So You Want a #Spiritual Experience? #SBNR

GET YOUR AWE ON Which religion offers the best chance at a spiritual experience? Thirty-nine percent of Evangelical Christians and 47% of Roman Catholics report having had such experiences sometime in their lives, the highest percentages among the religious. (“Spirituality” is a US phenomenon.) But the answer is none of the above. Fifty-four percent of [Read More…]

Bingo (and Religion) Exists and Is Everywhere About Us 

A RELIGIOUS NON-COMBATANT For some reason, when some folks discover I’m a humanist, they seem to think I want to argue about religion. I don’t want to argue about religion. As far as I’m concerned, religion is a lot like bingo: you’re interested or you’re not. Some people grow up in families or communities that [Read More…]

Humanist Humility

One of the most persistent cliches about humanists is that we are human-o-centric and egotistical. It is true that the term “humanist” sounds like a wild claim for the abilities of the human. It’s also true that humanism contained some rah-rah for human progress a century ago. But it’s good to remember that humanists accept [Read More…]

What’s the Beef with Purple Cows? On Logos and Mythos

What’s the difference between a poem and a mathematical equation? Say, between Einstein’s E=MC2 and what is purported to be the shortest poem, “Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes,” but better known as “Fleas” by Strickland Gillian: Adam Had ‘em. Though I am innumerate, I understand that equations may be good math or not and [Read More…]

Cutting Some Slack for Integrity

Reformers. Protestants. Heretics. Loudmouths. William Tyndale’s (1494-1536) crime was translating the bible into English. Tyndale said, I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause se a boy that drives the plow to know more scripture than he (the Pope) does. God—or at least the authorities [Read More…]

Cheap Grace and Humanist Ritual, Part II

God must be replaced with a symbol capable of generating a different and more productive response and organizational pattern to life. Anthony B. Pinn, The End of God Talk: an African American Humanist Theology I. Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion [Read More…]

Humanist Ritual, Part One

God must be replaced with a symbol capable of generating a different and more productive response and organizational pattern to life. Anthony B. Pinn, The End of God Talk: an African American Humanist Theology I. One thing we know about ritual is that we can’t escape it. From shaking hands to respectful calm in the [Read More…]

#Humanism: Who We Are; What We Do; Why It Matters

I. Who We Are Religions and philosophies serve as heuristic devices for life, providing shape and meaning to what otherwise may seem a shapeless, chaotic rush. For some, religious views are chosen by birth or circumstance, for others religions are a matter of passing indifference in the rush toward the goals of a given social [Read More…]

Humanist Jesus

The changing religious landscape in the US is a bit hard to get one’s head around. For the sake of clarity, let’s imagine ourselves in the midst of something I’ll call the Average Christian Church, ACC. On a Sunday morning. We find ourselves repeating the Apostles’ Creed— I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy [Read More…]

To Whom It May Concern: the Humanist/Theist Split in Unitarian Universalism

Since I’m an out-there Humanist, I get asked fairly often how Unitarian Universalists might go about healing the theist/humanist divide. My first response is quite simple: There isn’t a theist/humanist divide. Many humanists are theists and vice versa. Fact is, “humanist” isn’t merely a nice word for “atheist.” Rather, the “divide” is a leftover from [Read More…]