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Chris Stedman

Entries by Chris Stedman

Why Would Atheists in the Military Want Their Own Chaplains?

(353) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 5:37 PM

The debate over humanist chaplains in the military has been heating up recently, with critics suggesting that atheist chaplains would tell people "that they should end their lives because there's nothing in the future."

Last week, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins offered several...

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A Queer Atheist in the Heart of Mormon Country

(212) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 4:30 PM

This piece originally appeared on Religion Dispatches.

Last weekend a group of around 400 Mormons marched in the Utah Pride Parade. Calling themselves "Mormons Building Bridges," they were met with enthusiastic applause. Carrying signs with messages like "Love 1 Another" and "LDS heart LGBT," they were...

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Reflect Atheists in a More Positive Light

(720) Comments | Posted May 30, 2013 | 2:10 PM

Last week atheists were all over the news and social media. But in a world that frequently focuses on conflict, it seemed like we were hearing a different -- and to many, surprising -- story about atheists.

Last Tuesday, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed Rebecca Vitsmun, asking her if she...

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Including LGBTQ Voices in Interfaith Work

(13) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 2:22 PM

As an atheist and interfaith activist, much of my work focuses on advocating for the inclusion of nonreligious voices in interfaith dialogue. But a related -- and, for me, equally urgent -- push for inclusion can be found in efforts to welcome LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people...

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Years Later, Secular Student Group Recognized On A Religious Campus: Here's How It Happened

(23) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 12:37 PM

This piece was co-authored with Andreas Rekdal, who works for the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He graduated from Concordia College in December 2012 with a B.A. in political science and philosophy, where he was a founding member of Concordia's Secular Student Community.

In my...

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6 Tips for Christians on Talking to Non-Christians

(932) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 4:02 PM

This piece originally appeared on Q Ideas.

"Wait, you're a Christian? Uh ... nevermind."

Sound familiar? I regularly hear from Christians that one of the biggest barriers they encounter in trying to reach out to non-Christians is that they're frequently written off. As a result, many Christians --...

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The Pastor That Saved My Life

(585) Comments | Posted February 3, 2013 | 11:16 PM

This piece was adapted from Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious (Beacon Press, 2012).

"I'm... gay... and I don't know why God won't answer my prayers."

That was the opening line of a journal I kept during my adolescence, the contents of which detailed...

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A Tale of Two New Humanist Service Initiatives

(1) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 10:11 AM

A little more than a year ago, the two of us walked along a beautiful California beach. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and all around us people laughed and frolicked, enjoying the sun and surf. We, too, were enjoying the day, but we weren't there just to take in the...

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Tolerance Begins at Home

(16) Comments | Posted January 9, 2013 | 1:11 PM

This piece was originally published by Thought Catalog.

"It's kind of hip to be a gay atheist when you work at Harvard," my mom joked when I agreed to give a speech in Mobile, Ala., two years ago. "Not so much most everywhere else."

Then she added, with...

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In Wake of Newtown Shooting, Why Blame Atheists?

(351) Comments | Posted December 28, 2012 | 12:47 PM

This piece originally appeared on MSNBC.

I admire the people of all faiths and beliefs who have come together to honor the lives lost in the incomprehensible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary earlier this month. They provide support to those who are in mourning, and strive for a...

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Sympathy for the Devil

(59) Comments | Posted December 22, 2012 | 6:19 PM

This piece originally appeared on The Rumpus.

It was Valentine's Day. But instead of "You're a great friend," or "I love you son," or "To thank you for being the man I've been waiting for all my life I got you an extra-large pizza and a Halloween-sized bag...

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It's Time to Get to Know the 'Nones'

(92) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 10:44 AM

Last year, the president of the largest atheist organization in the United States spoke to a group of students organized for the 2011 Secular Student Alliance leadership conference. A focal point of his talk on the future of atheism was the idea of a "sleeping giant," or what...

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Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril

(1) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 4:36 PM

This post originally appeared on Religion Dispatches. For two insightful responses (one voicing agreement and one voicing some disagreement), check out these pieces by Hemant Mehta and Ed Brayton.

When I first heard that a white supremacist opened fire on a Sikh gurdwara in...

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Finding Common Ground With 'Sacred Ground'

(8) Comments | Posted August 15, 2012 | 5:42 PM

On my last day of work at Interfaith Youth Core, I had lunch with its founder, Eboo Patel. As we ate I told him that, inspired by his book "Acts of Faith," I was going to write a book of my own about atheism and interfaith...

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How a Muslim Introduced Me to Humanism

(106) Comments | Posted June 22, 2012 | 3:47 PM

"What's a 'Humanist'?"

As a Humanist activist, it's a question I hear a lot. I'm not comfortable with the idea of trying to answer it on behalf of all Humanists, so I usually respond to the question by sharing the story of how I came to identify as a Humanist....

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Sam Harris, Will You Visit A Mosque With Me?

(218) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 5:14 PM

Sam Harris--I know you're a busy man, but I'd like to ask you out. Will you go to mosque with me?

I'm not trying to convert you to Islam. Like you, I'm not a Muslim. Like you, I don't believe in any gods. I'm happily, openly atheist. A...

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Why This Atheist Still Needs His Former Pastor

(116) Comments | Posted March 1, 2012 | 2:48 PM

It felt good to pick my own pastor.

He was young--so much so that nearly everyone called him "Pastor Doogie" --gracious, eloquent and kind, with a biting sense of humor that showed he didn't take anything too seriously (besides the love of God). After meeting and working with him on...

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The Problem With 'Atheist Activism'

(993) Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 3:20 PM

Earlier this year, a friend sent me a message on Facebook that said, simply: "You might want to watch yesterday's episode of The Daily Show."

In the episode, host Jon Stewart did a segment on a lawsuit by American Atheists, the most visible atheist organization in...

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John Grant Opens Up About Late Success and Growing Up Gay Amid Religious Conservatives

(1) Comments | Posted November 29, 2011 | 1:58 PM

2011-11-29-IMG_3427.jpgJohn Grant may be responsible for one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the last decade, but when I spoke with him two days before Thanksgiving, he informed me that he'd be spending the entire next day in the back seat of...

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Why Harvard's Humanist Chaplaincy is Announcing Two Atheist-Led Initiatives at Park51 Islamic Center

(3) Comments | Posted November 14, 2011 | 7:08 AM

This piece was coauthored by Chris Stedman and Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard.

With Republican debates dominating the political conversation in recent weeks, the most circulated religion-related stories have pitted the "Godly" against the "Godless." As part of a motion that passed 396-9 in favor of...

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