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The Sun Magazine

Religion and Philosophy

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Why Religion Endures

On a spectrum of postures toward religious faith that runs from organized hostility to muffled contempt to resigned forbearance to never-crosses-my-mind indifference to against-my-better-judgment curiosity to serious interest to fellow-traveling to heartfelt engagement to missionary fervor, where do you place yourself, and how does that dispose you to others’ positions?

The Sun Interview

Embracing Ignorance

Jack Miles On His Path From Belief To Disbelief And Back

We’re all stuck with ignorance as we move from quandary to quandary. What I want to do is make a case for religion as one of the means to cope with this irremediable human condition.

Quotations

Sunbeams

Man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. . . . This craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the beginning of time.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

My Devils

One time when I was seven years old, my aunt placed her hands upon me and tried to drive out my devils. I was not aware that I had any resident devils and said so, hesitantly, as she was a firm woman. She said, You certainly do have devils, and they are beginning to manifest. I did not know what manifest meant but did not say so.

The Sun Interview

The Miracle In Front Of You

Raymond Barfield On Practicing Medicine With Compassion

You have to notice beauty when it appears. That means you have to show up and shut up. If I could give just one piece of advice to all medical students, I would say, “Show up completely, and then shut up for at least two minutes while the miracle in front of you tells you who they are and how you can help them.” If every doctor did just that one thing, it would change medicine.

Quotations

Sunbeams

That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more beautiful.

Rumi

Quotations

Sunbeams

Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That’s how rich I want to be.

Rita Rudner

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

That Terrible Thoreau

As the class winds down, I go over the answers to the quiz: Thoreau moved into his ten-by-fifteen-foot cabin on July 4, Independence Day, 1845. He chose that day to make the point that political independence is just the beginning. We’re not completely free until we also throw off our inner masters: greed, laziness, ignorance.