The Supreme Court recently ruled that the town of Greece, N.Y. was not violating the First Amendment rights of its citizens by conducting prayers before town hall meetings. This was a 5-4 decision along political lines that no one will find surprising (hint of the day: the conservatives were the five who voted in favor of the town of Greece). The case was originally brought against the town by two women – an atheist and a Jew – who claimed that the prayers violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The reasoning given by the majority fell strongly upon two points: (1) the prayers did not constitute the “establishment of religion” as they were performed by various clergymen over the years, and (2) the prayers were being used for an acceptable ceremonial purpose...Read More
We should all be happy that a federal district court judge in Texas has struck down sections of a law that would have restricted women’s access to abortion services in that state. This is a victory for secularism, plain and simple, and its value is completely independent of abortion debate itself. Sadly, it has proven to be a temporary victory as an appeals court reinstated many of the restrictions only three days later while legal challenges are moving through the courts.Read More
It’s a little difficult for me to believe that [37G] is a year old. It’s been a productive year, with over 30 atheism/secularism-related articles and over 30 podcasts going up, along with William’s Magic: the Gathering coverage over at the Blog portion of the site. We’ve come a long way in that time, and we’ve got a lot further to go before we end up where we want to be, which makes the one-year mark a great place to reflect on what has been and what (we hope) will be.
There is a tendency for atheists to demean religious traditions as “mere mythologies”, but I think that this is an unhelpful criticism because there is something very human about the love of a mythos. We would be better served to understand that mythologies, both ancient and modern, are powerful narratives that help us describe to ourselves what it is to be human, and that very few of us (if any) are entirely free from them.
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is Christopher Hitchens’ broadside volley against religion in all of its forms. It is a grinding assault on the monolith that is religious belief, and it proceeds along three major fronts: religion has failed as an explanatory power; it has failed as a moral power; and it is an impediment to the intellectual and moral advancement of humanity. Read on for part two of this [37G] book report!Read More
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is Christopher Hitchens’ broadside volley against religion in all of its forms. It is a grinding assault on the monolith that is religious belief, and it proceeds along three major fronts: religion has failed as an explanatory power; it has failed as a moral power; and it is an impediment to the intellectual and moral advancement of humanity.Read More
I was driving home from work today when I heard an interesting blurb about some conciliatory remarks made by Pope Francis I towards homosexuals... While I am pleased that we have a man who seems grounded by humanist ideals, I am concerned. If Francis cannot fundamentally change the doctrines of the church, there is little hope that any substantive change will happen in the long-term.Read More
William and I filmed another podcast earlier this week, but this one took on a distinctly different feel from the moment we started recording. For the first time, we did not settle on a single topic, but instead briefly explored a large number of interconnected issues relevant to atheism, skepticism, secularism and philosophy... In light of this, I wanted to briefly give my thoughts on what I feel is the natural relationship between atheism, human and skepticism – how they reinforce, define, and ultimately serve one another.Read More
I have been doing my usual web-surfing over the last few weeks (crawling through some blogs, perusing Reddit, poking around YouTube, etc.) and I think that something needs to be said overtly: the argument we want to have with theists is very often not the argument they are willing or able to have.Read More
William and I discussed the intersection of skepticism and atheism (understood to include agnosticism/apatheism for my purposes here) during our last podcasting session and I felt that the topic deserved a slightly more formalized examination here. I think that the “skeptical bug” is a key motivator for many who have lost their religion and that it is a powerful tool for undermining religious authority in every sphere of inquiry.Read More