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Study finds that children raised without religion show more empathy and kindness

A study conducted by theUniversity of Chicagohas found that children raised in non-religious households are kinder and more altruistic than those raised with religion.The study which was published in the journal Current Biology looked at 1170 children between the ages of 5 and 12 years in six countries (Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey, USA, and South Africa) andexamined “the religiousness of their household, and parent-reported child empathy and sensitivity to justice.”

The study found that “family religious identification decreases children’s altruistic behaviors” and “children from religious households are harsher in their punitive tendencies.”In other words, children raised in the absence of religion are more giving and generous, as the study states:Across all countries, parents in religious households reported that their children expressed more empathy and sensitivity for justice in everyday life than non-religious parents. However, religiousness was inversely predictive of children’s altruism and positively correlated with their punitive tendencies. 

Together these results reveal the similarityacross countries in how religion negatively influences children’s altruism, challenging the view that religiosity facilitates prosocial behavior.“Our findings contradict the common-sense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind toward others. In our study, kids from atheist and non-religious families were, in fact, more generous,” said Prof. Jean Decety who led the study.According to the study as well, the findingsdid not change much over time and children raised in very religious households didn’t follow the natural trend of being more giving with age.Consistent with previous studies, in general the children were more likely to share as they got older. But children from households identifying as Christian and Muslim were significantly less likely than children from non-religious households to share their stickers. 

The negative relation between religiosity and altruism grew stronger with age; children with a longer experience of religion in the household were the least likely to share.The study also showed that punishment in religious households was much more severe as religious parents “favored stronger punishments for anti-social behavior and judged such behavior more harshly than non-religious children. 

These results support previous studies of adults, which have found religiousness is linked with punitive attitudes toward interpersonal offenses.”“Together, these results reveal the similarity across countries in how religion negatively influences children’s altruism. They challenge the view that religiosity facilitates prosocial behavior, and call into question whether religion is vital for moral development—suggesting the secularization of moral discourse does notreduce human kindness. In fact, it does just the opposite,” Decety said.

The study comes as little surprise to those of us who raise kids outside of religion as Ioutlined in my own bookParenting WithoutGod. Children raised without dictatorship type rules and threats of eternal punishment just seem to turn out nicer.This does not mean that religious children cannot be good people or even grow up to be good people, but it does imply strongly that religious parenting is not an ideal parenting method and as Decety points out, it gives evidence to the case for a stronger secularization of the U.S. and the world.

Straight and sensible reasons why I am an atheist – The quotes way

There are hundreds of great atheism quotes out there. Like most skillful turns of phrase, they allsoundgood. But there are many Idisagreewith, for example “All thinking men are atheists” (Ernest Hemmingway).But these are the ones that strike me most deeply right now.

1.When   you   understand  why   you   dismiss   all  the   other   possible   gods,   you  will understandwhy I dismiss yours.

Stephen  Roberts

2.When I was a kid I had an  imaginary  friend and I used to think that he went everywhere with me, and that I could talk to him and that he could hearme, and that he could grant me wishes and stuff. And then I grew up, and I stopped going to church.

Jimmy Carr
3.Believe nothing,No matter where you read it,Or who has said it,Not even if I have said it,Unless it agrees with your own reasonAnd your own common sense.
Buddha

4.To understand via the heart is not to understand.

Michel de Montaigne
5.I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t.

Jules Renard
6.Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.
Anonymous

7.Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.But having stopped, listen and learn, then go yourway.There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.All we who are dead belowHave become bones and ashes, but nothing else.I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.

Ancient Roman tombstone
8.An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can’t be a god. Heonly has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.

John McCarthy

9.Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.

