Monday, December 29, 2008

Virginity Pledges Don't Work; Increase STD Infection


Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

Go read the rest.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Church Attendance to Fall by 90%

The Guardian says that church attendance in the UK will fall over 90% by the year 2050. In Jesus' name I pray that this shall come to pass:

In one of the most holy weeks in the Christian calendar, a report says that in just over a generation the number of people attending Church of England Sunday services will fall to less than a tenth of what they are now.

Christian Research, the statistical arm of the Bible Society, claimed that by 2050 Sunday attendance will fall below 88,000, compared with just under a million now.

The controversial forecast, based on a "snapshot" census of church attendances, has been seized upon by secular groups as proof that the established church is in decline. But the Church of England has rejected the figures, saying they were incomplete and ignored new ways of worshipping outside the church network.

According to Dr Peter Brierley, former executive director of Christian Research, by 2030 just under 419,000 people will attend an Anglican Sunday service. By 2040 the number will be down to 217,200, falling to 153,800 five years later. By 2050, if the trend prediction is correct, only 87,800 will be attending.

The figures stand in contrast to the picture of faith described by the prime minister earlier this month. In a preface to a new report, Faith in the Nation, Gordon Brown said: "Faith in Britain today is very much alive and well. At the last census, more than three-quarters of the population said they belonged to a faith ... people's religious identities go right to the heart of their sense of themselves and their place in society and the world."

Keith Porteous-Wood of the National Secular Society said: "Church attendance has already been in decline for over 60 years, all over Britain, in all major denominations and across all age groups, except the over-65s. Independent statisticians now have enough data to predict confidently that the decline will continue until Christianity becomes a minority sect of largely elderly people, in little more than a generation."

Emphasis mine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Goddamn GodTube

Broadcasting Him indeed.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Atheists Take On Nativity Scene

From Boing Boing:

An atheist group placed this sign beside a Nativity scene at an Olympia, Washington government building, and some people aren't pleased. The Freedom From Religion Foundation previously posted a sign in Madison, Wisconsin that protestors have reportedly turned around so it can't be read and thrown acid on it.


Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher who now heads up the atheist and agnostic Freedom From Religion Foundation, said it was important for atheists to see their viewpoints validated alongside everyone else's...

"It's not that we are trying to coerce anyone; in a way our sign is a signal of protest," Barker said. "If there can be a Nativity scene saying that we are all going to hell if we don't bow down to Jesus, we should be at the table to share our views."

He said if anything, it's the Nativity scene that is the intrusion.

"Most people think December is for Christians and view our signs as an intrusion, when actually it's the other way around," he said. "People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the holiday from all of us humans."

This year's War on Christmas looks to be a ferocious one, in part because atheists are increasing their visibility to new levels. So far we've seen a Washington D.C. bus ad campaign, billboards popping up left and right, and Dan Barker himself taking on a nativity scene.

So far we've seen responses from Christians along the lines of phone call complaints, petitions to stop the advertising, and emotional appeals emailed to politicians begging them to stop the atheists. But I've noticed that the Christians have not yet fought fire with fire; that is, they haven't purchased similar ad spaces to put up their own competing ads. Why not fight the atheists fairly by running a counter-advertising campaign?

No, of course, that won't do. Christians have a severe persecution complex, which makes them make phone call complaints to billboard companies and political offices, trying to get outright bans and legislation preventing the atheists from speaking their minds. The last thing a Christian wants to do is have a battle of ideas on a level playing field.

But whatever, it won't work for them. Atheists are too strong in number now, and as a group are growing far too quickly. Money and manpower are pouring into the atheists side, so let's keep it up! More War on Christmas!