‘Faith’ is now a dirty word?

A few months ago, Cathy Lynn Grossman spotted American Public Radio Krista Tippett’s transition from “Speaking of Faith” to “Kristen Tippett on Being.” Apparently Tippett’s name was a bigger draw than “faith,” or something like that. Now Tippett is plugging her show on CNN’s Belief blog.

I confess I don’t regularly listen to her show because my precious iPod time is usually spent with other shows. She has struck me in the past as someone who wants to sing kumbaya instead of asking really interesting, provocative questions. In her CNN promo, Tippett seems to suggest that “faith” is not a helpful term, just as “peace” and “justice” are “not effective shorthand or inviting rallying cries.”

Religious voices have been some of the most toxic in global life in recent decades. Bombs explode in the name of Islam. Christian rhetoric fuels culture wars. There is a chasm between these expressions of religion and the lived virtue their texts and traditions demand.

One of the things that drew me to the new name of my radio program, On Being, is that it has profound philosophical and theological roots–and at the same time, it is profoundly hospitable. Hospitality is one of the great overarching virtues of all our traditions, more immediately achievable than peace, forgiveness, or compassion.

Am I wrong about my kumbaya claim? How does “being” mean “hospitable”? One might argue that “being” could be void of value, that you can’t necessarily give it virtuous meaning.

She told Grossman, “It does feel risky but I feel Being will be a more spacious container for this show.” But since when is “being” become more spacious than “faith”?

I understand that she might want to make people who don’t believe in any religion feel welcome, but she could easily do that by changing the show to “Speaking of Faith and Being.” Instead, she completely nixes “faith” as something worth talking about because it’s polarizing.

American culture’s encounter with the ethical and spiritual challenges of our time has unfolded along similar lines. There is a convergence of searching questions, strong identities, and communal commitments that long for discussion and shared action not only across religious boundaries but across boundaries of belief and non-belief.

“Faith” has its place in that, but it is too limiting a word even to describe the Christian contribution to it.
And letting go of a word, after all, doesn’t mean letting go of its content. It frees and compels us, rather, to find fresh, vivid language to communicate the deepest sense of our convictions.

On the other hand, “being” doesn’t really seem to capture the same idea as “faith,” since it carries a passive connotation that someone simply exists. People who believe in God, Mohammed, Jesus, etc. aren’t just “being.” Many of them are actively trying to figure out what it means to be a Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, or something else. “Being” doesn’t seem to parse out how a religious belief system manifests itself.

Tippett obviously has a specific audience and is trying to accomplish something particular for her radio program that doesn’t necessarily cover news or religion per se. My concern is that this might reflect a larger feeling among journalists that “religion” and/or “faith” is icky because it’s controversial. Many then opt for a more comfortable term like “spiritual people.” This occasionally captures a group of people, but since when did “religion” or “faith” become a dirty word?

Similarly, many religion reporters express excitement when they see interfaith dialogue or peaceful conversation between religions. Yes, that can be newsworthy, especially when there are unusual suspects involved. But tension among religions is also worth covering because it’s called news. Complain about the Huffington Post all you want, but it seems to be one of the only major online outlets to have “religion” as a main category on its home page. Web editors: take note!

Religion is why some churches break apart, why we see generational divides, and, in some cases, why we see violence. Wars are sometimes fought over religion, and conversely, intentionally nonreligious people can create conflict. If you dig at a story’s roots, you can often find faith in the mix.

Religion does not always create tension and it often motivates people to do incredible things. Religion can motivate people to give to the poor, to stay faithful to their spouse, to swap their annual vacation to build a hospital in Haiti. You can look to countries like Rwanda as an example of where religion has played an important part of reconciliation.

Tippett seems to offer “being” as some sort of neutral, common or “hospitable” ground for people to dialogue with each other. On the intro page, she offers examples of the questions she might address: “What does it mean to be human? What matters in a life? What matters in a death? How to love? How to be of service to each other and to the world?” It seems as though she has widened her angle to the point where anything and everything goes, which is fine if she was getting bored with religion, but I don’t know why I would go to Tippett’s show particularly to listen to someone talk about these ideas. She concludes her post by saying:

On Being, as a conversation starter, holds out hope, for me, of a bolder demonstration that the extreme choices between nihilistic atheist and unthinking religious don’t fit most of us. Perhaps, in our search for the new vocabulary to express who we are becoming, we will reintroduce our deepest longings and virtues to each other and to the world.

