Have you ever attended a Christian funeral for someone who died an atheist? I did once, and it was the most curious mix of narrative distortion and preachy denial I had seen since…well, since the last time I had attended church, come to think of it. I suppose it could have been much worse. If they had stuck to their theological guns and remained consistent with what they said they believe, they would have all been agonizing over the loss of a friend to… Read more

The Last Jedi is a bold move to create a more grown-up Star Wars universe for an audience that has moved beyond the worship of childhood heroes. Read more

Here on the last day of the calendar year, the time has come for me to reflect on the year behind us and to sum up what it was like. You know what? It’s probably best I just don’t. It’s been a rough year. For all of us. But I did write a few things that seemed to find traction among frequenters of Godless in Dixie, so today I stop to reflect and find out which topics seemed to garner the most… Read more

Like most Southerners, I get roped into going to church from time to time for one reason or another, usually because of family. My friends on Facebook express dismay every time this happens, I suppose because they’re afraid I’ll get sucked back into the emotional manipulation of the whole Sunday morning production. I keep assuring them they have nothing to worry about because I have heard and experienced every kind of sales pitch and performance the church has to offer. The whole thing… Read more

Earlier this week, the virtual community to which I belong was devastated to learn that one of our own had taken the life of his wife, Jennifer Smith, followed by taking his own life, leaving behind four children (three of whom are pictured below). The next few weeks and months will be difficult for them, but every kind of help we can provide will go toward helping them cope with their loss. Family of the victims have set up a GoFundMe… Read more

Christianity immortalized the seeds of its own deconstruction by putting them in the mouth of its very founder. This hit me like a ton of bricks today, and I’m not sure why I didn’t see it sooner. I was thinking again this week about the reasons why I left my faith (or rather why it left me), and it dawned on me how centrally Jesus’s own teachings factored into my deconversion. It has become cliche among atheists when asked what book… Read more

“I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” I know it must be gratifying to pull out a zinger like this from time to time, but I’m here to tell you it’s not as clever as it sounds to you. When people say this, they’re going for style over substance, and it only works on people who are already members of their tribe. It’s like a verbal hair flip meant to communicate confidence and superiority. But it’s as disingenuous… Read more

A religion editor for a national publication wrote me recently with a couple of questions for an upcoming piece, and it occurred to me that these questions recur often enough to lead me to include my responses in a post of my own for future reference. She basically had two main questions to ask, and my answers follow: What are some lessons you’ve learned after leaving the religious tradition you were raised in? (Lessons about navigating doubt, about maintaining relationships… Read more

Because I write mostly about the challenges people face upon leaving their religion, I receive a good many emails and private messages from friends who still struggle with the fear of Hell. The curious thing about this is that most of these people no longer feel they have sufficient reason to believe in God. Most of them have left the religions of their youth (or of their young adult lives), yet they still fear everlasting torment. How is that even… Read more

I think one of the most detrimental things my faith did to me, and to everyone else like me, was to convince me that things don’t have to make sense. Imagine what that would do to a person’s ability to discern fact from fiction. Imagine how this could be used to influence an entire voting bloc prone to follow instructions because they believe those who are leading them are representing The Voice of God in their lives. Just imagine. The… Read more

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