What Is Christianity Good For?

What is Christianity good for?I ask this question in all seriousness, not as an insult. I genuinely want to know. Eternal life in Heaven is usually held out as the greatest benefit of becoming a Christian, but that reward is said to be in the next life and is impossible for us to verify. Does Christianity have any benefits in this life, any evidence that can be offered now as partial substantiation of its grander promises later on?I'm not looking for personal testimonies about how … [Read more...]

The Veil Is Dehumanizing

I've written before about religion's harm to women, but today I'd like to focus on a more specific example, the face-covering veils and shrouds that are often imposed on women in fundamentalist sects of Islam. These garments oppress women and are an affront to human dignity. By design, they are dehumanizing and degrading, and remain so even if the woman freely chooses them for herself.If there is anything that defines human beings as a species, anything we do that differentiates us from … [Read more...]

The Doctrine of Double Effect

In my recent post on euthanasia, a thought experiment was mentioned which I'd like to address at greater length:In one dilemma, you are standing by a railroad track when you notice that a trolley, with no one aboard, is heading for a group of five people. They will all be killed if the trolley continues on its current track.The only thing you can do to prevent these five deaths is to throw a switch that will divert the trolley onto a side track, where it will kill only one person. When … [Read more...]

An Exercise in Perspective

If you're not familiar with the HubbleSite, you should be. The official website of the Hubble Space Telescope is rich with scientific background, news releases and announcements of new discoveries, and of course, jaw-dropping imagery of the cosmos, taken by one of humanity's most justifiably famous scientific instruments.One of Hubble's newest images has left me feeling inspired, and I'd like to say a few words about it. But first, the picture itself:This stunningly gorgeous image is a … [Read more...]

Open Thread: The Problem of Evil

I'm creating a thread to address this comment by Mollie:I've only been familiar with your site for a few days, so I'm not sure if this is the right place to discuss what I'm about to say. If not, please direct me to a more appropriate place.My husband thinks it's a bad idea to debate with you guys because we come from two totally different backgrounds of thought- I believe that God exists and that the Bible is totally true and you do not. Therefore, you will not convice me of anything and I … [Read more...]

Be Hot or Cold

As atheists continue to make inroads into the media and our message becomes more widely noticed, we are attracting attention from all quarters. Some of the responses consist of delighted praise and relief that rationalists and freethinkers are finally making our voices heard. Some responses consist of the furious but ineffectual sputterings of religious fundamentalists. But then there is a third group, smaller than the other two but quite possibly overrepresented in the media: the … [Read more...]

Book Update

I've finished the third chapter of my book, which deals with the argument from evil and draws on my Ebon Musings essay "All Possible Worlds". As before, any regular commenter who's interested in reading the chapter and offering feedback is welcome to do so. E-mail me or leave a comment if interested.I'd like to stress something here: This offer is open to regular commenters, not just to people who read my site. I'd like to foster a strong community of atheists and freethinkers on this site, … [Read more...]

Aspiring to Slavery

Last month, I wrote about slavery and the Bible's embarrassing (though historically understandable, if we assume there was no divine revelation behind it) endorsement of that vile practice. Today, slavery is widely recognized as the evil it is, and though it still exists in some forms, it lingers only in the shadows, not in the light of mainstream acceptance. Today religious people of all stripes reject slavery, and do their best to gloss over or explain away the unchanged scripture that still … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Gathering at the River

For Daylight Atheism's second installment of Poetry Sunday, I'd like to reprint a beautiful composition by the distinguished Philip Appleman, who's written a rich vein of atheist and freethought poetry in his career. Many religious traditions imagine that when we die, our souls stand before a river that is the gateway to the next life. In this poem, Prof. Appleman provides a freethinker's twist on this hoary religious cliche, and offers us a glimpse of a dynamic, harmonious world unlike the … [Read more...]

How Did the Apostles Die?

"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."—Matthew 10:2-4 (see also Mark 3:14-19)Lately I've been thinking about the twelve apostles of Christianity. According to Mark and … [Read more...]


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