Jihadism is not nihilism

"You can say the Islam of ISIS is a perversion of the teachings of Muhammad, just as you can say the Inquisition and the Crusades were a perversion of the teachings of Jesus, or that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was a perversion of the teachings of the Torah." So writes Marty Kaplan (the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication) and  to my mind one of the greatest public intelectuals of our day. He continues "You can say the I … [Read more...]

Watch out Democrats running for office in 2016. Don’t leave the denunciation of rape for God up to Fox News and the Tea Party haters

A tipping point is being inexorably reached. Sometimes reality trumps ideals. Take the nice liberal fiction that the only problem between the rest of us and radical Islam is a series of misunderstandings or bad Western actors. Consider just one day's (today's) New York Times headlines. ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape, ISIS Affiliate in Egypt Says It Has Beheaded Croatian Prisoner and  Nigeria: Boko Haram Is Said to Have a New Leader.Here's how the sweeping and terrifying ISIS Enshrines a Th … [Read more...]

Put it this way: church may be a son-of-a-bitch, but it’s my son-of-a-bitch!

Some of my secular (or lapsed ex-religious) friends don’t get why I “still” go to church. When they say, “Frank, God’s only in your head!” my answer is, “Yeah, whatever. What isn’t?”Or as the poet Yehuda Amichai writes in Gods Come and Go, Prayers Remain Forever:I say with perfect faiththat prayers precede God.Prayers created God.God created man,And man creates prayersthat create God who creates man.My question isn’t, “Did I create God who creates me?” but, “Do I n … [Read more...]

Why Does God Hate Gay People? My Interview on the New Movie

At the End of the Day is a feature-length comedy written and directed by Kevin O’Brien. Here's my interview with Kevin:Frank Tell me about yourself?I’m a filmmaker in central Florida. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart  for 14 years and we have three kids in the third grade (yup). I got into filmmaking a bit late, and made a full time job out of it at 31 years old. I feel strongly about not making “safe” films, and it seemed to that a lot of faith-based media was incredibly sa … [Read more...]

Is Bill Maher a Bigot? The Answer is in His Movie “Religulous”

 In the last few months there have been a chorus of anti-Bill Maher articles in the liberal/left press. For instance Salon has published a series of articles accusing Maher of bigotry. In “7 times Bill Maher was a straight-up bigot” Joanna Rothkopf  writes this in Salon: Bill Maher’s long, illustrious career is perhaps, more than anything else, an excellent example of mass public manipulation. Under the guise of being a liberal comedian, he has managed to build for himself an ultra-su … [Read more...]

Was Jesus “Christlike?” — The Christian God has been twisted into something not unlike that of radical Islam

"The Christian God has been twisted into something not unlike that of radical Islam." So says Brad Jersak. We first met because we were both interviewed for the movie "Hellbound?" Then we became friends. Now Brad has an important book out--A More Christlike God--that challenges the received lazy "wisdom" of both conservatives and liberals, atheists and believers about Christ. Here's my interview with Brad on this important and beautifully written book. Q: Tell my readers a bit about your back … [Read more...]

Why Do Right Wing Christian Families Think They “Own” Their Children?

"In the Iron Age mindset of the Bible writers, children are not individual persons who have their own thoughts, with corresponding rights. Rather, like livestock and slaves, they are possessions of the male head of household, and the biblical framework governing treatment of children is property laws, not individual rights laws."The term chattelrefers to moveable personal property, economic assets that are not real estate. In the Bible, children, like slaves and livestock, are chattel. Male … [Read more...]

What Prayer Means to Me

 "My grandchildren delight in entering into a grownup spiritual world as equals. Perhaps this is one of the gifts non-religious people have a problem experiencing. They might not meet their children as humble partners in service of something bigger than themselves."  Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace.My grandchildren Lucy (five) and Jack (three) know that I pray every morning on my wa … [Read more...]