Avoiding Civilizational Hard Ceilings

 I recently wrote about an interview I conducted with sociologist Robert Bellah in preparation for a talk he gave this past week at Notre Dame. The talk introduced his thoughts on the next step in his work, following up on his argument in Religion in Human Evolution.A good portion of the talk drew on recent work by Ian Morris on the historical relationship between development and the fate of civilizations. In particular, Bellah found that a developmental “hard ceiling” consistently h … [Read more...]

Introducing the Sacrallennials

 Over at Juicy Ecumenism, guest poster Thomas Holgrave (of the worth-checking-out blog The Hipster Conservative) tries his hand at some religious taxonomy, attempting a description of “Two Kinds of Christian Conservatives.” Holgrave observes that the old liberal/conservative distinction in Christianity is breaking down somewhat as millennial evangelicals and Catholics have emerged as less politically conservative than their parents without necessarily embracing the theological lib … [Read more...]

What I’ve Learned from Communion

Growing up, my church observed “Lord’s Supper” once a quarter. Every three months, an extra line would appear in the bulletin’s Order of Service between “Message” and “Special Music.” After spending a silent minute “examining our hearts,” trays bearing a species of super-dense oyster crackers and tiny plastic cups of grape juice would be passed along the pews, offering plate-style. In a tradition that generally deprecated ritual, this practice was clearly an anachronism, a holdover that would hav … [Read more...]

Charles Taylor on the Future of Religion

 From A Secular Age: One future, which flows out of mainline secularization theory, sees religion shrinking further and further. Of course, no one expects it to disappear totally, giving way to science, as the old generation of rationalist atheists did (see the quotes from Renan and Comte in Chap. 15). Most atheists accept today that there always be a certain degree of "irrationality," or at least inattention to science, and the wildest ideas will always have defenders. But we will get … [Read more...]