LSD [Flashback]

Gary Laderman In other words, experiences with LSD and the publicity surrounding them gave shape and content to modern understandings of spirituality.

Jim James’ Musical Blend of the Religious, Spiritual, and Secular

Scott Muir My aim here is not to fix any “real meaning” to James’ output or speculate about his personal identity, but rather to illustrate how he presents an entangled web of meanings that his listeners may appropriate for their own religious/spiritual/secular constructions of the sacred.

7 Questions for Kaya Oakes

Kaya Oakes And yet, there was a real sense throughout doing the interviews that comprise a lot of the book that this was deeply sacred work: holding people’s stories, amplifying them through writing, and engaging in dialogue post publication about this fragile thing we call faith.

7 Questions for Elizabeth Drescher

Elizabeth Drescher . . . what constitutes “religion” and the “spiritual” for most people often has little in common with what scholars study and demographers track.

American Secularism: Seven Questions

In our interview series, “Seven Questions,” we ask some very smart people about what inspires them and how their latest work enhances our understanding of the sacred in cultural life. For this segment, we solicited responses from Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith, co-authors of American Secularism: Cultural Contours of Nonreligious Belief Systems (New York University Press, 2015). 1. What sparked the idea for writing this book? In delving deeper into the sociology of religion as a subfield, we were struck by an interesting split in the discipline. On the one hand you have numerous classic texts on theory, […]

On Being Spiritual but Not Religious: Past, Present, Future(s)

William B. Parsons What does “being spiritual but not religious” mean? It’s on dating sites, so it must be something! But is it clear-cut and easy to identify, or is it more like what Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland, California, namely: “There is no there there.” It’s a good question. We’ll shed some light on the spiritual but not religious movement (SBNRM) and on “being” spiritual but not religious (BSBNR).

Under-the-Radar Religion for Nones: Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’

Mark Hulsether If there is any part of our culture where the (typically noxious) idea of trickle-down influence actually makes sense, Björk is a good place to look. She ranks amid an extremely select handful of musician’s musicians whose creative innovations especially matter. This year her superb record, Vulnicura, flew less under the popular radar than some of her earlier work, since it was coordinated with an exhibit showcasing her fashion innovations at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and features in the New Yorker and New York Times Magazine

2015: The Year in Religion

Gary Laderman Death. Violence. Carnage. Hatred. Warfare. Demonization.

Bliss. Transcendence. Community. Comfort. Love. Glorification.

Overall, I’d say this year has been a mixed bag for religion. But then again, I’d have to say that every year throughout human history religious acts and beliefs have brought both bad and good to communities of people across the globe. America in 2015 is no different.