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James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail. Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, and was writer-in-residence at the United Coalition of Reason. He is in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Contemporary Authors and 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century. He will be 88 years old on Feb. 20, 2020. Many of his articles are republished from chapters in his 1996 book, 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People With the Courage to Doubt, published by Prometheus Books, all rights reserved. He can be reached by phone at 304-348-5199 or by email: haught(at)wvgazettemail.com.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, February 10, 2020 Megachurch Mess
Megachurches, with 20,000 members or more, are the most successful face of Christianity. But many scandals show they can be cesspools - and a TV series confirms it.
SHARE Thursday, December 26, 2019 Feeding 7.7 Billion
The human population of Planet Earth has quadrupled, just in my lifetime. Climate change is ruining some cropland. Can agriculture continue feeding the manswarm?
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 4, 2020 Religion-Tinged Politics
White evangelicals are the heart of the Republican Party, and wield great control over America. But their numbers are fading fast, and their power soon may end.
SHARE Tuesday, April 28, 2020 deadly labor struggles
In the bad old days, employers exploited workers brutally - causing the union movement to battle for decency. It reached a peak in the "smokestack era" when factories needed armies of blue-collar workers. But the modern "information age" is more specialized, and unions have less power.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 1, 2020 The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of
Science reveals that reality is baffling and astounding - far more mysterious than the magical claims of religion.
SHARE Saturday, February 29, 2020 Coal Mine Wars
Hardly anyone knows that America's worst armed uprising since the Civil War was a struggle by Appalachian coal miners in the early 1900s.
SHARE Tuesday, February 11, 2020 Sagan: Brilliant Skeptic
Carl Sagan was perhaps the most famous scientist of the late 20th century - and he also crusaded against all types of supernaturalism.
SHARE Tuesday, January 21, 2020 Skeptics Are Smarter
Higher I.Q. means less belief in supernatural religion dogmas, according to sociological studies. And average I.Q. is rising three points per decade.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, February 17, 2020 Logic Disproves All-Merciful God
Why do children die horrible deaths while their parents pray desperately? Why doesn't God save them? Is he heartless? No - the answer is simple: He doesn't exist.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Breaking the Last Taboo
Nearly all the great thinkers, reformers, scientists, writers, philosophers and other outstanding people through history have been religious doubters.
SHARE Friday, March 6, 2020 Francisco Ferrer: Secular Martyr
Few people today remember a crusading reformer, Francisco Ferrer, who was railroaded and executed by Spain's right-wing church-and-government complex. He founded secular "modern schools" that still operate worldwide.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 15, 2020 The Code of the Universe
Nature itself contains a profound set of laws governing matter, energy, radiation and everything else that exists. It's awesome.
SHARE Tuesday, December 24, 2019 Best and Worst
The immortal novel, A Tale of Two Cities, begins:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness...I think this yin-and-yang contradiction exists right now, today and probably existed at every moment since the beginning of recorded history
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 9, 2020 Does God Exist?
The vast power within atoms, and of gravity, and in life-producing DNA, is very real. Does it constitute God? Who knows?
SHARE Sunday, December 29, 2019 The Enlightenment Still Wins
In the three centuries since the Enlightenment, progressive reformers constantly have defeated conservatives to bring human rights, democracy and safe modern life.
SHARE Monday, February 17, 2020 Is It Blasphemy or Honesty?
Around the world, blasphemy is portrayed as evil. But it simply means to question supernatural, magical, miraculous clams of religion. That's almost a duty for intelligent, educated people.
SHARE Saturday, February 22, 2020 Epic Love Story Created Black Town
Slavery left its mark on much of America. In my region, a plantation owner fell permanently in love with one of his slaves, had 13 children by her, and was murdered by white neighbors - but she and the children inherited his land, which became the state's largest black town.
SHARE Friday, June 12, 2020 Ingersoll, Freethought Battler
After the Civil War, America experienced a "golden age of freethought", when many thinkers denounced supernatural religion. Best known was Robert Ingersoll, a dynamic lecturer on the Lyceum circuit.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, December 30, 2019 Zealots in High Office
Religion is shrinking rapidly in America - yet President Trump has filled his cabinet with white fundamentalists who are the heart of the GOP base.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, March 6, 2020 Where on Earth are we Headed?
Few people today can imagine what it was like to live without electricity. Snowballing technology keeps transforming and re-transforming human life.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, February 28, 2020 Snowballing Technology Destroys, Creates
Since the 1950s, technology change has transformed newspaper printing - and most other American jobs. The process is ruthless and hurtful, but inescapable and unstoppable.
