Recent Publications

Fading Faith
The Rise of the Secular Age
By James A. Haught
Gustav Broukal Press
2010 - $16

To order, click here

Religion slowly is retreating in advanced Western democracies. Since World War II, Europe has experienced a stunning collapse of worship and supernatural belief. Churches and cathedrals sit almost empty, except for tourists. Pope Benedict XVI laments that "Europe has developed a culture that, in a manner unknown before now to humanity, excludes God from the public conscience." Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other educated societies likewise have secularized rapidly. America -- with its teeming megachurches and pious politicians -- seems an exception. However, quietly, beneath the radar, the United States is following Europe's path to scientific-minded secularism. Around 45 million Americans now answer "none" when asked their faith, and one-tenth of the U.S. adult population is comprised of former Catholics.

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Fascinating West Virginia
Wild, memorable episodes from the longtime editor of the Mountain State's largest newspaper,
The Charleston Gazette
By James A. Haught
printed by The Charleston Gazette
2008 - $15

To order, email James Haught

A plantation owner's devotion for his beloved slave woman eventually produced the state's largest African-American community, Institute.
The historic Kanawha County rebellion against "godless textbooks" made world news.
The Portuguese wine fraud snared savvy bankers and investors.
Infamous corruption of the Barron and Moore administrations filled prison cells.
"Deathwind" Wetzel tracked and killed Indians.
The "pot plane" crash jolted Charleston -- and the zany drug smugglers later won an Academy Award.
Romney changed hands 56 times during the Civil War.
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These and other intriguing sagas are recounted in this well-illustrated local book.

To Question is the Answer
Challenge supernaturalism in all its forms, from religion to ouija boards

"Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen." -- Michel de Montaigne

  James A. Haught

 

 

"Religion is all bunk." -- Thomas Edison
 

Welcome to a quest for mental honesty.

I'm an old newspaper editor who has spent half a century chronicling social struggles and cultural tides.

Personally, I've waged a long crusade for rational, scientific thinking as an antidote for harmful supernaturalism. I've written seven books and many magazine articles against religion, astrology, mysticism, psychic claims, cults, "New Agery," fundamentalism, and other magical beliefs.

Although billions of people pray to invisible gods, there's no actual evidence of deities and devils, heavens and hells, spirits and prophecies, etc. They're just imaginary, as far as a sincere inquirer can tell. So, to me, the only honest viewpoint is the humanist one, which doubts the supernatural and focuses on improving human life.

This web site contains some of my skeptical pieces - plus others on science, sailing, sex, serenity, the joy of nature, and the meaning of life (or lack thereof). You're free to read, download, print out, circulate or reprint any of these materials.

(Updated July 2007)


-- Agnostic articles -- Other Writing -- Other Resources -- Comment, please --


 
Haught (right) with acquaintances
(Official White House photo PO14499-030 4/15/94)

 

BOOKS

 

Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Prometheus, 1990)

Science in a Nanosecond: Illustrated Answers to 100 Basic Science Questions (Prometheus, 1990)

The Art of Lovemaking: An Illustrated Tribute (Prometheus, 1992)

Holy Hatred: Religious Conflicts of the '90s (Prometheus, 1995)

2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People With the Courage to Doubt (Prometheus, 1996)  (read a review by Robert Sherrill)

Holy Horrors (expanded paperback, after 9/11) (Prometheus 2002)

Honest Doubt: Essays on Atheism in a Believing Society (Prometheus, 2007)

Amazon Moon, a novel of the fabled female fighters of Ancient Greece (BookLocker, 2007)

Amazons discussion and picture gallery


AGNOSTIC ARTICLES

 

“Another Holy Horror: The Cristero War” (Free Inquiry, April-May 2007)

---- Uprising by Mexican Catholics killed 90,000 in the 1920s

 

“My God, How the Money Rolls In” (Free Inquiry, Dec.-Jan. 2006-07)

---- Getting rich from believers is an age-old human practice

 

“Why Would God Drown Children?” (Free Inquiry, April-May 2005)

---- The Indian Ocean tsunami proved there’s no all-loving father-deity

 

