Donate Organs, Save Lives

The other day I came across this article from Bloomberg News, from which I learned something that surprised me: a large black market exists for human organs, in spite of international laws banning the practice. This isn't organ trafficking in the "waking up in a bathtub full of ice missing a kidney" sense. More commonly, the organs are obtained by organized crime syndicates targeting the desperately poor, promising thousands of dollars in quick cash. Naturally, this requires the cooperation of … [Read more...]

How Can Atheists Console Religious Believers?

I got this e-mail from a reader, which I was asked to pass along in the hope of getting some advice:I was raised in an Evangelical household and most of my friends and family from the early part of my life are Christians of some variety or another. They know I'm an atheist and it's not really a source of contention.Two close friends of the family have a young child with serious health issues. They use Facebook to get out updates on the child's health and medical treatment. Most of … [Read more...]

The Delusion of a Just World

You've probably heard religious apologists assert that if God didn't exist, the world would be an unjust place where some people were never rewarded or punished as their behavior deserved. (They usually hold back from explicitly stating the conclusion, "Therefore, God must exist, because it would make us very sad if he didn't," probably out of subconscious recognition that this would make the fallacy too obvious.) As prominent a religious figure as Pope Benedict has endorsed this … [Read more...]

We Don’t Need Religion to Have Morality

This essay was originally published on AlterNet.The most common stereotype about atheists, the most common reason why religious people fear and distrust us, is the belief that people who don't believe in God have no reason to behave morally. In the view of the planet's major religions, the way we know what's right and what's wrong is that God tells us so, and the reason we follow the rules is because we fear divine retribution if we break them. This worldview is simple and emotionally … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Morality Doesn’t Need Religion

My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, We Don't Need Religion to Have Morality. In it, I argue that morality is real, objective, and not dependent on theistic belief, and I explore the basis for this view and imagine what effect it could have on society if it were more widely adopted. To those who've read my essay on morality at Ebon Musings, this will be familiar ground, but I touch on a couple of new points as well. Read the excerpt below, then click through and see the rest!The … [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...]

6 Ways Atheists Can Band Together to Fight Religious Fundamentalism

This essay was originally published on AlterNet.If atheists were as politically organized as the religious right, we could accomplish a world of good in combating theocracy and standing up for human rights and secularism. But whenever an atheist political alliance is proposed, the objection is inevitably raised that "atheists don't all agree," and that this would be an insurmountable obstacle to forming a unified political movement.I believe, however, that this objection overstates … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Circumcision

"And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that … [Read more...]

Meat is Dinner?

By Richard Hollis (aka Ritchie)Just over two years ago, DaylightAtheism featured an essay discussing vegetarianism - though coming at it largely as an environmental issue. Seeing as so many faces on here seem new, I thought I'd tackle it again and hit the moral question head-on: can we justify eating meat?Many religions include restrictions on consuming meat, from total abstention to restrictions on eating certain animals, considered either sacred or unclean. Even the Christian Bible co … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Investing

I haven't written a post on morality in a while, and this one's a little different than past entries. This is an issue where I haven't made up my mind, and I'm hoping that people's comments can illuminate the issues and help me reach a final decision.Through the economic chaos of the past two years, I have to admit I've been more fortunate than a lot of Americans. I have a high-yield savings account with ING Direct - that is to say, I had one. I still have the account, but since the subprime … [Read more...]


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