The Mystical Dogma of Human Equality

Recently, the Catholic writer and apologist Mark Shea fielded a question from a reader who was disturbed by pro-slavery Bible verses quoted on an atheist billboard in Pennsylvania. Here's the letter, in part (HT: Friendly Atheist):One of my atheist/anti-Church friends posted a sign by American Atheists quoting Colossians 3:22 (Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.") (Funny how they … [Read more...]

Perfecting Man’s Moral Shortcomings

In the Book of Exodus, there's a bizarrely out-of-place story that I've always found hilarious. This is immediately after God has told Moses that he's going to be God's messenger to Pharaoh, listing all the signs and wonders Moses will be able to do to convince the Egyptians of his authority, and sent him on his way:"At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah [Moses' wife] took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet … [Read more...]

What the Bible Could Have Said

Via Slacktivist, I came across a post on the Christian blog Exploring Our Matrix that asks a perfectly reasonable question: Why Doesn't the Bible Contain Superior Medical Advice? ...you will look in vain in the pages of the Bible for a recommendation that people cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze and cough. You will find mentions of strong drink, but nothing about distilling the alcohol and using it to clean wounds or disinfect anything at all. The author presents this as a problem … [Read more...]

The Problem of the Magi

If you search on "what the Bible says about astrology", you'll get a flood of evangelical websites with advice like the following: Astrologers, Satanists, witches, psychics, and all those who are dabbling in magic of some kind - take heed: Man's efforts to predict omens and tell the future through magic are always fruitless. These "gifts" come from Satan, not from your Creator. Dabbling in these will only result in certain spiritual death. God says so. (source) God command [sic] His people, … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses: The Holy Kiss

Fred Clark of Slacktivist has been on a tear lately, posting some outstanding articles about the theological roots of dominionism and its influence in American politics. And today, he wrote another post that inspired me.This post was about a new book by the sociologist Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible, which deplores a group whom Smith dubs "biblicists" (I'd probably just call them fundamentalists). These are Christians who believe that the Bible is a perfectly self-sufficient guide … [Read more...]

The Biblical Cruelty of Child Beating

In 1877, the great freethinker Robert Green Ingersoll wrote these words about the then-common practice of corporal punishment:I tell you the children have the same rights that we have, and we ought to treat them as though they were human beings. They should be reared with love, with kindness, with tenderness, and not with brutality. That is my idea of children....I do not believe in the government of the lash. If any one of you ever expects to whip your children again, I want you to have a … [Read more...]

The Financial Ignorance of Religious Texts

Among the many other prohibitions in the Old Testament, there are several verses that prohibit charging interest on loans (at least to one's fellow Israelites - foreigners are apparently OK to gouge). Some of them are:"You shall not lend upon interest to your brother, interest on money, interest on victuals, interest on anything that is lent for interest. To a foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest..."—Deuteronomy 23:19-20"And if … [Read more...]

Yes, Virginia, The Bible Does Teach Hell

Slacktivist, my favorite progressive Christian blog, has been reporting on how the religious right has been in a tizzy over the news that prominent evangelical pastor Rob Bell may no longer believe in eternal damnation. (I know, I know - he doesn't believe that God will torture billions of people in a lake of fire for all eternity? Horrors!)This is a view Slacktivist himself holds, and to defend Bell, he quotes three passages commonly used to support belief in Hell, Luke 16:19-31 (the parable … [Read more...]

Book Review: Trusting Doubt

(Author's Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: An outstanding analysis of the flaws of evangelical Christianity, written from an insider's perspective by a former believer. My only complaint is that I wish she'd provided more information about what the next step is!Although there are lots of atheist books that present a compelling case for atheism or against religion, there are relatively few that I'd … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Intellectual Dishonesty

The Language of God, Chapter 6By B.J. MarshallCollins begins Part III of his book, entitled "Faith in Science, Faith in God," by trying to wrap his mind around why evolution is so difficult for some religious people to get. He recalls an experience where he was at a men's dinner at a Protestant church discussing how faith and science can mesh. All was well until the senior pastor was asked whether he believed in the literal story of Genesis. The priest carefully chose his words to give a … [Read more...]


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