A Reason to Celebrate: An Incomplete List of Not-So-Holy Days

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For some reason, when I first became an atheist, I began distancing myself from rites of passage, celebrations of life or anything that resembled religious ritual. Early on, my atheism took the form of rebelling against the dominant Christian norms that prevail here in the U.S. It was my way of living into my new label of choice. My phase of ‘opting out’ did not last long however, as I began to see the very real necessity of celebration.What is life without the joyous acknowledgement of this … [Read more...]

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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...]

Creating Spaces for Growth: the Narrative Approach to Religious Criticism

“Conflict can be understood as the motor of change, that which keeps relationships and social structures honest, alive, and dynamically responsive to human needs, aspirations, and growth.” – John Paul Lederach, The Little Book of Conflict TransformationOne of the most wonderful things about being human is our capacity for growth—for having our lives enriched as a result of challenging experiences. Often this kind of challenge and growth happens though sharing personal stories—because … [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...]

God, We Need Atheists

Today’s guest post, by my friend Frank Fredericks (Co-Founder of Religious Freedom USA and Founder of World Faith), addresses the gaping cultural divide between Christians and atheists. Like Amber Hacker's NonProphet Status guest post, "A Committed Christian's Atheist Heroes," Frank writes as a dedicated Christian interested in finding ways to work with and better understand his atheist friends and neighbors. As someone who knows Frank and respects his work, I'm delighted to share his thou … [Read more...]

A Humanist Resolution to Overcome the Faith Gap

Please check out my latest blog for the Huffington Post! Below is a selection; it can be read in full at the Huffington Post:It may be mid-January, but I'm still thinking of Christmas.The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve just might be my favorite of the year. It is the one time that my entire family gets together. We spend several days eating our favorite foods, catching up and playing board games.I'm the only member of my family who doesn't live in Minnesota -- I moved away … [Read more...]

Time to Stop Rewarding the Dehumanizing Rhetoric

Recently, I was honored to receive an invitation to join the esteemed panel of the Washington Post's On Faith. Please read and share my first piece -- below is the beginning, and it can be read in full at On Faith:In the wake of this national tragedy, many have speculated about whether violent rhetoric and imagery used by Sarah Palin and others directly influenced Saturday's devastating events. We may never know if there was a direct link between Palin's words and the tragedy in Arizona, but … [Read more...]