The Wonder of Religion March 8, 2010 Article by Sam Keen

Berkeley Arts & Letters: Sam Keen / In the Absence of God: Dwelling in the Presence of the Sacred —Lecture given March 11, 2010

As global residents within a culture of fanaticism, materialism, and greed, is it possible to bridge our differences and dwell in harmony in the twenty-first century? Celebrated author Sam Keen believes that a new understanding of the role of religion in our lives is essential for such a transformation. And that nothing less than our existence hangs in the balance.

In IN THE ABSENCE OF GOD, Keen offers a provocative critique of the present state of religion and leads the way down a new path — one of renewal for us and our troubled society. By recovering the experience of the sacred, Keen argues, we may renew our own relationship with God and discover the religious commonality we all share, ending bridging differences that have divided Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others.

Known throughout religious and philosophical circles alike, Keen has spent his life asking the “big questions,” and in IN THE ABSENCE OF GOD, he does not shy away from some of the most difficult and provocative questions concerning religion today:

What does religion offer us in today’s world?

How has religion failed us?

Must we choose between religious fundamentalism and atheism—or is there a hopeful alternative?

How can religion address the challenges and violence we face every day?

Keen reminds us that the answers to these questions lie at the heart of religion and shows us how to access them. By reviving the sacred in everyday life through an appreciation of such elementary emotions as wonder, gratitude, anxiety, joy, grief, reverence, compassion, outrage, hope, and humility, we may rediscover God for ourselves and find a way to live in peace.

Sam Keen is a noted author and lecturer, who has written thirteen books on philosophy and religion. He earned graduate degrees from the Harvard Divinity School and Princeton University, and spent twenty years working as an editor of Psychology Today. Keen co-produced the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Faces of the Enemy, and was the subject of a PBS special with Bill Moyers titled Your Mythic Journey.

Lecture at Maryville College – Feb 23, 2010