The Necessity of Hell

After my earlier post on this subject, Slacktivist has written several follow-up posts about the evangelical freak-out over the news that one of their own may not believe in Hell:For Mohler, as for most of Team Hell, we can see that there are two distinct categories. On the one hand there is what is "clearly revealed in the Bible... teachings... doctrine." And on the other hand there's this evasive, fuzzy-wuzzy, extra-biblical, anti-biblical notion of "the character of God."...this is not … [Read more...]

Yes, Virginia, The Bible Does Teach Hell

Slacktivist, my favorite progressive Christian blog, has been reporting on how the religious right has been in a tizzy over the news that prominent evangelical pastor Rob Bell may no longer believe in eternal damnation. (I know, I know - he doesn't believe that God will torture billions of people in a lake of fire for all eternity? Horrors!)This is a view Slacktivist himself holds, and to defend Bell, he quotes three passages commonly used to support belief in Hell, Luke 16:19-31 (the parable … [Read more...]

The Religious Right Hates Women

Last month, I wrote about the awful callousness of Catholic hospitals when a woman arrives needing an emergency abortion. As long as there's a fetal heartbeat, the clergy-run ethics committees of these hospitals often deny doctors permission to operate, even if the woman is hemorrhaging and dying before their eyes. Some doctors end up struggling desperately to keep their patient alive until the fetus dies, so they can operate and save her life. Others send these women to the nearest secular … [Read more...]

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...]


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