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What You Don't Know About Religion (but Should)

  • Jun 7, 2013 · 8:00 PM
  • Robert Ahrens' home

What You Don't Know About Religion (but Should) is the title of a new book by Ryan Cragun, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa, Florida. We are pleased to have him in our area to discuss his book at the time and place for our normal monthly Rockville Discussion Group. The Table of Contents for this book is include after the standard information on meeting details.

    Robert Ahrens as usual will be hosting this meeting. The meeting will start at 8 pm. People may arrive as early as 7:30 so that we can actually start at 8 pm. Please bring a small contribution of food and/or drink to be shared with the group. The home is in Rockville near Viers Mill and Aspen Hill Road. Transport to and from the Twinbrook Metro stop can be arranged if needed.

    Mr Ahrens address and phone numbers are not posted here to preserve the privacy of his home. Those details will be emailed the week of the meeting to those who are coming (see note below). Affirmative RSVPs should be posted before 8 pm the prior Thursday to allow time to notify all attendees.


Note: an occasional problem with Meetup emails is that some spam filters will preclude delivery of Meetup email. If you RSVP Yes and want the email informing you of a meeting held in a private home this can be a problem. To prevent this a member can add [masked] to their personal email addresses. If a member does not receive the directions to a Friday meeting by late Tuesday evening he/she needs to directly contact to the organizer. Use the Meetup option for this. A phone call to[masked] leaving your email address is another option. Posting a comment saying that you did not receive the directions (without including your personal email address) is not helpful since if your spam filter stopped the first email it will also stop subsequent email. We want people to be comfortable in opening up their homes to other meetup members and this technical difficulty is a small price to pay to preserve the privacy of those who host events in their homes.


Table of Contents for

What You Don't Know About Religion (but Should)


1. Buddhism Is In; Communism Is Out: Defining Religion 17
2. Without Data It May as Well Be Theology: Why Data Matter 22
3. All Babies Are Atheists: Why Belief in a Specific God Is Not Innate 27
4. The Religious Clone Wars: How Most People Become Religious 32
5. Why You Don’t Know Why You’re (Non)Religious:
6. Sunday FSchool: Why Religion and Education Don’t Go Together 50
7. I’ll Be a Monkey’s Cousin: Religion and Science 55
8. All Demons Are from Hollywood:
9. God Owns Your Uterus: Religion and the Right to Choose 66
10. Marry Now, Stay Forever: Why Religions Are “Pro-Family” 72
11. Multiply and Replenish the Pews:
12. Spare the Rod? Not with God!: Parenting and Religion 86
13. There Are No Atheists in. . . Prison Cells?!?: Religion and Crime 92
14. Moral Development—Win for Atheists; Moral Behavior—Draw 97

15. If You’re Humble and You Know It. . . : Religion and Arrogance 102
16. ’Cause Jesus Has a Penis: Religion and Gender (In)equality 109
17. Love Your Neighbor, Except When He’s. . . : Religion and Prejudice 115
18. The Sigh of the Oppressed Creature: Religion and Money 122
19. We’re Not Here to Serve the Earth Religion and Environmentalism 128
20. I’d Like to Buy the World a Joint: Religion and Politics 134
21. Where Would Jesus Volunteer?: Religion and Charitable Acts 139
22. I Kill. You Kill. We All Kill.: Religion and Violence 144
23. The Happiness Delusion: Religion and Mental Well-Being 152
24. Sleep in on Sunday: Religion and Health 157
25. Who’s Better at Dying?: Religion and Coping 165
26. The End is Near-ish: Declining Religiosity 169
27. Taking Off the Training Wheels: Alternatives to Religion 179
28. The Final Judgment: Who Will Inherit the Earth? 186
Appendix: Methodological Notes 193
Notes 202
Bibliography 233
Index 261
About the Author 277




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  • Robert W A.

    Rosemarie also mentioned that she wished people would shut up so he could talk more! I found a youtube video of a talk he gave to an atheist group in Florida. Link on my blog.

    1 · June 9, 2013

  • Brian L

    I would like to have heard more of Ryan's presentation, but understand that group sharing is also important. What a relaxed and informative evening!

    June 8, 2013

  • Robert W A.

    Thanks for coming, Kendra! I am glad you enjoyed it, and hope you can come again.

    June 8, 2013

  • Kendra

    Really enjoyed the speaker, the discussion, and the hospitality. Thanks much!

    June 7, 2013

  • Neal B.

    I'm not sure I can make it, but am interested

    June 6, 2013

  • Robert W A.

    Just something you like and think others would like too. Food, a dessert, something to drink, snacks, any of that is ok.

    June 4, 2013

  • Kendra

    This will be my first Friday discussion. Any suggestions on what to bring to share?

    June 4, 2013

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