The Contributions of Freethinkers: Wole Soyinka

I wasn't familiar with Wole Soyinka, the first African author ever to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, until I got a Google alert for his name the other day. You can probably guess why - it turns out he's an atheist, as I learned from this article in the Nigerian Tribune grousing about it:Although I might not be able to quote him verbatim, Professor Soyinka had replied thus. "The reason why I don't believe in God is simple. I simply cannot imagine that somebody (emphasis mine) will be … [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...]

The Value of Autonomy

I've been following this debate between Ross Douthat and Kevin Drum about the morality of assisted suicide. In his latest post, Douthat made a telling, though apparently unintentional, statement:The slippery slope that I discussed in the column doesn't amount to much if you don't disapprove at all of people deciding to take their own lives. Absent that disapproval (and an accompanying, even-stronger disapproval of the people who assist them), you won't be bothered by... people taking lethal … [Read more...]

Another World Creeps In

I'm an atheist, in part, because I'm a moral person.When I first read the books that are called holy, what I found were countless passages that are abhorrent to the conscience: God drowning the planet in a global flood, massacring the innocent firstborn of Egypt, ordering Abraham to murder his son as a test of faith (and rewarding him for being willing to do it!), commanding the Israelites to wage genocidal war on other tribes, promising to torture nonbelievers in a burning hell forever, … [Read more...]

An Atheist’s Yule Sermon

I woke up at 3 AM earlier this week to see the lunar eclipse. Dressing in the dark, my wife and I went out into the freezing silence of the winter solstice to see the moon: a small disc high in the sky swallowed by the planet's shadow, glowing coppery-red with the reflected light of every sunset on Earth.I'll admit, it wasn't the most spiritual experience I've ever had (being fully awake tends to facilitate those transports of awe and wonder). But I'm glad I saw it, nevertheless. If nothing … [Read more...]

This Holiday Season, Consider Atheism!

I was happy to read that this week that atheist groups are launching a new ad blitz, with ads extolling the virtues of atheism on billboards, buses, trains and print media. Significantly, atheist ads are also hitting the airwaves for the first time ever - thanks to a $150,000 donation from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, which is underwriting a TV ad campaign by the American Humanist Association.And the very best part of the AHA campaign is that the ads aren't just saying that … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Gene Roddenberry

As a wedding present to ourselves, my wife and I bought the DVDs of the original Star Trek, and these past few months, we've been working our way through them. For myself, it was a test: I hadn't seen most of these episodes since my childhood, and I was curious to see if they held up. I'm pleased to say that, for the most part, they more than hold their own. There's plenty to criticize, but after all this time, it hasn't lost its charm.Despite everything that makes me roll my eyes about Star … [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Occasion of My Marriage

If you're a regular reader, you probably know that I got married last month. Until now, I haven't said much about the event itself on Daylight Atheism. But now that I'm back from my honeymoon (slightly sunburned, but happy!) and I've had some time to reflect, I wanted to put into words some of my thoughts on what marriage means to me, as an atheist, and explain why I chose to enter into it.But first of all, let me address the most obvious question: Should an atheist even want to get married? … [Read more...]

A Life More Magical

By Richard Hollis (aka Ritchie)The most magical Christmas I can remember happened when I was, maybe, 12 or 13.It had certainly been many years since I had believed in Santa, and in all honesty I don't actually remember ever sincerely believing in him at all. Maybe it was something to do with not having an open fireplace, or my parents being terrible liars, or perhaps my older brother had something to do with it. Or perhaps, as I am inclined to suspect, a child's belief in Santa is less … [Read more...]

What Is Humanism?

I've written on the meanings of freethought and secularism, and in the third entry of this series, I want to discuss humanism. More so than the other two, humanism is a complex and fully formed life philosophy, so it'll take the most effort to adequately define.Most concisely stated, humanism is the worldview which treats human beings - our lives, our needs, and our concerns - as of supreme importance. Humanism recognizes our deep and profound interconnection with the natural world and with … [Read more...]


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