I’ve written in the past about religion’s harm to women, and the way modern sexism is aided and abetted by ancient religious prejudices that still survive today. Every major holy book has sexist verses, but some of the most misogynistic and the most virulent can be found in the books referred to by Christians as the Old Testament. Since this text is the foundation for religions that comprise over half the population of the world, it’s small wonder that oppressive,… Read more

In case anyone missed the earlier announcement, a reminder: I’ll be in St. Louis, Missouri this coming weekend, January 16th and 17th. We’ve already made plans for a meetup of area atheists/skeptics on Saturday night. If you’re in the area and are interested, it’s not too late to attend – leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I’ll forward you the details. Read more

Monterey Bay, California, June 17, 2006. Photo credit: Peter Nothnagle. Click for larger version. Read more

A couple of noteworthy articles from this week that I didn’t have time to write more about: • To begin with, there’s this excellent and in-depth profile of the FFRF’s Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, from a local alternative paper in Madison. • Archaeologists have discovered a genuine burial shroud from the first century CE. Unlike the Shroud of Turin, its radiocarbon date fixes it to the correct time period; it also has a very different weave than the… Read more

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 7 The final section of this chapter concerns Gonzalez’s argument that the Earth is uniquely designed to make scientific discovery possible. His argument is that our planet is fine-tuned not just to allow the existence of life, but to allow us to find out important facts about the nature of the universe that wouldn’t be possible to discover if we lived anywhere else. (As an aside, it’s asinine for Strobel and his interviewees to… Read more

Most of you have probably heard the name of William Dembski, one of the prominent advocates of intelligent-design creationism. Like all ID advocates, Dembski claims vehemently that his work is scientific and not in any way motivated by his religious beliefs, which is why he’s currently a professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. But never mind that; today, somewhat surprisingly, I come to praise Dembski rather than bury him. That’s because I’ve come across… Read more

I recently finished Daniel Radosh’s Rapture Ready!, a book exploring Christian pop culture and some of its stranger manifestations, from theme parks like Florida’s Holy Land Experience to the Ultimate Christian Wrestling pro circuit (no joke). But one event that he paid special attention to was Cornerstone, a Woodstock-like Christian music festival held each year in Illinois that routinely draws hundreds of acts and tens of thousands of people. According to Radosh, Cornerstone had a more open, authentic feeling than… Read more

By Sarah Braasch I’m scared to expose myself like this. But, I’m tired of the shame and the guilt and the fear. I have something important to say. And, I want to comfort other victims of religious abuse who feel alone and afraid. I grew up in an abusive Jehovah’s Witness home. When people ask me what my childhood was like, I usually describe it, in all seriousness, as something like growing up in a war zone. I don’t mean… Read more

In honor of the season, and of all the frigid weather we’ve been having here in the Northeast, here’s the first Photo Sunday of the new year. Stay warm! Snow on pine needles, New York City, New York, December 2009. Photo by the author. Camera details: Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS. Click for larger version. Read more

Scarcely two days into 2010, we’ve gotten a stark reminder of how free speech is still threatened by religious fanatics: Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who drew the image of Mohammed depicted to the right, was attacked at home Friday night by a murderous, ax-wielding religious fanatic. Fortunately, neither Westergaard nor his 5-year-old granddaughter, who was with him at the time, were harmed. They escaped to a panic room built into the house for just this purpose and summoned police,… Read more

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