August 18, 2006

Since time immemorial, believers in a loving and just god have looked around at the world we live in, filled with toil, strife and suffering, and have pondered how to reconcile their belief with the facts at hand. The solution which most religions have adopted is to assert the existence of another world, beyond this one, to which the souls of the good will fly in order to receive their due reward. Poets and dreamers throughout history have filled their… Read more

August 16, 2006

“That most of the [kosher] laws are divine ordinances without reason given is 100 per cent the point. It is very easy not to murder people. Very easy. It is a little bit harder not to steal because one is tempted occasionally. So that is no great proof that I believe in God or am fulfilling His [sic] will. But, if He tells me not to have a cup of coffee with milk in it with my mincemeat and peaces… Read more

August 14, 2006

One of the major purposes of religion is and has always been as a way for human beings to seek knowledge about the world they could not otherwise attain. The ancient Greek oracle of Delphi, for example, is said to have foreseen the answers to supplicants’ questions while in an ecstatic trance from breathing the vapors of her cave. Comets and other unusual astronomical events were believed to be portents from God presaging events of great earthly significance such as… Read more

August 13, 2006

This month, I will be posting a new essay series that is somewhat different from the ones I have written before. Rather than a series of numbered sequels, each one following the previous in a linear fashion, this new series will be more like a branching bush, with different essays all growing out of the same central idea. That idea, as expressed by the title of this post, is “putting away childish things”. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul says… Read more

August 11, 2006

As far as most people are concerned, the 11th of August has no special significance. But atheists, freethinkers and skeptics everywhere should recognize it as a very special and significant date indeed. For on this day, we commemorate the birth of the most famous freethinker that most Americans have never heard of, the most fearless and possibly the most eloquent defender of nonbelief in our nation’s great and storied history – the illustrious Robert Green Ingersoll. Ingersoll’s name is little… Read more

August 9, 2006

Ever since the liberation of Germany by the Allied powers in World War II and the discovery of the horrific crimes committed by the Nazi regime, Adolf Hitler and his followers have become synonyms for evil in the annals of human history. As such, it is not surprising that some religious apologists have attempted to discredit atheism by linking it to the atrocities of the Nazi regime and claiming that Hitler and his followers were atheists. Here is one Christian… Read more

August 8, 2006

Time magazine recently ran an article titled “10 Questions for Katharine Jefferts Schori”, an interview with the presiding bishop-elect of the American Episcopal Church. The article contains several questions about issues of social justice and compassion, and though I do not agree with Schori’s theology, I have no disagreement with the ethical philosophy she advocates. Some notable quotes: What will be your focus as head of the U.S. church? Our focus needs to be on feeding people who go to… Read more

August 5, 2006

Almost lost in the crush of recent religion-related news, there was one important story I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss: Larry Darby, the atheist, white supremacist and Holocaust denier who ran for attorney general in Alabama and lost, announced soon thereafter that he was converting to Christianity and closing down his Atheist Law Center. He is not, however, abandoning his racist views – far from it – and recently announced his intentions to run for Congress, saying that the… Read more

August 3, 2006

The doors of the Observatory are closed, and an eager crowd has gathered before them, milling about anxiously to await the unveiling of the newest Skeptics’ Circle. Your host, Ebonmuse, steps up to a podium beside the doors and addresses the crowd thusly: “Step right up, folks, to the Daylight Atheism Museum of Superstition and Pseudoscience! Dare to plumb the most bizarre depths of the human imagination! Marvel at the fascinating beliefs cultures throughout history have dreamed up to explain… Read more

August 1, 2006

“Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes… After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called ‘The Cross and the Sword’ in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States… Read more

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