Archives for February 2012

Some More Implications of Religious Liberty

The Christian right, both Catholics and evangelicals, wants to outlaw birth control. This isn't a new revelation, but in the last few weeks, they've been saying it so often and so loudly that the public is starting to take notice. Of course, they don't have anywhere near the political muscle to actually achieve this - but what they hope to do is make access to contraception as difficult and expensive as possible, effectively putting it out of the reach of millions of people. As part of their … [Read more...]

Recap: The Goodness of Godlessness at UND

This weekend, I spoke at the University of North Dakota, courtesy of an invitation from FUND, the local SSA affiliate. Yes, there are atheists in North Dakota! For those who weren't there, I wanted to write a quick recap and talk about some of the lessons learned. My talk was given on Friday night at the university's Lecture Bowl, and drew somewhere between 70 and 80 people, by far the largest audience I've ever had. From what the organizers told me, this was more people than were at a Campus … [Read more...]

Replies to the Abraham Test

My post from last week, "The Abraham Test", provoked a vigorous discussion (225 comments and counting as of this writing) about the morality of committing violence in God's name. Since I did, after all, pose a question to believers, it's only fair to write a follow-up post summarizing the answers and discussing what they mean for religious morality as a whole. For this post, I'm only going to discuss comments that directly answered the question I asked (which, I have to say, were a minority). I … [Read more...]

Shocking Newsflash: Infamous Atheist Wears Mismatched Socks!

LONDON, February 22 - It's been a rough week for Richard Dawkins, prominent evolutionary biologist and noted God-hater. Our reporters can reveal that on Monday, while Dawkins was ordering breakfast at a local shop, he received the wrong change for his coffee and muffin, but failed to count it and notice the error until he was a short distance away, when walking back would have been mildly inconvenient. Then, while consuming the items, he carelessly spilled a blotch of coffee on his pants leg, … [Read more...]

What the Bible Could Have Said

Via Slacktivist, I came across a post on the Christian blog Exploring Our Matrix that asks a perfectly reasonable question: Why Doesn't the Bible Contain Superior Medical Advice? will look in vain in the pages of the Bible for a recommendation that people cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze and cough. You will find mentions of strong drink, but nothing about distilling the alcohol and using it to clean wounds or disinfect anything at all. The author presents this as a problem … [Read more...]

The Atheist Cosmological Argument

In my past writings, I've made it a hobby to call attention to potent, but often overlooked, reasons to believe that atheism is true. Two of these that I've written about are the argument from mind-brain unity and the argument from locality. In the last few months, I've come to realize that there's another powerful argument for atheism that doesn't get as much attention as it should, and I want to discuss it today. As creationists have brought up ad nauseam, the Earth is very well suited for … [Read more...]

Book Review: An Unquenchable Thirst

Summary: The Roman Catholic equivalent of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel". A luminous, extraordinary account of one woman who devoted her life to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, saw the organization from the inside out, and decided to walk away after twenty years of service as a faithful and obedient nun.The "deconversion memoir" is seemingly fast becoming the most common genre of atheist book. In just the last few years, I've read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, William Lobdell's Losing … [Read more...]

The Bishops Versus Birth Control

I don't think I've ever written this sentence before, but here goes: There's been so much good news on the pro-choice front lately, it's hard to keep up! Since my last post, developments have come so rapidly that they demand a follow-up. First, an update on the Komen story. As you've probably heard, the Komen Foundation withdrew its policy barring grants to Planned Parenthood after a firestorm of criticism. This is great news, but the cherry on top is that Karen Handel, the anti-choice … [Read more...]

Support African Americans for Humanism

As NPR recently reported, there's a high price to pay for being a black atheist in America. African Americans who come out of the closet as nonreligious may be cut off by their own families, may be labeled a "race traitor" or an "apostate", or accused of lacking morals or having "holes in their souls" - this despite the fact that atheism, humanism and freethought have a strong and lively tradition within the African-American community. That's why I was glad to hear about African Americans for … [Read more...]

The Abraham Test

The story of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son on Mount Moriah is one of the formative myths of Western monotheism. And most theists of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions look up to Abraham as a model of faith, believing that his willingness to kill his own child in obedience to God's command is a praiseworthy character trait. But as I wrote in "A Book of Blood":That the sacrifice was not actually carried out does not change the moral revulsion we should feel at this episode. … [Read more...]