The Hefty, Crowdsourced Syllabus

Many of the people who replied to my New Year's Challenge to change my opinions about religion proposed books I should read.  Right up my alley, I thought, until I realized how very many books you all have read and enjoyed.  I'm going to pick out six or seven to start with and commit to reading one to two a month, so I don't get overwhelmed, but that means I won't get to a lot of these. I've posted the full list here both as a reference for other atheists who might wonder what Christians … [Read more...]

Taking a Wrong Turn in the Moral Landscape

  I really, really wanted to like Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. A large proportion of my philosophical disagreements with my boyfriend and with Christians generally center on the question of whether a belief in absolute morality is compatible with atheism, so I had my fingers crossed that this book would be useful to me as a rebuttal. Alas. The problems start with Harris’s definition of science: Some people [define] “science” in … [Read more...]

Ethics Without Other People are Empty

I don’t understand ethical systems or teleology meant for humans that doesn’t talk about our relationships to other humans. That, in a nutshell, is why I hated Steve Antinoff’s Spiritual Atheism. Antinoff tries to find a way for atheists to live without God. He writes ”Spiritual atheism begins with a triple realization: that our experience of ourselves and our world leaves us ultimately dissatisfied, that our dissatisfaction is intolerable and must be broken through, and that there … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (12/3/10)

--1-- I don't always do themed 7 Takes, but, as every newspaper insert has insistently told me, Christmas shopping season is coming up, so I'd like to use this blog carnival to highlight excellent books that I have loved, in case anyone is looking for inspiration.  In normal blogging news, I'll be posting the first part of my defense of covenant marriage this afternoon (sparked by this discussion), and I'd love feedback on yesterday's post about the problem of evil. --2-- This week was a … [Read more...]

My Attempted Conversion Story

Most of the conversion stories I've read follow a general pattern: emptiness or unhappiness (even if it was only seen that way in retrospect), new exposure to a faith that not only fills the emptiness but speaks to you as though it was written just for you, a leap of faith, and a new pledged allegiance.  Mine was no different, even if it failed to take for fairly obvious reasons. I was having my typical experience at summer camp (any summer camp but CTY, that is).  The girls on my dorm … [Read more...]

All the interesting values are univeral values

I was baffled by the New York Times's article on vegan weddings that revealed many vegans opted to serve meat at their wedding receptions.  The article dwelt on the question of whether the vegans and vegitarians ought to serve meat despite their own preferences.  Guests who were not placated with meat tended to be quite upset. When Patrick Moore, a salesman from Attleboro, Mass., arrived at an old friend’s wedding in 1999 to discover nothing but vegetarian options, he made an excuse about … [Read more...]

“From dreams I proceed to facts”

  Reading Flatland changed my life The novella was published in 1884 by Edwin A. Abbott--an English schoolmaster. The novella is narrated by a square living in a two-dimensional world. One night, he is visited by a Sphere, or, rather, from his point of view, a Circle of varying diameter. The Sphere has come to explain to him that there is a dimension he knows nothing about—a dimension along a hereto unknown direction “Upwards, not Northwards.”  To help the Square … [Read more...]


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