Critics of religion enjoy pointing out how many wars and how much suffering has been caused in the name of religion. But only science has given us the tools to kill each other in ways never before imagined.
If we are to be an exceptional people, it must be because we are an accepting people -- a people with the humility to include our own normalcy in our identity, and to stand up anyway in the midst of difficulties and do what's right.
Americans need a religious teaching that begins with the premise that sexuality is linked to blessing, commandment and God; that focuses on holiness and self-respect; and that sends the message that each of them is a person of irreducible worth.
Some Americans may hesitate to contribute to flood relief because we associate Pakistan with qualities we don't admire. How can we distance ourselves from the qualities we don't like while offering solidarity to the people of Pakistan?
I caught up with Stephen Prothero, author of God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World -- And Why Their Differences Matter, to chat with him about religious zealotry, atheists, and Islamic pride.
Both good and bad consequences of "faith" are the direct product of an agreement we make with each other, that it's okay to believe things on paltry evidence, the kind that would never stand up in court.