Why the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Needs Religion

Today's installment in our ongoing series of guest contributors comes from Ryan Linstrom, a humanist who has studies International Development and Human Rights. His guest piece is a personal reflection the hot topic of conflict in the Middle East, the ramifications of leaving religion out of the conversation, and the nuances of religion as a force for evil and a force for good. Offering an interfaith way forward, Ryan's piece is a powerful, wise and timely read -- check it out!My first … [Read more...]

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Asshole

After Monday's detour from the ongoing series of guest contributors, I'm excited to get back into it with a post from skeptic all-star Heidi Anderson. I first met Heidi at the Center For Inquiry (CFI) Leadership Institute this summer, where she was a keynote speaker and I a lowly panelist. Our remarks that weekend were on a similar theme -- our shared belief that a little bit of niceness goes a long way when engaging with people who have different beliefs. Both of our remarks were met with a bit … [Read more...]

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Asshole

After Monday's detour from the ongoing series of guest contributors, I'm excited to get back into it with a post from skeptic all-star Heidi Anderson. I first met Heidi at the Center For Inquiry (CFI) Leadership Institute this summer, where she was a keynote speaker and I a lowly panelist. Our remarks that weekend were on a similar theme -- our shared belief that a little bit of niceness goes a long way when engaging with people who have different beliefs. Both of our remarks were met with a bit … [Read more...]

Yes, We Can (Dream Bigger): An Agnostic’s Response to Everybody Draw Muhammad Day

It's "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" -- today's guest post is from Nicholas Lang, and it addresses this controversy. "I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation." -Dr. Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream Speech." August 28, 1963, Washington D.C. In 2007, students at Clemson University and the University of Arizona honored the memory of the great Dr. King by holding blackface parties on MLK day. The … [Read more...]

IUC Day Three: Onward and Upward (Secular Folks Included)

This post is the third in a series of three posts on my experience at Nazareth College’s first-ever Interfaith Understanding Conference (IUC). For the first, click here; for the second, click here.Workshop: A Place at the TableFor the third and final workshop session of the conference, I attended "A Place at the Table: Including Atheists, Agnostics, and Secular Humanists in Interfaith Dialogue." It shouldn't be surprising that I was very excited about this workshop being offered, as this i … [Read more...]

IUC Day Two: Tolerance, The Next Generation… and Eboo Calls Me Out

This post is the second in a series of three posts on my experience at Nazareth College’s first-ever Interfaith Understanding Conference (IUC). For the first, click here; check back tomorrow for the final installation.Plenary: "How Water is the New Salt"The first plenary of the second day of the conference was a pair of talks by Dr. Panchapakesa Jayaraman and Sensei Bonnie Myotai Treace titled "How Water is the New Salt: An Interfaith Language for our Time & Gandhian Interfaith Approach t … [Read more...]

2010 American Atheist Convention: The Ugly (or, When I Cried)

This post is the final installation in a series of reports on the 2010 American Atheist Convention. For my favorite sessions from the convention, check out “The Good” post; for those that were bad but not the most offensive, check out “The Bad.”Throughout the course of the 2010 American Atheist Convention I had extensive conversations with attendees around a single, significant question: what kind of Atheist community are we building? Some of these conversations were constructive; others weren' … [Read more...]

Religion (and Secular) Roundup: Secular Students, Fundamentalist Atheists, Postage Stamps

National Prayer Breakfast Acknowledges Those Who Don't Pray: Obama mentioned Americans of "no faith" at the National Prayer Breakfast but in, uh, this context: "God's grace [is expressed] by Americans of every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose, a higher purpose." Is it just nitpick-y to criticize his language here? To his credit, his words throughout were very inclusive of people of all faiths (and "no faith," which is again a first for an American President). But his language … [Read more...]

Interfaith Peace Symposium

This weekend I had the privilege of being asked to present a workshop and deliver a speech at the evening plenary session at an Interfaith Peace Symposium here in Chicago, put on by the Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlewaite of the Center for American Progress, scholar Dr. Sharon Welch, and Global Action to Prevent War. It was a robust session in which a variety of ideas about how interfaith dialogue can lead to a more just and peaceful world were shared.I want to share with you here a short selection of … [Read more...]


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