Theocracy Watch X: The National Day of Prayer

I failed to mention previously that last Thursday, May 3, was the "National Day of Prayer" in the United States. Believe it or not, the nation that created the First Amendment has such a day. The bill creating this national observance was signed into law in 1952 by President Harry Truman, and another bill fixing its date as the first Thursday in May was signed in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. The purpose of this day, according to the original bill's text, is for Americans to "turn to God in … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses VI: Slavery

Of all the civil rights movements that have swept across America in its history, none is so intimately connected with religion in the popular consciousness as the struggle against racism. Civil rights leaders like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were famous for their use of biblical allusions to demand liberty for all human beings, and from their writings, many believers today have gotten the idea that the Bible teaches the equality of all people. But nothing could be farther from the truth, as … [Read more...]

Do You Really Believe That?

Noah's FloodToday I'm introducing a new post series on Daylight Atheism, "Do You Really Believe That?" The purpose of this series is to highlight religious claims that are so extravagantly bizarre, so manifestly at odds with everything we know about the universe, or so just plain ridiculous that even religious believers shouldn't be able to take them seriously. I'll begin today with one of the most obviously ludicrous and implausible parts of the Bible, the story of Noah's flood. As absurd as … [Read more...]

You Do Not Deserve Hell

I've recently been reading a wonderful blog, Sailing to Byzantium, a passionate, honest account of one person's journey from religion into searching, into skepticism, and finally (in just the last week or two) into atheism. The author, Kullervo, was born and raised Mormon, but after a long struggle, has decided - and not lightly - to walk away from the church of his past and ultimately out of religion altogether, and he's been chronicling his steps in that journey.This is the real thing, … [Read more...]

Atheists Are Moral: Why It Matters

In the aftermath of the recent Virginia Tech shootings, the lowest and most contemptible specimens of religious fundamentalism have been crawling out of the woodwork to blame atheism for this horrible tragedy, without presenting a shred of evidence. I castigated some of these vile fanatics in my previous post, but since then, yet more of them have come to light. A Load of Bright points out another one, a deceitful and arrogant apologist named Steven Grant:The shooter at Virginia Tech was a … [Read more...]

A Failure of Imagination

In the comment thread to my recent post "A World in Shadow IV", theist commenter Jarrod expressed the following objection to the atheist argument from evil:I have nothing to say against the point that there is much horrible suffering going on; take that and run with it, if you want. But I don't think we can start making claims about possible worlds with more or less pain. We have one world with a lot of pain. No need to talk about other worlds God should've created.Interestingly, at the … [Read more...]

The Humanist Symposium: Inaugural Edition

It is a brilliant spring morning, and the first-ever gathering of the Humanist Symposium has convened here in the Garden at Daylight Atheism. The crowd of attendees has gathered in a natural clearing delineated at one end by a vast, ancient oak, its upper branches dappled gold in the sun, great weather-worn stones embedded in the ground among its roots, and flowering vines curling around its trunk. At the tree's foot, a wilderness of brilliant blue and red pansy violets grows wild in the grass, … [Read more...]

Illuminated History

The further back we go in time, the more of human history recedes into the mists of ignorance. A scant few centuries ago, before the invention of the printing press, books were a rare and expensive luxury. Further back beyond that, we have only the word of a few chroniclers, passed down and recopied through the generations, and often of dubious reliability. Then even the era of named historians ends, and only fragments and scraps of documents remain to give us glimpses into the past, like … [Read more...]

The Milgram Obedience Experiment

Stanley Milgram. "Behavioral study of obedience." Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 67, no.4 (1963), p.371-378.In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram conducted one of the most important experiments ever done in the field of human psychology and social conformity. For ethical reasons, this study probably could not be repeated today, but that only makes it even more important to raise awareness of its findings.Milgram, a psychology professor at Yale University, recruited 40 male subjects … [Read more...]

Some Items of Note

Following my earlier announcement, I'm now very pleased to announce that the Humanist Symposium now has hosts for its first seven editions, up through September 2. My sincere gratitude goes out to everyone who stepped up to volunteer!Also, the carnival home page, linked above, now offers some graphic logos thanks to Intergalactic Hussy, proprietor of The Atheist Jewish Zen Buddhist, who kindly volunteered her time and effort. Please feel free to download and use them to promote this carnival … [Read more...]


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