Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — The Trinity



From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

The New Testament informs us that Christ was the son of Joseph and the son of God, and that Mary was his mother.

How is it established that Christ was the son of God?

It is said that Joseph was told so in a dream by an angel.

But Joseph wrote nothing on that subject—said nothing so far as we know. Mary wrote nothing, said nothing. The angel that appeared to Joseph or that informed Joseph said nothing to anybody else. Neither has the Holy Ghost, the supposed father, ever said or written one word. We have received no information from the parties who could have known anything on the subject. We get all our facts from those who could not have known.

How is it possible to prove that the Holy Ghost was the father of Christ?

Who knows that such a being as the Holy Ghost ever existed?

How was it possible for Mary to know anything about the Holy Ghost?

How could Joseph know that he had been visited by an angel in a dream?

Could he know that the visitor was an angel? It all occurred in a dream and poor Joseph was asleep. What is the testimony of one who was asleep worth?

Freethinker: Doris Lessing Born On This Day In 1919…


Doris Lessing

From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1919, novelist Doris Lessing (nee Doris May Tayler) was born in Persia (now Iran) to British parents. She moved with them to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1925. Doris’ childhood, a mixture of idyllic and difficult, ended prematurely when she was sent to a convent school, where she was terrified by the nuns and their tales of sin and damnation, according to a Reader’s Guide to The Golden Notebook and Under My Skin (1995). A temporary attraction to Roman Catholic ritual was dispelled when her mother described the horrors of the Inquisition, at which point Doris “quit religion,” according to literary critic John Leonard (cited in Who’s Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith).

Doris’ formal education ended when she dropped out of an all-girls high school at age 13. She left home at 15, married at 19, and had two children before leaving her family. Doris later remarried and had a son with Gottfried Lessing. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, was published in 1949, the year she moved to London with her son. Her famed “Children of Violence” series (1951-1959) features her heroine, Martha Quest, in a series of four coming of age novels.

In 1956, Lessing was named a “prohibited alien” by Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. The Golden Notebook (1962), with heroine Anna Wulf, was hailed as an early feminist classic. Her autobiographies were published in two volumes, Under My Skin, and Walking in the Shade (1997). She has also written a series of controversial science fiction books, and continues to write fiction.

In analyzing a human propensity to dogmatism, including her own previous communist conversion, Lessing has said: ”There are certain types of people who are political out of a kind of religious reason. I think it’s fairly common among socialists: They are, in fact, God-seekers, looking for the kingdom of God on earth . . . If you don’t believe in heaven, then you believe in socialism” (The New York Times, “Doris Lessing on Feminism, Communism and ‘Space Fiction’,” July 25, 1982). She was awarded the 2007 Nobel award for Literature. D. 2013

“You’d never believe, when I was young, we genuinely believed religious wars were over. We’d say, at least it’s impossible to have a religious war now. Can you believe that? . . . I’m so afraid of religion. Its capacity for murder is terrifying.”

—-Doris Lessing interview by Harvey Blume, Boston Book Review


Why Congress needs an openly atheist member, now…




From The Hill

In 2013, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) became the first openly gay U.S. senator. It’s easy to understand why members of the LGBT community hailed this achievement as another meaningful step toward equal rights. After all, Congress is an extremely human place where the personal experiences of its members are critical to everything they do. As former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) once stated, “Each of us, as United States senators, comes to … this public place with the sum of our beliefs, our personal experience and our values, and none of us checks them at the door.” Predictably, Baldwin has been a champion for gay rights. Just last year, she introduced legislation to “amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.”

While members of Congress need not be part of a marginalized community to speak up on its behalf, the reality is that they are much more likely to do so if their lives have been personally touched by an issue. For example, former Sen. Pete Domenici, (R-N.M.) was a leading proponent of mental health while in Congress, mainly because his daughter suffered from schizophrenia. As former Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich.) said, “I think it’s possible that nothing at all would have been done by Congress if it weren’t for legislators like Domenici who were galvanized by personal experience.” The unhinged gunman who murdered the husband of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) motivated her to become the nation’s most vocal gun control advocate.

