Sunday, February 13, 2011

Raising the Bar: Evolution and Evangelism (12 Feb 2011)

Last summer I had a visitor at my front door.  I heard the bell ring and went to see who it was, only to find myself confronted with two well-dressed strangers who were anxious to speak with me.  Each was beaming with apparent enthusiasm over something they wanted to share, and after introducing themselves, proceeded to blurt out the well-rehearsed question, “Well, sir, we were wondering if we could speak with you about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?  Do you yourself know Jesus?”
I was struck by the formality of their presentation and by the meticulous way in which these two believers spoke.  One man and one woman, they smiled at me with a coaxing simplicity that covered more covert intentions; they were – most assuredly – praying for me ‘inwardly’ as they confronted me.  I, too, was ‘praying’ for guidance, and suddenly found myself asking them if they understood and accepted the truth of evolution?  _I was rather surprised by these words coming out of my mouth, but it felt ‘right,’ and so I beamed at them with a hopefully less duplicitous enthusiasm.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Symbolic Reflections at MidWinter (2 February 2011)

It is time to revel in the waxing of day light; the lengthening of the days!
This evening as I was walking home after work I noticed just how much lighter it is at 6 PM than it was a month ago, and was thus reminded that we are at Mid-Winter; that time of the year commemorated in myths and stories as a time for ‘awakening’ as the light of the sun grows ‘stronger.’  Standing about half way between Winter’s Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, I turn to reflections on the symbols, stories and rituals that have been used to mark this turnstile in the Wheel of the Year, in both Pagan and Christian traditions.   The first days of February have long been occasioned by the lighting of fires, hearths and candles.  It has been connected with spiritual awakening; waking up and turning toward the light that is growing day by day—in the hopes of wisening in our ways.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Some Musings on Naturalistic Ethics (16 January 2011)

“It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject permits and not to seek an exactness where only an approximation of the truth is possible.”
                                              - Aristotle
                                  Nichomachean Ethics

I was out in the woods walking through winter landscapes yesterday, wondering as I went, when an inspiration came over me, and I said to myself, ‘there just seems to be no reason, at this point, that we can’t ground an understanding of morality and ethics in naturalism.’  Moving amidst the snow covered deciduous trees denuded of their leaves and the conifers with their snow laden boughs, with the afternoon sunlight making the landscape shimmer and shift as I went, I wondered seriously why it is so hard for people to give up the ‘skyhook’ of God as the justification for their morality?[1]  Why do we think that we can’t be moral on our own?