Month: May 2009

Headscarf politics

I often have occasion to complain about the nasty politics of the religious right in the United States. Still, to keep things in perspective, I should also be grateful it’s not an Islamic religious right, and that our political culture, as corrupt as it is, is at least not a Middle Eastern political culture. Here’s Headscarf politics

Allen’s Fatuous Screed

I see that Taner has already had a crack at at Charlotte Allen’s particularly inane and virulent diatribe against atheists, but I think it deserves a bit more comment. Actually, “deserves” is not the right word, because that implies that her effusions possess respectable intellectual content, worthy of reasoned riposte. They do not. Her remarks Allen’s Fatuous Screed

“Whining atheist” stereotype

Charlotte Allen of the right-wing Manhattan Institute has an op-ed in today’s Los Angeles Times, “Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining.” (Thanks to Eddie Tabash for the heads-up.) It’s not much worthy of attention except for its airing of some common stereotypes about nonbelief the wave of “new atheism” seems to have activated. Allen “Whining atheist” stereotype

Why atheist activism?

Take a look at the most recent cartoon by Ted Rall, comparing people getting together based on nonbelief in God to “non-fans of golf com[ing] together around their common non-interest.” (I don’t know how relevant it is to the cartoon, but Rall believes in some sort of God, though he is not conventionally religious.) Rall Why atheist activism?

Not fully human? There’s a fuss going on in places like (excellent site for nonbelief-relevant news!) about this statement on BBC radio by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, that “atheists are not fully human.” I’m not sure I agree with the fuss. In the context of his religious beliefs, O’Connor’s statements are reasonable. Most theists, liberals as Not fully human?

Book on benefits of religion?

I recently got a question, asking me what book I would recommend to read up on arguments for the social and personal benefits of religion. I had to admit, I don’t know of any single book that fits the description, but it would be mildly surprising if some such book didn’t exist. There is a Book on benefits of religion?

Atheism and Naturalism

Nicholas Covington asked me to review his new book, Atheism and Naturalism. So I’ll give it a mention. It seems interesting enough. Most of the material is based on the sort of exchanges familiar from debates on various Internet venues concerning atheism and the Christian version of theism. There’s also some wandering over familiar territory Atheism and Naturalism

When secularism collapses

It’s commonplace to note that secularism and secularity are not the same worldwide. Secular politics and secular society means somewhat different things in France and the UK, never mind India or Turkey or the USA. Still, there are commonalities, and I think social scientists who speak of secularizing trends in the modern world draw a When secularism collapses