She seems to frame “being” as a superior to religion or “faith,” but merely “being” is generally not what motivates many people to do things outside of the norm. We argue time and time again that religion itself is newsworthy, which is why Krista Tippett’s marketing move probably won’t work for journalists who cover challenging and compelling stories.

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  • http://goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    The great part about Tippett’s show, like “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, is that Tippett has long in-depth conversations with interesting people. If that doesn’t change, the show should remain God.
    “Being” sounds like a New Coke move to me.

  • http://www.jonathanfsullivan.com Jonathan Sullivan

    I don’t think you’re wrong about the “kumbaya”; I’ve avoided “Speaking of Faith” for just that reason.

    In fact, I think the new title is more honest about what the show is about. I always felt that Tippett was attempting to Oprah-ize faith topics: distill them to the lowest common denominator and package them for a mass audience more interested in “being spiritual” than in wrestling with any particularities of the world’s great religious traditions.

    The name change is just acknowledging Tippett’s underlying secular humanism.

    (At least I’m assuming so; I can’t find any information on what faith tradition she embraces, except notes that her grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher.)

  • Martha

    “One of the things that drew me to the new name of my radio program, On Being, is that it has profound philosophical and theological roots—and at the same time, it is profoundly hospitable.”

    *snorts*

    Sounds like she wants the equivalent of BBC Radio 4′s “Thought for the Day”, which is parodied as having been watered-down to be inoffensively fluffy, and some moderate religious figure is allowed to ramble on for (now reduced down to) two and a half minutes about “Gosh, I remember when I was a boy, and we went to the circus and had a lovely time – and isn’t that the important message religion has, that we can have a lovely time? It’s so nice to be nice!”

    And even at that, some secular humanists and atheists complained that it was too religious and not being impartial in inviting on non-religious speakers.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Bob, you’re probably right. The type of people she interviews seem to be very easy to swallow, right? Does she interview people who might be a bit controversial in their religious beliefs?

    Jonathan, thanks for weighing in. She could be a secular humanist, but that doesn’t have to matter. You can still conduct interesting interviews with religious leaders and thinkers.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Martha, that’s another pet peeve of mine – when reporters/interviewers think they have to evenly divide time between the various religions. They don’t do that in sports reporting! We should be covering news, not trying to please every group. I suppose that’s another post for another day.

  • Dave

    “Faith” became a dirty word sometime during the 1980s when the Christian Right got caught running stealth candidates for local offices. Tippett is making a marketing move to capture more earbuds.

    As part of the religious left I’m personally peeved at the devolution of the term “faith” but what can one do about it?

  • http://goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    Not all of her shows are easy to swallow. The one for Nov 4 was about torture–(which I haven’t heard yet.)
    But it’s not a news show, that’s for sure.

  • http://www.mikehickerson.com Mike Hickerson

    One of the things that drew me to the new name of my radio program, On Being, is that it has profound philosophical and theological roots—and at the same time, it is profoundly hospitable.

    Maybe, maybe not. When I think of the word “being” in a religious context, Paul Tillich is the first person who comes to mind. That framework would indeed be hospitable for some, but inhospitable for others.

    I agree with Bob Smietana – the thing I enjoy most about Tippett’s program (when I listen to it) is the long interview with interesting people. However, the more a person tries to empty his belief system of specificity, the less interesting I find him as an interview subject.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Bob, yes, torture could be a pretty interesting ethical discussion. Are there other shows out there that you like, similar to Fresh Air/On Being? I haven’t found really good religion ones, except for GetReligion’s podcast of course. :)

    Mike, I think you’re spot on with the specificity angle.

  • Jerry

    You’ve touched an interesting topic. “faith” is an interesting word with many meanings. One, of course, is ‘faith’ in the religious sense. But a broader meaning embraces both the religious and secular as in “faith in private enterprise”. And I agree with her comments which were also comments by religious leaders that the word “faith” has lost meaning. To me it’s become a bit like “evangelical” or “fundamentalist” in the broader culture. So I share her sadness and the sadness of the religious people she quoted about the debasing of that word.

