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...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part III

Hello again Quixote,In reply to your last letter:Since we're discussing the real reasons why people become atheists or theists, I concede you make a good point about how many people have just never thought all that deeply about it. That's a good point which I suspect we'll have occasion to return to. I agree that people who've devoted extensive time to investigation and self-reflection are the odd ones out, compared to the population as a whole. (That makes me doubly glad we're engaging in … [Read more...]

Sunday Open Thread & Links

• You may have noticed the new "Bookmark/Share This" link below each post, which expands to display links to a variety of social bookmarking sites. If you're a member of any of them, please make use of this! Quite a bit of Daylight Atheism's traffic comes from these sites.• Next up, Andrew Sullivan criticizes Buddhism by quoting John Horgan, who asks:It seems legitimate to ask whether a path that turns away from aspects of life as essential as sexuality and parenthood is truly … [Read more...]

Anti-Gay Bigotry is Anti-American

The past few weeks haven't been good ones for religious bigots. First Iowa and Vermont legalized same-sex marriage in rapid succession; soon afterwards, the state legislatures of New Hampshire and Maine passed marriage-equality bills. (If you live in either state, contact your governor and tell him to sign them!) And now, this stunning poll result from Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com, Two National Polls, for First Time, Show Plurality Support for Gay Marriage:...a new poll from ABC News and … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part II

[Editor's Note: Yesterday, I posted the first in a series of letters exchanged between myself and Quixote, as part of a discussion of the most important reasons why people become theists or atheists. This is Quixote's first reply.]Most analytic varieties of atheism seem committed to experience, science, and reason as foundations of rational belief. Consider John Shook's definition of Naturalism, as published on Naturalisms.org:Naturalism is usually defined most briefly as the philosophical … [Read more...]