TFP Must Reads
The following articles are must-reads:
In the wake of the release of Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Science After Sunclipse writes an absolutely excellent piece (so excellent, in fact, that it was prominently linked on PZ Myers’ Pharyngula, which is, to my knowledge, the world’s most read science blog) on the depressing track record of abuse directed to evolutionists by conservative Christians in America. He speaks of how evolutionists who dared to teach evolution, not teach the nonsensical Adam and Eve story of Creation as literally true, defend science, criticize a pro-ID book, or so much as send out an email on a talk by a critic of ID have been expelled, demoted, litigated, faith-tested, harassed, ostracized, threatened, and physically assaulted by humble, forgiving, nonjudgmental, neighbour-loving, Golden Rule-abiding, “Christians”. I absolutely cannot recommend this piece enough.
I also strongly recommend reading the Atheist Ethicist, Alonzo Fyfe’s expose on a Washington Post editorial article which supports anti-atheist bigotry. This editorial, entitled A Hint of Tolerance, lauds a public statement of by the King of Saudi Arabia in which he calls for a coming together of Muslims, Christians and Jews to safeguard humanity. And what does humanity need safeguarding from? The disintegration of the family and the rise of atheism. Ah, nothing brings rivals together like a common enemy, right? And who better than the atheists, who’ve always proven a reliable scapegoat. Fyfe muses over whether the Washington Post would have ran an editorial entitled “A Hint of Tolerance” if the Saudi King had called for the unification of Muslims, Christians and Jews against the world’s Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists.
The final must-read is a piece at Times Argus on nontheist church-goers. This article reports on how some atheists, agnostics and non-religious people attend church – whether they be one of the few and new freethought congregations, liberal religious organizations that are welcoming to non-believers (e.g., Humanist Judaism congregations), or traditional theistic churches which are accepting of non-believers. While not subscribing or want to feign a belief in God, some nontheists still place a high value on the community aspects of religion – the support network, fellowship, a village context for raising children, a forum for establishing charity work, etc. I for one strongly support the establishment of non-faith-based communities of this nature. [Thanks to Xander L for sharing this article]. On a related note, a book which I recently learned of that seems to be worth a read is Gretta Vosper‘s With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe (reviewed here). Vosper, who is President of the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity, seems to be advocating for a liberalization, modernization, and de-literalization of Christianity, similar to that of modern Judaism. From what I gather, she is pushing for a new humanist cultural Christianity, similar to the prevalent humanist cultural Judaism which maintains celebration of the history, the culture, and the community while at the same time not having to clutch onto archaic theistic dogma. This sounds like a great way to go. Check Vosper’s website for book tour dates in Toronto (e.g., at the University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre) and tonight in Kingston, ON.