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Todd Allen Gates is an American author of non-fiction books. Gates's books tend to focus on subjects on which matters of history and science converge with matters of philosophy, religion, and epistemology.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.
Gates's first book, Why Do We Have to Work? (2003), traces the nature of the work day from the prehistoric hunter-gatherer to the modern day citizen whose specialized tasks, such as designing video games or working on an assembly line, may seem to have less of a direct link to providing for survival. The book examines how this transformation occurred, and takes a philosophical look at the varied reasons why people do what they do for a living, which include the pursuit of wealth and status to the pursuit of personal fulfillment, inner calling, and spiritual happiness. In this book, Gates traces the link between the work of the two eras, and suggests a guideline for an “alternative measure of success”. In 2006, it was reissued as Hunting, Gathering, and Videogames.
A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging. Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.
Gates is also the author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer (2006), described as a Socratic dialogue between a hypothetical Christian proselytizer named Chris Proselman (a play on the word proselytize) and a skeptic named Scott Crates (a play on the name Socrates). In the exchange, the skeptic does not dispute the idea of a Creator, but instead accepts the premise of a Creator for the sake of argument. The skeptic then has the proselytizer detail his reasons for why he believes that non-Christian religions, such as the Bahá'í Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, as well as the now-extinct religions of the ancient Aztecs, Babylonians, Sumerians, and Vikings can all be safely rejected as man-made. The conversation then turns to examining the Christian religion by the same light held up to the non-Christian.
Socratic questioning was named after Socrates, who was a philosopher in c. 470 BCE–c. 399 BCE. Socrates utilized an educational method that focused on discovering answers by asking questions from his students. Socrates believed that "the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the scholar/student to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas". Plato, a student of Socrates, described this rigorous method of teaching to explain that the teacher assumes an ignorant mindset in order to compel the student to assume the highest level of knowledge. Thus, a student has the ability to acknowledge contradictions, recreate inaccurate or unfinished ideas and critically determine necessary thought.
The Bahá'í Faith is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Persia and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. It is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories.
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.
Gates was present at the May 5, 2007 debate in Manhattan, New York between members of the Rational Response Squad and Way of the Master founders Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, in which Cameron and Comfort claimed they could prove the existence of God scientifically, without relying on faith or the Bible.
Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.
The Rational Response Squad, or RRS, is an atheist activist group that confronts what it considers to be irrational claims, made by theists, particularly Christians. The most visible member of RRS is co-founder Brian Cutler. The Rational Response Squad, along with the filmmaker Brian Flemming, made headlines in December 2006 with their Blasphemy Challenge. However, no new post has been put on their website as of December 2016.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.
Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination to the exclusion of others. Thus "religious conversion" would describe the abandoning of adherence to one denomination and affiliating with another. This might be from one to another denomination within the same religion, for example, from Baptist to Catholic Christianity or from Shi’a to Sunni Islam. In some cases, religious conversion "marks a transformation of religious identity and is symbolized by special rituals".
Proselytism is the act or fact of Religious conversion, or actions inviting this. The word proselytize is derived from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος. Historically in the Koine Greek Septuagint and New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a Gentile who was considering conversion to Judaism. Though the word proselytism originally referred to Judaism, it now refers to the attempt of any religion or religious individuals to convert people to their beliefs, or any attempt to convert people to a different point of view, religious or not. Proselytism is illegal in some countries.. However, the right to convert to another religion and to manifest religion is enshrined in Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The term is generally understood as pejorative, by contrast with evangelism which is viewed as a term of approval. The World Council of Churches has indicated that, used pejoratively, proselytism refers to attempts at conversion by 'unjust means that violate the conscience of the human person', such as by coercion or bribery.
Christian−Jewish reconciliation refers to the efforts that are being made to improve understanding and acceptance between Christians and Jews. There has been significant progress in reconciliation in recent years, in particular by the Catholic Church, but also by other Christian groups.
Freedom of religion in Mauritania is limited by the Government. The constitution establishes the country as an Islamic republic and decrees that Islam is the religion of its citizens and the State.
Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels. It is distinct from syncretism or alternative religion, in that dialogue often involves promoting understanding between different religions or beliefs to increase acceptance of others, rather than to synthesize new beliefs.
