Skeptical South

 The Reason for This Site

Like many atheists and skeptics in the Southern US, we sometimes feel surrounded by people who don’t understand us. Unfortunately, those people are almost always your family, friends and co-workers, so venting without fear of pious judgement is not always and option. We aim to make this a place where you can do that.

What We Hope You Can Find Here

Resources you can use. Content you can identify with. An outlet for sharing your beliefs and non-beliefs.

Have Something to Share?

Please reach out to us via our Contact page. We want to hear your stories, thoughts, rants and whatever else you think our readers may benefit from. Obviously, this isn’t a paying gig. Just a passion project that we think is important.

What's New

Yes, the Civil War was about slavery

by Matt Stokes
July 30, 2015

Robert E. Lee

The idea that the American Civil War was not fought over slavery is a topic that has been so thoroughly debunked by scholars and historians that it is hardly worth revisiting. Nevertheless, in the wake of the Charleston shootings and debate over the meaning of the Confederate Flag, I have found myself in heated arguments with others over whether or not the southern states were actually fighting over slavery. So let’s quickly clear up the issue.

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Taking the X Out of X-Mas

by Matt Stokes
December 8, 2014

Postcard - Wishing You a Merry Xmas

I delight in spouting off every year about how the “War on Christmas” is a bogus right-wing rallying cry, based in no rational understanding of the history of the holiday. The role of Christianity in the long, storied history of Christmas has been, at best, marginal.

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A.A. and 12-Step Programs Are Religious Bunk

by Matt Stokes
November 18, 2014

Jesse Pinkman

Alcoholics Anonymous and its sister programs (Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, et al.) that subscribe to the Twelve-Step Facilitation of recovery are blatantly religious and, worse, are built on a foundation of pseudoscience and folk wisdom. 12-Step programs are so obviously religious that courts in the United States are forbidden (on First Amendment grounds) from ordering offenders into them… and yet many courts do so anyway, and with impunity.

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Way to go, Mormons, way to go (clap clap)

by Matt Stokes
November 11, 2014

Joseph Smith

What most Americans know about Mormonism: Some combination of Mitt Romney, a popular Broadway musical, and multiple wives.

The Mormon/polygamy joke is an obvious one to make, but for obvious reasons. Polygamy as a practice was officially sanctioned by the Mormon Church throughout its early history, and was such a hallowed institution within the Church that it led the Mormons to fight a war against the United States in 1857. (No, really.) Brigham Young—known as the “Father of Mormon Polygamy”—was both the leader of the  Church and the governor of the Utah Territory in the 1850s. Federal law prohibited polygamy, but the territorial government of Utah allowed it; Utah argued that the polygamy prohibition abridged its First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, the Federal Government disagreed, and the two sides came to an armed conflict. The issue wasn’t resolved until 1890, when the Church abolished polygamy, and Utah was finally admitted to the US as a state shortly thereafter.

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How I Use Atheism To Fix My Childhood

by Laci Roth
November 9, 2014

sad girl

My mom and I don’t agree on much.

For the most part, this has always been the case, but we enjoyed a few “golden years” when I was in my mid-twenties. It’s clear to me now that this was because, at the time, I was living a life she could relate too—one that didn’t threaten or challenge her. Without going into specifics , I can say that I was in a destructive relationship that she could wrap her head around, because she had lived through it herself, several different times. When I began to pull myself out of this vicious cycle, the old differences between my mom and I were visible again.

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Mississippi Wants to “Protect” Its Slaveholding Tradition

by Matt Stokes
November 7, 2014

Mississippi is the nation’s poorest, fattest, and least-healthy state*, and it’s bottom-two in education and infant mortality. But it wasn’t always so, my friends, it wasn’t always so. In the antebellum South, the city of Natchez was home to half of the millionaires in the United States. The state was one of the richest in the country, and, as time went on, the center of the massive (and massively wealthy) slave economy shifted from Virginia to Mississippi, the cotton explosion of the area enriching the burgeoning planter oligarchy of the Deep South.

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Breaking: Climate Change Is Not Real, Because the Bible

by Matt Stokes
November 6, 2014

Facts & Science of Climate Change

So there was an election yesterday and, just as we’ve known would happen for two years, Republican senators won a majority of seats and now control both houses of Congress. And what does that actually mean? Well, for one thing, there will be a slew of new committee leaders, including, as leader of the Environment and Public Works Committee—the most significant environmental body in the Legislative Branch—the author of this book:

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Escaping the Echo Chamber: Is It Worth It?

by Matt Stokes
November 4, 2014

Winston Churchill is famously quoted as saying, “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.” He never actually said this, and it’s just one of many quotes attributed to Churchill that he didn’t say, but the sentiment is appealing and persists because it makes everyone feel good about themselves, no matter what they believe. Liberals can feel caring and youthful, conservatives can feel learned and wise.

This website is about religion in the southern United States, but because it is election day and we’ve had to sift through so much political bile lately, and because politics and religion are—especially in the South—so inextricably tied, I think a detour into politics is worth the time.

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Prayer In Public School

by Matt Stokes
October 5, 2014

I’m trying out a series of posts highlighting how religion interacts with the law—specifically with the courts—in the United States. In this first post, I’ll look at the history of how the legal system has viewed prayers in public schools.

Most modern freethinkers reflexively understand that prayer recitation in public schools in this country is illegal, and has always been. After all, public school prayer is a pretty clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution (“Congress shall make no rule respecting the establishment of religion…”), a fundamental doctrine on which our country has stood from nearly the beginning.

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