Secular Sunday #66 – Bigger than Jesus

I don’t feel like I’ve saved any daylight today. I feel like I’ve been robbed of an hour that I won’t get back till October. So, produced in less time than usual, here’s this week’s newsletter.

– Derek Walsh, Editor

Atheist Ireland News

  • Due to a miscommunication, the panel discussion on abortion for our Dublin Atheists in the Pub event was postponed. It should take place at next month’s event. Details will be provided closer to the date.
  • Atheist Ireland’s chairperson Michael Nugent has begun hosting a structured dialogue process with the aim of healing some of the recent rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities. Read more
  • Last week Michael Nugent debated Professor David Smith on the subject of end of life care and the right to die. We have video of Michael’s and David’s opening speeches
  • Michael discussed belief in life after death, and religion generally, on Newstalk Radio yesterday morning, with Jesuit priest Father Peter McVerry and psychiatrist Patricia Casey who is a patron of the Iona Institute. Listen here

Profile: Dan Barker

Every week until the Empowering Women through Secularism conference, we’ll be profiling one of the speakers. Dan Barker is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (along with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor who is also a scheduled speaker at our conference and will be profiled in next week’s issue).
Dan was a Christian preacher for 19 years before becoming an atheist in 1984.
Since then, he has written a number of books, including Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheistand The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God. He has appeared many times on radio and television, and spoken at countless events across the United States and internationally on religious issues.



  • Friday 5 April, 8:00 pm, Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork (map)
    Cork Skeptics present “The Little Atoms Road Trip, featuring Neil Denny.” Facebook event page
  • Saturday 6 April, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm
    Brendan Maher will be outside the GPO promoting atheism, secularism and humanism. Email Brendan if you want to help.
  • Saturday 6 April, 6:00 pm, The Exchange, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (map)
    Dublin Skeptics present “The Little Atoms Road Trip, featuring Neil Denny.” Facebook event page
  • Sunday 7 April, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome. Facebook event page
  • Monday 8 April, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub #54.Facebook event page
  • Wednesday 10 April, 9:00 pm, The Exchange, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (map)
    Dublin Skeptics host Ricahard Saunders, Australian paranormal investigator. Facebook event page
  • Sunday 14 April, 12:00 noon, multiple locations
    The third Second Sunday brunch thing. If there’s one in your area, go to it. If there isn’t, arrange one and let us know.
  • Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 June, O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, Dubln 2 (map)
    “Empowering Women Through Secularism” An international two-day conference featuring some of the biggest names in atheism, skepticism, secularism and feminism. Buy tickets now


The Iona institute claims that Child Trends’ research has found that two biological parents are better for children than same-sex parents. However, a quick look at the actual research paper reveals that none of this is, in fact, true. The research conducted by Child Trends encompassed several family structures: single parents, cohabitating  parents, stepparents, and two biological married parents. The research did not include same-sex parents. – Peter examines the Iona Institute’s complicated relationship with reality.

Today instead we look at Abdur Raheem Green, head of the aforementioned iERA, perhaps most famous for his lectures on how one should best beat one’s wives. I use the plural as he has two wives at time of print and sees four as the maximum. I’m reliably informed that he is the keen mind behind the ‘Don’t Shoot the Messenger’ campaign which features a trilemma argument. In brief, it states that Mohammed was either lying, deluded or the final prophet of Allah. It then attempts to prove the first two explanations incoherent by saying his actions are neither those of a liar or a madman. – Geoff has a trilemmaof his own

In recent years a large body of literature has grown up asserting that Jesus, a reasonably historically-relevant Palestinian from the latter-day Roman era, suffered beyond the end of his life from infection with a zombie virus. The evidence given for this hypothesis is based on several sources from the (almost) contemporary literature which describe Jesus as having become reanimated after his demise. This is, of course, a major feature of zombie infection. However, a more in-depth look into the symptoms of zombification leads me to doubt that this was, in fact, the condition which Jesus suffered from. I contend, instead, that he was infected with the relatively more benign vampirism strain of the undead family of viruses. – Aoife makes the case for Vampire Jesus

Secular Sunday