Blaise Pascal

 Smoking twice as dangerous for women

A woman who smokes the same number of cigarettes as a man is twice as likely to develop lung cancer, doctors have found. Research suggests that females are highly susceptible to lung cancer even though they inhale less deeply and start smoking at a later age than men. The key to the doubled tumour risk lies in crucial lung tissue differences from men, and the presence of the female hormone oestrogen, according to Professor Diane Stover, head of the lung unit at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. She described the data which revealed the threat to women as ‘horrifying’. Women are also more susceptible to the lethal lung condition chronic obstructivelung dis-ease, which is caused by smoking andis rapidly increasing in incidence. For British women, the findings raise the prospect of a leap in lung cancer cases. Recent research suggests that the proportion of women in this country who smoke more than ten cigarettes aday has risen to one in four, bringing them in line with men for the first time. Dr Stover said that cancer cases among women in America and Europe were significantly higher than the number of female smokers would suggest. In Japan, a study of cancer victims among 1,000 male smokers and 700 female smokers showed that women developed the disease two years earlier than the men. Dr Stover told an international conference, attended by 17,000 doctors and organised by the AmericanThoracic Society, that lung cancer was more common in non- smoking women than their male equivalents. A mass of research showed this was true whatever the woman’s circumstances – for instance whether she was exposed to passive smoking at home or at work – and under-lined the vulnerability of female smokers. Part of the reason was the biochemical way women dealt with the 50 or more cancer-producing agents in tobacco, said Dr Stover. ‘Men and women deal with these carcinogens differently,’ she said. ‘There are individual variations, but men tend to detoxify them and excrete them in their urine whereas in women the carcinogens take a different pathway, they are transformed into other carcinogenic substances.’ These could lead to mutations in tumour-suppressing genes or ‘cell suicide’, she said. Other compelling evidence of greater female susceptibility was that a gene potentially linked to cancer, known as the GRPR, was twice as likely to trigger a tumour in women than men because it attached to the X chromosome, which was twice as common in females. Dr Stover said: ‘Another way to put this is that a cigarette smoked by a woman had double the carcinogenic effect of a cigarette smoked by a man.’ Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at the Cancer Research Campaign, said: ‘There are a few studies that suggest women are at higher risk than men from lung cancer caused by smoking. ‘The most likely explanation is that oestrogen promotes the cancer process in some way but the underlying reasons are not clear. There are not enough studies going on in this area. ‘We want both sexes to stop smoking but women may be at higher risk and this is a real concern because tobacco companies are targeting women as smokers inthe developing world.’

Situations People Who Don’t Smoke Weed Will experience with friends who do

Let me be blunt…

I do have a lot of friends who smoke weed . In fact , I have lost or got distanced from a lot of my old friends because I am Straight edge. Here’s something I experience often when I am with my ‘ high friends ‘ … 

1.They ask you to spot them for lunch but suddenly have money to pay for weed.
2.You’re forced to listen to their”mindblowing” revelations.
3.You become an involuntary babysitter because they can’t control themselves.
4.And have to play therapist to calm your friends after they get super paranoid.
5.You’re forced to make conversationwith yourself because they left to smoke.
6.They don’t respect your choices and try to get you high anyways.
7.You’re just trying to have a conversation and they blow smoke in your face.
8.They won’t shut the fuck up about how hiiiiiigh they are.
9.They try to convince you weed is healthy because it’s organic.
10.They are convinced that you haven’t really experienced music/sex/life because you’re not high.
Don’t feel sorry. We’re doing just fine.

Life after death – Atheist point of view

The simple fact is that all life-forms end in death and the elements of which they are composed return to the air and the earth to be taken up and recycled in some new organism.This natural process is universal and is beyond dispute. What is challenged by atheistsand freethinkers is the claim made by purveyors of religion that humans alone of all living forms have a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ which survives death and carries the essential characteristics of the person to a supernatural existence in a super natural realm.

The method or pathway for making this crossing to a new life beyond the grave varies widely between religions and between the multitude of Christian denominations. The Roman Catholic Church is probably the most dogmatic in its proclaimed route to Paradise – infant christening, confirmation, frequent massattendances and the final rites. Donations and prayers to the saints are desirable adjuncts guarding against a period in purgatory.Atheists maintain that the concept of humankind having a unique supernatural ‘soul’is simply a primitive notion which has no basisin fact and that religious organisations are guilty of perpetrating a colossal fraud on ignorant and gullible people, chiefly through the indoctrination of infants. They are aided and abetted by the media who fear adverse reaction affecting profits if the facts are revealed.On what grounds can atheists make the claim that no-one has a supernatural ‘soul’?

