Sunday Open Thread: Tell Your Deconversion Story

Of all the essays I've written for Ebon Musings, one of my favorites is "Into the Clear Air": a chronicle of the stages of deconversion, as told by people who were going through them.What shines through from these testimonies again and again is the pure relief, the freedom experienced by people who left behind their oppressive, confining religious beliefs and found exhilaration and joy in finally taking control of their own lives. Closely intertwined with this feeling is a newly arisen sense … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Angry Hillbillies

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 1The first chapter of Case opens with an anecdote from Strobel's days as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune, a story from the 1970s when he went to West Virginia to cover a story of rural communities rioting over evolutionary content in their schools' textbooks. In some cases that anger had spilled over into open violence, with angry locals shooting at school buses or firebombing classrooms, and at least two people had been seriously injured.Like many … [Read more...]

Rebutting The Case for a Creator

In my third anniversary post, I discussed some of the directions I'd like to take Daylight Atheism in during this year. I mentioned that I've always admired Fred Clark (a.k.a. Slacktivist) for his methodical, page-by-page deconstruction of the Left Behind series from a progressive Christian viewpoint. It's a very cool idea, and a successful idea, one that I thought worthy of imitation. I wouldn't want to go after Left Behind myself, as that ground is already well-trodden. But there are plenty of … [Read more...]

Life Goes On

"If the Devil's Time were above a thousand years ago, pronounced short, what may we suppose it now in our Time? Surely we are not a thousand years distant from those happy thousand years of rest and peace and (which is better) Holiness reserved for the People of God in the latter days; and if we are not a thousand years yet short of that Golden Age, there is cause to think, that we are not an hundred."—Cotton Mather, The Wonders of the Invisible World, 1692In every era since the … [Read more...]

Strange and Curious Sects: Koreshanity

Cyrus Reed Teed, a.k.a. the Prophet Koresh. Public-domain image from Wikipedia.It seems that every religion has at least one signature bizarre belief: whether it be that the messiah is an American soldier who will return from across the ocean bringing marvelous cargo, or that human beings are possessed by the ghosts of murdered aliens, or that God wants us to transform him into crackers and consume him each week. But for sheer extravagant, defiant wackiness in the face of obvious … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Leaves

Today's Poetry Sunday features the American poet Sara Teasdale. Like other female writers of the nineteenth century, she lived a quiet and reclusive life, yet was acclaimed in the wider world for compositions showing far greater skill and beauty than her seemingly limited perspective should have allowed. Unlike her predecessors, however, she lived to see the feminist movement take shape and win some resounding victories. One biographer wrote that she spoke for "women emerging from the humility … [Read more...]

How to Think Critically: Memory & Confabulation

The reliability of eyewitness accounts is one of the bedrock beliefs of our society. In ancient cultures - and in some modern cultures that still follow ancient laws - some crimes could only be proven by eyewitness testimonies. One of the most infamous examples was Pakistan's Hudood Ordinances, which mandated that allegations of rape could only be proven by four eyewitness accounts; otherwise, the woman was to be punished for making false accusations. Even in our supposedly more enlightened … [Read more...]

The Moral High Ground

It's common for fundamentalist Christians to think of themselves as the moral guardians of our culture, a bulwark against the rampant sex and violence in the mass media. But this self-flattering caricature runs up against inconvenient reality: there is plenty of evidence which shows that Christians as a whole are every bit as drawn to sex and violence as everyone else.One of the best examples of this is Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. This movie had a worldwide gross of over $600 … [Read more...]

Barack Obama and Church-State Separation

Although the first hundred days of President Barack Obama's term haven't ended yet, this seems like a good time to examine his record in office so far and see how it's lived up to his own campaign pledges and to freethinkers' expectations. These past few months have been a roller-coaster ride - from the exhilaration of Election Day to the disgraceful selection of homophobic bigot Rick Warren to preside at the inauguration. Now that the euphoria has faded and the Obama administration is getting … [Read more...]

Catholicism Kills

In January, I wrote about how the Vatican had decided to lift the excommunication of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson. After a worldwide avalanche of criticism, the church backtracked somewhat on this decision: Williamson is still welcomed back, although he's been ordered to recant his views, which to my knowledge he has not done.But last week brought some news that eclipses even that outrage: on his first papal trip to Africa, Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI, said that … [Read more...]


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