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Is it possible for Christians to understand the way atheists look at Christianity? Or for atheists to understand the way Christians look at Christianity? In a way, my life is an answer to that question. I used to be a fervent Christian, and now I’m a thoroughgoing atheist. So I do know what it’s like on both sides. But then again…I’ve had to adjust. I’ve broken some friendships and made others. I’ve completely changed, in many respects, the way I… Read more

Ever tried to help someone, only to find that the help is not appreciated? It’s a classic scenario. You give someone something you have. You sacrifice yourself to them. You go out of your way to give them some of the essentials that they need, and you expect appreciation But instead of appreciation, eventually you get resentment. Or maybe, over time, you start to feel used. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I think I’ve noticed a common… Read more

There have been several times as an atheist in which I have experienced existential angst, and I’ve noticed that this angst seems to hover around two different extremes. Sometimes these extremes are the very components of atheism that make me happiest; but the tension between the two is very undesirable. On one side is a determination to embrace the void. In the absence of God, the theory goes, our lives have no inherent meaning. This lack of inherent meaning is… Read more

I believe that you should always believe you are capable of being a good person. You shouldn’t do the right thing out of a sense of inherent subservience or because you think you lack value. You should do the right thing because you have an unwavering confidence that you have the capability to enrich other people’s lives. That doesn’t mean other people have to believe it. And often they won’t. Sometimes people may tell you that you hurt them so… Read more

As a man who hasn’t experienced it, I wondered, at first, why women were taking so long to report sexual assault. Years, decades often seemed to pass before they reported a slew of famous men whose takedowns have been in the news. What I see shouted on the front pages, I have been repeatedly told via the #metoo hashtag, has been happening to almost every woman on a less discussed scale. Why not take them to court? I have some… Read more

Y’know…a lot of the time, people tell poor, high-crime black communities that they need to take responsibility for the crime that occurs there. They encourage self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. What if a sense of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility is more of a problem than a solution? Here’s what I mean: when I look at the history of black communities, and of attitudes encouraged by white American society regarding them, it seems clear to me that all along, white society has… Read more

I’ve heard a lot of people say that black people in this country are always looking for and getting handouts. The key is to stop giving them handouts and force them to work hard to succeed. Personal responsibility. The kernel of truth in that assessment is that racism is unlikely to vanish in my lifetime, so I have to deal with it as I work to create the best possible life I can for myself and those I care about. Complaining… Read more

I was thinking, yesterday, about the positive sides of the God I used to believe in. There’s a lot I don’t like about the God I grew up believing in until I was 28, and I’ve written plenty about it elsewhere. The vengeance of the Old Testament, the narrow-minded rules from the people in the Bible who created Him, the way theology is often used to control people, the unwarranted authority — all that upsets me. But I have learned, as… Read more

Sometimes, Christians ask if I regret living in such a boring world. After all, they believe in angels and demons, heaven and hell, God and Satan. I just believe in the world I directly experience. Do I feel like I’m losing something? Do I feel empty? Out of all the things I miss in Christianity, that epic world that so many Christians love is not one of them. For me, it was a nightmare. Honestly. I mean, these days…I don’t… Read more

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