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October 09, 2012


Lane Severson

Scott, I agree with most of what you write here except for the label "freak". It feels like the heart of what you are expressing is more mainstream to the average Christian experience today. The freakish part, perhaps, is your honesty.

My concern with religious institutions (religion in the broadest sense of any rituals we use to direct our desires) is that they too often seem to be playing a role in helping the faithful ignore the challenge of nihilism instead of facing it with courage. That is, that most of us are using religion to cover up the fear of the meaningless instead of actually stepping out in faith.

I don't know if that at all connects with what you are saying. But I'm interested to see where this thread goes. I'll be reading.


Unitarian Universalism! Here, have some coffee.

Soylent H

I left my religion because I can't be a part of authoritarian apologists or rampant hypocrisy (me being gay was the crucial problem there), and it doesn't matter to me necessarily if god exists or not. What does matter to me is living a moral life, and being good to the people around me, and I increasingly wish secular culture had a better answer to "Well, how can you be good without the existential threat of eternal damnation and/or submitting to divine (and therefore earthly) authority?" than it does. Like, I want a similar body of work to the bible that doesn't rely on literalism and authority (and doesn't require cognitive dissonance to mesh with the real world) and a place to discuss it that isn't based on mindless submission to the guy at the podium.

Having said that, not sure I'll see such a thing in my lifetime. To me it's obvious that one doesn't need god to be good. To my family, it sounds like the devil's sneaky lies. I'm still not sure what to do about that.

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Scott Paeth teaches Religious Studies at DePaul University