Weekend Coffee: May 5

Coffee

• A Christian fundamentalist couple that believes in faith healing has now killed two of their children by refusing to seek medical care for them. This likely violates the terms of their probation, agreed to in 2011 after the death of their first child, in which they agreed to obtain medical care for any of their other children who needed it.• John Paulk, the former chairman of the "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International, has recanted. In a statement, Paulk said he no longer … [Read more...]

Weekend Presents: December 23

XmasTree

It's two more days before you can open the gifts under the tree, but I have some early presents:• Now hear this: I'm on the New Books in Secularism podcast, discussing my book Daylight Atheism.• Big news out of the Philippines: The legislature has finally passed a national Reproductive Health Bill, defying fierce objections by the Roman Catholic church. The bill, which had been stalled for years by church pressure, would create government-run health clinics to dispense contraception in th … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: October 7

Coffee

Some links gathered over the week for you to peruse: • Ed Miliband, the leader of the UK's opposition Labour party, is a nonbeliever. He says he doesn't hold religious faith, but rather a faith in human progress. This column by Fraser Nelson admits that this may be a smart move in increasingly secular Britain, which is no longer a Christian country "but... still a country of compassion and principles". • A UK judge rules that parents have "no sacred right" over the education of their … [Read more...]

Will Life Extension Mean the End of Religion?

I've been thinking in speculative directions lately, and nothing is more speculative than the question of whether we'll one day be able to extend the human lifespan. The notion of living longer is certainly pleasant to contemplate personally, but I'm not convinced it would be positive for humanity as a whole. As I wrote in "Who Wants to Live Forever?", the invention of anti-aging therapy could be a disaster, if it freezes the human race's moral opinions exactly as they are now: imagine North … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 14

• Here's the top story for this week: After Jessica Ahlquist's court victory over illegal state-sponsored prayer in her high school, she's been receiving a torrent of vicious hate mail and threats of violence, presumably from good and pious Christians who support prayer. Here are some of the most appalling; some of the threats were sufficiently serious that police are investigating them. This isn't a surprise, unfortunately - it almost always happens to atheists who speak up. As disgusting … [Read more...]

Remembering Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has died. I never personally met the man, but I want to say a few words in tribute. Of all the popular figures commonly styled as the New Atheists, he was the hardest to pin down. He could be caustic, crude, witty, and brilliant by turns. He was a dauntless defender of free speech who never hesitated to aim a dart at the powerful or smash a sacred idol. His book about Mother Teresa, The Missionary Position, was and is the trailblazer in debunking the myths that have become … [Read more...]

Never Quote Discworld to an Atheist

The other day, I found this article from a Google alert: an essay on the religious website First Things by the author and Catholic apologist Elizabeth Scalia (who also blogs as The Anchoress).The post was about Terry Pratchett, the celebrated fantasy author and secular humanist. Since his personal beliefs come through clearly in his writing, I was surprised to find out that Scalia's a fan of his Discworld series. She quotes with approval the following passage from one of the Discworld books, … [Read more...]

How to Create (Not Find) the Meaning of Your Life

Guest post by Samantha Eliza BentenA friend recently paraphrased a statement from The Nature of Existence (the documentary, I believe, though I haven't seen it) as follows: "People should spend more time thinking about the meaning of their own lives, than the meaning of life in general." This strikes a chord with a notion I've held since at least my senior year of high school. (That was when I came up with the BLT theory of the purpose of life, which is to say that a purpose is a goal that's … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

Some scattered thoughts to contemplate on a Saturday morning:• Earlier this year, my post on urban agriculture drew some spirited disagreement. Now there's a study from Ohio State University which concludes that Cleveland could supply all its own produce, poultry and honey if the many vacant lots in the shrinking, post-industrial city were converted into gardens.• A Missouri high school, in response to a complaint from a homeschooling parent who doesn't even have kids in the … [Read more...]

An Atheist’s Confession

By Sarah Jane Braasch-JoyIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)My beloved baby brother, Jacob, hung himself last year in my parents' basement. I wouldn't wish my pain on my worst enemy. It's been a year and a half, and, sometimes, I still can't get out of bed or stop crying. I'll be in public, and I'll inexplicably, to anyone else, burst into sobbing, jagged tears. I blame a lot of people for his death, especially my parents. But, mostly, I blame m … [Read more...]


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