An Act against Atheism and Blasphemy--Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1697

How does what psychology and the social sciences have to say about the science vs. religion debate differ from the perspectives of the physical and biological sciences? And in what ways has science contributed to anti-science? These and related issues are discussed in my article, It's Bigger Than You Might Think: Broadening the Science vs. Religion Debate, that was just published in the July/August 2010 issue of the Humanist magazine.

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An Act against Atheism and Blasphemy, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1697


1697. Anno Regni Regis G U L I E L M I, III Nono.

Atheism & Blasphemy C H A P. VI

An Act against Atheism and Blasphemy.

BE it declared and enacted by the Lieutenant Governor, Council and Representatives, convened in General Assembly, and it is enacted by the Authority of the same, That if any Person shall presume willfully to blaspheme the holy Name of God, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost; either by denying, cursing or reproaching the true God; his Creation or Government of the World: or by denying, cursing, or reproaching the holy Word of God; that is the canonical Scriptures contained in the Books of the Old and New Testaments; namely GENESIS, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Samuel, Kings, Kings, Chronicles, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel; Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: MATTHEW, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, Peter, Peter, John, John, John, Jude, Revelation: Every one so offending shall be punished by Imprisonment, not exceeding six Months, and until they find Sureties for the good Behaviors; by sitting in Pillory; by Whipping; boaring thorow the Tongue, with a red hot Iron; or sitting upon the gallows with a Rope about their Neck; at the Discretion of the Court of Assize, and General Goal Delivery, before which the Trial shall be; according to Circumstances, which may aggravate or alleviate the Offence.
Provided, That not more than two of the fore-mentioned Punishments shall be inflicted for one and the same Fact.

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