January 15, 2020

At some point in recent Western history, the God idea became ‘simply incredible’ on the face of it for many educated people and indifference to God became the norm. Sociologists, psychologists and religious scholars have pondered, pondered and pondered the reasons why so many modern Westerners abandoned belief in God.  But there’s one reason academics did not espy. The God idea was itself a cause of incredulity among the educated classes: the anthropomorphic, emotion-laden, easily irritated, reliably biased, male God,… Read more

January 9, 2020

Ancient Christians made a claim that everything true and beautiful and lovely and humane in Greco-Roman paganism was really Christian. Christians nowadays speak of the anonymous Christian, meaning those Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Jains and atheists who through personal excellence become honorary Christians,  even though the honourees refuse every syllable of Christian belief. Anyone in any religion can perform this maneuver.  An especially good Christian can be called an anonymous and honorary Jew, anonymous and honorary… Read more

December 21, 2019

The 63-year-old Evangelical magazine ‘Christianity Today’ recommends that Trump be removed from office because, in the words of its editorial: “None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.” The 58-year-old Ralph Reed,  an Evangelical political consultant,  opposes ‘Christianity Today’ and continues to enfold Trump in pious arms. I once had a bit of respect for Ralph Reed.  I introduced myself to him briefly in an elevator… Read more

December 14, 2019

All recipients of admiration, all persons esteemed, all venerated lovers—get a taste for what it feels like to be worshipped.  Nothing elevates the mood better.  You can skip through a day of a hundred and one trials when you know someone somewhere adores you. And adoring someone else is almost as pleasant as being adored.  Having an object of regard to lavish one’s praises upon lifts the mood.  It’s a giddy thing to pen a poem to your lover’s eyebrow…. Read more

December 9, 2019

There’s scriptural proof that the Evangelical Elect are deceived in Trump: False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even the Elect. That’s Jesus, cited in Matthew 24:24, addressing our own day.  We have Evangelical preachers and Republican politicians falsely claiming that Mr. Trump is the  ‘Chosen One’  for America. Evangelicals actually declare that God dotes on a guy who boastfully ornaments his own resume with the following nicknames and… Read more

December 5, 2019

Hatred shares some heredity with anger and anger is one of the seven deadly sins.  Religious morality recoils from anger, and from hatred.  So what are we to do at this moment when many of America’s religious citizens hate the President? Let us perform an anatomy of hatred by reviewing eight questions put to various religious haters of the President.  Here are the questions and here are the haters’ answers: 1. Has the Object of hatred really said or done… Read more

December 3, 2019

In the sixteenth century, the good-looking Italian cosmologist Giordano Bruno published his opinion that the universe consisted of infinite solar systems with infinite habitable planets housing an infinite array of beings. To his mind, as a devout Christian, an infinite God could conjure these things in a day and a half of creative labor and thereafter manage the menagerie for His entire life. But the notion of extra-earth beings did not align perfectly with the reigning Christian orthodoxy of sixteenth-century… Read more

November 23, 2019

Words and concepts in many religions suggest humanity does not operate with free choices: Karma Qadr Ming Yuanfen Fate Destiny Providence Determinism Predestination Can there be any such thing as total free choice?  No. We must accept that nothing is or can be unhinged from causal sequence: every event has its antecedent cause, however murky.  This means that the cause determined the event, or at least limited the range of choices leading up to the event, thus limiting freedom. No… Read more

November 16, 2019

All morality is Humanistic. Religion has been a key historical vehicle for promoting morality.  But morality has had nothing other than a human source,  never an otherworldly source. As Humanists like to say,  no God ever gave humanity a moral rule;  humans thought up the moral rules.  And the font of morality is biology,  not theology. Darwin espied the origin of morality in the fact that Natural Selection bequeathed to most species a healthy dose of inhibitions.  Successful species are… Read more

November 3, 2019

When it comes to hair and the religions: different strokes for different folks. For most religions, long, well-kept hair signifies full-bodied sexuality, and given the ambivalent relation between holiness and sexuality, it stands to reason that the religions would proffer certain dulling arrangements for hair. Here is a selection of holy hairstyles for men: For some sects of Hinduism and for Rastafarianism, long, unkempt dreadlocks signify stout spirituality. For some sects of Buddhism, long hair that is tightly wound into… Read more

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