There is no scientific evidence of anything super-natural.There is no credible evidence that humankind is a unique creation by a deity.There is no credible definition of a ‘soul’.Scientific evidence completely destroys all the concepts which are the basis for the existenceof the ‘soul’.This last statement requires verification, first of all by showing that the basis of the religiousconcept is faulty and then by citing the scientific evidence which nullifies the ‘soul’ concept.

When Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species the religious bodies realised that the theory completely undermined the belief that humans were a unique creation. They agreed that all organisms other than homo sapiens were devoid of ‘souls’.

 If humans were only thenext step on the ladder then they were obliged to designate the precise stage at which a human was given a ‘soul’. They realised that such was impossible and fundamentalists realise this today and therefore reject the evolution of humankind.The Church has always had trouble with the nature of conception and the specific function of the male and female. Aquinas determined that a male received a ‘soul’ 40 days, and females 90 days, after intercourse.When the actual conception process was revealed by scientific research the Church declared that in a human being a ‘soul’ resulted when sperm fused with ova. This introduced a new problem when the subsequent division of the original cell led, notto one person, but to two or more identical foetuses. In this case are more God-given ‘souls’ provided or is the original ‘soul’ divided, resulting in a number of identical ‘souls’?

The problem has now become more complicated with the birth of Dolly the sheep which demonstrated that individual differentiated cells can be made to regress to a stage where they are capable of giving rise to a new individual. Geoffrey Robertson, on a recent TV Hypothetical, confronted a RC priest with this scenario. The cleric’s answer was that every cell is infused with ‘soul’. He probably did not realise that cells are constantly dying and being replaced.Whether countries ban or allow such an experiment, the process which would lead to a human clone will take place sometime somewhere. This human clone would present an enormous dilemma to the believers in ‘souls’ and is probably why theologians and religious authorities are so outspoken against the idea.

A modern concept of ‘soul’ equates it with the conscious mind but this is equally flawed, for when the body dies the conscious mind, being dependant on the brain, also ceases to exist. This mind/soul concept has the problem of the mind development, for death can occur in every stage from initial fertilisation to full physical and mental maturity; so ‘souls’ must be conceived as forever developing or forever remaining in an immature state.Anyone weighing the evidence has no trouble in discarding the notion of the everlasting soul and accepting that death is the natural end to every human life.By accepting that life is only for a finite period, short or long, the atheist is confronted by the matter of how best to spend the available time and therefore, if suitably informed, will most likely spend the time worthy of a human person.

It would be difficult to imagine a more useless waste of time than that spent in the worship ofan imaginary god or preparing for a non-existent everlasting life in some mythical supernatural realm of eternal bliss.

In the words of William Shakespeare:

Cowards die many times before they are dead. The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders which I yet have heard it seems to me most strange that man should fear, seeing that death – a necessary end – will come when it will come.

Ten Tips for Christian Evangelists (Courtesy of Atheists)

1. Don’t start using the person’s name, as if you are a close personal friend, unless you actuallyarea close personal friend.

When someone has just met me, asks my name, and begins to talk to me starting their sentences with “Sarah,” it makes me want to back away slowly — certainly not keep listening.

2. Don’t start quoting from the Bible.Most people will recognize what you’re doing even if they don’t recognize the particular book/verse, and it comes off as robotic and scripted, like a telemarketer’s call. 

I tune this sort of thing out, because unless someone is discussing the Bible with me on equal terms (we’ve already agreed to discuss the Bible and I already know what the conversation is about), I just assume that the person has run out of thingsto say and is falling back on their doctrine.Besides, if I’m not already a Christian, why do theyexpect me to take their book seriously? It’s a huge turn-off.

