Last week I wrote a surprisingly critical review of David Hutchings and James C. Ungureanu’s 2022 book Of Popes and Unicorns: Science, Christianity, and How the Conflict Thesis Fooled the World. It was unfortunate that my opinion of the book ended up being so negative, because I really enjoyed about 70% of it.
Before I wrote that post, I had actually wanted to include a whole deep dive on my own opinions about the conflict between science and religion. After writing it, however, I realized that after tackling the book in so much detail, my own conclusion about this perceived contradiction warranted its own separate post. This is that post.
I have always felt most at home in communities of nonbelievers. In my very first-ever blog post in 2016, I said this for the first time.
The only problem is that I only know one atheist other than myself. I have almost no outlet for my discoveries or my questions. I hope that this blog acts as a way for me to go from being a rogue atheist to a member of a community of individuals who are either in a situation similar to my own or who were brave enough to be able to come out. I intend to share my experiences and discoveries with you as I make my way through works of atheistic literature, learn more about natural science, and form my own opinions and lifestyle choices based on my beliefs.
As I continue to examine the myths the circulate in the atheist community, it was inevitable that I would come across, and have my eyes opened by, God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science by James Hannam (which in the US goes by the title The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution).
Being friends with people of different beliefs and opinions than us is usually seen as wholesome. I used to think this way when I viewed the world as a dichotomy of Christians and atheists. In a way, I had to see it like this because I was an atheist who knew, and therefore was friends with, almost only Christians. No Christian friends would have meant no friends.
For most of the time I’ve spent as an atheist, I’ve also identified as a secular humanist. However, the label of “humanist” has spent most of that time in the backseat. Even though I was a humanist, I preferred to use descriptors like “skeptic” or “curious atheist”. While I am still all of these, I’m beginning to really embrace my identity as a humanist for the first time.
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:
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.
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?
After reading The Demon-Haunted World, I was hoping to find a book that was a bit more fast-paced before moving onto something else academic. I started reading a book that I had had on my shelves for a few months: The Peking Man is Missing by Claire Taschdjian. The Peking Man is a group of fossils that has gone through several names but is now classified as Homo erectus.