What postmodernism gets right

Bashing postmodernism is popular. But maybe it’s not all bad. I have a theory about theories: Most beliefs, whether philosophical, political, religious, or otherwise, make at least some valid points. But most also take their good ideas too far. Postmodernism is skeptical of all grand narratives, which they say typically serve the interests of theContinue reading “What postmodernism gets right”

Stoicism & the problem of Nature

Ancient Stoic beliefs about Nature face challenges in the modern era. Stoicism is experiencing a renaissance after fading away with the fall of the Roman Empire. But modern Stoicism departs from its ancient ancestor in important ways. Modern Stoicism is effectively agnostic. That is, some modern Stoics believe in God while others are atheists. ContraryContinue reading “Stoicism & the problem of Nature”

Is faith essential – even if you don’t believe in the supernatural?

Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind covers an enormous range of topics in 400 plus pages. But one (of many) ideas that got me thinking is his claim that we all believe in things that aren’t objectively real. Money is a cultural myth. Take money. Why do we think a green piece of paperContinue reading “Is faith essential – even if you don’t believe in the supernatural?”

We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.

Us vs. them is human nature. Human rights, equality & democracy are the answers. – Us versus them is one of the most common themes in politics, history, sports, business, music – in human nature in general. But people also can be amazingly generous, compassionate, and cooperative. In the 1970s E.O. Wilson proposed sociobiology to explain this contradiction.Continue reading “We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.”

When Is It Okay to Criticize Religion?

A person’s religion is a huge part of their identity, so criticism of religion is often taken as a personal attack. Progressives claim it’s racist to criticize Islam, conservatives say liberals unfairly single out Christianity, and atheists criticize every religion (even Buddhism). Some people say we shouldn’t criticize religion. Yet, religious beliefs have an enormous impact onContinue reading “When Is It Okay to Criticize Religion?”

So Now Prayer Shaming Is a Thing

There’s a never ending list of things people are shamed for, which leads me to believe that we all need to lighten up a bit. It’s no big deal if someone does something that I personally wouldn’t do, if someone dresses in a way I wouldn’t dress, or if someone has opinions I disagree with. Unless they try toContinue reading “So Now Prayer Shaming Is a Thing”

Why Religion Evolved

Everybody’s looking for something.  I think the Eurhythmics sang that.  People look for the love of their lives, devote themselves to religion, become activists for a political ideology, and are spiritual seekers because they’re looking for something. But what is this something?  No one can quite put their finger on it. Some people even thinkContinue reading “Why Religion Evolved”

To Be or Not Be Catholic, and Atheist

The stonework of the vast interior, made to seem even larger by the emptiness of the high, rounded ceiling, creates a cavernous feeling. But the darkness of the stone is interrupted by colorful, translucent light, creating a sense of jeweled infinity beyond the opaque and impenetrable rock. It serves as a visual metaphor of ourContinue reading “To Be or Not Be Catholic, and Atheist”

Identity and Setting Boundaries

There are few things that can send people through the roof more than a perceived attack on their identity. I’ve long observed that my atheism can upset Christians who take my disbelief personally. Recently, George Takei (Lt. Sulu from the original Star Trek) ruffled feathers when he referred to African-American (and arch-conservative) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asContinue reading “Identity and Setting Boundaries”

A More Religiously Diverse United States

Pew Research’s projections for 2050 see greater religious diversity in the United States. They anticipate Christians falling from 78.3% of the US population to 66.4%, though due to population growth the total number of American Christians will be larger in 2050. By mid-century Muslim Americans will increase from 0.9% to 2.1% of the population, and globally Muslims will grow fasterContinue reading “A More Religiously Diverse United States”