Chris Stedman on MSNBC: “This is a really good thing, and I think people of faith should agree”

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My good friend and founder of this blog, Chris Stedman, was on the Melissa Harris-Perry show yesterday morning to discuss the recent pew data showing a rise in the religiously unaffiliated (now up to 23% of the American public). Stedman was joined by Reverend Samuel Cruz, Christopher Hale from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Kelly Brown Douglas, an episcopal priest and a professor of religion at Goucher College."What do you think is going on with this decline, particularly … [Read more...]

My review of Dan Ariely’s new book, “Irrationally Yours”

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Dan Ariely was kind enough to hook me up with a review copy of his forthcoming book, Irrationally Yours (which you can preorder on Amazon).It changed my life. … [Read more...]

My review of Lisa Miller’s “The Spiritual Child”

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My latest for The Daily Beast went up this morning. Nothing will protect our children like a well-developed sense of spirituality, argues Columbia University psychologist Lisa Miller in her new book, The Spiritual Child.Readers inclined towards skepticism are met with an impressive round of statistics connecting early spirituality to lower rates of what Miller calls the “big three dangers of adolescence”—depression, substance abuse, and risk taking.While Miller shows a vibrant command of … [Read more...]

Bill Maher reaches peak Bill Maher

In this week’s monologue, Maher managed to take the first crack at Bruce Jenner’s coming out as a transgender woman.“A lot of women in the news this week,” says Maher, transitioning from his previous joke. “Another wom.. OH! Bruce Jenner!”At this point, the audience erupts because to Maher’s audience, apparently transgender people are inherently funny.“The big interview is on tonight,” Maher goes on. “Please, no spoilers. I TiVo’ed it, which is ironic, because sometimes my TiVo also c … [Read more...]

From the archives: the vanguard fallacy and embattled purview

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I've stumbled on another great piece, this one by friend of the blog, Marcus Mann:A lot has been written lately on sexual assault and Islamophobia within organized atheism, and I’ll leave it to those better educated, well-versed and with more personal experience regarding those issues to comment on them. My point is more general and perhaps more obvious: a group that perpetuates the idea that they are being cornered, or that they are at war, or that disunity of voice portrays weakness which m … [Read more...]

From the archives: are we “getting” Islam?

More forgotten content from the archive, based on a comment by Sean Faircloth: It's worth noting that I largely agree with Faircloth here, but the small bit where we disagree matters a lot and largely colors our respective attitudes towards Islam. There's a subtle shift in Faircloth's language throughout the piece, and I think this is rather emblematic of this difference. Faircloth says: If liberals can – with great vitriol – condemn the Christian Right (as they do constantly), then liberals ca … [Read more...]

From the archives: Humanism as community, not philosophy

Another post I stumbled on and liked: I think Humanism works best as a community label, not a philosophical label. It strikes me as a potentially effective banner for political organization and social action, rather than a description of specific moral commitments. Otherwise, if we entangle Humanism with, say consequentialism, what of sympathetic members like me who might have strong consequentialist tendencies but ultimately lean Kantian? We can try to convince each other out of bad moral … [Read more...]

Remember when Sam Harris said religion was worse than rape?

There have been some issues on Patheos involving image use and attribution. Now that NPS is on Patheos, what images we're allowed to use is different---we generate (very, very modest) ad revenue, so we can't use images that are for noncommercial use only. This means I've been going through all of our old posts that well predate me to make sure we're all good in that department (because if we get sued then it's me, not Patheos, that is fucked).The upside, though, is that I've been finding some … [Read more...]

From the archives: the case for affirmation and accommodation

Philippa Feet haha get it?

NonProphet Status goes much further back than my involvement. I've been looking through our archives and stumbled on this great piece by Andrew Lovley. It seems like the accommodationist debate has popped back up in recent months, and this is a thoughtful and relevant take to add to return to:Generally speaking, the attitudes that shape the interactions between atheists and theists are characterized by mistrust, mockery, and vilification. Yet these attitudes do nothing to further our cause … [Read more...]

Is atheism about Civil Rights?

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My latest for The Daily Beast went up yesterday. Is atheism about Civil Rights? In part because of horrors that atheists experience in the rest of the world, and in part because of gross abuses experienced by other minorities in the West, I tend to roll my eyes at rhetoric often used by the public faces of atheism in America. My close friend Chris Stedman has catalogued a few examples: according to Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, atheism is the new gay marriage; Todd Stiefel, a pr … [Read more...]