raised an old question: Is it useful for atheists to debate believers, or do debates give unnecessary validity to irrational arguments? Religious arguments rest solely on faith, not scientific evidence, and debate formats do not allow secularists to conduct a course on epistemology. Victor Stenger has argued convincingly that debates favor Christian apologists who regularly perform in front of audiences and that atheists face a formidable task in preparing properly.
In the city of Wuppertal in Germany a group of Salafist Muslims have created a squad of "Sharia Police", enforcing Sharia Law during the night in the city.
There is no surprise in the message of the Sharia Police:
"No gambling, no music, no alcohol, no kafirs."
According NBC News, small groups of hardline Salafist Muslims have been patrolling the streets of a German city hoping to "influence and recruit young people," police said. The groups were seen in the western city of Wuppertal wearing bright orange reflective vests with "Shariah Police" on the back. "This was seen as a violation against Germany’s public assembly law and charges were filed,” police spokesman Andre Schwanicke told NBC News. Officials say they have increased the police presence in the city.
By Carlos S. Moreno
According to CNN, this fall, for the first time in U.S. history, an openly atheist candidate is running for Congress. James Woods is fighting an uphill battle as a Democrat seeking to represent the very Republican 5th Congressional District in Arizona.
There are now no openly atheist members of Congress, even though nearly 20% of Americans report having no religious affiliation, according to the Pew Research Center, and between 5% and 10% of Americans do not believe in a supreme being.