Paul is communications director for the Center for Inquiry, as well as an actor and musician. His blog is iMortal, and he tweets as @paulfidalgo, and the blog tweets as @iMortal_blog.
The opinions expressed on this blog are personal to Paul and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry.
The Star of Bethlehem, as told in the Bible and other myths, did some impressive things that stars don’t normally do, moving in different directions, hovering in one spot, oh, and heralding the birth of the messiah. But what, if anything, was really going on? Kimberly Winston of the Religion News Service recently interviewed Aaron Adair, the author of a new book on the subject, The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View, and they run through some of the theories, ruling many of them out. Comets and supernovae, for example, don’t fit the picture. But one idea that sticks out to me, and also to Winston, is that the “star” may have been something a little more mechanical in nature Read more
John Hagee, he who says Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to warn us about the dangers of The Gay, he who thinks the Holocaust had some theological merit for nudging those stubborn Jews toward accepting Jesus, would like us all to leave. Hagee, in this video, begins with the straw man of the atheist who is horrified at being told “Merry Christmas,” gives the usual blather about the U.S. being founded as a Christian nation (it wasn’t), and then suggests that if we don’t like religious displays on government property, we can just leave the country. Read more
What an odd flare-up! In Chickasha, Oklahoma, Tiffany Wait and her husband brought their 7-month-old baby to the Bible Baptist Church’s toy shop for Christmas presents that the church gives away for families in need. But things got weird and nasty. According to the Chickasha News, the church volunteers insisted that Wait hand her baby over, but I can’t make out why. To receive the gift? To be blessed or something? Just to cuddle? I don’t know. Wait said her baby doesn’t like strangers and she’d prefer to be with him. She said the volunteer said it has to be done this way, or the family wouldn’t be able to participate. “I stood there, fighting back tears and asked, ‘You would turn a baby away on Christmas,'” said Wait. The volunteers held their ground, according to Wait and one woman tried to forcibly take her child. Read more
Chris Arnade has a PhD in physics, used to work on Wall Street, and now works with the homeless. He is an atheist, but just about none of the people in trouble that he works with are, calling them, “some of the strongest believers I have met, steeped in a combination of Bible, superstition, and folklore.” In a piece he wrote for The Guardian, he seems to be saying that this is more or less how it should be. And why? Because it is this religion and superstition that they find hope. In doing so, he unfortunately invents a heartless atheist straw man… Read more