July 10, 2010: "What Madness Is This?" A
Review of the Film "AGORA"
A brilliant creation, telling the tragic story of Hypatia of Alexandria
and the fall of reason before dogma.
March 19, 2010: Does the Catholic Church Need a New Inquisition? (A
As accusations of priestly sexual abuse of the young continue to come
fast and furious from around the world, are current preventive and
February 1, 2010: Haiti, Pat Robertson, and Excuses for God
The inimitable televangelist, ever suffering from hoof-in-mouth
disease, explains the Haitian earthquake by blaming the Haitians and
December 23, 2009: Santa, Satan and Sacred Cows
Various ends of a spectrum of symbols of good and evil. Letting
go of Santa, Satan and Jesus.
December 1, 2009: 2012, Revelation, and other End-of-the-World Mayhem
The Mayan concept and prediction of cyclical renewal
is about to be put to the test in late 2012, and along with it the long
Christian and western fixation on an apocalyptic overthrow of the
present world. Yet how can Jesus be returning if he was never here in
the first place?
January 26, 2009: Recognizing Religion for what it is
A short review of a new book by U.S. psychologist
Dr. Darrel W. Ray: The God Virus: How Religion
Infects our Lives and Culture. The road to a cure must begin
with diagnosing the illness.
November 26, 2006: Two Champions of Reason and Science
Reviews of Letter to a Christian Nation by
Harris, and The God Delusion by Richard
A response to the Harper's
magazine review of Richard Dawkins' The God
Delusion by Marilynne Robinson, a smug and pretentious
defamation of science and scientists by a not-so-subtle champion of
October 1, 2006: Götterdämmerung
Has the world finally reached a tipping point where
religion and competing gods are concerned?
July 26, 2006: Are
in an asylum...or should they be committed to one?
In evangelical churches around the nation,
Christians are celebrating the latest round of war in the Middle East
as a prelude to Armageddon.
June 7, 2006: Which one of the following two articles is a joke?...And
for how long?
A comment on two articles from the Internet: one a
report on Bush's Constitutional amendment proposal against gay
marriage, the other a report on a Republican convention in Texas.
February 6, 2006: Deliver Us To Evil
Yet another sexual abuse scandal has surfaced in the
Catholic Church involving a high-ranking priest and young boys. What
are we doing to our children, and why doesn't the whole sordid business
come crashing down?
August 28, 2005: The End of Faith?
A review of one of the most powerful indictments of
religion ever published: Sam Harris' The End of
Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Don't miss
July 8, 2005: The
Bob Geldoff and his Live 8 concert have been playing at the wrong club.
Is the blame for the Africas of the world being laid at the wrong door?
July 1, 2005:
Of Priests and Prostates, Cabbages and Kings...
Musings on why we let religion and its representatives do what they do
June 18, 2005:
"The way this country is going..." Should finding Jesus let you
off the hook in matters of Law & Order?
April 7, 2005:
Remembering John-Paul II.
March 25, 2005: Terri Schiavo and the Religious Right
Is Terri Schiavo still "alive"? And who is being
served by the evangelical opposition to the long overdue death of her
March 6, 2005:
In the latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer, an
excellent critique of creationism and why the message isn't getting
through to creationists, by Dennis R. Trumble. A few excerpts and
10, 2005: God and Tsunamis
The agonized question "Where was God?" has echoed
around the world since the Asian tsunami disaster. Attempts in the
media to answer it have been less than satisfying—or honest.
November 26, 2004: Are We Facing an American Taliban?
A comment on Joe Bageant's "The Covert Kingdom" (November 26 under Articles
and Reprints: see right column)
November 16, 2004: Invasion of the Mind Snatchers: What is Happening to
America?Thoughts on a CNN Special about the evangelical
community and its influence on the U.S. election.
10,2004: "NYPD Blue" Finds God
Last night, in an uncharacteristic plot twist on TV's toughest cop
show, TV's toughest cop was visited by an 'angel' in the form of his
deceased former partner to learn that there is a God after all. Is
Steven Bochco caving in to the new political-religious atmosphere?
October 26, 2009: The Church's Tipping Point?
The scandals of priestly pedophilia and sexual abuse of children
continue to come fast and furious. Are we getting closer to a proper
response to such odious and seemingly endless iniquity?
February 10, 2008: Two Indictments
"If Dante had given his Inferno another level, it would have been for
priests who prey on kids." With an appended short review of Peter de
Rosa's Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the
July 1, 2007: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies?
Will Armageddon come about because some people believe in it? If you're
an American—or even if you're not—be prepared for the scariest thing
you've ever read.
Wars and End-Time Prophecy"
May 7, 2007: The
A recent editorial rant against "militant atheism"
in a Canadian
newspaper prompted a counter-voice of reason, an indicator of the
current turning of the tide against the privileged position of
November 26, 2006: Are we finally getting tough on religion?