“Fundamentalist Political Power in America” (Free Inquiry, Feb-March 2005)

---- 70 million who oppose evolution and await the Rapture elected Bush

 

“Evolution of Moral Values” (Gazette Nov. 11, 2004, and L.A. Jewish Journal)

---- American morality improved greatly since the “moral” 1950s

 

“Unitarian Skeptics Feel Marginalized” (Freethought Today, June-July 2004)

---- Church has 100,000 agnostics – but they aren’t allowed to say so

 

“Jekyll and Hyde in the News” (syndicated from Charleston Gazette, Feb. 24, 2004)

---- People contain great kindness and great cruelty – yin and yang

 

“How Would Jesus Vote?” (syndicated from the Gazette, Jan. 8, 2004)

---- White evangelicals back Puritanical politics, contradicting Christ’s compassion

 

“Bewilderment From the Daily News” (syndicated from the Gazette, Nov. 12, 2003)

---- Suicide bombers can’t be fathomed by rational Western folks

 

“Freedom of Religion” (syndicated from the Gazette, Aug. 23, 2003)

---- Seekers of government-enforced faith don’t understand democracy

 

“The Problem of Evil” (Freethought Today, June-July 2003)

---- Did a loving Creator make disease, earthquakes, cruel predators?

 

“Nikos Kazantzakis, 1885-1957” (Free Inquiry, spring 2003)

---- The great novelist saw the folly of supernatural beliefs

 

“The age-old enigma of slaughter” (Gazette, April 15, 2003)

---- Religio-ethnic conflicts show the ugliness of “religious tribalism”

 

“Questions about an unnecessary war” (Gazette, March 29, 2003, and KRT)

---- Sanctimonious, self-righteous president has obsessive qualities

 

“Why does President Bush crave war?” (Gazette, March 5, 2003)

---- His born-again mentality exaggerates “good” versus “evil”

 

“Clash of civilizations?” (Gazette, Feb. 12, 2003, and KRT syndicate)

---- The Iraq War and 1,400 years of conflict between Islam and Christendom

 

“Faith-Based Killing” (new introduction for “Holy Horrors,” late 2002)

---- Sept. 11, 2001, raised religion-oriented murder to a ghastly height

 

“The Unitarian Quandary” (Free Inquiry, fall 2002)

---- America’s largest pool of agnostics can’t voice their doubts

 

“Killing for God” (Gazette, Oct. 29, 2002, plus KRT, Freethought Today)

---- Dilemma of religious conflicts pondered on Bill Moyers show

 

“Observe Sept. 11 as a day of warning” (Gazette, Aug. 14, 2002)

---- Like Guy Fawkes Day, a time to remember the danger of fanatics

 

“Few understand religious freedom” (Gazette, June 28, 2002)

---- Most Americans want government to enforce church beliefs

 

“The goofier the tale, the more it’s swallowed” (Gazette, April 25, 2002, and KRT)

---- Mothman, crop circles, UFO abductions, “channeling” spirits, other hokum

 

“Worst of all, it was done for religion” (Free Inquiry, winter 2001-02)

---- 9/11 suicide “martyrs” prayed and expected houri nymphs in heaven

"Meaning and Nothingness" (Free Inquiry, winter 2001-02)
---- There's no cosmic purpose - but a thousand human purposes

"Let's Outgrow Fairy Tales" (C-ville weekly, July 3-9, 2001)
---- Mainstream media rarely print agnostic views

“Ashcroft and ‘the unknown tongue’” (Gazette, Jan. 13, 2001)

---- Attorney general leads a Pentecostal church known for “glossalalia”

"Author note: James Baldwin" (Free Inquiry, fall 2000)
---- America's greatest black writer went from preacher to skeptic

"Pro-death - Christian Coalition goal" (Charleston Gazette, Oct. 21, 2000)
---- Capital punishment a strange objective for a "Christian" group

"Religious tribalism - What's the cure?" (Charleston Gazette, Oct. 18, 2000)
---- Mideast violence, like horrors elsewhere, caused by sectarian alienation

"Pious politicos - Election-time tactic" (Charleston Gazette, Oct. 9, 2000)
---- Conservative candidates embrace Jesus to get votes

"Scream" (entry in a religious poetry contest, October 2000)
---- How could an all-loving god design nature's cruelties?

