Coming Out of the Humanist Closet

Why aren’t there more open, committed humanists in the United States? Many of my acquaintances think like humanists in all important respects but shy away from having the label attached to them. As far as I can determine from the various polls that deal with religious affiliation, this is true of at least a strong minority and perhaps even a majority of the American public. These individuals may have been tagged with an affiliation to some religious denomination as children … Read on…

Faith and Evolution – The Eloquent Engineer

In June 2007 the AARP released the results of a survey where 1011 over-fifty Americans were asked about their beliefs regarding life after death, heaven and hell, religion and spirituality, spirits and ghosts, and other afterlife issues. Soon after, the AARP magazine published an article based on this survey claiming that 94% professed belief in God, 73% believed in the afterlife, 53% in the existence of spirits or ghosts, 86% in heaven and 70% in hell. These numbers surprise me. … Read on…

An Interview With Danny Cackler

Danny Cackler is a founding member of the Western Colorado Atheists in Grand Junction, CO. Recently, the group built and displayed a pro-Atheist Display in the Free Speech area of a local Grand Junction library. The display has garnered significant local attention, and has been mentioned nationally. He was interviewed this week by Marilyn Westfall of the Eloquent Atheist. Q: Danny Cackler, it’s a pleasure to catch-up with you! Several years ago, you and I were members of the Unitarian … Read on…

The “New Atheists”: Are They Saying Anything New?

From a presentation made by Marilyn Westfall at the Theatre of the Upper Arlington Library, Columbus, OH August 4, 2007. When I originally was asked to speak on this topic-”The New Atheists, Are They Saying Anything New?”-my memory went back to the time when I was a Catholic, which was at least nominally until about age 19. I recall how I wouldn’t dare to ask any priest or nun, “Are you saying anything new?” Such a question, if I were … Read on…

Ayn Rand and I – Part 3 (of Three)

This essay is a slightly revised version of a chapter from Tibor Machan’s memoir, The Man Without a Hobby (Hamilton Books, 2006). It had an earlier life as an essay in Liberty Magazine, although in a much-shortened version. IN RETROSPECT, despite my strong desire to connect with Rand and her clique, I am glad I was blackballed. I might have become a dependent as so many others did. I am glad, too, that being cut off was not so devastating … Read on…

Ayn Rand and I – Part 2 (of Three)

This essay is a slightly revised version of a chapter from Tibor Machan’s memoir, The Man Without a Hobby (Hamilton Books, 2006). It had an earlier life as an essay in Liberty Magazine, although in a much-shortened version. When I had been at Claremont McKenna College for a while and had begun writing for the student newspaper to promulgate as best I could the ideas that I picked up from Rand and found sensible, a few of us on campus … Read on…

Ayn Rand and I – Part 1 (of Three)

This essay is a slightly revised version of a chapter from Tibor Machan’s memoir, The Man Without a Hobby (Hamilton Books, 2006). It had an earlier life as an essay in Liberty Magazine, although in a much-shortened version. BECOMING AN atheist was not an easy decision to live with, at least not at first. I struggled with it for months. I had a hard time ridding myself of the habit of crossing myself when passing a church. I also felt … Read on…

Billy Graham’s Better Half

Faith is personal, if nothing else—for some a font of life, for others a wound that never closes, but bleeds mystery, fear and grief, and aches within them long after leaving. And some leave but then heal, grow stronger, and return with a power of mind to face down the fear, to glean it and find gold. This was Charles Bradley Templeton. Who remembers him? We know Billy Graham, of course, who has the grudging respect even of many who … Read on…

The Influence of Piety: Same-Sex Marriage

Nearly forty-five years after federal civil rights legislation was passed, the idea of treating people equally under the law is hardly controversial. However, sexual-oriented minorities have faced constant opposition from government officials and the people who elect and support them. Gays and Lesbians have been, and continue to be, legislated against and demonized. One may wonder why the United States lags so far behind other liberal western democracies when it comes to protecting its citizens. The answer is no doubt … Read on…

What It Means to Be Alone

As I’m sitting on the carpet stretching out my hamstrings, I’m nose-level with the litter box, and I can smell it needs changing. I just finished chasing my cat around the apartment. His pupils were dilated until they almost completely eclipsed his golden irises. Hiding under the bed now, he’s frightened witless. I often wonder if he sees me as a kind of god-like creature, sometimes loving, giving, providing. Sometimes the bearer of great incomprehensible wrath. Of course I would … Read on…