Sam Harris on the Danger of ‘Religious Ecstasy’ Pointing the Wrong Way

Sam Harris often gets criticized as “Islamophobic.” But in a piece recently posted on his website, he explains his appreciation for “contemplative rituals,” like religious calls to prayer. It’s not that he lacks empathy for moderate Muslims (the “peaceful billion,” he writes) when he goes after the radicals; instead, his empathy lies with the victims of Islamic fundamentalism — the gays, the women, the apostates, etc. Religious devotion, in the wrong hands, can wreak havoc on a society:

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Playing Dungeons & Dragons Leads to Suicide, Says Pat Robertson

Today, on a show in which he discussed suicide, Pat Robertson talked about the reasons children are at risk. There’s bulimia. And anorexia. And “Dungeons & Dragons.”

Not on Robertson’s list of factors leading to suicide? The Christian Right’s demonizing of LGBT youth.

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After Christian Mayor Refuses to Support ‘Humanist Recognition Week,’ Religious Groups Are Discussing a Response

Last week, I posted about a meeting of the Vero Beach City Council (in Florida). The five-member council had an easy task in front of them: Approving a resolution marking “Humanist Recognition Week.” But two of the councilmembers refused to do it because of their religious views:

This Tuesday, though, several leaders of non-Christian groups in the area are getting together to discuss how to handle this Jesus-or-bust mentality of some on the city council. The article is behind a paywall, but it explores what other theistic groups are saying the wake of the vote:

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How I Lost My Christian Faith While Writing a Book on Evolution

This is a guest post by Ed Suominen.

As an engineer who spent forty years as a fundamentalist Christian, I pretty much ignored the problem of human origins and evolution.

The science of radio waves and electronics was very real for me, but so was Genesis: My wife and I had eleven children as a result of following God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. So whenever I came across some article about a million-year-old fossil or the dreaded word “evolution,” I would hastily skip over it.

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15-Year-Old Syrian Boy Executed for Committing Blasphemy

15-year-old Mohammad Qataa did nothing wrong.

He was selling coffee in the city of Aleppo recently when he got into an argument and supposedly said the following:

“Even if the Prophet Mohammad comes down [from heaven], I will not become a believer.”

That was enough for an “Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group” to find him and kill him yesterday:

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