Category Archives: Religion

Articles about religion

Gay Marriage – Here We Go Again

Back in 2010, I wrote an article about California Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage. It was challenged in court, and eventually struck down on Constitutional grounds. Since then, many states have passed laws legalizing gay marriage, but the religiously motivated opposition has never given up, and now with a Republican Congress and White House, they are hoping to revisit the issue.[i] There are two facets to the gay marriage controversy. First, the legalization of same sex marriage, and second, Read more [...]

A Catholic Condom Conundrum

You’re in love.  You get married.  But you don’t want kids…at least not for awhile.  Maybe later.  Or maybe not at all.  But you definitely do not want kids now. You and your spouse are devoutly Catholic or Christian evangelical, so you are anti-abortion.  You might also be anti-contraception, but that only changes the degree of the dilemma that you face.  Because if you really don’t want kids, if having a child would be an emotional or financial disaster or a threat to your health, Read more [...]

Amazing (dis)Grace

An amazing thing happened in the 2016 election. Donald Trump’s victory was, in large part, the result of overwhelming support from the Religious Right. Trump won 81 percent of the white evangelical vote, higher than George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney. An article in the April 2017 issue of New Republic magazine asks: “How did a thrice-married biblical illiterate like Trump hijack the Religious Right?” The article, titled “Amazing Disgrace,” quotes Russell Moore, a leader of the Read more [...]

Thoughts on Mortality

If you live long enough, eventually you will experience the loss of a close friend or family member. When it happens, it is a reminder of your own mortality. I watched the widow of a close friend throw a handful of dirt on his casket last week. I had lunch with him a week before his fatal heart attack. We reminisced about old times and then he told me that he was having a stent operation in a few days. He had been experiencing chest pains on his daily walks. His cardiologist’s examination showed Read more [...]

Man’s Inhumanity to Man

Central tenets of the Christian faith include the ideas that God created everything from nothing, knows everything that can be known, and benevolently “watches over” his flock. A problem that believers have to deal with is the pesky fact that a lot of bad stuff happens, seemingly contradicting that benevolence. There are two kinds of bad things that happen: Natural disasters and Man’s inhumanity to Man. This, the second of two articles, addresses the horrible things that we inflict on each Read more [...]

Natural Disasters: Good, Evil or Whatever

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance) A logical fallacy that claims a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or vice versa. Central tenets of the Christian faith include the ideas that God created everything from nothing, knows everything that can be known, and benevolently “watches over” his flock. A problem that believers have to deal with is the pesky fact that a lot of bad stuff happens, seemingly contradicting that benevolence. This essay Read more [...]

Are Man’s Powers Divinely Gifted?

Several years ago, I participated in an online discussion about how Man had influenced the evolutionary process. The premise was that since no other animal had ever had the capability to do this, it must be the result of a gift from God. Here are some excerpts: Sy says: “I now realize that while Darwinian evolution might have been the single predominant force for change during the almost 3 billion year history of life on Earth, this is no longer true, and it is likely that it will never be true Read more [...]

A Penny Saved

"A penny saved is a penny earned” ---one form of an old proverb Growing up in a small town in Michigan in the middle of the twentieth century, I heard this proverb frequently, and it always puzzled me. In elementary school, I earned a weekly allowance by performing household chores like mowing the lawn and drying and putting away the dishes as my mother washed them. My income was a quarter a week, and I usually blew it on candy bars and “pop” as we called carbonated soft drinks back then. Read more [...]

Does Trump Have Free Will?

Free Will – do we have it? That has been the subject of many lofty dissertations by theists, philosophers, and yes, atheists like me. The consensus of most nonbelievers, one that I share, is probably not. Decisions made by the brain are based on genetic predisposition, life experiences, and sometimes one or more random inputs determined by the current environment. I shorten it to Nature, Nurture and Random (NNR). Before we tackle The Donald, let me give an example so that we are all on the same Read more [...]

Religious Persecution in the US

According to a Washington Times article, a recent survey shows that 63% of respondents to a LifeWay research survey said that persecution of Christians is increasing in the US. Could that survey be biased? On the LifeWay web site, they describe their business as follows: “LifeWay is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian resources.” That does not mean they are biased, but it makes one wonder about their sample selection. Some evangelical Christians think the so-called “War on Read more [...]

