Swing Vote in the Bitter Election: Reflections on Orlando

The recent massacre in the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida is unfortunately an example of why the oft-repeated phrase “the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice” is bad theology and dangerous magical thinking. While the phrase offers hope, it offers false hope, and President Obama, who loves the phrase coined by Theodore [Read More…]

No Gods, No Masters, and the Humanist Way of Thinking

Humanism developed in late Medieval Christianity, but moved on. European humanism reached high points in the Reformation and the Enlightenment and in Post-Second World War Europe and many of its colonies, including the US. But moved on. Humanism is not a philosophy. It is a way of thinking. This naturalistic way of thinking values observation [Read More…]

Cafeteria, Smorgasbord, Grubhub: Religion Delivery Today 

A Twitter meme says, “Spiritual but not religious: people who prefer to make up their own stuff rather than believe stuff others have made up.” Is that the essence of the changes happening on the US religious landscape? In a recent post I mentioned a bumper sticker I saw: “It’s not religion / it’s a relationship” [Read More…]

#Mindfulness and the View We Take of Things

One on Every Corner There’s a lot of talk about spiritual practice these days. “Mindfulness” is everywhere—I have three apps that claim to encourage mindfulness on my phone. In the marketplace of ideas we have everything from secular Buddhists to religious naturalists. Like Walmart or Starbucks, spiritual practice appears to create demand for itself merely [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…]

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…]

On Prayer

Emily Dickinson wrote, Of Course I prayed And did God Care? He cared as much as on the Air A Bird had stampd her foot And cried “Give Me” (#376) I grew up in a praying family. My parents both got on their knees at bedtime and earnestly prayed. We prayed before each meal: a [Read More…]

Love Thy Neighbor As . . . 

There’s an old Buddhist story that goes like this: Once a mother found her baby extremely ill. She was afraid it would die. She had heard that the Buddha was teaching nearby, so she grabbed up her baby and rushed to the Buddha to ask that her baby be healed. “Why do you want your [Read More…]


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