New on the Guardian: Atheists Are Diversifying

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "Finally, atheists are no longer just old white men".The atheist community, in America at least, has long had a reputation for being dominated by geeky white men. I have no onus against geeky white men - I happen to be one myself - but the data suggests that if we stick with this strategy, we'll needlessly alienate potential allies and end up in a demographic cul-de-sac. If the atheist movement wants to succeed in the long run, it's essential that we … [Read more...]

The Atheist Community Is Diversifying


I was pleased to read about a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute on millennial views about sex. It confirms our generally pro-choice and non-judgmental attitude, with a few caveats:"What we see running through the answers is that where principles of fairness come up, millennials want to see equal access to health services, abortion and contraception. They think people should have individual freedom to make decisions," said [Robert] Jones [CEO of PRRI].For the most … [Read more...]

Why Atheism Is a Force for Good


If you've followed my writing these past few years, you know that I've often taken up arms against prominent atheists who've made clueless, sexist comments or worse. I've also insisted that the atheist movement as a whole needs to pay more attention to social justice, an area where it's historically been deficient. In all these things, I insist that we nonbelievers can and should do better than we currently are.I've been asked by various critics why I don't leave atheism behind and join a … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Beyond Debating God’s Existence

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "It's time for atheists to stop debating God's existence and decide what to do about it".In it, I argue that the atheist movement can't make critiques of religious belief its whole focus and should be doing more to create justice in this life, which is the only one we'll ever have. I also argue that the community is already moving in this direction, citing a new mission statement put out by the Secular Student Alliance that makes diversity and social … [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Chapel Hill Shooting

I hope there's a day when I won't have to write about the latest mass murder in gun-crazed America, but today isn't that day. This time, the tragedy took place in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where a young family - Yusor Mohamad Abu-Salha, her husband Deah Shaddy Barakat, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, all observant Muslims - were shot and killed in their home, allegedly by a neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks.But there's an additional element that we can't ignore: the accused killer … [Read more...]

Why People Are Flocking to a New Wave of Secular Communities: Atheist Churches


This article was previously published on AlterNet.In the last thirty years, atheism and secularism have been booming in America. As I've previously written, as many as one in four members of the Millennial generation now say they have no religion. Given the vast size of the Millennials - 78 million people, slightly more than the Baby Boomers - that adds up to almost 20 million freethinking Americans. And from all indications, the up-and-coming generations are even more secular.As the … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: The Peaceful Side of Atheism


I've published a new column on the Guardian: "If peace on earth is our goal, atheism might be the means to that end".From the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the disintegration of Syria, to the atrocities of Islamic State and Boko Haram, it sometimes seems as if the world is spiraling down a vortex of bloodshed and violence. But in spite of these headlines, the truth is that the world is becoming more peaceful, not less. In the new piece, I argue that the rise of atheism in America and … [Read more...]

On the Importance of Firebrand Atheism


Steve Neumann, one of my colleagues on the Patheos atheist channel, has written an essay titled "The Case Against In-Your-Face Atheism" which argues that the firebrand style of atheist advocacy does more harm than good. Since he quotes me in it, I thought I'd offer a reply.This is his definition of firebrand atheism:The president of American Atheists, David Silverman, defines firebrand atheism as simply telling the truth about religion, with the emphasis on the telling. He says we … [Read more...]

Lee Strobel Says Atheism Is Winning


Here's some welcome news to start out 2015: Lee Strobel, the famed Christian apologist, says that atheism is winning and evangelical Christianity is "facing a crisis":"We are facing a crisis in America. Skepticism is rising. Too many young people are leaving the faith. Few Christians are able to effectively share Jesus with others," Strobel said in a statement released exclusively to The Christian Post. "At many churches, reaching spiritually lost people falls to the bottom of their … [Read more...]

The Frozen River: A Humanist Sermon


Six years ago, this nation achieved a historic milestone when its people elected a black man to be their president. For a country that was sustained by slave labor for decades after its inception and riven by racism throughout its history, this is an almost unimaginable accomplishment. It's not that Barack Obama promised to single-handedly inaugurate a new era of progressive utopianism - those of us who followed his political ascent always knew that he was a conciliatory moderate with mildly … [Read more...]