From the Blog

The Clergy Letter Project: Demonstrating the Compatibility of Religion and Science

There’s an all-too common view in the United States that religion and science are in conflict.  While this conflict takes many forms, none is more prevalent than that associated with the evolution/creation debate.  Simply put, there are some who proclaim loudly and often that one can’t be truly religious if evolution is accepted.  The basic premise of this position is that people must choose between their religion and modern science; that it is impossible to embrace both.

In fact, however, despite the volume of these claims, this position is very much at odds with what a huge majority of devout individuals understand.  In an attempt to share this message as broadly as possible, I created a grassroots organization that has grown to more than 15,000 clergy members.  This organization, The Clergy Letter Project, has three clear and simple goals: Read more about The Clergy Letter Project: Demonstrating the Compatibility of Religion and Science »

“God” as Creativity

When a distinguished scientist and an eminent theologian agree on what is meant by God we should take notice.  The scientist is complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman whose recent book is entitled Reinventing the Sacred.  Like many he has left traditional religion behind, but he wants to retain a sense of the sacred nature of life, and he finds that sacred quality in creativity.  Creativity, he suggests, is at the heart of things and in the very nature of the universe.  In fact he identifies creativity with God, suggesting that what he means by God is simply creativity.  He writes: “God is our chosen name for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere, and human cultures.”  He comes to this conclusion because “This creativity is stunning, awesome and worthy of reverence.” Read more about “God” as Creativity »

Coming Out as a Humanist

I am a humanist. That’s not something I always share with others, especially here in South Carolina, where the first question people generally ask upon meeting you is, “So where do you go to church?”; where people regularly talk about God as their co-pilot and Jesus as their fishing buddy; where prayer is considered a viable solution to every problem, from ending drought to finding a parking place. Publicly admitting that you are a humanist – or an atheist, agnostic, skeptic, free thinker, or any other variety of nonbeliever – anywhere in America is about as risky as burning a flag in an American Legion hall. Where I live, being a nonbeliever can get you denied a promotion and fired from your job. It can get you disowned by your family and deserted by your friends. It can get your house or car vandalized, and it can get you physically harmed. Prejudice against nonbelievers may be the last socially acceptable bigotry.  Read more about Coming Out as a Humanist »

The Story Telling Animal

Walt Whitman sang The Body Electric. Let us sing The Mind Electric for its soaring imagination. Nothing distinguishes our species more than our creative capacity and need for story telling. Stories can be grounded in fact and history or wildly fantastical. Both avenues define our culture, our selves, and our species. They are tools for passing down learning and expressing our hopes, desires, needs and are the major source of entertainment. For millennia, they were told person to person, or person to persons, especially around campfires and hearths in the evening. The invention of writing not only aided their spread but also their saving. In the modern world, story telling is the staple of radio, movies, television, and the internet. Read more about The Story Telling Animal »

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