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...]

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...]

Book Reviews: Fighting Back the Right, Living the Secular Life

(Author's Note: The following reviews were solicited and are written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Fighting Back the Right by David NioseI previously reviewed Nonbeliever Nation by David Niose, a past president of the American Humanist Association. His new book, Fighting Back the Right, tells the story of how the right wing became a formidable force in America's culture wars and what we can do about it.The modern conservative movement, in Niose's account, is … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: The Millennials and the Midterms

My newest column on the Guardian is up!It's titled "Godless millennials could end the political power of the religious right", and it concerns the demographic trends toward a more secular America that I've been covering for some time. In it, I argue that there's evidence these trends are making themselves felt in electoral politics. Here's an excerpt:The 2014 midterm elections are drawing near, and it appears that the Democrats may well lose the Senate, since they're fighting on … [Read more...]

The Coming Secular Era

The most important changes don't come in the form of attention-grabbing headlines, but subtle trends that quietly gather momentum until, by the time they finally burst into public view, they're unstoppable. Such is the case with the most important, and paradoxically most underappreciated, trend in American religion today: the long-term, across-the-board decline of Christianity and the corresponding rise of atheism, which has been going on behind the scenes for more than twenty years and is now … [Read more...]

The South Will Not Rise Again

Last year, I wrote about the continuing exodus of members from the Catholic church, and apologists' fumbling suggestions for how to reverse the trend. I noted with amusement that there was an elephant in the room - the church's retrograde doctrines which drive away young people - which the apologists were carefully tiptoeing around while they made minor suggestions about the decor and the color scheme.Well, as they say, history rhymes. The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant … [Read more...]

Facing Up to Atheism’s MRA Problem

We've known for a while that there's an ugly strain of aggressive anti-feminism within the larger atheist community. Now it appears that we know where they congregate: the "men's rights activist" subgroup on Reddit ran a survey of their members, which found that the vast majority (94%) identify as atheist or religiously indifferent.That came as a surprise to me, although the other numbers were more or less what I'd have expected. MRAs are overwhelmingly white (98%), between the ages of 17 … [Read more...]

Who Speaks for American Catholics?

Last week during my interview on the Nick Givas Radio Show, the host, himself a conservative Catholic, asserted that the Obama administration has offended American Catholics by mandating that health insurance plans cover contraception, and now has a duty to placate them by making whatever legislative changes they demand. I only had time for a brief response to that, so I want to expand on it today.Now, I'll agree that the Catholic hierarchy - the Vatican, the U.S. bishops, the presidents of … [Read more...]

You Wouldn’t Believe How Fast Americans Are Losing Their Religion — But the Fundamentalists Have a Plan

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.Sometime in 2012, the U.S.A. quietly passed a milestone that demographers had long been predicting: for the first time in its history, this country is no longer majority Protestant. Fewer than 50% of Americans now identify as Protestant Christians of any denomination.This change has come on surprisingly recently, and from a historical perspective, with breathtaking speed. As recently as 1993, almost two-thirds of Americans identified as … [Read more...]

Riding a Dinosaur Off Into the Sunset

It's conventional wisdom that when you've got to make an announcement but don't want people to pay too much attention, you release it on a Friday afternoon. And when you've got some news that you really want to bury, you release it on Christmas Day. That's just what the Republican party did last month, with this quiet announcement that the party establishment, in tandem with the Chamber of Commerce, is launching a $50 million political offensive - not against Democrats, but against other … [Read more...]


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