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Posted inArt

Secular freedom, compassion, and controversial spiritual symbols

Reading Time: 4 minutes A recent controversy over Islamic art raises the question of how we ought to deal with art and images in a world of deep diversity. At Hamline University in Minnesota, Erika López Prater lost her job teaching art history because she showed students artistic representations of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. A Muslim student took offense. The University’s […]

Posted inCritical thinking

Civility and the heckler’s veto: Why yelling is a waste of breath

Reading Time: 4 minutes Civility may seem like a quaint throwback in our current political era. But it is an essential value for those who esteem rationality and nonviolence. Incivility lies on a violent continuum that includes bullying, harassment, and the heckler’s veto. Civility is one of the peaceful virtues, connected with hospitality, generosity, and a spirit of open […]

Posted inThe Future

Could the rise of the nonreligious defuse the population bomb?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Fifty-four years ago, in 1968, American biologist Paul Ehrlich warned that a human “population bomb” threatened global catastrophe. The world’s population at the time was 3.54 billion.

On November 15, 2022, the UN estimate of Earth’s human population flew past eight billion.

Religious beliefs and practices are a major part of the problem. Increasing secularism can only help.

Posted inWar and Peace

War crimes in Ukraine: pacifists should support war crimes tribunals

Reading Time: 4 minutes A United Nations commission investigating the Ukraine-Russian War issued a report this week concluding that Russian forces have committed the “vast majority” of war crimes in the conflict. But it also found two cases in which Ukrainian forces committed war crimes. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine counts as the first criminal act. And then there were […]

Posted inEthics and Morality

Secular vegetarianism and the Montreal Declaration on animal exploitation

Reading Time: 4 minutes I signed the Montreal Declaration on Animal Exploitation, along with nearly 500 other philosophers. The signatories include such notables as Peter Singer, the Princeton philosopher well known for his work on “animal liberation.” Secular thinkers should embrace this Declaration and the idea of secular vegetarianism. The Montreal Declaration condemns animal exploitation that inflicts “unnecessary violence […]

Posted inReligion

The evolution of religion and the rise of the nones

Reading Time: 4 minutes The decline of Christianity in the United States does not mean that “religion” is dead or dying. News of the death of religion may excite humanists, but it is unlikely to go extinct. Religion is an adaptable social phenomenon. Religious beliefs and behaviors have always evolved. In a free country, this evolution will continue. Secularism […]

Posted inPolitics

Resisting the new F-word

Reading Time: 4 minutes There is a South Park episode in which the kids use an “f-word” to mock a bunch of obnoxious bikers. The word is obviously offensive, which is why the kids use it. A violent struggle erupts. In the end, the bikers embrace the epithet and admit that they are f@gs. But at that point, the […]

Posted inPhilosophy

Forgiveness as a secular value: What can we learn from the debate about student loans?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Resentment and anger fuel much of our public discourse. There is not much room for values like compassion and forgiveness. So, President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan comes as a surprise. To some, it is even an insult. Senator Mitch McConnel said “Democrats’ student loan socialism is a slap in the face to working Americans who […]

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