A Note on Dealing with Death & Dying, Trauma & Tragedy

At a recent workshop on ‘Trauma in Everyday Life,’ a psychologist spoke about big ‘T’ and little ‘t’ trauma. Big ‘T’ trauma is what we commonly refer to when speaking of serious accidents, war, death, etc. In its most severe form, big ‘T’ trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress. On the other hand, little ‘t’ trauma refers to the everyday violence we encounter, such as being teased, losing a pet or a job, being picked last in a group activity, receiving negative comments on a blog. While such exp … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Jerk in the Workplace

Jerks --- we all know at least one person we’d describe as such. Because we have to deal with their ish from time to time, I thought I’d compile a short list of ways all of us can avoid becoming one of them. Using the context of my past workplace experiences, I will offer some anecdotal examples to tie in recent research from Stanford, Yale and the University of Southern California. Having been consistently employed since my early teenage years, I have quite a bit of work experiences to draw upon … [Read more...]

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San Francisco LGBTQI Pride: A Humanist Reflection

If you are anything like me,  last Friday's SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality completely overwhelmed you. Tears of joy were present with me throughout the day. Since not all NonProphet Status readers live in a city quite like San Francisco, where Pride is celebrated in a very major way, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a few photos from my weekend.  Every year, the secular communities of the San Francisco Bay Area come together to march as a large contingent in the LGBTQI Pride p … [Read more...]

GiveWell releases updated charity recommendations

Effective-altruism poster-child GiveWell, a charity-evaluating non-profit aimed at finding which charities are the most empirically validated and cost-effective, recently updated their list of recommended charities. Just in time for #GivingTuesday, too.Check below for the list of GiveWell's "evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded" charities, as well as the proportion of your donation GiveWell suggests you distribute to each cause (h/t Robby Bensinger for the breakdown):1. The … [Read more...]

Going vegan for the end of the year: my interview with Cory Booker

I had the unusual pleasure of interviewing Senator Cory Booker early yesterday evening for The Daily Beast. We chatted for about twenty minutes on the phone and, because of a tight deadline, it took about six hours (I could have used twice that) and three cans of PBR to turn in something I was happy with. It went up this morning: In the uncomfortable and often impractical space between politics and folklore, Cory Booker presides. Few politicians garner the celebrity that Senator Booker does, an … [Read more...]

Pope Francis sells excess to help the poor, and maybe we should too

For all of the institutional complaints one might have with the Catholic Church, they have been doing a fantastic job of highlighting and addressing the plights of the poor. The vast discrepancy of wealth in the developed world is problem enough as it is, but even my modest bottom-rung academic salary puts me in the top 1% of global income. Anyone living above the poverty line in in the U.S. is likely within the top 5%, if not higher, and readers can check where they stand here.I think one … [Read more...]

Mindfulness and saying grace

This week’s edition of T: The New York Times Style Magazine features an interesting article about the rise of mindfulness in the West by Tim Wu of Columbia University.Writes Wu: Over the last decade, without much fanfare, the core tenets of Buddhism have migrated from the spiritual fringe to become widely accepted techniques for dealing with the challenges of daily life. Feeling overwhelmed? “Watch your breath,” “stay present” and focus on “mindful action.” Grappling with difficult emotions? … [Read more...]

If only people were less superstitious

While there are many great Atheist writers out there, few captured life's absurdities quite so well as Kurt Vonnegut. In his own way, he managed to handle serious issues like war with a tongue-in-cheek humor and more nuance than many serious commentators could ever dream of.While Vonnegut was an Atheist, he was under no illusion that Atheism was going to save the world. Instead, he recognized that many atrocities are carried out in the name of, or as a consequence of, Science and Pro … [Read more...]

Veganism as a secular spiritual practice

Since discussions about atheism and animal ethics have somewhat taken off, I wanted to host a broader discussion on these issues. This post is written by Katie Gordon, who articulates her own personal connection between her secular identity and vegan diet. It has been a few weeks since Vlad argued that all atheists should be vegan, but the conversation has continued though responses here on NonProphet Status, on NPR, and in Time. I’ve enjoyed the discussion immensely, and while I agree w … [Read more...]

The problems with “ethical” meat

A common response to my post about why atheists should be vegans is that it's okay to eat ethically-raised meat. Shouldn't we pursue those, the argument goes, instead of completely abstaining from animal products? I find these arguments somewhat compelling---after all, if people with ethical concerns left the meat market, that would leave the meat market driven by people with no ethical concerns for how their meat is treated. But I've become convinced for a number of reasons that it's better on t … [Read more...]