FFRF at the Supreme Court

Tomorrow, February 28, will be a date of tremendous importance for all friends of church-state separation in the United States of America. For tomorrow, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation will be presenting oral arguments before the nine justices of the Supreme Court, in the case of Hein v. FFRF. The principle at stake is whether American citizens, by virtue of their status as taxpayers, have the right to bring suit against the executive branch of the … [Read more...]

The Harris-Sullivan Debate: I

Since last month, Beliefnet has been hosting a debate between Sam Harris, atheist author and neuroscientist, and Andrew Sullivan, the conservative commentator and devout Catholic.This is a wonderful debate, and I strongly encourage my visitors to read it for themselves. Both participants are highly educated, articulate and persuasive, and both do an admirable job of advocating for their respective positions, with excellent points traded on both sides and a refreshing lack of animosity. Harris … [Read more...]

The Virtues: Be Passionate

The fifth of the Virtues is passion; in the ancient lists of cardinal virtues, it was sometimes referred to as diligence or zeal. In his famous list of virtues, Benjamin Franklin called it industry. All these terms describe basically the same quality. Passion is the opposite of laziness, apathy, and nihilism: it implies placing value on the right qualities, making the best use of one's time, and being diligent and tireless in defense of the good.There is substantial truth in the Bible's … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch IX: A Religious Police State

I have written in the past about the paranoid, twisted obsession that most religious fundamentalists have with sex. Rather than viewing it as a natural, healthy part of human life, and a source of pleasure and emotional connection when engaged in responsibly, excessive religious devotion leads some believers to view sex as a menacing and ever-present temptation to sin that must be resisted at all costs. Some of these go even further and view sex not only as a great sin, but seemingly the only … [Read more...]

Advice to a Christian

Via Feministe, I've come across a post called A request for advice, on a blog titled Contraception and Christianity. The author, Contraskeptic, is an evangelical Christian wrestling with the issue of whether it is a sin to use birth control.As Contraskeptic explains, his wife has been through three difficult, stressful pregnancies, all three of which were C-sections. The third pregnancy was unplanned, and occurred despite their efforts to avoid it by restricting sexual intercourse to the one … [Read more...]

A Daylight Atheism Consumer Warning

Consumers, be advised! When you want to know the future or ward off bad fortune through the invocation of magical power, don't trust just any fake dime-store psychic. Be sure to choose only the best fake psychics for all your supernatural needs.Such is the message of a bulletin issued recently by the United Kingdom's official consumer-protection agency:The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has warned consumers not to fall for scams perpetrated by bogus clairvoyants, fortune tellers and … [Read more...]

The Blasphemy Challenge

Inspired by a post on Debunking Christianity, I'd like to chime in on the "Blasphemy Challenge" conceived of by an atheist group called the Rational Response Squad. This challenge encourages people to film themselves denying the existence of the Holy Spirit, the one unforgivable sin according to certain interpretations of the Bible, and post it to the internet.The intent is to gain coverage for the atheist movement through tactics that cause shock and stir up controversy, one of the few … [Read more...]

The Virtues: Be Truthful

The fourth of the Virtues is truthfulness, a quality that is in short supply for all that it has been extolled through the ages. The proliferation of new media of communication in our society, from cable news to the internet, has resulted in a wonderful diversity of previously overlooked viewpoints; but it has also created an atmosphere where half-truths and untruths of every kind can readily take root in the desires of partisans of every side.Some people, viewing this swamp of conflicting … [Read more...]

Footprints

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord."Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through."—Lamentations 3:43-44Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord."Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be … [Read more...]

Some Thoughts on Evolution Sunday

Yesterday, February 11, was Evolution Sunday, a nationwide project in which hundreds of Christian pastors and denominations voice their belief that the theory of evolution, and science in general, is compatible with their religious principles.My standpoint on this matter is not as combative as some people's. While I, too, would like to see all religious people become atheists, I recognize that this is not going to happen any time soon, and encouraging the majority of theists to find … [Read more...]


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