“Buridan’s Ass” comes to mind as citizens ponder what to think and what to favor in the Syrian civil war. Look it up: this is the dilemma of Buridan’s ass (named after philosopher John Buridan). Poised equidistantly between two equally attractive bales of hay, the animal had no reason to choose one bale over the other. Unable to decide, he starved.
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September 16, 2013
September 12, 2013
One week after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, 2001, my then-eight-year-old daughter Zoë crawled into bed with my wife Holly (Zoë’s stepmom) early one morning after I had gotten up to make coffee and feed the dog. We were living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, close to the congregation where I serve as minister, five miles north of the World Trade Center site.
September 9, 2013
Last week the Associated Press reported that Pastor Robert Schuller has “stage four” cancer and The New York Times reported the destruction of the “Walk of Faith” on the grounds of Schuller’s realized dream, the Crystal Cathedral.
September 5, 2013
Where does religion come from, and where does it lead us? No one wrestled and played more deeply with these questions than Robert Bellah, who died unexpectedly on July 30. From Micah and Plato through Durkheim and Weber to Tillich and Talcott Parsons, Bellah reached across the ages to find teachers and friends in history. The past is never dead, he taught in turn.
September 2, 2013
After a month of non-labor, the Marty Center’s staff returns and publishes on Labor Day. Given the choice of dramatic, horrendous, headline-grabbing topics (e.g.
July 29, 2013
During Sightings’ annual “August Hiatus,” I (figuratively) load up my beach bag with books and other reading materials. I provide some suggestions at the end of this column should you be doing the same.
July 25, 2013
In a 2012, New York Times music-album review, “On Religion: A Search for God Through Bluegrass and Klezmer,” klezmer musician Andy Statman discusses a Christian hymn that appears on his album Old Brooklyn: “It’s about belief in God, a direct experience of God…It’s a song any monotheist can get behind.’”
July 22, 2013
Published in late 1959, my first book, The New Shape of American Religion, cited several mainstream commentators and spotted numerous trends to suggest that the then-much-noticed “revival of interest” in religion had crested in 1958.
July 18, 2013
The 2011 Canadian census data regarding religion was recently released by Statistics Canada, the federal agency that tells us Canadians, and interested others, what to make of the decennial censuses taken by the government.
July 15, 2013
Two weeks ago Sightings picked up on some lines written by the influential Evangelical-oriented author, Eric Metaxas. “Not so fast,” he wisely enough cautioned those who consider legalized, same-sex marriage to be inevitable. And yet, hours after he posted this alert, the United States Supreme Court issued a judgment, which made legal same-sex marriage look a bit more inevitable.
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