The Language of God: Truth Seekers

The Language of God, Chapter 11By B.J. Marshall Aside from summarizing the points he's made in previous chapters, Collins uses this final chapter as his last chance to be a Christian apologist, but he surprisingly leaves the door open for other options.First, I feel compelled to highlight Collins' honesty. He states that, after twenty eight years as a believer, "the Moral Law still stands out for me as the strongest signpost to God" (p.218). I appreciate the candor because it's sometimes … [Read more...]

Video! See My Speech at Columbia

Last night, I made my debut as a speaker for the Secular Student Alliance, appearing before the atheist student group at Columbia University to discuss the history of church-state separation. It was a short talk, about 20 minutes with Q&A, which suited me just fine for my first foray into public speaking. But I'm very happy with the way it turned out, and I'm hoping there will be more and longer engagements in the future. My thanks again to everyone at Secular Columbia for inviting me. … [Read more...]

The Looters Win Again

As we all know, Ayn Rand is the greatest genius in the history of the human race, and her book Atlas Shrugged is her highest achievement and therefore the highest achievement of our entire species. Thanks to her, we've learned that sheer determination can surmount any obstacle, up to and including the laws of thermodynamics, to create value and earn its bearer a profit. All of which makes it inexplicable that her magnum opus is bombing at the box office:Twelve days after opening "Atlas … [Read more...]

Join the FFRF’s Virtual Billboard Campaign

A few months ago, I mentioned the FFRF's "Out of the Closet" billboard campaign, an effort to put a human face on atheists with ads showing that we're normal, friendly people like everyone else. Today, I'm pleased to announce that the FFRF has expanded this project with a virtual billboard campaign on their website, allowing anyone to create a custom banner with an image and a quote of their choice. (See mine below, or see some of the staff picks on the FFRF website.)As simple as it is, … [Read more...]

Reminder: Speaking at Columbia University

Don't forget that this Thursday evening, I'll be speaking in New York City at Columbia University. If you live in the area, come out and see me make my debut as a speaker for the Secular Student Alliance!LOCATION: New York City, NY, Columbia University, Alfred J. Lerner Hall (street entrance near Broadway & 115th Street), Room 503 DATE: April 28, 2011, 6:00 PM TOPIC: Separation of Church and State: A Very Short Overview SPONSOR: Secular Columbia DURATION: 20-30 minutes, with Q&A … [Read more...]

Pro-Family Christians Support Child Kidnapping

Yesterday, I came across a story that was so appalling I had to write about it. It shows the true depths of the Christian right's hatred for gay and lesbian people, and the lengths they're willing to go to - up to and including defying U.S. law - in the name of that hatred. (HT: The Wall of Separation)The story in a nutshell: A same-sex couple in Vermont, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, were married in 2000 and had a legally recognized civil union. Two years later, they had a daughter, … [Read more...]

Charity Yes, Interfaith No?

We atheists are nothing if not argumentative, and the latest argument is over whether an atheist can or should participate in "interfaith" charitable work. Chris Stedman, a member of the humanist chaplaincy at Harvard, asserts that "we must actualize our commitments to justice and compassion" by participating in interfaith projects as often as possible. Ophelia Benson and Jen McCreight were unimpressed, pointing out that there's something paradoxical in a nonbeliever participating in a movement … [Read more...]

A Humanist Easter Homily

Today is Easter Sunday, the day when Christians celebrate Jesus' supposed resurrection from the tomb. But though they believe this holiday commemorates a unique and singular event, their timing is suspicious. As you may have noticed, Easter is very close (making some allowances for calendrical drift) to the vernal equinox, the first day of spring.This strongly suggests that the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is another offshoot of the ancient harvest myth: the story of resurrection … [Read more...]

Poll and Open Thread: Social Media

A while back, I put a social media widget from AddThis on the site (the "Bookmark/Share This" link at the bottom of each post). I've been checking its analytics and found that it hardly gets any use at all, so I think it's about time to terminate that experiment.However, I haven't decided what to replace it with, and I'm wondering if you all have any opinions. What social media sites do you use? Which ones have the largest atheist communities generally? I've had some success with StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

A Confluence of Holidays

This year, there's an interesting calendrical coincidence: Today is both Earth Day and Good Friday. That being so, I thought it would prove enlightening to compare these two holidays and the messages they respectively send to their practitioners.One of the holidays on this date is to commemorate the gory death of a Jewish mystic some two thousand years ago, a dimly remembered event in an obscure corner of a long-vanished empire - an event which, we're told, takes precedence over everything … [Read more...]


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