Poetry Sunday: Fern Hill

For my northern hemisphere readers, the full flush of summer has arrived. In honor of the season, I've picked an appropriate poem for this installment of Poetry Sunday: the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' idyllic, evocative hymn to nature and childhood, "Fern Hill", from his 1946 collection Deaths and Entrances.Born in 1914, Dylan Thomas was named in honor of his uncle, a Unitarian minister. He moved to London in 1934 and that same year published his first volume of poetry, 18 Poems, which was … [Read more...]

Quintessence of Dust

One of the most persistent misconceptions about atheism is that, if there is no supernatural soul and human beings are made merely of atoms and molecules, then our lives would be deprived of meaning. Asserts Christian apologist Phil Fernandes:If atheism is true, then man is mere molecules in motion. He has no greater value than the animals. In fact, human life would be no more sacred than the existence of a rock.This conclusion betrays a very warped view of the nature of worth and value. … [Read more...]

The Harm Psychics Do

Out of Toronto, this jaw-dropping story: Colleen Leduc, a local mother, was accused by school officials of letting her autistic daughter Victoria be sexually abused - based on the word of a psychic! (HT: Boing Boing).Leduc's weird tale began on May 30, when she dropped young Victoria off for class at Terry Fox Elementary and headed in to work, only to receive a frantic phone call from the school telling her it was urgent she come back right away.The frightened mother rushed back to the … [Read more...]

Two Poles

While reading Richard Sloan's book Blind Faith, I came across a passage that jumped out at me:[Gallup Polling] also indicates that from 1939 to 2005, 37 to 49 percent of those surveyed reported that they attended church or synagogue in the week before they were surveyed. From the period to 1992 to 2005, those who reported that they attended once per week ranged from 28 to 36 percent. For those reporting attendance almost every week, the range was 9 to 14 percent.What I noticed is that the … [Read more...]

The Bible's Broken Promises

In their endless quest to evangelize the world, Christian apologists like this one are prone to making grandiose claims about the supposed perfect accuracy of biblical prophecy:Unique among all books ever written, the Bible accurately foretells specific events - in detail - many years, sometimes centuries, before they occur. Approximately 2500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter — no errors.Needless to say, this claim r … [Read more...]

New Post on Dangerous Intersection

I've posted a new essay on Dangerous Intersection, "The Supreme Court restores habeas corpus". This is a followup to my post from October 2006, "This Is Not America".This is an open thread. … [Read more...]

The Hopelessness of Life Without Cupid

Inspired by an analogy invented by Daniel Dennett, I have some thoughts for the benefit of those who believe that an atheist's life must necessarily be meaningless and nihilistic.Imagine that there's a society which, instead of God, believes in Cupid. This is the Cupid of Greek mythology, as co-opted by greeting card companies: the rosy-cheeked cherub with tiny wings, who flutters around firing magical arrows into people's hearts that make them fall in love. Imagine that people in this society … [Read more...]

Thank God for Pre-trib Rapture

Among Christian groups who hold to belief in a literal apocalypse, the most common view today is "pretribulationist" - the belief that God will remove his faithful from the world in the Rapture, following which there will be seven years of suffering and bloodshed as unsaved humanity is tortured by God and ruled by the Antichrist. ("Pretribulation" refers to the timing of the Rapture, in this belief system preceding the seven years of tribulation.) There are differing views in Christian theology … [Read more...]

Book Update

It's been a long time in the making, but I've finished the tenth and final chapter of my book. Its title is "Into the Clear Air", and it discusses the process of becoming an atheist, on an individual level, and the effort to organize atheists on a political level. As before, I'm open to editorial review from my readers; if you've read previous chapters and are interested in reading this one, let me know.What's next? I want to write a brief epilogue, then I need to go back over the book, do … [Read more...]

Respectable Infidels


The Volokh Conspiracy has a fascinating excerpt from the writings of Anthony Comstock (HT, Dispatches from the Culture Wars):The respectable infidel is not even referred to, but simply those who stand in the forefront, zealous to be known as opposed to God and religion, and who by their blasphemous speeches and publications are putting to shame honest infidels. Every person must respect the infidel who says, "I cannot see nor understand these matters of religion as you do; I wish I could." … [Read more...]