SHARE Wednesday, February 19, 2020 Everyone is a Skeptic
Beliefs of other religions - such as praying over models of Shiva's penis - seem absurd to those who follow different religions.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 28, 2020 Endless Absurdities
Hundreds of religious beliefs are so ridiculous they're laughable. Yet billions of people thinks we should respect the "great truths" of all faiths.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, February 21, 2020 Existentialism for Secular Humanists
During the 1950s, millions of educated western people were gripped by existentialism, a philosophy that focuses on the ultimate absurdity and pointlessness of life.
SHARE Friday, January 17, 2020 Fundamentalist Holy War
White evangelicals opposed to modern, multicultural school textbooks wreaked havoc in West Virginia almost a half-century ago.
SHARE Wednesday, January 15, 2020 The Great Satanic Panic
Two decades ago, America suffered satanism hysteria that caused some day-care operators to be imprisoned. The whole panic was imaginary
(11 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 24, 2020 Personal Freedoms Kill Religion
Religion is collapsing in all Western democracies - most rapidly in the United States. A new book cites many causes for this remarkable sociological change.
SHARE Monday, July 6, 2020 'Deathwind' is Part of Our History
In Appalachia, hero status is bestowed on a pathological killer who hunted Indians like prey. Lewis "Deathwind" Wetzel is honored in history. His story reveals the gory danger of frontier life.
SHARE Tuesday, March 3, 2020 Religious Holidays Without Religion
Old holy days - Easter, Christmas, Jewish holidays, etc. - slowly lose their miraculous, supernatural components and become just times for human enjoyment.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, February 21, 2020 Purpose-Driven Lives
Finding ultimate purpose is impossible - but honest people can give meaning to their lives by following scientific honesty.
SHARE Thursday, June 18, 2020 A Freethinker's Testimony
Appalachia's "Bible Belt" is a hub of whoop-and-shout born-again culture - but many residents are educated, science-minded skeptics, as this testimony shows.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 6, 2020 Religion and Sexual Shame
Sex is normal, wholesome, healthy and wonderful - yet western religion has spent centuries tainting it with shame and guilt.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 4, 2020 It's All About Honesty
An honest person doesn't claim to know supernatural things that nobody can know. Preachers are the most dishonest because they endlessly make supernatural assertions.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 16, 2020 Evangelicals Vote, 'Nones' Falter
Millions of younger Americans have quit church and say their religion is "none." These "nones" generally hold liberal, compassionate, tolerant political values - but they rarely vote. If they can be mobilized, America will become a more humane place.
SHARE Thursday, February 20, 2020 Right and Wrong: A Daily Dilemma
In the 1950s, was it right for gays to be thrown in prison - but not today? A century ago, was it right to forbid women to vote - but not today? Morality evolves.
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, July 4, 2020 Exquisite Writing Leaves an Impression
Millions of words flow every minute across the world's media and the Internet - yet a few special writings grip one's soul, locking into the memory. They are a treasure.
(6 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 9, 2020 White Evangelicals Oppose Jesus
Jesus stood with underdogs and urged help for little people - similar to the public "safety net" advocated by Democrats. But white evangelicals back Republicans who want to slash the safety net
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 16, 2020 The Marvelous Mystery of Music
Music is merely sound waves in the air - steady tones in various patterns. Why, then, do some melodies reduce listeners to tears. while others seem tedious or boring? It's impossible to explain.
SHARE Friday, February 28, 2020 Problems with Bible Classes
Several Republican-controlled states require public schools to teach Bible classes. But that opens the door to stormy problems over Bible commands to kill gays, kill non-virgin brides, kill Sabbath workers, approve slavery, etc.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 17, 2020 If Thine Enemy Offend Thee, Rub Him Out
Endlessly, news headlines from around the world tell of religious fanatics who kill rival believers or "infidels" who question faith. It contradicts the universal belief that religion makes believers good.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, January 6, 2020 GOP Albatross
White evangelicals are the heart of the GOP base - but they're fading as religion dies in America. The future of the Republican Party is uncertain.
SHARE Friday, January 31, 2020 Assault Guns for Jesus
Crackpot right-wing "militias" seem comical - but they're armed to kill, which isn't funny.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 28, 2020 Religion is Dying - No Conspiracy Needed
Some church advocates claim that America's educated elite push secular human values to undercut religion. But, in reality, faith is dying in all western democracies, without any such opposition.
SHARE Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Ataturk Triumphed Over Religion
Will modern secular democracy ever develop in Muslim countries? It happened once - in the 1920s and '30s when reformer Ataturk revised life in Turkey. However, today's leaders are pulling Turkey back toward rigid theocracy.
