Category Archives: religion

What not to say to an atheist

by Grania The Christmas Wars are upon us again, and to mark the season of family get-togethers,  Herb Silverman has written an interesting piece at OnFaith  called Seven Things not to say to the Atheist in your Family. I’m pretty sure that many of us have heard one or more of these from well-meaning (sometimes) but concerned […]

The ghoulish and inhumane side effect of legislating for the “pro-life” position

By Grania Spingies At the beginning of the year Texas had a case of a woman being kept alive by a hospital for the sake of a fetus, even though it was against her own previously stated wishes as well as her husband’s. Eventually the court ruled to allow the machines to be turned off. […]

Sam Harris and The Very Bad Wizards

No, it’s not a new novel from Terry Pratchett. If you’re in the mood for discussion about religion, free will, morality, drugs, guilt, blame and vengeance, then you are in luck. Sam Harris joined philosopher Tamler Sommers and psychologist David Pizarro on their December 15th podcast. You can listen either on Sam’s site here or on The Very […]

The contest for ownership of Shahada

By Grania Spingies Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written an op-ed for TIME in the aftermath of the tragic and brutal siege in Australia, very worth reading for yourself. Her focus is on the Shahada, now becoming a familiar sight on television news as the white writing on a black flag waved by extremists. She points […]

Is religion good or bad for humanity?

The thesis of “New Atheist” books like The God Delusion and God is not Great is that the net effect of religion has been bad, both in ancient times and today.  Yes, the authors argue, religion has sometimes motivated people to do good things, but that is far outweighed by the misery, death, and divisiveness produced by religion since […]

My TLS review of Darwin’s Cathedral

As promised, here’s my old review of David Sloan Wilson’s book, Darwin’s Cathedral, which criticizes the theory of “cultural group selection” for the spread of religion mentioned in the last post. The full reference is below (there may be slight differences between what was published and the version I give here, which was the submitted version; I […]

Templeton has another Big Ideas piece in Slate: What’s the future of religion?

The John Templeton Foundation has formed what seems to be an unholy partnership with Slate, for Templeton’s new “Big Ideas” post, “What is the future of religion?”, although really an advertisement, comes with the Slate website imprimatur (http://www.slate.com/bigideas/what-is-the-future-of-religion) and a Slate icon on its tab. If you look closely at the top, though, you’ll see in faint letters, […]

Advance Australia Fair: the Aussies are losing their religion

This report is from a year ago (and the data go up to only 2011), but I thought I’d put it up anyway, because, although secularism is on the rise in nearly ever Western nation, but it’s particularly pronounced in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports, in a census of what looks to be nearly everyone […]

A reader describes the “high” of glossolalia and his journey to nonbelief

I got an email from a reader who had a few comments about glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”), and then his email turned into a description of his journey from belief to atheism.  Because of the possible negative repercussions of the author coming out publicly, I won’t identify him except to use the word “he”. Anyway, the name is […]

Our god vs. theirs

A New Yorker cartoon tw**ted by Massimo Pigliucci. Remind you of a certain Monty Python skit?

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