Future Religious and Ethical Leaders Ask The Hard Questions — Together

December 8, 2010

convo-bubblesPlease check out my latest blog for the Huffington Post about State of Formation! Below is a selection; it can be read in full at the Huffington Post:

“‘Thou shalt not’ might reach the head, but it takes ‘Once upon a time’ to reach the heart.” So said Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, in a 2007 interview with The Atlantic. He might be right, but I can’t help but wonder: What if we could reach both the head and the heart?

It’s a question I asked myself many times over while writing my Master of Arts in Religion thesis on narrative and religion last year. Now, as the Managing Director of State of Formation, a new online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders founded by the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and run in partnership with Hebrew CollegeAndover Newton Theological School and collaboration with Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, I am so excited about the content that has flooded the site in its inaugural week — and how our religious and philosophical academics are using both their minds and their hearts to enter into dialogue. Continue reading at the Huffington Post.

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2 Responses to “Future Religious and Ethical Leaders Ask The Hard Questions — Together”

  1. Taylor N. said

    So proud of you, Chris! I can’t believe I know you.

  2. Frank Bellamy said

    Interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m not sure I’m interpreting your work right, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think what concerns me is that you are treating these people as “scholars” in virtue of their having training in divinity schools or being active in their religious communities. One of the essential elements of a secular worldview is that such people are not scholars, they have no expertise in anything but the tenants of their particular traditions, and that is a truth only about the contents of certain texts and minds, not about any other part of the world. It follows from a secular worldview that such a person should not be treated as any more of an authority on anything (other than the tenants of their own tradition) than any random person of the street. And yet here you refer to them as scholars and suggest that they have some kind of expertise on ethics. So what is going on here? To be clear I have no objection to approaching people who are leaders of religious organizations and working with them in that capacity where it is wise to do so, but treating them as having any more authority than strictly follows from whatever positions they have in organizations seems to violate my belief that they are just plain wrong about the way the universe works. What am I missing here?

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