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Host of NPR’s On Being tries to formulate a unified theory of secular spirituali

  • eridani (2963 posts)
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    Host of NPR’s On Being tries to formulate a unified theory of secular spirituali


    Agnosticism is often thought of, incorrectly, as a state of theological indecision. Rather, it is the conviction that it is epistemologically impossible to determine whether or not there is a deity. Agnosticism is an ideology of unknowability. In a kindred book, also published this April, Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto (Riverhead), Lesley Hazleton describes agnosticism as “a recognition that we need room for mystery, for the imagination, for things sensed but not proven, intuited but not defined—room in which to explore and entertain possibilities.” It reflects the beliefs of a growing sector of the population: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans increased from 15.3 to 19.6 percent between 2007 and 2012. And more than a third of this group identified themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” These people access spiritual life in an enormous range of ways: through yoga, meditation, music, poetry, community service, psychedelic drugs, the outdoors, and more.

    On Tippett’s show, talking—connecting through conversation—is a way of accessing spirituality. Much of her work revolves around the collaborative creation of a new spiritual rhetoric. Tippett argues that religious words have become ossified, banal, and politicized. She hopes to develop a new “language of virtue,” made up of what, on one episode, the poet Elizabeth Alexander calls “words that shimmer.” Tippett writes that, in order to keep our spiritual and moral imaginations open, she avoids words that ring partisan: God, prayer, or justice, for instance. When she lists the adjectives that she prefers, they are unmistakably free of denominational connotation: nourishing, edifying, redemptive, and courageous. Tippett also believes that using stories instead of rhetoric can break down the divisions between people. In her book, she writes, “Once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly.”

    HIP56948 likes this
    You've heard of the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West, right?  I'm the Morally Ambiguous Witch of the Northwest.

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