Book Review: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

Book Review: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

If you’re reading this blog, then chances are that you have a pretty good grasp on what Christianity is. But did you know that Christianity as we know it almost didn’t succeed in early centuries? You may have heard whispers of various ancient sects of barely recognizable Christian beliefs, and it turns out that the rumors are true. The ancient Christians that we know—whether we love them or hate them—had to struggle against their competitors known as the gnostics, better known to history as heretics.

For centuries, historians have known about the gnostic Christians and their texts only through the writings of their enemies, the orthodox or catholic Christians (which gave rise to the many denominations of Christianity existing today). You can imagine how hard it was to understand the gnostic point of view with their only documentation being from those who despised them. So it was immensely exciting for historians when the gnostic gospels themselves were discovered near Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1946. The discovery was an exercise in patience, though; it would be thirty years until an English translation of the full library would be published in 1977. Elaine Pagels must have gotten to work quickly, then, as her book The Gnostic Gospels was published in 1979.

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The Dawkins Problem

The Dawkins Problem

One could argue the atheist community has an unspoken rule to respect the esteemed biologist and controversial atheist Richard Dawkins. People have several reasons to respect the man: he has advocated for atheism, he has communicated the science of evolution to the masses, he has written many beloved books; hell, the man invented the word “meme”. For many of us, there has been a lot to like about Dawkins. But a line must be drawn somewhere. Just because someone has done good things at their best, does that mean we can ignore the hurtful things they say and do at their worst?

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Should Atheists Support Hijab?

Should Atheists Support Hijab?

It is a strange position to find myself in, trying to reconcile my values as an atheist and as an intersectional feminist. Allow me to explain.

In the beginning of this month, the French Senate passed a bill that, if made into a law, would enforce a sort of “secular dress code”. This amendment applies very specifically toward the rights of Muslim women, including:

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Book Review: On Her Knees by Brenda Marie Davies

Book Review: On Her Knees by Brenda Marie Davies

This is the first time that I have ever reviewed a memoir. I’ve joked with my husband about it: how do you critique a book recounting someone’s life story? “Good job having a life, it was really interesting”? However, there is a lot to reflect on in On Her Knees. Before I get into it, as a graphic designer, I have to applaud this book’s incredible cover art. I love to pick apart designs and think of how they could be improved, but as for On Her Knees‘ final cover, I came up empty. It’s perfect.

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Answers in Genesis is Threatened by Human Fossil Discoveries

Answers in Genesis is Threatened by Human Fossil Discoveries

Happy Sunday and welcome to the latest installment in my series Creationists Don’t Understand Human Evolution! This week I will be responding to the three Answers in Genesis articles under their category “Hominids” in which the AiG authors contend with “the news” each time it “eagerly reports the discovery of another link in the supposed chain of hominid evolution.” In my opinion, this whole category seems pretty incomplete, as it only covers two fossil discoveries as well as an ongoing debate between paleoanthropologists. I don’t normally respond to each article separately, but the first of these three has virtually nothing in common with the other two, so I’ll have to tackle that one on its own. The articles are:

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Intentionality in Reading and Writing

Intentionality in Reading and Writing

When I was brainstorming on what to write about this week, I had the idea of doing a series responding to one of the short Christian apologetics books on my shelves. I landed on Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter, which seemed like a shorter version of the famed The Case for Christ, surely featuring the same arguments that, after having educated myself some on the historicity of Jesus and the development of the gospels, should be easy to refute.

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Why Atheists Can’t Defeat Christian Nationalism

Why Atheists Can’t Defeat Christian Nationalism

As someone who is hoping for a brighter and fairer future for my country, I found hope and reassurance in watching the inauguration of our new President and Vice President, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. But as someone who is not religious, and who knows all too well the harms of Christian nationalism, I also found division and exclusionary language.

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Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot: Book Review and 17 Best Quotes

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot: Book Review and 17 Best Quotes

After reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and The Demon-Haunted World, I decided that it was time to return for Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, the Cosmos sequel famous for the short but poignant speech of the same name. Pale Blue Dot is possibly the most humbling book you will ever read, and that rings especially true for anyone who believes that the Universe was created exclusively for humans.

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Why Atheists Revere Carl Sagan

Why Atheists Revere Carl Sagan

Since I was a kid, I’ve had a tendency to get “obsessed” with various things. I think “obsessed” might be a harsh word for it, but it’s not entirely inaccurate: over the years I have become enamored with different book series, TV shows, and musicians in the sense that one could have thought that my being a fan of that thing was my main personality trait. As I’ve grown older, this zeal has gone more towards things like atheism, paleoanthropology, and most recently, everything Carl Sagan has ever written.

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Book Review: How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman

Book Review: How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman

When a person leaves religion or loses their faith, I’ve found that they tend to go one of two ways. Some people lose interest in religion altogether and want to get as far away from it as possible. In a way, I think this is a shame, because I’m one of the people that goes the other way; I decided that I wanted to give religion a closer look. I turned back around after walking away to scrutinize the history of Christianity and determine which parts of it, if any, are really true. And what have I found?

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