An Example of Apologetics Leading to Nonbelief

It sometimes surprises me that more folks who study religion full time don’t become atheists. It seems to me that any critically-minded exploration of religion, grappling with the details of faith and myth, would have to lead a person to, at the very least, some very serious questioning.

That seems to have been the case for blogger Carly Jurica, whose minor in Biblical and Theological Studies began her journey away from acceptance of Christianity’s claims. “I was ending up with a lot of questions and very few solid answers,” she writes. [Click headline for more…] [Read more…]

South Jersey Clergy: Township Council Should ‘Muscle Up’ with More Sectarian Prayers

It’s possible that once the township council of Galloway, NJ (my hometown) had unanimously voted to allow prayers at its council meetings, a tumultuous subject was now more or less closed. It was not to be.

Some quick background: In February, I shared with you a thwarted-coming out of Michael Cluff, a secular activist with the South Jersey Humanists who had planned to out himself as an atheist at one such meeting with a short statement, but because of the way they had wound up running the meeting (holding the vote on prayer before anyone had a chance to talk about it), Michael never got to deliver his speech. He allowed me to reprint it later on Friendly Atheist, so it wasn’t a total waste. [Click headline for more…] [Read more…]

Indian Novelist Arrested for “Objectionable” Portrayal of Hindu God

Yogesh Master, an apparently prolific Indian author, has been arrested for what amounts to a blasphemy charge. In his new novel Dhundi, which is written in the Kannada language, the Hindu god Lord Ganesha is subject to “derogatory references” and is portrayed “in a highly objectionable manner,” according to complaints.

I’ve not been able to unearth any actual text, English or otherwise, of the novel in question, but according to Daijiworld Media Network, the complaints are that Ganesha is portrayed as “cruel” and “rowdy,” having an “illicit relationship”: [Click headline for more…] [Read more…]

How Revolutionary is Pope Francis, Anyway?

It’s hard, even for an angry, arrogant, militant new atheist like me, to not like Pope Francis. He seems to be saying all the right things for someone in his position, rhetorically easing off of gays, emphasizing the plight of the poor, and not being afraid to bring himself to the level of those in need, or those with whom he has little in common.

It helps that he’s so grandfatherly, with a warm smile and those standard-issue old-man glasses, whereas Ratzinger was so comically villainous.

Damon Linker, author of The Theocons and The Religious Test, wants progressives to temper their enthusiasm, however. Not because he sees Francis as nefarious, but rather he sees little evidence that a revolution of sorts is under way in the Church:

[Click headline for more…] [Read more…]

Some Rare Sound Advice on Christian/Atheist Child-Rearing

First, the newsweekly The Week has a love-advice column. Who knew? But that’s not what’s important. The reason we’re bringing it up here is because the columnist, one “Starshine Roshell” — if that is her real nametackles the perrennial question from a reader:

I really love my husband… but he is a devout atheist and I am a devout Christian. [ . . . ] but we are having a hard time deciding how we will bring up our child. What do people do in this situation?

Can an atheist and a religious person have a successful marriage? How do they decide how to raise the kid? If I’m Christian/Hindu/Baha’i/whatever, do I have to celebrate Humanlight? It sounds so dorky!

We see these questions crop up all the time. And too often, we see the question, however it’s asked, answered at best with the presumption that it’s the atheist who has to “reach across the aisle,” with the hopes that he or she will see the light, and at worst with advice to end the relationship because this nonbeliever is just not worthy.

[Click headline for more…] [Read more…]