Popular Delusions IV: Hauntings

John Knott, the owner of Quadrille, a fabric and wall coverings company based in Manhattan, expected surprises when he bought a weekend home in the country, an 1839 Greek Revival house in Kinderhook in Columbia County, N.Y. Inconveniences were bound to crop up — a leaky roof, problematic plumbing, boiler issues. But he was not expecting ghosts.—Kathryn Matthews, "This Old House Has Ghosts". The New York Times, 13 October 2006.Aside from belief in God and the associated religious t … [Read more...]

The Tempter

It was on a wintry night last year, a night not unlike this one, that I met the Tempter for the first time. It happened during that season when the mood of the world begins to turn, when summer is a distant memory and the rustling sheaves of autumn are starting to give way to the chill of coming winter. Just ahead lay that season of secrets and whispers that comes with the annual dying of the harvest, the time when old superstitions creep back into the world and things better left unseen lurk … [Read more...]

Some Sad News

I'm sorry to report the death of Philip Paulson. Paulson was an outspoken atheist and humanist and a Vietnam veteran, author of the essay "I Was an Atheist in a Foxhole", which I have long linked to from Ebon Musings. He was also the chief litigant in a multi-year and still ongoing legal fight to remove an intrusive and unconstitutional Christian cross from public land in Mount Soledad, California, a case I mentioned in my March post "Walled Gardens". According to a news release from the Freedom … [Read more...]

Daylight Atheism: The Book?

To my readers,A remarkable thing has happened recently. In the past few weeks, I've received, by my count, no fewer than four independent (as far as I know) e-mails asking me if I intend to seek publication of my writings in a format beyond this website. I have responded to these inquiries individually, but thought it would be best to address this issue in public.Some of my correspondents have pointed out the startling success of several recent pro-atheist books, suggesting that the current … [Read more...]

Book Review: The End of Faith/Letter to a Christian Nation

The End of FaithSummary: An incendiary polemic against unjustified belief. Many strong points, strongly made - but what on earth is that endorsement of psychic powers doing in there?With the 2004 publication of his book The End of Faith, Sam Harris has probably become one of the best-known and most influential atheists in public discourse today. In this review, I will briefly summarize this book and then offer some remarks.Chapter 1, "Reason in Exile," talks about the pervasiveness of … [Read more...]

The New Atheists Fight Back

Wired has recently published a long article, titled Battle of the New Atheism, about the inroads made by prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and the attacks they have launched against faith. The article does not treat their views inaccurately or with malice, but nevertheless the author, Gary Wolf, seems scornful and dismissive of the idea that he or anyone else should actually pick a side in the debate. He begins and concludes his essay in much the same … [Read more...]

Tipping the Scales

"The book (The End of Faith) has spent nearly 20 weeks on bestseller lists... Presale orders of 'Letter to a Christian Nation' earned the book a spot among Amazon.com's top 10 a month before its Sept. 19 publication. It debuted at No. 7 on the bestsellers' list and is now in its sixth printing with 110,000 copies in print and a mammoth $200,000 ad campaign behind it."—Gina Piccalo, "Oh, dear God - it's him again", The Los Angeles Times, 2 October 2006In a recent post, "The Quiet … [Read more...]

Tax the Churches

In the United States of America today, churches and religious groups are treated with enormous sensitivity and deference by politicians and the media, a deference they have not earned. Far too often, the government and society in general bends over backwards to accommodate and encourage religious beliefs even when there is no rational reason why they should do so. The most egregious example of this is the sweeping tax exemptions granted to religion.It is not just one tax that religious … [Read more...]

CAP Alert Reviews II

It's been far too long since I first examined the lunacy that is the CAP Alert site. Interestingly, the site seems to have fallen on hard financial times: it is plastered with ads, and virtually every page contains text begging for donations. Their recent reviews show that the majority of movies released in the past few weeks were not reviewed because no one "sponsored" them to do so. The site's owner claims that it costs him an average of $350 to review one movie. By my calculations, assuming … [Read more...]

What Christians Care About

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? … [Read more...]


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