A few weeks ago, I blogged about Artificial Intelligence in the near future in a post titled “Immigrants Aren’t Coming for Your  Job, Robots Are.” Next week, I’ll be writing on “Malthus, Earth Day, & Global Population” to wrestle with the implications that the number of human beings here on planet Earth has septupled (increased sevenfold) in a mere two centuries, from approximately 1 billion people alive in 1800 to more than 7.6 billion people today. Today my focus is… Read more

“What would you do if a bus filled with African-American Universalist Christians arrived at your congregation one Sunday morning interested in joining your congregation?” This question was one of many posed to me by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC). One of the final requirements for receiving “ministerial fellowship” with the Unitarian Universalist Association is to sit before the MFC for approximately an hour and respond to whatever questions the committee members think might be interesting, helpful, or provocative to ask… Read more

I recently finished the religion scholar Bart Ehrman’s latest book titled The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World in which he explores the early history of how Christianity began to grow into what it is today: the world’s largest religion with more than 2 billion adherents. (For anyone wondering, the Hindu Tradition is the third largest at 900 million. And projections estimate that Islam, currently in second place, will become the world’s largest religion by 2070.)… Read more

Yesterday I posted on Is Your Job Predictable? Immigrants Aren’t Coming for Your Job, *Robots* Are. An overarching question is whether Artificial Intelligence is “progress”? Or are we programming our own obsolescence? For instance, Kurt Vonnegut’s (1922 – 2007) first novel, Player Piano, published in 1952 is about an “automated economy in which industrial machines managed by a tiny technical elite did virtually all the work, while the vast majority of the population faced a meaningless existence and a hopeless future” (32). Vonnegut’s science… Read more

There is a lot of xenophobic fearmongering these days about immigration. But as the saying goes, “Immigrants aren’t coming for your jobs, robots are.” Robots, equipped with increasingly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence, are rapidly becoming competent in a widening array of fields. Martin Ford, in his important book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (2015), invites his readers to reflect on a thought experiment in which robots of the near future are reimagined as an… Read more

Dar Williams is one of my favorite singer-songwriters. And one of her many memorable songs is titled “I Won’t Be Your Yoko Ono.” As a feminist, she questions the often one-sided criticism that Yoko Ono (1933 – ) should be blamed for distracting John Lennon (1940-1980) from his career as a musician: I wonder if Yoko Ono Ever thought of staying solo … If she doubted John Lennon Worrying that he’d distract her art In the background of this song… Read more

This past year was the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride. And although I have seen this movie quite a few times over the years, prior to rewatching it last week, I probably hadn’t seen it in more than a decade. In revisiting the film, I was reminded of how great the cast is. The stars include: Fred Savage at age eleven—a year before the first episode of The Wonder Years—as the sick grandson to whom the story of The… Read more

A few weeks ago, my wife and I heard a knock on our door around 8 p.m. At that time of night—and given the extremely cold weather—I assumed that the only person who could possibly be outside was someone delivering a package. I was wrong. As I opened the door, I was greeted by two people interested in sharing their religion with me. (It doesn’t matter which flavor of religion. There are actually a few different possibilities it could be—all… Read more

In the theologically conservative church of my childhood, I was asked to believe some fairly paradoxical claims about Jesus: that he was both “fully human and fully divine”—and that he was “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The intention of such teachings was to set him apart as special and holy. But it always seemed to be that it set him in another league—not even playing the same sport—as the rest of us. (How impressive is it to… Read more

As the saying goes, one of the reasons we study our past is that, although history does not necessarily repeat itself precisely, it does tend to rhyme. And in that spirit, I would like to invite us to reflect on the upcoming 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda, a landmark“Act of Religious Tolerance and Freedom of Conscience” enacted by history’s only Unitarian king, John Sigismund Zápolya of Transylvania (1540-1571), which is in modern day Romania. On January 13, 1568… Read more

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