Defining Atheism, Defining Sacrilege (Series Index)

Prompted by a post by atheist blogger and agent provocateur P.Z. Myers, I started a conversation on this blog about the appropriate definition of atheism.  Since the conversation had started with P.Z. Myers, sooner or later it wound around to his public desecration of a consecrated wafer in 2008.

I still think his actions were immoral and highly inappropriate, but many of the atheist commenters here disagreed.  You can read through all posts on this topic below, and be sure to pay special attention to the comment threads!


  1. Points (for once) to P.Z. Myers – Myers went after ‘dictionary atheists’ in a talk and defended his position that atheism includes more than just a lack of belief in God.  I concur.
  2. Atheism as a Proxy Variable – Is atheism valuable as a belief in itself or is it considerably less important than the epistemology that produced it?  Should I be pleased that someone is an atheist if s/he came to that belief for shoddy reasons?
  3. My Problem with P.Z. Myers – I lay out my basic objections to P.Z. Myers destruction of the Eucharist as an act of protest
  4. Desecration Follow-up: Considering the Consequences – Ebonmuse of Daylight Atheism suggests that Myers’s actions were merited by an earlier incident.  I disagree.
  5. Is it so hard not to desecrate a Eucharist? – I explain why I think stealing and destroying a consecrated wafer is wrong, but other forms of blasphemy (drawing Muhammed, etc) are more acceptable.
  6. Debunking a Debunking – A commenter argues that Myers blasphemy disproved a tenet of Catholic theology, but I suspect that his understanding of Transubstantiation is an inadvertent straw man.
  7. Time for a Few Facts – A run down of common misunderstandings boiling in the comments section,
  8. Did Someone Say ‘Transhumanism?’ – Possibly not, but that’s where an analogy about essences and everyone’s questions about my dualism took me.
  9. Desecration as Discourse – The debate kept raging, so I kept talking.  Here’s a sum-up of my case.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."