Seven Ways to Answer When the Religious Tell You That Atheists Are Only Defined By What We’re Against

Sometimes it’s a honest expression of puzzlement. Often, it’s a deliberate provocation, a cheap way to try to rile a non-believer.

I’m talking about a line I’ve heard from believers (and some apatheists) at least a dozen times:

For an atheist, you sure care a lot about religion.”

Sometimes that’s followed by the grizzled canard that atheism is itself a religion (to which the best answer probably is “Yeah, just like ‘off’ is a TV channel”); or there’s some premature Schadenfreude and nose-thumbing about how atheists are unable to ban religion from their lives because we are defined by our opposition to it.

Over at Camels With Hammers, philosopher/blogger Daniel Fincke carefully unpacks that criticism and shows it to be lazy and illogical. His essay runs to almost 3,800 words, but I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version in seven quotes that stood out for me.

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Any Law May Be Broken With Impunity By People of Faith, Implies GOP Senate Candidate

On Tuesday night, Republican Ben Sasse of Nebraska won his party’s nomination to the Senate, in part on the strength of his (you’ll never guess…) religious convictions. It doesn’t take more than ten seconds to assess what kind of candidate Sasse is. His website says, about religious freedom,

We live in a country where the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns, must sue the government in order to continue caring for the sick and elderly poor. That’s outrageous.

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Infinity Inflation: Heaven’s Budget Shortfall Results in Shorter Afterlife

Eternal bliss that isn’t, via the Onion: Saying they were reluctant to make the change but that budget pressures left them no other choice, divine sources announced Tuesday that the traditional promise of salvation would be reduced from eternity to 500 billion years. “To help us meet the rising cost of maintaining Heaven as a [Read More...]

By Far the Best Response to Russian Church Leaders Condemning Bearded Drag Singer Conchita Wurst

Bearded Austrian drag artist Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest this past weekend, and conservative-Christian Russians didn’t like it one bit, to put it mildly. Which begat this response from Russian blogger Rustem Adagamov:

Well played, sir.

(via the Independent)

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New York Prosecutors Say Haredi Rabbi and Accomplices Stole $12,000,000 from Disabled Children

In some people’s interpretation of religious morality, kids have to get fucked one way or the other.

Four men, including a rabbi, were indicted on Tuesday on charges they stole millions of dollars from a taxpayer-funded preschool for disabled kids.

Rabbi Samuel Hiller, Ira Kurman, Roy Hoffman and Daniel Laniado from the Island Child Development Center (ICDC) were busted for allegedly siphoning off $12.4 million of the institution’s $27 million state-funded budget between 2005 and 2012, using the money for themselves and for other business interests.

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