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Posted inHealthcare

‘Difficult patients’ and the doctors who fail them

Reading Time: 6 minutes Lonnie was in her twenties. She had a rare disease that frequently flared up. I guessed her overnight bag was always packed in a closet by the front door.

“I have a question for you,” she said. Something in her tone made my nerves stand on end. “Have you ever seen this disease before?”

“Not often, but…yes.”

Lonnie seemed to sense my hesitation. “Am I too complicated for you, Doctor?”

Posted inThe Secular

Faithless feeling: Does a lack of religion really ‘knock color out of life’?

Reading Time: 8 minutes Once upon a time, we lived in a place of magic and mystery. Everything from astrology to Zoroastrianism cast its spell over us. Then, by gradual shift or system shock, some of us stopped believing. The old stories withered. The world dried out. Everything was under glass, under the microscope, under our thumb. Now everything is known, or at least knowable. Boredom has stilled our once-shimmering world.

This story is told everywhere. And it’s false from beginning to end.

Posted inTrue Story

When absence outweighs presents: Grief and the holidays

Reading Time: 5 minutes “Nothing is something, where something is meant to be.” Nick Cave wrote those lyrics for Ghosteen, his album-length conversation with his dead son Arthur, and he was spot on. Even more, sometimes that nothing is everything. And loss alters everything, including our yearly observance of holidays. For many people, Thanksgiving and Christmas are already tough. […]

Posted inParenting & Family

Spare the rod—and spare me the rest

Reading Time: 8 minutes Even as countries from South Korea to Colombia to Pakistan join the international and scientific consensus condemning corporal punishment, several school districts and state legislatures in the US have begun advocating the return (or continuation) of the deeply-discredited practice.

It’s time to revisit the overwhelming evidence against corporal punishment—and the roots of its persistent appeal.

Posted inTrue Story

How the pandemic took the toxic out of my Turkey Day

Reading Time: 5 minutes I first noticed the changed on Thanksgiving 2020. It was the height of the pandemic, so instead of the annual (heh) pilgrimage to my extended family’s Thanksgiving, I was at home with just my son and husband. So there had been no awkward endurance of my family saying a long performative grace over the meal.

That wasn’t the only thing missing. And like boneless chicken wings, what was missing somehow made what was left behind even better.

Posted inTrue Story

Supporting the people of Ukraine, one pizza at a time

Reading Time: 7 minutes The team drives through the decimated streets of Kharkiv, intent on their mission. Their armored car passes rubble from the pock-marked buildings, shattered by the nightly shelling. They are wearing bulletproof vests, as always. Without warning, shells fall from the sky, exploding all around their vehicle. Amazingly, the crew gets through intact. Is this a […]

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.

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