SHARE Thursday, March 12, 2020 Holy Horrors
Billions of people think religion makes believers kind and brotherly - but the evidence of history shows an ugly pattern of persecution, massacres, pogroms, inquisitions and wars caused by faith.
SHARE Thursday, April 9, 2020 Truth and Beauty
There is deep beauty in knowledge that science reveals for humans. A West Virginia university hall is labeled: "Science is truth. Truth is beauty."
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 23, 2020 Many, Many, Many Gods
Around the world, over the centuries, people have worshiped a zoo of thousands of gods - all of them imaginary, as far as any honest researcher can determine.
SHARE Saturday, June 20, 2020 The God Biz - part 2
This is a continuation of a long Penthouse magazine report on Bible Belt gospel frauds and swindles - by an investigative reporter who specialized in the field.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, January 17, 2020 Where Do Beliefs Come From?
What causes some people to be liberals or conservatives, believers or skeptics, Puritans or fun-lovers, "hawks" or "doves"? It's baffling.
(5 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 28, 2020 Mass Murder for God
The worst terror attack in U.S. history - the suicide massacre of Sept. 11, 2001 - was committed by volunteer "martyrs" who thought they were serving God. How can fanatics think that God wants murder?
SHARE Friday, April 17, 2020 Revelations, Visitations and All That
Miraculous events are reported frequently - and believed by a certain number of religious adherents, although the supernatural happenings are absurd.
SHARE Wednesday, January 29, 2020 The Birth of Freethought
Ancient Greece was the first known place where thinkers sought natural explanations for phenomena, not supernatural ones - launching the war between religion and science.
SHARE Sunday, March 1, 2020 Joy on the Water
Gliding a small sailboat across a rippling lake is spiritual and gratifying - a joy of living with nature.
SHARE Saturday, January 11, 2020 Agog Over Gog and Magog
As he prepared to invade Iraq in 2003, then-President George W. Bush told France's leader that the war was needed to thwart Gog and Magog. No kidding. It happened.
SHARE Tuesday, December 31, 2019 Humanism - Helping People
Humanism is a never-ending struggle to improve life for people. Secular humanism is doing it without supernatural religion.
SHARE Sunday, December 29, 2019 The Ultimate Human Idiocy
Why on Earth do Muslim suicide bombers sacrifice their own lives to kill defenseless strangers who did them no harm? It's baffling.
SHARE Sunday, February 23, 2020 Moral Progress
Although TV news makes the world seem horrible, life actually grows constantly less violent and more humane. The improvement began two centuries ago with The Enlightenment.
SHARE Sunday, March 8, 2020 James Baldwin: Brilliant Skeptic
Most people remember James Baldwin as America's greatest black writer - but few know he was a teen-age fundamentalist preacher who later renounced religion.
SHARE Saturday, March 7, 2020 Evolution Debate is about Honesty
Evolution is the basic premise of biology. Nearly all the world's top scientists are convinced that advanced animals evolved from earlier, primitive ones. Yet some religious zealots refuse to accept science.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 15, 2020 Hail the Rising Secular Age
Many call America a Christian nation, but that's untrue. The ratio of U.S. churchgoers has fallen dramatically since 1990. Now, the biggest segment is Americans who say their faith is "none."
SHARE Friday, December 27, 2019 Prod 'Nones' to Vote
While white evangelicals are the heart of the Republican Party, young Americans who say their religion is "none" generally hold progressive values - so the Democratic Party should mobilize them as voters.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 15, 2020 Russell Fought for Scientific Honesty
Bertrand Russell was a 20th- century hero - a crusader for intelligent honesty against supernatural mumbo-jumbo. More thinking people should remember him.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, July 3, 2020 The Trillion-Dollar Fraud
Billions of people embrace supernatural religions of various sorts - but they're all untrue. Magical systems of gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, prophecies and the like are just fantasies, having no reality.
SHARE Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Religious Evils
Amid many minor religious scandals, two major evils dominate this 21st century: suicide-bombing massacres by Islamic "martyrs" and never-ending sex offenses by Catholic priests (plus some fundamentalist preachers).
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 30, 2020 The Forest is My Church
Inner peace and personal serenity come from hiking shady trails in cathedral-like woodlands.
SHARE Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Low-Pay Writing
In the past, authors earned solid income from a small array of writing markets. But now, the astounding Cyber Age publishes vastly more writing - at near zero pay.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, May 14, 2020 Jefferson - 'Howling Atheist'
Most Americans revere Thomas Jefferson as the brilliant architect of democracy. But few know he hated clergymen and most of religion in his day.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Parable of Floundering Frogs
The struggle to solve human problems may seem overwhelming - but an old Russian parable about drowning frogs tells everyone to keep on kicking.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, March 27, 2020 States of Faith
America's radical founders saw that the only way to avoid religious horrors was to keep church and state separate. But politicians endlessly pander for votes by approving government endorsement of religion.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, February 28, 2020 Living With Absurdity
So much of daily life reeks of absurdity. President Trump's 17,000 countable lies make Washington a zoo of absurdity. But thinking people must cope, anyway.
