Why it is the Non-religious Who Can, and Must, Save the World

(The text of my talk at the Cleveland Sunday Assembly held two days ago.)

I must say that when I got up this morning and got ready to come here, I felt a strong sense of déjà vu. When I was a young man I was ordained as a lay preacher in the Methodist church in Sri Lanka and many a Sunday would find me dressing up to go to a church in the region to inflict my sermon on some hapless congregation. And now, decades after I became an atheist, here I am doing something that seems surprisingly familiar. Let’s see if I still have my preacher skills though if some people are getting a little worried, you can relax. Even in my heyday I was never a fire-and-brimstone, you’re-going to-hell-and-damnation-if-you-don’t-repent kind of preacher, and so am not going to be that way today either.
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Reflections on the Cleveland Sunday Assembly

Yesterday saw the kickoff around the globe of 35 new Sunday Assembly programs to add to the 28 existing ones and I attended the Cleveland one. The event was a lot of fun. Special credit must go to organizers Layla Nelson and Eric Tawney who rounded up an impressive array of volunteers to put together the whole thing and did an excellent job. There must have been close to 100 people present. They had a nice array of refreshments for people to help themselves before, during, and after the event, and when it was finally over about 40 people went to an adjacent Mexican restaurant for lunch. I had an enjoyable conversation with people and an enlightening discussion with a philosopher teacher whom I happened to sit next to.
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Harry Potter, Christian warrior

The Harry Potter series of books captivated many people young and old, but especially the young. As I discussed back in 2005, the students at Hogwarts seemed to be well and truly heathens because the books had zero references to god and religion, with only a passing reference to Christmas (a pagan holiday anyway) and the name of a Christmas carol, while filled with stories of sorcery and witches and wizards and spells.
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Notorious RBG interview

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has emerged as the leading liberal voice on the US Supreme Court. At age 81, she is also the oldest justice. She gave an interview to the magazine Elle in which she discussed, among other things, why those who have been publicly urging her to retire while president Obama is still in office so that he can appoint someone else in her mold are misguided and that she has no plans to retire.
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How The Daily Show did the Washington shoot

When watching The Daily Show, one often wonders why some people allow themselves to be made to look silly on the show. Sometimes they end up looking like such fools that one wonders whether they are actually actors following a script. Recently, they did a show about the fans of the Washington football team and their ridiculous devotion to the racist team name.
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