Archive for the 'Religion & irreligion' Category

A note on being constructive

Having just posted a basically intellectual reply to two comments on “Carrying the Society as long as you can”, I want to also affirm the wisdom of what philosopher Philip Kitcher says in this interview, which you should listen to if you have any interest in the things I’ve been writing about lately. One of […]

The post-religious destiny of Quakerism

[The following grew out of a reply to Bill and Richard’s comments on the last big post.]
It’s certainly true that early Friends were Christian – very much so. There’s plenty evidence of that.
But it’s a profound mistake to see these outward beliefs – and if you’ve read much of early Friends, you know the […]

Carrying the Society as long as you can

[Apologies to feed or post-by-email readers who received an incomplete draft of this post…]
If you’ve been following this blog for the past few months, you probably recall the entry “A post-Quaker vision of the Society of Friends”. When I wrote that, I was in the opening throes of a period of intellectual reorganization, which I […]

Report on the Nontheist Friends interest group at New England Yearly Meeting

I was reluctant at first about hosting the Nontheist Friends interest group at New England Yearly Meeting this year, because I’m not very well-versed in the experience of other nontheist Friends — I haven’t even read Godless for God’s Sake yet — and I’m not sure I agree with most nontheist Friends about the wisdom […]

Nontheist Friends interest group on Tuesday

The details of the nontheist Friends interest group at New England YM, as promised: it will be tomorrow night at 9 pm, room 359 of the Unistructure. I haven’t been able to find any other nontheist Friends who are attending sessions this year, aside from one YAF who is of the more post-Quaker persuasion like […]

Possible nontheist Friends interest group at New England YM

As mentioned last post, at the last minute I ended up being unable to go to Canadian Yearly Meeting, so a few days ago I registered for trusty old New England Yearly Meeting. And though I’ve found much to like about the schedule (as usual), there seemed to be a little underrepresentation of the more […]

Science vs. soul in Russia

In the NY Times Book Review this morning there is an interesting review of a book on Russia’s complicated relationship with modern Western ideas, which has various resonances for Friends and religious people generally, I believe. Excerpts:
There is a joke about the Russians, sometimes told by Russians. A young man from the provinces, inspired by […]

New humanist blogroll

Keen observers of this blog (all five of you) may have already noticed that I’ve added sections for humanist and atheist blogs to my sidebar under all the Quaker links, as well as a section for Unitarian Universalist blogs. I may blog a bit about UUs soon, after I visit my third UU church, though […]

Hyphenated Christians. . . coming to a church near you

Briefly — sooner or later, it had to happen. Last month, an Episcopal priest in Olympia, Washington came out as a Muslim Christian, and now her bishop is giving her a one-year timeout.
More food for thought in the perennial question of “hyphenated Quakers” (about whom Richard had an interesting post recently).

God’s will for a nontheist

A number of people (including one theistic Friend) told me they liked what I wrote below on the Nontheist Friends email list the other day, so I’m posting it here in case it’s helpful to anyone else. I was responding to a Friend who spoke about having a hard time with “God’s will” language:
I had […]




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  • There is a joke about the Russians, sometimes told by Russians. A young man from the provinces, inspired by a local doctor, travels to St. Petersburg because he wants to study “life.” He reads, he writes and eventually he enters medical school. On the first day of class the professor enters the hushed auditorium and announces, “Gentlemen, today we will discuss the pancreas.” The young man leaps from his seat, enraged. “The pancreas? How dare you mention the pancreas! We are not here to study the pancreas, we are here to study ... LIFE!”

    Mark Lilla


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