Author Archive

Redeeming “Atheism”

4 September 2009
800px-Ariane_Sherine_and_Richard_Dawkins_at_the_Atheist_Bus_Campaign_launch

Atheist Bus Campaign creator Ariane Sherine and Richard Dawkins at its launch in London

I “came out” as an atheist a few years ago, after years of shilly-shallying.

The basic Protestantism of my upbringing yielded, as a teenager, to an orthodox but rather devout kind of new-age pantheism; this drifted imperceptibly into a “spiritual but not religious” phase, followed by a lengthy spell as an agnostic. If people understood the word “agnostic” as it’s meant to be understood — the view that God’s existence isn’t provable one way or the other, so we should reserve judgment — I might have been willing to leave it at that. But in reality, most people think agnostic means “undecided,” as if its proponents just haven’t made their minds up yet. In either case, “agnostic” began to seem annoyingly timid, the soft option. So I took a deep breath and embraced the big, scary “A” word. (more…)

The Manson Mindset

18 August 2009

Charles Manson has been much on my mind lately. Not that I particularly want him there; it’s just that a confluence of events have put the wannabe-Messiah and his brainwashed gaggle of zombie drones back in the news.

August 9th and 10th marked the 40th anniversary of the Tate-La Bianca murders, the most notorious but by no means the only atrocities to be carried out under Manson’s command. Squeaky Fromme, the would-be assassin of Gerald Ford (and as far as I know the only one of Manson’s hippie harem to remain a true believer) was released from prison on August 14. Leslie Van Houten, a deeply repentant former Manson follower convicted for the La Bianca killings, remains housed in the California Institution for Women; her friend, filmmaker John Waters, recently published an eloquent five-part plea for her release on the Huffington Post. (more…)

The Paranoids Will Get You If You Don’t Watch Out

5 August 2009

Last week, I happened upon the 2002 video clip of Buzz Aldrin punching a moon-landing conspiracy theorist in the face–a joyous artifact that had never before come to my attention. The punchee was filmmaker Bart Sibrel, who confronted Aldrin (then 72) and his stepdaughter outside a Beverly Hills hotel, screaming “You’re the one who said you walked on the moon and you didn’t!” Aldrin warned him to back off, at which point Sibrel called him a “thief, a liar and a coward.” When Sibrel initiated physical contact (as attested to by several witnesses), Aldrin hauled off and clocked him one. (more…)

The Decade That Reason Forgot

22 July 2009

The 1970’s were, by almost any measure, a strange and ridiculous time to be alive.  Once dubbed “the decade that taste forgot,” the ’70s were also the decade that reason forgot–a time when cosmic hoo-hah in all its forms gripped the popular imagination.   Being at a formative and suggestible time of life–I was five years old in 1970–it’s no wonder I was set on an early course as a junior mystic and budding spiritual warrior. (more…)