Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan?

This article was originally published on AlterNet.If there's anywhere in the U.S. where you'd expect aggressively conservative, domineering religion to be a relic of the past, it's tolerant and culturally liberal Massachusetts. But even in that blue enclave, the theocratic impulse is still surprisingly powerful. We found this out when a student group at Harvard University, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, ignited a furor by announcing that they were planning an educational … [Read more...]

Upcoming Travel Plans for Summer 2015

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I'm traveling all over the place in the next few months. If you'd like to come out and see me, here's what's on the agenda:• First of all, the week of May 18-22, I'm going on a road trip swing through New England. This is a purely personal vacation, with no conferences or speaking events planned, but I'd be happy to meet up with any Daylight Atheism readers in the area. I'm planning to have some down time in Newport, Rhode Island on May 19, Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 21 and … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Social Atom

Solitude

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IAfter breakfast, Dagny asks John Galt if he'll take her out to see the valley. He agrees to give her the grand tour:He got up, went to the telephone and dialed a number. "Hello, Midas? ... Yes... He did? Yes, she's all right... Will you rent me your car for the day? ... Thanks. At the usual rate — twenty-five cents... Can you send it over? ... Do you happen to have some sort of cane? She'll need it... Tonight? Yes, I think so. We will. Thanks."He h … [Read more...]

Drawing Mohammed in Spite of Violence

The American religious right loves to play-act as martyrs: bemoaning how cruelly the government oppresses them, fantasizing about how they're on the verge of being imprisoned or killed for their beliefs. Usually, these claims are pure fiction. But this weekend in Texas, for once, the pretense became reality.The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a religious right group run by the flamboyant anti-Muslim activist and Ayn Rand devotee Pamela Geller, held a contest for cartoonists to draw the … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Atheists Are Diversifying

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "Finally, atheists are no longer just old white men".The atheist community, in America at least, has long had a reputation for being dominated by geeky white men. I have no onus against geeky white men - I happen to be one myself - but the data suggests that if we stick with this strategy, we'll needlessly alienate potential allies and end up in a demographic cul-de-sac. If the atheist movement wants to succeed in the long run, it's essential that we … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Objectivist Batman

What? No, I'm not going to help you. I only built this to protect myself.

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IAfter her conveniently minor plane-crash injuries have been treated, John Galt takes Dagny to the kitchen nook to make breakfast:"Am I a guest here or a prisoner?" she asked."The choice will be yours, Miss Taggart.""I can make no choice when I'm dealing with a stranger.""But you're not. Didn't you name a railroad line after me?""Oh!... Yes... I did..." Then, remembering the rest, she added, "But I named it after an enemy."He … [Read more...]

#BlackLivesMatter in Baltimore

It's only been a few short weeks since the agony of Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter protests in New York, and here we are again. This time, the protests, marches and sporadic riots are happening in Baltimore, sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, a black teenager who was arrested after he ran from police patrolling his neighborhood - which, for the record, is not a crime - and suffered a fatal and so far unexplained spine injury while in the police van. (According to his family, he underwent … [Read more...]

When Would You Rather Be Alive?

Reading the news is always a marathon race between hope and despair, but that conflict has been especially sharp these last few months. While every era has its doomsayers, they've lately become a lot harder to dismiss.Europe remains slumped in depression and wracked by infighting over the future of its union, with no way out in sight. America is sweltering under political stagnation, fraying at the seams from breathtaking inequality and the brutal violence of a police state, and there's a … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Cobra Commander Dialogues

If you've been reading the comments on my Atlas Shrugged posts, you've probably seen the hilarious "Cobra Commander" dialogues written by commenter and jet-setting billionaire playboy author Sneezeguard (that's how he requested to be credited).In it, the fictional evil overlord inserts himself into the plot of Atlas Shrugged, accompanying the characters and trying to comprehend the difference between Rand's heroes and villains, and learns for himself that even evil has standards.I've … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Only a Flesh Wound

Stethoscope

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter ISince Dagny was injured in her crash landing and can't walk, John Galt romantically carries her from the scene. (Helpful tip: The best way for one person to carry another is a fireman's carry, but somehow I don't think Rand pictured her slung over Galt's shoulders like a sack of potatoes.)He was carrying her down a narrow trail that went winding to the bottom of the valley. On the slopes around them, the tall, dark pyramids of firs stood immovably … [Read more...]


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