Atheist web site blocked in Turkey

A Turkish-language atheist web site has been rendered inaccessible to Turkish readers, due to a court order obtained by a leading Muslim creationist movement. I've received a plea for help, in the form of protests against Turkish institutions. The full text of the plea has also been posted on a blog page.Here are some highlights:Ateizm.org, the most prominent non-profit Turkish web site on atheism and religions was closed for the second time in December 2007, under orders from a Turkish court. … [Read more...]

Catholicism and science

Catholicism is interesting in the way it can be such a big tent. Protestants go their separate ways when they disagree, which I guess gives them some clarity at the expense of unity. But especially the way Catholics respond to science in so many different ways is fascinating.There are plenty of Catholic conservatives who strenuously oppose a modern scientific picture of reality. Many conservative Catholics reliably support distortions of science that promise to restore a God-centered view of the … [Read more...]

Moral certitude in politics

Religious studies professor Ira Chernus has an interesting article, "Is Religion a Threat to Democracy?," in which he says:In itself, faith in politics poses no great danger to democracy as long as the debates are really about policies -- and religious values are translated into political values, articulated in ways that can be rationally debated by people who don't share them. The challenge is not to get religion out of politics. It's to get the quest for certitude out of politics.He also says … [Read more...]

The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality

I recently noticed, on the new books stand in a Borders bookstore, a small book called The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality. By French philosopher André Comte-Sponville, it looked like a user-friendly popular book designed to cash in on the improbable success of some recent atheist books. Indeed, I picked it up to browse, expecting to encounter something more akin to New Age "spirituality" literature—entertaining, but in an eye-rolling sort of way.It turned out to be much better, which … [Read more...]

“Teen atheist” newspaper story

I'm in Chicago at the moment, and in the Chicago Tribune, I noticed a story about a 14-year old Illinois atheist fighting a "Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act."It seems to treat nonbelief as a curiosity rather than as a menace, though there's the "lawsuit-happy infidel being a nuisance for the community" media stereotype as a subtext through the story as well. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

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Talk in Michigan

Just in case anyone is interested and can come, I'll be speaking in Grand Rapids, Michigan, next Wednesday, January 9. For more information, see the CFI Michigan website. It'll be based on Science and Nonbelief. It's also the Secular Web's Book of the Month at the moment. … [Read more...]

The Stillborn God

I recently finished Mark Lilla's intellectual history of the separation of politics and political theology in Christendom, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West. Interesting book, very illuminating in some respects. Still, I find myself ambivalent about it, overall.I thought I might write a short review to express why, but it seems Zachary Karabell, curiously enough, has written a review which I largely see eye to eye with. So read it, if you're interested... … [Read more...]


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