Month: December 2009

Faith and hope

Chris Hedges is one of the political writers that I like. (Even though he sometimes goes over the top, and he does too much moralizing.) Here is a short description of his faith, from his book American Fascists, bashing the religious right: God is inscrutable, mysterious and unknowable. We do not understand what life is Faith and hope

Morality Without God

In Morality Without God, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues against the popular belief that without acknowledgment of God, morality would collapse. He elaborates a form of godless morality centered on avoiding harm, points out that nonbelieving individuals are typically decent people and that secular societies do not collapse into anarchy. He also shows how religious foundations for Morality Without God

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Christmas. It’s all about childhood associations, naturally. The tree, the presents— growing up in Turkey, it was pleasant American holiday within my family. There was nothing religious about it. Every December, books about Santa, reindeer, and baby Jesus would come out along Merry Christmas

December fracas

Every December in the US, we get to read news about conflicts over religious displays in public spaces. Some local governments negotiate the conflict by disallowing all religious displays on public grounds. After all, that just invites lawsuits. But that kind of decision itself can come under fire, particularly if the decision was in response December fracas

Fatwas about atheists

Just for fun, excerpts from two conservative Muslim fatwas (scholarly/legal opinions) about atheists. Why an atheist being a good person does not make sense: Whoever denies the Creator or refuses to worship Him, or joins others in worship with Him, deserves the most severe punishment, because for a man to deny his Creator, or refuse Fatwas about atheists


Our School of Science and Math has a tradition of holding a pot luck lunch in one of the larger biology teaching labs every “reading day” in the middle of finals week. It’s a decent social event, and all faculty and staff are invited. I used to go most of the time, though after dropping Etiquette

Christians against human rights

Muslim countries are notorious for their limited conception of human rights. But conservative Christian Uganda is now about to put in a very Old Testament approach to homosexuality into law, possibly including a death penalty. Humans rights agreements are no barrier. In a interview with the Guardian, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of state for Christians against human rights

A quantum mechanical proof of the existence of the Christian God

It is well known, especially to those of us who live in California, that quantum mechanics proves that we live in a fundamentally spiritual reality. This, however, is weak tea. Quantum mechanics—the most fundamental description of physical reality we have—can give us an even better focused glimpse of the fundamental Cause behind physical existence. We A quantum mechanical proof of the existence of the Christian God

New Age America

A Pew Forum survey provides a very mixed picture of the US religious landscape. As with most human populations, Americans are besotted with supernatural beliefs. But the current picture is also one that would make a conventional monotheist uncomfortable. Increasing numbers of Americans hold a mishmash of spiritual beliefs. More and more, a hybrid, almost New Age America

The millet system

I’m used to nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, particularly among religious and conservative circles. Nationalists like the “Turks carrying forth the banner of Islam” bit; the religious like to think of the Empire as a time when Islam was properly dominant. The funny thing is, I run into praise for the Ottoman Empire’s The millet system