Answering Children: “Can I Draw Muhammad?”


People like the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo are the vanguards of the battle for freedom. While here at Patheos we want to host a civil friendly conversation on faith, that conversation would never take place without people bravely pushing forward the boundary of “permissible” and “acceptable” speech, people bravely breaking taboos and defiling sacred idols. I welcome our civil discussion, but I never forget that our discussion takes place next to the corpses of those who have died for our freedom to have this discussion. And that’s why you should draw Muhammad. [Read more...]

Pilgrim’s Regress: An Anti-Theist Visits a Holy Shia Shrine


Many of my friends, Muslims and atheists friendlier towards religion than me, had told me “if you just go to a holy place of worship, like Imam Reza’s shrine, you’ll see why people value religion, and your stance towards religion will be softened and you’ll understand some of its value.” So, why not and go see for myself? [Read more...]

Open-Thread: Are You an Atheist Facing Discrimination and Bullying in a Secular Country?


If you’re an atheist who has faced discrimination and/or bullying in a non-theocratic country for your atheism, please tell me, and if you want, leave a paragraph or a link to your writing below. I’m getting tired of atheists minimizing the experiences of other atheists, who tell me when I claim atheists are marginalized it’s only true about countries like Iran. [Read more...]

Guest Post: Getting Past the Cartoon of Anti-Theism


I might never call myself an anti-theist, and I know that there are stances I take which probably vary significantly from the majority of anti-theists. But this insistence on labeling all anti-theists as radicals and extremists seems wrongheaded to me and unnecessarily and unjustly puts anti-theists into a position where they can be more easily dismissed as haters, a tactic that religious people have tried to use against atheists more broadly. [Read more...]

The Armenian Genocide: Never Forget


Today is the 100th anniversary of one of the ugliest pages in history, the genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman regime. It is a duty of us to recognize this genocide as the genocide that it was, and never forget it, because recognizing the crimes of the past is the first step of building a brighter future, and acknowledging the wound is the first stage of healing. [Read more...]

What Good Atheism Has Done for This Ex-Muslim?


Atheism is freedom. Atheism does not equal critical thinking, or tolerance, or a truly liberated mind. But atheism is an opportunity, an option, a potential blank slate. To me atheism means that on this Saganian spec of dust we inhabit I find my own destination and I walk my own road and all my accomplishments and all my failures are ultimately my own, no idol is my god and no lord is my shepherd . [Read more...]

Link Roundup 4/15/2015


From Lee Kuan Yew to Manoel de Oliveira to Tomas Transtroemer, from Arya and Sansa to Neil Gaiman, from elections in UK to elections in Nigeria, from Muslims becoming jihadists to ex-Muslims being affected by their jihadi family members, this is the latest installment of link roundups. [Read more...]

Günter Grass, Giant of World Literature: 1927 – 2015


There is no doubt that Grass was a giant of literature and that he will live on forever in the pantheon of immortal classical writers with all his masterpieces, from his magnum opus The Tin Drum to his other great works. But he was more than that. He was a great moral critic of his own country and his own time, a relentless outspoken voice, and a conscience to humanity. [Read more...]

Jesus Surfs the Net


A story about Jesus and Tumblr. [Read more...]

Iran’s Sexist Women’s Day


The representative of women has absolutely no contribution of her own to history, no claim to fame but her connection to her male relatives, she was married off at nine and died at 18, did nothing but serve men and their purposes. Women’s day is named after someone who in Shiite narrative plays only a secondary role in men’s stories. [Read more...]