Book Review: Misquoting Jesus

Summary: An eye-opening look at just how much the text of the Bible has changed over the centuries. Not to be missed. I’ve read two other books by Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted and God’s Problem, and while they were both competent, readable works explaining the principles of biblical textual criticism, neither one really floored me. But I circled back around to read some of his earlier books, and I’m glad I did. His 2005 book, Misquoting Jesus, is by far… Read more

The 39th Humanist Symposium

Welcome to the 39th edition of the Humanist Symposium! This is a blog carnival for atheists and agnostics with a mission: not considering yet more arguments for or against the existence of God, but taking that as settled, to demonstrate how nonbelievers find happiness and meaning in life, and how a rational perspective informs our view of moral issues. All of today’s entries do a marvelous job of advancing that goal, so without further ado, let’s get to them: First… Read more

Making Progress Toward a Secular America

The Fourth of July should be a time for patriotic Americans to reflect on the progress our country has made and to rededicate ourselves to the cause of making it better where work still needs to be done. We can find material for both of those avenues in this article by Katrina van den Heuvel in the Nation, Rediscovering Secular America (HT: DC Secularism Examiner). It’s a heartening glimpse into the political progress that freethinkers are making, including at least… Read more

Hooker Hunting in God's Country

By Sarah Braasch [Editor’s Note: Please welcome Sarah Braasch back to Daylight Atheism for her second guest post! You can read Sarah’s bio from a post last month.] A few months ago, through some fault of my own, I found myself on a driving tour of Naples, Italy, assiduously avoiding the unwanted sexual advances of some US Navy boys. I was not enjoying myself much at all when one of the sailors suggested we go hooker hunting, as he so… Read more

To Those Who Doubt Their Religion

This post isn’t for confirmed atheists, nor for confirmed theists. It’s not for people who’ve already made up their minds, one way or the other. No, this post is for the seekers, the in-betweeners, the tormented doubters. It’s for the uncertain agnostics, people who aren’t certain what they believe; it’s for people who feel like they no longer belong in their church, but don’t know of an alternative; and it’s for people who are experiencing a full-blown crisis of faith… Read more

Popular Delusions: Out-of-Body Experiences

Most religious people believe in the soul, an ethereal locus of consciousness that separates from the body upon physical death and travels elsewhere to receive its reward. To people who hold this belief, it’s a natural next step to guess that the soul or spirit could sometimes leave a person’s body while they’re still alive and travel to distant places on its own initiative. Such is the belief in out-of-body experiences, the subject of today’s Popular Delusions post. Belief in… Read more

The Case for a Creator: Beating a Dead Haeckel

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 3 Ernst Haeckel died a hundred and fifty almost a hundred years ago [fixed – thanks, Alex!], but the creationists won’t let him rest in peace. In this section, Wells again exhumes these old bones and takes a few kicks at them, and imagines that by doing so he’s brought the entire edifice of modern evolutionary biology crashing down. If you’re not familiar with Haeckel, here’s a bit of background. Ernst Haeckel was a… Read more

The God of Shadow and Vapor

In April, I wrote a piece chastising Madeline Bunting for her willful invocation of the Courtier’s Reply, in which she attacks atheists for criticizing the beliefs actually held and practiced by billions of people, rather than the beliefs of a tiny minority of theologians and pundits like herself. But let it not be said that we shy from a challenge. In this post, I’ll take up the issue of religion as it is held by Bunting and others of like… Read more

Moving Beyond Awe

The nineteenth-century German theologian Rudolf Otto, in his book The Idea of the Holy, popularized the term “numinous”, an adjective describing the sense of mystery and wonder that purportedly stems from the presence of a deity. According to Otto, the sense of the numinous had two main characteristics: the mysterium tremendum, the sense of fear and trembling that comes from the presence of that which is wholly other, and the mysterium fascinas, the sense of fascination and curiosity that such… Read more

Stalin the Divine Savior

Via Making My Way (a great atheist blog, although its author doesn’t update often enough!), this amazing historical fact. I wrote in “Red Crimes” about how communism, demonized by religious apologists as an atheistic ideology, was more in the nature of a political system: willing to work with anyone who supported its goals and to persecute anyone who opposed its goals, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. As evidence of this, I cited the story of Andrei Sakharov,… Read more

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious