Book Review: Letter to a Christian Nation (2006)

Addressing the faithful of the US in more familiar terms
by Sam Harris
Alfred A. Knopf, 96 pages

LetterLetter to a Christian Nation follows shortly after The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, and it should be considered a humanitarian-outreach appendix to that groundbreaking work.

Among fellow naturalistic humanists, I’ve seen a resurgence of “atheist and proud” assertiveness.  I find that refreshing for many of the same reasons Sam Harris uses to suggest that atheism is not a philosophy, rather a moral testimony to one’s loyalty to reality, life, and reason:

“…atheism, is a term that should not even exist.  No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’  We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle.” — pg. 51

Harris states atheists simply want those who assert God to provide some evidence.  Moreover, we’d like some indication the dude is friendly, “given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day.” Continue reading

Movie Review: Religulous (2008)

Thanks a bunch, Bill, it needed to be said __ 8/10

ReligulousWritten by Bill Maher
Directed by Larry Charles

Bill Maher … Himself
Several: Including his sister and mother

Bill Maher: It seems, people, that this is the very spot … [Megiddo, Israel] … where a lot of Christians believe life on earth will end. The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world actually could come to an end.

Based on the trailers, I didn’t encounter anything too unexpected with Religulous: it’s a essentially a home movie about a man in the public eye, Bill Maher (comedian, political gadfly) who questions the standard Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedism (Islam)—not as a theologian or philosopher might, rather as a conscientious Joe Lunchbucket might. He starts out with his remaining family, simply sitting down in a room with his sister and mother. I believe his ancestors professed Judaism, but he was raised to believe in the Catholic religion. Continue reading

Guest Column: Reason vs. Faith

No compromise
by Ron Burcham

Light BulbThis one came my way via an email exchange Mr. Burcham had been part of. And I thought his concise and absolute statement was one of the more heroic expressions of loyalty to the human world of reason and science I had read. Right arm! How many times are we accosted by the purveyors of supernatural Jesus to buy into their Byzantine fantasies or face dire, eternal consequences? Remember Jesse Ventura’s comment in a 1999 Playboy interview: “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people…”[1] (That’s a big reason I put Jesse on my short list of national leaders who can unite the country under the Constitution and solve real problems in the real world.) — bw, editor Continue reading

Book Review: What about gods?

Children’s story on letting go of make-believe
by Chris Brockman
Review by Brian Wright

What about Gods?This marvelous little book came from a very special individual out of a milieu in the young libertarian movement in Michigan in the mid-1970s. There was a certain orthodoxy to that milieu; I remember Chris and his wife Julie seemed on the ‘free spirit’ end of the general ‘rational-libertarian’ structure of our sociology at the time.[1] Chris and Julie were always more antiwar and anticorporate than most of us in those days, and had solid secular-humanist credentials. We in the secular Objectivist-libertarian center had read and heard all the excellent intellectual refutations of the concept of God.[2] I, personally, manifested egoic arrogance in my understanding, to the point of minimizing more humane perspectives. Continue reading