SHARE Thursday, January 16, 2020 The Tide of History Flows Left
In the two centuries since The Enlightenment, liberals constantly have defeated conservatives to bring democracy, human rights and safe modern life.
SHARE Wednesday, January 8, 2020 Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Religious freedom means that neither the government nor anyone else can tell you what to believe. Centuries of struggle were required to win that right in western democracies.
SHARE Thursday, February 6, 2020 My God, How the Money Rolls In
In every culture since prehistoric time, priests have reaped wealth and prestige by claiming to speak for supernatural spirits.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 1, 2020 Seekers, Not Finders
Philosophy-club members endlessly ponder the deepest questions. They can't find answers - but the search is rewarding, anyway.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, April 12, 2020 The Mother of all Questions
Many people are vague and unsure about whether God exists. They tend to ignore the question. However, it's actually the most important question for every human.
SHARE Sunday, February 2, 2020 Cult Tragedies
Most cults are one-man religions led by dynamic, charismatic weirdos. And they can produce horrors.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, January 20, 2020 Science Always Defeats Religion
In Ancient Greece, logical thinkers sought natural explanations, not supernatural ones. The war between science and religion hasn't stopped since.
SHARE Thursday, May 7, 2020 Gay Equality
When I was young in the 1950s, gay sex was a felony. But America's culture evolved, and gays slowly were accepted as equal fellow humans. Bravo.
SHARE Sunday, January 26, 2020 Religious Madness in Ulster
For decades, Catholic and Protestant hate gangs killed each other in Northern Ireland. It was "religious tribalism" in action.
SHARE Monday, January 13, 2020 Baby Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark
The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights forbids giving taxpayer money to religion - but conservative politicians often violate this law, for instance, by using "vouchers" that funnel public funds to church schools.
SHARE Saturday, May 16, 2020 John Adams - Bold Radical
It's often claimed that all of America's founders were Christians and that this is a "Christian nation." However, brave radicals like John Adams mostly were Deists who rejected Christianity.
SHARE Friday, June 19, 2020 The God Biz - part 1
As a newspaper investigative reporter, Haught covered many Bible Belt religious frauds. This is the first half of his long report in Penthouse magazine.
SHARE Tuesday, March 10, 2020 More Harm than Good
A disillusioned religion professor and theologian concludes that faith is more hurtful than beneficial. What's your view?
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 28, 2020 The Cristero War
Few people today remember that Mexico was shattered in the 1920s by a bloody war between Catholic zealots and the secular government.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, May 29, 2020 Freethinker Mark Twain
Mark Twain was an American delight, a national treasure. But his scorn for religion was kept hidden during the era when only churchgoers were "respectable."
SHARE Sunday, January 5, 2020 The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Throughout history, women have been subjugated to lesser status. Finally, near-equality has been attained in western democracies, but not in many other parts of the world.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Doubts of Dickens
Charles Dickens was a "social justice warrior" as well as a superb novelist. He frequently battled against religion in England.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 16, 2020 Chandrasekhar: Brilliant Skeptic
An Indian teen-ager calculated something that other world scientists failed to see: If a collapsing star is beyond a certain size, it will keep on collapsing. He discovered the first hint of pulsars and black holes.
SHARE Thursday, June 11, 2020 Ethan Allen, Maverick
Ethan Allen is little-known in American history - but he was a fascinating maverick. Did you know that he wrote a book denouncing religion? Like most founding fathers, he scorned Christianity.
SHARE Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Why Would God Drown Children?
Terrible disasters kill multitudes of people. Horrible diseases cause agonizing death. Nature is ruthless, with predators slaughtering prey. How can an all-loving, all-merciful God let it occur? That's a question no theologian can answer.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 5, 2020 Theology and Honesty
Theology is the study of supernatural spirits - but how can anyone study purely imaginary beings?
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 25, 2020 The Story Behind Waco's Tragedy
Older Americans remember the tragic Waco siege that killed many cultists - but few know that it began with the Millerite fiasco a century before.
SHARE Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Thomas Paine, Offbeat Hero
Thomas Paine, the fiery spirit of the American Revolution, also was a fiery opponent of organized religion. His freethinking tarnished his standing in American history.
