Posted inMeaning & Purpose

The joy of walking

Reading Time: 3 minutes Walking is good for the environment. It is also good for the body and the soul.  A recent study suggests that walking may slow the aging process. But walking is not merely a tool for longevity. It is also an instrument of spiritual health. An MIT study found that walking increased markedly during the COVID-19 pandemic, often in response […]

Posted inPhilosophy

Tolerating the hypocrites: religious exemptions and the problem of belief

Reading Time: 3 minutes Americans are skeptical of religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination rules. According to a recent Pew survey, two-thirds of Americans suspect that those who claim a religious exemption are “just using religion as an excuse to avoid the vaccine.” But let’s be cautious in judging other people.  It is difficult to judge the sincerity of our own beliefs. […]

Posted inPsychology

Fighting the ‘apathy of impotence’

Reading Time: 3 minutes A friend recently suggested that apathy is a reasonable response to a world gone mad.  He called this the “apathy of impotence.” The apathy of impotence grows from the feeling that there is nothing we can do to change a world afflicted by systematic and structural problems. Rather than beating your head against the wall, it […]

Posted inSecularism

Secularism on trial: the public/private belief distinction

Reading Time: 3 minutes A lesson about secularism was revealed in Senator Lindsey Graham’s strange interrogation of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. The Senator reminded us of the importance of the distinction between private belief and public impartiality. When we say that justice is blind, we mean that public officials ought to aspire to impartiality and learn to […]

Posted inMeaning & Purpose

Changing clocks and playing with time

Reading Time: 4 minutes There have long been practical concerns about our annual clock-changing ritual. It causes sleepiness, confusion, and accidents. In response, the Senate passed the “Sunshine Protection Act” this week, a first step to making Daylight Savings Time permanent. But if the clocks move forward permanently, we might end up driving to work in the dark during […]

Posted inHistory

The Ides of March: Is Putin a tyrant?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Senator Lindsey Graham recently called for the murder of Vladimir Putin. He invoked the history of tyrannicide when he asked in a tweet, “Is there a Brutus in Russia?” Critics were outraged. But the logic is simple: If Putin is a tyrant, tyrannicide is a plausible response. To call someone a tyrant implies they are […]

Posted inGeneral

Condemning aggressive war: The secular cosmopolitan consensus

Reading Time: 3 minutes The broad international condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine provides an example of the resilience of moral principles and a source of hope. This assault prompted the world to reassert the importance of a secular cosmopolitan vision of a peaceful, law-governed world. As I have explained in a book on the topic, secular cosmopolitan values affirm […]