You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!

My column in the Guardian this week about atheism and social justice got a lot of comments - over 2900 at the time I'm writing this - and most of them were what you'd expect, both for the better and for the worse.But what I'm fascinated by are the people who wanted to argue against my proposal without admitting that that's what they were doing. If you're going to make the case against including social justice in atheism, then do it honestly and have the intellectual fortitude to admit what … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: If Wishes Were Airplanes

WycliffeLetter01

Most of the religious charity solicitation letters that I get have identifiable humanitarian aims, as much as I might disagree with the religious message those aims are wrapped up in. But that isn't the case for the latest specimen, which begs for money to advance a purely religious mission, without even a pretense of serving people's actual needs. (See end of post for the full letter.)This letter was from Wycliffe Associates, an evangelical missionary organization, and concerns the work … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: February 22

• Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and science writer, has terminal cancer. Here, he writes a beautiful, elegiac, deeply humanist essay about confronting the prospect of death and what he intends to do with the time he has left.• This can't end well: In response to the increasing threat of ISIS, which is drawing Muslim extremists to its cause from all over the world, Western Christians, most with military experience, are traveling to Iraq and Syria to form an opposing Christian … [Read more...]

Weekend Bonus Music: Hard Believer

I was going to put up a Friday Night Music post, but I've been traveling this weekend and didn't have the time. So, here's a weekend bonus with two great songs.My post on First Aid Kit two weeks ago was popular, but as Jeremy Shaffer pointed out in the comments, they don't just make lovely music - they're unapologetically secular, too. Listen to the lyrics of this beautiful song, "Hard Believer", from their debut studio album The Big Black and the Blue:And for a 2-for-1, I was elated … [Read more...]

Alabama Speaking Recap

MobileSSATalkFeb2015

This past weekend, I spoke at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, courtesy of the local Secular Student Alliance affiliate, SSA at USA. This was a milestone for me: the first time I've ever been invited to speak about atheism in the Deep South!Making a public case for atheism in Alabama may seem like going into the lions' den, but as you can see for yourself, I'm alive and well. (The SSA at USA has hosted other speakers before me, and the group's president, Amye, told me that all of … [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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]


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