Archives for March 2013

Reflections on #AAcon13

I'm writing this in the airport, on my way home from a weekend in Austin, Texas for the 50th anniversary convention of American Atheists. New York is all bare gray branches, still; it's too early in the season even for buds. By comparison, Austin was a startling riot of green, with tree-lined streets and forested riverbanks that bloomed explosively in the perfect, gorgeous warm weather. The branches were thronged with big, sleek black birds (grackles, according to a thread on B&W) that kept up a … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: In Medias Res

Atlas Shrugged, p. 11-19The book begins with Eddie Willers, who isn't actually one of the protagonists, walking through the streets of New York City. He gives a dime to a homeless man who asks him the mysterious question "Who is John Galt?", noting all the while that the city is dying:The clouds and the shafts of skyscrapers against them were turning brown, like an old painting in oil, the color of a fading masterpiece. Long streaks of grime ran from under the pinnacles down the … [Read more...]

The Arc Is Bending

While same-sex marriage is dramatically debated at the Supreme Court this week, it's worth keeping in mind that just a few days ago, Colorado legalized civil unions for same-sex couples, becoming - to my surprise - the 18th state to have either marriage equality or civil unions. I didn't realize the cause had come so far, but indeed it has. By my count, the nine states that have full marriage equality are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maryland … [Read more...]

Coming to Austin This Weekend

This coming weekend, I'm going to be in Austin, Texas to attend the 2013 National Convention of American Atheists. I'm not going to be in town for long - I'm getting in on Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday morning - but I'm definitely planning to pack as much fun as I can into the time I've got! Who else is going to be there? … [Read more...]

Why I Am An Atheist (In 200 Words or Less)

[Note: This month, Patheos is organizing a "Why I Am A..." blog series, challenging contributors to explain the basis for their philosophy in 200 words or less. Here's my contribution. —Adam]I'm an atheist because personal experience isn't sufficient.People from every religion claim to have personal experiences that bolster their beliefs, whether it's the warmth of God's love or the cool knowledge of a moral lawgiver, the Buddhist satori or the Mormon burning in the bosom. Clearly, … [Read more...]

On Being a Good (and Bad) Ally to Feminists

In the last few days, Melissa McEwan at the feminist blog Shakesville gave a list of advice to atheist men on how to make the secular community more feminist-friendly. There was considerable discussion of her list on Pharyngula, but the usual harassing trolls also decided to pollute the conversation with their stupidity. In response to hostile messages from some of them, McEwan posted this:I started out writing about why I didn't want to have anything to do with mainstream movement atheism, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: A Novel for the 1%

Way back in 2011, I read Ayn Rand's magnum opus Atlas Shrugged - all 1,074 pages of it - with a promise that I'd eventually get around to doing a chapter-by-chapter review, like my review of Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator. I got sidetracked by other projects for a while, but now it's about time to fulfill that promise.If you haven't read Atlas cover-to-cover yourself (and who could blame you?), here's the plot in a nutshell: In a twenty-minutes-into-the-future United States of America, … [Read more...]

New Guest Post at Skepchick

I'm all over the place this week, I know. In addition to the new column on AlterNet, I have a guest post up at Skepchick, contributing to Surly Amy's "Speaking Out Against Hate Directed at Women" series. Here's an excerpt:There's one thing that just about every atheist activist agrees on, which is that religion has always treated women as inferior. Whether it's demonizing them as evil temptresses who brought sin into the world, demanding their silence and subordination, or treating them as … [Read more...]

Facing Up to the Bible’s Darkness

Via Slacktivist, I came across an interesting essay by Greg Boyd, Getting Honest about the Dark Side of the Bible. (You might remember Boyd as one of the theologians interviewed in Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ, as well as his more recent and praiseworthy stand against the use of Christianity to support American imperial militarism.)I have to give Boyd credit for doing something I've rarely seen Christians do: facing up squarely to the dark and savage morality of the Bible. In his post, … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Exporting America’s Culture Wars

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, You Wouldn't Believe How Fast Americans Are Losing Their Religion -- But the Fundamentalists Have a Plan. In it, I report on the American religious-right activists who are exporting American-style culture wars to the developing world, even as the U.S. and Europe become less religious. The fundamentalists haven't been able to strip women, LGBT people, and non-Christians of their rights at home, but they're working hard to do so abroad. Read the excerpt … [Read more...]