    But you’ve hit another hot button of mine – attacking a black spiritual song about faith: Kumbaya. Those who attack it sound like secularists who attack religion with a “who needs God” attitude when there’s important political fights to undertake. It is, therefore, in my book the same as an attack on religion as not being important in the market place. Or perhaps it’s an attack on trying to work together with like minded people to achieve important ends. Or perhaps it’s an attack on compassion (love) as preached by Jesus.

    Recent research has found that sometime between 1922 and 1931, members of an organization called the Society for the Preservation of Spirituals collected a song from the South Carolina coast.[1] “Come By Yah”, as they called it, was sung in Gullah, the creole pidgin dialect spoken by the former slaves living on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. [2] In Hebrew, “Yah” is one of the names of God, so the lyric could be translated as “Come by my God, come by my God (Yah).”

    (one version has this verse:)
    Hear me praying, Lord, [Come by my God];
    Hear me praying, Lord, [Come by my God];
    Hear me praying, Lord, [Come by my God],
    O Lord, [Come by my God].

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbaya

  • John Pulliam

    “Perhaps, in our search for the new vocabulary to express who we are becoming, we will reintroduce our deepest longings and virtues to each other and to the world.”

    Many people’s deepest longing involve finding something or someone to have faith in. And, true faith is often a source of virtue (anti-slavery movement in England, orphanages, homeless shelters, etc) so hopefully the idea of faith won’t be removed from her show even if she doesn’t like the term anymore. If she does push out faith with her new “being” theme she might find it hard to welcome (her new ‘hospitable?’) a large percentage of the world’s population.

    “In her CNN promo, Tippett seems to suggest that “faith” is not a helpful term, just as “peace” and “justice” are “not effective shorthand or inviting rallying cries.””

    Since when is “peace” and “justice” a problem? I really hope those terms don’t become politically incorrect.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Jerry, good points. “Faith” as a phrase has probably been watered down. Though I’m not sure replacing it with “being” is more superior. I didn’t mean to attack that particular song. I was using it as a phrase to mean someone who likes to sit around and happily get along. I meant it as someone who doesn’t really like conflict and would rather be pleasant with another person, if that makes sense.

  • James

    Mike, I was thinking much the same thing; except not specifically about Tillich, but rather Martin Heidegger – not so much the man’s own work, but how it became widely appropriated by people in the religion/theology/Biblical studies area – Bultmann, Tillich, and MacQuarrie being perhaps the most prominent.

    As much as I like Heidegger, I do not feel that these appropriations were, in the long term, a good thing for theology. It took the theological scene a few decades also to realize that Heidegger is not nearly as applicable to their own work as first-blush Heidegger fans tend to be enthusiastic – at least, not in the ways he has been applied up until now.

    The tendency of re-defining the word “faith” into something which is rather distant from creedal belief is growing in popularity amongst a few non-Trinitarian religious people who represent Trinitarian churches – such as Marcus Borg of the Episcopal Church. This tends to evoke a number of epistemic mistakes in motivating its audience to re-formulate Christianity into a kind of extended reflection on ethics and dedication to advocacy the causes of Palestinians and gays, while allowing the words “resurrection” or “divinity of Christ” to be filled in with various emotions about the environment, society, etc., so adherents believe they can honestly say the creeds.

    It tends also to remove a lot of the cognitive content of faith, so we are mostly speaking about vague emotions, and trying to frame ourselves in contrast to various tendencies and things associated with Christianity (whether real or not) which we don’t like.

  • http://e4unity.wordpress.com John Paul Todd

    I think I understand your concern as a journalist. Krista has some unique gifts and has made “Speaking of faith” at this time in our nation extremely helpful for different listeners. I have her listed as a resource in my “toolbag” at e4Unity blog because I think she understands the generic of faith better than most and I think she is very good at listening to those who practice their faith tell, in response to her questions, what it is like to live in that faith tradition. I thought her program on “Obama’s Theologian” during the Presidential campaign was extra-ordinary.

    I’ll have to give the name change a lot of thought and listen to Krista a lot more to say whether I agree with you or not. Thanks for the post and the discussion.

  • Jeffrey

    as someone who wants to sing kumbaya instead of asking really interesting, provocative questions.

    I suggest you haven’t listened enough. Tippet’s questions are really interesting and provocative, but not in a traditional, news sense. She asks people get beyond soundbytes and talking points and listen to what other people are saying.

