Weekend Coffee: July 2

I'm going on vacation for the July 4 holiday, so I'm planning to run some reposts this week. There will be a new Fountainhead post on Friday, because I love you all that much. In the meantime, here are some amusing stories:• First up, please enjoy meeting Skylar Ittner, a young more-Catholic-than-the-Pope ultra-fundamentalist.His private Catholic college expelled him - for putting up unauthorized anti-gay posters all over campus, and then being extremely hostile and defiant toward … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: Diet Cig

This song from the pop-punk duo Diet Cig is a silly little bit of fluff, but damn if the video didn't make me smile: … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Sakura

After a rainy, gloomy week where I live, the sun finally came out and the weather warmed up, and every plant and tree seems to have burst into bloom overnight. That includes these cherry trees, which exploded in dense bunches of pink flowers as if staging a fireworks display to usher in the spring:I feel a philosophical affection for the Japanese cultural interpretation of these flowers, which they call sakura. The cherry blossoms bloom en masse but fade and fall away almost as quickly, … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: Bibles for China

The 1.3 billion people in China are a tempting target for marketers, especially as the country industrializes and they become more affluent. Countless Western companies have tried to expand into China, often complying with the authoritarian government's censorship demands, for the sake of access to that enormous market.Religious evangelists are hungering to make converts in China for similar reasons. And they, too, appear to be engaging in calculated self-censorship to do so, as we can see … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Ecstatic

One thing we can relearn from babies is the way they live and feel entirely in the present, untroubled by the past, unanxious about the future. Capturing this one transcendent moment of happiness, I was reminded of a quote:"The word 'infant' is derived from the Latin word for 'unable to speak,' but you'll be perfectly capable of saying one thing: 'I suffer,' and you'll do it tirelessly and without hesitation. I have to admire your utter commitment to that statement; when you cry, you'll … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: Not Your Way

We're going to need some anthems of resistance over the next few years, and this is a good one from the MisterWives (see the lyrics) that's also catchy as hell:What are you listening to to get through the Trump administration? … [Read more...]

Threads of 2016

For many reasons, 2016 was a year that most of us would like to forget. But there are some good things too that are worth an annual wrapup, and so we begin with...Family MattersIn September, I became a parent. I wrote about how child-raising cries out for communal effort and the lessons humanists should take from that. I also listed 20 life lessons I'll teach my son when he's old enough to appreciate them.Later in the year, some old family albums inspired me to contemplate the … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: Activism Makes a Difference

As you can imagine, I've been feeling pretty pessimistic since the 2016 election. It's seriously undermined my positive and optimistic view of America's future.But I've always believed that minds are changed one at a time, and as slow and difficult as that is, it's the only way to bring about lasting transformation in a democracy. This week, I got an e-mail that reminded me of that. It's from Patrick, a high school senior:I became non-religious (or, as I would call it now, atheist) in … [Read more...]

New Channel, Same Old Atheism

You may have noticed a change here at Patheos. All of us secular bloggers used to be grouped under the Atheist channel, but no longer. We're now the Nonreligious channel. Here's the official announcement on the Secular Spectrum group blog.To reassure some people who were worried: there was no pressure from above to expunge our blogs of the dreaded term "atheist". It was an internal channel decision, proposed and discussed among ourselves. There was considerable debate, but there was no … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: The One Moment

The rock band OK Go is famous for their high-concept music videos (like the amazing zero-gravity dance video I mentioned once before), but this might be one of their cleverest ideas yet. It's 4 seconds of high-speed video, slowed down to 4 minutes: … [Read more...]