Letters to My Daughters


Ordinarily a father can speak freely with his children about his own faith (or lack thereof) in a fairly unguarded way.  But my situation is more complex than that.  At the beginning of my fatherhood adventure, I was essentially an evangelical Christian.  Now that my girls are entering adolescence, however, I more readily identify with secular humanism and as such I find myself in an awkward situation.  The culture in which they live is almost entirely Evangelical, and I myself am not.  To furt … [Read more...]

What Leaving My Religion Did for Me


People often ask me if my life is better now that I've left my religion.  My honest answer is that it's a mixed bag. On the negative side, I have to say that the reactions of people who liked me better when I still had faith have been at times very strong.  I usually become a target for re-evangelism for a while, but they eventually learn to quit pushing me after they realize that I've heard everything they have to say about this a thousand times.  Most people probably just decide I'm being stubb … [Read more...]

The Bible Is a Terrible Medical Textbook


Sometimes religion causes harm.I do my best to distinguish between the kinds that do and the kinds that don't, but there is an awful lot of overlap between the two.  No matter how hard I work to make my distinctions,  I usually end up angering the adherents of both kinds anyway.  It's more of a spectrum than a dichotomy, and in this spectrum all the gradations blend together so that any particular belief system can be both a blessing and a curse simultaneously.  Matters are further compli … [Read more...]

Why Even Nice Atheists Are Offensive to the Faithful


Have you discovered yet that even if you are the nicest person in the world, some people will still become angry at you for openly stating that you are an atheist?A friend reposted my review of God's Not Dead onto her Facebook wall recently because she was seeking respect and understanding among her family and friends, many of whom are devout Evangelicals.  My article was pretty non-confrontational about religion and simply laid out the ways in which I felt the movie misrepresents people l … [Read more...]

The Day an Atheist Got Interviewed at a Church in Mississippi


Last year I got the opportunity to be interviewed in a Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi for the aptly named Interview an Atheist at Church Day.  The talk went really well and the church was very warm and welcoming.  Most churches in my area would not be amenable (heh) to something like this, but this church received me with open arms.  The pastor interviewed me and allowed me the chance to explain the ways in which I feel atheists are misunderstood in our region of the country.  I really … [Read more...]

Parables of Belief: A Beautiful Mind, Watchmen, and Castaway


Just because I self-identify as an atheist doesn't mean I consider opposing all forms of religion a worthwhile use of my time. For me it depends on which species of religion we’re discussing. Personally, I've come to oppose Fundamentalism (Christian or otherwise) because I see it doing real harm in people’s lives.  Sometimes you'll notice I also lump Evangelicalism in with Christian Fundamentalism because I've come to see that it often takes the exact same beliefs and merely restates them in bigg … [Read more...]

An Atheist’s Defense of the Historicity of Jesus


I can't believe I'm feeling the need to do this, but today I'd like to write a brief defense of the historicity of Jesus.When climate change deniers want to insist that our actions have no impact on global temperatures, they display a remarkable disdain for an entire discipline populated by credentialed professionals in that field who say otherwise.  It doesn't seem to bother the deniers that they themselves have no specialization in the academic field they disparage because in any field of s … [Read more...]

Changing the Subject


Have you ever considered why Batman has to wear protective armor but Superman doesn't?  The reason is obvious, of course:  Bruce Wayne is a fragile human being while Kal-El is impervious and virtually indestructible.  One requires special protection while the other does not.  Furthermore, you can tell which areas are the most important (and the most vulnerable) by noting where the strongest armor is situated (e.g. the cranium).The same protection principle applies to scenarios in movies and v … [Read more...]

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


Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Patheos community here.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 … [Read more...]