Freethinker: Friedrich Nietzsche Born On This Day In 1844…


From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1844, Friedrich Nietzsche was born in a town near Leipzig, Germany. “Fritz” was the son of a Lutheran minister who died when Friedrich was four, and the grandson of two Lutheran pastors. At age 20, he wrote his sister that one could choose consolation in faith, or pursue the truth no matter where it led. During a stint of mandatory military service, he suffered a serious chest injury. He then enrolled at the University of Leipzig, where he met and became friends with Wagner and Wagner’s wife.

The brilliant student was given his Ph.D. without an examination, and joined the faculty of the University of Basel at age 24. Working as a hospital attendant during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, Nietzsche’s health was permanently weakened when he came down with diphtheria and dysentery. His first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), was written when he was 28. It was followed by Human, All-Too-Human (1878-80), which ended his friendship with Wagner. Nietzsche resigned from his University position due to health problems.

The Baseless and Detrimental Nature of ‘Gender Roles’ Shoved Onto Our Youth…


From The Bangladeshi Humanist

“Real men don’t cry.”

“Real women should like cooking and cleaning .”

“Real men don’t show their feelings.”

“Real women always wear nice clothes.”

“Real men don’t like the color pink.”

“Real women should play with dolls, not action figures.”

“Real men play with action figures, not dolls.”

“Real women have ‘caring’ jobs such as teachers, nurses, and secretaries.”

“Real men should be in a position of authority, such as principals, doctors, and bosses.”

“Real women don’t work out physically, it makes them ugly.”

“Real men shouldn’t cry.”

“Real women don’t talk loudly or laugh too much.”

“Real men should be playing video games and enjoy violence, such as in the form of wrestling.”

“Real women don’t watch sports.”

“Real men should be buff and be adept at sports and physical tasks.”

“Real women should get married and have children.”


The perpetual collection of baseless stereotypes enforced in the domain of gender is dangerous. It’s common, it’s ubiquitous, it’s ingrained into our perception of normalcy, and it’s utilized to bring shame and discomfort when one does not conform to these standards. Undeniably, both men and women fall prey to the jaws of social ostracism on the basis of not “maintaining the image” of your gender. Men are expected to be firm and heavy-handed and authoritative. and boys are shamed and labeled “weak and un-manly” when they display emotion or sentiment. Women are anticipated to be sentimental and submissive, and are suppressed when they take interest in sports or science or typically “masculine” areas of life.

Those Seven Times Christopher Hitchens Nailed Everything…



Inhersoll: Foundations of Faith — Jehovah




From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

GOD the Father.

The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the God of the Christians.

He it was who created the Universe, who made all substance, all force, all life, from nothing. He it is who has governed and still governs the world. He has established and destroyed empires and kingdoms, despotisms and republics. He has enslaved and liberated the sons of men. He has caused the sun to rise on the good and on the evil, and his rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

This shows his goodness.

He has caused his volcanoes to devour the good and the bad, his cyclones to wreck and rend the generous and the cruel, his floods to drown the loving and the hateful, his lightning to kill the virtuous and the vicious, his famines to starve the innocent and criminal and his plagues to destroy the wise and good, the ignorant and wicked. He has allowed his enemies to imprison, to torture and to kill his friends. He has permitted blasphemers to flay his worshipers alive, to dislocate their joints upon racks, and to burn them at the stake. He has allowed men to enslave their brothers and to sell babes from the breasts of mothers.

This shows his impartiality.

The pious negro who commenced his prayer: “O thou great and unscrupulous God,” was nearer right than he knew.

Ministers ask: Is it possible for God to forgive man?

And when I think of what has been suffered—of the centuries of agony and tears, I ask: Is it possible for man to forgive God?

Faith is just pretending…


Jesus and Mo…


Freethinker: Joe Hill Born on This Day…



From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1879, union organizer, itinerant laborer, poet and songwriter Joe Hill (né Joel Hagglund) was born in Gavle, Sweden, the fourth of six children. His parents, Olaf and Margareta Katarina Hagglund, were devout Lutherans who enjoyed music immensely, filling their home with song. Hill started composing songs when he was still relatively young, and played the piano in local cafes as he got older. Only nine years old when his father died, Joe, along with his siblings, was forced to leave school and go to work in order to support his large family.

