Pivot Points on Religion and Race in ‘FREE INQUIRY’


For Immediate Release: October 6, 2020
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

For many nonbelievers, letting go of religion was a slow and grueling process, a struggle to contend with deeply held and contradictory beliefs. But for others, a single moment is all it takes for a sudden change in perspective, for religious belief goes up in smoke. The latest issue of Free Inquiry magazine explores these life-changing pivot points with a collection of short submissions from readers whose lives and worldviews changed in an instant. 

“I challenged readers to zoom in on that moment when faith’s center ceased to hold,” writes Free Inquiry Editor Tom Flynn, “Boy, did they ever zoom.”

Examples of some reader epiphanies include:

  • Testing a hypothesis: “On the way home, I cursed to high heaven! And no lightning bolts!”
  • A last straw: “One Sunday at church, a woman, pregnant with her seventh child and an anti-abortion spokesperson, was given the pulpit to tell us how to vote. I walked out of the church, free of any remaining loyalties.”
  • Waiting for a miracle after a First Communion: “Is this all there is?”
  • An Easter egg hunt: “As I picked up the brightly colored eggs, it dawned on me that chickens lay eggs, not rabbits.”
  • A nun gives a “whack” across the arm of a Catholic school student: “With her black-and-white habit, she seemed to me to be some kind of demented Nazi penguin.”

This issue of Free Inquiry also explores a pivot point of another kind—America’s new reckoning with racial justice. 

  • Legal scholars Williams Iheme and Asress Gikay look beyond the very visible problem of police brutality against Black Americans to examine the destructive role of profit in the prison system. “Once prison management was partly ceded to corporations,” they write, “the profit motive worsened the fate of Black people in America.”
  • Comedian Leighann Lord (host of the Center for Inquiry’s Point of Inquiry podcast and Skeptical Inquirer Presents online series) opens up about her frustrations with “respectability politics”—the effort to allay the anxieties of White people. “It feels horrible to do everything you were supposed to and yet you and the next generation are no better for it; no safer.” READ NOW
  • Prof. Anthony Pinn of Rice University urges the humanist movement to confront “the relationship between blackness and death lamented and protested across the United States.” Pinn asks us to wake up to “unacknowledged patterns of thought that justify racial violence by questioning the humanity of Blacks—and by extension Black life.” READ NOW

And there’s much more. Free Inquiry is available in both print and digital subscriptions.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.