As the end of 2006 draws within sight, the annual holiday season is upon us. This year, I have noticed an interesting pattern in these familiar rituals. It is striking how many of the holidays that fall around this time of year involve the ceremonial kindling of light as an element of the celebration. Chief among them, of course, is the Christian/pagan holiday of Christmas, when evergreen trees and buildings’ eaves are adorned with strings of glowing lights, and the… Read more

Meet Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the new Democratic representatives elected in the November midterms, the winner of an open seat in Minnesota’s 5th District. Representative-elect Ellison is also a Muslim, the first member of that religion ever to be elected to the United States Congress. As such, when he takes his oath of office, he intends to do so on a copy of the Qur’an. And there the story would end… in a world more rational than our… Read more

When I was a child, I read and devoured C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books. I was too young then to understand most of the religious symbolism, and didn’t realize that Lewis had intended the series as a Christian allegory until the end of the very last Narnia book, The Last Battle, which makes the comparison explicit. I will say, however, that I enjoyed the books greatly, and that they were a great source of inspiration to my young imagination…. Read more

With the Democratic victories in the recent midterm elections, I am hopeful that I will have to write considerably fewer Theocracy Watch posts in the near future. This is not to say that the Democrats do not also pander to religion, which they do, but only that they usually show less interest than Republicans in integrating it materially into our government. However, this does not mean that unconstitutional establishments of religion are no longer continuing, and this post will examine… Read more

Between the excitement of the midterm elections and the flood of atheism-related news that has occurred this month, there was one very important date that passed almost unnoticed, but that I would be remiss if I failed to mention. Namely, November 9 was the birthday of the famous astronomer and skeptic Carl Sagan. If he were still alive, he would have been 72 this month. Sagan’s scientific achievements were groundbreaking and hardly need me to recount them. During a time… Read more

To cap off an eventful day, I’m happy to announce that I’ve accepted an offer to become a guest author on the blog Dangerous Intersection. DI is one of the relatively few blogs I read daily, and is frequently updated with a diverse crew of contributors and an equally diverse set of viewpoints on politics, science, culture and other topics. I’m glad for the opportunity to be one of them. Daylight Atheism will continue to be updated as before, but… Read more

There have been many pieces of good news for atheists in November, and I’m happy to be able to report another one. As reported in the November issue of Freethought Today, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has done it again, winning a major victory against the creeping theocracy that is infiltrating our government due to the unconstitutional actions of the Bush administration. Specifically, an FFRF legal challenge has persuaded the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to cancel its plans for five… Read more

In a post from October, I wrote that evangelical Christianity in America today has become “a set of right-wing political talking points” and lamented: Regrettably, the Christians who understand how the aggressive drive for secular power is rotting their faith’s foundations from the inside out seem to be outnumbered by those who regard it as an unmitigated good. There is news on this front that, depending on how one interprets it, may be either good or bad. Take this story,… Read more

Thanksgiving season this year has been anything but peaceful. Providing further evidence of the growing assertiveness of atheists, the war of words between faith and reason has erupted into the headlines once again. This time it came in the form of a scientific forum in California titled “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival”, where a vigorous debate was waged over whether and how scientists should fight against religious belief in society. And the aftershocks of this debate have spilled… Read more

by Alexander Weaver I drove from Sacramento to Portland (Rancho Cordova to Wilsonville, technically) last night (as of the original writing on 11/08/06), over mountains and through rain and what I would characterize as “pea soup fog.” This is important in other contexts, but for our purposes the main relevance is that it got me to Portland. I got in at 05:30, slept for 6 hours and then booked a flight back to Sacramento, departing at 16:50. The flight was… Read more

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