End of a Golden Era
I first discovered that church-state jurisprudence existed—and that it could enhance my life—at age seven. On June 17, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its 8–1 verdict in the combined cases Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett. Both concerned state-sponsored Bible reading in public schools; the High Court thundered that this practice violated separation …
The Signature of Freedom
The cover article of Free Inquiry’s previous issue (“By My Own Hand: Suicide Can Be a Wise and Gentle Choice,” by Lowrey R. Brown) was expected to generate more controversy than it did. Consider the timing: Though the decision to publish Brown’s essay in the August/September 2018 issue was made months in advance, “By My …
Harlan and Me
One cold spring day in 2005, I was alone in the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, setting up the exhibits for the museum’s twelfth anniversary season. The fax machine (the museum’s only phone) rang. Mind you, nobody calls me when I’m off in the Finger Lakes region doing museum setup unless it’s an office emergency. …
Time Is Irreverent, by Marty Essen
Time Is Irreverent, by Marty Essen (Victor, Montana: Encante Press, 2018, ISBN 978-0-9778599-4-8) 238 pp., Softcover, $14.99. Time Is Irreverent is not really a science-fiction novel. It’s a novel that takes familiar science-fiction tropes and bangs them together like that mechanical monkey in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. From the clatter somehow emerges …
Organized Secularism in the United States: New Directions in Research, Edited by Ryan T. Cragun, Christel Manning, and Lori L. Fazzino
Organized Secularism in the United States: New Directions in Research, edited by Ryan T. Cragun, Christel Manning, and Lori L. Fazzino (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-045742-1) 321 pp., Hardcover, $114.99. In November 2014, Pitzer College, home of prominent secularism researcher Phil Zuckerman, hosted the third international conference of the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network …
Does Opportunity Knock?
A few issues back, I proposed a possible longer-term goal for the secular humanist/atheist/freethought movement (“A Modest Proposal: Get Religion Out of the Charity Business,” FI, December 2017/January 2018). I admitted that seeking to end religion’s role in providing social services was a long shot, perhaps “unattainable.” In this op-ed, I’d like to propose a more …
Appreciating the Unknown Ingersoll
Ingersoll was a brilliant man and a rousing orator, but he wasn’t always ahead of his time.
‘Radically’ Redesigned: Re-Experience the Freethought Trail
The Council’s Freethought Trail has a new look and new features.
Freethought’s History Mustn’t Be Forgotten
Radical-reform history is obscure largely because religious conservatives want it that way.
The best path forward for humankind involves consigning as much of our religious heritage as possible to history’s proverbial dustbin.
Tale of the Trail
This year is the silver anniversary of the re-opening of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum by what is now known as the Council for Secular Humanism. (The birthplace of nineteenth-century agnostic orator Robert Green Ingersoll had been restored and opened as a museum twice before—in the 1920s and the 1950s—each time closing after a …
A Trail for the Heartland
New York State has no monopoly on radical reform history.
An Unexpected Milestone
It’s the Ingersoll Museum’s silver anniversary. Celebration will ensue.
The Mything Person Department
Was there a historical Jesus of Nazareth? Or is he best understood as, pardon the expression, a mything person?
A Short but Essential Read on Secularism
Numerous books offer an introduction to humanism. Many more acquaint the reader with naturalism. There’s an absolute torrent of “primers” on atheism. But secularism?
Community Life or Disbelief?
As a rule, Free Inquiry does not review books that are self-published or issued by subsidy or vanity presses. An exception is made for A Reluctant Agnostic because of the work’s unique character.
The Corruption of Philosophy?
The John Templeton Foundation spends lavishly—and sometimes questionably—in order to oppose naturalism in philosophy.
A balanced approach toward the problems we face will demand the best of science and philosophy.
Eighteen Templeton Foundation Grants
What does the Templeton Foundation spend its money on? Here are eighteen examples.
If philosophical naturalism is as important as secular humanists think it is, we need to be ready to rise to its defense.
A Modest Proposal: Get Religion Out of the Charity Sector
Do church-run charities still have a place in a more secular future? If not, what about humanist charities?
September 30 marks International Blasphemy Rights Day (IBRD), which the Center for Inquiry has observed since its beginning.1 IBRD celebrates the right of authors, artists, and dissidents to treat religious matters as they see fit, even to the point of offending believers.
In the preceding issue, Part 11 of this three-part symposium in print took a think-tank approach, emphasizing naturalism’s implications for education and public policy. In Part 2, we turn in a more critical direction.
All Things Bold and Blasphemous
Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day (IBRD)! Secular humanists and other free-speech stalwarts celebrate IBRD each September 30. For more on the observance, see my Introduction to this issue’s cover feature, “Art, Blasphemy, and Humanism”.
Who cares about philosophy, anyway? You must, because you have one.
“Yuval Noah Harari … has presented an extreme and factually untethered critique of humanism.”
A Powerful Account of Leaving Faith
Review of Star Map: A Journey of Faith, Doubt, and Meaning, by Lewis Vaughn
Leaving Religion—for ‘Religion’
Review of Why I Left / Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son, by Tony Campolo and Bart Campolo.
Another Step Forward for Freethought Literature
Review of: Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation
Introduction: From an Unlikely Quarter, a New View of the Is-Ought Problem
“The subjective sense of mattering may be the reality toward which all those sterile controversies about an objective meaning in life were ointing all along.”
For Seculars, Challenges Ahead
“Trump has been the ‘box of chocolates’ president-elect: you never know what you’re going to get.”
The Nones Become Many More
“Why did the majority of respondents who ‘just stopped believing’ do so?”
A Response to Stephen LeDrew
The editor responds to an author’s criticisms.
The Great Agnostic Would Be Proud
The memory of Robert Green Ingersoll is being preserved on many fronts.
“… Free Inquiry presents a large-scale reappraisal of humanism’s outsized role in social-justice activism throughout he twentieth century.”
What Doesn’t Atheism Mean?
Why should the kind of atheist one is incline anyone to adopt a specific, rather narrow set of values?
Maybe It’s the Cabin Pressure
Why what the pope says in airplanes may not matter—and why our efforts to stem climate disaster may not either.
Religious History without a Prayer
“Beneath Jacoby’s gaze, each conversion proves exp licable without treating the ‘spiritual’ matters—often thought central to any conversion experience—as in any way causally significant.”
A New Perspective on Roe v. Wade
“With measured tones and expert scholarship, Mary Ziegler demonstrates that almost everything most of us think we know about Roe and its consequences is incorrect.”
Social scientists don’t use the word secular like we do—just one of the revelations in this far-ranging cover feature.