Book Review: Trusting Doubt

(Author's Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: An outstanding analysis of the flaws of evangelical Christianity, written from an insider's perspective by a former believer. My only complaint is that I wish she'd provided more information about what the next step is!Although there are lots of atheist books that present a compelling case for atheism or against religion, there are relatively few that I'd … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Spiritual Wisdom

The Case for a Creator, Closing ThoughtsAfter spending over a year on this project, we've come to the end of The Case for a Creator. Before bringing this series to a close, I have some closing thoughts on the overall message and tactics of the book.First: Although Lee Strobel tries to pass Case off as a dispassionate examination of scientific findings that just happen to support the existence of an intelligent designer, the obvious truth is that it's a Christian apologetics book dressed in a … [Read more...]

How Much Good Do Religious Charities Really Do?

I just finished reading Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book on what we can do to improve the status of women worldwide. One of the book's major arguments is that, despite their opposition to abortion and contraception, religious groups often do more good than secular liberals give them credit for:Religious conservatives... have also saved lives in vast numbers by underwriting and operating clinics in some of the neediest parts of Africa and Asia. When you travel in the … [Read more...]

An Atheist at Liberty University, Part IV

Our next stop was the Liberty campus bookstore. It was run by Barnes & Noble, and it looked pretty much like any other campus bookstore. I was surprised by the range of books available there, some of which I would have expected to be verboten on campus - from Neil Gaiman's American Gods to Jeff Sharlet's The Family, as well as books on global warming and dream interpretation. That said, there were also four or five whole racks of shelves, a good half of the store, devoted to Christian … [Read more...]

An Atheist at Liberty University, Part III

When the church service let out, my friends and I toured several other buildings on campus. We stopped by the dorms, which are strictly gender-segregated:I wonder what mindset lies behind this. Is it because the trustees of Liberty believe it's indecent for men and women to mingle in public? Then why aren't the classes and the church services also sex-separated? And why don't they also enforce the biblical decree that women not wear jewelry or braid their hair (1 Timothy 2:9)? That's as … [Read more...]

An Atheist at Liberty University, Part II

(See Part I here.)When the band finished their set, they departed and the pastor took the stage. He was relatively young, probably not much older than most members of the audience, and dressed in a plain shirt and jeans. His name, displayed on the giant screens overhead, was Johnnie Moore - a self-conscious use of the diminutive that was probably intended to emphasize the similarity between himself and the churchgoers.I had come to Liberty expecting a fire-and-brimstone sermon, unapologetic … [Read more...]

An Atheist at Liberty University

If you noticed that Daylight Atheism was quieter than usual this past weekend, you were right - I was out of town and had limited internet access. But there was a good reason for my absence: I was on a secret mission to penetrate into the very heart of the Bible Belt. Namely, I was storming the gates of Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college founded by Jerry Falwell, infamous for banning the College Democrats from campus and for instantly expelling any student found to be gay. … [Read more...]

Bloody-Handed Evangelicals

In the U.S., the cause of gay and lesbian rights has made major advances in the last few decades. Anti-discrimination laws are in wide effect, including a recently passed federal hate-crime law; marriage equality is already an established reality in several states; and despite setbacks, the now overwhelming tolerance and acceptance of gays and lesbians among younger generations heralds further progress in the future.But in spite of these hopeful signs, the hatemongers and bigots of the … [Read more...]

William Dembski on Faith Healers

Most of you have probably heard the name of William Dembski, one of the prominent advocates of intelligent-design creationism. Like all ID advocates, Dembski claims vehemently that his work is scientific and not in any way motivated by his religious beliefs, which is why he's currently a professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.But never mind that; today, somewhat surprisingly, I come to praise Dembski rather than bury him. That's because I've … [Read more...]

Losing Their Religion

I recently finished Daniel Radosh's Rapture Ready!, a book exploring Christian pop culture and some of its stranger manifestations, from theme parks like Florida's Holy Land Experience to the Ultimate Christian Wrestling pro circuit (no joke). But one event that he paid special attention to was Cornerstone, a Woodstock-like Christian music festival held each year in Illinois that routinely draws hundreds of acts and tens of thousands of people. According to Radosh, Cornerstone had a more open, … [Read more...]