Welcome to the Holiday Feast Edition of the Carnival of the Godless. There’s plenty for you to savor today, so pick up your dishes and utensils at the end of the buffet table and help yourself to some great food for thought.
Rev. Reed Braden presents Crisis of Faith(less), posted at Homosecular Gaytheist (and friends!). Read his post to discover what led him to say this: Even if there is a divine engineer to meet me in an old trainyard after I die, I will not let him forgive me for crimes against my fellow man. When I insult or strike a person, when I break a person’s property, when I betray a person’s trust, it’s their option to forgive me or not and it’s my obligation only to ask them for forgiveness, not a deity. No deity has the obligation or even the right to forgive me for what I’ve done to another human being.
Over at Proud Atheists, Mark presents What Would Jesus Buy? (W.W.J.B.) He observes that “Christmas in America has become a time of greed, and the ever inevitable arrogant assumption that all should celebrate by buying gifts. If you tell someone that you do not participate in gift exchanging at Christmas, they attempt to label you as cheapskate or an interplanetary alien.”
exapologist rounds up “installments on Paul Draper’s important article, “Irreducible Complexity and Darwinian Gradualism: A Reply to Michael J. Behe”, Faith and Philosophy 19:1 (2002), pp. 3-21″ in Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box: Paul Draper’s Critique, posted at Ex-Apologist.
Allen offers, for our entertainment, The Resurrection! – Adapted For The Stage, posted at The Whited Sepulchre. Readers will certainly enjoy his attempt to adapt Dan Barker’s Resurrection Challenge for the stage. To give you some perspective on the enormity of this task, read Allen’s own words about his efforts: I’ve used up 15 legal pads, two Bibles, and countless hours on the internet trying to make the pieces of this puzzle fit together.
Transplanted Lawyer presents a thoughtful piece, Fantasy and Reality: The Tragedy Of An Eager Evangelist’s Suicide, at Not A Potted Plant. TL, noting that Jesse Kilgore’s recent suicide has been tastelessly exploited as ammunition in the American Culture Wars, says, with eloquently stated sympathy, “My heart goes out to Jesse’s family and his friends. Their son, brother, and friend is gone. Worse, they must live with the fact that at the end, he fell into a deep depression and ended his own life. How frustrating for them that he did not reach out to them for the emotional support and love that they would surely have so eagerly offered him in his time of need. Most of all, what a terrible thing for his parents to have to bury their son.”
vjack warns us that Glorifying Stupidity is Bad for Society, at Atheist Revolution. He says, “I would hope that everyone would sit up and take notice when the religious community attacks education itself. Yes, religion has long been the enemy of reason, but there is something truly despicable about religiously-motivated anti-intellectualism. It reminds us that the lessons of Galileo have not stayed with humanity.”
Larry Niven brings to the table, They’re nihilists, Donny, nothing to be afraid of, posted at Rust Belt Philosophy. He offers an insightful critique of the arguments of Christian apologist William Lane Craig and comes to this conclusion: Craig displays an admirable level of skepticism in his treatment of science – we do, after all, always need someone to challenge the status quo – but he abandons it entirely when he talks about religion. This simply will not do, and it’s about time that everyone understood at least this much: that extreme skepticism or extreme credulity alone would be one thing, but switching wantonly between the two is, as the Dude would say, fucked.
lukeprog presents What Do You Mean, Common Sense Atheism? posted at Common Sense Atheism, and advises that “The best way to get believers thinking is not to explain YOUR common sense, but to use THEIR common sense.”
Leave it to Andrew Bernardin to expose The Bible Belt’s Dirty Secrets at The Evolving Mind. He tells us, “Dig beneath the surface of modern religions and you will find the more bizarre forms of which they are descendants. However, because religions evolved doesn’t mean they have progressed.”
The ever-prolific Greta Christina contributed two items to our banquet. In the first one, How Perfect Is the Universe, Anyway? posted at Greta Christina’s Blog, she offers “An argument against the idea that the laws and forces of the universe are perfectly balanced to permit life to happen… and therefore, it must have been designed by a creator to make life happen.”
Her second dish is, The Human Animal: An Atheist’s View of People and Nature, in which she ponders this question: If you don’t believe that nature was created by God for human beings; if you believe that humans are a product of evolution… what does that imply about our role in the natural world?
