A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 10

This is part 10 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,Well, this little conversation of ours is titled "Of God and Government", after all, and so far we've focused more on the God part than on the government part. I'm glad to get into the other side of things, but I want to return briefly to something you said in the last installment that will be relevant to our new topic.Last time, I … [Read more...]

Marriage Is Suffering and Suffering Is Good: A Catholic View

BirthControlPills

Last week, I wrote about the crushing burden of fear and guilt about sex that women labor under in Orthodox Judaism. Taught to fear pleasure, to shun knowledge and to regard their own bodies as sinful vessels, they often end up in loveless and unhappy marriages, trapped by religious rules that bar them from happiness and affection.But I don't want to give the impression that Judaism is the only religion which has irrational, anti-humanistic rules about sex, and Catholicism has some uniquely … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: First Aid Kit

Johanna and Klara Söderberg, two sisters from Stockholm with amazing voices, make up the indie-folk duo First Aid Kit. I've been listening to them around the clock since coming across them late last year. Here's a track from their lush, orchestral, country-influenced 2014 album, Stay Gold: … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Objectivist Mating Rituals

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXWhile Francisco is being cryptic at Dagny about the disappeared capitalists, their conversation is interrupted by a surprise visitor:The sound they heard was the turning of a key in the lock of the entrance door. The door opened and Hank Rearden came in....Francisco had risen to his feet, as if in the unhurried, automatic manner of a d'Anconia trained to the code of courtesy. There was nothing that Rearden could see in his face. But what she saw … [Read more...]

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...]


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