SHARE Monday, May 18, 2020 Lincoln Shunned Religion
Abraham Lincoln almost destroyed his political career by writing an attack on supernatural religion. But friends burned his text and saved him from a church backlash.
SHARE Tuesday, March 17, 2020 From High Prestige to Low
A half-century ago, "tall-steeple" religion, with its educated clergy, was highly respected in America. But those upper-crust mainline churches have dwindled, leaving mostly shallow, lowbrow, emotional religion behind.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Nine Decades of Progress
During one lifetime, liberal-progressive advances have improved life for billions of people. It's a beneficial triumph that's barely noticed in daily life.
SHARE Monday, May 25, 2020 Darwin's Breakthrough
A huge battle in the war between science and religion erupted in the mid-1800s when Charles Darwin showed that humans and other complex animals evolved from simpler ones. The Bible's account of creation was reduced to fable.
SHARE Monday, June 1, 2020 Burbank"s Crop of Doubt
In Luther Burbank's era, agriculture remained the heart of America's economy. He transformed it - and also enraged church believers with his skepticism.
SHARE Tuesday, June 9, 2020 Montaigne, Father of the Essay
During the era when the church still killed doubters, Michel de Montaigne bravely wrote essays scoffing at supernaturalism. He was a hero of the growing Age of Reason.
SHARE Saturday, March 21, 2020 Y2K - Don't Yield to Kooks
Humans count in multiples of tens because they have ten fingers. If they had eight, our number system would be different. So there was no magic when the world reached the year 2000.
SHARE Thursday, April 2, 2020 Let's Outgrow Fairy Tales
All religion consists of supernatural fairy tales. Modern, educated, intelligent, science-minded people are beyond such childishness.
SHARE Friday, May 22, 2020 Little-Known Side of Napoleon
Like Alexander the Great, Napoleon conquered vast territory in many nations - yet his French empire came to nothing at the end. Less known is his contempt for religion.
SHARE Friday, March 27, 2020 50,000 Religions?
Each year, 40 to 50 new religious movements emerge in America alone, adding to thousands already practiced. They all have one thing in common: They're fantasies - untrue supernaturalism.
SHARE Saturday, June 6, 2020 Deep Wisdom of Omar Khayyam
A millennium ago, a profound Persian poet spelled out the basis of agnosticism - the confusion of thinkers who cannot answer why life or the universe exist.
SHARE Monday, March 16, 2020 One Man's Road to Addiction
The "male menopause" sends middle-aged men into odd adventures. Mine was a lovely small motorcycle cruising the curvy roads of Appalachia.
SHARE Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Free Speech and Press
The very heart of democracy is free speech and press - the right to express every possible belief, including unpopular ones. Many battles won this right.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Einstein: Brilliant Skeptic
Nearly everyone knows that Albert Einstein saw that matter can convert into energy, making nuclear power possible. But few know the rest of his stupendous science career.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, August 10, 2020 White Christian Bigotry
White evangelicals - the heart of the GOP - display more racism than other white Americans who don't attend church. That's the finding of a new book by Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute.
SHARE Saturday, April 18, 2020 How Democrats and Republicans Flip-Flopped
Believe it or not, Republicans once were America's liberal party, while Democrats were conservative. That standoff prevailed at the time of Abraham Lincoln. But the two major parties reversed position, like Earth's magnetic poles flipping.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 22, 2020 Era of the Holy Human Bomb
In this 21st century, civilization entered a new phase: the era of human suicide bombers. Thousands of volunteers sacrifice their lives to kill strangers they consider "infidels."
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Sinking into Bewilderment
Conspiracy theories - such as those engulfing the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attack - are strongly persuasive. However, no conclusive proof leads to new prosecutions. Honest people remain baffled.
SHARE Friday, April 10, 2020 Adventures in the Bible Belt
Whooping, howling, rattlesnake-handling and "speaking in tongues" are colorful aspects of "that old-time religion" in Appalachia's Bible Belt. It's a flamboyant subculture.
SHARE Tuesday, January 21, 2020 One-Fourth of Christians 'Speak in Tongues"
Glossalalia means the uncontrolled spouting of incoherent sounds. With the fading of mainline religion with seminary-educated clergy, less-educated "talking in tongues" groups have climbed to one-fourth of all Christians.
SHARE Monday, July 20, 2020 'White Privilege' Makes Some Uncomfortable
Most white Americans don't realize the many benefits that fall into their laps simply because of their skin color. The deck is stacked in their favor - and stacked against minorities.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 5, 2020 Th Culture War
America's history includes a never-ending struggle between progressives and the hidebound "religious right" and the privileged elite. Despite the dreadful election of Donald Trump, liberals gradually keep winning.
