Question Week: A Q&A With Founder Warren Berger, Author of A More Beautiful Question

There are few things I dislike more than a lack of curiosity. To be curious is, by necessity, to ask questions, and asking questions is the engine for creativity, innovation, and growth.

Journalist and author Warren Berger — an old friend from my days as a New York City magazine editor — is a fellow question-lover. Not only has he written a book about it (A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas), he is also the father of Question Week, a celebration of inquisitiveness and a challenge to ask more (and better) questions. Question Week 2015 just kicked off, not coincidentally concluding on Albert Einstein‘s birthday, this Saturday.

— What prompted you to start Question Week?

The idea is, it’s good for us to pause at times and ask questions and think about why we’re doing what we’re doing. But there never seems to be a time on the schedule marked “Ask meaningful questions.” People in general are moving at a faster pace, they’re more bombarded with noise and messages, and they’re caught up in “doing.” Questioning requires slowing down and stepping back. So Question Week is about giving yourself permission to take the time to ask some thoughtful questions about your career, your life, the world around you.

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High School Student in Maine Remained Seated During the Pledge… and Got Sent to the Principal’s Office

Remember those three young ladies at South Portland High School in Maine who caused all sorts of chaos by reminding students during morning announcements that saying the Pledge of Allegiance was optional?

Apparently, they inspired a junior at Belfast Area High School (also in Maine) to remain seated during the Pledge… and he got sent to the principal’s office as a result.

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What Would a Secular God Look Like? An Atheist Searches for a Realistic Higher Power in This New Book

Is there any way atheists could believe in a god?

Not the one in the Bible, of course. Not one that answers prayers or created the universe. But what about one that gives us comfort and empowers us?

That’s the premise behind Nancy Abrams‘ new book A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet (Beacon Press, 2015).

When Abrams, a philosopher of science and “lifelong atheist,” dealt with a personal struggle, she saw several others in her recovery group (one similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) improve because the steps they took involved giving themselves over to God, something that she couldn’t do as an atheist. She even asks: “… why should survival benefits go preferentially to those who don’t face reality?” That led her on a search for a secular version of that Higher Power.

In the excerpt below, Abrams talks about what that secular “Higher Power” could look like:

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Re “People With Children Are Not Necessarily Parents”: An Open Letter To Bishop Kevin Doran

Dear Bishop Doran:

In a recent radio interview, you rejected same-sex marriage because

It doesn’t include the openness to procreation, which is one of the essential dimensions of marriage; … and the reason for the state or society to get involved in marriage was because it has to do with the important business of children.”

It so happens that, a few years ago, two of our closest family friends — they run a Christian conference center a few states away — lost their eight-week-old child in utero. That is, she miscarried. She told me and my wife on the phone that night, sobbing. They hadn’t been able to conceive before, and at her age, it wasn’t very likely that they’d have children in the future. (They’ve indeed remained childless.)

Is their long and happy marriage a sham? Is it worthless to you, and to God, because they have not successfully procreated? Does the fact that they have touched hundreds of people’s lives, including mine, with much thoughtfulness and generosity mean anything at all?

If you agree that the marriage of my friends is a legitimate bond, perhaps even a sacrament, why do you give them a pass while insisting that (childless) same-sex couples make a mockery of marriage?

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What If I’m an Atheist? is a Teen’s Guide to Life Without Religion

There aren’t a lot of books about atheism out there directed specifically toward a young adult audience, but David Seidman has created a guide to godlessness just for them. It’s called What If I’m an Atheist?: A Teen’s Guide to Exploring a Life Without Religion (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, 2015) and it incorporates many of the stories you’ve seen online and dozens of interviews the author conducted with young atheists (some of whom read this site). Having written about a similar subject myself, I can tell you Seidman’s book is excellent, personal, and an incredibly useful resource. I hope libraries everywhere stock this one, because I have no doubt a lot of people will check it out.

In the excerpt below, Seidman talks about how becoming an atheist will change your life:

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