If you no longer have those traditions in place, what is it, if anything, that is doing the work of helping us think about death, whether our own or that of others?
In American gospel and blues, U2 found its musical authenticity. And from his journey to America, Bono found his love for Africa: the source of his prophetic charisma and religious power.
In the contemporary world, scientific evidence is often conflated with proof, producing a science that is closer to the aims of modern theology than experimental practice.
If we seek a “new” religion that valorizes science and exalts human forms of consciousness, the Epic of Evolution fits the bill. But if the goal is to foster ethical sensibilities that encourage reverent and responsible coexistence with the natural world and its myriad beings, the evolutionary epic stands on much shakier ground.
Such historical materials certainly dispel any notion that Strieber must be a kook, or that his honest descriptions and dramatic sufferings can somehow be brushed aside as lacking any meaningful content, as anecdotal or anomalous.
When and how did the myth of disenchantment emerge?
To interpret the evidence produced by the convert’s experience, the ministers borrowed from methods rooted in new scientific discoveries and practices to compensate for what could not be known theologically. The methods they employed oscillated between the theological and the natural philosophical.
Following the release of the 1986 Surgeon General’s Report on AIDS, Koop would embark on a lecture circuit among religious groups to share his message, one that increasingly blurred the lines between the gospel of condoms and the gospel of Jesus, as the surgeon general’s sphere of influence came to encompass that of the itinerant public health preacher.