Huston Smith on UUs, if sideways

Thanks to Jeff for catching that I misnamed the author below.

I mentioned earlier that I was reading Huston Smith’s 2001 Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in the Age of Disbelief. It is popularly written, perhaps too quickly and in an over-broad way, but Smith has enough credibility to get away with that. His thesis is that human beings have an inate capacity for religion, and it speaks to realities that science (when it is obeying its own rules for inquiry) cannot answer any better than traditional religion. But that traditional religion itself has a depth and capacity that allows it to speak to human realities in a more meaningful matter. Science, says Smith, isn’t the enemy (indeed, we would be ungrateful if we didn’t appreciate it, or its travelling-companion, modern technology) but it has be given room in our souls and psyches that it doesn’t deserve. He lays quite a bit of the blame on the ways of higher education. I really enjoted this work, and look forward to tracking down his citations, and reading critiques.

This book is especially important for Unitarian Universalists because — if we have a core — it has been the adoption of the modernist-scientific-materialist worldview as religion; precisely what Smith cautions against. Little wonder I feel he is speaking directly to us (and I know how egoistic that sounds.)

Smith uses extended quotations from other writers to make his point. I can hardly be blamed if I quote him, within the provisions of fair use. And this I will do in coming days. (Transcribing some of this old Universalist stuff shows me where we went off course, and that’s depressing. But I’ll finish what I started.)

One Reply to “Huston Smith on UUs, if sideways”

  1. Scott, just a quibble–I wouldn’t even mention it, except that you’re planning to post more on this subject. It isn’t “Hudson” Smith, it’s “Huston.”

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