a collaborative genealogy of spirituality


by Charles Bernstein

Tikkun Olam by <a href=''target='_blank'>Edna Miron Wapner</a>
Tikkun Olam by Edna Miron Wapner

Deathbed Conversion

I am not a secular man, but in moments of crisis I turn to agnosticism for the comfort it gives in freeing me from superstition. Once, when gravely ill and sure I would die at any minute, I embraced agnosticism, and, with Nietzsche in hand, swore I would remain an agnostic even if I recovered. But once I did recover, I lapsed again into religious belief, feeling the danger was over and it was safe to return to my old ways. Still, the fear of dying under the veil of dogma still grips my soul late in the night and I yearn for the courage to embrace reality without prophylactics.

Flawed Design

The Theory of Flawed Design is not a scientifically proven alternative to evolution. It is based on the everyday life experience that natural selection could not have produced such a catastrophic outcome. Optimists and the religiously inclined will naturally prefer evolution as an explanation, since ascribing design to the state of humanity is almost unbearable. For the rest of us, we must continue to insist that the Theory of Flawed Design be taught cheek and jowl, neck and neck, mano a mano, with Mr. Darwin’s speculations.

The Theory of Flawed Design postulates a creator who is mentally impaired, either through some genetic defect or because of substance abuse, and is predisposed to behave in a sociopathic manner; although some Benign Flawed Design theorists, as they call themselves, posit the radical alternative that the creator was distracted or inattentive and the flaws are not the result of malevolent will but incompetence or incapacity.

Observant Jew

I’m an observant Jew. I look closely at the things around me, as if they were foreign.