Bill Maher and Sam Harris Debate “Islamophobia” with a Defensive Ben Affleck

In a conversation following up on last week’s rant against liberals who refuse to criticize Islam, Bill Maher and guest Sam Harris explained last night on Real Time why criticizing religious beliefs is fair game and not, as critics often claim, “Islamophobia”:



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An Atheist Evangelizes Reason from the Sidewalk and Then Analyzes His Conversation with a Stranger

Anthony Magnabosco recently stood outside a Texas college, holding a sign saying he wanted to talk to people about their religious beliefs for just five minutes. It’s something you might expect from preachers; not so much from atheists. But talk about street epistemology

Not only did someone take him up on it, Anthony recorded and then completely analyzed the entire exchange to see if his methods at atheist evangelism were actually effective.



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Teen Who “Desecrated” Jesus Statue Hit with 6-Month Ban from Social Media and 350 Hours of Community Service

As you all know by now, a 14-year-old boy from Pennsylvania has been the subject of a lot of media attention over the past few weeks because he took pictures with a local Jesus statue as if he were getting a mock-blowjob from the Lord.

He was facing up to two years in prison for this supposed desecration, a charge that was wildly out of proportion for what he did. As I said before, I don’t condone his actions, but bad taste and immaturity aren’t crimes. And this blasphemy law had no business being in the books in the first place.

Today was the teen’s day in court and we finally learned his punishment:

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Analyzing the Rainbow Just Wouldn’t Be As Effective

Richard Dawkins wrote this memorable passage in Unweaving the Rainbow:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?

It’s a beautiful passage that really celebrates the joy of life in a non-religious way. But John Danaher at h+ Magazine isn’t moved by it:

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This Weekend, Pastors Will Dare the IRS to Revoke Their Churches’ Tax-Exemptions by Talking Politics from the Pulpit

For years now, the biggest IRS scandal may have been how churches that pay no taxes in return for not endorsing political candidates were breaking those rules openly but receiving no punishment at all. (Some pastors even sent the IRS videos of their sermons.)

It happens on “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” where more than 1,000 pastors speak out on political issues and/or endorse specific candidates.

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