    My sense is the reason she’s moving beyond “faith” is because it, too, has become something of a cliche and that her interviews are more philosophical. She engages non-believers and athiests respectfully but skeptically. They don’t have faith, necessarily, so faith doesn’t quite cover it.

    But her approach is different. She is less driven by the culture war and denomination fights, which makes her different from a lot of the journalism covered at GR. She isn’t carrying water for anyone. Yet she treats the religious left with respect, athiests with respect, and the non-Abrahamic religions with respect. Her work on Eastern religions and thought is really strong. Her series on gay marriage was notorious for not allowing the screaming matches and talking points.

  • Jeffrey

    sorry for the tagging problem.

  • Jerry

    I didn’t mean to attack that particular song. I was using it as a phrase to mean someone who likes to sit around and happily get along. I meant it as someone who doesn’t really like conflict and would rather be pleasant with another person, if that makes sense.

    Sarah, I think I understand your intent but I feel that song is the wrong thing to use to express that sense. I do agree that sometimes conflict is necessary. I just wish that something else was used to indicate such times and not that song just as people wish “fundamentalist” and “evangelical” are not all too often used the ways they are.

  • Bible Belt Blogger

    It could be worse. At least she’s not calling it “The Ground of All Being With Krista Tippett.”

  • Julia

    Back in the early 1960s St Louis University required a Philosophy minor of all students. I spent an entire semester on something called “The Philosophy of Being”. We started with the Greeks and went through time to the present looking at how different civilizations and individual philosophers thought about existence itself. We didn’t get into any religion at all, not even Christianity.

    There was “earth, wind, fire & water” as the major elements of being – which is finding new life in the New Age people. There was the guy who boldly said being is made up of tiny, invisible things he called “atoms”. Then there was Plato, Aristotle, and on up to Bergson. And of course, the “Chain of Being” that you see in Shakespeare at times.

    It helps to get a survey of thinking about “being”/”esse” before you get to seeing how religion is added on top. How a civilization looks at the experience of being will greatly influence what is in its religious beliefs. Of course they influence each other, too.

    The early christian church used Greek philosophical terminology to explains its beliefs to the educated Greek urban world. Catholicism has kept those ties to traditional philosophical ways of explaining itself.

    So – “being” means a non- or pre-religious substrate to a Catholic educated by Jesuits.

    I heard her program by accident once and it seems that she is taking Karen Armstrong as her model. A sort of anthropological approach to religion – so “Being” is a very appropriate name for her program.

    And I agree that somehow “Faith” has been taken over by the non-creedal groups, “faith and not works” crowd and others. Today it feels devoid of cognitive matter and more subjective in approach than was the case with Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans in former times. At one time “the Faith” also incorporated a belief system, but you don’t hear “the Faith” anymore.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Let’s see, I have gotten behind on responding to everyone. John, good points about faith being central even if she doesn’t like the term – and I share your question about peace and justice.
    James, thanks for more perspective.
    John Paul, thanks for pointing us to that specific program. I’ll have to look it up and listen. I’m curious how much of the content of the show has shifted.
    Jeffrey, maybe I need to give her another shot. My biggest concern is that she’s leaving faith by the wayside.
    Jerry, I was reaching for a common expression and probably could’ve been more specific.
    Bible Belt Blogger, so true.
    Julia, thanks for adding more context.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I really don’t care what she calls her program. What I find offensive is her rationale for changing the name. The typical liberal biased canard that stereotypes religion as she did: “Toxic.” This does get wearying especially when she leaves out how doubly toxic atheist and violently secular governments turned the 20th Century into a giant slaughterhouse–with religious believers of all types being the favorite targets of every atheist or hater of religion from Lenin, to Stalin, to Pol Pot, to Mao, to Hitler.

  • Julia

    Speaking of “faith”: what does it mean to be a “faith-filled” person like Carter?

    And Baber has a point. What’s wrong with the word “religion”?

    Another word that has become murky is “worship”. Why does the MSM and official-speak now talk about places where people “worship” instead of churches and synagogues and mosques? Maybe “worship” is not a good description of what all people do in all religious services. Using it as a blanket description of religious practice has gutted the word of meaning.