Joe worked many hard labor jobs, from rope factory to crane operator. At age 20, Hill was diagnosed with skin and joint tuberculosis. He moved to Stockholm for treatment, undergoing a series of disfiguring operations on his face and neck, incurring scars which remained for the rest of his life. His mother died of complications from a back operation when Hill was 22.

Joe and his brother, Paul, went to America, and the other children stayed in Sweden. Working various laborer jobs over the years, from the east coast to the west, Hill started his life as a union organizer, writing songs about the experiences of the working class, bringing their plight to homes across America. Songs about immigrant factory workers, homeless migratory workers and railway shopcraft workers were common themes and became a part of the International Workers of the World’s (IWW, “Wobblies”) Little Red Song Book. Hill’s songs include: “The Tramp,” “There is Power in the Union,” “Rebel Girl,” and “Casey Jones – Union Scab.” Hill’s irreverent classic, “The Preacher and the Slave” parodies the hymn, “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” and lampoons the Salvation Army (“The Starvation Army”). (See song below.)

Freethinker: Vitaly Ginzburg born on this day…



From Freedom From Religion

Born on this date in 1916 (Sept. 21 on the old Russian calendar) was Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and a father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb.

Ginzburg’s obituary in the UK Guardian called him a “vehement atheist” who strongly opposed the role of the Russian Orthodox church in state affairs after the 1991 Soviet collapse: “He protested against attempts to introduce religious lessons in schools, telling a newspaper in 2007 that ‘these Orthodox scoundrels want to lure away children’s souls.’ As a result, several Orthodox Christian groups threatened to sue him for ‘offending millions of Russian Christians.’ ”

Ginzburg was born in Moscow to Jewish parents. His father was an engineer, and his mother, who died of typhoid when he was 4, was a physician. After working as an assistant in an X-ray lab, he earned a Ph.D. in physics from Moscow State University and joined the Lebedev Institute. He and his first wife, Olga Zamsha, were married in 1937 and divorced in 1946, when he married Nina Ermakova. In 1944 Nina had been arrested for allegedly being part of a plot to kill Stalin. She was released in 1945 but was exiled to Gorki, where Ginzburg met her. The institute had been moved to Gorki during World War II.

His areas of expertise in physics included quantum theory, astrophysics and radioastronomy. Ginzburg was originally turned down to be part of the Soviet hydrogen bomb program due to his wife’s exile and his Jewish background, but later he joined a team that included Andrei Sakharov. Sakharov suggested using alternating layers of uranium and fuel in the bomb. Ginzburg suggested using lithium-6 as fuel because, when hit by neutrons, it would release tritium and helium nuclei and significant amounts of energy. He would later say that only his participation in the H-bomb project saved him from the firing squad.

Ginzburg next turned his attention to superconductivity, the ability of some materials to carry electricity without any losses due to friction. With physicist Lev Landau, he worked out equations that correctly predicted a superconductor’s tolerance for a magnetic field. Their work paved the way for Alexei Abrikosov to develop ways to achieve superconductivity despite the presence of high magnetic fields. Ginzburg and Abrikosov shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in physics with Anthony J. Leggett, who explained why helium became a superfluid when placed in a magnetic field at low temperatures. Landau, who had received a Nobel for other work, did not share in the prize because he had died. Nobels are not given posthumously.

Ginzburg was part of a group of scientists who helped bring down Trofim Lysenko, who believed that acquired physical characteristics could be inherited, a belief that impeded genetic research in Russia for decades.

In a 2007 interview for the American Institute of Physics, Ginzburg said that “to be, or not to be, religious is a fundamental human right. It is, however, a different matter if the church interferes with secular education, offering creationism as a foundation of science. . . . I am convinced that the bright future of mankind is connected with the progress of science, and I believe it is inevitable that one day religions, at least those existing now, will drop in status to no higher than that of astrology.”

He died on Nov. 8, 2009, at age 93.

I am an atheist, that is, I think nothing exists except and beyond nature. Within the limits of my, undoubtedly insufficient knowledge of the history of philosophy, I do not see in fact any difference between atheism and the pantheism of Spinoza. That is why I think that Einstein was also an atheist, because in 1929, when asked what he believed in, he answered: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who shows himself in the harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who takes care of the fate and actions of people.”

