Eternal Oblivion? So What?

Who’s afraid of oblivion? My latest piece for Psychology Today provides a humanist viewpoint on death and the afterlife (or the lack thereof). Full story here.

New event: Providence, Rhode Island, January 9

I will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on Monday night, January 9, at an event sponsored by the Humanists Of Rhode Island, speaking on the topic of “Humanism in Trump’s America.” The event takes place at the Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope Street, with a start time of 7 p.m. More details here. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello!


Open Humanist Poised to Win Congressional Seat

In a high-profile Maryland congressional primary on Tuesday, an open humanist prevailed over a crowded field. State Sen. Jamie Raskin, a member of the American Humanist Association and recipient of the organization’s 2008 Humanist Distringuished Service Award, beat out competitors who included Kathleen Matthews, the wife of television host Chris Matthews, and David Trone, a wealthy businessman who spent a recordbreaking $12 million in an unsuccessful campaign.

Raskin gained some fame a few years back when, hearing a colleague say she opposed same-sex marriage because it conflicted with the Bible, he replied, “When you took your oath of office you placed your hand on a Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.” A law professor at American University, Raskin is a solid progressive whose career as a state legislator has included strong opposition to the death penalty, support for same-sex marriage, and other progressive stances.

Since the district is heavily Democratic, Raskin is expected to win the seat in the general election in November. If elected, Raskin would be the first openly nontheistic humanist to win an open congressional seat. Congressman Pete Stark of California came out publicly as an atheist in 2007, but at that time he had already been in Congress for over three decades.

One more noteworthy item about Raskin is his good taste in reading material. Commenting on Fighting Back the Right, this is what he said: “This book is a powerful call for government of, by and for the people in the 21st century – not gods and not private corporations, whether religious or secular. Stirring!”

Humanism and the ‘Political Revolution’

My latest Psychology Today article considers the role of humanism in the context of a “political revolution” made so popular by Bernie Sanders. Such a revolution requires the support of strong social movements and activist organizations, but the traditional sources of such support, such as unions and liberal religious groups, are relatively weak nowadays. Does this leave humanism with a role to play here?  Full article here.


Understanding Humanist Egalitarianism

Patheos, a religion-oriented web site that provides a forum for all religious views (including the nonreligious/humanist viewpoint) asked me to write a piece about the humanist position on wealth disparity and materialism. I was glad to do it, as these are important issues that often get overlooked nowadays, and it provides an opportunity to explain the naturalistic and pragmatic grounds for humanist egalitarian views . The piece is here.