  • http://homepage.mac.com/bjmora/rpdenom/Reflist.html BJ Mora

    I take it the use of the word “being” is also meant to be associated with “human being,” more than just merely of “existing.” As a word meant to ‘replace’ “faith,” “philosophy,” and/or theology, it’s just dreadful use.
    I had a theology professor point out rather provocatively that proving the existence of anything – including God! – is fruitless; after all, I exist, you exist, this computer exists, the chair I’m sitting on, etc. etc. It’s a logical tautology.

  • Hector

    Re: It helps to get a survey of thinking about “being”/”esse” before you get to seeing how religion is added on top. How a civilization looks at the experience of being will greatly influence what is in its religious beliefs. Of course they influence each other, too.

    If you’re a Christian who spends much time thinking about the nature of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Eucharist, then ‘being’ is a term with a lot of deep resonances and mysteries attached to it. What is the difference between a ‘person’ and a ‘being’? How can God consist of three persons with one essence? Should the word ‘ousion’ be translated ‘substance’, ‘essence’, or ‘being’? How do we ‘neither confound the persons nor divide the essence?’ What’s the difference between ‘essence’ and ‘accidents’? These are all very deep questions, and all of them, in some sense, boil down to the question, ‘What do we mean by being/essence/substance?’

  • Ryan

    Interesting she cites “being” as an interesting philosophical concept. But more interesting that the most prominent recent philosopher to wrestle and be known for questions of being is Heidegger. Given his views on religion and even politics, being is not really the best title for exploring topics of faith today. Just my two cents.

  • Jon in the Nati

    Interesting she cites “being” as an interesting philosophical concept

    I post on GR, therefore I am.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    H. E. Baber, while I think you have a point, please feel free to re-submit your comment without a swear word.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Julia, there might be a time where “faith” could better express what you mean than “religion.” You can have faith, but you can’t have religion, right? I think there are cases where one could be better than the other.

    As far as worship goes, I could see your concern about watering it down, but sometimes it’s nice to try to pin down all churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. in a story that is trying to describe them all. For instance, if the government made a law that excluded or included places of worship, it’s a nice way to include all of them without feeling like you have to name every religious tradition.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    And good discussion on “being” and its place in philosophy. To be clear, I’m not against “being” as an idea worth discussing. I just don’t know why we have to throw out the word “faith.”

  • Julia

    I’ve heard somebody say: “I’ve got religion.” I think there’s even a song including that line. You can subscribe to a religion that includes having faith, among other things. “Religion” has taken on the sense of ritual that no longer includes a lot of what people used to mean by “religion”.

    Some events and activities in religious buildings don’t include “worship”. It seems strange that “worship” was picked to convey a wide variety of activities going on inside. I don’t think Ethical Societies worship at their services. In some churches there is a passive waiting for the spirit to move people. Some people are just meditating or contemplating and others taking vows or getting Baptized. Some people are praying for something or somebody. I don’t think New Age practitioners worship anything. Some people are lighting candles or telling beads – missionaries brought back beads from the Buddhists in the East. Not sure about wicca. Attempting to connect with God or the cosmos doesn’t necessarily include worship at all.

    Even “religious services” or just “services” is more inclusive and neutral than “worship”.

  • Julia

    I post on GR, therefore I am.

    What wisdom for the internet age !!

    That line should get the Pulitzer Prize.

    Existential issues of the age:
    Do we exist if nobody clicks on our postings?
    Do we exist if we have nobody following us on Twitter or we have no friends on Facebook?

    As a 3rd grader I watched ants on the sidewalk and wondered if we are experiencing the universe like ants are aware of us and our space stations. The more science finds out, the more I think that could very well be the case.

  • Dave

    Not sure about wicca.

    Wiccans worship a Goddess and a God. Typically the four Quarters are also invoked; whether you would call that worship could make for an interesting discussion.

    When I was first involved with Paganism my High Priestess was very insistent that what we did in ritual was worship and that we were in church while doing it. (Notice, no scare quotes.) Demanding, ie, the same respect that the smallest Christian or Jewish store-front or living-room splinter congregation gets.

  • Passing By

    Jesus said “I come not to bring peace, but the sword”, which in context is not a mandate for holy war, but a call to holiness. However, He also took a whip after moneychangers in the temple, so I will own the “Christian rhetoric fuels culture wars” line. Given the tens of millions killed by unfettered atheism in the 20th century (as noted by Deacon John), I don’t think a little Christian rhetoric is that bad a thing, culture wars or not.