Unfortunately, in the post-Soviet time in Russia a clerical offensive has been going on, while the voice of atheists is completely stifled. That is why since 1998 I have been defending atheism in the press, and after being awarded the Nobel Prize I managed to say about that on television as well.

—-Ginzburg Autobiography, 2003, The Nobel Foundation


Sunday Song: Heretic Heart


Thanks to Bruce

By Catherine Madsen

I am a bold and a Pagan soul
A-ramblin’ through this land
I judge the world by my own lights
And I come by my own hand
And if you ask me where I learned
To live so recklessly

My skin, my bones, my Heretic heart
Are my authority

My mother was a singer of tales
My father a dreaming man
And I have swung from the dragon’s tongue
And danced on Holy Land
I’ve sung the seed up out of the ground
And the bird down from the tree

My skin, my bones, my Heretic heart
Are my authority

I once was found but now I’m gone
Away from the “Faithful Fold”
Of those who preach that holiness
Is to do as you are told
Though law and scripture, priest and prayer
Have all instructed me

My skin, my bones, my Heretic heart
Are my authority

Now they tell me Jesus loves me
But I think that he loves in vain
He must go unrequited
On me he has no claim
For the man who would command me must
(Alt: My Goddess is our Lady Moon)
Wear the horn and let me be
(Alt: Whose tides run deep in me)

My skin, my bones, my Heretic heart
Are my authority

And while I breathe this glorious air
An outlaw I’ll remain
My body will not be subdued
And I will not be “saved”
And if I cannot shout it loud
I’ll sing it secretly

My skin, my bones, my Heretic heart
Are my authority

Ingersoll: The Foundations of Faith — The New Testament



From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

BUT we have the New Testament, the sequel of the Old, in which Christians find the fulfillment of prophecies made by inspired Jews.

The New Testament vouches for the truth, the inspiration, of the Old, and if the old is false, the New cannot be true.

In the New Testament we find all that we know about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

It is claimed that the writers were divinely inspired, and that all they wrote is true.

Let us see if these writers agree.

Certainly there should be no difference about the birth of Christ. From the Christian’s point of view, nothing could have been of greater importance than that event.

Matthew says: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

“Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.”

Matthew does not tell us who these wise men were, from what country they came, to what race they belonged. He did not even know their names.

We are also informed that when Herod heard these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him; that he gathered the chief priests and asked of them where Christ should be born and they told him that he was to be born in Bethlehem.

Then Herod called the wise men and asked them when the star appeared, and told them to go to Bethlehem and report to him.

When they left Herod, the star again appeared and went before them until it stood over the place where the child was.

When they came to the child they worshiped him,—gave him gifts, and being warned by God in a dream, they went back to their own country without calling on Herod.

Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and the child into Egypt for fear of Herod.

So Joseph took Mary and the child to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.

Then Herod, finding that he was mocked by the wise men, “sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts thereof from two years old and under.”

After the death of Herod an angel again appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to take mother and child and go back to Palestine.

So he went back and dwelt in Nazareth.

Is this story true? Must we believe in the star and the wise men? Who were these wise men? From what country did they come? What interest had they in the birth of the King of the Jews? What became of them and their star?

The 10 Reasons Jesus Hasn’t Returned…



Favorite One-Liners…



Today Is International Blasphemy Rights Day…



Sarah Haider, Co-Founder of Ex-Muslims in North America, Shares Her Transition to Atheism…



From The AHA Foundation

Sarah Haider, Co-Founder of Ex-Muslims in North America, Shares Her Transition to Atheism

Sarah Haider is a Pakistani-born writer and activist who grew up in Texas. A practicing Shia Muslim throughout her childhood, Sarah gradually transitioned to atheism in her teens. In 2013, she co-founded Ex-Muslims in North America, advocating for the acceptance of religious dissidents and creating local support communities for those who have left Islam.

AHA Foundation: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your childhood, where you went
 to school, your profession?

Ms. Haider: I was born in Pakistan, but I was raised largely in Texas. After college, I moved to D.C, where I got involved in non-profits. In 2013 I co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America, and since then I’ve been working to promote acceptance of dissent and secularism in Muslim communities.

