Why men don’t touch each other anymore

via the art of manliness

I've been thinking about friendship and male intimacy for a few years now, prompted by a talk I saw as an undergrad and further developed by reading Catholic writers like Patheos's Leah Libresco and Eve Tushnet (I've always liked to read Catholic writing on friendship; I suspect it's because they trace their views through Aquinas to Aristotle, but this is admittedly a bit outside my expertise). My latest for The Daily Beast on the topic went up this morning. Men don’t touch each other anymore, a … [Read more...]

The CNN atheist special covered American Atheists more than atheism in America

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Last night, two friends and I watched the CNN atheist special, and I spent from about 10-2 AM writing up my thoughts. They went up this morning at The Daily Beast:  One couldn’t help walking away from the program with the sense that atheists are a roughly unified group. They might have a lot of different labels, but they’re alike in what matters. Phillips spoke with Greg Epstein, a humanist chaplain at Harvard and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Good Without God, and when she aske … [Read more...]

Vindicating Chris Stedman: Reddit’s atheism forum is the third most toxic on the site

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My good friend and founder of this blog, Chris Stedman, got into a lot of controversy a few years ago when he called New Atheism toxic, and frankly people were pretty petty and cruel in response (Seriously, people wrote about Chris Stedman eating shit-corn. That was about the level of intellectual discourse back then).A recurring point I've often made is that online atheist spaces are not representative of atheism as a whole. Looking at online atheist spaces, it'd be difficult to imagine th … [Read more...]

Atheism, Islam, and Race (Ctd)


Timberwraith had a great comment on yesterday's piece about atheism, Islam, and race:The notion that dominant racial, ethnic, and cultural groups in predominantly Christian and/or European countries have been treating Muslims in ways that strongly resemble the social patterns of xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and racism isn't some wooly concept which Vlad pulled out of a magicians' hat. It's not just another heated topic du jour on blogs and Twitter feeds. The subgroups that a society treats as … [Read more...]

What atheists still don’t get about racism and Islam

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There's a fantastic post at Vox discussing the racial fall-out of recent controversies surrounding Ferguson and the SAE chant. It touches on a point I think many of us often miss, particularly in the atheist community. Jenée Desmond-Harris writes: Many people believe racism has to be spelled out or said out loud to be taken seriously or punishedRacist songs about lynching are shameful, and it's disheartening that people alive in 2015 think they're fun and appear to be thrilled with their un … [Read more...]

What good are billboards

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I’ve been struggling to figure out the intended purpose of belief driven billboards. For example “Jesus is Lord: And You Know It”or “Reason over faith, always” or “Jesus is Muslim (yes we used the present tense.)” Who exactly is the intended audience for such billboards?Taken at face value the obvious answer is others—in these cases nonChristians, nonatheists, and nonMuslims. In the case of the first two slogans the message is clearly proselytizing. But does anyone believe this proselytizing … [Read more...]

Al Jazeera on New Atheism’s hypocrisy toward Islam

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Usaid Siddiqui at Al Jazeera America published a fantastic editorial on the tendency of New Atheists to be selective with holding certain ideologies responsible for violence: The Feb. 10 killing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, of three Arab-American students, allegedly by atheist Craig Stephen Hicks has led some to compare militant atheism to Islamic militancy. Atheists are not happy with thecomparison.“The deluge of claims of equivalence between this crime and the Charlie Hebdo atrocity and … [Read more...]

Daniel Loxton on the future of skepticism

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Daniel Loxton, editor of Junior Skeptic and friend of the blog, recently spoke to io9 about the future of the skeptic movement. I personally don't associate much with the skeptic movement, but am glad to have people like Daniel involved. I feel like many people might not realize that a person can be a skeptic and have a sense of wonder and imagination.It kind of has a reputation for being a bit of a downer topic. But I've never viewed it that way. It's always been about the opportunity to in … [Read more...]

The three marks of secular Lent

Secular Lent

There are three marks to the traditional Catholic Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. When we think of Lent, we typically tend to focus on the fasting---giving up sweets, coffee, animal products, or whatever else. Leah Libresco at the Catholic Channel explains: Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent — the season of preparation for Easter.  The whole church fasts from meat on Fridays, during this season, and individual Catholics usually make personal commitments to give something up or … [Read more...]

Atheist lent, why it matters, and also what should I (and maybe you, if you’d like) give up?


It wasn't until I started studying psychology that I began to see religion from less of a partisan stance and more from a scientific one. It's too easy to be stuck in an "atheism good, religion bad" mentality, but I started to see religion in functional terms once I was out. Why do religions promote the beliefs they do? Why do certain rituals stick and not others? How did this collection of beliefs and practices help people become the people they want to be?There's a tendency in some atheist … [Read more...]