The rise of interfaith chaplaincy

NPR ran a delightful story yesterday about interfaith chaplains on college campuses.From NPR: A third of young Americans report no religious affiliation. Given the odds, you might expect life around a college chaplain's office to be pretty dull these days. But as Monique Parsons found out, new interfaith chaplains are transforming and revitalizing this old role.[...] PARSONS: Joseph Ross is a junior from El Segundo. ROSS: I have also done a Torah study my freshman year. I do atheist … [Read more...]

Daniel Trilling’s Bold New Humanism Starts This Month

In August, Daniel Trilling introduced himself as the incoming editor for New Humanist, stating that he would take over in September in a blog post at the Rationalist Association. New Humanist is actually one of the oldest continually published magazines, having been spreading the gospel of critical inquiry, science, and human rights since 1885; the magazine is published by the Rationalist Association, a UK-based secular advocacy group. Trilling’s blog post prefigures a heightened humanistic c … [Read more...]

Where we can meet Pope Francis

When details first emerged about Pope Francis's liberal policies and attitude towards the nonreligious, I took a few posts to express some tentative optimism. I think recent events validate my first impression---by most accounts, Pope Francis is turning out to be pretty cool.His shift to a more reserved and austere church---from denying Vatican employee their bonuses to insisting that Christians be for the poor, rather than politely discussing theology over tea[ref]I am so guilty of the … [Read more...]

Vagueness and interfaith

One of our readers, the humanist and interfaith activist Vanessa Brake, sent us an email yesterday to point us toward an article that has been circulating online. She directed us to the following quote: "Participants at a recent interfaith conference in the nation's capital discussed how interreligious dialogue can play an important role in establishing peace and fighting secularization in America."The National Catholic Register goes on: The secular response to religious diversity is to pu … [Read more...]

A Lengthy Response to Zach Alexander

Just a quick note: this post shouldn’t be taken as representative of Chris or his views. He’s been keeping abreast of his critics and has been thinking carefully about the points they raise. But he is also quite busy with obligations surrounding the release of his book and his work organizing this weekend’s upcoming Humanist Community at Harvard Values In Action event, which is working to pack 40,000 meals for food-insecure children. In the meantime, why not check out the project and consider don … [Read more...]

Of Babies and Bathwater

Today's guest blog keeps it once again all in the family. After my first cousin once removed Bruce Johansen's guest post, as well as one by my mom, I am excited to present one by my big sister Casi Stedman Nelson. A year -- no, a year and seven months, as she loves to point out -- older than me, Casi was one of my best friends in childhood. I looked up to her in many ways (so much so that I let her cut my hair with a toenail clipper when we were very young), and it's a thrill to feature a post b … [Read more...]

Announcing My February Speaking Tour!

See the expanded tour schedule here!This has been long in the works, so I'm excited to finally share the exciting news with you all: I'm going on a speaking tour of seven Midwest colleges and universities next month! At the invitation of campus staff and student groups from the following schools, I will be going from Indiana to Illinois to Iowa to speak about the importance of religious-atheist engagement, and the experiences that led me to the work I do around this issue.Below is my … [Read more...]

The Religious Must Stand Up for Atheists

Today's guest post is by Joshua Stanton, a man I am lucky to call both a good friend and a colleague at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue in my work as the Managing Director of State of Formation. In this post, Josh offers a thoughtful, personal reflection on why it is essential for the interfaith movement to stand up against anti-atheist rhetoric and action in the way that it does when particular religious communities come under fire. As an atheist, I couldn't appreciate this post more. … [Read more...]

Do Only Religious People Have a ‘Calling’?

Please check out my latest piece for the Huffington Post, currently featured at the top of their Religion section! Below is a selection; it can be read in full at the Huffington Post:In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4, musician Jack White (of the White Stripes and other bands) reflected on his "calling.""I was thinking at 14 that possibly I might have had the calling to be a priest," said White. "Blues singers sort of have the same feelings as someone who's called to be a priest m … [Read more...]

What's Your Calling?

In partnership with the PBS documentary The Calling, a campaign called What’s Your Calling? was launched to explore the topic of a “calling.” I was honored to be invited to do an interview with them; in our interview, they asked me to talk about my “calling,” so I shared a bit of my story and discussed my hope for greater nonreligious-religious dialogue and cooperation.Using this interview, they produced the above video (full of old, embarrassing photos, haha). Please check out their page … [Read more...]