Category Archives: secularism

New Zealand hospital rejects a Christian chapel in favor of a multifaith one; Christians outraged

According to the blog post below by Barry Duke at the Patheos site TheFreeThinker, and also from an article in the Otago Daily Times, a new hospital in Dunedin, New Zealand decided it would devote its chapel space to a multifaith facility rather than a Christian one. This has pissed off a lot of Christians, […]

My unpublished comment on The Weekly Dish

On his website The Weekly Dish, Andrew Sullivan publishes “dissents”—comments from readers who have disagreed with things in the previous week’s column. They’re often quite long, and, to his credit, Sullivan often admits he’s wrong or engages the dissent thoughtfully. In his column a week ago Friday, Sullivan made a statement about the virtues of […]

What is the value of theology?

Dan Barker, co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, cleverly defined theology as a “subject without an object”.  That presupposes that there is no evidence for the “subject”: gods, prophets like Jesus, and so on, and I think most of us agree with that. So does the Oxford English Dictionary, which gives this as a […]

Ohio passes ambiguous “Student Religious Liberties Act”

Last November, when I was on a ship off Antarctica, I posted about a bill in the Ohio Legislature, now called the “Student Religious Liberties Act,” that, critics fear, would expand the role of religion in the public schools. At that time the bill had passed the Ohio House over the objections of Democrats.  Now, […]

A conservative argues for mandatory school prayer to stem the increase in nonbelief

Where else would you find a mushbrain argument like this except in The American Conservative? For it not only sees the decline in religiosity in America as a bad thing, but, importantly, blames it on the lack of mandatory prayer in schools, which, they say, makes religion seem “taboo” to kids and weans them from […]

Pandemic relief causes U.S. government to violate First Amendment by paying churches

You can either read the transcript of this 3-minute National Public Radio report or listen to it—both by clicking on the link below. It turns out that, as part of the $350 billion dollars that the U.S. government has earmarked for loans to help cash-strapped small-businesses during the pandemic, churches and “faith-based organizations” have also […]

Texas man endows first professorship of secular studies at a public university: UT Austin

You may already know that the country’s first—and still, I think, only—college program in Secular Studies is at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, founded by the estimable sociologist Phil Zuckerman. (You can see the curriculum here.) Well, as the Austin Statesman (should they change it to “Statesperson”?) reported yesterday, The University of Texas at Austin […]

The NYT’s Christmas sermon: Jesus presented as real

The op-ed piece below, which is the most prominent article in today’s New York Times Opinion section (top right of webpage), is an example of how religious delusions get mainstreamed, simply by being presented as if they were incontestably real. (Note: the piece isn’t the paper’s opinion, but they decided to publish it.) The author, […]

Young people continue to abandon religion in America

Nate Silver’s site FiveThirtyEight is famous for accurate election forecasts, though it ruined its record in 2016 by giving Hillary Clinton a 71% chance of winning. Well, to be fair, that was a close one, and at any rate today’s report is not about politics but religion. And it’s not even the site’s own poll, […]

Is the religiosity of the Right driving the secularization of the Left?

In this piece from last Wednesday, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux in Five Thirty Eight (henceforth “538”) discusses the increasing religious nonbelief of liberals, as opposed to that of conservatives or moderates. (Click on screenshot to read.) There’s little doubt that liberals are losing their faith (or not taking up faith) at a higher rate than are other […]