You Were Never Really One of Us


The mind is an amazing thing.  With it, we are capable of solving such complex puzzles and real-world problems!  At the same time, we are also capable of shutting out large chunks of data, selecting only those streams of information which fall in line with what we expected to find in the first place.  We call this "confirmation bias" and it can totally blind us to any information which contradicts our prior beliefs.  If used in a social situation, it can silence voices which upset us so that we d … [Read more...]

Beyond Argumentation: A Call for Art and Activism


Who is winning the culture war between secularists and fundamentalists?  It depends on where you look.  Adam Lee over at Daylight Atheism suggests that the sensationalized media attention currently enjoyed by Evangelicals gives the illusion that they are doing better than they really are.  He says that any apparent strength we see in them at present is the result of “consolidation, not growth.”  I believe that he is right, statistically speaking.  But as a Deep South resident who hears from frien … [Read more...]

In Faith and In Doubt: Practical Help for Mixed Faith Marriages


Last Sunday I would have celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary if not for the fact that we divorced not long after our 16th.  After fourteen pretty good years and after bringing four beautiful girls into the world together, we hit an obstacle we didn't have the right tools to overcome.  It would be more precise to say we hit a pile of obstacles since rarely does a marriage disintegrate because of just one thing.  We weren't really prepared for handling the kinds of conflict we encountered, so co … [Read more...]

New Christian Movie Based on the Life of King Solomon Champions Monogamy


If you were wondering when the influx of Christian-themed movies is going to die down, the answer is:  Not yet.  Maybe not for a long, long time, in fact.Ever since Mel Gibson's The Passion took in over $600 million at the box office, film companies have become aware that Christians buy movie tickets, and that their zeal for seeing their beliefs represented on the big screen will lead them to see a movie not once, not twice, but several times in a month.  As I indicated in a recent post, the … [Read more...]

An Atheist’s Advice to a Baptist Church


I had lunch last week with a friend of the family who is on staff at one of the largest churches in my state.  It was an enjoyable conversation that probably gave each of us plenty to talk about.  Would that all conversations between Evangelicals and atheists exhibited such mutual respect.  It’s amazing how pleasant a conversation two people can have when they’re a) not jerks, and b) not deeply insecure about what they believe.  It’s my observation that most conversations go sour (I call those “n … [Read more...]

What Riots in Ferguson Should Tell Us About the State of Our Union


There's so much on my mind this week that it will take me at least another week to put it all into words.  I had lunch and an interesting conversation the other day with a minister of one of the largest Baptist churches in my state, and I'm also currently reading through a much anticipated book on "mixed faith" relationships (which you'll be hearing plenty about from me in the coming weeks).  However, this morning I find that I cannot begin talking about those things until I first take a minute t … [Read more...]

How Toy Story Illustrates When I Lost My Faith


People who know me well know that I think in movie clips. Growing up, movies were my literature, and I still find great pleasure in going to the movies. So it’s no surprise that whenever I want to illustrate something really complicated or important to me, some scene or character from a movie always comes to mind (often it’s from a Pixar movie, but cut me some slack; children have ruled my life for the last 15 years. Also John Lasseter is a genius). To show you what I mean, I recently started a s … [Read more...]

Character Versus Belief


I have this recurring problem, and I wonder if any of you can relate.  I interact with people “in real life” every day and the feedback I get is usually quite positive.  I mean people generally seem to like me, you know?  I’m a fairly articulate guy, plenty well-groomed, and I dress professionally (most of the time).  I’m kind to people, endlessly patient, and generally resourceful at each task I’m given.  Sound pretty okay, right?  Sure, and bear with me a minute; there’s a point to this.  I’m a … [Read more...]

Religious Liberty is a Two-Edged Sword


In the early summer of 1844, a series of riots broke out in Philadelphia leading to 32 deaths, more than a hundred injuries, and the burning of dozens of homes and public buildings. The reason these riots broke out wasn’t hunger or political oppression or previous acts of violence. No, the reason these riots occurred was that all Philadelphia schools at the time began each day with a Bible reading and one Christian group wanted their children to be allowed to read from a different version. Beca … [Read more...]

What I Learned about Atheists from God’s Not Dead


Today the movie God’s Not Dead comes out on DVD, and thousands of church leaders will dutifully run out to purchase their copies to show to their churches sometime in the coming weeks.  They will enthusiastically watch it and gush about how wonderful the film is and how beautifully it captures their faith.  Because movies like this will provide the only depiction of atheism most evangelical Christians have ever seen, these stories are powerful for them.  They reinforce all the stereotypes their p … [Read more...]