On the Mumbai Terror Attacks

I had planned to post on a different topic today, but my attention has been riveted - as I'm sure everyone's has - by the horrific events still unfolding in Mumbai. A well-organized and ruthless group of several dozen heavily armed terrorists has slipped into the city, attacking lightly guarded civilian targets with assault rifles and grenades, apparently targeting Western tourists. Over a hundred innocent people are dead, hundreds more wounded, and some of Mumbai's famous landmarks are in … [Read more...]

Images of Mohammed

This is an image of the Muslim prophet Mohammed:So's this:And also this:I bring this up because, as you might have guessed, free speech and Islam are again in the news. Last month, over a dozen Danish newspapers reprinted one of the twelve drawings of Mohammed that caused such a furor after they were first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. The artist of this particular cartoon, Kurt Westergaard, has been under police … [Read more...]

The Witch Children of Nigeria

I've written on several past occasions about how belief in malignant supernatural forces causes real harm to real people. There are examples of this from every region of the world, but some of the most wrenching are from Africa, where Biblical beliefs about demons and evil spirits still run rampant.In January, I wrote about the witch camps of Ghana, where people suspected of using black magic to harm their neighbors are exiled as if they were lepers. In April, there were the Pentecostals of … [Read more...]

Deo Vindice!

Deo vindice!Gott mitt uns!Deus vult!Allahu akhbar!Informed readers may recognize some or all of the phrases above. In case there are any you're not familiar with, here's a quick primer on what each of them means:"Deo vindice" is Latin for "God will defend us" or "God is our vindicator". It was the motto of the slaveholding Confederate States of America, and was engraved on their official seal. The CSA firmly believed that the Christian God was on their side in the American Civil … [Read more...]

The Last Battlefield

Back in September, the blogger Riverbend - the thoughtful, eloquent young Iraqi woman who authors the blog Baghdad Burning - left Iraq along with her family. After four years of writing from a first-hand perspective about the chaos and violence that the U.S. occupation has unleashed on her country, Riverbend and her family finally decided that things had become too dangerous to stay, and it's hard to blame them.She writes about leaving her house for the last time, taking only the … [Read more...]

CAP Alert Reviews IV

Recently, while I was looking over my list of especially ridiculous items culled from the CAP Alert site, I noticed an interesting trend. Namely, many elements of movies which the CAP reviewer condemns can also be found in the Bible. Consider the following examples:The 13th Warrior: "'Your fate is fixed'"Romans 9:21: "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (In the middle of a long argument for … [Read more...]

The Thomas Weeks Affair

Since this seems to be a week for tearing down Christian icons, I have another fall from grace to report: Bishop Thomas Weeks, founder of the international Christian ministry Global Destiny, was released on bond last week after turning himself in to face charges of brutally beating his estranged wife Juanita Bynum - herself a nationally renowned Christian evangelist and best-selling gospel singer, and co-founder of that same ministry.The police report of the incident states that, during a … [Read more...]

Christian Terrorism

On July 29, 1994, a religious fundamentalist named Paul Hill attacked a Pensacola, Florida family planning center, murdering abortion provider Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett with a single blast from a pump-action shotgun. With numerous eyewitnesses, Hill surrendered peacefully and confessed to his crime at the scene. Hill was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, convicted by a jury, and given the death sentence. On September 3, 2003, he was executed by lethal … [Read more...]

The Secular Islam Summit

I've recently been reading Karen Armstrong's A History of God, an enormously informative though often irritatingly naive account of the evolution of monotheism in the Abrahamic faiths. One thing that struck me while reading it is how religious grievances dating back centuries or even millennia continue to cause hatred, bloodshed, and violence today with virtually unabated intensity.For example, Armstrong discusses the roots of the Sunni-Shiite split in Islam, a dispute over who would succeed … [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...]


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