How My Best Friend Helped End My Faith and then Became an Openly Gay Monk

John Hazlet was my best friend in college. We were both philosophy majors and Christians at Grove City College, one of the nation’s most politically conservative and religiously evangelical respected liberal arts institutions. John’s struggles with his homosexuality (which he initially revealed only to me) and with suicidal ideation, and his unrestrained and relentless skeptical [Read More...]

No, Christians, You Don’t Rationally Proportion Your Beliefs to Evidence

I define faith as the explicit or implicit volitional commitment to either believe, trust, hope, or be loyal to people, beliefs, or other things in ways that are not proportionate to the rational bases one has to believe, trust, hope, or be loyal to those people, beliefs, or other things. In other words it is [Read More...]

The Pope Wants to Meet Atheists on the Common Ground of our Goodness

I am grateful the pope has acknowledged atheists do good and seeks common ground with us based in our common goodness. I share his desire for a “culture of encounter”. Here is hoping it is a sign of theological improvements to come. In this post, I accept his offer of dialogue and do some philosophical analysis of the ways Catholics mix up God and goodness to make it so atheists who pursue the good can be seen as pursuing God (covertly). [Read more...]

I Debate My Friend, an Openly Gay Benedictine Monk, about the Catholic Church and its Views on Gays

Bede Hazlet, an openly gay Benedictine monk, and I vigorously debate the moral and intellectual value of Roman Catholic authoritarianism and the Church’s views on gays. We also talk about Bede’s struggles with depression, the monastic life of celibacy, and whether celibacy infantilizing priests contributed to the child rape scandals in the Catholic church. [Read more...]

Catholic Theologian Hans Küng Denounces Catholic Authoritarianism, Calls for Bottom-Up Revolt by Catholics

Raw Story reports: Hans Küng is appealing to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy, which he says is corrupt, lacking credibility and apathetic to the real concerns of the church’s members. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Küng, who had close contact with the pope when the two worked together as young [Read More...]

Atheism, Catholicism, and Suffering: A Critical Response to Bad Catholic

“And, frankly, I find the proposed consolations of Christianity insulting in the face of suffering. Few ceremonies have disgusted me as much as the Catholic funerals, wakes, and memorials I have attended as an atheist. The focus was persistently taken off of the person who should be commemorated and celebrated and mourned, and instead placed on a patently mythical godman and his “miraculous powers to conquer death”. I can think of few worse ways to show contempt for the ostensive subject of a sacred ceremony, in this case death itself, than to deny its very existence.

Right there, in communal ceremonies which should be occasions for solemnly and bravely confronting the terrible reality of death as it is made most personally unavoidable in the loss of a loved one… Right there in the presence of a casket containing a cadaver of someone whose life intertwined, in many cases quite impactfully, with our own… Right there to listen to a priest tell childish fairy tales about how the dead are not really dead is a profound insult to the profound losses suffered by both the deceased and the bereaved.

What should be a moment for taking the seriousness of death as respectfully as possible… What should be a moment for focusing on the beloved life now come to completion and for dwelling on the tangible legacy of ongoing good effects through which alone the lost will continue on, is all systematically undermined by the promulgation of reality-denying fantasies, the distracting greater emphasis on the broader Christian religion than the topic of death or the particular deceased person, the opportunistic exploitative advertising pitches meant to manipulate the excruciating grief of all those present to a create attachment to the Catholic faith, and (at least on some occasions) explicit, manipulative insults to unbelievers that we are supposedly hopeless and that we must only despair when faced with the reality of death.

Few people have treated me with such callous indifference and contempt as the priests who have taken the memorials for my own family members as opportunities to cavalierly slam and strawman atheism. Whether this was done from the erasing assumption that there were no atheists present or from the contempt that were we present that we deserved no respect—even as mourners–in either case it was all too typical of a religion that knows much more about its own self-promotion than either the truth or genuine compassion for suffering.” [Read more...]

Is There Any Theological Basis For Making Opposition To Homosexuality and Abortion Tests of Christian Orthodoxy?

In this post, I am not interested in discussing what the “true” teachings of Christianity are. Partially this is because I don’t think there is any such thing as “true Christianity”. I do not think there is any reason to call “true Christianity” only those fundamentalist interpretations of the faith which claim (dubiously) to just obediently defer to [Read More...]

Catholic 2012 Election Propaganda

The distortion of the meaning of freedom of religion in this video is disgusting. I’m not going to repeat myself but if you don’t know what is wrong with the claim that it is a violation of religious freedom for the Catholic Church not to be able to impose its religious standards on its employees [Read More...]

In Which I Answer Leah Libresco's Moral Philosophy Concerns So You Don't Become A Catholic Too

Leah Libresco was an irreligious person with little interest in religious issues until as a Yale undergraduate she began dating a Catholic, reading Catholic theology and apologetics, and going to church with him. She wrote a blog about her process of weighing Catholicism against atheism. Recently, she converted to Catholicism. I have previously analyzed some of [Read More...]


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