Breaking Down Barriers

Have you ever spent a long time debating someone and trying to persuade them, before ultimately realizing that it was all wasted breath and that they weren't really listening to you at all?This has happened to me more than once. I've had e-mail conversations with theists, some of which went on for weeks and involved numerous rounds of replies, before the realization dawned on me: they weren't actually talking to me at all. They were talking to The Atheist, a rather vague and shadowy figure … [Read more...]

Lightbringers

In the World in Shadow series, I have written about some of the terrible natural evils that afflict humans. My primary purpose in writing this series is to illustrate the strength of the atheist's argument from evil, that the existence of vast amounts of undeserved and random suffering disproves the existence of a powerful, benevolent deity.However, there is another reason I write this series, and that is so I am not accused of excessive optimism. I am, as I will readily admit, an optimist, … [Read more...]

Aspiring to Slavery

Last month, I wrote about slavery and the Bible's embarrassing (though historically understandable, if we assume there was no divine revelation behind it) endorsement of that vile practice. Today, slavery is widely recognized as the evil it is, and though it still exists in some forms, it lingers only in the shadows, not in the light of mainstream acceptance. Today religious people of all stripes reject slavery, and do their best to gloss over or explain away the unchanged scripture that still … [Read more...]

On Being Uncontroversial

As the so-called "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens attract increasing media attention, they've come under fire for supposedly being too sweeping in their denunciations of religion, too "extreme" in their criticism. Defenders of the established order, many of whom are religious liberals, pour scorn on these outspoken nonbelievers for daring to express their opinions with passion and confidence. Consider the following entirely typical example, whose title … [Read more...]

Atheist Charity

"Let's see, we have scores of Baptist Hospitals, Method[ist] Hospitals, Jewish Hospitals, Catholic Hospitals, etc., etc.. Each of these have 'outreach' programs both here and in the most dismal places on earth, staffed with dedicated medical doctors and nurses. Where oh where are the Atheist's hospitals, or soup kitchens?"—quoted by Jonah Goldberg for National Review Online"One hundred years after Christ had died, suppose someone had asked a Christian, What hospitals have you built? … [Read more...]

Reaching Out

In the first years of the 21st century, atheism, nonbelief and freethought are resurgent all across the Western world. In the United States, by far the most religious of the industrialized democracies, the number of religious fundamentalists is dropping, while the number of nonreligious people is growing with each generation. Even ethnic groups coming from traditionally highly religious cultures show rising rates of nonbelief in accordance with the rest of society.Europe can report similarly … [Read more...]

You Do Not Deserve Hell

I've recently been reading a wonderful blog, Sailing to Byzantium, a passionate, honest account of one person's journey from religion into searching, into skepticism, and finally (in just the last week or two) into atheism. The author, Kullervo, was born and raised Mormon, but after a long struggle, has decided - and not lightly - to walk away from the church of his past and ultimately out of religion altogether, and he's been chronicling his steps in that journey.This is the real thing, … [Read more...]

The Humanist Symposium: Inaugural Edition

It is a brilliant spring morning, and the first-ever gathering of the Humanist Symposium has convened here in the Garden at Daylight Atheism. The crowd of attendees has gathered in a natural clearing delineated at one end by a vast, ancient oak, its upper branches dappled gold in the sun, great weather-worn stones embedded in the ground among its roots, and flowering vines curling around its trunk. At the tree's foot, a wilderness of brilliant blue and red pansy violets grows wild in the grass, … [Read more...]

Through a Glass, Brightly

In past posts such as last December's "The Theodicy of Narnia", I've called attention to some of the unintentionally revealing comments that famous theists have made about their own belief systems. C.S. Lewis, for example, wrote whole books to defend the thesis that God's existence is compatible with pain and suffering, but when it came to creating his own fictional world, he took pains to point out that its history was overwhelmingly blissful and peaceful so as not to cast doubt on the goodness … [Read more...]

A Passionate Atheism

The new generation of bold and outspoken atheists, including Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, are making waves in society with numerous media appearances, a welcome change of pace from the media's previous policy of steadfast refusal to cover freethought and nonbelief. (Some things are slower to change than others - despite Time Newsweek's praiseworthy coverage of a debate between Sam Harris and Rick Warren, the conversation was a clear example of the "Gish Gallop", where the theist throws out as … [Read more...]


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