SHARE Sunday, March 22, 2020 Believers Kill Skeptics
Ever since Ancient Greece, history has a clear pattern: religious believers attempt to execute or imprison doubters.
SHARE Tuesday, April 14, 2020 America's Functional Atheism
While conservative politicians endlessly call America a "Christian nation," the general public lives each day in a purely secular manner - as if gods, devils, heavens, hells, angels, demons, miracles, prophecies and the like don't really exist.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Voltaire, Liberal Warrior
Voltaire was an early example of what today is dubbed a "social justice warrior." He fought famed battles against cruelties of aristocrats and archbishops.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, August 3, 2020 The Pandemic Disproves God
Why did God send the pandemic to kill many people? If nature alone created the virus, why didn't God stop it? Was he powerless to save suffering victims - or did he simply not care about their agonized deaths? Logic proves that the merciful god declared by churches cannot exist.
SHARE Monday, April 20, 2020 Modern Liberalism Born
Modern Democracy is rooted in The Enlightenment, a breakthrough era that began three centuries ago. It wiped out the tyranny of kings and archbishops.
SHARE Thursday, June 4, 2020 Tolstoy's Struggle
Leo Tolstoy was born to wealth and privilege - yet he became a "traitor to his class," siding with underdogs and common workers. The Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated him.
SHARE Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Abolition of Slavery
Today, it's nearly impossible to believe that human slavery existed for centuries - endorsed by the Bible. Liberals battled many years to halt the evil practice.
SHARE Friday, June 5, 2020 Crusading Margaret Sanger
American couples gained the right to use birth control largely because Margaret Sanger fought for years against sex-hating opposition. She was jailed eight times - but won in the end.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 22, 2020 No Qualms
I'm creeping toward 90, and my future is obvious. But I have no time for fairy tales about heavens or hells.
SHARE Monday, February 3, 2020 Nobody Dares Say It
News reporters often expose church sex abuses, church money swindles, and the like - but it's taboo to write that supernatural religion itself is a global travesty.
SHARE Tuesday, June 2, 2020 Freud Fought Faith
Why do millions worship a father-god? Sigmund Freud said it's because tiny tots see a big father looming over them, loving them, punishing them - and this image becomes buried in the subconscious, later to emerge as a heavenly father.
SHARE Saturday, January 25, 2020 The Taiping Rebellion
Many bright, educated, knowledgeable people never heard of a horrific religious war that killed perhaps 20 million people.
SHARE Sunday, April 19, 2020 Clear Differences
Cynics sometimes claim there's little difference between America's two major political parties. But that's untrue. Liberal Democrats strive to help "little people", while conservative Republicans favor the privileged.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Shakespeare - Hidden Skeptic?
In Shakespeare's era, church attendance was mandatory, and any expression of doubt could lead to blasphemy prosecution. Yet the great bard never voiced standard Christian conviction.
SHARE Saturday, April 4, 2020 Little-Known Quirk of Faith
Did you know that many Muslims await a second coming of Jesus - to renounce Christianity and endorse Islam?
SHARE Sunday, April 5, 2020 When Thinking is a Crime
As civilizations developed, the priest class gained power and luxury, escaping toils of the working class. To ensure their privileges, they inflicted severe punishment on anyone to questioned their supernatural claims.
SHARE Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Long Shadows of Evening
Near the end of life, as the years run out, it's natural to wish for a future in heaven. But that's a fantasy. There's no evidence that people survive death. So face it honestly.
SHARE Sunday, April 26, 2020 The Battle for Birth Control
For centuries, women sought ways to prevent pregnancy - while religion tried to criminalize pregnancy-preventers. Finally, birth control has become a human right.
SHARE Sunday, April 12, 2020 Evolution Produced All Life, Including Skeptics
It seems incredible that millions of living creatures, from bacteria to redwoods, were spawned by the DNA molecule that zips and unzips. But scientific-minded people must accept this explanation, because alleged supernatural causes are nonsense.
SHARE Friday, January 24, 2020 The Search for Meaning
Studying philosophy is a long trip to nowhere, because ultimate answers never can be found. But it's deeply rewarding, regardless.
SHARE Monday, April 6, 2020 Recovering a Lost Treasure
Amid all the gods, oracles and sacrifices of Ancient Greece, Epicurus voiced honest doubt. Later, in Rome, Lucretius wrote about Epicurus in a masterpiece, "The Nature of Things." But his manuscript was lost for 1,600 years until a monk found one dust-covered copy in a monastery.
