A Human(ist) Revolution

Several of the ideas in this piece were hashed out in conversations with two friends: Cass Midgley and Matthew Faraday. I am indebted to their thoughtful insights in developing this piece. Any shortcomings are my responsibility alone.There is a piece being circulated widely in the past few days which appeared in the Opinion pages of the New York Times on Christmas Day. It is entitled, “The Christmas Revolution,” and makes the case that much of what can be considered secular humanist values ha … [Read more...]

American Christians scramble for silver lining in Pew religion poll

Pew Research report shows Catholics and Evangelicals both declining, but it’s still good news, they say. Or at least okay.by Ryan Bell and Dan ArelAmericans are losing their religion. At least that is what a new study released this week by Pew Research has shown. The study polled more than 35,000 Americans from all 50 states and mapped changes to the country’s religious diversity over the past eight years.The study found, to many people’s surprise, that religiously unaffiliated adults … [Read more...]

Jeremy Neill’s God is the deus ex machina

RYGER / Shutterstock.comThis post is part of a new feature from Patheos called Head to Head where our best minds debate the big questions of the day. This week, I am debating the Evangelical Channel’s Jeremy Neill of "Everyday Ethics". The question: does emphasizing the incomprehensible nature of god become an expression of atheism? Or put simply does religious faith require a personal God? This topic was brought to us by James F. McGrath. You can see James’ thoughts at his blog, Expl … [Read more...]

Interacting with an Atheist

There have been some thought provoking responses to my Year Without God. I have several that I intend to respond to, even two months after the fact, because I think they engage with some important ideas. There have also been some pretty bad responses. Not bad in that they disagree with me. All sorts of people disagree with me. But bad in the sense that they they don't present very compelling ideas.Last week I shared the Adventist Review's response to me, in the form of a bizarre … [Read more...]

Ideology kills

There has been a great deal of soul-searching in the past 24 hours around the triple homicide in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It's so upsetting that I almost can't make my fingers do this typing but I think it's important. It's possible you've read exactly what I'm going to say here somewhere else, but I want to say it anyway.As many philosophers, social scientists and even theologians, have pointed out, religions tend to intensify in-group loyalties and out-group hostilities. This tension … [Read more...]

Rejecting faith in righteousness

Yesterday I read this very moving story, by the intelligent and courageous Lala Stone entitled, "How I Went from Being a Southern Baptist Preacher's Daughter to an Open Atheist."It's a heartbreaking story that I hope atheists and Christians will both read, for the same reason in different directions. Through the telling of stories we deepen our understanding, empathy and compassion. Ms. Stone's story is her own and while many people, myself included, trace similar themes in our own stories, … [Read more...]