Voting and the Trolley Problem
Elections are like the trolley problem—and voting is like pulling the lever. If you’re not familiar with the trolley problem, it’s a philosophical thought experiment about ethical dilemmas. A trolley car has lost its brakes and is hurtling down a track where five people are stuck. You can pull a lever and divert the trolley …
Rationality and Nuance
How much nuance is too much? The answer is not a given; it’s up to us where to draw the lines.
When we replace nuance and context with absolutism, we turn ideas into dogma.
If we’re going to fight the rise of hard Right bigotry in the United States and around the world, we need to be willing to get uncomfortable.
What If We’re Wrong?
I’m not asking this question in a general skeptical sense. I’m not asking what we do when we suspect that we’re wrong, how we examine whether we’re wrong, or how we know when we’re wrong. I’m asking a very specific question.
We Need To Say ‘No!’
“A hard-Right ideology ramps up gradually—and so does tolerance to it.”
This Is Not a Drill
“We are looking at the very real possibility—even the likelihood—of the rise of fascism in the United States.”
Rituals and Traditions
Ritual and tradition: Are they supporting ribs for our lives, or more like prison bars? Sometimes the answer is unclear.
What Does Atheism Mean?
“When you say the definition of atheism should be what it’s always been, you’re saying the old guard gets to define the language forever.”
How Selfish Is It Okay to Be?
“As humanists and rationalists, how do we decide the difference between selfishness and self-preservation?”
A Response to an Almost Good but Limited and Very Troubling Argument against Trigger Warnings
Greta Christina responds to Kristine Harley’s critique of her column “Trigger Warning.”
The case for “trigger warnings” and similar content notes.
Skepticism and Emotional Responses to Terrible Ideas
Having an open mind doesn’t—and mustn’t—mean willingness to engage in dispassionate debate over reprehensible ideas.
Getting Atheists to Talk about Death
Getting atheists to talk about death is hard—but vitally important for the movement.
Is It Ethical to Conceal Your Atheism?
On further consideration, there are still specific situations where it is ethical to conceal your atheism.
The Problem of Nuance in a Wonderful and Terrible World
A life with absolute certainty is no life at all.
What Would Happen If We All Came Out?
If every one of us who can do it comes out about our atheism to one person who doesn’t already know, it could change the world.
Why Social Justice Is Essential for Atheism
The number one thing I want to say today is this: social justice issues are atheist stuff.
Can We Rationally Accept Our Irrationality?
Here’s the conundrum: on the one hand, as rationalists, we’re striving to be rational to the best of our ability. On the other hand, as rationalists, we’re striving to accept reality to the best of our ability. And the reality is that our brains are not rational.
Why We Need to Keep Fighting
If we don’t speak up, the status quo wins. Yes, this fight can be painful. When we battle against deeply entrenched beliefs that people are emotionally attached to and are entangled with social and political and economic structures on every level, it can be difficult—more than difficult. We ask people to give up ideas that …
What Does Religion Provide?
This is a question a lot of atheists and humanists have been asking themselves: What does religion provide to people? What do people get out of it? Why do they like it? Why do they stay with it even when they don’t like it? And how can atheists and humanists provide some or all of …
Atheism and Sensuality
Let’s talk about a pleasant topic for once. The most pleasant topic of all, in fact. Let’s talk about pleasure. The atheist view of sensuality, of pure physical pleasure and joy in our bodies, is about eleven billion times better than any traditional religious view.Our view—or rather, our views—of physical pleasure are more coherent, more …
Infighting or Healthy Debate?
In the skeptical and atheist communities, we often wring our hands over how much infighting goes on. Every time another firestorm of controversy consumes the Internet, many of us become alarmed at the rifts dividing our community: weakening us, burning us out, making it harder for us to work together on issues that we have …
Do We Concede the Ground of Death Too Easily?
“Sure, atheism may have better arguments and evidence. But religion is always to going to win on the death question. A secular philosophy of death will never comfort people the way a religious one does.” I’ve heard this idea more times than I can count. And here’s the weird thing—I hear it not just from …
Why Atheism Demands Social Justice
I’m going to go out on a limb here: being an atheist demands that we work for social justice. A lot of atheists will argue with this. They’ll say that atheism means one thing and one thing only: the lack of belief in any god. And in the most literal sense, they’re right. It’s different …