The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.
Miroslav Volf is a Croatian Protestant theologian and public intellectual who has been described as "one of the most celebrated theologians of our day". Volf currently serves as the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture at Yale University. He previously taught at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in his native Osijek, Croatia and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1990–1998).
Ray Comfort is a New Zealand-born Christian minister and evangelist who lives in the United States. Comfort started Living Waters Publications and The Way of the Master in Bellflower, California, and has written several books.
Secretum is a trilogy of dialogues in Latin written by Petrarch sometime from 1347 to 1353, in which he examines his faith with the help of Saint Augustine, and "in the presence of The Lady Truth". Secretum was not circulated until some time after Petrarch's death, and was probably meant to be a means of self-examination more than a work to be published and read by others.
Lee Patrick Strobel is an American Christian author and a former investigative journalist. He has written several books, including four which received ECPA Christian Book Awards and a series which addresses challenges to the veracity of Christianity. He also hosted a television program called Faith Under Fire on PAX TV and runs a video apologetics web site. Strobel has been interviewed on numerous national television programs, including ABC's 20/20, Fox News, and CNN.
The International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR) is a learned society established in 2001 for the purpose of the promotion of education through the support of inter-disciplinary learning and research in the fields of science and religion conducted where possible in an international and multi-faith context. The Society took shape after a four-day conference in Granada, Spain.
The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religious communities of faith that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham. The Abrahamic religions are monotheistic, with the term deriving from the patriarch Abraham.
Freedom of religion in Comoros is addressed in the constitution. However, there are limitations to this right in practice. While government authorities continued to prohibit Christians from proselytizing, there were no known instances where the local authorities and population restricted the right of Christians to practice other aspects of their faith. There was societal discrimination against non-Muslims in some sectors of society; however, accounts of social pressure were anecdotal. Proselytizing for any religion except Islam is illegal, and converts from Islam may be prosecuted under the law. However, such prosecutions are rare and have not resulted in any convictions in recent years. In the past, there were reports of family and community members excluding non-Muslim converts from schools or villages for "evangelizing Muslims".
}} An English translation of the Constitution states, "The official religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be the Islamic Religion: Provided that all other religions may be practised in peace and harmony by the persons professing them." The Constitution further clarifies, "“Islamic Religion” means the Islamic Religion according to the Shafeite sect [sic] of Ahlis Sunnah Waljamaah;" Despite the constitution specifiying the Shafi'i madhab, positions from the other three Sunni schools of fiqh may be consulted if required.
The Constitution provides for the freedom to practice the rights of one's religion and faith in accordance with the customs that are observed in the kingdom, unless they violate public order or morality. The state religion is Islam. The Government prohibits conversion from Islam and proselytization of Muslims.
The Basic Law, in accordance with tradition, declares that Islam is the state religion and that Shari'a is the source of legislation. It also prohibits discrimination based on religion and provides for the freedom to practice religious rites as long as doing so does not disrupt public order. The Government generally respected this right, but within defined parameters that placed limitations on the right in practice. While the Government continued to protect the free practice of religion in general, it formalized previously unwritten prohibitions on religious gatherings in locations other than government-approved houses of worship, and on non-Islamic institutions issuing publications within their communities, without prior approval from the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs (MERA). There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.
Matthew Wade Dillahunty is an American atheist activist. He was the president of the Atheist Community of Austin from 2006 to 2013. He has hosted the Austin-based webcast and cable-access television show The Atheist Experience since 2005, and formerly hosted the live Internet radio show Non-Prophets Radio. He is also the founder of and a contributor to the counter-apologetics encyclopedia Iron Chariots and its subsidiary sites.
Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design is a 2006 book by Michael Shermer, a historian of science. Shermer argues that intelligent design is bad science, that different fields of science converge in supporting evolution, and that religion and science are not in conflict. As a former young Earth creationist, Shermer explores the beliefs and critiques the claims behind it.
Seth Andrews is an author and speaker on the subject of atheism. He is the creator and host of The Thinking Atheist online community, podcast, and YouTube channel, and the author of the self-published books Deconverted and Sacred Cows. Prior to his atheist activism, he was a fundamentalist Christian and had a ten-year career as a Christian radio host.