An Atheist Parent, an Evangelical Grandmother, and a Six-Year-Old Girl

On a recent visit home, my evangelical mother informed me, with horror, that my six-year-old daughter Sally doesn't know Jesus Loves Me. She tried to keep it light and almost funny, I think. I've set boundaries with her and she has generally respected them, but one thing I haven't done is told her I'm an atheist. Partly I want to preserve her peace of mind. At least this way she can imagine I'm saved. Partly I just don't know how she'll react. I think she knows, though, deep down, and is afraid t … [Read more...]


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Should Atheists Be Exempted from Airport Security Checks?

Zoltan Iztvan is running for U.S. president as the candidate for the Transhumanist party, working to "put science, health, and technology at the forefront of American politics." One of his proposals is to exempt atheists from security screening at airports. He explains as follows:As an aspiring politician, I strive to improve society by applying statistical analysis to decision making. I look at numbers and facts, and try to logically create policy that achieves the greater good for society, … [Read more...]


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God as a Mystery Our Brains Cannot Comprehend

I recently came upon this image:It’s a frightful thing – thinking you have to get God right in order to get God to love you, thinking you’re always one error away from damnation. It’s a kind of legalism, really. . . . How ironic. The very condition of humanity is to be wrong about God. The moment we figure God out, God ceases to be God. Maybe it’s time to embrace the mystery and let ourselves off the hook.  - Rachel Held EvansOn one level I understand. I like being able to embrace th … [Read more...]


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The Most Unconvincing Evidence for God Ever

I find that one way people argue for God's existence is to point to specific times they believe God has helped them. But I don't think they generally stop and think about how what they're saying sounds to someone like me, someone not also religious. Let me offer an example.Last week evangelical minister Phil Kidd posted this on his facebook:As Hemant Mehta pointed out, Phil's wife suffered a spinal injury and is in a neck brace. One has to wonder, did God not have enough arms to sh … [Read more...]


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Do Intentions Matter? On Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky

I just read a fascinating email exchange between Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky. You can read the exchange here, and commentary on it here and here.In sum, Harris refused to back down from his claim that Chomsky has never thought about the ethical import of intentions, even when Chomsky made it very clear that he has, often, for decades. But what came across extremely clearly was how differently the two feel about whether and how intentions matter.As Harris put it: Ethically speaking, in … [Read more...]


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I Have Never Seen a Supernatural Entity Create a Universe

As my regular readers will know, I don't believe in the supernatural. I don't think there is a god, or gods, or supernatural forces out there. As an atheist, I have heard the arguments for religion many times. There is one argument I find particularly annoying, because it is so completely nonsensical that I can't believe it's even used. I heard it articulated like this the other day: A Christian man whom we'll call Peter had an atheist friend named Dave who was very interested in astronomy and … [Read more...]


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Why I Take My Kids to the UU Church

Earlier this spring I spoke with my kindergarten-age daughter about holidays and stories. I explained that many different religions and cultures have holidays that celebrate spring, and that Easter is our culture's spring holiday. I also talked about the history of Easter, and the religious significance the holiday has for Christians. I explained that we as humans create stories about the world around us, and drew parallels to other religions and other cultures."Can you think of any stories w … [Read more...]


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