What Is Religious Humanism—Really?

August 23, 2012

There's been a flurry of interest in the idea of "Atheism-Plus" or "A+" -- atheism that incorporates a strong values component. Essentially it's secular humanism by another name, except that some advocates broaden it to include a specific, usually left-progressive, ideological agenda that secular humanism welcomes but does not demand. As such ideas often do, the A+ debate has spawned a spin-off debate over the meaning of other terms, including that perennial puzzler "What is Humanism?" At his "Temple of the Future" blog, James Croft of Harvard's humanist chaplaincy offers a definition of humanism that in many ways is quite good (http://www.templeofthefuture.net/uncategorized/what-humanism-is-and-isnt). This post is sure to be widely quoted, so I think it's important to note the one thing Croft got, in my view, spectacularly wrong.

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Missouri Votes to Reap the Whirlwind

August 09, 2012

Missouri voters this week approved a benighted and mischievous “right to pray” amendment to the state’s Constitution. Amendment Two passed by 779,628 votes to 162,404, a thundering 5-to-1 margin!

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Praying for Rain? Really, Secretary Vilsack?

July 19, 2012

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters at the White House that he is praying for rain to end the drought parching 61 percent of the United States. But it sends the wrong message to distraught farmers when the Agriculture Secretary suggests that the best response is to pray.

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For the First Time, Most Would Vote for an Atheist President

July 18, 2012

Yes, hell HAS frozen over. Gallup reports that for the first time since 1958, a majority of American respondents said they would vote for a generally well-qualified atheist for president of the United States.

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Charitable Giving to Religion Declines in 2011

July 13, 2012

After years of growth in the number of Americans who don’t attend church or don’t declare a religion, it had to happen. U. S. giving to churches and religious organizations actually declined in 2011. What’s more, it has declined in three of the last four years.

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In this game of Info Survivor, print wins

June 18, 2012

One of the joys of blogging is sometimes you just get to rant. Here's one case, at least, where a very good book has lost a bit of its value because its publisher was too quick to jump on the online bandwagon.

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Population, Consumption Threaten Earth’s Future—Who’s Surprised?

June 15, 2012

If a consortium of 105 national science academies and a report by 22 scientists in the June 7 Nature are to be believed, overpopulation and unsustainable consumption may already have set humanity on course for a catastrophic future. If only we'd listened to the "popullution" alarmists back in the 1970s, when human numbers were far lower and remedial action might have been easier.

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L. Frank Baum, Freethought Firebrand?

May 16, 2012

Tomorrow (May 17) is the 112th anniversary of the publication of that subversive freethought children's book, THE WIZARD OF OZ. You didn't know it was a freethought book? Have I got a tale for you ...

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What We’ve Gained—and What We’ve Lost

May 10, 2012

If anyone didn't already know that the legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable, President Obama's dramatic announcement that he supports it should settle the matter. That makes this a good time to appreciate what those of us who favor the expansion of rights as a general principle have gained -- and what we've lost.

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Mojave Cross Case Shows Nonbelievers Are Still Second Class Citizens

April 25, 2012

The Mojave cross case has ended, and it's official: nonreligious Americans are still second class citizens!

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