"Vouchers - Balkanizing education" (Charleston Gazette, Oct. 2, 2000)
---- Pouring tax money into church schools would fragment society

"Evolution Debate is About Honesty" (Reports of the NCSE, May-June, 2000)
---- Creationists twist evidence to fit scriptures

"Postmodernism - a Dubious Philosophy" (Unitarian talk, March 12, 2000)
---- Over-thinking can lead to nonsense

"Young Idealism and Old Reality" (Gazette, Sept. 21, 1999)
---- Cynicism is a natural reaction to the world's quackery

"A Freethinker's Testimony" (Religion in the News, spring 1999)
---- The life of a skeptic newspaper editor in the Bible Belt

"Y2K: Don't Yield to Kooks" (Secular Humanist Bulletin, spring 1999)
---- There's no magic when numbers roll over

"Deadly Alliance" (Free Inquiry, spring 1999)
---- "Pro-life" killers team up with militia extremists

"Kashmir: Nuclear Religious War?" (The Charleston Gazette, June 6, 1999)
---- How religion tribalized Asia's subcontinent

"Balkan Trap" (The Charleston Gazette, May 8, 1999)
---- How religion tribalized southeastern Europe

"Vouchers: Wrecking Public Schools" (Gazette, May 6, 1999)
---- Funneling taxpayer money into church schools

"The Trillion-Dollar Fraud" (seminar talk, Easter 1999)
---- Religion and other supernaturalism hobble humanity

"Right and Wrong: A Daily Dilemma" (Gazette, Dec. 10, 1998)
---- Moral rules are man-made, not divine

"The Lyons Den" (Secular Humanist Bulletin, summer 1998)
---- All preachers spin fantasies; this one got caught

"Evolving Away From Magic" (Secular Web, May 1998
---- Intelligent, educated Westerners abandoning the supernatural

"How to Stop 'Pro-Life' Killings" (Free Inquiry, spring 1998)
---- A cure for fundamentalist attacks on clinics

"Nobody Hears the 20 Million" (Playboy, February 1998)
---- One-tenth of Americans (the elite) doubt God and heaven

"UU Humanist Takes on 'Malarkey'" (Universalist Herald, Jan-Feb 1998)
---- Don't let Unitarianism slip into La-La Land

"Murky Moonie Money" (Free Inquiry, Winter 1997-98)
---- Mysterious cult cash flowing to George Bush

"The Twilight Zone" (Freethought Today, Dec. 1997)
---- Religion outrages boggle the brain

"Sex and God: Is Religion Twisted?" (Free Inquiry, fall 1997)
---- Western faiths inflict shame and guilt for normal sexuality

"Honest Minds, Past and Present" (seminar talks, Sept. 20-21, 1997)
---- Great skeptics of the Renaissance and the 20th century

"The Army of God: Religious Killers?" (Secular Humanist Bulletin, fall 1997)
---- Shadowy covert group hits gay clubs, abortion clinics

"Everyone's a Skeptic - About Other Religions" (university talk, Sept. 10, 1997)
---- All supernatural beliefs seem absurd, except one's own

"Battling Demons of the Mind" (Free Inquiry, spring 1997)
---- Carl Sagan's struggle against superstition

"Three Little Words: I Don't Know" (university talk, Feb. 11, 1997)
---- It's honest to admit you lack ultimate answers

"Breaking the Last Taboo" (Free Inquiry, winter 1996/97)
---- Famous people who doubted religion

"Morality: A Lesson in Values" (Charleston Gazette, Nov. 4, 1996)
---- Bigotry ruled the "moral" 1950s

"Well, It's About Time" (Freethought Today, June/July 1996)
---- A backlash against fundamentalists in the GOP

"If Thine Enemy Offend Thee, Rub Him Out" (Liberty, March/April 1996)
---- Religious atrocities in the daily news

"Does God Exist?" (Great American Think-Off, 1996)
---- Forces of the universe don't include magical spirits

