The Happiness Machine

As any regular reader of Daylight Atheism knows, the topic of morality is a major concern of mine. In essays on Ebon Musings, I've sketched out a secular moral theory I call universal utilitarianism. Here on this site, In the past, I've written about the roots of this morality and the virtues that can be derived from it, as well as musings on what UU has to say about some controversial moral topics. In 2009, I plan on taking these explorations in a new direction.This year, I intend to write … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Ann Dunham

Past entries in "The Contributions of Freethinkers" have discussed nonbelievers and dissenters whose lives made a direct and lasting impact on the world in any number of ways: in politics, in science, in the arts and culture. But it's worth remembering that sometimes - in fact, often - our greatest effects on the world are indirect, in the ways our lives influence the lives of those we come in contact with and those who come after us. Today's post is meant to be a reminder of that. You may never … [Read more...]

Mental Slavery and Creeping Atheism

Evangelical pastor Ray Stedman knows the root cause of everything that's wrong with the world:It is not nationalism, it is not racism... it is the human heart. It is the pride of man that fancies he can get along without God.But not to worry, because he advises us how we can conquer this obstacle. To achieve that, we must...take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. This is extremely important....It is absolutely necessary to do this if you want to have permanent victory. … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: The Poet in the Desert

Today's Poetry Sunday introduces a new poet: the freethinker, civil libertarian, and Renaissance man extraordinaire, Charles Erskine Scott Wood.Born in 1852, Wood graduated from West Point in 1874 and served as an infantry officer in western campaigns, including the Nez Perce War. He was present at the surrender of Chief Joseph and transcribed (or possibly embellished) the old chief's famous saying: "My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more … [Read more...]

The Sewers of Hate

Last week, James Adkisson was sentenced to life in prison. Adkisson was the right-wing terrorist who went on an armed rampage against the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville last July, killing two parishioners, Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger. He had intended to kill many more, but the people of the congregation, showing uncommon courage and heroism, swiftly subdued and disarmed him and held him until the police arrived.Adkisson's manifesto has just been released (HT: … [Read more...]

Announcing the AHS

I'm pleased to announce the launch of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, an umbrella organization representing freethinking student groups from schools and universities throughout the United Kingdom. Similar to the U.S. Secular Student Alliance, the AHS will do the vital work of organizing nonbelievers where it's most important - among the young generations that will be the vanguard of the future - and presenting our ideas to those who are most likely to … [Read more...]

The Amorphous Enemy

In a previous post, "The Soft Landing", I wrote about the future and about one potential scenario that I find disturbing: that militant, fundamentalist churches will grow at the expense of moderate and liberal ones, leaving behind a world split between atheism and angry, intolerant religion. In this post, I'll again look to the future, this time to outline another possibility that I find worrisome in a different way.In this scenario, both moderate and fundamentalist religion will decline … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses XII: Communism

"Atheism and communism always seem to go hand in hand," begins a letter to the editor I recently found through a Google alert. And though the fear of communism has died down since the crumbling of the Soviet Union, the prejudice that this writer was parroting has affected our politics for decades.In the Cold War, when anti-communist fear and paranoia were rampant, we sought to differentiate ourselves from the enemy in every way possible. It was this fear that spurred the U.S. government to … [Read more...]

The Liberty to Blaspheme

Considering how often I've written about this topic in the past, I had some reluctance to return to it, fearing I wouldn't have anything new or unique to say this time around. But the right of free speech is once again under assault, and whenever that happens, I believe friends of liberty around the world have a moral duty to man the barricades and raise our voices against the barbarous fanatics who would take it away.So, here's the story in a nutshell (HT: Andrew Sullivan). Johann Hari, the … [Read more...]

Love Is No Sin

In Second Corinthians, the Bible contains a widely cited teaching against interfaith relationships:"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? ...Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." … [Read more...]


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