Religion’s Harm to Women

In our society, it is still widely considered rude to criticize opinions and practices that arise from religious belief, no matter how evil or abhorrent they are. Even when it comes to the murderous fanatics who kill in the name of Islam, politicians and other public figures who criticize them often take pains to label their actions as arising from a twisted or self-serving interpretation, as though it would be impossible for a legitimate and sincere interpretation of any religion to inspire … [Read more...]

Name That God

Think quickly: What was the religion of the person who wrote the following?"Oh God, open all doors for me. Oh God who answers prayers and answers those who ask you, I am asking you for your help. I am asking you for forgiveness. I am asking you to lighten my way. I am asking you to lift the burden I feel. Oh God, you who open all doors, please open all doors to me, open all venues for me, open all avenues for me. God, I trust in you. God, I lay myself in your hands."Or this: without … [Read more...]

Book Review: The End of Faith/Letter to a Christian Nation

The End of FaithSummary: An incendiary polemic against unjustified belief. Many strong points, strongly made - but what on earth is that endorsement of psychic powers doing in there?With the 2004 publication of his book The End of Faith, Sam Harris has probably become one of the best-known and most influential atheists in public discourse today. In this review, I will briefly summarize this book and then offer some remarks.Chapter 1, "Reason in Exile," talks about the pervasiveness of … [Read more...]

Is Islam Intrinsically Violent?

Inspired by a recent dust-up at the Huffington Post over some remarks by Sam Harris, as well as the furor provoked by the Pope's recent verbal attack on Islam quoting the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II, I've decided to offer some thoughts on whether Islam is an intrinsically violent or evil religion.First off, the obvious: Like every religion on this planet, Islam exists only in the collective actions of the people who follow it, and people can act in ways that are either generally … [Read more...]

The Quiet Revolution Continues

Unlike most religions, atheism has no single founder or point of origin. Becoming an atheist is not a matter of joining an existing establishment or swearing allegiance to a creed, but rather of waking up to a simple realization about how the world works. If religions grow like moss, a uniform carpet starting from a single point and spreading outwards, then atheists are like wildflowers scattered across the terrain, each one blooming with brilliant colors of their own.It makes sense that such … [Read more...]