Shining Eyes, Clear Heads – Self-Help Without the Bullshit


I have a confession to make: when I was a teenager I was enthralled by motivational speakers. I was visited with this affliction after Ben Zander (a Boston-based orchestra conductor and musician) descended upon my high school and brought me to tears with his inspiring exhortation always to “radiate possibility” rather than “spiral downward”. I [Read More...]

Scott Lively Wants to Bring Down the City


On Saturday November 24th an enormous gas explosion ripped through downtown Springfield, MA, damaging numerous buildings, injuring 18 people, and leveling a strip club. The Boston Globe reported: The explosion happened at 5:25 p.m., leveling Scores Gentlemen’s Club, punching a large hole in the street, and blowing shards of glass and other debris through downtown [Read More...]

Occasionally, I Think I’m an Alien


Nathan Salo Tumberg, a friend and fellow atheist blogger at Occasionally, I think, doesn’t understand me (he also deeply loves his wife, and his thoughtful account is charming to read). Specifically, he doesn’t understand my ecstatic reaction to my visit to B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue. While I found it uplifting and inspiring he, he thinks, would find unpleasant, [Read More...]

Desire Matters, Truth Matters More – Alex Gabriel and Jeff Cook on “Unbelievable?”


Alex Gabriel of The Heresy Club, one of my favorite online atheists, was a thoughtful and precise presence on Christian radio show Unbelievable? - a show which “gets Christians and non-Christians talking”. Listen to Alex discuss God with Jeff Cook, author of Everything New, and elucidate some of the strange holes in Cook’s (I thought rather weak) arguments. Cook is [Read More...]

Loving and Hating Religion – Some Reflections After Visiting Religious Communities

The Humanist Institute

These reflections were written shortly after visiting four religious communities in New York City as part of The Humanist Institute, a leadership training program for people passionate about Humanism and who want to play a role in the movement. If that sounds like you, I recommend the course: it’s been invigorating and challenging for me, [Read More...]

Giving on Thanksgiving


The Washington Post yesterday featured a fantastic article on the Washington Ethical Society’s latest Thanksgiving service idea: Leader Mary Herman asked the 150 or so congregants at the Washington Ethical Society on 16th Street NW to check their programs. Ten of them would find a randomly inserted blue card. She asked those 10 to stand up. “I [Read More...]

Humanism With a Soul


No less an atheist prophet than Sam Harris has defended, at length, both the use of the term “spiritual” and the value of the experiences to which the term usually applies. “We must reclaim good words and put them to good use”, he says, arguing that “transcendent experiences…should be studied scientifically”. Cass Seltzer, hero of [Read More...]