Prodigal

Ex-Jesus freak turned gay stud, you still quoted from Job when, roughed up and rolled, you begged for quick healing; not that you believed a word you prayed, nor did I, both apostates, both teenaged outcasts, and I was hardly surprised when one night, bruises faded, you fled Texas without a note. Driving through Wisconsin, three a.m., you stopped to photograph a town, you wrote, was calm and white as a child’s Bethlehem. You mailed the print to me, but … Read on…

A Scientific Test of Intelligent Design

The dispute over Intelligent Design (ID) was percolating in my mind as I read an article about Paul Davies, physicist, science writer and winner of the 1995 Templeton Prize for progress in religion. Davies is a rarity: a hardheaded physical scientist with a spiritual streak, the author of about 25 popular books, including God and the New Physics, The Cosmic Blueprint, The Mind of God, The Last Three Minutes, and a new one, How to Build a Time Machine. ID … Read on…

Faith and Moral Relativism

A charge that’s often leveled at atheists is that their position encourages moral relativism. Only religion can provide us with morality or ethics that is firm and stable, the charge continues, because, after all, religion rests ethics or morality on God’s word. Yet the very opposite is the case. In America alone there are some 4200 different religions and while many differ from each other minimally, if there are but 20 doctrines that are seriously distinct in what they preach, … Read on…

The Mountain Is Mine

Big mountains make ants of men. But ever adolescent fellows, Feel their Sir Edmund rush. “Get on top of her,” rises an old chant. So intrepid mountain climbers, Legs straddling outcroppings, Pitons inserted into crevasses ascend. Until they stand on dome-shaped summits, Arms up, ape-like, the conqueror! But placidly mother mountain remains, Unaware of ant-man’s puny feat.

Secular Thanksgiving

“So, if you don’t believe in God, what do you do on Thanksgiving?” I have heard that question a few times. Over the years I have developed an answer, of course, but I have never written it down. It has served me well in those moments at mixed atheistic / theistic table when some of those gathered have looked at me to participate in the ritual thanking that believers seem to require ore even to say “grace.” It may not … Read on…

Let Our Conscience Be the Guide

The title of this essay is “Let Our Conscience Be the Guide.” Not “your conscience.” Not “Our consciences.” By using the term “Our Conscience” I want to start right off with the assertion that everybody has the same kind of conscience, it is part of our genetic inheritance, and it is something every human being is born with. It is as common to all of us as is the fact that we walk upright rather than swinging around in trees. … Read on…

An Interview With Annie Laurie Gaylor

Annie Laurie Gaylor is Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) since 2004, along with Dan Barker. She was the organization’s co-founder in 1976, when she was a college student, with her mother Anne Nicol Gaylor. The FFRF now has a program on Air America Radio, “Freethought Radio,” broadcast weekly on Saturdays.  FFRF works to protect the constitutional principle of separation of Church and State; it also educates people about nontheism. Annie Laurie is also the editor of Freethought Today, the only freethought newspaper in the United States, … Read on…

An Interview with Susan Sackett

Susan Sackett is best known as a production associate and writer for Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and as the assistant to Gene Roddenberry, with whom she worked closely until his death in 1991. She has written or co-authored 10 books, several about Star Trek, such as Letters to Star Trek, The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Inside Trek. Her other books include You Can Be a Game Show Contestant and Win (and, indeed, … Read on…

The Nature of Prayer

Prayer is ubiquitous in the religious world. It is the way in which believers reach out to their gods, almost always asking for something for themselves or others. Much has been written about this remarkable phenomenon. Believers see it as a personal connection to their god, while non-believers see it as asking for favors from an invisible fantasy man in the sky. I intend to cover ground that is somewhere between those two extremes. First, we need to objectively explore … Read on…

Alienation and Outreach

By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down. We also wept when we remembered Zion. Upon the poplar trees in the midst of her, we hung up our harps. For there those holding us captive asked us for the words of a song, And those mocking us—for rejoicing. “Sing for us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the song of Jehovah upon foreign ground? – Psalm 137 Many Evangelicals I’ve met tend to embrace Psalm 137 … Read on…