8 Parenting Tips for God

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses eight parenting tips for God — we had some fun with this one in case you can’t tell:

The video was inspired by this post by Michael Sherlock. (Also, Canadians, you know I love you!)

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

[Read more...]

Are Psychotropic Drugs at the Root of Religion?

In an excerpt from his book Drugs: The Science and Culture of Psychotropic Drugs at The Atlantic, Richard J. Miller examines the claim that intense religious experience, and religion itself, can be traced back to the consumption of hallucinogenic drugs, or, “entheogenic” drugs.

It’s hard to deny that there is a strong connection between religion and these substances, with, as Miller notes, countless references to particular drugs in various religious texts (from “soma” in Hindu scripture to “the drug of forgetfulness” in The Odyssey), and considering the “spiritual” impact psychotropics have been shown to have. Take this bit of research by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert cited by Miller:

On Good Friday 1962, two groups of students received either psilocybin or niacin (a nonhallucinogenic “control” substance) on a double-blind basis prior to the service in Boston University’s Marsh Chapel. [Read more...]

Let’s All Wonder About Obama’s Religion Some More

Ah, the timeless question that has plagued mankind since the dawning of, well, 2007 or so: What religion is President Obama, really?

I think it’s a fairly silly question. But we have right-wingers who suspect, nay, insist, that he’s a Muslim. On the other side we have atheists like Bill Maher who are certain that Obama is one of us (though Maher also thinks the Pope is an atheist, which I think is quite a reach). For me, personally, I think it’s best to take the man at his word, that he’s a Christian, until some overwhelming evidence suggests something else. Like, for example, him saying “I’m actually an atheist.” That would probably convince me.

All that said, his particular version of Christianity remains murky to many who care about this kind of thing. As the holidays now pass us by, Ashley Parker at the New York Times notes that the Obamas have not attended any Christmas church services since coming to Washington, nor have they chosen an “official” church as their religious home in DC, choosing instead to visit a variety of them, and even then they haven’t gone all that often. [Read more...]

Seeing God = Blasphemy = Death

Two years ago, Riaz Ahmed, now 34, and Ijaz Ahmed, 38, claimed to have seen God. Due to the vagaries of religion, such a claim may mark someone as supremely devout, or possibly a little loopy. But in Pakistan, where even something as innocuous as quoting the Qur’an can get you in trouble with the law, [Read More...]

Jennifer Michael Hecht and Ron Reagan Talk Atheism in Politics on ‘Hardball’

Jennifer Michael Hecht, one of my absolute favorite writers, recently appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball, along with fellow atheist Ron Reagan, to talk about her article in Politico Magazine about atheism as “the last taboo” in American politics. Though it’s a brief segment, they took a serious look at the “poison pill” problem we all presume atheists would face in political contests, particularly in regard to the presidency.

Michael Smerconish was the guest host, and it was encouraging to hear him so eager to, as he put it, “test the hypothesis” that an avowed atheist would be effectively barred from high office in the current political climate. As Hecht says in the segment, the culture is just crawling its way out of the religious tensions associated with the Cold War (“godless communism” vs. American Judeo-Christianity) and 9/11, and that the time really has come for nonbelieving politicians to make themselves known. [Read more...]