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

WhiteFlower

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...]

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...]

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

Candles

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...]

Summer Twilight: A Humanist Sermon

On a night earlier this summer, a humid blue twilight in July, I stepped out of my home to run an errand. It was sweltering and heavy after the day's heat, but it must have been the perfect temperature for fireflies. There were hundreds of them, swarming in the air and the grass, glimmering and flashing like motes of gold in the gathering dusk.Through some means I can't imagine, it seemed as if they had agreed to synchronize, so that no two of them lit up at the same time. As soon as one … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Atheism Doesn’t Need Richard Dawkins

It had to be said.My newest column on the Guardian is titled "Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name". It's about Richard Dawkins' indefensible regression to gross and ignorant sexism, after a brief period in which it seemed he was flirting with enlightenment regarding the treatment of women in society generally and the atheist community specifically. I used to consider him a hero and an exemplar, but no more. Here's an excerpt:The atheist movement - a … [Read more...]

The Shermer Affair Erupts

VolcanicEruption

The allegations against one of our Big Names that have been simmering in the atheist community for more than a year have erupted into the public eye, with the publication of a long article by Mark Oppenheimer on Buzzfeed, "Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?"Oppenheimer's article is largely about the serious accusations made against Michael Shermer, which I referenced last year in "Disillusionment". For the first time, the woman who accused him of raping her after getting her too … [Read more...]

Is Richard Dawkins Evolving?

This is big news: Richard Dawkins has apologized for "Dear Muslima", the infamous remarks he made in 2011 belittling the concerns of Western feminism on the grounds that women in Muslim countries have it worse. Here's the relevant part:There should be no rivalry in victimhood, and I'm sorry I once said something similar to American women complaining of harassment, inviting them to contemplate the suffering of Muslim women by comparison.This follows on the heels of a joint statement … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins’ Commendable Step on Sexism

SteppingStones

Well, this is most welcome news:[W]e have to be able to manage disagreement ethically, like reasonable adults, as opposed to brawling like enraged children who need a nap. It should go without saying, but this means no death threats, rape threats, attacks on people's appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; no photoshopping people into demeaning images, no vulgar epithets.Richard adds: I'm told that some people think I tacitly endorse such things even if I don't indulge in them. … [Read more...]

Repost: Making Non-White Atheists Feel Welcome

BilliardBalls

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from November 2010.]I was reading this outstanding essay by Alom Shaha, an atheist and ex-Muslim of Bangladeshi descent, who describes what it's like to come out as a nonbeliever in a tightly-knit, intensely religious community. But as he makes clear, the social and cultural pressure on people in his situation isn't just a matter of happenstance; it formed as a defensive reaction … [Read more...]


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