Tipping the Scales

"The book (The End of Faith) has spent nearly 20 weeks on bestseller lists... Presale orders of 'Letter to a Christian Nation' earned the book a spot among Amazon.com's top 10 a month before its Sept. 19 publication. It debuted at No. 7 on the bestsellers' list and is now in its sixth printing with 110,000 copies in print and a mammoth $200,000 ad campaign behind it."—Gina Piccalo, "Oh, dear God - it's him again", The Los Angeles Times, 2 October 2006In a recent post, "The Quiet … [Read more...]

Tax the Churches

In the United States of America today, churches and religious groups are treated with enormous sensitivity and deference by politicians and the media, a deference they have not earned. Far too often, the government and society in general bends over backwards to accommodate and encourage religious beliefs even when there is no rational reason why they should do so. The most egregious example of this is the sweeping tax exemptions granted to religion.It is not just one tax that religious … [Read more...]

CAP Alert Reviews II

It's been far too long since I first examined the lunacy that is the CAP Alert site. Interestingly, the site seems to have fallen on hard financial times: it is plastered with ads, and virtually every page contains text begging for donations. Their recent reviews show that the majority of movies released in the past few weeks were not reviewed because no one "sponsored" them to do so. The site's owner claims that it costs him an average of $350 to review one movie. By my calculations, assuming … [Read more...]

What Christians Care About

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? … [Read more...]

The Atheist Crew

"Should Franks be elected in November, one would have to conclude that he will hold true to his out of touch 'atheist' belief system and ignore the laws and Constitution of Texas."—Mary Alice Robbins, "GOP Raises Religion in Court Race, Calling Democrat an Atheist." Law.com, 9 October 2006.In Paradise Lost, published in 1667, John Milton labels Satan and the other rebel angels "the atheist crew", despite the fact that they were in Heaven at the time fighting against God and the … [Read more...]

Today's Crimes Tomorrow

In every age, there have been moral visionaries - great thinkers such as Robert Ingersoll or Tom Paine, who had the courage to stand against the majority and oppose widely accepted moral wrongs. Their courageous and steadfast opposition to then-prevalent practices such as monarchy, slavery, racism and sexism earned them great hatred and enmity during their lifetimes, and put them decades ahead of most of their contemporaries.Today, we have made progress enough to recognize many of the evils of … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses IV: The Age of Accountability

What happens to children who die before they are old enough to reasonably understand and accept the Bible's doctrine of salvation? This vexing theological question was not always so vexing. The renowned theologians of antiquity answered it quite simply: they were cast out of God's presence to suffer the eternal torture of Hell's flames. Here is St. Augustine on the fate awaiting infants who died prior to baptism:But even before the outbreak of the Pelagian controversy St. Augustine had … [Read more...]

Infectious Memes

Hi! I am a .signature virus. Copy me into your .signature to join in!—seen on UsenetAnd these words which I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign upon your arm, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and … [Read more...]

A Brief Hiatus

I'm going away for Columbus Day weekend and will likely be without Internet access during that time, so I won't be able to respond to comments or e-mails. I'll be back Monday, at which time I should have some great new essays. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the latest post, "An Atheist Dinner Benediction". … [Read more...]

An Atheist Dinner Benediction

Back in April, the post "Out of Respect" inspired a discussion about what an atheist host could say at a meal as substitute for a prayer. This is, I think, an important question, and one worthy of an answer. I have written before about the importance of spirituality, even to a nonbeliever. Just because we are atheists does not mean that we cannot find symbolic significance and meaning in the small rituals that we all undertake every day. Indeed, I would argue that human life in a sense needs … [Read more...]


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