Christianity insists on dependence on its god and its savior. Indeed, it demands submission to that supreme being, saying “thy will be done.” Islam is not only no different, the very word means “submission.” Both expect the believer to trust in Yahweh or Allah to provide for them and nurture them and bring meaning to their lives. The price for that nurturance, though, is utter obedience without question. One of the immediate consequences of such an attitude is vulnerability to…Continue
Is god good?
If we’re going to ask that question, the first thing that has to be established is: whose “good” are we using as a standard? If human good is to be the benchmark, then the task is relatively easy. Whatever good god recognizes, however, will introduce a degree of vagary which may be insuperable.
Regardless of which deity is supervising this reality, he/she/it cannot be said to be good by human standards in the slightest measure, and one need look no…
Just watched “The Best of Charlie Skinner” on YouTube for the umpti-umpth time. Sam Waterston’s portrayal of Charlie in the HBO series, The Newsroom, is dear to me for his alternation between avuncular father-figure and curmudgeonly news director, and I get a big kick out of him. Watching that made me think about how much I’d love to see Atlantis Cable News become a real, actual news organization, and then…Continue
That time of year is very nearly upon us, and so it is appropriate that I post this now, I suppose. I literally just learned of this through the good offices of Seth Andrews and The Thinking Atheist podcast. I do truly wish the following were words of my own invention, but they're not. About all I can do is offer them to you for your enjoyment and edification.
Along with my very best wishes for a happy and safe Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanza / Yule / Saturnalia /…
Right off the top, Interstellar is no small statement, either in time or what it attempts to say. It runs a full 169 minutes, not quite three hours, and while it might have been able to give its testimony in an edited form, I seriously doubt it would be the same film or have the same impact.
On the surface, it is what you’ve seen in the previews and trailers. Our Earth is exhausted, fatally damaged by human mistakes and natural disaster. A physicist played by Michael…
For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Deity is an ongoing series on YouTube, featuring Brian Dalton as writer, director, and star of the eponymous series. Mr. Deity is a fast-talking 21st century take on Yahweh, complete with his son, Jesse/Jesus, Larry, the omnipresent holy ghost, and adversary Lucy (fer), doing three to four minute sketches, usually riffing on various shortcomings of the bible and its god. Frequently highlighted are Mr. Deity’s cluelessness about the…Continue
On Sunday morning, 12 October, 2014, I listened to Reza Aslan as he spent three minutes saying next to nothing of consequence regarding the contretemps of a week ago between Sam Harris and Ben Affleck on Real Time with Bill Maher. Whatever Aslan wanted to accomplish with his vacuous commentary is beyond me, which doesn’t stop me from seeing it and him as being problematic as…Continue
I was watching a segment of CBS Sunday Morning today, when a segment was presented about a new Broadway production, “It’s Only a Play.” During that piece, Lesley Stahl asked the cast about the expected fortunes of this new work and what the reviews might be. The reactions of the players, whether feigned or real, bothered the hell out of me and were of the tenor of “you don’t EVER talk about that in the theater!” Eventually, there was conversation on those issues, but that the superstition…Continue
I was watching a profile piece on CBS Sunday Morning about actor Steve Bucemi a bit ago, when I heard that actor in one of his roles offer the following poignant observation:
Do you think God stays in heaven, because he too lives in fear of what he’s created?
If there were a god of any stripe who was responsible for the creation of Homo sapiens, I should think he’d be pissing his pants by now, and with good reason. Ever since Yahweh made the…
I can remember the voice of Frank Sinatra from back when I was a kid. My father wasn't quite a fan, but he had more than a couple albums which got played regularly and which I can still recall in my head when I want to. Certainly, Ol' Blue Eyes was a vocal technician of the first water. His intonation, treatment of even the simplest phrase, breath control and overall execution place him deservedly in a rarefied atmosphere shared with a scant few other artists, and that by itself is…Continue
Seth Andrews is NOT “The Thinking Atheist.” He’ll tell you this himself, and doubtless, he’s tired of disavowing that that sobriquet was in any way meant to represent him. He wanted it to be an icon to represent atheists who THINK, who have reasoned their way to the conclusion: “Religion simply does not make sense.” All the above notwithstanding, there can be no argument that Mr. Andrews is A thinking atheist, even if he isn’t THE Thinking Atheist.
As evidence to…
When we think of irrational behavior, we naturally think of human beings first, of their ability to act based on belief rather than fact, to operate without regard to their own wellbeing or that of others they are charged with caring for or some other related behavioral anomaly. However, what if there were an irrationality in the laws of physics and of nature, which allowed two percent of the world’s population to suddenly vanish, with the speed of throwing a light switch? Babies from…Continue
Saturday morning. My wife sleeps in because she can and I don’t because my sleep-in gene wigged out about 10 squares back. Feed the cats, check email, scope out what’s going on with Atheist Nexus and Car and Driver Backfires and it’s not even 7:30 yet. Okay, time for breakfast, then. A bowl of Rice Chex and a glass of OJ later and eight o’clock is still at least 15 minutes away. A quick check on YouTube tells me that not a whole lot new is going on there, but, out of somewhere in…Continue
As Matthew Greenberg alerted us yesterday, a planned exhibit - "Atheist America" - has been cancelled by the Smithsonian. To put it at its mildest, I am NOT down with that and less so that this decision was caused by threats of violence from people who would have us believe they are…Continue
Anyone here watch Grey’s Anatomy? It’s rather a scattered potpourri of mostly doctors at a fictitious Seattle hospital, playing out multiple plotlines, medical and interpersonal and too frequently with about as much reality involved as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, but that’s beside the point. There was one particularly refreshing event which occurred in the most recent episode, broadcast naught but a handful of minutes ago as this was written, between Drs. April Kepner and Jackson…Continue
During the introduction to The Unbelievers, the announcer indicated that there would be a book signing after the film and Q&A. This was at once great news and lousy news, since I had brought my copy of Krauss’ The Physics of Star Trek with that very purpose in mind, but sadly, I have nothing of Professor Dawkins to that same end (yeah, yeah, I know, shame on me :-P). Still, half a loaf is better than none and I exited the theater for the lobby and the line. Uh, boy! …Continue
The drive from Cleveland to Columbus was punctuated frequently by heavy rains, which made the trip something less than enjoyable, though the 120 miles passed without incident. Approaching the Wexner Center, there was a considerable queue of people in front of the building, waiting for the doors to open (it was over an hour to show time). I secured my car in a nearby garage and joined the line, and we chatted a bit before 6 PM arrived and we were admitted to the auditorium. I…Continue
For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” That’s the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainly draw on their own personal beliefs.
Psychological studies have found that people are…
The other day I was listening to one of Seth Andrews’ Thinking Atheist podcasts. This one was based on the subtitle of Christopher Hitchens’ masterwork, god is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything. I found myself musing about that business of poisoning, and in the process of my musings, opened an instance of Microsoft Word and began committing my thoughts to bits and bytes. The following are my thoughts on the matter:
Religion poisons everything in the same way…
I would think that, at some point or other in our arcs toward or in atheism, a good number of us have seen the following quote:
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
That quote was on my mind this morning, to the point where I Googled it and found via Wikiquote that it was part of a larger statement made by Voltaire. While the brief quote above is a powerful and disturbing statement, it is like many things…