3. Don’t bring up a topic, or try to find out what theperson is interested in, just so you can bring it back around to how it’s all a metaphor for Jesus or Christianity.

It makes it seem like your interest was only a ployto keep the attention of the listener, only to be using their cooperation for your own corny game. I don’t want to spend thirty minutes discussing The Killers with someone, only to have them steerthe conversation into how all music is a gift from God and this somehow proves that he exists. It leaves the impression that they didn’t care about what I had to say at all — it was just a giant set-upfor their waiting punch line.

4. Don’t use the phrase “Good News.”The chances are extremely high (at least in westernized countries) that the person has already heard this news and judged for themselves whether it’s good or bad or boring or irrelevant or whatever.

 If the person’s not a Christian, they’ve clearly judged it as not good enough to act upon.It’s also not new information, so it’s not “news,” and it’s your aim to convince people that it’s good— that’s not something that’sa priori. So telling someone that you want to share the “Good News”with them is essentiallybegging the question.

5. Don’t talk about Jesus like he’s part of the conversation.

The people you’re talking to don’t share your beliefs, so they’re not going to be thrilled to hear that Jesus is listening in on their thoughts and sending messages or providing inspiration to the person talking to them.This makes you come off as either crazy or… well,mostly crazy. I get that you actually believe that Jesus is alive and God is everywhere and all-knowing, but to non-Christians, he’s just an imaginary friend of yours, and so telling us to listen for his voice in our hearts is creepy.

6. Don’t plant literature.We’re already stuck with Bibles in hotel rooms (thanks for that, Gideons and pushover hotels!). 

There’s no need to hide tracts inside books at the bookstore or leave those horrible fake $20 bill pamphlets with (or instead of) the tip at a restaurant. They don’t work. They’re impersonal, often accusatory, and extremely classless. If someone isn’t already a Christian, a pamphlet isn’t going to change that.

7. Don’t hide behind a fake front.This goes for the “I agree with [local college personality]” shirts, fliers and posters that makeno mention of the factthat an event or lecture willbe a Christian event, etc.

While in college, I was lured to an ice cream social, a Creationist lecture and a prayer group allunder essentially false pretenses — and that was just during the first semester of my freshman year! At every event, someone was up front, telling the attendees all about sin and Jesus and praying theSinner’s Prayer. I even attended what was supposed to be an academic lecture on abstinence (that some campus sororities even made a mandatory group activity) that was extremely offensive to women and ended with more prayer.I didn’t attend a Christian college.

8. Don’t assume that we have “God-shaped holes in our hearts” and try to get us to admit it.

I certainly think that religion helps meet various psychological needs, and there are plenty of warm, fuzzy feelings (and deeper emotional experiences as well) that come along with it. But just because you have a proverbial hole-in-your-heart that only Jesus can fill doesn’t mean that all of us do.Trying to convince us that our lives suck or are incomplete without God isn’t going to work. Stop insulting us and implying that we’re secretly miserable. We’re getting along just fine without any gods, so this line of strategy won’t work.

9. Don’t compare your past experiences to our present.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard Christians enthusiastically share their stories of horrible, sinful lives that left them feeling empty and lonely.These “sinful” lives usually consisted of such shockers as swearing, going to R-rated movies, looking at porn, drinking, partying, smoking, and occasionally doing drugs. Oh — and having premarital sex.The thing is, maybe these things madeyoufeel guilty or empty; maybe you developed addictions or other problems relating to these activities, and maybe you’re much happier now that you don’t dothem. That’s great. But it doesn’t mean that hearing your story is going to shock us or convince us to change our ways. There is such a thing as a healthy balance, and it can include some (or maybe all) of those “vices.”This tactic seems especially silly when different Christians groups and denominations can’t seem to decide what’s sinful and what’s not.

10. Don’t talk down to us, as if we’re just not understanding something perfectly obvious.Many of us have read the Bible, prayed, attended church for years, and still ended up as atheists. 