Addicted to Christianity?  Former Christians Say Yes and No…



From Valerie Tarico

A generation ago, most people—even those who were not religious—thought of religion as mostly beneficial or at least harmless. But these days opinions are more mixed—with good reason. On the political stage, conservative Christians quote chapter and verse to justify bigotries that they call religious freedom, while conservative Muslims quote chapter and verse to justify beheadings and rape that they call jihad. Both groups of true believers seem determined to turn back the clock on secularism and modernity.  Meanwhile, at the individual level, conversation has opened up about psychological harms of Christianity—everything from damaged self-esteem or stunted curiosity to sexual hang-ups to depression and anxiety to full-blown religious trauma syndrome.

Why do people persist in beliefs and practices that seem obviously false and harmful from the outside?  How do religions compel decent people to say and do things they would otherwise find troubling or worse? Why are some people more protective of their religion than even their children?

Cognitive scientists and social scientists are just starting to examine religion as a natural phenomenon. In the meantime, recovering believers must draw on analogies to describe their experience. A number of writers have suggested that religion may be addictive, at least certain variants; and some addictions treatment programs now offer recovery from toxic religion as part of their services.

A brief scan of the internet leaves little doubt that religion can be harmful to both societies and individuals, but how well does the addiction model fit?  I asked former Christians what they thought, based on their own experience. Some said the parallel between religion and addiction resonated. Others balked, and offered other analogies that more closely fit their experience. Rather than distilling their comments, I have chosen to share them in full so that readers can weigh the relevance to their own religious experiences and draw their own conclusions.

Some Say Yes

Scientific Facts Are Not Up For Debate…


climate change picture

Washington, D.C.-(9/27/16)- The Secular Coalition for America released the following statement after last night’s presidential debate.

Last night at Hofstra University, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump briefly discussed the issue of climate change. The short exchange centered around whether Donald Trump has claimed that “the concept of global warming is a hoax created by and for the Chinese.” Trump denied the allegation but the record shows that he tweeted precisely that statement and on numerous other occasions made statements expressing similar doubts about the reality of climate change. This comes less than a week after 375 concerned scientists, including 30 Nobel laureates, penned an open letter drawing attention to the serious threat posed by climate change. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has acknowledged the reality of climate change and the challenge it presents. The stark difference between the candidates on the issue was factored into their scores on the Secular Coalition’s 2016 Presidential Voter Guides.

“Our next president must be honest about the limits of their own knowledge,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “When Donald Trump disregards the scientific consensus behind climate change, he presents an approach to policy making that Americans should find deeply troubling. Science empowers us by showing us the world as it is, unfiltered by belief or ideology. We cannot craft policy first and hope that reality will conform later. This approach threatens our ability to address not only climate change but a wide range of issues where the data presented by science may be inconvenient or challenge established beliefs. It is our hope that going forward, Donald Trump will continue to be pressed on the issue of climate change and both candidates will be asked to clarify how science will factor into their decision-making when serving as president of the United States,” Decker said.

Contact: Casey Brescia,, (845)-380-6201


The Secular Coalition for America is the nation’s premier advocacy organization representing atheists, humanists, agnostics, and other nontheists. Its mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. The Secular Coalition represents 18 voting member organizations.

Ingersoll: The Foundations of Faith — The Old Testament



From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

ONE of the foundation stones of our faith is the Old Testament. If that book is not true, if its authors were unaided men, if it contains blunders and falsehoods, then that stone crumbles to dust.

The geologists demonstrated that the author of Genesis was mistaken as to the age of the world, and that the story of the universe having been created in six days, about six thousand years ago could not be true.

The theologians then took the ground that the “days” spoken of in Genesis were periods of time, epochs, six “long whiles,” and that the work of creation might have been commenced millions of years ago.

The change of days into epochs was considered by the believers of the Bible as a great triumph over the hosts of infidelity. The fact that Jehovah had ordered the Jews to keep the Sabbath, giving as a reason that he had made the world in six days and rested on the seventh, did not interfere with the acceptance of the “epoch” theory.

But there is still another question. How long has man been upon the earth?

According to the Bible, Adam was certainly the first man, and in his case the epoch theory cannot change the account. The Bible gives the age at which Adam died, and gives the generations to the flood—then to Abraham and so on, and shows that from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ it was about four thousand and four years.

