defaithed's blog

Thanks for your patience (a comment on comments)

I apologize to the kind readers of this site for slowness in responding to comments of late, and for possible glitches with the site itself. Some weeks ago, the site was hit with a long-running bout of crippling performance issues that I'm sure created commenting troubles or unavailable pages for many visitors. (Sorry, believers, the cause was a simple database screw-up on the part of my ISP. Not divine retribution because I blasphemed. Unless... Yahweh lashed out against my ISP because a gay couple got married somewhere?) Readeth thou more

Guns don't kill people...

True, guns don't kill people.

But bullets sure as hell do.

It's time for the US to try something other than obeying every whim of gun fetishists. It's time for laws that do a far better job of restricting gun ownership to the trained and responsible.

There's no harm in experimenting; if restriction doesn't stem the violence, the country can always revert to letting the National Rifle Association have its way. Readeth thou more

Jesus takes believer's leg (and God won't grow it back)

David Jimenez stopped daily at a 600-lb. (270-kg) crucifix outside a church in Newburgh, New York, US, praying for a cure for his wife's cancer. When her condition improved, he was so thankful he asked the church for permission to clean the neglected cross.

Jesus may have wanted more than just hosannas and a scrub, though. The poorly-attached sculpture fell over and crushed the devotee's leg, necessitating amputation. Readeth thou more

"Imagine No Religion" billboard

(2012.10.18: This is an update of a post from a few years back. I've made a slight improvement to my ideal billboard image at the end, though I'd love to see far better versions by actual artists!)

I appreciate the intent behind the Freedom from Religion Foundation's "Imagine No Religion" billboard. It counters the inane "God" billboards littering US highways, reminding people that we atheists are here and we're not going to keep quiet any more. Readeth thou more

Correcting a misquote, #2: John Adams' "best of all possible worlds"

Uh-oh! Following up on earlier clarification of a Thomas Jefferson quote, this time I need to take a closer look at words from the second president of the US, John Adams.

An anonymous reader aptly points out that the following quote which appeared on this site is taken out of context and misleading:

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.

— John Adams, US president

Responding to a savory blend of God claims

I've received a long comment on the page If you don't believe in God, how can you believe in love?, claiming faith as a way of knowing the reality of the Christian god (among other digressions). This may be from the same person making other comments on the page; I can't be certain.

Nor can I be certain that it's legitimate. Putting nearly every repeatedly-shot-down defense of Christian belief into one mega-comment feels a bit like a pull o' the leg. But what the heck. Believers do put forth each of the claims from time to time, so I'll take this opportunity to play apologetics Whack-a-Mole and set some thoughts in text.

Long back-and-forth comments on web pages get hard to read, though. (I need to change this site's layout to one allowing flexible widths.) To keep things legible, I'll post my reply below in this new blog post (followed by the full original comment, as I don't want to make out-of-context misrepresentations).

I can't say that my reply is buddy-buddy friendly. Hearing claims for some particular religious beliefs, which double as claims against competing religious beliefs, all without anything of substance telling us why the claimant believes so, gets exasperating.

Still, I do appreciate the input. Here goes: Readeth thou more

"No atheists in foxholes"? Try saying that to these godless warriors.

While I recently had the kind attention of the President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF), I asked a question I'd pondered before. Specifically:

Whenever I'd heard the "no atheists in foxholes" insult, I always assumed it meant "Sure, you think you're an atheist, but when your life's on the line you'll pray like everyone else."

But I've since learned that many atheists hear it a different way, as a charge of "Atheists don't fight for their country."

So I asked Jason Torpy at the MAAF:

Which of these two meanings do you, or MAAF members in general, hear? Or does it appear that believers use the insult with both meanings, depending on the believer?

The reply: Readeth thou more

Correcting a Jefferson quote on separation of church and state

Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, contacted me with my favorite kind of message: neither praise nor opprobrium nor even a random "howdy", but a friendly correction with the aim of making improvements. I take the correction with humble gratitude; I may not be right on a whole lot of things, but I do want to be. (Hence the atheism.)

(Click to enlarge image in new tab)

His message concerned a quote from Thomas Jefferson that I used in a series of "posters" contrasting quotations from parties for and againt the separation of church and state. The original quotes, from the second "poster" in my series: Readeth thou more

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