There’s no magic bullet that converts people to Christianity. Whatever experience led you to believe probably happened on a pretty personal level. We haven’t witnessed anything miraculous or heard any voices, and we don’t see anything self-evident about God in nature or humanity. So if you insist on trying to save us, at least familiarize yourself with our perspective before jumping in, because assuming we’re simply uninformed or dumb is only going to hurt your chances.

There’s one final piece of advice:Don’t evangelize proactively at all.If you belong to a group, make your events open to the public, but don’t use them to preach at non-Christians and repeat the Sinner’s Prayer.If you’re an individual, identify yourself as a Christian, but don’t start preaching to people next to you on airplanes or on Facebook walls [or blogs — Hemant]. Simply let any interested parties come to you. If they see something in your life they think is worth learning about, they’ll ask — and then you can share your faith with someone who genuinely wants to hear about it. Your message will likely resonate more strongly and with more respect and interest if you haven’t been trying to push it.

Smoking : Do you really know the risks?

You probably know about  the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, but did you know smoking is also linked to heart disease, stroke and other chronic lung diseases?  Smoking can also increase your risk for cancerof the bladder, throat and mouth, kidneys, cervix and pancreas.  Thinking about quitting? Look at the facts!

Why you should quit?

*.Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States.

*.Almost one third of deaths from coronary heart disease are attributable to smoking and secondhand smoke. 

*.Smoking is linked to about 90% of lung cancer cases in the United States.

*.About 20 percent of adult men and about 16 percent of adult women smoke.

*.The highest percentage of people who smoke are between the ages of 21 and 34.

*.About 54 percent of American children ages 3-11 are exposed to secondhand smoke.

*.On average, smokers die more than 10 yearsearlier than nonsmokers. 

*.You can be one of the millions of people who successfully quit every year.

Religious Doctrines are Self-Contradictory: How Can They All Be True?

​Contradictions in Religion are a Reason Not to Believe Them 

The most obvious and significant source of self-contradictions in a religion lies within the alleged characteristics of a religion’s god. This is not, however, the only ground on which contradictions can be found. Religions are complex, detailed belief systems with a lot of different elements swirling about them. Given this, theexistence of contradictions and related problems not only shouldn’tbe surprising, but should in fact be expected.
This certainly isn’t unique to religion. Every complex ideology, philosophy, belief system, or world view which has sufficient age also has plenty of contradictions and related problems. These contradictions are sources of tension which can become sourcesof productivity and flexibility that allow the system to adapt to changing circumstances. A belief system with absolutely no contradictions is one which is probably relatively limited and inflexible, which means that it won’teasily survive the passage of time or transfer into other cultures. On the other hand, if it’s too open, there’s a good chance that it will become completely assimilated into a larger culture and thus disappear for good.
The same is true with religion: any religion that’s going to survive over the long term and become integrated into other cultures is going to have to have some contradictions within it. Thus the presence of such contradictions shouldn’t be a surprise when we are dealing with old religions that have developed in the context of multiple cultures.
Different cultures will contribute different elements and, in the long run, some of these will likely conflict. So, from the perspective of helping a religion to survive, this should not only not be a problem, but it should be treated as a positive benefit.
There’s just one problem: religions aren’t supposed to be human-madebelief systems with flaws like this, however advantageous they may be from a pragmatic standpoint.
Religions are usually supposed to have been created by gods, at leaston some level, and this greatly reduces the scope for acceptable errors. Gods, after all, aren’t normally considered fallible in any way. If it is perfect, then any religion constructed around this god and by this god should also be perfect — even if a few minor errors in practice creep in through human adherents.
Contradictions in a human belief system aren’t necessarily grounds to dismiss that belief system because those contradictions aren’t unexpected. They also provide a potential means through which we can contribute to the system and leave our own mark on it. Contradictions in religions, however, are another matter. If some particular god exists, and this god is perfect, and a religion is created around it, then it shouldn’t have significant contradictions. The presence of such contradictions indicates that there is an error in one of those steps: the religion isn’t created around that god, or isn’t created by that god, or that god isn’t perfect, or that god simply doesn’t exist. One way or the other, though, the religion itself as held by its adherents isn’t “true” as it stands.
None of this means that no gods can possibly exist or that no religions might possibly be true.
A god might logically exist even given the truth of everything above.What it does mean, however, is thatthe contradictory religions we havebefore us are unlikely to be true, and surely aren’t true as they currently stand. Something about such a religion must be wrong, and possibly many things. Therefore, it’s not reasonable or rational to join them as-is.

