Catholicism's Hollow Claims of Moral Authority

The outgoing Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, had some choice words for atheists at the ceremony this week to install his successor: “What is most crucial is the prayer that we express every day in the Our Father, when we say ‘deliver us from evil’. The evil we ask to be delivered from is not essentially the evil of sin, though that is clear, but in the mind of Jesus it is more importantly a loss of faith. For Jesus,… Read more

Poetry Sunday: Dulce Et Decorum Est

In honor of Memorial Day, I’ve chosen this poem for this week’s Poetry Sunday, a classic on the horrors of war written by the English soldier Wilfred Owen. Owen was born in 1893 in Oswestry, England. His parents were evangelical Anglicans, and Owen himself was a devout believer when young. But, according to Joseph Parisi’s 100 Essential Modern Poets, he had an early crisis of faith: after studying religion, he found that “he could not reconcile Christianity with the findings… Read more

The Case for a Creator: Steve Statistics

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 3 Chapter 3 of Case, which interviews the creationist Jonathan Wells, haphazardly mixes together claims from many different scientific disciplines and will probably take the most installments of any chapter to fully refute. But we’ll begin with a simpler claim. As I mentioned previously, Strobel seeks to create the appearance of a scientific controversy raging over evolution. His primary piece of evidence is the Discovery Institute’s infamous petition, “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”: We… Read more

Cdesign Proponentsists

In 2005, the constitutionality of teaching “intelligent design” was tested in court in the landmark case Kitzmiller v. Dover. The lawsuit was triggered by the school board in rural Dover, Pennsylvania, voting to require a statement to be read in science classes which said, in part: Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book Of Pandas and People is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding… Read more

Some Have Entertained Angels

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, there’s an exhortation to believers reminding them to show hospitality to their guests: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” —Hebrews 13:2 The implication is interesting: that Christians should be hospitable to visitors, not simply because they are fellow human beings who need food and shelter, but because some might be angels in disguise who would, presumably, grant blessings to any person who showed them kindness. (The… Read more

The Founders Wept: George W. Bush’s Faith-Based War

Friends, fellow Americans, we never knew how bad things got during the George W. Bush era. And yes, I say that with full knowledge of what it implies. True, we saw the results of Bush’s policies: a catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, a staggeringly mismanaged quagmire of war, torture and degradation of prisoners, the proliferation of radical Islam and anti-American sentiment around the world. But, until now, we never fully glimpsed the mentality behind it. We had hints, but… Read more

The Case for a Creator: Pursuing All Possibilities

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 2 Before embarking on his interviews, Strobel makes a statement about his investigative strategy: In selecting these experts, I sought doctorate-level professors who have unquestioned expertise, are able to communicate in accessible language, and refuse to limit themselves only to the politically correct world of naturalism or materialism. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to rule out any hypothesis at the outset. I wanted the freedom to pursue all possibilities. [p.28] This is a… Read more

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Abner Kneeland

While some freethinkers have made contributions to science, the arts or the humanities, others are best known for exemplifying a sea change in human history – showing, by their lives, that one age was passing and another would soon dawn. Just so is today’s post on the life of an American freethinker who has the unique distinction of being the last man imprisoned in America for blasphemy: a courageous reformer and patriot by the name of Abner Kneeland. Kneeland was… Read more

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 that basis. Some people who… 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 part. If you want to… Read more

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