October 19, 2015

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 joy and gratitude. I can hardly believe that I am privileged to be in communion with something so extraordinary, something so special. In contrast, encounters… Read more

October 1, 2015

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 bonding agents between individuals. Rituals, many of which eventually coalesced into organized religion, have been central in human life for at least 70,000 years [1]…. Read more

October 1, 2015

  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 may have treated some objects as sacred…. It is hard to deny that human behavior now includes a rather strong tendency to invest objects, people,… Read more

September 27, 2015

What is Sacred Naturalism? Basic definitions are fundamental to any kind of discourse, and so with every conversation I find it valuable to have a clear, concise — and most importantly — shared conception of the basic units we are working with. Especially when it comes to the big questions in life, mutual understanding is essential for progress to be made, and this begins with basic definitions. For that reason this is my attempt to describe what it really means to be a… Read more

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