    The problem is in thinking that Ms. Tippitt has removed herself from the realm of the religious; you can empty religion or faith of content, but that itself is a religious statement. As my professors told me, “religion” comes from “re” and “ligare” (spelling probably wrong), which is to “tie back”. Religion ties us back to the source and summit of reality. It raises and provides answers to the questions of life: where we came from, why we are here, the meaning of joy, suffering, happiness, in fact the structure of life and the end (telos) to which is is leading. Different religions (including the anti-religions) give different answers to those questions. So I agree that changing her title doesn’t change what she is doing.

  • Hector

    Re: As my professors told me, “religion” comes from “re” and “ligare” (spelling probably wrong),

    No, the spelling’s right, as far as I know- it’s the same root you find in ‘ligase’ and ‘ligature’.

  • Hector

    Re: I post on GR, therefore I am.

    The depressing thing is that this isn’t even true, given the proliferation of spambots and the like.

  • Stoo

    Passing by are you doing that thing where people try and make religion just mean “worldview of any sort”?

    Anyway sounds like Tippitt is trying to broaden her listener base, or reach out to those outside religious structures. Could be kind of tepid, or could be interesting.

    Someone mentioned Thought for the Day up above, it tends to get flack from both traditionalists and angry atheists, which is a good sign.

  • Jon in the Nati

    That line should get the Pulitzer Prize.

    If only the stuff I’d written in journalism school was half that good.

    But, darn; Hector got me.

  • Passing By

    That would be correct, Stoo. People who dabble in religious issues are “religious”.

  • Stoo

    I don’t follow that. I have an interest in religious issues but am not religious myself. And an interest in questions like “where we came from” isn’t necessarily religious either.

  • J Fisher

    Faith is a subcategory in the contemporary philosophical dialog surrounding ‘being.’ It is contained within, thus to ask the question of being is to ask many questions, including questions of faith. It like changing a show on domestic politics into one on global politics. It’s not throwing out anything, only broadening the topic.

  • J Fisher

    Faith is a subcategory in the contemporary philosophical dialogue surrounding ‘being.’ It is contained within, thus to ask the question of being is to ask many questions, including questions of faith. It like changing a show on domestic politics into one on global politics. It’s not throwing out anything, only broadening the topic.

  • http://e4unity.wordpress.com John Paul Todd

    I loved #33 comment by passing by.Not only did she remind us of the original meaning of religion but she described the “questions of life” that any faith system must deal with. That is why it is a universal trait among us humans.

    Here is another link to my own appreciation for Krista’s contribution to all of us- much like your own reasons for getreligion.org (religion and politics.

    http://e4unity.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/you-have-got-to-hear-this-interview/

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    Christian rhetoric does not fuel culture wars. It is an open attack on Christian values of decency and morality that is at the heart of many of them. A city in Colorado has the audacity to purchase a pornagraphic picture of the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and when a Christian tries to destroy the picture they are labeled “violent”, yet when Palestinians throw rocks at other people they are somehow “non-violent”.

    So now, to be a peaceful person, you have to sit back and aquiesce in the destruction of all you hold dear. Personally I would agree that the attack on the offending image was unwise, but when someone can loose their job for burning pages of the Qur’an in an act of political protest, it seems odd that the government is proactively funding attacks on Christianity, and that those of us who take this as a reason to cut back all funding to the government are thus denounced as somehow the moral equivalent of those who commit mass murder in the name of religion.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    A deeper problem with Tippet’s whole world view than her odd attempt to change “being” from passive to active, is that her notion that religion is “unthinking” is the opposite of what we learn from history.

    The preservation of western culture during the middle ages is closely tied up with religion. Both in monasticism and in the trends of phylosophical thought that florished in the Islamic world.

    Whatever else one says of the various accounts of the prophets, they are almost universaly in the process of thinking on the nature of things when they recieve their great revelation.

    To dismiss religion as unthinking is just to ignore a huge amount of the thinking that has gone on in human history. It represents total failure to understand how things ever have been, not just failure to understyand how things are.

  • R9

    She’s holding up unthinking religion as one extreme on a spectrum, not saying that all religion is unthinking.


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