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

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

Hi! I am a .signature virus. Copy me into your .signature to join in! —seen on Usenet And 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… Read more

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… Read more

In light of all the momentous events currently taking place around the world, this next story might seem somewhat trivial in the grand scheme of things. But it illustrates some important points that are of more general application, and more importantly to me, it concerns my own alma mater, Binghamton University, of which I am a proud alumnus. It seems that a Binghamton sophomore, Aaron Akaberi, recently converted to the Rastafarian religion. As part of his conversion, he decided to… Read more

I am ashamed of my country today. Earlier this week, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, an act that future generations will surely list alongside the Alien and Sedition Acts as one of the most heinous and unconstitutional laws ever enacted by a democratically elected government. Both in letter and spirit, this law is the antithesis to the principles upon which America was founded, and it will be remembered for a very long… Read more

I recently came across MySecret.tv, a website set up by the evangelical megachurch LifeChurch. LifeChurch is a multi-campus church with physical locations scattered across several states that are connected during synchronized worship services by live video streams. MySecret.tv is this internet-savvy ministry’s latest venture: essentially, it is an online confessional, where people can log on to post admissions of sins they feel they have committed. Unlike the standard confessional, though, these confessions are not kept private but rather are posted… Read more

Now that Ebon Musings is up and running at its new host, it’s past time for a new article, and by an amazing coincidence, I’ve just posted one there. The essay’s title is “Turning Away Anger”, and it deals with the stereotype that atheists are intrinsically angry people. This is an open thread. Comments and discussion are welcome. Read more

In a worrying development for every citizen concerned about protecting state-church separation, the so-called “Public Expression of Religion Act” passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week on a largely party-line vote of 244 to 173. Sponsored by Republican representative John Hostettler, this bill’s purpose is to make it too expensive for private citizens and public interest groups to sue the government to compel it to cease actions which violate the Constitution. With the law as it exists now,… Read more

Ebon Musings is now back up, at a new host that has more than enough capacity to handle its increased traffic. Browse away! I’ll be posting a new article there in the next few days. Read more

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