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Minister’s Blog

David’s manuscript on humanist liturgy is available here: “Congregating for Secular People: Theory and Practice”

an illuminated "yes"

An Introduction to Humanism: the Yes-Way Way

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Humanists propose that all religious traditions from all places and times have sought a better understanding of the world in order to improve human flourishing. Theologies and philosophies are, on this view, attempts to use human reason and creativity to improve the human condition.

Hands holding soil

Labor Day, with Bread and Roses

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As I write this, on Labor Day weekend of 2022, unemployment is at a fifty-year low. Sections of restaurants are closed due to staff shortages; businesses are opening late and closing early due to staffing shortages. Some small businesses are giving up and closing their doors because they can’t find enough people. Why the sudden shortage of labor? As we come… Read More »Labor Day, with Bread and Roses

neon sign reading "super natural"

Natural Supernaturalism and Transcendentalism, Gotten Backwards

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There are lots of things to respect and lots of things to criticize about Enlightenment thought. But one thing that often gets forgotten in our contemporary dismissal of the Enlightenment is that criticism of the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment is nothing new.

Progressive Religion: It’s Time to Read the Room

The Scopes trial underlined for many — both religious liberals and religious traditionalists — that natural selection would be the wedge that permanently split American religious thinking into two broad — and most likely irreconcilable — camps.

an illustration from the middle ages. a fanciful whale with a sailor building a fire on its back

Lessons on Illusion from the Books of Beasts

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Medieval Europeans believed that God revealed valuable lessons in morality to humanity through nature itself. A very popular way of teaching those lessons — through a bit of church intervention — were books called Bestiaries, or “Books of Beasts.” Now, I hasten to add that by “nature” and “lessons of morality” I mean the often imaginary nature created by priests and monks… Read More »Lessons on Illusion from the Books of Beasts

But Who Is Hate?

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“God is love.” Yes, I know that the phrase is biblical. The words appear in 1 John 4:8, to be precise. I had those three words underlined in a pocket New Testament (plus Psalms) I carried everywhere as a kid. Leather cover. I also know the rest of the verse: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”… Read More »But Who Is Hate?

Historicism: On Knowing That We Are Making It Up

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Many of us of a liberal theological bent consider religions in the category of stuff human beings in our communal groupings have made up over the millennia in order to survive and thrive on this planet. Human ideas are socially and historically “conditioned.” Philosophies and religions — and the truths and gods they claim — are “true” because they have… Read More »Historicism: On Knowing That We Are Making It Up

Constructing Democracy (Calmly)

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The American philosopher John Dewey was one of the signers of Humanist Manifesto I back in 1933. Most people know a little something about Dewey because of his theories of education. Like the nowadays more famous Maria Montessori, Dewey was a constructivist. Constructivism is complex idea that boils down to a fairly simple formula. As Maria Montessori put it, “the mind remembers what the… Read More »Constructing Democracy (Calmly)