"Yitzhak Rabin, Victim of Zealotry" (Free Inquiry, winter 1995/96)
---- Another fanatic thinks God said "Thou shalt kill"

"Long Shadows of Evening" (holiday reflections, 1995)
---- As death nears, heaven fantasies are self-deception

"Humanism and Existentialism" (university talk, Nov. 13, 1995)
---- Make life better, in spite of the craziness

"Far-Out Religious Right" (Washington Spectator, Sept. 15, 1995)
---- Crackpot militias: guns against "the Antichrist"

"True Believers and Utter Madness" (Free Inquiry, summer 1995)
---- Cultists plant nerve gas to kill subway passengers

"Licensed Astrologers?" (Gazette, Aug. 14, 1995)
---- Planet positions don't dictate people's lives

"And Now, the Solar Temple" (Free Inquiry, winter 1994/95)
---- Once again, supernaturalism produces mass deaths

"The Waco Tragedy" (Free Inquiry, Summer 1994)
---- It stemmed from a famous doomsday fiasco

"Adventures in the Bible Belt" (Gazette, Dec. 7, 1993)
---- Holy-rollers and holy hucksters

"Lunacy on the Daily News Wires" (Gazette, Nov. 2, 1993)
---- Women stoned, Ulster bombed, as faith goes bonkers

"The Great West Virginia Holy War" (Gazette, Oct. 12, 1993)
---- A fundamentalist uprising against "godless" textbooks

"Crooks, Quacks, Kooks, Creeps and Cruds in the Clergy" (Humanist, July 1993)
---- Criminals and psychos among ministers

"The Beast in the Shadows Behind Religion" (Free Inquiry, Summer 1993)
---- Waco was merely the latest faith disaster

"Holy Homicide" (Humanist, November/December 1991)
---- Religious killings are little noticed

"My Name is Jean-Paul Sartre" (university talk, Nov. 20, 1991)
---- The great existentialist's atheism

"Holy Horrors" (Penthouse, August 1990)
---- Religious slaughter through the centuries

"Murder in the Name of Religion" (Free Inquiry, Summer 1990)
---- Saints who exterminated doubters

"The Code of the Universe" (Humanist, September/October 1988)
---- Real scripture written in quarks, gravity, photons, galaxies

"The God Biz" (Penthouse, December 1980)
---- Crooked evangelists fleece their flocks


 

SCRIPTURE RESEARCH

THE BIBLE contains many divine commands to kill.

THE KORAN contains many divine commands to kill.

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RELIGION NEWS

As a newspaper editor, I scan several news wires daily - and see a sickening array of religious atrocities, frauds, cruelties, absurdities and sex offenses. For a chronicle of such religion news, click HERE.


 OTHER WRITING

 

“Is War Coded Into Our DNA?” (nationally syndicated from Gazette, Jan. 3, 2005)

---- The fighting instinct pulls humans into recurring “patriotic” slaughter

 

“Baffling Phases of History” (The Charleston Gazette, Aug. 24, 2004)

---- From slavery to colonialism to the Cold War to Muslim human bombs

 

“Deathwind is Part of Our History” (Charleston Gazette, Oct. 6, 2003)

---- Ruthless Indian-killer Lewis Wetzel was a hero to many in the 1700s

 

“Parents, Beware of Boys’ Adventures” (Charleston Gazette, June 8, 2003)

---- Secretly, kids invent dangerous, brainless, risky fun

 

“Where do beliefs come from?” (The Charleston Gazette, May 4, 2003)

---- What makes doubters and believers, liberals and conservatives, hawks and doves?

 

“A Tale of Two Sales” (syndicated from Charleston Gazette, March 10, 2003)

---- Insider trading by Martha Stewart and President Bush

 

“The parable of floundering frogs” (Gazette, Jan. 29, 2003, and KRT syndicate)

---- To solve humanity’s maddening problems, keep on kicking

 

“Pondering the season of kindness” (Gazette, Dec. 17, 2002)

---- Holiday emotions show that it’s possible to overcome human hatreds

 

“Searching, searching at the philosophy club” (Gazette, Nov. 23, 2002)

