What Did the Lions Eat on Noah’s Ark?
Noah had no idea how old he really was, but since he was certainly the oldest person he knew it sometimes seemed like he must be six hundred, so that’s what he claimed as his age. Eventually he’d really come to believe that number. It’s what he told his eventual biographer. When the bad dreams …
Is God No Longer Willing to Give Tim Tebow a Hand?
Tim Tebow’s attempt to play Major League Baseball (MLB) was obstructed recently when he broke a bone in his hand while swinging a bat. An injured minor-league baseball player wouldn’t normally make national news. Tebow, however, is not a typical case. Tebow’s fame comes not from baseball but from football. His dramatic victories, combined with …
Bible Theme Parks of the Future
I’ve never been to one, but I imagine that Bible theme parks are amazing creations. Built for the glory of God and the edification of human beings, they are devoted to showing the wonders of God’s creation and teaching visitors truths from the Bible. One of the most famous of these parks—or infamous, perhaps, to …
If I’m Asked to Deliver a Prayer of Thanks
How to ensure, if asked to proffer a prayer, that one will never be so asked again.
The Only Real Question
At last we can settle whether God exists—so long as God doesn’t chicken out.
An Atheist Interviews God
Finally, the deity consents to an interview.
The Mythical Jesus Argument: What’s the Key Issue?
Yes, the evidence for the theological Christ is weak. But it simply doesn’t follow that there is no historical person behind it. Were that the case, virtually no person in the ancient world would have existed.
Jesus Is a Myth: A Rebuttal to Bill Cooke
“To imply that the supernatural and clearly nonexistent character known to us as Jesus, the son of God, was based on a real person named “Yeshua” reeks of desperation.”
Creating the Bible: Water into Wine
“I speculate as to what it must have been like for those learned men who first wrote down the legends they had gathered from many sources as they decided which ones were true and which false.”
Pluto, Limburger Cheese, and God
“It was a long journey, but we had made it all the way from Earth to Pluto to Limburger heese to God.”
The Rise of the Granfalloons: Overcoming the Stigma of Corporate Intangibility
A modest proposal to take corporate personhood to its illogical conclusion.
Humanism and Politics: Are They Separable?
“How much variety in types of politics can exist consistent with humanism?”
Looking back at a life that has moved from a dependent Catholicism to an autonomous humanism.
They Burned with Strange Lusts
A doorway conversion conversation goes other than as planned.
Letter from the Serpent
At long last, a look at the Garden of Eden story from the serpent’s perspective.
On the ‘Evils’ of Santa Claus
Santa Claus is described in many stories as knowing whether children are “naughty or nice.” This is bothersome for two reasons.
The Learnings of a Secular Humanist
The Fifteen Commandments according to one secular humanist.
Too Big for the Drama
Modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved but two hundred thousand years ago, or in about 1/18,000 (0.006 percent) of the time that Earth has existed.
My Invisible Friends
Looking for guidance in life? First, make sure you know who your friends are!
Conjectures Concerning the Creation of God
In this article, we will explore some hypotheses about the origin and attributes of an entity whose importance to earthlings ranges from contemplation every waking hour to absolutely zero impact.
Teaching Tolerance to the Texas Textbook Committee
Mainstream Texas educators and scientists have been ineffectual in persuading legislators, much less the Textbook Committee’s majority, to desist from “kidnapping” real history and science. Here, I add ridicule to try inducing objectivity.
Does God Send People to Hell?
Recently, I read a transcript of a debate on the resurrection in which the conservative Christian debater Michael Horner said the following: “God doesn’t send anyone to hell. . . . We each have the number one choice to make in our life, and that is, do we want to commence a relationship with the …
Answer to Stalin
I recently encountered a YouTube commenter who posted: “I would never rely on the words of an atheist, no matter how much of an expert he is.” Of course, I had to reply. “Why?” I wrote, “Is it simple religious bigotry, or your own ignorance about what it means to be an atheist? I suspect …
Our Christian Language
Several years ago, I held a position at Nipissing University in Canada that involved working with students to improve their writing skills. At the time, all students admitted to the publicly funded university had to take a writing competency test, and I typically used the student’s test as a starting point for our work together. …
Unreasonable Rally: Senator Tom Harkin and the Politics of Politics
“The First Amendment guarantees to each of us the right to practice the religion of our choice, or no religion at all. And let us remember, no matter how we identify ourselves, religious or nonreligious, we are all equally respected members of the American family. So, again, welcome to Washington. Welcome to the Mall. …
Mark Twain Tries-Again-to Become a Christian
I’m Mark Twain. Those of you who may have heard of me probably know that I was buried in 1910, and not prematurely. I can’t blame them; I was dead. You may be wondering why this old man has come back to life. Oh, I know I’m supposed to wait until Jesus’s second coming. But …
The Meaning of the Message Hits Home
On July 24, 2011, my home state of New York became the sixth—and by far the largest—state to legalize same-sex marriage. The historic bill, called the Marriage Equality Act, was approved by a 33–29 vote in the State Senate amid a whirlwind of drama. After passing the State Assembly (as it did in 2007 and …
Humanism? What’s That?
