How To Criticize Religion. Part 3: Address The Question of “True Religion” With Nuance

Below is part 3 of my reprint of my “How To Criticize Religion” series, with one new paragraph added. This was originally published in the former Secularite digital magazine. This article is self-sufficient. No knowledge of Part 1: Understand Why and How Metaphors Work in Practice or Part 2: Don’t Treat All of Religion as a Monolith is assumed in what [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...]

“It’s amazing what some people will justify through their religion, isn’t it?”

Why should it be amazing that people who adhere to their religions sincerely actually adopt the regressive or militaristic values often explicitly attributed to their god or gods in their sacred writings themselves? Isn’t that what you would expect? That they would believe in and adopt the values of their sacred texts? Let’s stop equating religion with goodness just because religions say they are the arbiters of morality and its best promoters. [Read more...]

How Foolish Atheists Convinced The Atheist Blogger Leah Libresco That Catholic Philosophy Was Rationally Superior To Atheism

On Friday I am finally going to put up an extensive post dissecting the philosophical arguments that atheist blogger Leah Libresco has either made or referred to in defending and explaining her decision to convert to Catholicism. But first this post will make some more important preliminary points about the inadequacy of the reasons for [Read More...]

The Psychologies of Afterlife Beliefs

While some people are religious at least in part because they desperately want to believe in an afterlife that their religion promises them, not all religious people believe in an afterlife and not all those who believe in an afterlife are as blithely optimistic as the average contemporary American that of course they themselves will [Read More...]

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...]

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...]


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