To unmask them, to knock them off the pedestal they have hoisted themselves on, to hold them up to scorn is a campaign no one should remain indifferent to. For at any price, we must keep those who have too clear a conscience from living and dying in peace. -- E. M. Cioran, "Thinking Against Oneself", in The Temptation to Exist
One of the more painful effects of the presidential Election of 2016 is that I was impelled by considerations of personal integrity to terminate about a dozen friendships, about half on Facebook and about half in real-life. In each such case, the reason for the break was that the people whose friendships I chose to end were people who were determined to vote, either directly or by default, for Donald J. Trump for President. This, for reasons of conscience, I could...
It occurs to me that, despite the time and effort I have expended over the years of writing this column ranting against monotheistic religion, I have never actually published anything summarizing in a single column my objections to monotheism, and why monotheistic religion is fundamentally incompatible with any classically liberal, constitutional, Enlightenment-founded, latitudinarian, pluralistic, rights-centric socio-political order.
Now, by the term “monotheistic religion” I understand any system of religious belief which (a) envisions the world as the product of the creative activity of a single Deity Who is (b) possessed of a strong moral bias in favor of certain kinds of conduct and against certain other kinds, and Who (c) is willing to intervene in human history to enforce th
I always read the Patheos web page with interest, usually agreeing, sometimes disagreeing. Once in a while, though, Patheos has a tendency to “view with alarm”, and thereby to give us one more item to worry about – which would not be a problem if the given item were worth worrying about it. Often the alarm being raised pertains to something that really is worth worrying about. But not always. In the “not always” column goes Patheos’ recent – well … not all that recent: 2014 -- “viewing with alarm” of Justice Clarence Thomas’s assertion that States probably do have the prerogative under the Constitution of establishing an “official” State religion. That assertion is (a) just true enough to engender alarm, but (b) not true enough to merit worry. Patheos’s heart is in the right place, bu