The Bible’s Attitude Toward the Life of the Mind

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” —Ecclesiastes Secularists like me became legitimately concerned when we first learned that our new president-elect selected billionaire right-wing megadonor Betsy DeVos to [Read More…]

The Real Roots of Our Beliefs

Do you find it frustrating to talk to religious people about their beliefs? Nonreligious people often have a hard time understanding their devout counterparts, so they engage them in the kinds of conversations that are meant to tease out the intellectual nuances in what they believe in order to better understand them. It doesn’t take [Read More…]

Are We All Born Atheists?

During an interview last night for an upcoming documentary on atheism in America, I was asked to tell the story of my deconversion. I get that question a lot, so I’m pretty accustomed to explaining how I got here. Only this time there was a bit of a polemical twist to the wording of the [Read More…]

Please Go See Arrival So I Can Talk About It

I’ve seen a lot of movies this year, and most of them promised far more than they delivered. Nowadays the trailers give away most of the key details, anyway, which makes the whole cinematic experience a bit of a disappointment. Not so with the movie Arrival. I did not know that I would love this [Read More…]

Why the Gospel Doesn’t Work on Deconverts

People like me are like flies in the ointment of evangelical theology. We did all the things they told us to do, we gave our hearts and our lives entirely over to Jesus, yet in the end we still found their belief system lacking. It’s not supposed to happen that way. Evangelists and defenders of [Read More…]

Deconstructing the End of the World

Back when I was in junior high I got invited to a weekend-long retreat that my church put on called Disciple Now! Given the evangelical church’s relentless obsession with branding (“Makin’ Jesus kewl since Century One!”), they’ve since changed the name of the retreat in a rather futile attempt to obfuscate the religiousness of the [Read More…]

But What If You’re Wrong? A Response to a Christian Pastor

During any given week, I have a number of conversations ongoing with inquisitive folks who read the blog and want either to send me encouragement or else to challenge me to reconsider my disbelief in their religion. From time to time I like to share a sample of those conversations with the rest of you [Read More…]

To the Man Handing Out Bibles at School This Week

To the nice old man who handed out Bibles this week at the school where I teach: Dear Sir, I want to thank you for giving out these little orange books you brought with you to our school campus this week. It’s not that often I am handed a free book, and at a government-owned [Read More…]

Sexual Harassment and the Secular Movement

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted sexual advance? Did it in some way happen within the secular/atheist movement, either in an online group or at a conference or special event? Would you know what to do about it in the event that you became a victim of sexual assault? I [Read More…]

Coming to Terms with a Donald Trump Presidency

If you were able to go to sleep last night, you woke up this morning to the news that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States, an outcome that ran contrary to the prognostications of virtually everyone who makes a living tracking the contours of the American electorate. Along with an [Read More…]