Originally published at the USU SHAFT site. (Sorry for the length! I had a month’s worth of links to cover.)
After being teased at work for believing the Rapture would occur on May 21st, Dale OCallaghan brought a gun to the office and shot a coworker (who thankfully is expected to recover).
Sam Harris makes a thoughtful case for the responsible use of drugs. He notes that everything we do, from eating our favorite foods to forming friendships, is about altering ones consciousness. Drugs are another means to this end, and, when used responsible, can yield life insights.
John Dehlin, of Mormon Stories fame, is conducting a study with USU psychology professor Dr. Renee Galliher about the experiences of LGBT Mormons/ex-Mormons. If youre the target demographic, please take this survey.
7 Scientology secrets you didnt know. (Im not too familiar with Scientology; anyone care to dispute these supposed secrets?) In a similar list: 7 ancient forms of mysticism that are recent inventions.
Joseph Smiths youngest son, David Hyrum Smith, is one of the most interesting (and neglected) figures in Mormon history. David was a leader in the RLDS church, but harbored serious religious doubts. He suffered from depression, and was institutionalized for 27 years at an insane asylum. His biographer Valeen Avery also suggests that he might have been gay.
Journalism fail: A local Memphis TV news reporter mocks Mitt Romneys Mormonism. Totally inappropriate.
When Christians in North American cry persecution, Im often inclined to roll my eyes. But theres no denying that Christians endure bitter persecution in many parts of the world. Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that spotlights the most egregious violations of Christians religious freedoms.
Andrew S. (the brains behind Irrestible (Dis)Grace) has been fairly prolific as of late. I want to recommend two posts of his: one about his dull, prudish, naive atheist life, and the other on the irrelevance of Mormonism.
Last summer, I argued that the dearth of evidence for the destruction recorded in Third Nephi constitutes evidence against the Book of Mormons historicity. But at his Mormon apologetics blog, my friend Neal offers a possible piece of evidence: a recently discovered submerged Mayan city.
LDS scholar and apologist Daniel C. Petersen writes in the Deseret News that the faithful must unfailingly follow the prophet, even when you believe the prophet is wrong. Divine voluntarism is alive and well in Mormonism.
Contra Daniel C. Peterson, professor Bradley Borden argues that Mormons neednt be of like mind in subservience to the prophet. The rich diversity of Mormons illustrates that there is no such thing as an orthodox (or unorthodox) Mormon. Such labels merely serve to perpetuate a stereotype.
Theres nothing like a video about the boundless expanse of the universe to make you feel very small.
Sam Harris takes an hour to answer questions submitted by users of Reddit.comquestions about atheism, morality, and other issues.
The Irreligiosophy podcast interviewed atheist and Bible Geek Robert Price, whose latest book contends that the Book of Mormon is a work of pseudepigrapha.
California passes a bill requiring its public schools to teach gay history, accomplishments. (Contrast that with a bill that passed in Tennessee a couple of months ago prohibiting any discussing of homosexuality before secondary school.) Hopefully the California bill will foster tolerance among students so as to prevent school shootings like this one.
The LDS Church released a statement on political neutrality, mandating that church leaders abstain from certain political activities. This comes in the wake of learning that church leaders have donated to political candidates.
Sex-advice columnist Dan Savage argues that fidelity in marriage is unreasonable and unrealistic. How bout that sanctity of marriage? Im reminded of Senator Penroses quip during the Smoot hearings that its better to be a polygamist who doesnt polyg than a monogamist who doesnt monag.
The internet comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal humorously illustrates why most theodicies for the problem of evil fail.
Common Sense Atheism has a thought-provoking post about the problems of heaven. Among them: If there is no evil in heaven, is there then no free will? And if you can have free will in heaven without evil, then why have evil in this life?
A leading neuroscientist writes in The Atlantic that free will is an illusion, and that we must reform our criminal justice system to accommodate this fact.
Philosopher Paul Snowden revisits Lockes man/person distinction. The piece involves involves an advanced discussion about dualism and animalism.
The History Channel show How the States Got Their Shapes does an episode on how religion has influenced our geography. Of particular interest to this audience, the episode discusses Mormonism and the shape of Utah.
Matt McCormick, a professor of atheology (the study of atheism) at CSUS, published an essay on the unlikelihood of life after death.
This month, a BYU film professor Kendall Wilcox came out as gay. He is producing a film about his journey as a gay Mormon, and how he hopes to retain both his faith and sexual identity. This mans experience as a homosexual in the LDS Church led him to leave the church, however.
John Shook, resident philosopher at the Center for Inquiry (of which SHAFT is an affiliate), asks, What does healthy humanism look like?
A USU buddy of mine, Justin Jerez, was cited last week with a misdemeanor of flag abuse. He and some friends protested the war in Afghanistan and the ballooning national debt by writing Children of Debt, Inheritors of War on an American flag and displayed it upside down as they walked in the Logan 4th of July parade. The (unconstitutional) charges were later dropped. Ive invited Justin to publish his experiences here, and I hope he does soon.
Mitt Romney is seeming less and less like a stiff, stuffy suit. He said he has plans to see the The Book of Mormon, the critically-acclaimed Broadway musical by the creators of South Park. He also made a joke about his temple garments.
I could tolerate a President Romney, but a President Bachmann would be intolerable. I like her all the less after reading this report connecting her to the ex-gay Christian ministry movement.
I cannot wait to see the documentary Tabloid, which will be playing in Salt Lake City later this month. The documentary tells the story of a young woman who kidnapped a Mormon missionary and kept him as her sex slave.
July 10th marked the 154th birthday of the late eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla.
British journalist Johann Hari gave an impassioned and stirring defense of free speech at this years Independent Voices event.
Earlier this year, I wrote a critical article about Wikileaks. Well, Wikileaks has captured my attention again with a coversation/debate between Julian Assange and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. To watch just the highlights, go here.
Skepchick blogger Rebecca Watson ignited a flame war by suggesting it was inappropriate for a guy to ask her to his room in an empty elevator at 4:00 AM. The entire atheist blogosphere has been consumed lately by a nasty debate, with critics claiming Watson is being hypersensitive, and supporters applauding her for raising awareness about sexism within the atheist community. Even Richard Dawkins has weighed in, and his dismissive response has caused many atheists to turn on him.
During the 4th of July weekend, Alan at Pure Mormonism urged his fellow Mormons not to pledge allegiance to the flag, calling it misguided patriotism and idol worship.
Its a lie that there are no atheists in foxholes. And activists campaigning for greater acceptance for atheists within the military have found a surprising ally: Army chaplains.