From the Mailbag: Deconverting from Hinduism

Krishna

Living in a culture where Christianity is the dominant religion, I don't often come into contact with former Hindus or ex-members of other Eastern faiths. But there are atheists in every culture and society in the world, and they all go through the same intellectual and emotional struggles. I got a reminder of that in an e-mail the other day from an ex-Hindu atheist named Vikram who was seeking some advice on handling his own deconversion: Dear Mr. Lee, I have greatly enjoyed your book … [Read more...]

How Influential Is the Religious Right?

My latest column on Alternet, about the failed predictions of the religious right, has gotten a reply from a writer calling himself suburbXn who identifies himself as a liberal Christian, and who thinks I'm vastly exaggerating the influence of the people whose prophecies I cited: You can find extremists and crazies behind ANY belief who will take things to the edge. But please don't write off millions of Christians because of a few extremists, not even if you still disagree with those … [Read more...]

A Reply to James Croft

Chessboard

My new Patheos colleague, James Croft, has written a post welcoming me to the site and inviting me to a rhetorical face-off. I'm never one to pass up an invitation to a cordial debate, so let's have at it! James' post concerns my speech at the 2012 SSA conference, where I laid out my strategy for effective atheist activism. He has responses to several of the points I made, which are under the headings below: The Importance of Anger I spoke about why anger is a valid and important … [Read more...]

Should I Cash a Christian Charity’s Check?

My desk has a drawer full of free address labels, pens, and other cheap gimmicks sent by charities who hope that sending a gift would make the recipient of their letters feel obligated to give something back. (It doesn't; I plan my giving in advance and never respond to solicitations.) But a letter I got in the mail this week was a new gambit: This mailing came from an evangelical Christian charity (I know - bad targeting on their part). Enclosed with the letter, as you can see, was a $2 … [Read more...]

Reap Responds

FreezePeach

While I think this conversation has already gone on long enough, I guess I should mention that Reap Paden has left a comment on my post from last weekend about him, which consists mostly of wounded self-justification. I can only assume that being called a misogynist has stung his ego, which I consider to be a good sign! A person who genuinely didn't care what others thought about him would have shrugged it off, but Reap clearly isn't such a person. Here are some responses to his more important … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: “I Don’t Argue With People”

BricksInWall

Last year, when I wrote about the death of Savita Halappanavar from anti-choice theology, I pointed out that several Catholic bloggers seemed to think Catholic doctrine should have permitted her to be saved - contrary to every real-world example I'm aware of. In every case I've ever read about where a woman's pregnancy was gravely jeopardizing her life and the Catholic church had the power to create law or policy, they decreed that the morally "correct" position was to let both die rather than … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: From Conservative Christian to Progressive Atheist

We may have heard about one notable religious conversion this week, but in the more than ten years I've been writing about atheism (yes, it's been that long!), I've found it's still far more common for things to go the other way. Here's one dramatic example that landed in my inbox this week. The author of this e-mail, whose name is John, gave me permission to share it with you: I have been on a journey for three years that started with a simple "mid-life" commitment to read the bible and be … [Read more...]

Got a Question for Penn Jillette?

If you've read Penn Jillette's new book God, No! and want to ask him something about it - or if you just have a general question you've been dying to ask him - then this is your lucky day! My soon-to-be blog home, Big Think, is having Penn back for an interview on Friday, and they're soliciting reader questions. Presumably, he'll answer some of them. If you've got a question for him, post it in the comments on Big Think (or post it here - I'll send them in to the overlords). This one is … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: Shedding the Burden of Suffering

Earlier this week, I got a lengthy letter whose author gave me permission to share it with you: Dear Ebonmusings: I gave a glimpse to your musing about the carrot and the stick - I didn't expect it to talk about morality, mainly because I realized that the latest part of my life as a christian was about pursuing a carrot and a stick.* Allow me to share my story. Sorry if it's a bit depressing, but I can assure you that I'm much better now (and much better than before, since I embraced … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: Deconversion Saturday

It's not every day that I get awesome letters like the one I posted last Saturday, but this makes two weeks in a row now. If this keeps up, I may have to make it a regular feature! This letter is from a commenter who's posted here in the past as 5acos(phi/2). Although it's from a country I don't have first-hand experience of, it has a lot in common with the kind of letters I get more frequently, just with a different set of culturally dominant religious beliefs in place of Christianity. It just … [Read more...]


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