Beliefs, A-Liefs, and Seeing the Way Things Are

Tis education forms the common mind, Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined. Alexander Pope One of the major tourist attractions in Chicago is the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower and also formerly the tallest building in the world. Upon reaching the 103rd floor, visitors have the opportunity to walk out on [Read More...]

The Open and Shut (?) Case on Religious Thinking and Cognitive Closure

It isn’t news that there’s an inverse relation between religious piety and innovative thought. Religion is a handbrake—whether it stops humanity from going uphill or downhill is the real question. When a new study comes out telling us what we already know about secularity, my secular acquaintances do the I-told-you-so as the religious squint and [Read More...]

A Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin: So What’s Our Excuse? (A Humanist “Theology” of Radical Welcome)

Mystical and Scientific The author of the Gospel of Matthew reports Jesus saying, “If you welcome your sisters and brothers only, what are you doing more than others? (5:47) Monk and mystic Thomas Merton wrote about one of his mystical experiences: “Yesterday, in Louisville, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, I suddenly realized that [Read More...]

It’s always 9/11 Now: Porous, Buffered, and the Search for Authentic

Authenticity or Bust From the First Great Awakening of the 1740s that energized the North American colonists and eventually led to the American Revolution to the Transcendentalists to the Beats, Hippies, and What-Have-Yous, a frequent cry of Americans has been “authenticity.” Americans want it to be real; genuine; visceral; heartfelt; roughhewn . . . something [Read More...]

Moses, Jesus, Paul and Sacred Soundbites

What ‘Ol Abe Saw Moses, Jesus, Paul, et. al. as motivator. Their words as marching orders for how to live and what is right to do. Sounds good. Yet, as he watched the bloody carnage justified on both sides by Christian theology, Abraham Lincoln perhaps said it best: “I know that the Lord is always [Read More...]

The Spiritual Practice of Agnosticism

Wolf! The Aesop fable about the boy who cried wolf has long been viewed as a cautionary tale about lying. The boy knowingly cried “wolf!” merely to disturb the villagers. The boy eventually pays the price in dead sheep when the villagers stop responding. There is another and more dangerous way of crying wolf, however: [Read More...]

Ferguson: Cynicism and a Smartphone

I have to admit that the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have triggered mostly cynicism for me. In the US we have periodic paroxysms of piety triggered by events that happen every day but occasionally “go viral” in the media. Then, the outrage subsides . . . and nothing changes. Allow me to relate an [Read More...]

The Rise of the Totally Awesome ‘Whatever’ God

“Moralistic therapeutic deism.” That’s the term sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton coined to describe the religious beliefs of the average North American. Rev. Robert Vinciguerra calls it “egonovism,” a neologism constructed of “ego” and “novo,” new. Rev. Rob claims that most Americans are Egonovists, even though most don’t know it. http://revrob.com/society-topmenu-49/223-continued-observations-on-the-egonovism-of-american-society-and-dialogs-with-egonovists Why are [Read More...]

Spiritual but not Superstitious (Mystical Without the Mumbling)

“Spirituality” is emotion. Sometimes the spiritual emotion springs from a consciously adopted attitude toward the world we see around us. Sometimes it hits us unexpectedly. A “spiritual experience” can be anything from the warm-fuzzy feeling we get singing a song we love to the inexpressible “mystical” experience of feeling one with all that is. Both [Read More...]

Reps of God: Christian Triumphalism and the DIY Future of Unitarian Universalism

LITE The future of Unitarian Universalism does not lie in Christianity Lite any more than the future of Anheuser-Busch lies in Bud Light. Oh, wait: Anheuser-Busch doesn’t have a future: it was bought out . . . by a European corporation that makes tasty beer. In our consumerist religious landscape, the mainstream Christian denominations are [Read More...]


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