Three Cheers for Blasphemy Laws!

Today is International Blasphemy Day, inaugurated as a protest against the new Irish blasphemy law, the Muslim furor over cartoons of Muhammad, and every other law or social norm intended to protect religious ideas from criticism. From the Blasphemy Day website: The last day in September is the anniversary of the original publication of Danish cartoons in 2005 depicting the prophet Muhammad's face. Any visual depiction of Muhammad is considered a grave offence under Islamic law. ...The … [Read more...]

The Weakening Pull of Orthodoxy

The researchers behind the ARIS, which is the gold standard for American religious demographics, have released a new study that builds on their 2008 results with an in-depth look at one group that's near and dear to our hearts: "American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population". (HT: Friendly Atheist) As always, there's plenty of interesting data here to contemplate. Although "nones" show a decided gender imbalance - 60% of them are male, while the general population is 51% female - … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Submit Your Deconversion Story

I've posted a link to a new deconversion story on Ebon Musings: "Deconversion as Withdrawal: Just what is this God-smack stuff, anyway?", written by the vivacious and loquacious blogger D of She Who Chatters (whom you may recognize from her comments here on Daylight Atheism). Having posted this, it occurs to me that I haven't been doing much to solicit deconversion stories for Ebon Musings lately. That's why I'm inviting you, dear reader, to send yours in. Are you an atheist who's broken free … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: In the Beginning

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 5 The second premise of the kalam cosmological argument is that the universe began to exist. In discussing this premise, William Lane Craig asks the question of whether the universe necessarily had a beginning or whether it could have existed for an infinite amount of time before now. He argues that the former is the only option: "...if the past were really infinite, then that would mean we have managed to traverse an infinite past to arrive at today. It would … [Read more...]

The Religious Right Vision of Marriage

Christian conservatives always talk about "defending traditional marriage" - which has that warm, homey, fresh-baked-apple-pie feeling to it - but never make it clear precisely what they're defending. This is deliberate, of course, and a clever political strategy: they choose phrases with positive mental associations but otherwise leave their position vague. That way, ordinary people can project onto it whatever idealized notion of a happy family they happen to hold. By this tactic, the … [Read more...]

Take Action: Defend Marriage Equality in Maine

The last few months have been a rollercoaster ride for advocates of marriage equality in the United States. There was the bitter disappointment of Prop 8 passing in California in the 2008 elections, but soon after, it was assuaged in part by victories for marriage equality in Iowa and Vermont. Soon thereafter, Maine and New Hampshire joined the ranks of the states that offer full civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. The momentum is unquestionably on our side. Every poll ever conducted has … [Read more...]

Unitarian Universalism: A Matter of Definition

Both Greta and Hemant have commented on the full-page ad run by the Freedom from Religion Foundation in the latest issue of UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Since I have a copy of that issue, I thought I'd say some things about it as well. The FFRF ad that ran in the fall 2009 UU World. Click to enlarge. No one, of course, is denying that UU World would have been completely within its rights to reject the FFRF ad if they had chosen to. But that isn't what … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation

This week's Poetry Sunday features a new author, the American poet Stanley Kunitz. In his long lifetime, he was one of America's most renowned poets, winning, among other awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Medal of Arts, the Robert Frost Medal, and Harvard's Centennial Medal. He served a term as Poet Laureate of the United States, and was still writing and publishing at the age of 100, just prior to his death in 2006. Stanley Kunitz was born in 1905 in Massachusetts. His father … [Read more...]

Atheism, Race and Gender

Inspired by the always-inspiring Greta Christina and her two recent posts on the subject, I want to offer some thoughts on a topic I've rarely discussed on this blog: the intersection of atheism with issues of race and gender. I haven't discussed this subject much because I don't feel I have any real qualifications to do so. As a white male, I haven't often had to confront issues of racism or sexism, and I'm reluctant to speak about things which I don't have much experience with. But it's also … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

There are couple of news items this week that I thought merited a brief mention. First, in the New Yorker, James Wood provides another piece of evidence for my theory that the only kind of atheists considered "respectable" are the ones who wish they were religious: What is needed is neither the overweening rationalism of a Dawkins nor the rarefied religious belief of an Eagleton but a theologically engaged atheism that resembles disappointed belief. And while we're on the topic of concern … [Read more...]


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