Answering an 11-Year-Old Christian

Last week, this comment was left on an older post. I wouldn't normally approve proselytizing like this, but since the author identifies himself as an 11-year-old homeschooler, I decided to give it a pass and write him a reply. We may be familiar with these arguments, but it's likely that he's never encountered a real live atheist before, and this may be the first chance he has to hear them. I'll post the full text of the comment first.If there is no God, there cannot be any sort of … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Vestmanneyjar

The last tour we took in Iceland was of the Westman Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the southern coast. One of the islands, Surtsey, is brand-new: it was created by an eruption in 1963, and scientists are studying how new species arrive to colonize the previously vacant land.The largest island, Heimaey, is the only one that's permanently inhabited. It's famous for the eruption of Eldfell, a volcano which appeared overnight in 1973 virtually in the middle of the town, forcing the entire … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: The Golden Circle

While I was in Iceland last month, I took a tour of the Golden Circle, a famous tourist route that encompasses some of the country's most spectacular scenery. Here are a few of the highlights.Once you get outside Reykjavik, Iceland is a young and fierce land, still being shaped by the natural forces that birthed it: an endless topography of dark highlands, impossibly steep mountains and fantastic volcanic formations. In the midst of the magnificent isolation, there are occasional … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: The National

It's Friday night and I haven't done one of these in a while, so here's a video from a group I've been listening to a lot lately: The National, a moody and melancholy American band. This is from their quite good newest album, Trouble Will Find Me:What's been running through your head lately? … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Reykjavik

My wife and I spent the last week on vacation in Iceland, which is like a liberal's dream: an peaceful, egalitarian society with no standing army, very low inequality and scarcely any crime, consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world for women and LGBT people, with a Scandinavian-style social welfare system and energy derived almost entirely from renewable sources. And its people were the friendliest, politest and most hospitable I've ever met - possibly surprising, … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: July 26

Coffee

I got back from Iceland yesterday and I'm still catching up on news that happened while I was away. Here are a few of the stories from my backlog:• More to come on this, but for now I'll just mention it briefly: a very welcome joint statement by Richard Dawkins and Ophelia Benson denouncing all forms of harassment, sexist and otherwise. I'm not prepared just yet to say this wipes the slate clean, but I'm cautiously optimistic!• Anti-abortion fanatics disrupt a Unitarian … [Read more...]

Programming Note

Kronur

Just a note about what's coming up: Posting will be as normal this week, but on Friday, the 18th, I'm going to Iceland for a week's vacation. I'll schedule some greatest-hits posts while I'm away so things don't get too quiet around here, and I'll check in as I'm able to approve comments and answer e-mails. Pictures when I come back, of course!Also, check out my Icelandic money. I'm rich, baby! (OK, not really: a króna is the equivalent of a penny, not a dollar.) … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 14

Coffee

• Chris Hedges, the left-wing firebrand who really, really despises New Atheists, is apparently a serial plagiarist, according to a lengthy and damning article this week in the New Republic.• In the why-all-atheists-are-Hitler department: Part of the SS oath in Nazi Germany was to swear their allegiance to God and say that atheists are "not one of us".• I wrote in 2007 about José Luis de Jesus Miranda, a kook and would-be cult leader who claimed to be Jesus reincarnated. I … [Read more...]

Reminder: NY Debate This Weekend!

Last December, I debated Andrew Murtagh at the Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I'm pleased to announce that this weekend we're holding a part 2, this time on Long Island, New York. If you're in the area, come out and see us! The sparks will fly (in a friendly way, of course) as we go head-to-head about the existence of God, the proper role for government in our lives, and all that other fun stuff. (Also, Andrew now has his own blog on Patheos.)Here are the … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Advertising Complaints

I realize that Patheos has to pay the bills somehow, but lately I've noticed a definite uptick in complaints about the intrusiveness of the advertising on this site. I plan on taking this up with the management, but I want to know what the general sentiment is, so here's an open thread.Are Patheos' ads crashing your browser, interfering with your ability to view the site, or just being egregiously annoying? Let me know. (Or if you like them, let me know that too. Hey, someone must.) … [Read more...]


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