“That his heels may kick at heaven”

Some time ago, Hemant Mehta asked "Where are the atheist fiction books?" and I was kind of baffled by the question.  There may not be many books where the atheism of the characters is a major plot point, but when I was growing up, most books I read had no reference to religion at all, so I tended to assume the characters were all atheists like me.  Even in books where characters go to church, there were seldom theological influences on the plot -- the church was just a public square where c … [Read more...]

Can Lethal Resistance be Loving?

I quite enjoyed reading Logan Mehl-Laituri's Reborn on the 4th of July for the Patheos Book Club this month.  Mehl-Laituri was weakly religious, but, while serving in the US Army, he became more deeply engaged with Christianity and ultimately decided that his newfound faith was incompatible with his job shooting people.It's obviously an emotional as well as an intellectual journey for Mehl-Laituri, but since I tend to be an unfeeling reader, wishing for a little less personality and a bit … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/30/12)

--- 1 --- If you're coming here from Conversion Diary, I really recommend you take a look at a guest post series I had this week on the Mormon priesthood. After a couple news sources started reporting on Romney's priesthood and role as a bishop, and asking whether we'd be concerned if a Methodist priest or a Catholic bishop became a politician, I realized I needed more data about how Mormons think about priesthood.A college friend of mine graciously stepped in, explained what priesthood … [Read more...]

No ‘Healthy Outlet’ for Bad Habits

Remember you can vote once per day for the About.com Atheism Awards.  I'm one of five nominees for Best Atheist Blog.  More details here.This is part two of my response to Brian S. about my choice to give up free food during Lent.  The first focused on why I glommed on to Lent in the first place.  Now we're addressing the substance of the change I'm trying to make.  Brian wrote: I disagree [that the feeling of having cheated someone is a bad pleasure to cultivate], or at any rate don’t feel … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (10/14/11)

--- 1 --- I've been blogging here at Patheos for a week now, and these are my first quick takes in situ, so it seems appropos to give you all a little more of a sense of who I am outside this blog. This is probably as good a sum-up of my life as you can get: I had a lot of trouble explaining all the rules of roller derby to my language tutor since it was only my third week of ASL classes.P.S. The derby match this week was wonderful.  --- 2 --- Of course, you've all been … [Read more...]

Brokenness and Privilege

If you're not too familiar with 'privilege' or usually don't like when people use it, READ THIS FIRST. After reading my slam on “High Energy Theoretical Ethics,” Christian H of The Thinking Grounds added a much needed caveat to my pitch for virtue ethics. I said: "your time is best spent firming up your will so you can follow through on the choices you know you ought to make" and he added And looking into why we fail, above and beyond a weak will (context, context, context) and working to twe … [Read more...]

The ‘Obvious’ Consequence

 In my last two posts about Jenifer Fulwiler’s controversial piece for the National Catholic Register (“Five Catholic Teachings that Make Sense to Atheists”), I mentioned that, although I thought it was a good approach to discuss the parts of Christian theology that seem most sensible and maybe even plausible to non-Christians, I thought the choice of some examples was misguided.When I try to think of the most intuitively appealing part of Christianity, it isn’t anything like venerat … [Read more...]