Archives for June 2010

Breaking News: Catholic Church Not Above the Law

In the past two months, the Catholic pedophilia scandal has largely dropped out of the headlines. But it was still simmering, and it looks poised to erupt into public consciousness again after this raid by police in Belgium:The declaration to the police set off four raids in which the authorities seized hundreds of case files from the commission's current leader, detained a group of bishops for more than nine hours and disturbed the tomb of a cardinal where construction work had recently been … [Read more...]

On Being Judgmental

It's been a few weeks since any Serious Person told us atheists to shut up, so we're overdue. Well, Chris Mooney doesn't disappoint, writing a gushing post on a recent "science/faith dialogue" held by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and funded by the Templeton Foundation. As you'd expect from anything underwritten by Templeton, the AAAS panel was carefully chosen to contain several vocally religious scientists, but no one who believes that science and faith are incompatible. … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Dolphin Watching

A special video edition of Photo Sunday!Last month on our honeymoon, my wife and I went on a whale-watching tour in St. Lucia. We only saw one whale - at a distance, and he didn't let us get close enough for me to take any good pictures - but the dolphins were another story.We encountered this school of dolphins off the southwest coast of the island. There must have been dozens of them, leaping out of the water on every side of our boat, and they seemed as fascinated by us as we … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Spiritual Wisdom

The Case for a Creator, Closing ThoughtsAfter spending over a year on this project, we've come to the end of The Case for a Creator. Before bringing this series to a close, I have some closing thoughts on the overall message and tactics of the book.First: Although Lee Strobel tries to pass Case off as a dispassionate examination of scientific findings that just happen to support the existence of an intelligent designer, the obvious truth is that it's a Christian apologetics book dressed in a … [Read more...]

Prophets of Disaster

As you've probably heard, last week a 60-foot-high Jesus statue in Ohio, nicknamed "Touchdown Jesus", was completely destroyed in a fire after being struck by lightning. An adjacent amphitheater, part of the same evangelical church, was also burned and suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.The church has already vowed to rebuild the statue, but it seems to me they're acting far too hastily. Why aren't they considering the possibility that this destruction was an expression of … [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Occasion of My Marriage

If you're a regular reader, you probably know that I got married last month. Until now, I haven't said much about the event itself on Daylight Atheism. But now that I'm back from my honeymoon (slightly sunburned, but happy!) and I've had some time to reflect, I wanted to put into words some of my thoughts on what marriage means to me, as an atheist, and explain why I chose to enter into it.But first of all, let me address the most obvious question: Should an atheist even want to get married? … [Read more...]

Do Near-Death Experiences Prove the Soul Exists?

"A qualitative and quantitative study of the incidence, features, and aetiology of near death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors." Resuscitation 48 (2001): 149-156.In my most recent post on Case for a Creator, I mentioned that Lee Strobel referenced a February 2001 paper which allegedly provided proof that people had conscious experiences during the time that their brains were not functioning. I have a copy of that paper now, thanks to several helpful readers, so in this post I'm going to … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: St. Lucia Sunset

I haven't put up any pictures in a while, so here's a new one. It's from my honeymoon last month - we stayed at a resort on the west coast of the island of St. Lucia, a developing but beautiful country with some (in my humble opinion) of the world's most gorgeous scenery, including a spectacular sunset every night. It was almost impossible to take a bad picture there, but this was one of my favorites:Boats at sunset, St. Lucia, May 2010. Photo by the author. Camera details: Canon … [Read more...]

Simo Says

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)The other night I fled for my life. I fled a brawl in Paris. No, I didn't get entangled in a drunken bar fight. Again. Actually, I was in an elementary school.Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS – Neither Whores Nor Submissives), the women's rights organization in Paris where I have been working as a human rights fellow, organized a public debate on the issue of the anticipated public burqa ban in Fra … [Read more...]

Reengineering Human Nature: Violence

The Problem: Many religions, including Christianity, teach that unjustified anger and violence are sins that risk the offender's eternal soul. The Ten Commandments order people not to murder - usually a crime committed in the throes of anger - while Jesus says that even a momentary outburst of anger can lead to damnation: "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [an Aramaic … [Read more...]