The Catholic Church’s contemptuous attitude towards its “flock”

Christopher Hitchens once pointed out how insulting it is for religious leaders to describe themselves as “shepherds” leading a “flock,” since the metaphor which implies their followers are sheep. (Hitchens also commented that he once heard a pastor in a country where sheep were unknown refer to his followers as “swine.”) Now Adam Lee has [Read More...]

The Outsider Test for Faith And How to Take It

What follows is an excerpt from the draft book chapter I posted yesterday In chapter 1, I wrote: “If a child, say one who’d just watched Disney’s Hercules, asked me if the Greek gods are real, I’d say ‘no’ rather than hedge my bets by saying I lack a belief in them. And I don’t [Read More...]

Beta testing a book: Chapter 4: This Is What Your Religion Looks Like to Me

Here’s the link to this week’s chapter of the book I’m working on, Angry Atheists?: Why the Blacklash Against Dawkins, Harris, and the Rest Is Silly. In this chapter: How to refute your religion in three easy steps Mormonism: racism, archaeology, goofy beliefs, and more! Why you should leave the Catholic church Avoiding philosophy [Read more...]

Homophobia, racism, and the value of inexact analogies

I got quite a bit of traffic from Reddit over the weekend for my post about excuses for homophobia vs. excuses for racism, but it didn’t come from /r/atheism but from /r/lgbt. That’s great! But there was one comment in the Reddit thread complaining about “appropriationism,” linking to a post titled “Queer History vs. Black [Read More...]

Coming out as an atheist Eagle Scout

This is a story I’ve only told to a few people. I’ve been meaning to tell it in a blog post for a while, but Greta’s call for atheist coming-out stories just pushed me over the edge.  So here it goes. [Read more...]

Skeevy conference presenters and anti-harassment policies

I shot off a couple tweets on this topic, but didn’t blog about it because I didn’t think I had more than a couple tweets worth to say about it. But now I realize I do. So background: Jen made an off-hand comment at a talk about male speakers being skeevy at atheist conferences, and it [Read More...]

From the archives: Plantinga’s ontological argument, take three

Plantinga’s ontological argument is an annoying argument in that it relies heavily on jargon that’s unintelligible to the average person, including using “possible” in a somewhat unintuitive way. As a result, even though I think it’s a terrible argument, someone without training in the relevant philosophy is likely to make wrong guesses about what’s wrong with [Read More...]

What a graduate-level philosophy seminar is like

Last week’s discussion of what philosophical arguments everyone should know about gave me a lot of ideas for posts, but reading the comments, it occurred to me that there is a very big gap between me and almost all of you readers. The gap is this: even if you’ve read a good bit of philosophy, [Read More...]

Don’t make excuses for homophobia that you wouldn’t make for racism

A couple weeks ago, I came across this quote from National Organization for Marriage Against Certain People Getting Married head Maggie Gallagher: [Read more...]


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