The performance in question has Dawkins stumbling, uncharacteristically, when pressed to give the full title to Darwin's major treatise "On the Origin of Species." Dawkins declared that he'd been "ambushed" by the question.
In an era when dominant world views have given way to individual choice, the shoulds and oughts traditionally associated with religion hold less influence. Many wonder why we hold on to ancient beliefs at all.
The ease with which the ancient world accepted violence and suffering was a natural outgrowth of the pagan understanding of the human person. But Christianity pronounced a message as radical as it was attractive.
It should be fairly evident that secularism is not simply the absence of religion. Rather, it is an active tradition its own articulations of the problems facing society, and its own solutions for making the world a better place.
It's a big challenge being a spiritual teacher in a secular culture. Authentic holders of timeless spiritual truths are often thought to be hucksters and con artists because they boldly dare to bear witness to the unseen.
This revolution holds great promise for Egypt. Its massed supporters are unified in a simple, passionate cause, but the blocs of power in Egypt will not easily concur on what is to be done to end corruption.
As history plays out so dramatically in the Middle East, it is time to replace such simplistic views of Muslim-majority societies with a much more complicated story about religion and politics in Egypt.
This year's holiday season has seen a notable influx in secular and atheist billboards and bus banners sarcastically challenging the veracity of the Christmas story. One in New Jersey reads: "You KNOW it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason."
Compared to the European writers discovering the great mosques of Islam for the first time, the mention of mosques is more muted and void of romance to the Muslim secularists inured to them from birth.