Interfaith literacy: Omar Sarwar on utilitarianism and atheism’s “old white guy” image

On Friday, we posted the first of three parts of an interview with Omar Sarwar. Sarwar is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University who wrote a piece for Huffington Post that thoroughly debunked some of Bill Maher and Sam Harris’ go-to talking points about Islam.I've learned a lot from Sarwar about Islam, atheism, and everything in between, and I hope you will as well.If you missed the first part, you can find that here. This post picks up in the middle of a conversation about Sam Har … [Read more...]

Interview with James Croft on interfaith and FergusonOctober

Photo by sarah-ji, (CC)

As the month of October is coming to a close, we at NonProphet Status want to turn attention back to the FergusonOctober movement. Although the media has long since moved on, the systemic discrimination that sparked those protests, as well as the local activism, persists. Let’s not lose sight of that.On Sunday October 12, thousands joined together at St. Louis University for an interfaith service and call-to-action called the Mass Meeting. The event was part of FergusonOctober—a series of pea … [Read more...]

Yes, Atheists need closed spaces too

Photo by Carl Jones (CC)

Last week, I wrote a piece calling for religious people to reach out to atheists to engage us on our own terms. This impulse come from by belief that atheists and the religious are in dire need of reconciliation. And reconciliation will not be accomplished without both sides actively seeking constructive interaction. I asked religious people to come to atheist space rather than wait for atheists to come to them, because we don’t have time to wait.First, I want to point out that I wrote this p … [Read more...]

Chis Stedman and Reza Aslan on experiences shared by Atheists and Muslims

From an interfaith event at Faisal Mosque. Photo by the U.S. State Department.

In light of the recent controversy between Sam Harris and Ben Affleck on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” and the backlash that followed, Muslim academic, Reza Aslan and Humanist leader Chris Stedman[1. Full disclosure: Chris Stedman is the founder of NonProphet Status.] call for a more civil discussion between atheists and Muslims. They explain that atheists and Muslims may have more in common that one might think: “According to a Pew poll conducted this year, Muslims and atheists are the two least fav … [Read more...]

Why this atheist is going to seminary

Illustration by 2 Top (CC)

We at NonProphet Status believe that getting smarter about religion is a crucial step in achieving greater cultural understanding. This post is written by Kristi Del Vecchio, an atheist interfaith activist who studies theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.It wasn’t until I left a religious institution that I recognized the robust social fabric woven within it.If I noticed one thing about leaving the Catholic Church, it was a large increase in free time on Sunday morning wh … [Read more...]

Building a Christian home inside atheism

A photo of the author's megachurch

After realizing that I was an atheist a few years ago, I had to do a lot of very intentional and difficult work to separate myself from my evangelical megachurch upbringing. I felt so angry, hurt, and betrayed by my religion that I immediately rejected anyone who tried to remind me of the better parts of it. It felt more righteous being a bitter atheist than a recovering and broken ex-Christian.I never fault fellow ex-believers for having wholly negative opinions of the faith they were … [Read more...]

A final comment on Yale and Hirsi Ali

By Nick Allen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

At best, the debate regarding Hirsi Ali speaking at Yale is fundamentally a debate about what kind of speech is appropriate for a college campus, and potentially about what constitutes hate-speech.  These are discussions that should be had, but I've noticed but these aren't the debates we're having. On this blog and elsewhere, notably in these posts by JT Eberhard and the open letter by Muhammad Syed posted by Hemant Mehta, the issue is painted as an issue of freedom of speech, of censorship, or … [Read more...]

Who are our potential religious allies?

Photo by Walker Bristol

In his introductory post for the relaunch of NonProphet Status, Vlad asks whether dropping our obsession the question of God’s existence might open new doors. “Can we work [with religious people] to build a better world?”The answer, in one simple graph, is yes.Last week, political scientist Tobin Grant (who blogs for Religion News Service) released this excellent data visualization of how religious identity correlates with political ideology. The chart is based on data from the Pew Religi … [Read more...]

Social justice, from “firebrand” to “faitheist”

The Duke Chapel, looking up.  Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons

 At Skepchick, Courtney Caldwell discusses how her atheism changed over the years, with a trajectory I think many readers will recognize. She writes:When I was a newbie atheist, fresh from my first reading of The God Delusion, The End of Faith, and every amateur Xanga blog I could find, I had a firm belief that no good could possibly exist within religion.“ At its best, religion is nothing more than a lie! Even when not causing outright harm, it is a delusion on par with mental i … [Read more...]

After Ferguson, toward a better humanism

Photo courtesy of Loavesofbread via Wikimedia Commons

Nearly a month after Michael Brown’s death, protests still fill the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. The grief playing out on the pavement is focusing long-overdue national attention on racial injustice and the reality of white supremacy. For many, it’s also translated to activism. From rallies to marches to teach-ins, communities are organizing themselves to effectively fight for change.For most people involved, this activism is simply an extension of work that’s been going on for centuries. T … [Read more...]