Anarchy in the U.K.: The Anglican Crackup Continues

I've written before about the ongoing schism within the Episcopal church, but those posts only concerned the goings-on in America. Now that battle has spread across the Atlantic and into the heart of Anglicanism, and it's looking more and more likely that the church will be cloven in two at its roots. As reported by the Telegraph, the Anglican General Synod has rejected a last-ditch compromise brokered by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and nominal head of the Anglican church, to … [Read more...]

Why Won't You Atheists Just Go Away?

The Newsweek/Washington Post blog On Faith has posted a series of responses from panelists to the American Humanist Association's new holiday ad campaign (HT: An Apostate's Chapel). Here's the question they asked:What do you think of the American Humanist Association's new "Godless Holiday" campaign? The ads, displayed on transit systems in five major U.S. cities, will say: "No God? ...No Problem! Be good for goodness' sake. Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God." … [Read more...]

The God of Shadow and Vapor

In April, I wrote a piece chastising Madeline Bunting for her willful invocation of the Courtier's Reply, in which she attacks atheists for criticizing the beliefs actually held and practiced by billions of people, rather than the beliefs of a tiny minority of theologians and pundits like herself.But let it not be said that we shy from a challenge. In this post, I'll take up the issue of religion as it is held by Bunting and others of like mind.Here's how she defines her own … [Read more...]

Fundamentalism Is Alive and Well: A Reply to John Shelby Spong

I recently finished reading two books by the Anglican bishop John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die. Spong is infamous for his near-total rejection of the tenets of Christianity, despite being a member of the clergy, and these books witness to that: he doesn't believe in miracles or an afterlife, denies the Trinity, denies the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, and in fact, doesn't believe in God as an external supernatural being at … [Read more...]

The Soft Landing

Although it's much too early to look forward to a world without religion, one thing we can be confident of is that the numbers and influence of atheists will continue to grow in the near future. Census figures over the last few decades have consistently shown the rise of the nonbelievers in the educated and industrialized nations of the First World - even in America, despite its high religiosity as compared to its cultural neighbors. We can expect this trend to continue, to the point where it's … [Read more...]

On Fear and Seeking

Slacktivist, a progressive Christian blogger whom I read regularly, has some words of advice for the new atheists on how best to win converts. You'd wonder why a Christian would want to give advice to atheists about how to do this - indeed, such "advice" is usually just concern trolling when it comes from the religious right - but Slacktivist is a different kind of Christian, emphatically not a member of that political group, and his advice is doubtless in good faith and worth considering. In … [Read more...]

On Inerrancy

Pandagon's recent post on Carlton Pearson, and the comment thread there, got me thinking about the question of inerrancy.Last February, in "The Aura of Infallibility", I observed that the apologist's claim of scriptural inerrancy is really a claim of personal inerrancy. Even if I believe a book to be without error, I must rationally admit that I could be wrong about that. The only way to maintain a claim of inerrancy with absolute confidence, as many theists do, is to believe that I myself am … [Read more...]

A Glimpse of the Garden

By way of Pandagon, I came across this incredible story from NPR's This American Life, an hourlong report on, and interview with, the evangelical pastor Carlton Pearson.Pearson was once one of the rising stars of the religious right: a hardcore Pentecostal preacher, head of an Oklahoma megachurch, a protege of Oral Roberts and a spokesman for George Bush's faith-based initiatives who had the ear of the White House under three different presidents. He preached alongside Jerry Falwell, Jim … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on John Haught

Since the comment thread for my post "On Amateur Atheism" has sparked a lively debate, I looked around on the internet earlier today for some further explanation of John Haught's views. I found them in this Salon interview, and I'd like to offer some further comments on the theology outlined therein.One of Haught's major points regarding modern atheists that they rely too much on scientific inquiry to learn about the world:Therefore, since there's no scientific evidence for the divine, we … [Read more...]

How Not to Fight the War on Christmas

Lately, there have been some encouraging signs that believers of conscience are more willing to stand up to the religious right than they once were. But this effort, though well-intentioned, is not the right way to do it.It's time for a ceasefire in the Christmas culture wars....We invite Messrs. O'Reilly, Gibson and Donohue to join us in a new campaign of civility and conscience that restores our focus on the common good during this holy season.This letter, signed by a number of liberal … [Read more...]


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