How religion destroys peace in society

‘If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.’~Albert Einstein

Religion is like slow poison, and just as poison is killing your body, in the same wayreligion is killing your soul. There is only one difference: religion is masquerading as medicine, and while you think it is there for your own benefit, it is secretly killing you. And before you become aware of it, religion has turned you into a lifeless being.
Here are the main ways religion is destroying people’s lives:

Religion is filling people with fear

Religion is one of the main reasons why people are afraid of living. And when I say ‘living’ I don’t mean just surviving. To survive is one thing–even stones do that–but to live is a completely different thing. To live means to be sensitive, it means to feel, to grow, to discover your potential and achieve to higher states of being.

The starting point of religion isfear. Religion is based on the idea of sin: all people are born sinners, impure souls, and if they don’t purify themselves, they will soon be condemned tohellby God, where they will have to experience eternal suffering.

In order to avoid hell, religion demands thatpeople prove to God that they are worthy of heaven. How? By following the dogma of religion. Naturally, when people are put in such a situation, they find themselves in a continuous state of fear. They are alwaysafraid of whether their actions are right according to religion or not.

When you believe that you are being continuously watched by an all-seeing eye of God, you will have to act in certain ways to please God. Thefear of hellis continuously in your mind, filling you with worry and anxiety, and this does not allow you to live spontaneously. As a result,religiously indoctrinatedpeople become neurotic and in some cases even schizophrenic.

Religion is turning people against themselves

The demands that religion places on people are unrealistic. Religion, on the one hand, teaches that people are born sinners.Sin is what we are made of, and whatever we humans are doing is bound to be corrupted in one way or another. On the other hand, however, religion is teaching people to behave in the best ways possible– in a few words, to be perfect, just like angels. But obviously people are not angels, so how can they act in such an unnatural way?

This has many serious consequences. When you fail to do what God has ordered, you start hating yourself. You begin to accept the idea that you are indeed a bad person, corrupted, and not worthy. And once you do so, your life becomes filled with hatred, bitterness and resentment — atrue hell on earth.

Religion is turning people against each other

The other is just a projection of yourself, a mirror, on whom you can see your own reflection.

Once you start hating yourself, you are bound to starthatingothers too. When you accept the idea that you are a sinner, you start seeing those around you as sinners. And when you believe that others are sinners, there is always a deep-rooted fear within you that the other wants to harm you— the other is evil, ill-willed, an enemy of yours.In addition, you will not tolerate religious ideologies that are different from the one you follow. This is why you see religious groups fighting against each other. Similarly, religious groups are fighting nonreligious ones. To identify with a religious ideology and call it the only truth and way leads to tremendously negative effects — prejudice, bigotry, and all kinds of violence (just think of how many wars have been carried out throughout history inthe name of God and religion).

Religion is keeping people in ignorance

To live means to learn, and life is a continuous lesson. When, however, you have grown up conditioned to believe whatis right and wrong according to a religious dogma, and you’ve been taught that to doubt the religion you were born into means to go to hell, naturally you become afraid of seeking knowledge. You stop searching to find truth, and hence to learn and grow as a human being.Knowledge and wisdom are incompatible with dogmatic religious ideologies. Indeed,religion is confining people’s minds in the darkness of ignorance, and those who are in search of the light of truth are being condemned by religion. This way, religion keeps people blinded by all sorts of beliefsthat are not based on any factual or experiential evidence, which does wondersto stunt their intelligence.

P.S : Only sheep need a shepherd.’~Voltaire

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