Filed in Science

The Transcendent Imperative

At a time when our spiritual traditions struggle to remain relevant in a culture dominated by scientific materialism, Andrew Cooper considers the pros and cons of a new religious model based on the psychology of “flow.”

Andrew Cooper

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Throughout history, human beings have understood the transcendent imperative in a manner that reflected their own deepest and most characteristic experience of themselves and their world. For us, living as we do at a time when the truth of plurality outweighs the truth-claims of any specific point of view, religion, if it is to avoid the pull of regressively contrived certainty, must be, in key ways, different in character from how it was for those of earlier periods. For us, religion must be consonant with science—“our most trustworthy mirror of reality”—but not defined by it. The key issues in religious life no longer revolve around the particular faith one holds but how one holds one’s faith.

I am reminded here of a passage from the philosopher David Miller’s fine book Gods and Games: Toward a Theology of Play. For Miller, religious faith is something distinct from belief, something that need not correspond to actual fact:

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