A California forum on science and religion attended
by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris pulled few punches in warning that
"the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious
February 6, 2006: The Banality of Ignorance
At the latest version of the 'Scopes Monkey Trial'
in Dover, Pennsylvania, an array of witnesses for Intelligent Design
displayed a less than informed basis for their machinations to get
ID into the classroom. Commenting on excerpts from a Harper's magazine
account of the proceedings.
God or Gorilla
October 15, 2005: "The Politics of Ignorance"
A comment by Sam Harris widely posted on the Internet, plus another
quote from his book The End of Faith.
The Politics of
August 28, 2005: "Religion Itself is the
Fount of Most Evil"
Reprint of an article in the British "Sunday Herald"
of July 24, 2005,
following the London subway bombings. An excellent companion piece to
my review of Sam Harris' book The End of Faith:
and the Future of Reason.
Fount of Evil
June 29, 2005: And they shall be given Dominion over us all...
The Dominionist wing of the Christian right is
gaining ascendancy in America. Chris Hedges at Harper's online recounts
his attendance at one of their conventions, where madness reigns.
Feeling the Hate
June 18, 2005:
And they wonder why we find religion so
When true believers rise in their rapture, will they leave a ruined
planet behind? A look at Bill Moyers' view as the "delusional" comes in
from the fringe to threaten the survival of us all.
There Is No
December 6, 2004: Scalia in shul: State must back religion
A frightening 'take' on the U.S. Constitution by Supreme Court Justice
Antonin Scalia. This kind of twist would enable a majority minded
Supreme Court to impose just about anything of a religious nature on
the country. (Circulated recently on the Internet.)
State Must Back
Religion - Scalia Opinion
November 26, 2004: The Covert Kingdom - Thy will be done as it is in Texas
An article by Joe Bageant, senior editor at the
Primedia History Group, Winchester, Virginia about the Christian
Reconstruction movement. Possibly the most powerful and the scariest
thing you've ever read on the Christian Right in America.
Kingdom" by Joe Bageant
November 22, 2004: It's Still Open Season on Atheists in this Country
A column in the St. Petersburg Times in
August says it all about being an atheist in America. Fear of
non-belief has become stronger, it seems, than any other prejudice —and
the only one that's still politically correct.
"Open Season on
Atheists" by Robyn Blumner
November 16, 2004: A Los Angeles Times article on the Erosion of Common Sense
Circulated on the Internet back in May, "Enlightenment dimming: Reason
and secularism under attack" by Francis Wheen sounds a warning call all
the more apparent and urgent following the re-election of George W.
by Francis Wheen
November 7, 2004: Will We Survive the Flood of Religious Disinformation?
Frank Zindler has kindly permitted me to reproduce a good portion of
his article "Disinforming the Faithful" which appeared in American Atheist, Winter 2003-2004. It reveals
not only the extent of the brainwashing that believers are subjected to
in evangelical Christian circles, but the strength and organization of
this movement dedicated to producing a flood of literature in support
of Christian propaganda and rationally untenable world views.
"Disinforming the Faithful" by
Age of Reason Reader
Send E-mail to Earl
(There has now been a fair
amount of feedback on the new Age of Reason site, and most of it has
been posted, with comments in reply. Following that, feedback on my
review of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" which includes some
very interesting reaction to the film itself pertinent to the issues
Challenging the Verdict: A
Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's 'The Case for Christ' - Excerpts
from the Book
The Passion of the Christ: A review by
Earl Doherty of Mel Gibson's controversial film.
Vardis Fisher's "Testament of Man": An
and commentary on the most important body of historical
fiction ever produced: Vardis Fisher's "Testament of Man." This
monumental series of eleven novels by an American rationalist author of
the mid-20th century traces the development of religious and moral
ideas from the dawn of intelligence two million years ago to the apex
of Christian power in the Middle Ages.
Now Available in Book Form - Revised and Expanded!
Dare To Think For
Yourself : An
inspiring new book by American writer Betty J. Brogaard recounting her
personal journey from unquestioning religious faith to a lifestance of
rational inquiry and a naturalistic view of the world. Betty's
work, revised and expanded, is now available in book form. We
thank Betty for letting us feature her book on the Age of Reason
website for over a year and to publish comments on it, with her
responses, in a special Feedback. We wish her success, and urge all
those who were moved by "Dare to Think for Yourself" to consider adding
it to their library, or obtaining a copy for someone they know who
could benefit from it.
