This February, as friends of mine flocked south to escape the unrelenting cold of Boston, I headed to the Midwest.
It was my first college and university speaking tour, put together in partnership with eight institutions in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa that extended invitations for me to come speak to students about my experiences as an atheist and an interfaith activist. I was beyond grateful, not only because it was a wonderful chance to try out some material from my forthcoming book and an opportunity to share my hope for greater understanding between the religious and the secular, but also because I got to see firsthand how atheism and interfaith work are not only discussed but lived on campuses in the Midwest.
The Midwest, where I grew up, isn’t known as a beacon of secularism. Sure enough, all but two of the schools I visited have a particular religious affiliation. Of these, one highlight was North Park University(NPU), a school that describes itself as “distinctively Christian.” My session was the first time the campus had hosted an atheist speaker, and I was humbled by the enthusiastic welcome I received.