Forward Thinking: Teenagers and Sex

ForbiddenFruit

Two of my new colleagues at Patheos, Libby Anne and Dan Fincke, have recently launched Forward Thinking: A Values Development Project, a collaborative discussion in the spirit of the old blog carnivals. This week's conversational prompt is, "What would you tell teenagers about sex?" Now, I'm not encouraging teenagers to have sex, because (1) no one should be pushed to have sex before they, themselves, have decided that they're physically and emotionally ready; and (2) it doesn't really matter … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: February 10

Coffee

• No matter how many compromises the Obama administration offers, Catholic bishops just don't want people to have access to birth control. • Beliefnet is afraid of feminism, telling liberal Christian pastor and blogger Kristine Holmgren that she wasn't allowed to use the word in her header or her blog (at which point, to her credit, she broke ties with them). • Astrophysicists have calculated, on the basis of data from NASA's Kepler telescope, that six percent of red dwarf … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: The Joy Formidable

New York City is still buried under today's arctic blast, so let's warm up with something up-tempo from one of my favorite rock bands, The Joy Formidable. I've been a fan since discovering their appropriately-titled first album, The Big Roar, at the beginning of last year, and now they have a brand-new one, Wolf's Law. The first single showcases what they do best - the solid, shimmering wall of sound: Consider this an open thread. What bands have been running through your head lately? … [Read more...]

Why Atheists Should Care More About Education

Mortarboard

I've been reading this post on Skepchick by Debbie Goddard, about why education should be a higher priority to the secular movement. As Debbie puts it: I am frustrated that we-the-movement only seem to get involved with public education when a teacher puts Bible quotes on the walls of her classroom, when a football coach leads his high school team in prayer, when a science teacher spends time promoting intelligent design, when an administration prevents a student from starting an atheist … [Read more...]

Why I’m Not a Gun Owner

AR15Rifle

Last month, Sam Harris wrote a controversial essay arguing for private gun ownership: It is true that my work as a writer has added to my security concerns somewhat, but my involvement with guns goes back decades. I have always wanted to be able to protect myself and my family, and I have never had any illusions about how quickly the police can respond when called. I have expressed my views on self-defense elsewhere. Suffice it to say, if a person enters your home for the purpose of harming … [Read more...]

How Influential Is the Religious Right?

My latest column on Alternet, about the failed predictions of the religious right, has gotten a reply from a writer calling himself suburbXn who identifies himself as a liberal Christian, and who thinks I'm vastly exaggerating the influence of the people whose prophecies I cited: You can find extremists and crazies behind ANY belief who will take things to the edge. But please don't write off millions of Christians because of a few extremists, not even if you still disagree with those … [Read more...]

In Support of Feminism and Diversity: Atheists Speak Out

AtheismPlus

Last month, I created a petition calling on atheists to show their support for feminism and diversity. That petition, with more than 2,000 signatures, was delivered to the leaders of the largest atheist and secular organizations in time for the HEADS meeting at the end of January. I think it's served its purpose, although I'm not planning to close it soon; anyone who still wants to add their name is welcome to do so. The petition also attracted over 400 comments from people who wanted to … [Read more...]

Open Thread: What Religious Blogs Should I Read?

I've been looking at my RSS feed, and it's almost all atheist and skeptical blogs. No surprise there, obviously - but I'm thinking it should be at least a little more diverse. In the name of not cutting myself off from other viewpoints, as well as finding out about interesting stories I might not otherwise have heard, I feel as though there should be at least a few religious blogs that I follow. I read Slacktivist regularly, which is one of my favorite progressive Christian blogs. But I'm … [Read more...]

A Reply to James Croft

Chessboard

My new Patheos colleague, James Croft, has written a post welcoming me to the site and inviting me to a rhetorical face-off. I'm never one to pass up an invitation to a cordial debate, so let's have at it! James' post concerns my speech at the 2012 SSA conference, where I laid out my strategy for effective atheist activism. He has responses to several of the points I made, which are under the headings below: The Importance of Anger I spoke about why anger is a valid and important … [Read more...]

The Twitter Report: A Thing of Beauty

DATwitterWordCloud

The blogger Geoff Ó Laoidhléis is apparently some kind of Twitter detective. I enjoyed his post from December exposing a "pro-life atheist" organization as a probable astroturf group, by observing that the vast majority of their Twitter followers weren't atheists at all, but Catholics. More recently, he performed the same analysis on an alleged gay pro-life group. Earlier today, I heard from Geoff on Twitter, with an offer to analyze my followers list - this time, for purely aesthetic … [Read more...]


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