Religious Belief, Secular Values

October 6, 2013
(was 12.23.2012)

What would a secular society really look like?  We take an unconventional look at religion, the fiction it inspires, and reflect on why William James' classic book on mysticism, "The Varieties of Religious Experience," still matters.

  1. Jacques Berlinerblau on "How To Be Secular"

    Jacques Berlinerblau says we still don't know how to talk intelligently about religion in public life.  That's why he wrote "How To Be Secular."  He tells us why "secular" doesn't mean "atheist."

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  2. Hanna Pylvainen on "We Sinners"

    Hanna Pylvainen's debut novel "We Sinners" is loosely based on her own history in a fundamentalist Lutheran community.

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  3. Robert Bellah on "Religion in Human Evolution"

    How did religion ever get started in the first place?  We talked to renowned sociologist Robert Bellah shortly before he died.  He said religion isn't about belief in God.  Its origins go back to the rituals of our ancient ancestors, and ultimately to play.

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  4. Yann Martel on "Life of Pi"

    Yann Martel's novel "Life of Pi" is an adventure story and also a meditation on religious faith.  He says a good religion is like a good story.

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  5. Robert Richardson on William James

    Where does the idea of "being spiritual, not religious" come from?  It might be William James and his classic book "The Varieties of Religious Experience." 

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