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USA Today - New Spirituality Site has Surprising Nuggets

August 05, 2009

USA TODAY

Aug 05, 2009

Who's a pagan? New spirituality site has surprising nuggets

If you're in the hunt for yet another site where you can debate religious perspectives, there's a new entry on line, a potential rival to Beliefnet.com but with a more academic slant.

Patheos launched this summer with a packed agenda of creating conversation, fostering knowledge and, being a business, monetizing the comparative religion interest crowd. Some highlights from my own tour of the site:

-- A lengthy academic essay Money for Nothingexamines "traditional Western conceptions (and warnings) about the use and abuse of money" from a Buddhist perspective. David Loy, professor of Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier University in Cincinnati, concludes:

... money is not a thing but a process. Perhaps it's best understood as an energy that is not really yours or mine. Those who understand that it is an empty, formless symbol can use it wisely and compassionately to reduce the world's suffering. Those who use it to become more "real" end up being used by it, their alienated sense of self clutching a blank check -- a promissory note that can never be cashed.

There's also an essay by a consultant, Peter Collins, who muses on the ethics of firing people in a Christian fashion:

By creating a more profitable business I will be able to bless my current and future employees along with their families, and all of the customers we serve. If I do not fire them, these blessings are less likely to come to pass, and the company could suffer.

You can also sit in on services and rites of other faiths such as a video on Friday prayer at an Islamic Center in NYC.

Portals are named for major traditions one for Pagans. Who knew they included naturalist and conservationist John Muir? Not me and possibly not Muir. The supposition comes in an essay by Chris Highland, who describes himself as a "freethinker and former minister." Highland writes::

While John Muir (1838-1914) was not necessarily a worshiper of Nature, he did often capitalize that word and seemed most "religious" when immersed in Nature's Beauty. In fact, his journals reflect his deep sentiment that Beauty itself (another word he capitalized) is the "perfect" "synonym for God" (June 26, 1875).

DO YOU THINK ... reading up on strangers' and celebrities' beliefs helps you find your own spiritual path? Has an Internet religion site ever led you in a different religious direction?


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