Available from: www.publishamerica.com
Click on the "Online Bookstore" tab, and type in the Search box: "Dare
to Think for Yourself"
Recommended Links - http://www.evolutionary-metaphysics.net/
Examines the conflict between science and religion, and
helps to dispel the
myths and superstitions that have long been used as an excuse for
political and religious extremism. Offers an easy-to-read step-by-step
explanation of natural evolution, extends the theory of evolution to
include the struggle for political power and the development of
advanced technology, unravels the true stories behind the formation of
the traditional religions, and explains why modern democratic values
must continue to replace traditional religious moral values.
| From the"Final Summation"of
Challenging the Verdict: A Cross-Examination of Lee
Strobel's The Case for Christ
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Lee Strobel
concluded his book with a homily, and I would like to respond with one
of my own. He endeavored to show the consequences of an acceptance of
Case for Christ as he has presented it, the ‘evidence’ that Jesus is
Son of God, atoning Savior through blood sacrifice on the cross,
by his death the grace of God for forgiveness and eternal life. Mr.
offered the personal example of his own transformed life, the
companion piece to that other kind of transformation in the next
world. There is no question that Christianity, like all religious
offers perceived benefits to its devotees. Otherwise, religion would
little appeal and would long since have died out. But like Mr.
Case for Christ, those benefits are often based on a distortion or
wishful misreading of the evidence.
And they come at a price.
The believer is transformed because the faith on
which those benefits depend turns the real, knowable world
inside-out. It creates otherworld entities and dimensions of alleged
are unsupported by scientific and rational evidence. It draws the focus
of attention and energy away from the present world of day-to-day
where we lead our actual lives, to a dimension which may well be pure
and thus the real world gets neglected, disparaged, distorted; it
populated with concepts which can only be detrimental to humanity’s
Belief in angels and devils and personal savior gods has never produced
one iota of real human progress. Conviction of salvation comes attached
to required doctrines of faith, and not all are going to adopt those
many will have other, rival faiths of their own. Such differences
divisions between people, families, societies, nations; they have
a long line of unbelievers, heretics, infidels, those in league with
forces, leading to inquisition, witch hunts, religious wars.
Those required faith doctrines produce
a heightened and unhealthy sense of sin, guilt and fear, and an
from our physical selves. They create places of dreadful punishment,
resident demons spill over into the present world, threatening,
the mind, distorting reality. Those doctrines impede scientific
and a proper understanding of the world, how it formed, evolved, how it
gave rise to ourselves; and we are deprived of the exhilaration at
such an amazing history and development. They interfere with the
to exercise our minds, our faculties for critical thinking, to hone our
own innate wisdom in creating ethical systems to arrive at beneficial
behavior. When ethical conduct is based on divine fiat in hallowed,
writings, when human wisdom and evolving conditions are prevented from
exercising any role, morality’s rules become ossified, imposed, fearful
of change, unable to accommodate progress.
If commendable human behavior and the fulfillment
of individual and collective potential is our ultimate goal, there are
far more efficient ways of achieving such things than through a
rush to irrational faith. If, on the other hand, the attainment of
immortality, eternal life for each individual consciousness in some
utopia, is the goal, then we may be grasping at the greatest unreality
and irrationality of all. Nothing in the observable universe suggests
such a goal is possible, or written into the scheme of things, much
that it might be desirable from the larger point of view. What the
universe does suggest is that human happiness and fulfillment
indeed be achievable, but only through understanding ourselves and the
world we live in, accepting that we are all part of a naturalistic
and doing our best and wisest to operate in harmony with it. If, within
that context, it may be possible to perceive something of larger
of greater identity for the individual, the route to discovering such a
thing must lie in a fuller comprehension of our observable universe
reason and scientific investigation.
The Case for Christ does not lead
us in that direction. For this, and for the failings of the case
I ask the jury and the larger court of public judgment to set Mr. Lee
own verdict aside, and bring us a step closer to entering upon an Age
| INGERSOLL'S VOW
Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) was a famous attorney
and orator whose
brilliant lectures drew thousands. As a political figure, he came close
to achieving the Republican party's nomination for governor of
but prejudice and intolerance denied him the opportunity because he was
When I became convinced that the universe is
all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my
soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of
The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with
light, and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no
longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all
the wide world—not even in infinite space.
I was free—free to think, to express my thoughts—free
to live to my own ideal—free to use all my faculties, all my
to spread imagination's wings—free to investigate, to guess and
dream and hope—free to judge and determine for myself—free
to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the "inspired" books that
savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past—free
from popes and priests—free from all the "called" and "set apart"—free
from sanctified mistakes and holy lies—free from the fear of
pain—free from the winged monsters of the night—free from
devils, ghosts, and gods.
For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited
all the realms of thought—no air, no space, where fancy could not
spread her painted wings—no chains for my limbs—no lashes
for my back—no fires for my flesh—no master's frown or threat—no
following another's steps—no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or
utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously,
faced all worlds.
And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with
went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives
the liberty of hand and brain—for the freedom of labor and thought—to
those who proudly mounted scaffold's stairs—to those whose flesh
was scarred and torn—to those by fire consumed—to all the
wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have
given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch
they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness
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