November 20, 2017

Should Children Learn About Religion in Public School?

By Starfunker226 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
I have mixed feelings about this report of a Bristol, Connecticut, middle school canceling a Muslim speaker after the community freaked out. On one hand, I can see the merits of the school trying to teach students about world religions. Bringing in representatives of various religions seems like a good way to do that. On the other hand, I'm not sure that public schools ought to be exposing students to representatives of any religion as part of their curriculum. It isn't like representatives of various religions can be expected to be objective about their own religion, after all.

It is unfortunate but not surprising that the community freak out in this case appears to have involved social media outrage, which raised safety concerns. I have to agree with the statement from the Council on American Islamic Relations that canceling speakers in this manner rewards those who freaked out. And so, it probably would have been better for the school to have anticipated the outrage and either not issued the invitation at all or sought to involve the community in the planning phase.

November 19, 2017

Continuing the Conversation on Toxic Masculinity

men and masculinity
There are a handful of things I miss about the early days of my atheist blogging (2005-2008), but I don't spend much time thinking about them since they are things I rarely have the time to do. At the top of the list would probably be what I used to think of as cross-blog dialogue. One blogger would write a thought-provoking post, and another blogger would write one responding to it or seeking to extend the conversation on the topic in some way. I used to do this somewhat regularly with other atheist bloggers and even a few Christian bloggers. It was fun, and it is something I wish I had more time to do now.

It was a recent post at Atheism and the City on the subject of toxic masculinity that got me thinking about this. While reading, I found myself thinking that it seems like most of what we've heard about toxic masculinity has come from women and that it might be helpful to hear from more men with thoughts on the subject. Should I leave a long comment on the post or share it on social media with comments attached? Maybe I should write something here? And then I remembered how much I used to enjoy the sort of cross-blog dialogue I used to do. Perhaps, I thought, I could write something here that wasn't so much of a direct response to that post but that sought to contribute to what I thought was a conversation worth having.

November 17, 2017

Satanists Suggest Christians Own Child Abuse

stop child abuse
I don't dispute the claim that Christians have been abusing children for centuries. I think that is beyond debate. I also think it is clear that church hierarchy, especially as one finds it within the Catholic Church, has preferred to protect clergy who abuse children over the children they have abused. And finally, I'd add that some of what children are taught by their Christian parents about the special status of clergy probably contributes to an atmosphere where abuse may be more likely to occur and less likely to be dealt with appropriately when it occurs.

November 16, 2017

The Continued Support for Roy Moore

Roy Moore 2017 logo
Want some insight into how many evangelical fundamentalist Christians in the South can continue to support Roy Moore even as more allegations surface? Visit Walker Springs Road Baptist Church in Alabama and talk to 83-year-old Don Day. Here's what he thinks of Moore:
He is nothing but a godly man trying to make this country come to its senses because of liberals and the other side of the fence trying to protect their evil ways.

November 15, 2017

Has Atheist Blogging Peaked?

end of the road

There has been some discussion lately on a few other blogs I read and across various social media platforms about the decline of atheist-oriented blogging. When I say "decline," I am not referring to a decline in quality but a decline in the number of atheist-oriented blogs and in the number of people interested in reading atheist-oriented blogs. I have no data to support this, but it does seem to me that the level of interest in reading blog posts might not be what it once was. I'd point to the combination of social media and YouTube as the primary culprits, but that's just a guess.