Drawing Mohammed in Spite of Violence

The American religious right loves to play-act as martyrs: bemoaning how cruelly the government oppresses them, fantasizing about how they're on the verge of being imprisoned or killed for their beliefs. Usually, these claims are pure fiction. But this weekend in Texas, for once, the pretense became reality.The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a religious right group run by the flamboyant anti-Muslim activist and Ayn Rand devotee Pamela Geller, held a contest for cartoonists to draw the … [Read more...]

ISIS Is Bleeding Human History

BurnedBook

On top of all the other atrocities they've committed, we have to add another entry to the list of ISIS' crimes against the human race: their penchant for destroying ancient relics and other historical artifacts in the cities they've conquered. While it's not comparable to the mass slaughter of human beings, this cultural vandalism stands out for its sheer senselessness. Like the Taliban fanatics who dynamited the monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan, or the militants of Ansar Dine who destroyed the … [Read more...]

Bangladesh Is Killing Atheists

There's horrific news from Bangladesh: the atheist activist and writer Dr. Avijit Roy was murdered on the street in Dhaka, hacked to death by two assailants wielding machetes as he left a book fair at Dhaka University. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna was seriously wounded in the same attack. An Islamist group calling itself Ansar Bangla 7 issued a statement claiming responsibility for the murder.Dr. Roy was the author of books such as The Philosophy of Disbelief and The Virus of Faith, as well … [Read more...]

What’s Behind the Appeal of ISIS?

Amidst the steady drumbeat of grim headlines in the Middle East, the trend I've been most concerned by is the strange drawing power of ISIS, also known as Islamic State or Daesh, the brutal extremist group rampaging through Iraq and Syria, capturing cities and committing horrendous acts of violence. ISIS seems to exert an almost magnetic attraction, drawing in not just the disaffected, the disgruntled, petty thugs and criminals, but also young Muslims from middle-class Western families, people … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: February 22

• Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and science writer, has terminal cancer. Here, he writes a beautiful, elegiac, deeply humanist essay about confronting the prospect of death and what he intends to do with the time he has left.• This can't end well: In response to the increasing threat of ISIS, which is drawing Muslim extremists to its cause from all over the world, Western Christians, most with military experience, are traveling to Iraq and Syria to form an opposing Christian … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 10

Coffee

• A can't-miss account of Charlie Hebdo's first editorial meeting since last week's horrific attack.• One-man outrage band Bill Donohue didn't kill anyone at Charlie Hebdo, but he's understanding and sympathetic towards the Muslims who did. They made fun of the Pope, after all!• "The right to blaspheme religion is one of the most elemental exercises of political liberalism."• The "radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left … [Read more...]

#JeSuisCharlie

JeSuisCharlie

While trying to absorb the awful, awful news out of Paris this morning, I kept thinking of this passage from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, addressed to the poet's detractors:But yours the cold heart, and the murderous tongue, The wintry soul that hates to hear a song, The close-shut fist, the mean and measuring eye, And all the little poisoned ways of wrong.Although these words were penned almost a thousand years ago, you couldn't write a more apt description of the men who … [Read more...]

Weekday Coffee: Skepticon Edition

I've spent this past weekend at Skepticon 7, and I'm still recovering (especially from the Skeptiprom dance party on Saturday night). In the meantime, here are some links I picked up from the weekend's talks:• My favorite talk of the convention was by Ben Blanchard, who spent a year working abroad with the Foundation Beyond Belief's Humanist Service Corps. He dug wells in Cambodia and Ecuador, helped build latrines in Haiti, taught science to children at the Kasese Humanist Primary … [Read more...]

Maher, Harris and Atheist Islamophobia

Kaaba

Last week on Bill Maher's TV show, Maher, Sam Harris and Ben Affleck sparred over Islam and whether it's prone to violence:"Freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities, including homosexuals, these are liberal principles that liberals applaud for," Maher continued, "but then when you say in the Muslim world this is what's lacking, then they get upset."... "How about the … [Read more...]

Boko Haram Is an Islamic Terrorist Group

I would have thought some facts were too obvious to need proving, but if these past few years of atheist blogging should have taught me anything, it's that no excuse is too far-fetched for those who bend over backwards to excuse religion from blame for every evil it gives rise to. Such is the topic of today's post.Boko Haram is, of course, the violent insurgency in Nigeria that's gained global infamy after it kidnapped several hundred girls and vowed to sell them as slaves, the latest … [Read more...]


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