Are we seeing a "turn to the East" among those people unaffiliated with any particular organized religion, especially those who self-identify as "spiritual but not religious?" I don't think so. Of course, the influence of America's increasing religious diversity is evident.
I think of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau as America's founding SBNRs. But, while SBNRs have always been with us, their numbers exploded when the baby boomers came of age in a world of great diversity and easy access to new sources of information, especially the spiritual traditions of the East.
Religion as we have known it is breaking down. The evidence is everywhere we look. It is in the despicable rhetoric and violence of politically-oriented religious extremists, far and near. It is in the scandals and abuses plaguing our current ecclesiastical structures.
Religion is a tool that performs a service for us, something we utilize for our own spiritual development. Unfortunately, we sometimes end up getting used by the tool! But that's not the fault of religion.
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Faith is not reserved for the religious, nor does any religion have a monopoly on it. To the contrary, at one level, faith is a common and important psychological coping mechanism used every moment of our lives to allow us to function as normally as possible.
To pastors who are exhausted from extra holiday sermons and services, not to mention the stress of preaching for folks who hear only two sermons a year, it can be tempting to see the Holly-Lily crowd's financial gifts as the only blessing of their attendance.
The winter season may feel stark and empty, but beneath its deceptive surface, there is a rich landscape of fertility leading us towards springtime.
Can religion help reduce violent crime? Some new research suggests the answer is yes, both by creating a moral climate that fosters respect among n...
Instead of asking, however, why people are running away from churches faster than a squirrel will cross a busy street, most fundamentalist Christian leaders point to those leaving as if something were wrong with them.
Documenting two years of following Phish and the Insane Clown Posse to the farthest reaches of his sanity and soul, Rabin's new book is a chronicle of repentance from the sin of the Golden Cliche.
Atheism cannot simply be about setting individuals free. It needs to address the deep suffering of society and take aim at dismantling the socio-economic structures that privilege the few while oppressing the many.
It is way past time for the Church to let go of its own collective ego and get real with life and faith and the big issues of our time.
Christians used to be the prime authority on these matters in American society. Now the media and Internet do not have as much of a stake in maintaining traditional boundaries and have instead leveled the playing field completely. Religion can mean everything and anything.
When I say I am not a believer, it doesn't mean I believe nothing. It is that belief is not central to my religious and spiritual life. As a matter of fact, belief holds little importance to me at all.
As a Universalist deist, I believe that regardless of the claims by various religious apologists, it is humans who are looking up at the sky, imagining what the Divine First Cause might be. We can no more understand its scope than plankton can understand the ocean.