W(h)ither Europe?

Lately there has been a line of social science research that has been very positive for the egos of secularists. This tends to point out that religious belief is correlated with social insecurity, and that a high proportion of nonbelief in societies goes together with indicators of societal health. (See, for example, Phil Zuckerman's "Is Faith Good for Us?".) Very secular societies such as those of Western and Northern Europe and Japan do much better than countries where faith is riding high; … [Read more...]

Liberal Muslims

I often complain about the scarcity and relative lack of influence of liberal Muslim groups. Nevertheless, they exist, and secularists and infidels should hope that they get stronger. They are natural allies. For example, the mission statement of the Muslim Canadian Congress expresses liberal-minded convictions that any secularist can celebrate.I point out such organizations especially because lately I have often run into the sentiment that liberal religion is merely a weak-kneed cover for more … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

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Does Islam Oppress Women?

Among secularists, Islam has a nasty reputation. And nowhere is this clearer than when the issue is the status of women. It's hard to generalize about more than a billion people who identify themselves as Muslim. Nevertheless, Muslims tend to have a patriarchal orientation. And the more observant, the more orthodox the Muslim, the greater the chances that they will adopt a traditional view of gender roles. Conservative Muslims favor female subordination in the family and the public sphere, and … [Read more...]

Scarlet A

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Council of Ex-Muslims in UK

There's an interesting group that was recently formed, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Other European countries (Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavian countries) also have such councils, formed by and appealing to secular people from Muslim backgrounds.This short speech by Maryam Namazie is particularly interesting:Such groups appear to defend an aggressive, affirmative sense of secularism. I am very sympathetic to such a view, but it perhaps works better in the context of countries such as … [Read more...]

Mother Teresa’s crisis of faith

During her life, Mother Teresa wrote numerous letters which she asked to be burned upon her death. They were not burned, but have instead been published in the book Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. These letters show that "for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever." At one point, she wrote that she had been driven to doubt the existence of God.This adds a new perspective to Christopher Hitchens' critiques of Mother Teresa for her hypocrisy in his book … [Read more...]

A Brief Comment on Mark Nowacki’s Recent Book on the KCA

When I learned in November 2006 that Prometheus Press would soon publish The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God [TKCAG] by Mark R. Nowacki, I immediately placed an order with Amazon Books. I was therefore very pleased to have finally received my copy in the first week of August of this year despite several unexplained deferments of the publication date. I had been looking forward to reading TKCAG because of my own keen interest in the KCA, as is evidenced by my article on that subject (“The K … [Read more...]