Groovy Video Companion to A Better Life

Logo for Chris Johnson's A Better Life (video and book)I just watched Chris Johnson‘s new documentary, A Better Life. The book was already fantastic. Beautiful photography, great interview excerpts, of both famous and everyday atheists with remarkable stories. The video companion lives up to it. This is a must-have addition to anyone’s collection of films documenting atheist thought and experience. When Chris took interviews and photos for his wonderfully plush coffee table book, he also shot beautiful high quality video. And here he stitches the best bits of his interviews together as he explores how atheists find meaning in life without religion, and how and why they left their faiths. And let me tell you, his interview subjects are some awesome gets. From renowned philosopher Patricia Churchland (and her dogs!) to beloved writer and actor Robert Llewellyn (Kryten from Red Dwarf, among a great deal else). And more (Cara Santa Maria, A.C. Grayling, Julia Sweeney, A.J. Johnson, Daniel Dennett, and beyond).

Avoiding Drama = Avoiding the Truth: On Michael Nugent’s Use of His Atheist Ireland Fiefdom to Attack PZ Myers

This is a quick source document for anyone who “hates drama” and doesn’t want to do much work to investigate what all the hubub is about. Why did Atheist Ireland write a dishonest disassociation letter against PZ Myers, and why did gullible nice guy Hemant Mehta fall for it? Details below. [Read more…]

Problems with the Mental Illness Model of Religion

Meme image that says when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity, when many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion, attributing it to Robert PirsigI posted over the past week several criticisms of Peter Boghossian that generally put me off him (especially this). I think he’s not a very good philosopher, and is far too wrong about far too many important things. Yesterday I expanded on one of those criticisms (his failure, perhaps even refusal, to study and thus understand contemporary feminism, expanding on my remarks in Why Atheism Needs Feminism). Today I introduce another, which is another special reading I had prepared for students of the class I co-taught with Boghossian last year (on his book A Manual for Creating Atheists). As with yesterday’s reading, he didn’t interact on the matter, so I don’t know what he thought of it. But again it’s time I just published this for everyone’s benefit, too, and as another corrective to his book.

Many have criticized Boghossian (and not just him, but many others) for arguing that religion should be classified as a mental illness. I believe some of those critiques have merit, and some do not. And those that have merit are largely only apt in what they have to say about the problems of vocabulary, presentation, and lack of nuance and sensitivity in treating the issue. Here are my thoughts on the matter. [Read more…]

Peter Boghossian on Gay Pride and Hobnobbing with an Online Misogynist

Yesterday I posted an enhanced edition of my Ohio speech on feminism. Today I am posting key material from my Portland speech that extends the same argument to a broader application, focusing on some of the recent public statements of Peter Boghossian… [Read more…]

Appearing All Over Southern California Next Week

Photograph of a building fronted by a beautiful waterfall backed by palm trees on the campus of the College of the Desert in Palm Desert California.I will be appearing to speak at numerous venues in Southern California next week and the following week. And of course selling and signing my books. I might also be available for hanging out with nice folk over drinks now and again while I’m around there. Here is the breakdown…

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Help Make Secular Women Work

Logo for Secular Women Work, an interlocking series of multi-colored gears.Heina Dadabhoy spells it out far better than I could at Urgent Final Push for the Secular Women Work Conference. Only two days to go. And this new conference deserves to get closer to its kickstarter goal. It has superb people putting it together, it has an important theme, and it will have a lot of excellent speakers–some of whom talk about what makes this conference special and how it will help people change the world. There are benefits to claim at many levels of support in the kickstarter, such as getting to run your own ad in the conference program, or sharing a VIP dinner with a speaker of your choice (their consent required, of course).

The official description of the conference’s goals spells it out well: [Read more…]

Jamila Bey Joins FtB!

Yay! It has now become official! Journalist and beloved radio host Jamila Bey (and that’s Jam-EEL-a Bay) is now blogging on our network. Go check out her own The Sex Politics and Religion Blog. She wrote a little on Black History Month a few days ago, partly by way of introduction. And she has now just yesterday written part one of an autobiographical intro for all you new readers.

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Historicity of Jesus: Live Q&A

This Sunday at 9am Pacific I’ll be doing a live Q&A on the historicity of Jesus. Post questions here in comments or on the matching Facebook post. (Comments here won’t publish, but I’ll see them. I’m still looking for time to get through my queue. But go ahead and submit questions through this blog’s comment field.)

Ask any and all questions you have. The more the merrier. This is your chance to ask that hard question you’ve come across in talking about this subject or that question that’s been bugging you all this time.

This is part of this year’s FtBConscience. Bookmark the free online conference’s Lanyrd page. There you’ll be able to find everything that’s going on this weekend (lots of speakers, talks and panels), including the page for my Q&A which will on the day explain how to watch.

There will also be an associated live chat (which will also be explained on that Lanyrd page in time for the show), so you can ask follow-up questions in real-time. The whole event will be archived for later viewing as well; but you can’t interact then.

I will also be on another panel, with several other commentators, immediately before that: “The True Version of the False: Can Atheists Argue Over the ‘True’ Version of Religion?” So if that sounds interesting as well, catch me there as well.

Get Greta Christina’s Essential Little Book on Death

Cover of the e-book, with the title and author, depicting a person sitting contemplating below a great tree.When Greta Christina writes a book on a subject, it’s usually so thorough and well-written you won’t need any other. And her latest e-book (eventually to appear in print as well) continues the tradition. In less than eighty pages, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God covers every essential base, and is really the book for an atheist to get for building a usable philosophy of death. I couldn’t think of anything she didn’t address, and she even addressed some aspects of the question that would never have occurred to me!

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