Poetry Sunday: Dirge Without Music

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday features another freethinking poet of the 20th century, the American playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay. Joseph Parisi's 100 Essential Modern Poets calls her "glamorous and bold", and notes that she was known "as much for her unconventional lifestyle as for her gift for poetry". Millay was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, the second to win the Frost Medal, and the English novelist Thomas Hardy called her poetry one of America's two greatest creations (the … [Read more...]

Is America a Christian Nation?

A frequent refrain among the religious right is that the United States of America is a "Christian nation", or that this country was founded on Christian principles. However, I've never seen any religious apologist explain what exactly this is supposed to mean beyond making the mere statement. If this nation was founded on Christian principles, which principles are those? If Christianity played such a major role in our nation's founding, then what specific contributions did it make?In an … [Read more...]

A Change in the Wind

Via Orcinus, a truly incredible story about the latest survey to come out of the Barna Group, whose title is "A New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration with Christianity".Over the last decade or so, the religious right has exercised virtually untrammeled power in America. They've commanded the allegiance of a majority of the population and have enjoyed tremendous influence and near-unchallenged power in popular culture, in the media, and especially in government. They have had … [Read more...]

Inexplicable Justice

"Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mold me Man? Did I solicit thee From darkness to promote me, or here place In this delicious Garden? As my will Concurred not to my being, it were but right And equal to reduce me to my dust, Desirous to resign and render back All I received, unable to perform Thy term too hard, by which I was to hold The good I sought not. To the loss of that, Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable Thy justice … [Read more...]

Armor of God

"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil... Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith..."—Ephesians 6:11-16Among the fundamentalist Christian set, it's a common tenet that faith in Jesus offers the believer some sort of literal supernatural protection against those who … [Read more...]

On Branding

There's been another kerfuffle in the atheist community, and for once, it wasn't caused by someone telling us that we need to pipe down and stop attacking religion. This time, surprisingly, the instigator was Sam Harris - who argued at the Atheist Alliance International Convention 2007 that we should stop calling ourselves "atheists". Hemant of Friendly Atheist has been reporting on this controversy from the beginning, and has collected responses to Harris, including from Ellen Johnson of … [Read more...]

The Desert IV

(Author's Note: "The Desert" is a work of short fiction in several parts. If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to go back and read the previous chapters so that you know what's going on.)IV: The VisionaryThe faint path I had been following through the desert had long since petered out, and for several hours I had been making my own way across the sands. The fallen stone blocks of the ruined city lay well behind me, no longer in sight.The sun had now sunk almost entirely … [Read more...]

Finding Our Voice

Last year, in a series of posts titled "The Quiet Revolution", I observed that atheists were in many ways making inroads into society beneath the gaze of the media. But that quiet revolution, I'm most happy to say, is becoming increasingly noisy. More and more lately, I see atheists and atheist groups who are willing to stand up and defend their nonbelief in public. If this trend continues, editorials expressing sentiments like this one may soon become a thing of the past:I didn't know what … [Read more...]

Book Update

I'm pleased to announce I've finished the sixth chapter of my book, which lays out the case for atheism as a positive worldview. This chapter draws on my essay "Life of Wonder" on Ebon Musings and from several posts from the Garden here on Daylight Atheism.I think you all know the drill by now. Who's interested in reading it? … [Read more...]

On Atheist Janitors

I recently received an e-mail which asked me if I believe that atheism is a worldview that anyone can take up, or whether the majority of society needs religion to keep them happy and pacified:The question at the heart of the debate is: does the average Jacques need religion in his life? I am familiar with all the atheist talk of self-fulfillment and living the only life you've got to the fullest, and think it's a great idea. Except for a snafu. The people who write about these issues tend to … [Read more...]


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