Forward Thinking: A Values Development Project

I am excited to announce the creation of a new blogging series: Forward Thinking: A Values Development Project, created in collaboration with fellow Patheos blogger Dan Fincke of Camels with Hammers. It is our hope that this series will serve as an invitation to readers and fellow bloggers big and small to participate in forming values and grappling with thorny questions. 

Like many other bloggers, I spend most of my time criticizing the ideas of others – toxic religious beliefs, patriarchal gender roles, the elevation of virginity, and the agenda of the religious right – and comparatively less time building positive alternatives. While it’s critical to contest values and ideas we find harmful, it’s also important to build up positive alternatives, and it’s that understanding that birthed Forward Thinking.

Here are some samples of the types of issues we hope to cover:

What Advice Would You Give Teens About Sex?

What Are Our Obligations To Our Elderly Parents?

What Moral Issues Surround Bringing Children into the World?

On the first Monday of each month I will offer a prompt and invite input from readers and fellow bloggers alike. Two weeks later, on the third Monday, I will post a round-up of responses, complete with links and short excerpts from blog posts and especially insightful comments, and direct readers to Dan Finke’s blog, where he will post the next prompt. Then, on the first Monday of the following month, Dan will post a round-up of responses and direct readers back to my blog for the following prompt. In this way we will cover two prompts per month, one on each blog.

Now it’s your turn. What suggestions do you have for future prompts? What ideas and issues would you like to see Forward Thinking tackle? The first prompt - What Does Civic Responsibility Mean to You? - has already been posted, so head over there and share your thoughts!

And if someone wants to develop a better banner for the project, let me know!

  • Jen B.

    Excellent! Your and Dan’s blogs are two of my favorites, so I’m really excited to hear about this project!

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    Well, since it’s pretty quiet, here are my thoughts. Maybe they’ve been covered other times and I’ve missed them. Take a look.

    How should marriage be used in light of things like cohabitation? sex? divorce?
    Is marriage even the best option for some?

    Talk about gender. What does it mean? If it doesn’t come with defined roles, what does it come with? Do we need better terminology beyond male and female for things like a transitioning adult or ambiguous at birth?

    Talk about environmental concerns. How can we make a difference? What should we be doing small and large scale?

  • lucifermourning

    How do you balance the aim of teaching children to be healthy and take care of themselves with the aim of teaching them to accept and like their bodies as they are? How to navigate the balance between encouraging healthy eating, exercise, etc. with encouraging a healthy body image?

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    Since atheists don’t have a God to offend, the word ‘sin’ isn’t super useful. How are wrongs or vices determined outside of what a God commands? Why are they wrong? What should we do about them?

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Rachel Marcy (Bix)

    What a fantastic and challenging idea for a series! I hope I can participate in it.

  • Hilary

    really looking forward to this and I think working out positive values are so important!

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  • Paul

    I love the idea of a positive discussion instead of just venting our spleens against whatever stupidity the religious (right or otherwise) and address issues in a positive manner.

    I have a suggestion for a prompt. Many pundits among the unbelieving have mentioned what title they would like – atheist, agnostic, anti-theist, non-theist – when I think a better question is do we need a label. I’m not big fan of pushing people into pigeon holes. To quote Popeye the Sailor Man – “I am what I am and that’s all what I am”. OK, quoting cartoon characters is a bit odd but it’s the way I have always looked at myself.

    Good luck, I will be following it on both blogs.

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