SHARE Sunday, May 10, 2020 Leftward Ho
Several demographic trends imply that liberal-progressive values will grow in America. White evangelicals, the heart of the Republican Party, are shrinking, while left-leaning churchless young people are rising.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, April 24, 2020 Free Public Schools
A long crusade by progressive liberals finally brought free public education to America. Now it's a central facet of democracy.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 3, 2020 Einstein: Skeptic Genius
Albert Einstein is a global symbol of science genius. Debate has raged over his religion. Despite his poetic sense of nature and the universe, he basically was an atheist.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 10, 2020 Watching Religion Die
Although America often is called a "Christian nation," religion actually is fading rapidly and relentlessly. Loss of faith may undercut the GOP, which depends heavily on white evangelicals.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, April 12, 2021 For-Profit Faith
Big-money evangelists peddle religious fairy tales and live like kings on money from gullible believers. What a travesty.
SHARE Monday, July 27, 2020 Will the Religious Right Fizzle?
Since the 1980s, white evangelicals have been a dynamo for the GOP, repeatedly swinging election victories for Republican presidents. But indicators imply that their power finally may be fading.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, July 13, 2020 One Ahead, Two Back
Since the Enlightenment 300 years ago, western civilization has won many human rights, personal freedoms and living improvements. This leftward flow of history came from many, many liberal victories over conservatives.
SHARE Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Doubts of the Famous
Most outstanding people through history have been religious skeptics, and were willing to say so. Here's part of my personal quote collection.
SHARE Saturday, May 30, 2020 Edison the Iconoclast
Most Americans know the inventive genius of Thomas Edison - but few know of his lifelong battle against religion. It was a hidden storm a century ago.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, September 4, 2020 America's Ugly Flaw
Donald Trump is the most obnoxious, insulting president in American history - so why do millions support him politically? It reveals a national flaw.
SHARE Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Fundamental Falsehoods
The Lilly Endowment donated millions to spawn news reports favorable to religion. However, it's difficult to write favorably about supernatural systems that rest on falsehoods.
SHARE Thursday, April 23, 2020 An Early 'Occupy' Episode
The 'Occupy Wall Street' movement focused national attention on the needs of ordinary Americans and the greed of the one-percent elite at the top. But few know that "Coxey's Army" was a similar "occupy" effort a century earlier.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 11, 2020 Progressive Insights
For all progressives, this is a treasury of wise comments about benefits of liberal political actions. It's the final chapter of Haught's 2016 book: Hurrah for Liberals: How Progressives Defeated Conservatives to Create Democracy, Human Rights and Safe Modern Life.
SHARE Friday, May 1, 2020 The Great Society
Most people think of FDR's "New Deal" in the 1930s as a progressive golden age - but LBJ's "Great Society" in the 1960s scored more liberal victories and transformed America.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, August 31, 2020 Sex Still Repels Many
Sex saturates America - yet many are ashamed about it. Even after the historic "sexual revolution," the taboo against extramarital sex remains strong.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Racial Equality
Today, few remember the era of Jim Crow segregation, when blacks were treated as third-class inferiors, denied many basic rights. Lynchings were common in America's South. Liberals slowly wiped out this cruelty.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, September 26, 2020 Cheating Women in Science
Lucrative Nobel Prizes have been granted to many male scientists - but sometimes it was female researchers who deserved credit. This pattern was tragically unfair.
SHARE Tuesday, April 7, 2020 'Closet Atheists' Abound in America
Only a small fringe of offbeat Americans openly call themselves atheists - but a much-larger segment of the adult population is "functional atheists", people who live as if God doesn't exist.
SHARE Friday, July 31, 2020 Municipal Mendacity
All the spires and steeples hovering over cities seem inspiring - until you realize they represent a system of lies. Supernatural claims of religion are being rejected by intelligent, educated, modern western people.
(6 comments) SHARE Friday, October 9, 2020 Trust Science
Some findings by science are so bizarre they boggle your brain - but honest thinkers have no choice but to trust science as humanity's only reliable search for truth.
SHARE Thursday, December 17, 2020 Secular Power Changing America
Oregon Democrats passed sensible sex education to prevent teen pregnancy, curb sexual disease, reduce "date rape," and the like. Outraged churches and Republicans forced a recall vote - but they lost solidly.
SHARE Thursday, May 28, 2020 Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
Today, it's hard to remember the era when women in Europe and America had few rights, and lived mostly as possessions of men. Male supremacy finally was defeated, thanks to crusaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
SHARE Thursday, April 30, 2020 'Dislodge the Traitors'
For a half-century, the Cold War between Soviet communism and western capitalism was the world's worst cause of bloodshed. Then it ceased unexpectedly as communism disintegrated.
SHARE Tuesday, April 28, 2020 The New Deal
America was transformed in the 1930s when the Democratic "New Deal" launched a "safety net" to protect working families from poverty and other cruelties.
