I find the word polyamory0 — and the myriad relationship structures it can refer to — to be gratifyingly familiar to the freethought1 community: Friday night at the CFI Leadership Conference conversations pivoted excitedly about that evening’s same-sex marriage victory. As several took turns toward other widely demonized relationship models I suppose it was inevitable that open marriages and group marriages (very different things) would come to the fore. People were curious and skeptical but supportive nonetheless. I felt validated — inasmuch as a white, middle-class, straight cis male might be able to recognize it. (At Uni I’ve sensed less offense from my religious friends at my criticism of religion than from my conventional friends at my unconventional relationships.)
International Blasphemy Rights Day is an awareness day that is celebrated by showing support for free speech issues and learning more about blasphemy laws and censorship around the world. The United States' first amendment disallows any laws that make blasphemy illegal, but there are still free speech issues that we should be fighting here in the United States, and there are certainly people around the world that are not able to speak freely, including questioning religion and religious practices.
Since first leaving my religion several years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to see debate after debate on topics of faith. The common secular argument is to default to the burden of proof. Show us your evidence of God, which we can and will refute, or stop perpetuating the idea. This is, of course, a valid way to oppose religion. But it leaves out an emotional element; it leaves out the human experience and our search for meaning. I am not a Christian not just because their claims are without evidence, but for so much more.
These two words tend to bring to mind a reminder of the fact that starvation and malnutrition are still a present day way of life for millions of people around the world. The solution seems simple, right? Donate money, acquire and distribute food, and eventually the starvation rate will go down. Surely the food will reach needy recipients, right? Right...?
Recently, an article by Hemant Mehta garnered my attention by pointing out that skepticism is something we should use to analyze more of the world. We are used to thinking of skepticism as a way to approach topics like alternative medicine, the paranormal, and fringe sciences, but how else could we be using it? On top of Mehta’s ideas, I’d like to share a few thoughts about one thing in particular.