I was about to leave work for a few days to attend a humanist conference. I was standing around the watercooler talking with a coworker who asked, “So where are you going?” “To a conference,” I answered. “On what?” she asked. “Humanism,” I replied. “What’s that?” she asked. I thought I was ready for this …
A Revolutionary Syllogism
Some politically minded Christians, having scoured the American Constitution and found neither the word God nor the word of God, have settled on the reference to a “ Creator” that appears in the Declaration of Independence as a wedge to drive home their larger point that the United States is a Christian nation. These Christians …
The Paragraph I Wish Sam Harris Would Write
Say you are a religious believer and you’ve just read The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris. Let’s further say that you are persuaded by Harris’s characteristic clarity and forceful writing that there are right and wrong scientific answers in moral decision-making and that there are scientifically demonstrable better and worse ways of affecting the well-being …
Getting out of my car at the local gas station, I was greeted by a friendly “Hello.” I returned the acknowledgment with an equally friendly reply. Without another thought, I began the steps required to fill my tank. Once the gas was flowing, I tightened my coat and leaned back against my car. “How are …
They Say Merry Christmas–and You Say . . .?
Christmas is a perennial problem for secularists: the tender sensibilities of the Christian majority are grievously offended by neutral phrases like “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings,” yet the same majoritarians seem unmoved by the nonreligious minority’s reciprocal displeasure with the obsessively repeated “Merry Christmas.” It’s been a long time since this country’s population could be …
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Amateurs
Cognitive behavioral therapy is now a worthy replacement for psychoanalysis. It didn’t come into use until long after I received my medical training. But lately, I have gained some insig ht into how it works—and realized that in my sixty years of general medical practice, I had been applying the technique without knowing it! By …
How to Defend the Ban on Gay Marriage: Advice for Believers
There are times when proper Christians simply can’t avoid interacting with homosexuals. For instance, if you decide to redecorate your home or hire a consultant for your daughter’s wedding, chances are good that you will be dealing with a gay man. If you are pulled over by a female police officer, don’t be surprised if …
The Importance of Definitions
Much of logic deals with definitions. If a dialogue is to proceed, all parties must agree on the terms being discussed. These simple ground rules are too often ignored in the discourse of the mainstream media, fomenting confusion. For the purposes of this article, I would like to clarify two oft-used terms: religious extremist and …
On the Policing of Genetic Porn
In February of 2006, I consented to have my cheek swabbed, my finger pricked, and my picture taken. The scientific study in which I was participating, “The Genetics of Human Pigmentation, Ancestry, and Facial Features,” was somewhat unusual in that each participant would later be provided with his or her own genetic ancestry results and …
Why does God have an initial capital letter? Aside from the fatuity of recognizing the supposed ultimate force in the universe by a linguistic convention, past the absurdity of feeding the vanity of the most mighty and least needy of vanity, why provide God with the same artifactual honor as Parcheesi, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the …
The Ten Commandments of Evangelical Capitalism
A Challenge to the Fairness Principle of Secular Humanism In “The Principles of Fairness: Progressive Taxation” (Free Inquiry, October/November 2006) Paul Kurtz presented the most convincing ethical argument I have ever read in opposition to current U.S. government income and wealth tax-policies, both of which are becoming increasingly regressive. As a professional sociologist (now retired), …
Atheists: Necessarily Arrogant?
In the spring of 2007, I attended a banquet at the University of Toronto honoring student and community leaders. A few days previously, I had been physically assaulted on campus while putting up posters for a speech by physicist Victor Stenger, making me something of a local atheist celebrity. So it was no surprise when, …
It is, I think, time we dealt with miracles. Once we posit an all-powerful Being, then miracles follow naturally; they’re only to be expected. Indeed, their absence would trouble us. It would be unnatural, and therefore something of a miracle, if miracles did not occur, one after the other or perhaps several strung together in …