Growing up an only child in Massachusetts, humorist John Hodgman longed to be considered interesting. In high school, he grew his hair out, wore a fedora and carried a briefcase in an effort to look like Doctor Who.
What does it mean to be Good Without God? Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, asks this question in his new book, which explores the faith of the nonreligious. It may sound like a contradiction, but Epstein believes that human ethics are independent of belief in a supernatural power.
In his most recent book, British scientist Richard Dawkins writes about the irrationality of a belief in God, examines God in all his forms and sets down his arguments for atheism. The book is The God Delusion.
Dawkins is a professor of "the public understanding of science" at Oxford University.
The New York Times Book Review has hailed him as a writer who "understands the issues so clearly that he forces his reader to understand them too."
Richard Gilman, who died Saturday at age 83, was a writer and professor at the Yale School of Drama. Ben Brantley of The New York Times writes, "Mr. Gilman was one of a breed of philosopher-critics... who came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. They located in modern drama the elements of abstraction, alienation and absurdity that had long been at the core of discussions of other forms of art and literature." In this archive interview from 1987, Gilman recounts his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism and then to atheism.
Theater critic Richard Gilman was born into a Jewish family, later joined the Catholic Church, and now identifies as an atheist. In his new memoir, he describes how restrictive teachings on sexuality drove him away form organized religion.
Kurt Vonnegut is one of the most prominent of contemporary novelists. His work often contains paradoxes and explores ideas from his science background. Vonnegut was also a P. O. W. in Dresden during the U.S firebombing of the city, an experience that was a subject in his novel "Slaughterhouse-Five." Vonnegut's works have often been banned, and he is active in a movement of writers to defend free speech rights in the U. S. and abroad. He recently traveled abroad as a representative of the organization PEN to report on intellectual freedom in Eastern Europe.