---- The quest for answers that never will be found

"Serenity worth more than money" (Charleston Gazette, Sept. 30, 2000)
---- Gentle rural life is less affluent, but rich in peace of mind

"Reality and Physics" (Unitarian talk, July 2, 2000)
---- Our physical existence is partly an illusion

"Everything is a Miracle" (Gazette, June 20, 1999)
---- Reality, as revealed by science, is astonishing

"Killing People" (university talk, Nov. 14, 1998)
---- The death penalty makes America brutal, inhumane

"Walking in the Woods" (Gazette, Sept. 10, 1996)
---- Peace of mind from climbing the hills

"The Majesty of the Mountains" (Gazette, Oct. 28, 1995)
---- How plate tectonics created Appalachia

"Boating in the Boondocks" (Heartland Boating, June 1995)
---- Gentle sailing on mountain lakes

"Laid-Back Life in the Hills" (Gazette, Sept. 20, 1994)
---- Country dwellers have inner contentment

"Hark the Quark" (New York Times wire, May 1994)
---- Discovery completes "standard model" of matter

"Gun-Control Shootout" (Gazette, May 13, 1994)
---- Fear of pistols makes people buy pistols

"The Horror of the Holocaust" (Gazette, April 22, 1994)
---- Murdering a religious minority

"We are Reaping the Whirlwind" (Gazette, Jan. 25, 1994)
---- The fruits of U.S. slavery and segregation

"Sex Still Repels Many People" (New York Times wire, December 1993)
---- Bill Clinton not the only lusty president

"Democracy Day" (Gazette, Dec. 15, 1993)
---- The Bill of Rights protects you from the majority

"The Unseen, Creeping News Story" (Gazette, Nov. 23, 1993)
---- Science quietly transforms the world

"One Hunter Who Stopped Killing" (Gazette, Oct. 26, 1993)
---- A young squirrel-shooter began to feel pity

"Recalling Long-Vanished Taboos" (Gazette, Sept. 21, 1993)
---- Puritanism of the 1950s slowly dissipated

"The Dreams of Which Stuff is Made" (Gazette, Jan. 10, 1993)
---- Subatomic particles are unreal - but very real

"One Man's Road to Addiction" (Gazette, Aug. 15, 1984)
---- Motorcycling on sleepy rural lanes

"Epic Love Story" (West Virginia History, January 1971)
---- A plantation owner and his beloved slave woman

"All's Well" (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March 1961)
---- A rural sheriff scoffs at fancy deductions



OTHER RESOURCES

 The magnitude of agnostic/humanist/skeptic/atheist/freethought effort around the world becomes evident when you search the Internet and find perhaps 1,000 web sites and/or e-mail addresses for such groups. Obviously, doubters have flocked to the World Wide Web in their struggle against supernaturalism.

(Not long ago in history, church leaders would have tortured and burned members of these groups.)

Here are several web sites I've dealt with:

Council for Secular Humanism --- http://www.secularhumanism.org/ --- (or http://www.codesh.org/)

Free Inquiry magazine --- http://www.secularhumanism.org/fi/

Secular Humanist Bulletin --- http://www.secularhumanism.org/shb/

Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal --- http://www.csicop.org/

Skeptical Inquirer magazine --- http://www.csicop.org/si/

Center for Inquiry --- http://www.secularhumanism.org/cfi/

Prometheus Books --- http://www.prometheusbooks.com/

Campus Freethought Alliance --- http://www.secularhumanism.org/cfa/

The Secular Web --- http://www.infidels.org/

Freedom From Religion Foundation --- http://www.infidels.org/org/ffrf/

American Humanist Association --- http://www.infidels.org/org/aha/

Skeptics Society --- http://www.skeptic.com/

Bertrand Russell Society --- http://daniel.drew.edu/~jlenz/brs.html

People for the American Way --- http://www.pfaw.org/

For a complete list of 260 on-line skeptic groups I've contacted, click HERE.



If you need a bio of me, I'm in Who's Who and other reference books.
I can be reached at: 

E-mail - haught@wvinter.net
E-mail - haught@wvgazette.com
Fax - (304) 348-1233
Phone - (304) 348-5199
Mail - The Charleston Gazette, 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston, WV 25301

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