What should we do with all of those empty churches?

Between 6,000-10,000 churches are left behind every year in America.

Interior view of an abandoned church in Italy. (Photo by: Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images)
  • With many churches only being operational for a few hours each week, thousands of churches are shutting down.
  • Church attendance is down nationwide, adding to the problem of what to do with so much real estate.
  • Inventive uses for abandoned churches include co-working spaces, Airbnbs, and bookstores.
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Why spiritualizing the cosmos is a disservice to science and religion

Where is God? Michelle Thaller lays out a cosmic view of religion, science, and the human condition.

  • Ancient humans believed lightning, seasons, and other unexplainable natural phenomenon were the acts of gods, but what happens when scientific discovery unravels those mysteries?
  • NASA astronomer and science communicator Michelle Thaller explains how scientific discovery has changed the search for God, and that religion may be something that happens between people, if they choose, rather than out there in the cosmos.
  • It's not a miracle that Earth is the perfect incubator for human life—we were created by the laws of the universe, and in those laws we can find great beauty and belonging.

Why are Americans still afraid of atheism?

You'd think we'd be over this fear by now.

NEW YORK - MAY 10: GOD FRIENDED ME stars Brandon Micheal Hall (pictured) in a humorous, uplifting drama about Miles Finer (Hall), an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him. (Photo by Jonathan Wenk/CBS via Getty Images)
  • 51 percent of Americans would not vote for an atheist president.
  • Though America wasn't founded as a Christian nation, religion has always had a strong influence.
  • It wasn't until the 1950s when religion gained its current prominence in the national imagination.
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How trying to solve death makes life, here and now, worse

Maybe we should stop worrying about what happens after we die, and make the best of what we have on earth right now.

  • The concept of the afterlife, argues Michael Shermer, take away from appreciating what we have right in front of us.
  • Why be afraid of death? 100 billion humans have died before us. It's part of the process.
  • Maybe that '80s song was right... maybe heaven really is a place on earth.
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How we know right from wrong without God or religion

Do we really need an imaginary guy-in-the-sky to tell us what's right and wrong? Not anymore, says Skeptic Magazine's Michael Shermer.

Do we really need God or religion to tell us what's right and wrong? Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine, says that this kind of celestial-spiritual guidance really isn't necessary. Or particularly effective. He makes a great case for being a moral realist — for example, studying past examples of war or slavery to learn morals from them — is much more effective than going back to mysticism like, say, The Bible, a fantastical book written by committee some 2,000 years ago and hardly updated since. Michael's new book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia.