Some Have Entertained Angels

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, there's an exhortation to believers reminding them to show hospitality to their guests:"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."—Hebrews 13:2The implication is interesting: that Christians should be hospitable to visitors, not simply because they are fellow human beings who need food and shelter, but because some might be angels in disguise who would, presumably, grant blessings to any person … [Read more...]

The Founders Wept: George W. Bush’s Faith-Based War

Friends, fellow Americans, we never knew how bad things got during the George W. Bush era. And yes, I say that with full knowledge of what it implies. True, we saw the results of Bush's policies: a catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, a staggeringly mismanaged quagmire of war, torture and degradation of prisoners, the proliferation of radical Islam and anti-American sentiment around the world.But, until now, we never fully glimpsed the mentality behind it. We had hints, but we … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Pursuing All Possibilities

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 2Before embarking on his interviews, Strobel makes a statement about his investigative strategy:In selecting these experts, I sought doctorate-level professors who have unquestioned expertise, are able to communicate in accessible language, and refuse to limit themselves only to the politically correct world of naturalism or materialism. After all, it wouldn't make sense to rule out any hypothesis at the outset. I wanted the freedom to pursue all … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Abner Kneeland

While some freethinkers have made contributions to science, the arts or the humanities, others are best known for exemplifying a sea change in human history - showing, by their lives, that one age was passing and another would soon dawn. Just so is today's post on the life of an American freethinker who has the unique distinction of being the last man imprisoned in America for blasphemy: a courageous reformer and patriot by the name of Abner Kneeland.Kneeland was born in Massachusetts in 1774, … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part IV

Hello Ebon,To approach your larger question, what are the real reasons people believe or disbelieve, I've offered a bulletized list for anyone who's interested in pursuing this question:Some people do not believe in God for a variety of honestly considered reasons. Some people resent the Christian church's involvement in politics, usually the Christian right's involvement in the Republican Party. Atheism provides a natural outlet for this resentment, and becomes an attractive choice on … [Read more...]

Obama and Prayer: A Small Step in the Right Direction

This past Thursday was the "National Day of Prayer", another symptom of the ongoing infiltration of religion into America's originally secular government. The National Day of Prayer was first established in the 1950s, another spasm of the reflexive Christianism of that paranoid era. Predictably, it was soon hijacked by right-wing ideologues who use it to push their own highly partisan, extremely conservative version of Christianity and seek to prevent believers of other denominations from taking … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Authorities

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 2In the second chapter, Strobel spends some time telling us how he only became an atheist because he was thereby freed from "having to abide by those pesky rules of ethics and morality" [p.25]. I've already addressed this point, but I'll add that this claim casts further doubt on Strobel's claim to have once been an atheist. The reasoning he attributes to his past self lines up perfectly with Christian apologetic stereotypes, but is entirely dissonant with every … [Read more...]

Hold and Build

Although there's been plenty of good news for atheists in recent weeks, stories that showcase our growing influence and assertiveness, this is no time for us to become complacent. We still have significant work to do to shore up the foundations of our movement, as this Times op-ed by Charles M. Blow explains:...a study entitled "Faith in Flux" issued this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life questioned nearly 3,000 people and found that most children raised unaffiliated with a … [Read more...]

Baptizing the Dead Is Not a Big Deal

Americablog's John Aravosis is up in arms over the news that the Mormon church reportedly staged a "posthumous baptism" ceremony last year for President Barack Obama's deceased mother:What else to call the Mormon's laughable statement today that their posthumous baptism last year of President Obama's mother was a "rare" mistake that might have been done by "pranksters."...Yes, all one big unfortunate "rare" mistake. Kind of like a clerical error. Except instead of giving you the wrong … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses XIII: Fetuses Don't Count

It's consistently been part of the anti-choice strategy to treat unborn fetuses as separate, autonomous people, even well before the point of viability. For instance, the anti-abortion website Abort73.com says:It is illegal to execute a pregnant woman on death row because the fetus living inside her is a distinct human being who cannot be executed for the crimes of the mother. (source)In fact, such niceties did not occur to the authors of the Bible. They did not value the unborn nearly so … [Read more...]


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