Free Speech Under Siege at the United Nations

The United Nations, which was founded after World War II with the noble goal of preventing further violence and conflict between nation-states, is losing its way.The U.N. has historically been a great supporter of human rights, including the most important of them all, the right of free speech. Consider Articles 18 and 19 of the Fundamental Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by unanimous resolution of the General Assembly in 1948:Article 18.Everyone has the right to freedom of … [Read more...]

A Milestone Is Reached

On the American East Coast where I live, midnight is officially past, and that means the date is now February 10, 2007. This is a date of great significance to me, because it was on February 10, 2006 that I officially launched this blog with its inaugural post, "Welcome to Daylight Atheism". Much to my astonishment, this site has now marked its first anniversary!The past year has come and gone with astonishing swiftness. It seems like only yesterday that I published that first post. … [Read more...]

Falwell's Feeble Prognostications

A recent article by Reuters presents an interview with Jerry Falwell, the aging but still influential figure of the theocratic religious right, and his views on the 2008 American presidential election and other issues of concern. I found some of Falwell's remarks worth commenting on.The article does not shy away from mentioning some of Falwell's more idiotic proclamations, such as a few days after September 11, 2001 when he blamed homosexuals, civil rights groups and non-Christians for the … [Read more...]

Faith-Based Fraud

Atheist Revolution calls our attention to a recent story out of Columbus, Ohio, in which the Rev. David Thompson of World of Pentecost Church, along with several other church officials, have been named in a lawsuit filed by members of the congregation that accuses them of stealing almost $1 million in church money. According to the lawsuit, Thompson's father George, who is also a defendant, told the plaintiffs that they had to forgive his son and accused them of being "children of the devil" if … [Read more...]

Sylvia Browne: Enemy of Free Speech

I have written previously about the "psychics" so popular in our culture, whose pretense of being able to speak to the dead and otherwise gain knowledge through supernatural powers wins them wealth and accolades from a credulous public and a shallow, sensationalist media, despite the total lack of convincing evidence to date that any of them can do what they say they can do.One of the worst of the lot is Sylvia Browne. After agreeing on national television to take James Randi's million-dollar … [Read more...]

The Virtues: Be Rational

The third of the Virtues is rationality, a crucially important but often overlooked element of the virtuous life. I do not mean to say that being a good person requires being an atheist or a skeptic - for obviously, someone can believe in all manner of pseudoscience and superstition and still be a generous, benevolent and loving person. As always, how one treats one's fellow human beings is the only true marker of morality. Nevertheless, I believe that all else being equal, the rational person … [Read more...]

Movie Review: Jesus Camp

I missed seeing the documentary Jesus Camp when it first came out in theaters last September. However, I've finally had the chance to view it, and I think this review is better late than never. In any case, so much relevant to the film has happened since then - the 2006 elections, the downfall of Ted Haggard, and even the announcement that the film itself had been nominated for an Oscar - that this seems an opportune time to review it and see how things have changed.Directed by filmmakers … [Read more...]

New on Ebon Musings: Red Crimes

A new essay, "Red Crimes", has been posted on Ebon Musings. The essay surveys the crimes committed during the 20th century by totalitarian communist regimes, and critically examines the claim that atheism was in some way responsible for the bloodshed they caused.This is an open thread. Comments and discussion are welcome. … [Read more...]

Witch Hysteria Is Alive and Well

One of the great tragedies of the human species is the violence and turmoil still happening in Africa. Africa is the continent of our origins, the place of our species' birth, and the one place on Earth to which everyone now living can trace their ultimate ancestry. It should be a place of peace and human togetherness, an enduring and living monument to our past. Instead, the continent is still struggling to overcome the shameful legacy of colonialism and its own ethnic divisions, and much of it … [Read more...]

The Virtues: Be Compassionate

The second of the Virtues is compassion. The Latin roots of this word literally mean "suffering together", but I think this captures at most one-half of what it means to be compassionate, and the less important half at that. While being compassionate does include perceiving others' pain and distress and being motivated to relieve it, the far more important aspect of compassion is sharing not in others' suffering, but in their happiness and joy.My reasoning behind this conclusion is as follows: … [Read more...]


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