On Blogging I

Starting Your SiteSeveral bloggers I follow regularly, including Atheist Revolution, A Load of Bright, and Greta Christina, have written posts about blogging in the past several months. Since October was my best month to date, I thought it was about time for me to follow suit. Here follows a two-post series with my personal opinions and advice. Today's post is aimed primarily at those who may be considering starting up a blog of their own, while tomorrow's will address the question of how you … [Read more...]

Down to Earth

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Alexander Donald, 7 February 1788What should we seek to get out of life? To a secular humanist, what is the goal toward which our labors should point?As atheists, we don't believe in a heavenly reward, so that path is … [Read more...]

On Analogies, and the Uses Thereof

In essays such as "Three In One", I've scorned the Christian doctrine of the Trinity:If a claim is labeled beyond our ability to understand, then how are we supposed to tell if it is true? What assurance do theists have that the Trinity is a true fact about the world that is genuinely beyond our ability to comprehend, as opposed to a false claim invented by people whose illogical nature is protected from scrutiny by labeling it a mystery we aren't intended to understand?But is this claim … [Read more...]

A Clarification on the Theist's Guide

I feel as though I need to clarify something.In my Ebon Musings essay, "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists", I wrote that I would link to any theist who was willing to post a list of things they would accept as proof that atheism is true. That offer has been open since I first posted the essay in 2001; it is still open now and will remain open as long as practical.However, for me to consider your essay a valid answer to that challenge, it must answer the question I actually posed: … [Read more...]

To Bigotry No Sanction

In August 1790, Warden Moses Seixas of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote an address to the recently elected President George Washington. Jewish congregations were still an unusual phenomenon in America at the time, and Newport's was the new nation's largest. Seixas' letter expressed his congregation's gratitude to President Washington, and to America in general, for their willingness to uphold the separation of church and state and offer shelter and toleration to a minority … [Read more...]

Jealous Gods

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god.—Exodus 34:14Many verses in the Bible, such as the one above, state unequivocally that Yahweh is a jealous and vengeful lawgiver. They warn of how he loathes idols, and graphically describe the dreadful punishments he will inflict on any of his chosen people who go astray and worship false gods. In fact, the prohibition on worshipping false gods is the very first of the Ten Commandments - more … [Read more...]

Jesus Never Laughed

In The Case for Christ, evangelical psychologist (and demon-believer) Dr. Gary Collins rendered this appraisal of the mental health of Jesus:"We don't see psychological difficulties in Jesus. He spoke clearly, powerfully and eloquently. He was brilliant and had absolutely amazing insights into human nature. He was loving but didn't let his compassion immobilize him; he didn't have a bloated ego, even though he was often surrounded by adoring crowds; he maintained balance despite an often … [Read more...]

Some More Election Thoughts

My earlier post, "Election Special 2008", didn't fully do justice to all the things I wanted to say about this election. I decided it would be better split into two parts, and here's the second part.First, the historic: A nation built by slaves, that fought a bloody civil war over emancipation, and that has grappled with the poisonous legacy of racism since its founding, has chosen a black man to be its President. Many of those who marched in the civil rights movement, who lived through … [Read more...]

Faith Comes First

A few months ago, a theist contacted me by e-mail to claim that her church, the Mormons, had fulfilled many of the criteria set forth in my essay "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists". There was one criterion she thought was unfair of me to list - evidence of miraculous occurrences brought about through prayer:This one is rough, mainly because faith must precede the miracle.Similarly, another theist who contacted me by e-mail claimed that it didn't matter whether anyone could answer … [Read more...]

Election Special 2008: The World Is Changing

The votes have been cast, the balloons have come down, the champagne has popped and the confetti has been thrown, and we're officially on the other side of the 2008 elections. Atheists and progressives have much to chew over in these results, and here are some preliminary thoughts of mine. In this post I'll address three different, related subjects that I've been mulling over. Incidentally, in my Monday night open thread, I made some predictions about last night's results; if you want to see how … [Read more...]


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