Not Being an Angry Atheist

In the marketplace of ideas, atheists and atheism are still fighting to carve out a place. We have made some dramatic gains, but our long-term success is not yet assured. The sheer novelty of our message has, no doubt, attracted much interest and attention, but we must still work to win an established place in society's halls of power. When media organizations routinely invite atheists along with religious leaders to give the secular humanist perspective on issues, or when politicians seeking … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Assault on Reason

Summary: A blistering, brilliant counterattack on the forces that have conspired to undermine American democracy.Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's The Assault on Reason is a passionate, scathing book that paints a clear picture of where America has gone wrong. Our democracy is far from dead, but as events of recent years have shown, it is ill - perhaps gravely so. The appalling levels of ignorance of basic scientific and political facts among the voting public; our heedless and disastrous … [Read more...]

Do You Really Believe That? (II)

The Tower of BabelThe second installment of "Do You Really Believe That?" will examine another classic Old Testament story, the Tower of Babel. According to this story, in the days after Noah's flood, all humanity spoke one language. Filled with pride and ambition, they came together and began to build a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven" (Genesis 11:4). God witnesses this and is upset, not because the building of the tower displays hubris, but because he actually fears that humanity will … [Read more...]

Why I Am Not a Libertarian II

Positive and Negative LibertyThe second major reason why I am not a libertarian has to do with the social safety net - programs like public education, universal health care, food stamps or unemployment pay - that are funded by redistributive taxation. Hard-core libertarians decry these programs as theft or even slavery, arguing that it is unfair to tax them to fund programs from which they derive no direct benefit.In reality, however, these programs do benefit all members of society. … [Read more...]

The Basis for an Atheist's Morality

Yesterday, the Washington Post published an editorial titled What Atheists Can't Answer. The author, Michael Gerson, is an influential evangelical Christian and was formerly George W. Bush's chief speechwriter.Compared to most attacks on atheism, including a few I've rebutted recently, Gerson's essay is fair and honest. He rightfully steers clear of the slanderous and unfounded insults so common in apologetic literature, conceding that human beings can be good without God. However, while he … [Read more...]

An Incident in the Senate

The U.S. Senate traditionally opens each day's session with a prayer, and today's was a first: the invocation was given by Rajan Zed, a Hindu priest who was invited by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This was the first time a representative of Hinduism has ever been invited to do this.However, there was an ugly incident that disrupted the occasion. As Zed began to speak, he was interrupted by three Christians in the visitors' gallery shouting at the top of their lungs, calling Zed's prayer … [Read more...]

Breaking Down Barriers

Have you ever spent a long time debating someone and trying to persuade them, before ultimately realizing that it was all wasted breath and that they weren't really listening to you at all?This has happened to me more than once. I've had e-mail conversations with theists, some of which went on for weeks and involved numerous rounds of replies, before the realization dawned on me: they weren't actually talking to me at all. They were talking to The Atheist, a rather vague and shadowy figure … [Read more...]

Know-Nothings

"We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your moldy wonders and your … [Read more...]

A Reply from D.J. Grothe

A few days ago, I criticized Matt Nisbet and D.J. Grothe for asserting that "there is no such thing" as discrimination against atheists, in the post "Atheism Is a Civil Rights Issue". I also wrote to Grothe to raise some of the points made in that post, asking him if he stood by his claim that there are no known examples of atheist bashing. I've had two replies from him now, which he's given me permission to quote in full. I'll do so and then voice my remaining objections.As we say in the … [Read more...]

The Eisenhower Test

The campaign of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for the Republican presidential nomination has caused rifts within the party's base, as evangelical Christians agonize over whether they could support a candidate who believes slightly different things about God than they do. The latest spat in this conflict comes in a post by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who argues that Mormons are not Christians. Sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, himself a Mormon, fires back. … [Read more...]


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