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 […]
Andrew Fiala is Professor of Philosophy and director of the Ethics Center at Cal State Fresno. His published work includes Tyranny from Plato to Trump (2022), Seeking Common Ground: An Atheist/Theist Dialogue (2021, with Peter Admirand), Transformative Pacifism (2018), The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence (2017), The Bloomsbury Companion to Political Philosophy (2015), and Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues with Barbara MacKinnon (now in its 9th edition). Fiala is active in interfaith discussions, where he represents a secular/nonreligious point of view.
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 […]
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 […]
Religious liberty and critical religious education: What Justice Alito got right and wrong
Reading Time: 4 minutes Religious liberty is important, but so too is critical education about religion. I’ve spent much of my career making this point, including in a comment on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling about religious liberty. So, I was curious to read what Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggested about religious liberty when he spoke at an […]
Who or what is a person? Elephants, A.I., abortion, and personhood
Reading Time: 4 minutes The question of personhood is central to a variety of current controversies. American courts recently considered the question of whether elephants are persons. Google fired an engineer for suggesting that a machine is sentient. And the U.S. Supreme Court argued that Roe v. Wade failed to adequately consider fetal personhood. These disputes involve a conflict […]
Why the Kennedy v. Bremerton SCOTUS ruling empowers secular defenders of religious liberty
Reading Time: 3 minutes As the recent Supreme Court ruling Kennedy v. Bremerton allows football coaches to kneel with students in prayer on the fifty-yard line, it also opens the door for more teachers, coaches, and other public officials to practice their religion in public. This seems like an unhappy entanglement between religion and the state, but could secular […]
Will faith in a ‘divinely-inspired’ Constitution save us?
Reading Time: 3 minutes During a recent hearing of the House January 6 committee, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) stated that the U.S. Constitution is “divinely inspired.” She was referring to testimony from Rusty Bowers, the Speaker of Arizona’s House. In his testimony, Bowers said, “it is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired.” Bowers was […]
Trump and January 6: What’s the remedy for tyranny?
Reading Time: 3 minutes The House committee investigating Trump and January 6 reminds us that secrecy and sycophancy are common problems in tyrannical regimes. Transparence is an important remedy. Critical oversight prevents unethical behavior from festering. We must widen our circle of friendship, listen to the critics, and let in the light.
Reading Time: 6 minutes To be human is to be a work in progress. Human beings grow, change, and fail. That’s why we need compassion and forgiveness. We ought to give people a break, show some patience, and stop scolding one another. No one is perfect. This goes for other people and ourselves. But we remain strangely wedded to […]
How to fight hate? We need to cultivate indifference.
Reading Time: 7 minutes We’re often taught that love is the solution to hate. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” There is some wisdom here. But King’s vision of brotherly love is quite demanding. And love can be a dangerous emotion. Love can cause us to do unreasonable things. Indeed, […]