According to the sacred Scriptures man has been on this earth five thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine years and no more.

Is this true?

Freethinker: H.G. Wells…




From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper’s apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an “usher,” or student teacher.

Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884, to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science. Wells earned his bachelor of science and doctor of science degrees at the University of London. After marrying his cousin, Isabel, Wells began to supplement his teaching salary with short stories and freelance articles, then books, including The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

Wells created a mild scandal when he divorced his cousin to marry one of his best students, Amy Catherine Robbins. Although his second marriage was lasting and produced two sons, Wells was an unabashed advocate of free (as opposed to “indiscriminate”) love. He continued to openly have extra-marital liaisons, most famously with Margaret Sanger, and a ten-year relationship with the author Rebecca West, who had one of his two out-of-wedlock children.

A one-time member of the Fabian Society, Wells sought active change. His 100 books included many novels, as well as nonfiction, such as A Modern Utopia (1905), The Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932). One of his booklets was Crux Ansata, An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Wells toyed briefly with the idea of a “divine will” in his book, God the Invisible King (1917), it was a temporary aberration.

Wells used his international fame to promote his favorite causes, including the prevention of war, and was received by government officials around the world. He is best-remembered as an early writer of science fiction and futurism. D. 1946.

“Indeed Christianity passes. Passes—it has gone! It has littered the beaches of life with churches, cathedrals, shrines and crucifixes, prejudices and intolerances, like the sea urchin and starfish and empty shells and lumps of stinging jelly upon the sands here after a tide. A tidal wave out of Egypt. And it has left a multitude of little wriggling theologians and confessors and apologists hopping and burrowing in the warm nutritious sand. But in the hearts of living men, what remains of it now? Doubtful scraps of Arianism. Phrases. Sentiments. Habits.”

—H.G. Wells, Experiment in Autobiography, 1934, cited by Ira D. Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, 1945


Americans have long been suspicious of Atheists. Misogyny, nativism, and racism have often been tied up in their fear…



From The Atlantic

In general, Americans do not like atheists. In studies, they say they feel coldly toward nonbelievers; it’s estimated that more than half of the population say they’d be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who didn’t believe in God.

This kind of deep-seated suspicion is a long-standing tradition in the U.S. In his new book, Village Atheists, the Washington University in St. Louis professor Leigh Eric Schmidt writes about the country’s early “infidels”—one of many fraught terms nonbelievers have used to describe themselves in history—and the conflicts they went through. While the history of atheists is often told as a grand tale of battling ideas, Schmidt set out to tell stories of “mundane materiality,” chronicling the lived experiences of atheists and freethinkers in 19th- and 20th-century America.

His findings both confirm and challenge stereotypes around atheists today. While it’s true that the number of nonbelievers is the United States is growing, it’s still small—roughly 3 percent of U.S. adults self-identify as atheists. And while more and more Americans say they’re not part of any particular religion, they’ve historically been in good company: At the end of the 19th century, Schmidt estimated, around a tenth of Americans may have been unaffiliated from any church or religious institution.

How a new form of atheism can combat jihadists who wish to end the world…



From Time

The world isn’t ending, but we face a tremendous problem from people who believe it is. The beliefs of many radicals have become increasingly apocalyptic over the past decade. They’re convinced the end of the world is imminent and that they have a special role in bringing it about. Whether or not you’re interested in the apocalypse, terrorists who believe it’s coming are interested in you.

Solutions are hard to come by. But there is a way to counter extremism that’s potentially as effective as it is unpopular. It’s a social and intellectual strategy that aims to undermine the religious beliefs that motivate jihadists—and one of the most controversial set of ideas to emerge in the West in the last quarter century: New Atheism.

New Atheism emerged in direct response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks executed by al-Qaeda, which demonstrated that acting upon certain religious beliefs could lead to catastrophe. The movement offered a heretofore unwelcomed perspective: That every religion has negative consequences, and that even religious moderates contribute to the problem because, by affirming that faith is a legitimate reason to hold beliefs, they enable religious extremists.

