My Blog’s New Motto

Today marks my 250th blog post. Throughout these 250 posts, I have branched out to a lot of different topics, from reviewing books to exposing pseudoscience to debunking creationism to explaining how the atheist community can better practice their values. I know that there is some common theme that ties these topics all together (beyond the fact that it’s what I feel like talking about), but I have a hard time finding a way to sum it all up.

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30 Profound Quotes from Sasha Sagan’s For Small Creatures Such as We

Two weeks ago, I posted my review of Sasha Sagan’s beautiful memoir/humanist manifesto/love letter to the Cosmos For Small Creatures Such as We. I ranked it as one of my new all-time favorite books, and I recommended it as highly as I could, but still I feel that I can’t really put into words just how beautifully moving this book is. Only the book itself can do that. Hopefully my favorite quotes will give you a taste of what this book is really like!

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On Being a Humanist

For most of the time I’ve spent as an atheist, I’ve also identified as a secular humanist. However, the label of “humanist” has spent most of that time in the backseat. Even though I was a humanist, I preferred to use descriptors like “skeptic” or “curious atheist”. While I am still all of these, I’m beginning to really embrace my identity as a humanist for the first time.

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Book Review: For Small Creatures Such as We by Sasha Sagan

If you’ve read Cosmos by Sasha’s father, and you’re wondering what the universe’s immensity and grandeur mean for humanity, then you will love this book. The title comes from a quote (from Carl’s novel Contact) written by Ann Druyan, Sasha’s mother and Carl’s wife. The quote says in its entirety, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” Cosmos explores the vastness. Sasha’s book explores the rest: how we, the small creatures, can use love to make it bearable. The subtitle, Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World, gives us a hint on how to do that.

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The Dawkins Problem

One could argue the atheist community has an unspoken rule to respect the esteemed biologist and controversial atheist Richard Dawkins. People have several reasons to respect the man: he has advocated for atheism, he has communicated the science of evolution to the masses, he has written many beloved books; hell, the man invented the word “meme”. For many of us, there has been a lot to like about Dawkins. But a line must be drawn somewhere. Just because someone has done good things at their best, does that mean we can ignore the hurtful things they say and do at their worst?

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30 Books Every Atheist Should Read

I identify as both an atheist and a bookworm. Over time, both of these identities have become so intertwined with each other that I can barely talk about one without bringing up the other. My favorite way to learn about this big, free, natural world is through reading, and in turn, most of my favorite books are about just that. So after years pursuing an atheistic, scientific, curiosity-fueled book collection that I prize and cherish, I’d like to hope that I’m qualified to give a few recommendations that budding—or lifelong—atheists would do well to read.

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What is Unitarian Universalist Humanism?

When I was a junior at Grove City College, I took a class on intercultural communication. One of our class assignments was to visit a church service outside of our own denomination, or better yet, outside of our own religion. While I tagged along to a Catholic church service with my roommate, one of my classmates visited a Unitarian Universalist Humanist church. You better believe that everyone in the class thought that was one of the weirdest churches anyone had visited.

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What I Believe as an Atheist

When someone finds out that a loved one is an atheist, they tend to have a lot of questions. One question I was asked when coming out was “If you don’t believe in God, then what do you believe?” I was confused by the question at the time. What do you mean, what do I believe? I thought. About what? Morality? Science? The cosmos? Music? Pineapple on pizza? After thinking about it further, I think that “So, what do you believe?” is a pretty good question to ask an atheist, since all you can assume to know about an atheist is that there’s one thing they certainly don’t believe in, and that’s a god or gods. Everything else is up in the air. Read more