In Unintended Consequences, posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, Archvillain offers his unique interpretation of current events in a piece that is, in his words, “full of plausible historical notions and some guesswork on my part (along with a great many egregious shortcuts with history) … why Henry VIIIth’s inability to keep his codpiece at home could lead to a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.”
Madeleine Begun Kane posts an entertaining music video, Forget Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song, Here’s the Atheism Song, at The Satirical Political Report. The song opens with these lines:
Put away your faitheism, here comes atheism
Just because you’re secular, you shouldn’t have to risk your neckula
Atheism is, the festival of Enlightenment,
Unlike many religions, it doesn’t depend on crazy enfrightenment….
Go to Madeleine’s blog to hear the rest.
Diana Hsieh offers a frightening glimpse of what a theocratic America would look like in, Christian Law = Hell on Earth, posted at Politics without God. She posts excerpts from a blog by a “self-described right-wing Christian fanatic” and warns, “all freedom-loving people — whether Christian or not — must fight to strengthen the respect for individual rights in the American legal system. If American law is remade in the image of scripture, the result would be the worst kind of tyrannical hell on earth.”
Matthew Armstrong presents S.C.A. – Part 1 posted at Anthroslug the Much Put-Upon. He introduces this piece by saying, “After some meaningless personal drivel, the entry gets into the oddities of being a secular person working on a military base run by the finest officers that the Religious Right can provide.”
In a piece entitled, When You Haven’t Got a Clue, Call Yourself the IDEA Center! posted at Bay of Fundie, Ron Britton notifies us that, “One of the offshoots of the Discovery Institute is called the IDEA Center. Its purpose is to form a lot of little creationism clubs around the country. Just like there are local clubs for photography, single parents, off-roading, and hundreds of other lifestyles and hobbies, now there is a local club for mouth-breathers and droolers!” Read his post to learn more.
Adam H. discusses rick warren: yahweh’s sniper, at …And That’s How You Live With A Curse. He notes that Warren has “been portrayed as the ideal 21st century pastor; not a fire and brimstone type or a blinged out prosperity theology pimp, but a kinder, gentler, more moderate and tolerant sort of minister.” He goes on to say, “i predictably call bullshit. centrist and moderate christians just don’t know (or possibly really believe) their bible. otherwise they’d be fundies, and they often really are but don’t preach about hellfire because it turns most reasonable people away.”
Via vjack, Oliver brings us A Non-Believer in Church: Yellow Leaf Baptist in Oxford, posted at Mississippi Atheists. Oliver opens his story with these words: Since first seeing the Church and State billboards around Oxford, I’ve been curious as to who did this promotion work. I contacted the Lamar Sign Company and they informed me that it was the work of the Yellow Leaf Baptist Church. A group somewhat associated with this church known as the “Citizens for God and Country” is responsible for the billboards, as well as for the yard signs that say “Let’s Honor God in America again.” The group was recently highlighted in The Oxford Eagle and The Daily Mississippian. So I did what I do best: I visited this church to ask someone about their signs.
Read the rest of Oliver’s tale; I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I assume that this year, as has become tradition, you will once again be talking up the War On Christmas™. Since I am a liberal godless atheist who supports both separation of church and state and the ACLU, presumably this makes us enemies in this war.
So I thought I’d let you know how I plan to wage war on Christmas…. The overall strategy will be to secularize Christmas….”
Go and read the rest of the letter. SPOILER ALERT: he predicts that the forces of reason will defeat the forces of fear.
Doctor Biobrain presents, When Good Religion Makes Bad Science, which is posted at And Doctor Biobrain’s Response Is…. A post that opens with the words, “I really hate bad science,” promises to be good reading.
If you’ve indulged yourself with all of the delicacies offered thus far, your mind is probably stuffed. If you still need just another taste or two, though, feel free to help yourself to the items in my pantry.
Mark offers sound advice to Christians who drop in at atheist blogs with a piece entitled, Things Christians Should Know Before Talking to an Atheist, posted at Proud Atheists. Read it and judge for yourself whether he missed saying anything that needed to be said.
In a piece called, The Incredible Shrinking God, Skeptico surveys various roles played by gods throughout history and notes that they have lost some of their lustre. Go to Skeptico and see what he has to say.
That concludes today’s holiday feast; I trust that your hunger and thirst have been sated. I conclude this meal, not with a benediction, but with an invitation to submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of the godless using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.
— the chaplain