These links all lead to atheistic or sceptical web sites. They either examine Christianity and other religions from a secular point of view or they consider pseudo-science. My entirely subjective comments are set out below.
The belief rating is defined as follows:
Content is rated out of ten. This rating in no way reflects my agreement with the material offered - but rather the amount of original material presented, web site presentation and the quality of writing.
By far the best of the atheist sites, the secular web is simply enormous. It has a library of articles that it would take a lifetime to read through and even gives access to entire books once they are out of copyright. Quality control is commendably high and most of the content is from experts in their particular fields. Non-believers can just wallow in all the high powered backing for their views. Believers will need to make sure they read good arguments from the other side or they'll never see the inside of a church again.
The key to getting the most out of the Secular Web is to visit often and not to try and absorb too much at once. Finally, the discussion boards here are good value both for serious debates and reading rants from aggrieved atheists who think Christians are out to get them.
CSICOP stands for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. It was jointly founded by the magician James Randi who was fed up with others (especially Uri Geller) claiming they had supernatural powers. He has since famously offered $1 million to anyone who can conclusively prove a supernatural event but the bounty goes unclaimed. His abrasive style meant CSICOP kept getting sued so he left for their own protection! His own site (also worth a visit) is here.
CSICOP continues its work but tends to avoid religious controversy. Its house magazine, the Skeptical Inquirer has several good articles on the net. This is a combative organisation and its publicity seeking style annoys some. I find them no more blinkered than any other organisation that thinks science is the be all and end all. Their list of fellows is a useful recourse of ultra sceptical writers and academics.
The creator of this site is a professor of philosophy and it shows. This is certainly one of the more high brow sites created especially for the web and none the worse for that. With hundreds of articles on all sorts of pseudo-scientific phenomena, this is a useful resource for the case against the supernatural and para-psychology. The site is not remotely sympathetic towards religion but its emphasis is not in this direction (except for matters like the Turin Shroud and Bible codes which can be empirically tested). Links round off each article to make this a very fine resource and well worth a look.
Books, books and more books. This site consists of a huge collection of reviews of tomes ranging from the scientific to the atheist. There are very few books written by people trying to push the cause of Christianity although this is by no means a site devoted only to one particular view point. This was originally the page of Honest Intellectual Enquiry (the title was a little bit daft as it implies that there are plenty of people engaged in dishonest intellectual enquiry) but has now expanded into a more general sceptic/atheist site. However, the bulk is still book reviews and if you've read some Dawkins or Sagan and want more of the same then this site is ideal for helping to decide on your next purchase.
Berggren is an ex-fundamentalist and directs much of his attention towards Evangelicals. However, he is also very keen to show that atheism does not mean that ethics and morality become untenable. He is very much the scientific materialist and provides plenty of links to articles that support this point of view. Berggren's writing can get a little turgid but this lends it an intellectualism that I find rather appealing.
This is the most militantly atheist web site I have featured. It includes a vast number of original articles by Barnett who just can't seem to hide his contempt for anyone who doesn't agree with him. But his ranting and irreverent sense of humour are what makes this site so much fun. Like some of the Christian sites I've featured, this one is comfort food for those who hold the same beliefs that it does. The fact that it is not on a very high intellectual level means that it isn't very challenging to those who don't. Still, if we are going to Hell, it's good to know that Barnett will be ahead of us in the queue.
© James Hannam 2002.