truth and care: on jonathan haidt’s moral dilemma

  Before I critique Jon’s talk (you can watch it here), I should mention that I’ve been a fan of his for years; it’s why I asked him to serve on the advisory board of my former journal The Evolutionary Review: Art, Science, Culture, which he was kind enough to do. And I’ve cited his scholarship on ‘the sacred’ in [Read More…]

in memes begins responsibility | A Call to Unify the Nonreligious

When I wrote my novel, Trine Erotic, back at the turn of the century, the word meme was virtually unknown to the American public.1   Today, meme is so ubiquitous, I debated whether to use it in my title. But the truth is, it’s a great word — and judging from what one undergrad class of mine thought memes were [Read More…]

the sacredness of relationship, the sacredness of everything

  All nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmic sacrality. — Eliade   Scholarship on “the sacred” is about a century old now, with definitions ranging from academic to poetic. The psychologist Jonathan Haidt provides us with a cogent one: “Evidence for [sacred] practices goes back tens of thousands of years; even Homo Neanderthalis [Read More…]

evolutionary well-being

Well-being and our adapted minds The first time I came across the idea of happiness from an evolutionary perspective was in 2002, in Bjørn Grinde’s Darwinian Happiness. A year later I read John Price and Anthony Stevens’s Evolutionary Psychiatry, where they proclaimed: “Mental health results from the fulfillment of archetypal goals.” I was glad to see [Read More…]

is there something we can all pledge our allegiance to?

 There’s a controversy here in my town of New Paltz that recently went national. It involves the pledge of allegiance, FOX & Friends, hateful threats from “patriotic Americans,” and chocolate. Essentially, someone on the Planning Board here decided she wanted to begin the meetings of the PB with a pledge of allegiance (they hadn’t been saying [Read More…]

Steps Anyone Can Take to Unify and Change the World

By Ed Gibney   A couple of posts ago on this Sacred Naturalism blog, Alice Andrews made A Call to Unify the Nonreligious. While the religious are technically spread among hundreds, if not thousands, of different sects, there are a handful of leaders who together can say they speak for the vast majority of those [Read More…]

Redefining Progress: Keeping a Place for “Place”

Concepts of modernity and progress have long served as markers of differentiation in human history. We often consider the past as primitive and inferior to our current state of civilization, resulting in inattentional blindness to the failings of our most recent institutions. Anxieties about this tendency were particularly prevalent in the early 19th century, as exemplified by authors such as [Read More…]

The End of God

By Ric Dragon – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 There are words that we use for things we know so well, as in, “look at that goat over there, it’s chewing on my favorite book!” We also use words to signify things [Read More…]

An Atheist’s Place in the Big Tent of Sacred Naturalism

By Ed Gibney This is the atheist channel on Patheos, right? So why the new blog on something sacred? The first four Google definitions of the word “sacred” all involve religious or holy connotations, yet I—a thoroughly confirmed sacred naturalist—am also a hard-nosed atheist and a materialist/physicalist philosopher. How do I reconcile these seemingly contradictory [Read More…]

The Ordinary as Sacred

By John A. Johnson Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Penn State University   Reading a draft of Alice Andrews’s The Sacredness of Relationship gave me a huge rush of recognition. As Alice says, sacredness is a matter of the heart, akin to love. In the presence of the sacred, I am filled with feelings of awe and [Read More…]

Sacred Spaces for Secular Communities: A Brief Introduction

Modern humans and their primate ancestors have never been isolated, solitary beings. They evolved in highly social settings and were extraordinarily reliant on their communities for support during times of hardship. Survival was a group effort that required cooperative, reciprocal relationships between members. However the mutual needs for sustenance, shelter, and mating were not the sole [Read More…]