Happy Birthday to Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi Freethinker Slaughtered for His Atheism…





From Adi Chowdhury
The Bangladeshi Humanist 

“Our aim is to build a society which will not be bound by the dictates of arbitrary authority, comfortable superstition, stifling tradition, or suffocating orthodoxy but would rather be based on reason, compassion, humanity, equality and science.”

— Avijit Roy

Tomorrow [Sept 12] marks the 45th birthday of Avijit Roy, an icon of freethinking and secular humanism, as well as a victim of the toxic atmosphere of religious fundamentalism suffusing Bangladesh.

Avijit Roy was not simply a prolific writer. He was not simply the man behind the renowned book The Virus of Faith. He was not simply a prolific activist. He was not simply a coordinator of international protests. He was not simply an atheist, not simply a science enthusiast, not simply a humanist, not simply a blogger.

Avijit Roy was a fighter. He was a fighter, relentless against the oppressive forces of superstition and dogma closing in around him, suffocating society, poisoning minds, mangling thoughts. He was a fighter against those maligning the most valuable of human virtues–reason, science, and compassion. He was a fighter against those peddling pseudoscience. He was a fighter against those suppressing skepticism and promoting the vice of blind faith. He was a fighter against those promulgating baseless myths and bronze-age ethical values.

He was a martyr as well. He was slaughtered outside a bookstore by Islamic fundamentalists on the charge of blasphemy and criticism of Islam. His wife Rafida Ahmed, also injured and traumatized during the attack (but who fortunately survived), lamented that “criticizing Islam is becoming a very big crime — a sin — in Bangladesh.”

Indeed, a sin that can get you killed–criticizing religion.



Roy stood tall in a world plagued by superstition and religious dogma. He perpetrated himself as a looming tower of advocacy and activism for reason. He proved himself to be a formidable adversary of myths and pseudoscience. He refused to submit to the authoritarian figure of religion, shrouded in darkness and silencing those daring to speak out. His knees did not buckle even as he found himself entwined in the poisonous social atmosphere that fearfully upholds superstitious religious tradition and lends reverence to unreason.

My thoughts on this great, iconic man can be found in my writing published on Roy’s own blog, Mukto-Mona. Here is my article from the blog:  The Legacy of a Martyred Freethinker.

The following excerpts have been taken from my writing mentioned above:

Freethinker: Some Reasons Why…




From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

I. RELIGION makes enemies instead of friends. That one word, “religion,” covers all the horizon of memory with visions of war, of outrage, of persecution, of tyranny, and death. That one word brings to the mind every instrument with which man has tortured man. In that one word are all the fagots and flames and dungeons of the past, and in that word is the infinite and eternal hell of the future.

In the name of universal benevolence Christians have hated their fellow-men. Although they have been preaching universal love, the Christian nations are the warlike nations of the world. The most destructive weapons of war have been invented by Christians. The musket, the revolver, the rifled canon, the bombshell, the torpedo, the explosive bullet, have been invented by Christian brains.

Above all other arts, the Christian world has placed the art of war.

A Christian nation has never had the slightest respect for the rights of barbarians; neither has any Christian sect any respect for the rights of other sects. Anciently, the sects discussed with fire and sword, and even now, something happens almost every day to show that the old spirit that was in the Inquisition still slumbers in the Christian breast.

Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God, holds other people in contempt.

Sunday Song: Monty Python — Every Sperm Is Sacred


Thanks to Bruce

There are Jews in the world there are Buddhists
There are Hindus and Mormons, and then
There are those that follow Mohammed, but
I’ve never been one of them

I’m a Roman Catholic
And have been since before I was born
And the one thing they say about Catholics is
They’ll take you as soon as you’re warm

You don’t have to be a six-footer
You don’t have to have a great brain
You don’t have to have any clothes on you’re
A Catholic the moment Dad came

Because every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can’t be found

Every sperm is wanted
Every sperm is good
Every sperm is needed
In your neighborhood

Hindu, Taoist, Mormon
Spill theirs just anywhere
But God loves those who treat their
Semen with more care

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is good
Every sperm is needed
In your neighborhood

Every sperm is useful
Every sperm is fine
God needs everybody’s
Mine and mine and mine

Let the pagan spill theirs
Over mountain, hill, and plain
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that’s spilt in vain

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is good
Every sperm is needed
In your neighborhood

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate