Repost: “Choose Faith in Spite of the Facts”

I usually don't think it's worth beating up on the purveyors of popular evangelical feel-goodism, for the same reason I don't get in boxing matches with life-size Jell-O sculptures. But I had to make an exception for this tweet from human tooth-whitening strip Joel Osteen:The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) November 26, 2014Osteen is most famous for his surgically implanted smile … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: July 2

I'm going on vacation for the July 4 holiday, so I'm planning to run some reposts this week. There will be a new Fountainhead post on Friday, because I love you all that much. In the meantime, here are some amusing stories:• First up, please enjoy meeting Skylar Ittner, a young more-Catholic-than-the-Pope ultra-fundamentalist.His private Catholic college expelled him - for putting up unauthorized anti-gay posters all over campus, and then being extremely hostile and defiant toward … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Bizarro Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 9First up, some good news to finish out the week: The excellent blog McMansion Hell, which I've mentioned in this series, was served with a legal threat by the real-estate website Zillow for using its pictures. This was obvious empty bluster, not just because parody and commentary are the essence of fair use, but because Zillow doesn't even hold the copyright to the photos on its site, which are taken by local real-estate agents.Kate Wagner, McMansion … [Read more...]

The Gap

I like to think of myself as an optimist, but lately I find myself adrift in feelings of hopelessness.It's not just the election, although that's obviously part of it. It's a whole raft of disasters which add up to the impression that humanity is going backwards: the genocide in Syria, which the world seems to have no will to do anything about; the upsurge of racism and xenophobia across the West; in the U.S., police who murder innocent people on camera with impunity; hate and bigotry … [Read more...]

The Online Atheist Community: Still Terrible

I haven't written much about the regressive elements within the atheist community in a while, but that doesn't mean they've gone away. On the contrary, they're still around and they're just as loud and repulsive as ever.We got an unfortunate reminder of that when the Atheist Foundation of Australia announced that Clementine Ford, a feminist writer and speaker, had accepted an invitation to their 2018 Global Atheist Convention. The Facebook page where they made the announcement was promptly … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Hooray for Unions

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 9Ayn Rand wasn't one for understatement. When she had a political point to make, she did it with all the subtlety of a big brass band. This makes it all the more noteworthy when she lets a controversial topic pass without comment. And one of those silences, the topic of today's post, is a surprising one.It begins with the city's construction workers going on strike:The strike of the building-trades unions infuriated Guy Francon. The strike had … [Read more...]

The Pro-Slavery History of the Southern Baptists

Last week, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was thrown into chaos by a proposal to condemn racism and the alt-right. This CNN article has a good timeline of how it played out: The debate began when Rev. Dwight McKissic, a black pastor from Arlington, Texas, called on Southern Baptists to formally condemn the movement's "retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries" and re-affirm its opposition to racism in the aftermath of a presidential election that saw … [Read more...]

On the Reciprocity of Compassion

You've probably heard about the shooting at a Congressional baseball game. America has had mass shootings in just about every other public place by now, so it was inevitable that this would eventually rebound on the government that refuses to do anything about them. The attacker was killed by police, and four people were wounded, including Republican House majority whip Steve Scalise. He was shot in the hip and badly injured, but is expected to pull through.If you've never heard of Steve … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: American Eclectic

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 9After months of hitting one dead end after another, Howard Roark finally gets a lucky break in his job hunt - not that Ayn Rand ever acknowledged the existence of luck:John Erik Snyte looked through Roark's sketches, flipped three of them aside, gathered the rest into an even pile, glanced again at the three, tossed them down one after another on top of the pile, with three sharp thuds, and said:"Remarkable. Radical, but remarkable. What are you … [Read more...]

Is Belief in Hell Inherently Hateful?

In 2015, the evangelical Wheaton College fired Larycia Hawkins, a political science professor, for taking a stance of solidarity with Muslims against hateful rhetoric. Ostensibly this was because Hawkins, a black woman, had contravened the college's statement of faith by suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. Unofficially, it's easy to see as a reaffirmation that evangelical Christianity is a religion only for bigoted white people.At the time, a Wheaton graduate named … [Read more...]