In Defense of Radical Individualism

Conservative Christians are still grappling with the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage this summer. It's sinking in that Obergefell was just the starkest example of how they no longer enjoy the absolute cultural power they once held, and that, as younger generations become more secular, their influence will keep dwindling. Some are reaching for apocalyptic rhetoric - Franklin Graham, for example, has said in response to the ruling, "I believe the end is coming... we are in the … [Read more...]

Against Religious Fatalism

Last month, construction was in progress at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, the holiest mosque in Islam, when a heavy crane collapsed in high winds and crashed through the roof of the mosque. Over a hundred pilgrims were killed and almost 400 were hurt or trapped beneath falling debris. An employee of the Saudi Binladen Group, which had been operating the crane, said this about the disaster:"What happened was beyond the power of humans. It was an act of God." (source)But this wasn't … [Read more...]

So Wrong For So Long: On Liberal Biblical Reinterpretation


Following up on last week's affray over cognitive dissonance in pro-LGBT Christians, I have one more point I want to make.Liberal and progressive believers have a variety of theological rationalizations for why they remain in a church that's historically been an unrelenting enemy of people like them. One of the most common is that God is continuing to deliver new revelations, updating and overwriting old beliefs, and they have faith that this will eventually result in all believers … [Read more...]

Answering Questions from #IndyTOT

This past week, I was in Indianapolis for two live Q&A events with my Christian pal Andrew Murtagh. One was at Theology on Tap, a Catholic young-adult outreach program; the other was at Crosspoint, a non-denominational evangelical church. Both had excellent turnout, probably around 150 people at each. Speaking before two overwhelmingly Christian audiences felt a little like going into the lion's den, but they were unfailingly fair and polite - and besides, what better place to defend atheism … [Read more...]

How the Cross Is Like the Confederate Flag

You can make a bad argument in support of a good conclusion. That's how I felt reading this column "The Cross and the Confederate Flag", written by Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre.Unlike his predecessor Richard Land, who was an all-culture-war-all-the-time partisan, Moore has shown some genuine signs of wanting to listen to marginalized voices. In his column, he takes an unflinching look at the deep-seated history of racism and … [Read more...]

How Low Will It Go? The Continuing Decline of American Christianity

The Pew Research Center has released a huge new survey of the American religious landscape, showing how the demographics have shifted from 2007 to 2014. And the lede is very, very good for us:[A] major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to … [Read more...]

Answering an 11-Year-Old Christian

Last week, this comment was left on an older post. I wouldn't normally approve proselytizing like this, but since the author identifies himself as an 11-year-old homeschooler, I decided to give it a pass and write him a reply. We may be familiar with these arguments, but it's likely that he's never encountered a real live atheist before, and this may be the first chance he has to hear them. I'll post the full text of the comment first.If there is no God, there cannot be any sort of … [Read more...]

Boko Haram Is an Islamic Terrorist Group

I would have thought some facts were too obvious to need proving, but if these past few years of atheist blogging should have taught me anything, it's that no excuse is too far-fetched for those who bend over backwards to excuse religion from blame for every evil it gives rise to. Such is the topic of today's post.Boko Haram is, of course, the violent insurgency in Nigeria that's gained global infamy after it kidnapped several hundred girls and vowed to sell them as slaves, the latest … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 2

This is part 2 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my first post and Andrew's reply.Andrew,Thanks again for your fairness and hospitality at the Midtown Scholar debate last month. It was a pleasure for me as well! You'll have to come out to NYC some time in the coming months so I can repay it.So, with your assent, let's table the debate about morality for now and turn to this question of how it is that people come to be … [Read more...]

God Doesn’t Solve the “Who Sez?” Problem

I've finished reading Timothy Keller's book The Reason for God. It was a hard slog, especially the last section, in which he announces he's not going to argue for God's existence any more because everyone already agrees with him whether they admit it or not (yes, he actually says that), and instead devotes his time to writing theological fan-fiction about how happy and glorious and wonderful everything will be when Jesus comes back.I've addressed Keller's arguments regarding inherited … [Read more...]