On ‘Hell’ and ‘Evil’ — and the Uselessness of Both Concepts

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 7, 2013

There is no stronger theme in story-telling than the struggle between good and evil. And there are few better ways to drive home a point than to invoke hell as a benchmark. Think, for example, of the power behind Huckleberry Finn’s words when he said, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell.” Mark Twain may have been an atheist, but he was a writer first. All things devil-related make exceptional literary, cinematic and poetic devices. But out here in the real world? Oh, hell no. When I was a news reporter, I covered hundreds of court […] Read more – ‘On ‘Hell’ and ‘Evil’ — and the Uselessness of Both Concepts’.

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A Few Changes Around Here

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 4, 2013

I am writing this from my sister’s car, so this will be brief. I just wanted to flag everyone to a few changes to the site. Mostly they revolve around improved search capabilities. To the left of the blog, you’ll find posts broken down by category and by religion. Also, on the Blog Library page, you’ll find a full list of posts  broken down by month. Hopefully this will allow you to access past posts more quickly and efficiently. But if anyone runs into issues, or has suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to speak […] Read more – ‘A Few Changes Around Here’.

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What’s Wrong with a Nativity Scene Made out of Dead Cats?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 31, 2013

When my mom was in college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, she had a sorority sister who interned for the local newspaper. One day, the intern was rummaging through the morgue (which, in pre-Internet days, is where they kept old  clips) when she found a file labeled “Funny Brides.” The file was pretty self-explanatory; it was filled with stories about tasteless weddings and photographs of homely, unseemly or otherwise humorous-to-look-at brides and their grooms. Of course, she wasn’t about to keep this find to herself, so she brought the file back to the […] Read more – ‘What’s Wrong with a Nativity Scene Made out of Dead Cats?’.

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This Blog Has Been Flagged as Inappropriate

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 28, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, a Texas mother named Deborah Mitchell wrote a guest blog for CNN’s iReport that quickly became one of the citizen-journalism site’s most widely read pieces. The blog received more than 750,000 page views, 9,000 comments and 64,000 Facebook recommendations. And as a testament to its controversial nature, the entire essay was flagged as “inappropriate.” Well, you know, I like to stay on top of current events, so I decided to check out the story that was causing all this grief and strife over at CNN. I clicked on over and, well, […] Read more – ‘This Blog Has Been Flagged as Inappropriate’.

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A Newer (And More Laid Back) Brand of Atheism

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 24, 2013

Religiously speaking, this is an unusual time in our history. Secularism is clearly on the rise, and yet religion maintain a stronghold over our society and politics. That science has boldly answered so many “mysteries of the universe” has not stopped supernatural beliefs from influencing how most Americans think and live. Every day I read headlines about how God is on the way out; every day I read headlines about how God is on the way up. For us nonbelievers, it’s hard to know where we stand, where the country stands — and what the future […] Read more – ‘A Newer (And More Laid Back) Brand of Atheism’.

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The Game-Changer: ‘I Have a Dream’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 21, 2013

I saw Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” for the first time earlier this month. I’d seen and read bits and pieces of it before, but watching it in its entirety was something quite different. I had always thought of King as a courageous man, but the Dream speech, given during the March on Washington August 28, 1963, reminded me of his extraordinary confidence and grace, as well. It was his unshakable confidence that struck me the most. The way he spoke to all those supporters lining the National Mall, it was […] Read more – ‘The Game-Changer: ‘I Have a Dream’’.

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3 Must-Reads for Secular Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 14, 2013

The last month has produced an incredible little selection of articles relating to secular parenting, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them. The pieces are, in turn, educational, insightful, funny and heartwarming. And all of them are written by women — which seems significant because the secular community is, we are told, still dominated by menfolk. [To read the articles, just click on the titles below.] 1. Why My 7-Year-old is an Atheist (And Why I’m Okay With That) by Carolyn Castiglia Castiglia, a comedian, writes about her daughter’s “conversion” to atheism, despite […] Read more – ‘3 Must-Reads for Secular Parents’.

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An Interview with the Guy Who Named the ‘Nones’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 10, 2013

There was a time, in the extremely recent past, when Americans with no religion were “the others.” For decades, religious affiliation has fascinated researchers. Countless studies and surveys show document a painstaking analysis of each minor population shift. A switch from, say, Methodist to Baptist or Catholic to Protestant has been marked with great interest, year by year. Sure, the numbers of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists have remained relatively small next to Christians — but they, too, have been counted. Their numbers seemed to matter. Always absent from these studies and surveys was a specific […] Read more – ‘An Interview with the Guy Who Named the ‘Nones’’.

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Quick! What the Hell is Epiphany?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 7, 2013

OK, y’all, I have to apologize. First, I’ve been traveling without my laptop for the last week and haven’t been able to update. Second, I’ve been really busy finishing up my book (!!) which has pushed the blog to the back burner lately. Case in point: My somewhat ill-thought-out previous blog post. Hopefully most of you got the gist of what I was trying to say, but if you didn’t, you can be sure you weren’t alone. That said, today is a new day, a new week and a new year! And there’s been a new […] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Epiphany?’.

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Learning to Ignore Religious Reactions to School Shootings

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 20, 2012

I’m on the freeway, heading back home from a doctor’s appointment, and feeling morose. For the last five minutes, I’ve been contemplating the Connecticut shootings, just as I have done about a billion other times since last Friday. Right now, I’m thinking: Life is unfathomably cruel. The human experience is an experiment in limitless love and staggering loss. To be blessed by one is to be cursed by the other. It’s not fair — it’s not anything, really. It just is. And it feels terrible. These thoughts are not helping my mood. I take a deep […] Read more – ‘Learning to Ignore Religious Reactions to School Shootings’.

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Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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