Belaboring the Obvious

When it comes to theist-atheist debates, one sentiment I hear frequently is that there's no point arguing either side of the controversy, because no one's mind is ever changed by such arguments. Last summer, in "Be Hot or Cold", I pointed out two reviewers who both dragged out exactly this same assertion in response to two different atheist books.There's no doubt that conversions are rare, on both sides. And I also don't think there's any doubt that rational persuasion is usually ineffective. … [Read more...]

The Good Book?

Recently, an offended Christian left this comment on my satirical post "Footprints":Call me close-minded, but am I the only one who looks at the whole text of Scripture, and not just the parts that deal with eternal damnation?Because, if we're playing a game where we take the Holy Word of God out of context, I can alter His meaning to say just about anything, really.....why does everyone fail to mention all the times that God blessed His people? Why is everyone so quick to point out where … [Read more...]

Do You Really Believe That? (V)

Anointing the SickThe New Testament's Book of James gives some very unusual instructions on how to treat illness:"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."—James 5:14-15In eras when human knowledge was far less advanced, it's not surprising that … [Read more...]

Book Update

I've finished chapter 9 of my book, which is titled "Stardust" and concerns how we should handle death from an atheist viewpoint. As in the past, I'm making this chapter available to regular commenters on this site for editorial review and critique. If you fit that description and would like to review it, please let me know.We're moving into the home stretch now! I have one more chapter tentatively planned, then an afterword. I'm soon going to begin work on pulling together a draft of the … [Read more...]

Three Objections to Objectivism

I recently finished reading Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness, and I wanted to offer some comments on her moral philosophy.There are several good reasons why I ought to like Ayn Rand. She was an atheist, and proudly so, and argued for the supremacy of reason as the only valid way of knowing. I agree with this. She denounced communism and supported capitalism. I agree with this as well. Her works are still very popular in some circles and offer a vision of a rational, productive life which … [Read more...]

Atheists at 75%?

Not in the general population, alas. But a poll in a recent front-page post at Daily Kos, Hobbits 2.0?, had some stunning numbers:The poll was about which viewpoint best fits the site contributors' positions on human evolution, with four options corresponding to young-earth creationism, old-earth creationism, theistic evolution, and non-theistic evolution (i.e., no god involved). Not surprisingly for a progressive political site, the two creationist options received negligible support. But … [Read more...]

De-Mystification

Inspired by a good post on Spanish Inquisitor, as well as a similarly good post by Greta Christina (the atheistic stars have aligned!), I had some thoughts about the role of mysticism in religion, especially as it relates to sex.Freethinkers should be working to disseminate accurate information about sex, of course - information on how to choose a sexual partner, how to use birth control effectively, how to get an abortion if need be, how to be respectful and responsible toward one's partners, … [Read more...]

Chris Hedges the Nihilist

Earlier this month, I chastised the theologian John Haught for falsely claiming that atheism leads to nihilism. Now the journalist Chris Hedges has launched his own attack on modern atheists, and the bizarre part is that he attacks us for possessing precisely the opposite failing: because, in his eyes, atheism does not lead to nihilism, and he considers this far more dangerous.Hedges is one of the last people I'd expect to feel this way. He's written books with titles like American Fascists: … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Robinson Jeffers

This month's Poetry Sunday features two poems by Robinson Jeffers, an American poet of the early twentieth century. Born 1887 in Pennsylvania, Jeffers was the son of a Presbyterian minister who taught his son Latin and Greek. Nevertheless, Jeffers did not follow in his father's footsteps. Rather than theology, he became enthralled at a young age with the natural world, and became an avid outdoorsman and follower of scientific discoveries in biology, astronomy, and other areas.Jeffers found … [Read more...]

Magic Spell Jesus

A few weeks back, I was looking through my traffic logs and found someone who came across my article "The Power of Christ Compels You" via the following Google search:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=applying+the+blood+of+jesus+against+evil+peopleI'm guessing my article wasn't what this person was looking for, so I ran the search myself and found the following essay: How to Plead the Blood of Jesus for Deliverance and Protection.This remarkable essay is founded on a deep belief in … [Read more...]


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