The Humanist Advocate

Got Hate?

The second in a series reviewing Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray (Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2018.) If, said I, it is sweet to refuse to do good, it must be heavenly to do evil.   “The Dark Divinity of Nature” The writings of Dontien Alphones Francois, Marquis de Sade, from whose name we are indebted to as the origin of English words such as sadism, sadistic, and sado-masochism are filled with “descriptions of orgies….which feature highly ritualized fantasies of…

A Trump-ed Up Case Against Immigration

Far-right English conservative, Douglas Murray, released a highly controversial book in 2017 called The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, identity, Islam (Bloomsbury Continuum, London). The book was written amid the European refugee crisis that caused a political turmoil in the aging continent—a crisis that highlighted the rise of contemporary right-wing populism. Murray describes himself as a Christian atheist (a non-doctrinal atheist with “Christian” values), a neoconservative, and an openly gay activist. Murray has accused the European Union establishment for promoting…

From the Dead God Files

“On Angels” by Donald Barthelme   The death of God left the angels in a strange position. They were overtaken suddenly by a fundamental question. One can attempt to imagine the moment. How did they look at the  instant the question invaded them, flooding the angelic consciousness, taking hold with terrifying force? The question was,”What are angels?” New to questioning, unaccustomed to terror, unskilled in aloneness, the angels (we assume) fell into despair. The question of what angels “are” has a considerable history….

What Type are You?

  Anyone who has been interested in atheism (or agnosticism, humanism, or freethought) for any length of time has probably run into this seeming non sequitur: atheism is just another religion, which is usually quickly brushed off, at least to one’s self (cognitive dissonance, you know). But can it honestly be dismissed that easily, even to one’s own way of thinking? It might not  be as easily dismissed if you are discussing the topic with another, however, especially someone with…

Can Secularism Break the Spell of Religion in Politics?

  It is widely accepted among historians that the foundational doctrine of laws of the United States government is secular and not religious. This might seem perplexing to someone who follows contemporary American politics. In fact, religion has been the major driving force in America’s modern history, especially in right-wing politics. Is it a conflicting identity that America has been known for? Or is it just the result of the sacred freedom of speech that is guaranteed by the First…

Enough to Go Around

It can be natural  for an non-theist to experience fleeting hints, or even weightier thoughts relating to some personal responsibility or even guilt after events of murderous brutality at places of religious worship such as the latest at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After all, we are organized around the idea that religions are regressive superstitions and have proved to be not very good fulfilling the role as a fundamental principle for directing the activity of improving…

Evangelicals: Then and Now

It’s easy to get the impression (especially for those of us in the secular humanist community) that the long-term trend of dwindling congregations in mainline Protestant churches is being compensated by increasing attendance in evangelical Protestant churches. If not matched person for person, at least as notable in the increasing volume coming from the arrogant snake-oil-selling leaders.  Historically, fundamentalist evangelicals began to assert themselves into the cultural wars and political debate in the early 1970s, mostly coming from a reaction…

When Charity Falls Short

In the August 26th edition of the TheHumanist.com, author Brody Armstrong brings up some interesting points about a current topic usually at, or near the top of everyone’s “Most Concerned About” list when pollsters send out its routine queries under that heading: health care. What differentiates Armstrong’s short analysis is the role social media, specifically the way the fundraising-for-profit GoFundMe app and others like it have worked themselves into the conversation about the current healthcare crisis.   “Why GoFundMe Isn’t the…

The Hard Truths of Scientism

—Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.     The Grand Design  Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.   —Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.   Carl Sagan   —Physical facts fix all the facts.   Alex Rosenberg   One making the claim that…