The Crushing Burden of Religious Sex Guilt

OffLimits

This week, there was a lengthy profile of Bat Sheva Marcus, a Jewish sex counselor who helps Hasidic Jews with intimacy problems in their marriages. Marcus is merely Orthodox, rather than ultra-Orthodox like most of her clients: she "sometimes wears pants", and though her synagogue has segregated men's and women's sections, they're side-by-side rather than consigning women to the back. (By ultra-Orthodox standards, this is straying dangerously close to anything-goes liberalism.)As in other … [Read more...]

An Honest Look at Catholicism’s Decline

BlackAndWhiteChurch

I came across an essay by Peter Daly, a Catholic priest, that I wanted to address: "An attempt to answer the question: Where are the young adults?" It's notable for being the frankest admission I've seen from a Catholic of the demographic crisis the church is facing, as well as a bracingly honest study of the causes.Daly begins with a statement of the problem:Everywhere from Boston to Minneapolis, Catholic churches have closed or been consolidated into regional clusters. The chief … [Read more...]

Video: My Secular Cults Panel at FtBCon 3

FtBCon

Last night, I participated in an online panel on secular cults as part of FtBCon 3. I discussed Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and how a philosophy purportedly based on reason became a rigid ideology the equal of any fundamentalist religion. Together with Russell Glasser, Karen Stollznow, Vyckie Garrison and Angie Jackson, we also talked about homeschooling, multi-level marketing, utopian communes, New Age beliefs, and more. If you missed it, here's the full video:Thanks to my co-panelists … [Read more...]

Reminder: Secular Cults Panel at FtBCon Tonight!

FtBCon

Quick reminder: Tonight, January 24, I'll be speaking on a panel as part of the free online conference FtBCon 3. The topic of the hour is "Secular Cults", and together with my co-panelists Russell Glasser, Karen Stollznow, Vyckie Garrison and Angie Jackson, we'll talk about multi-level marketing, homeschooling, self-help - and, of course, Ayn Rand and Objectivism.The panel will be streamed live over Google Hangouts and will be archived on YouTube afterwards. Here's the panel description page … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Work-Life Balance

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXDagny returns home from her first day back after the destruction of the Taggart Tunnel:The silence of her apartment and the motionless perfection of objects that had remained just as she had left them a month before, struck her with a sense of relief and desolation together, when she entered her living room... She had left the office earlier than she intended, unable to summon the effort for any task that could be postponed till morning. This was new … [Read more...]

Upcoming Travel and Speaking Schedule

It's a new year, and I've got some events lined up. Here's my schedule for the next few months:• First and foremost: this coming weekend, January 23-25, is FtBCon 3, a free online conference organized by the good folks of Freethought Blogs. On Saturday the 24th at 6:30 PM Eastern time, I'll be participating in a panel on secular cults, where I'll be discussing (who else?) Ayn Rand. You can view the full schedule of talks here.• Soon thereafter, I'll be in Mobile, Alabama, … [Read more...]

Why People Are Flocking to a New Wave of Secular Communities: Atheist Churches

Candles

This article was previously published on AlterNet.In the last thirty years, atheism and secularism have been booming in America. As I've previously written, as many as one in four members of the Millennial generation now say they have no religion. Given the vast size of the Millennials - 78 million people, slightly more than the Baby Boomers - that adds up to almost 20 million freethinking Americans. And from all indications, the up-and-coming generations are even more secular.As the … [Read more...]

When the Pope Excuses Violence

Last week, Pope Francis made some startling remarks about the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. Speaking to journalists, he not only said that freedom of speech shouldn't include the right to ridicule religion, but that if anyone does ridicule religion, violence is an appropriate response!Asked about the attack that killed 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo - targeted because it had printed depictions of the prophet Muhammad - he said: "One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 18

• From Valerie Tarico, how religion can let loose humanity's most violent impulses. A thoughtful essay that almost perfectly captures my views on the link between religion and violence.• "Tim is patient, Tim is kind. Tim does not envy, Tim does not boast, Tim is not proud. Tim is not rude, Tim is not self-seeking, Tim is not easily angered, Tim keeps no record of wrongs. Tim does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth."• Alex Malarkey, a boy who wrote a … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: IOKIYAR

Janus

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VIIIFrancisco is just beginning to let Dagny in on the secret of the capitalists' strike, when the two of them are interrupted by some emergency exposition:"Ladies and gentlemen," said the panic-pregnant voice of a radio announcer, breaking off the chords of the symphony, "we interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special news bulletin. The greatest disaster in railroad history occurred in the early hours of the morning on the main line of Taggart … [Read more...]


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