Not That Kind of…Person?

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My friend Dylan first introduced me to the show "Girls" during a brief stint I had living in Brooklyn.  I fell in love with it.  The writing was quirky and intelligent, Lena Dunham's character didn't look like someone from Sex and The City, and the strange manner in which it dealt with millennial life was refreshing.  And even though it was wrought with Long-Island-white-girl issues ("first-world problems"), it had a flair and contemporary élan worthy of praise and notoriety.But is the sh … [Read more...]

A Muslim and Atheist Team up to Promote Freedom of Conscience

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I was born in Pakistan, completed my medical school there and then moved to the United States for specialized medical training. I also moved to escape the horrid persecution my Islamic sect – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community - faces back home. In America, I could enjoy all the freedoms I was denied under Pakistan’s law, most importantly the freedom of speech. I therefore set out to use social media to raise my voice for freedom of conscience world over – and specifically in the ‘Muslim world.’ … [Read more...]

An Intro and the Skeptimergent Challenge

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As an atheist who works with religious persons, I am honored to be a part of these “Emerging Voices.” By way of introduction, I first met Holly Roach and Steve Knight at a conference they coordinated at Mission Gathering Church in San Diego. Ryan Bell, Adele Sakler, and myself were invited to lead a panel on Skeptimergent—a group of skeptics and non-believers interested in discussing the role that liberal and Emergent forms of Christianity took in their lives. I first came in contact with Emerg … [Read more...]

Do You Have a Gaudy God?

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Raining brimstone, epic deluges, trumpets from heaven...is your God showing off?We have all heard of insecure people who act out by throwing fits.  The kid who bullies others on recess, the child who screams when he doesn't get his way, the buff guy in the military who wants to fight at the bar.  We call these people "show-offs" and "assholes."  But what happens when you find your divinity throwing a hissy-fit?One of the first things you can do is exempt your God from these tantrums.  A … [Read more...]

Atheists and Christians Working Together: Me and Ryan Bell’s Online Course

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For many here on Emergent Village and Patheos Progressive Christian, working with Christians is second-nature.  But there are many of us atheists, humanists, skeptics, and non-believers, who have little to no idea about how to work with Christians.  Some of us (atheists and Christians) cannot get beyond the trivial Facebook debates, the subtle intellectual jabs at each other, and the unsophisticated, meme-based, generalizations of Christians and atheists.This is a great opportunity for l … [Read more...]

The Worst of Your Tradition: Own It!

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I remember having a back-and-forth with a Christian about the violence historically committed by Christians: the early persecution of heretics, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the European "Wars of Religion," slavery in the Americas, up to the bombings of abortion clinics and the killing of doctors who perform abortions.  His response, which has stuck with me to this day, was "don't compare the best of your tradition with the worst of mine."  This comment really made me think.  He was not … [Read more...]

An Interview with Brian McLaren on Faith, Doubt, and Atheism

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I met Brian a few years back when I picked him up from the airport for a conference I was coordinating at Claremont School of Theology.  During our ride back, we chatted about atheism, progressive Christianity, and ways we thought they could work together.  And as much as I wanted to find fault with him, his insipid kindness won me over.Since that time, I have been working with Churches, trying to find ways in which we can work together.  So I thought I would ask Brian some questions th … [Read more...]

Religion and Hip-Hop in my Youth

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“What do you believe in heaven or hell?  We don’t believe in heaven cuz’ we’re livin’ in hell.”—RaekwonLately I have been thinking a lot about religion and hip-hop.  I recently came across Dr. Monica Miller’s interview in the Washington Post about religion and hip-hop, which prompted me to write a piece of my own.  From the age of 13, when I was first introduced to hip-hop culture, to 18, when I finally opened up to other music, all I listened to were lyrics over beats.  I had an older friend … [Read more...]

The Death of a Beautiful Woman

"The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world."--Edgar Allen Poe--I have always been a fan of the gloomy Mr. Poe.  I remember the first time I purchased his Complete Works and spent a summer reading through it.  I was infatuated in the aesthetics of his vocabulary, how we painted the world dark with words, and how the confidence of his prose contrasted with his emotional instability.  I was also interested in how he viewed religion and re … [Read more...]

5 Interesting Facts about Women and Religion

Part of my research is focused on how the social sciences relate to "religion" and religious studies.  More specifically, I spend time examining the sociology of religion.  I look at stats, demographics, and polls.  I look at rates of attendance, frequency of prayer, levels of "religiosity," apostates (or the less religiously-loaded term "exiters"), and political outlooks.  I also look at how bias this area of study is in favor of religion.  One facet of this work that has always interested me, i … [Read more...]


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