Debates: Religion

25 Jan 2017

The case: Teaching creationism in US schools

On April 11 2012, Tennessee passed a law that will protect teachers who choose to explore the merits of creationism alongside theories of evolution in public school science classes. Governor Bill Haslam claimed that the legislation would not...

7 Sep 2015

In the wake of the shocking events of 11 September 2001, terrorism and the “war on terror” became the number one issue for the US government. But terrorism has a far longer, more global history.

Political, religious and national/ethnic groups have resorted to violence to pursue their...

2 Sep 2015

The issue of religious-inspired face coverings worn by some Muslim women has caused controversy in many countries in Europe. For some people, these face coverings symbolise repression and a regressive attitude to women. For those who choose to wear it, it symbolises the defence of women’s...

26 Aug 2015

The American Pledge of Allegiance is an officially sanctioned recital of words swearing loyalty to the United States of America. School children are required to recite the Pledge before school every day. Importantly, one of the lines of the Pledge is “one nation under God.” The words “under God...

26 Aug 2015

The topic of tolerance towards religious symbols has caused much controversy among many both in the Western and Eastern hemispheres. Religious symbols are incorporated into every religion and are expressions of both faith and devotion. Examples of religious symbols include the Christian,...

5 Mar 2015

This is a debate about the Christian church, and a proposition that utterly discounts the authority of the Bible is rather missing the point. There is a genuine debate within the church about whether gay men and women can be true representatives of God on earth. Generally, the attitude of church...

6 Mar 2014

  Although arranged marriages are an entrenched cultural norm in many European-Asian communities, there is still a lot of controversy over their practice. Although there are differences in the ways cultures carry them out, they can be broadly defined as forms of matrimony where the...

6 Mar 2014

Female genital mutilation or FGM is often referred to as 'female circumcision'. It refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural, religious or any other non-medical reasons. Four...

11 Feb 2014

Creationism, often rebranded as Intelligent Design, is the belief that intelligent agency was involved in the creation and development of life on Earth. The view purports to be a science and to be deserving of consideration not only by the scientific community, but also students. For this reason...

27 Jan 2014

The last few years have seen a renewed enthusiasm for atheism and secularism in much of the world and debates between believers and non-believers have become ever more vigorous. One distinction that is frequently made, particularly by theists, is that between faith and religion. Whether such a...

14 Nov 2013

For many people, Santa Claus is the most important person in the celebration of Christmas. His origins are disputed, with many recognising him as St Nicholas, an early Christian saint noted for his generosity and love for children. Others view him as a descendant of northern European gods and...

29 Aug 2013

The case: Blasphemy law and violence in Pakistan

In June 2009, Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother-of-five from a village in the Sheikhupura district in Pakistan, got into an argument with fellow villagers who accused her of polluting the water in a well by touching it as a non-...

27 Jun 2013

Despite the increasingly tolerant attitude towards homosexuality in society, especially in the West, the treatment of homosexuals continues to differ from one country to another. In some nations, homosexuality is illegal whilst in others, homosexuals are now accorded an increasing catalogue of...

22 Apr 2013

Imagine that one day you come across five people in immediate and mortal peril.  You and you alone can save them, but doing so will kill one other person.  For instance, five people may be in path of an out-of-control trolley that could be diverted onto a track where there is only one...

14 Mar 2013

The Catholic Church forbids the use of barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms. Unlike other forms of contraception, barrier methods not only protect against unwanted pregnancy but also against sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS and HIV. In many African and South American...

14 Mar 2013

One of the requirements set by the Roman Catholic Church for priests is that they remain celibate. Celibacy is the renunciation of sex and marriage for the more perfect observance of chastity. This vow of celibacy has been propelled to the forefront of public discussion by the recent accusations...

10 Jan 2013

To describe the political progress of the Reproductive Health Bill through the parliament of the Philippines as tortuous would be an understatement. However, after a decade of wrangling and political manoeuvring, a bill making contraception and family planning advice available from government...

11 Dec 2012

Religion is largely ignored from foreign policy and from literature about how foreign policy should be determined. Religious freedom is likewise for the most part ignored and sidelined. Most countries where religion is a factor in foreign policy are promoting a particular religion rather than...

13 Nov 2012

Evolution is the process by which species change and adapt over time. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection explains the origin and diversity of species in terms of ‘survival of the fittest’: characteristics that are beneficial to survival within a given environment are more likely...

13 Nov 2012

The case study: England’s last blasphemy trial

Blasphemy is the act of showing contempt or speaking offensively about a deity or of persons and symbols regarded as sacred by the followers of a specific religion. The concept of blasphemy is mostly associated with the Abrahamic...

12 Nov 2012

Blasphemy is the act of showing contempt or speaking offensively about a deity or of persons and symbols regarded as sacred by the followers of a specific religion. The concept of blasphemy is mostly associated with the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) and many nation states...

9 Oct 2012

The majority of the population of the world is at least nominally committed to some religion or another. And despite the perception in some parts of the Western world that religious belief is in terminal decline, or that economic and social development go hand in hand with secularisation, there...

2 Oct 2012

In September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten posted a series of cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed, sometimes in ways associating Mohammed with terrorism or extremist Islam. While the content of the images were offensive in themselves the offense is made much worse as...

1 Oct 2012

Atheism, put simply, is the absence of belief in any deities. This view is ordinarily contrasted with theism, the belief in one or more deities. A third position, agnosticism, which claims to be a position of skepticism by which an individual claims not to know whether a deity exists and is...

1 Oct 2012

About 23% of the global population lives in absolute poverty. In developing countries there is a low life expectancy, a high infant mortality rate, high levels of unemployment and illiteracy, nutritional levels below acceptable standards and widespread disease with very little or poor quality...

1 Oct 2012

According to the Bible, the Ten Commandments (or Decalogue) are a list of laws handed down from God to Moses, and as such they are highly revered in Christianity and Judaism. Different sects of Christianity and Judaism often use different texts for the Decalogue, and Islam's holy book, the...

1 Oct 2012

Marriage is an institution that has existed in most societies around the world for an incredibly long time. It is, traditionally, the union between a man and woman in both a religious and a legal sense. Marriage offers a stable relationship that is recognised by the state and by whatever...

1 Oct 2012

The notion that one day each week should be reserved for activities that are not commercial is historically a religious one but there are supporting arguments from the trade union  and other labor rights movements that support the idea for entirely secular reasons. There is also a growing...

1 Oct 2012

Many different religions have their own systems of rules and practices. These often cover marriage and divorce, bans on certain actions such as drinking alcohol, and rules about worship, rituals and physical dress/appearance. Members of that religion have to follow these rules and the rules of...

1 Oct 2012

Throughout the world, it is common for religious groups to have varying amounts of involvement in the general operation of the state. This can be anywhere from total theocratic rule, where the religious group is completely in charge, the only example today is Iran, to religious groups simply...