Why Craig Hicks is our problem

NPS Logo Small

https://twitter.com/Bro_Pair/status/565594527776649217 Early yesterday evening, Craig Hicks shot Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha to death inside their Chapel Hill, N.C. home. Hicks, who identifies as an anti-theist, regularly posted vitriolic anti-religious sentiment on his Facebook page.“When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me,” he wrote. “If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I. But given that it doesn’t, and giv … [Read more...]

How anti-theism can contribute to violence against muslims

I wrote early this year about comments Richard Dawkins made about Islamophobia and racism. I think they're relevant today: [W]hat's relevant [to racism] is whether something disproportionately and negatively affects racial minorities, rather than whether the target is a racial minority, per se. It seems pretty undeniable that the U.S. drug policy makes life unjustly harder for black Americans. That’s what matters, not whether “drug user” as such is a race. So the question becomes whether new ath … [Read more...]

Police not ruling out hate-based motivation in Chapel Hill shooting

There are some update on the story that broke this morning of Craig Stephen Hicks, the Chapel Hill man accused of shooting three muslim students in their home.The Charlotte Observer reports:Chapel Hill police said Wednesday morning that a dispute about parking in the neighborhood of rented condominiums near Meadowmont may have led Craig Stephen Hicks to shoot his neighbors, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-S … [Read more...]

3 Muslim students killed by an anti-theist in Chapel Hill, NC


Three young Muslim students were killed in their homes yesterday. They were shot in the head.CNN reports: A 46-year-old man has been charged with murder in the shooting death of three Muslim students in an apartment near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.Police haven't said what may have compelled the accused, Craig Stephen Hicks, to allegedly carry out the attack Tuesday evening. He turned himself in to police later in the night.But given the victims' religion … [Read more...]

Courage Matters: Darwin Day as a Holiday for Brave Questions

darwin day logo

The following is a guest post by Seráh Blain.A century and a half ago, Charles Darwin published a book that blazed through the anthropocentric fog clouding our view of the universe. On the Origin of Species detailed his discovery of natural selection, and in doing so unraveled hazey superstitious tendrils lingering in modern minds from a time long past—a time when human beings had few sensible explanations for the baffling patterns they encountered in their daily lives.The world must … [Read more...]

Ezra Klein’s advice to young journalists

At Vox, Ezra Klein writes up what he thinks is his best guidance for aspiring journalists, and I think it's very good.His guiding principle: You always want to be doing work that is as close as possible to the kind of work you want to be doing in your dream job. The reasoning here is simple: Insofar as you're building skills, you want to be building skills you actually intend to use. If your dream is to be an economy reporter, the best possible way for you to spend your time is reporting s … [Read more...]

Elite degrees don’t protect black Americans from racism

Response by race

The social sciences have been showing the depth of our racial prejudice for a while now, so I'm always surprised to see that some people find concepts like "white privilege" hard to acknowledge.A new study by S. Michael Gaddis, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, goes even further to show how much harder black Americans have to work to get on the same level as white Americans. Black job candidates from even elite schools like Harvard or Duke only do as well as white … [Read more...]

ISIS’s violence isn’t so unique, says Obama

I don't know what it says about me that I'm reading Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig---a Christian leftist and newly-minted staff writer at The New Republic 2.0---more often and more eagerly than just about any atheist writer around right now. Most recently, she's addressed President Obama's comments putting the horrific violence of ISIS in context. During yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said: Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our … [Read more...]

The religious right, not new atheism, is driving the secular left

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.05.20 PM

Lisa Wade at PS Mag asks a question to grapple with for anyone chalking the rise of the nones to new atheist writers or atheist activism. She says: Over the past 40 years, Americans have become increasingly likely to deny an affiliation with a religion. . . Overall, however, Americans do not report a corresponding decline in the a belief in God, life after death, or other religious ideas. What’s going on? Wade cites a recent study by sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer to help expl … [Read more...]

The benefits of forgiveness

NPS Logo Small

I've been thinking about forgiveness a bit, lately, and Olga Khazan at The Atlantic has a great piece on the topic: Talking about the “benefits of forgiveness” can feel slightly self-serving, like donating to charity only so you can tell people about it later. But one reason why people might avoid forgiving is that it feels like the offender gets away with something—especially if he or she never apologized. In that sense, at least, it’s worth considering what’s in it for the forgiver. And as it … [Read more...]