News: In The Toledo Blade

BGW-Toledo-Blade-2On January 21, 2017, I and Mark Christensen from Lourdes University were featured above the fold in the Toledo Blade’s religion section for a piece on the place of the philosophy of religion (“School thought: Philosophy paves way for religious debate”).

Check it out:

“Part of the problem that you run into with religious studies is that nobody can actually agree on a precise definition of religion, because the concept is so widely encompassing,” said Brandon Withrow, an author who is a religious history scholar and has taught religion and philosophy at Winebrenner Theological Seminary and the University of Findlay.

But people can talk about religious philosophy. Read full article at The Toledo Blade


The Daily Beast: The Cost of Non-belief in America

It’s a political season—a long, long political season—and politicians invoke the name of God and even try to court powerful voting blocs. But what if you’re not a religious person in the United States? Atheists, agnostics, and others among the non-religious are used to not having representation in government.

In fact, for many, political representation rank among some of the least significant costs of being non-religious in America.

In my recent piece at The Daily Beast, I interview four former Christians now turned nonbelievers, and asked them about the personal and social consequences of their de-conversion. From a grandfather who is no longer able to see his grand kids to a woman told that her children would be better off dead, their stories are worth reading if one wants to understand what life can be like for some without faith in America.

Below is an excerpt. Read the entire article at The Daily Beast.

“…America is still ‘Christ haunted’—to use the words of Flannery O’Connor. Fears of public shunning and the risk of losing family connections and employment, keep many atheists quiet about their identity. There is a significant difficulty in being honest about disbelief in a country where prominent religious leaders warn that it leads to a nation’s demise.

‘I have 5 grandchildren now, and 4 of them I have never held,’ says Dave Warnock, a former pastor and now board member for The Clergy Project (TCP), a safe place and network for former religious professionals who no longer have supernatural beliefs. ‘They [his children] also withhold relationships from my wife—their mother, simply because she stays married to me, an apostate.'”


Interviewed by Peter Enns for “Consider No Evil”

Over at Peter Enns blog at Patheos, I was interviewed for my new book, Consider No Evil. Check it out.

“…So one of the points I make in the book is that if you want to say your religion makes the world better, then you really should try to prove it by helping your community members to thrive rather than looking for every legal loophole to get rid of them…” Continue reading at Patheos…

Interviewed at HuffPost about Halloween


I was interviewed this week at The Huffington Post by Brandon Ambrosino on the topic of Halloween. It isn’t a subject I usually discuss, since I did not grow up celebrating it. The conversation took an interesting twist in that I was able to discuss the subject of evangelical responses to Halloween, time travel back to the 80s when fighting Satan was all the rage, and talk about the addiction of Protestant reformers to astrology.

(As a side note, this Halloween for me will be a flashlight tour through the Toledo Museum of Art; I can’t wait to see if the mummies come to life.)

When you consider that most Americans surveyed still hold to very strong beliefs in the supernatural, it should be no surprise that Christians react as strongly to Halloween as they do. In 2007, for example, a Gallup Poll showed that 70 percent of Americans believed in the Devil. A more recent YouGov poll has that number at around 6 in 10 Americans who believe in the Devil, with 51 percent believing in demonic possession and 45 percent in the power of exorcism. Read the full interview at The Huffington Post.