An Atheist Dinner Benediction

Back in April, the post "Out of Respect" inspired a discussion about what an atheist host could say at a meal as substitute for a prayer. This is, I think, an important question, and one worthy of an answer. I have written before about the importance of spirituality, even to a nonbeliever. Just because we are atheists does not mean that we cannot find symbolic significance and meaning in the small rituals that we all undertake every day. Indeed, I would argue that human life in a sense needs … [Read more...]

The Third World

We live today in a divided world. More so than lines based on race, religion or nationality, there is a fundamental distinction that partitions human society, and that distinction is wealth. The wealthy, prosperous, industrialized nations of North America, the European Union and Japan, the ones that have the greatest influence on world affairs and shape the development of human civilization, are often called the First World. By contrast, there are a far greater number of nations, harboring a far … [Read more...]

Putting Away Childish Things

This month, I will be posting a new essay series that is somewhat different from the ones I have written before. Rather than a series of numbered sequels, each one following the previous in a linear fashion, this new series will be more like a branching bush, with different essays all growing out of the same central idea. That idea, as expressed by the title of this post, is "putting away childish things". In the Bible, the Apostle Paul says the following:When I was a child, I spake as a … [Read more...]

Happy Ingersoll's Birthday!

As far as most people are concerned, the 11th of August has no special significance. But atheists, freethinkers and skeptics everywhere should recognize it as a very special and significant date indeed. For on this day, we commemorate the birth of the most famous freethinker that most Americans have never heard of, the most fearless and possibly the most eloquent defender of nonbelief in our nation's great and storied history - the illustrious Robert Green Ingersoll.Ingersoll's name is little … [Read more...]

The Errors of Faith

In midtown Manhattan yesterday, I happened to notice the following breathtakingly arrogant slogan on a church's bulletin board: "The errors of faith are better than the best thoughts of unbelief." —Thomas Russell This quote is probably of ancient vintage (both Thomas Russells listed on Wikipedia lived during the 1700s), which explains, though it does not excuse, its repulsive, hate-laden attitude. But what I find truly amazing is that a church in the year 2006, in liberal New York City, would o … [Read more...]

Atheism as a Positive Worldview

In a previous post, Shattering Stereotypes, I discussed ways in which atheists can clear away the noxious stereotypes about us that are spread by religious groups and that hinder our ability to get our message across. That is the vital first step in speaking effectively on behalf of atheism. But once we have cleared that ground of the thorns and thistles of stereotypes, we must decide on what to build there. Again, we nonbelievers will achieve more if we speak in unison - if we agree on a plan … [Read more...]

Why Do We Care?

"I'm unsure where I really stand on this book or the ideas in it, but would really love to know your true motives for writing the review. It seems so obvious, but if you actually believed (or didn't believe) what you claim, you would spend your energy elsewhere. Why do you care?" --from a recent feedback received on Ebon Musings "Doubt, like faith, has to be learned. It is a skill. But the curious thing about skepticism is that its adherents, ancient and modern, have so often been proselytizers. … [Read more...]

Cathedral of Suns: A Humanist Sermon

In my encounters with religious proselytizers, I have occasionally been told that atheism robs the world of the sense of awe and wonder, that my lack of belief in a god who miraculously created us all must mean that my life is lacking in the intangible qualities that makes it worth living. I have been told, as well, that I reject the possibility of a god too great for me to understand. This is my reply to those claims.There is a famous photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of a region … [Read more...]

The Cathedral and the Garden

One of the most fundamental differences between atheism and religion is that a religion is, by definition, a group of followers, while atheism is a collection of individuals. Each religion is built on some body of myths and rules that was compiled long ago and is now set in stone, inviolate. Membership in that religion is defined by obedience to these dogmas, which can be reinterpreted but not changed, neither to add nor to remove. No matter what new knowledge or moral advances emerge, religious … [Read more...]

Greetings from the Losers' Club

John Loftus of the blog Debunking Christianity has very kindly linked to my recent post, "An Inspiring Story", with a post of his own, "Ex-minister Walks Atheist Path".However, it seems that his much-appreciated courtesy has attracted attention from a different direction. Specifically, the Christian site Triablogue responded with a post titled "The 'Inspiring Story' of Induction into the Loser's Club" - the losers in question being atheists, in case there was any doubt.From the very … [Read more...]


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