January 7, 2015

Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist has a post about an atheist giving an invocation at the Chico City Council meeting in California. While I don’t really see the need for any invocations at city council meetings, if atheists are going to give one, then they should give one like this: (Image via Wikipedia Commons) Good evening Mr. Mayor,  members of the city council. I’m George Gold, Coordinator of the Butte County Coalition of Reason, and I’m President of the Atheists… Read more

January 5, 2015

(Image via pixabay) My Patheos colleague Adam Lee has a post up responding to my recent piece in The Daily Beast that argues against firebrand atheism. I appreciate his critique, and I think it’s a good thing to discuss the issue in public because hopefully it will get us closer to the truth of the matter. As I’ve said before, I don’t have anything against firebrand atheism per se—I do believe that it’s counterproductive to the goal of atheism becoming… Read more

January 4, 2015

The difference between writing articles for the popular press and writing posts for one’s own blog is that some things invariably get left out, due to editorial decisions. Most publications want pieces to be around 1,200 words or so. When I feel that my argument hasn’t been presented thoroughly in a published article, I’ll supplement it with a post here on my blog. (Image via Nic McPhee at Flickr) In article of mine that was published today at The Daily… Read more

January 1, 2015

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I do try to frequently remind myself of what’s most important to me in life. My philosophy of the New Chimera entails being “as manifold as whole,” as Nietzsche put it, as well as embracing all the vicissitudes of life in order to create out of them a coherent whole. At the beginning of each year, I remind myself of this by reading Nietzsche’s words about “amor fati,” or the love of… Read more

December 31, 2014

I know I said that I would be criticizing another prominent Christian (Donald Miller), but I realized that the project wouldn’t really be that much different than the first one. Besides, there seems to be a fairly vigorous discussion going on in the first one. Also, I noticed that there’s been a lot of discussion in that first post about the merits and demerits of the arguments themselves. It wasn’t my intention to present a knockdown—or even a rigorous—critique of… Read more

December 28, 2014

In my previous post, I said I would be criticizing the beliefs of Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. My criticisms will be largely based on what’s he’s said about himself and his beliefs in his book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. (Image via Wikipedia Commons) A blog really isn’t the proper forum to address all the issues in the book, so I will limit myself to what I think are the… Read more

December 27, 2014

I’ve been spending a lot of time criticizing firebrand atheists for what I perceive to be counterproductive tactics. As I’ve said before, I believe that criticism of religious beliefs, texts, and practices is essential. My concern is that firebrand atheism all too often alienates religious believers through implicit or explicit ridicule. An example is when American Atheists president David Silverman defines firebrand atheism at a Secular Student Alliance meeting: Early on, he says, “I’m not attacking humans, I’m attacking those… Read more

December 25, 2014

Salon has an excerpt of Phil Zuckerman’s book Living the Secular Life. In it, Zuckerman lists several reasons why American society has become more secular: Backlash against the Religious Right The Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandal Increase of women in the labor force The unholy alliance of religion and Right Wing politics The ubiquity of the Internet Notably absent from this list is the effect of firebrand atheism. That’s not to say that the firebrand atheism of people like David… Read more

December 24, 2014

Because many of the commenters on my recent posts seem to not understand my position on the criticism of Christianity, I feel I should link to a guest post I had on Friendly Atheist back in September. There I talk about the need to criticize Christianity more so than individual Christians. In my stance I take my cue from Nietzsche when he wrote: I myself, a convicted opponent of Christianity, am far from holding the individual responsible for what is… Read more

December 22, 2014

Or rather, more evidence that firebrand atheism—even if intended to make closeted atheists feel better—has unintended and undesirable consequences. As Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist at the University of Bristol, puts it: The moment you get into situations that are emotionally charged, that are political, that are things that affect people’s fundamental beliefs — then you’ve got a serious problem. Because what might happen is that they’re going to dig in their heels… (Image via pixabay) Religious beliefs are many things,… Read more

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