RFRA – Religious Rights vs. Civil Rights

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” --- Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution The original intent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was to relieve religious groups from criminal prosecution for religious activities that break laws, like Native American groups who use illegal hallucinogenic drugs in their ceremonies. That seemed reasonable to most people, and the RFRA passed Congress with overwhelming Read more [...]

The Creator On Trial – Part 6

Summary and Conclusions “The Case for a Creator” is quite repetitive, and I have skipped several chapters to avoid boring the reader. Many of the contributors advance the same arguments. Here are the most common ones: Natural processes cannot get “something from nothing,” but God can. This is also called the First Cause argument. A corollary states that God is eternal and was not created from nothing, but the energy and matter in the Universe are not eternal and therefore must have Read more [...]

The Creator On Trial – Part 5

Chapter 10 begins with Rene Descartes’ famous quote, “cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am.) The chapter ends with a quote by philosopher Stuart C. Hackett: “With modest apology to Descartes: Cogito, ergo Deus est! I think, therefore God is.”1 Both the author and Hackett should read Descartes’ entire quote. There are two prefacing words (when translated from the Latin) that significantly change the meaning, especially when applied to religious faith: “Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo Read more [...]

The Creator On Trial – Part 4

The Chapter 4 interviewee is Stephen Meyer, one of the founders of the Discovery Institute. Meyer states, “If it’s true that there’s a beginning to the universe…then this implies a cause that transcends the universe.” He continues, “To get life going in the first place would have required biological information; the implications point beyond the material realm to a prior intelligent cause.”  This is a slightly different twist on the First Cause argument that is often used by creationists.  Read more [...]

The Creator On Trial – Part 3

The interviews start in Chapter 3. Jonathan Wells, the interviewee for this chapter, is well-known for his attacks on evolution. Wells is a Moonie (member of the Unification Church) who says he was personally tasked by Rev. Moon to tear down the theory of evolution. He lists ten “Icons of Evolution,”1 that he claims are all false. The first “icon” that he attacks is the Miller-Urey experiment conducted in 1953 that simulated the early earth atmosphere in a flask and subjected it to continuous Read more [...]

The Creator On Trial – Part 2

The interviews in Strobel’s book, “The Case for a Creator,” are written in the form of Socratic dialogues, where Strobel takes on the role of skeptical questioner, as if he were still unconvinced of the Creator’s existence. His biography contradicts this, stating that he converted to Christianity in 1981. This book was published in 2004, so posing as a religious skeptic is disingenuous, merely a writer’s artifice to gain credibility for the arguments. His position as a Christian apologist Read more [...]

The Creator On Trial – Part 1

A Little History of Creationism in the US Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. --- Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution   Scopes Trial: Dayton, Tennessee, 1925 Sometimes called “The Scopes Monkey Trial,” John Scopes, a substitute science teacher, Read more [...]

Classical, Romantic and Bombastic

Composers have written Requiems for hundreds of years, encompassing the full range of musical composition styles, from Renaissance to contemporary and everything in between. Three that stand out for me were written by Mozart, Brahms and Verdi. I call them classical, romantic and bombastic. Now calling Verdi’s “Manzoni” Requiem bombastic is not meant to be derogatory. It’s a stunning piece of music. Verdi was an opera composer, and he liked grandiose gestures (Think “Aida”). So it is Read more [...]

Robert Ingersoll’s Creed

Robert G. Ingersoll is one of my heroes.  He confronted religious faith and showed that it was nothing more than primitive superstition.  At the end of the 19th century, he had accumulated quite a following for what he called "freethought," based on reason, logic and experience.  Sadly, he died in 1899 at 66, far too soon.  He still had much work to do, and nobody of his stature arose to take his place.  His writings, speeches and debates are collected in twelve volumes which can be found at Read more [...]

Abstinence Is Hard

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -Anonymous The author of this proverb is unknown. Some say Shakespeare, but that is questionable. Nobody really knows…and that is good, because it is nonsense. I am immensely fond of my wife, but whenever I used to go on business trips, I did not become fonder. I got horny! Substitute horny for fonder in the above proverb, and it would make more sense. But wait, it isn’t my heart that gets horny. I know enough about my anatomy to know where horniness Read more [...]