Contra de Botton: Religions Are NOT To Credit With Universalistic Humanistic Values

Alain de Botton’s chapter on community in his book Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion is filled with half-baked thinking. After one-sidedly disparaging modern social life from numerous selective (and sometimes specious) angles, he goes on to model really effectively how not to try to learn from religion (Kindle Location 189): [Read more...]

Against American Atheists' Slavery Billboard

In a superb new post, Sikivu Hutchinson, at Black Skeptics (on Freethought Blogs), explains in illuminating detail so much of what is wrong with the incredibly irresponsible and offensive ad the American Atheists put up in Pennsylvania using the picture of a bound slave and a Bible verse supporting slavery (Colossians 3:22), which was aimed [Read More...]

Alain de Botton on Meeting Strangers

I am reading through Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion one chapter at a time and blogging my responses as I go. In the beginning of his chapter on Community (specifically the subsection “Meeting Strangers”) de Botton paints with pretty prose a picture of profound alienation between people in the [Read More...]

Why I Bother Writing About the Boring Question of Whether Religious Beliefs Are True

Alain de Botton has caused a stir in the atheist blogosphere, and particularly here at Freethought Blogs, with his new book Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. More specifically he caused waves with his article on CNN , which is heavy on selections from the book, and which begins as [Read More...]

Against The Religiously Lazy Defenders of The Pious

Religious moderates and liberals come in many stripes. In this post I want to talk about a couple of related kinds of religious moderates or liberals and why they irk me. In order to do that, I want to draw some distinctions that I do not think I see anyone else making but which it [Read More...]

New Atheism Is A Moral Movement

Last night I argued that when fundamentalist religious people, out of an inflated sense of privilege, demand that no one never offend them, that atheists should challenge the moral rightness of the fundamentlists’ specific, hypersensitive, unwarranted feelings of offense. I argued we should do this rather than indiscriminately defend the right to morally offend people [Read More...]

Why Don’t All Theists Uncertain of God’s Existence Call Themselves Agnostics?

Richard Dawkins was debating the Archbishop of Canterbury when this happened: There was surprise when Prof Dawkins acknowledged that he was less than 100 per cent certain of his conviction that there is no creator. The philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny, who chaired the discussion, interjected: “Why don’t you call yourself an agnostic?” Prof Dawkins answered [Read More...]

Documenting the Nones

Richard Dawkins explains the reasoning behinds his recent efforts to find out just how seriously British citizens who identify as Christian take their faith: Some years ago, a colleague was admitted to hospital and a nurse came over to her bedside to fill in her personal form. “Religion?” “None.” Later, my colleague overheard a pair [Read More...]

TOP Q: What Does It Most Decisively Mean To Believe, Disbelieve, or Lack Belief?

Believing and not believing are not simple things. There are ways to cognitively believe, disbelieve, and refrain from believing. But functionally there are ways to effectively act as though one believed, disbelieved, or refrained from believing. There are at least two broad kinds of avowed atheists who take two distinct kinds of stances on the [Read More...]


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