The Humanist Advocate

BOOK REVIEW: Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment

by Phil Zuckerman Is it possible to live a good, moral life and not be religious? Of course, it is, claims the author of this book! Phil Zuckerman spent a year living in Denmark with jaunts over to nearby Sweden to interview hundreds of Scandinavians about their religious beliefs. What he discovered first and foremost is that the Scandinavians view religion as a private matter. What one personally believes about god and religion has absolutely no impact on other people’s…

BOOK REVIEW: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

by Sam Harris All in all, I enjoyed this book. Some parts got very philosophical, so I really had to slow down, sometimes re-reading a paragraph, or even a page or two! The best chapter in the book is “What’s Wrong With Islam?” The chapter went into great depth trying to explain the history of Islam and what it’s trying to achieve in this 21st century. It helped me better understand the clash between Islam and the modern world. The…

BOOK REVIEW: Battle for the Mind: A Subtle Warfare

by Tim LaHaye Many NOSHA members will recognize Tim LaHaye as the (in)famous co-author of the Left Behind series, more than a dozen works of speculative fiction about what might happen on earth between the Rapture and the Second Coming. Fewer of us may be aware that LaHaye is also a prolific writer of non-fiction with a Christian bent. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a course in the anthropology of Magic, Witchcraft and Religion, and in an effort…

Finally,,,,Some Sanity for Anne!

Recently vampire author and spiritually “determined” Anne Rice revealed that she is giving up on Christianity: “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian … It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.” Thankfully, for those of us who have really liked her books (before her transformation), seductive characters…

BOOK REVIEW: Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists

by Dan Barker Dan Barker is a wonderful writer, and writes in such a clear and very comprehensible manner … and he is often funny! He was a “You need to come to Jesus!” evangelical preacher for 19 years, so he knows the arguments religionists use to defend everything from “The Bible is the word of God” to “Atheists are immoral and have no meaning in their life.” His story of how he went from blind faith as a preacher…

The F Word

It seems that we should keep this list tucked back in our memory. Don’t know much about fascism…well, let’s help you out a little. The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism(From Free Inquiry, Spring 2003)Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found fourteen defining characteristics common to each: 1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols,…

BOOK REVIEW: The Late, Great Planet Earth

By Hal Lindsey I was rummaging through the “everything must go” sale at the closing Borders store on St. Charles Ave., and stopped in my tracks when I spotted a copy of Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. I remembered reading the book – a detailed interpretation of how Christian End Times prophecy will play out – when I was a teenager. The book was cast in terms so tightly bound to the social and political tensions of 1970…

Real family values in the 21st century!

I’m very surprised that more progressive people like you aren’t talking about this. It is a huge chink in the armor of the religious right and it’s fallen into our laps with little fanfare. Let’s shout it from the rooftops! The recent article by Jonathan Rauch published in the National Journal magazine (“The Leading Weekly on Politics and Policy”) highlights research in the new book, “Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture,” written by two family law professors from George Washington University…

BOOK REVIEW: A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown

By Julia Scheeres “Drinking the Kool-Aid”: It’s a phrase probably said every hour of every day in the United States, and the flippancy sometimes makes us forget about the dark origins behind the words, in a mass suicide in the jungles of South America at a place known as Jonestown. In November 1978, Americans could not escape the photos of the dead and the charismatic Indiana preacher who led them. Much has been written over the years about Jim Jones…

BOOK REVIEW: God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens

by John F. Haught, December 2007, Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 978-0664233044 This book contains very weak arguments, if you can call what Haught wrote in this book arguments at all. He seems to keep coming back to admitting that “Faith is belief without evidence.” He has no solid reasons for convincing the reader that one should believe without any evidence. I didn’t find any logical reasons for believing without evidence, as he suggests throughout the book. Haught tries to…