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Welcome to The Secular Gospel According to Jess! In this blog you’ll find everything from cartoons that make me laugh, to quotes that inspire me, to stories of my own personal experience when it comes to dealing with religion and pretty much everything in between. The title of my blog is intended to be ironic, as one doesn’t often hear the word, “gospel”, associated with secularism, but my intent is to preach, for lack of a better word, what I think gospel should really be about: love, rationalism, fairness, equality, human rights, science and truth. Enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Horror Story Author, H.P. Lovecraft, on Atheism

Though religious themes were common in his written works, a letter written to Robert E. Howard in 1932 confirms the following:

"All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.”

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hasidic Jews Pressure the City of NY to Accomodate Their Religious Traditions

Photo Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

"Needing to abide by their tribe’s traditions of modesty, Hasidic women want the city to post a female lifeguard during a women-only swim session at a municipal pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and have lobbied a local councilman to take up their cause.

On another front, Hasidic matzo bakeries, citing ancient Jewish law, have insisted on using water from groundwater wells rather than from reservoirs in preparing the dough used for matzos and have found themselves tangling with health officials worried about the water’s purity.

And on a public bus service that plies a route between the Hasidic neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn, men sit up front and women in the back, hewing to the practice of avoiding casual mingling of the sexes, even after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg condemned the arrangement.

While these episodes may not have reverberated beyond New York’s Hasidic enclaves, taken together they underscore a religious ascendancy confronting the city’s secular authorities in ways not seen in decades.

Says {deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty,} Eric Rassbuch, "Because of differing birth and adherence rates, the future of Judaism in New York City increasingly appears to be Orthodox.”

ou can read the full article at the link above.