belief

Rise of the New Copernicans

I believe we are living in a truly historic moment of human development.

Some sociologists try to capture it by talking about "millennials," but that's too generational. I've also talked about the model of Spiral Dynamics, but that can be western-centric. Both these models catch a glimpse of something big, but they don't tell the whole story. Somehow, modern science, multiculturalism, the Internet, and the blurring of traditional human divisions is altering how people relate to each other.

About a year ago, I joined with friends from the Windrider Institute and the John Templeton Foundation to work on a series of short films describing how human consciousness is changing in our era. I've shared different segments over the last few months–and now I'm thrilled to share the ENTIRE, COMPLETED series with you.

The New Copernicans thesis is based on the work of Dr. John Seel. Huge thanks to my friends John Priddy, Jacob Marshall, and Josh Wiese for their amazing contributions. I hope you find this work insightful and inspiring–-I certainly do.

The New Copernicans

My website is a safe place for people whose beliefs about God are changing. Many are recovering from spiritual abuse or trauma. Please remain civil and kind in the comments section at all times.

Reader Mail - Atheist in Church

Subject: Atheism

Message: I consider myself an atheist- because in almost all contexts when God is described, the subject of that description is not something I consider well-enough evidenced to accept as real. Of course, in your case- that description of god is not at all what the vast majority of theists subscribe to (a good thing in my opinion.) However, I also am going to a Christian church with a strong focus on community and diversity, makes good judgments about which causes to support with our giving, provides a great springboard for community interaction, and usually isn't afraid of tough questions. I dig it. Anyway, while I admit I have barely scratched the surface of how you might describe yourself, your axioms of faith don't seem to describe anything that necessarily contradicts an atheist's view of religion. Is this non-atheism a part of your attempt to pretend as Rob Bell suggests? I guess- the main substance of this question is- what is the necessary difference between you and an atheist, and are there any tips you might have for an atheist attending a Christian church who often feels overwhelmingly isolated in thought, but for their own reasons chooses to stick around that environment? I really appreciate your taking time to give this a read.


Hey Austin,

I'm recovering from a motorcycle accident and I have a concussion. Forgive me if any of this doesn't make sense.

What I've learned from neuroscience and cognitive psychology is that labels are a big deal. The labels we apply to ourselves create a powerful bias. When we encounter evidence that undermines our chosen label research indicates we unconsciously filter it. This isn't some rational process where we evaluate information and make a decision–this is an automatic function we're not well aware of.

People love to label themselves. Doing so creates both social identity and cognitive certainty. Those are two things we crave because evolution trained us that we thrive when we live in a tribe and when we make good guesses about the future. For example, if a hunter gatherer guesses well about a rainstorm, they can avoid a flood and find more food.

Social labels create in-groups, but they also create out-groups. Certainty in our self labels mean we reject information about the world. I want the best, most truthful understanding of reality. So, I pretty much don't waste time assigning labels to myself.

Am I a Christian? An atheist? I'm not sure either of those labels describe me completely, and I think both describe me partially. Both manners of thinking and being inform my life, and both have something to teach me. I'm not looking for a place to land my ideologically airplane. Instead, I do my best to be open to new ideas and experiences, while honoring the traditions and cultures that have brought me where I am.

That means I need to honor what Billy Graham taught me, even as I honor what Richard Dawkins taught me.

I'm a skeptic, and I look for evidence to support my claims. But I'm also fascinated with Jesus, and the God he represents. I refuse to call heads or tails–I say let the coin spin all day.

Hope this helps.

Peace, love, entropy,
Science Mike

My website is a safe place for people whose beliefs about God are changing. Many are recovering from spiritual abuse or trauma. Please remain civil and kind in the comments section at all times.

Why God Works Slowly - BioLogos

I'm a big fan of the work done by BioLogos to explain why so many Christians accept modern cosmology and the Theory of Evolution. So, I'm thrilled they published this piece of mine. It's a reflection on what an ancient Universe tells us about God.

"Like a master craftsman, the God who creates over billions of years is not in a hurry. Meticulous care goes into every creative action."

You can read the whole article here.

My website is a safe place for people whose beliefs about God are changing. Many are recovering from spiritual abuse or trauma. Please remain civil and kind in the comments section at all times.

Trust That I AM; Be Not Afraid

In Matthew 14, Jesus says this:

"But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Trust that I AM; be not afraid."

I wonder if lately we're all too afraid.

We're afraid that God as abandoned America because same sex marriage is the law of the land, or we're afraid that half the country is never going to "get it."

We're afraid because black churches keep burning, and black people keep dying at the hands of our police. Or, we're afraid that our police will fall victim to hate crimes in a pressure cooker race culture.

We're afraid of climate change, or we're afraid the lie of climate change will crush a fragile economy. We're afraid that our military actions abroad will come home to hurt us, or that we're weakening our military too much for it to handle the threats to our security.

Fear. It's the most powerful human emotion. When fear lights up in our brains, our ability to reason or love goes out the window. It's the great motivator. Our leaders know this, and so does our media. Fear fills voting booths, sells newspapers and 24-hour cable news. Fear deepens divisions by sewing mistrust. Fear says it's black or white, gay or straight, us or them.

But Jesus, the broken God, says do not be afraid. Trust that I AM.

Do we trust that? Are we willing to cast off fear, to lay down our protective armor, and reach out to the world in love?

That is the road to healing. That is the work of the cross: to speak for the voiceless, to stand for the broken, to find strength in weakness.

Whenever I am afraid, I remind myself that I am not God. I remember I don't have all the answers.

When that makes me feel powerless, I remember that I can love my God and my neighbor today, right now. I remember that I have been invited to participate in the healing of this world.

And I am not afraid anymore.

photo credit: DoNotbeAfraid via photopin (license)

My website is a safe place for people whose beliefs about God are changing. Many are recovering from spiritual abuse or trauma. Please remain civil and kind in the comments section at all times.