Digital Gods Digital Religions

The Face of Evil

September 6, 2000

Sometimes the streams of our lives converge in a single river and its power is impossible to resist. This month many of the passions which have animated much of my adult life converged. As the recipient of the Gamalial Chair in Peace and Justice through the Lutheran ministry at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, […]

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Sex Religion and Cyberspace

April 30, 1999

There aren’t many safe bets in the world, but here’s one: things are often the opposite of what they seem. Religion and sex, for example. Carl Jung noted that when people talk about religion, they are often talking about sexuality, and when people talk about sexuality they are often talking about religious and spiritual realities. […]

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What Works

February 6, 1999

I was reminded this week of the time a Zen monk greeted an audience with a bow. After we returned his bow, he asked, “Do you know why we bow here at the monastery?” All sorts of answers came back at him, most true enough, but none of them on the mark. Some thought we […]

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Necessary Fictions

May 30, 1998

Many religious and philosophical traditions assert that the “self” as a thing separate from everything else is an illusion. The Buddhist doctrine of no-mind, derived from the experience of enlightenment, is a way of saying that when the floodgates of perception are opened, the illusion of a separate self vanishes. When we have that experience, […]

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Computer Power and the Power of God

January 18, 1998

originally published in The Christian Century Computer Power and the Power of God by Richard Thieme Four years ago, I wrote an essay on computer applications for spirituality. As I discussed specific applications, I realized that something more essential than the generation of new forms for traditional contents was taking place, namely, the transformation of […]

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Digital Religion

December 1, 1997

If we take a step back from our own religious beliefs and observe them for a moment, we can see that they show up in our minds and imaginations as images and symbols. It follows that the technologies that manipulate and generate those symbols have a profound impact on the content of our religious lives. […]

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A Digital Fable

November 14, 1997

A sacred canopy of shared belief used to soar above our heads like a large umbrella, keeping us warm and dry as the contradictory data of real life beat down. A canopy doesn’t have to be sacred — any canopy will do — but because our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it […]

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The Day the Computer Prayed

October 24, 1997

When a computer prays, is it really prayer? And I mean real prayer, I don’t mean some mood-altering self-manipulation. I mean, is there an intentional focus of energy and intelligence, the intelligence of the heart, so that something happens beyond the merely subjective, something that percolates powerfully through all the levels of our consciousness? Nor […]

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Beyond the Edge

August 29, 1997

There comes a point in our deepest thinking at which the framework of our thinking itself begins to wrinkle and slide into the dark. We see the edge of our thinking mind, an edge beyond which we can see … something else … a self-luminous “space” that constitutes the context of our thinking and our […]

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Contact

August 20, 1997

Some people don’t like the scene in the movie “Contact” in which Jodie Foster as a SETI scientist meets the aliens because we aren’t shown what the aliens look like. I think that was the right way to do it. We can’t think the unthinkable; from inside the old paradigm, we can’t imagine what the […]

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