SHARE Saturday, May 9, 2020 Progressive Future
The American populace generally holds more progressive, compassionate values than the conservative minority that rules most of the nation. Demographic trends imply that liberal standards will prevail in coming generations.
SHARE Sunday, May 3, 2020 Backlash
Liberal-progressive gains of the 1960s triggered a white evangelical "religious right" backlash in the 1970s. One violent example was West Virginia's 1974 war against "godless textbooks."
(5 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 7, 2020 Where Will the Deplorables Go Now?
Hurrah! Thank heaven, voters chose to end the bizarre Trump era that has been rooted in appeals to racial and ethnic prejudice.
SHARE Wednesday, September 2, 2020 The UMW Cleanup
A half-century ago, the United Mine Workers was plagued by corruption. President Tony Boyle sent killers to murder a rival - and eventually went to prison.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 2, 2020 'Nones' Elected Biden-Harris
Americans who have no religion were decisive in tipping the 2020 election to the Biden-Harris Democratic ticket, according to a top socio-political researcher. Hurrah.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, September 18, 2020 Jekyll and Hyde
Churches say God is all-loving, all-merciful - but the Bible reports many murders and massacres committed by God, along with other cruelties. Is the deity Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
SHARE Saturday, October 31, 2020 Possible Election Headlines
For four decades, white evangelicals have tipped American elections to Republicans. But religion is shrinking rapidly in America. Will white evangelicals finally flop in Tuesday's election?
SHARE Thursday, September 3, 2020 The Oil Boom Days
The author's grandfather was a pumper running mighty single-piston engines pumping wells on a ridge by the Ohio River - a remnant of the oil boom heyday.
SHARE Friday, October 23, 2020 Fantasies Made of Words
Since prehistoric time, every religion - from human-sacrifice groups to armed holy warriors - has followed a fantasy composed of words. Thank heaven, supernatural beliefs are fading among modern western people.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Is Zen Enlightenment Real?
Millions of Americans practice Eastern meditation to reach states of enlightenment. But this author wonders if it's a fantasy trip, and nobody really becomes enlightened.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 1, 2020 Observe Sept. 11 as a Day of Warning
Sept. 11 will recur soon. It should be observed as a day of warning about horrors of religious fanaticism - the tragic 2001 suicide attack that killed 3,000 Americans.
SHARE Thursday, January 28, 2021 Fundamentalist Intolerance
"Religious freedom" laws are touted by conservative politicians - but their only purpose is to let narrow-minded evangelicals express hate for gays. For the rest of Americans, such prejudice is illegal.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, April 12, 2021 New Phase of Civilization
Many, many phases and sub-phases of civilization have developed over the centuries. Now, the author asserts, we are entering the Secular Age when the gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, prophecies and other supernaturalism of religion fade to a fringe.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Whatever Happened to War?
In the past, wars by the hundreds - thousands - were common. But in the 21st century, they've virtually vanished. Is it just coincidence that religion is vanishing at the same time?
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 6, 2020 Monstrous Miracles
Religion contradicts itself. We are told that God is pure love - yet the Bible says he massacred Egyptian children, and drowned nearly everyone in Noah's flood, and burned all the people in some cities, etc. Is he a Jekyll-Hyde deity?
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 19, 2020 How Democrats and Republicans Flip-Flopped
Oddly, at the time of Abraham Lincoln, Republicans were the liberal party, and Democrats were conservative. Gradually,the two major parties reversed identity.
SHARE Monday, September 28, 2020 Babbling in 'Tongues'
Incredibly, one-fourth of all the world's Christians now "speak in tongues" - a practice associated with 'holy rollers." President Trump's new Supreme Court nominee reportedly is among them.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, October 19, 2020 Will 'Nones' Bring a Progressive Future?
Millions of young Americans ignore religion - and most of them have humane progressive political values. People who say their religion is "none" have become the largest faith segment in the Democratic Party base.
SHARE Tuesday, October 13, 2020 Hunter Who Stopped Killing
Gradually, hunting - killing wildlife for sport - has diminished in America. In this commentary, an Appalachian native recounts how he came to pity the creatures he shot.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, November 30, 2020 Is 2020 a Watershed?
Ever since 1980, white evangelicals have been strong enough to tip American elections to Republicans. But maybe this four-decade phase of U.S. history ended in 2020. The answer will become clear in the future.
SHARE Wednesday, September 2, 2020 Who Owes Me $10 Million?
Catholic altar boys who were molested by priests got $10 million lawsuit settlements - while other young victims got nothing. How can America have "Equal Justice Under Law"?