Why I’m Not a Buddhist (But Maybe You Should Be)

Sermon copyright (c) 2023 Dan Harper. As delivered to First Parish in Cohasset. As usual, the sermon as delivered contained substantial improvisation.

Opening words

The opening words were the poem “Interbeing” by Thich Nhat Hanh. To read it, go to this webpage and scroll down.


The first reading comes from the book “Why I Am Not a Buddhist” by Evan Thompson, a philosopher who has studied Buddhist philosophy extensively:

“I didn’t want to be someone who just wrote about Buddhist philosophy without practicing meditation and experiencing what the philosophy was supposedly about. ‘That’s like readings about sex and never having any,’ American Buddhist devotees would say to me…. Looking for a path forward, I visited many Buddhist meditation centers over the years of writing my philosophy dissertation, … and doing my postdoctoral work. But I couldn’t connect with any of them. It didn’t feel right to count my breath in Korean or chant in Japanese or try to do complex visualization of Tibetan Buddhist deities…. I wonder whether I was being too uptight and why I couldn’t just let go….”

The second reading is from an essay by Rev. Takashi Kenryu Tsuji titled “The Heart of the Buddha-Dharma: Following the Jodo-Shinshu Path”:

Shinran Shonin and the teachers before him explained that the Pure Land was situated in the western corners of the universe, zillions of miles away. It was pictured as a very beautiful place, free of suffering, where everyone is happy. Philosophically speaking, however, the Pure Land does not refer to a specific location out there somewhere. Rather, the Pure Land is symbolic; it symbolizes the transcendence of relativity, of all limited qualities, of the finiteness of human life. In this transcendence, there is Compassion-Wisdom, an active moving, spiritual force. The Pure Land ideal is the culmination of the teaching of Wisdom and Compassion.

(As quoted by Jeff Wilson in Dixie Dharma, UNC Press, 2012)

Sermon: Why I’m Not a Buddhist (But Maybe You Should Be)

I’m going to begin with some introductory remarks. Then I’ll tell you why I’m not a Buddhist, even though I’m fascinated by Buddhism. And I’ll wind up talking about some forms of Buddhism that seem worthy of your attention.

First, the introductory remarks:

When First Parish posted this sermon topic on the Cohasset 143 Facebook page, one or two commenters made it clear why they are not Buddhists. One person made their point in simple, straightforward terms: “I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ as My Lord [and] Savior.” Another person, presumably also a conservative Christian, wrote: “They [meaning Buddhists] don’t worship a God!” Actually, what this person meant was that Buddhists don’t worship the Christian God, which is a true statement. And if you’re a conservative Christian, these are both worthy reasons for not being a Buddhist.

Yet another conservative Christian scornfully wrote: “‘I am the Lord thy God thou shalt not have false gods before me.’ — The First Commandment. (Did you not ‘get’ that basic point Reverend?)” This comment is worth paying attention to, because it’s an example of a conservative Christian assuming that everyone should believe exactly what they believe. But it’s not just conservative Christians who make this assumption. The vocal critic of religion Richard Dawkins takes the same attitude towards those who are not the kind of atheist he is; and Dawkins has an unfortunate tendency to anathematize atheists who differ from his own views, as for example atheists who belong to a religious organization like this one.

I find these kinds of comments troubling mostly because they reveal an unpleasant truth about the current state of society in the United States today. All of us in the United States today are prone to believe that we are right and that people who disagree with us are wrong. We either hate Donald Trump or we hate Joe Biden, and anyone who disagrees with us is a horrible person. We are either right-to-lifers or we are pro-choicers, and anyone who disagrees with us is a horrible person. We are either conservative Christians, or we are not, and anyone who is not like us is a horrible person.

Unfortunately, this kind of attitude makes it difficult to listen to those who might have different viewpoints or experiences from ours. As we are seeing in the House of Representatives right now, this kind of attitude makes it hard to have a functioning democracy. And we are all guilty of it. It’s so much a part of the atmosphere that I’m willing to bet everyone in this room has made a disparaging comment about someone with whom they disagree. I know I’ve done it.

It’s not good for us to be this way. This kind of thing can make us angry, and when you get angry you can feel the negative effects of that anger in your body.

That’s one of the reasons I wanted to give this sermon. I am not giving a sermon titled, “I’m not a Buddhist, and you shouldn’t be either or you’ll burn in hell.” I am not giving a sermon titled, “I’m a Buddhist and if you were a truly good person, you’d be one too.” Instead, I’m trying to respect the diversity in our world, while at the same time trying to think with you about what is true.

That’s the introduction. Now I’ll tell you very briefly why I’m not a Buddhist.

When I was a Unitarian Universalist teenager, Pat Green, the assistant minister of our church ran our youth group, and one week he talked to us about Zen Buddhism. Pat told us about “the sound of one hand clapping” and sitting meditation and all the rest. All of us in the youth group were fascinated. And I continued to try to learn about Zen Buddhism over the next couple of decades. Ultimately, I discovered that learning about Buddhism was a lot of work — I’m one of those people who, if I’m going to do something, have to pursue the highest level of excellence. I could have wound up like the philosopher Evan Thompson in the first reading, who not only read Buddhist philosophy in the original languages, but also spent a great deal of time learning Buddhist practices. Unlike Evan Thompson, I had grown up in a religious tradition that I felt comfortable in, and I finally realized that I was doing just fine as a Unitarian Universalist. Maybe I was simply lazy, but eventually I stopped trying to pursue Zen Buddhism, or any kind of Buddhist practice.

So that’s why I’m not a Buddhist. But one thing I hope you noticed in that little story is that it’s perfectly acceptable for a Unitarian Universalist to participate in more than one religious tradition. You can be a Unitarian Universalist, while at the same time practicing Buddhism, or taking Buddhism seriously. Nor is this something that’s limited to Unitarian Universalists. It is increasingly common in Western society for a person to have more than one religious affiliation. This has long been the case in other societies — as for example in some east Asian societies, where it is common for an individual to feel connected to Buddhism, Daoism, and folk religions all at the same time. We began to see multiple religious affiliations emerge in the West in the middle of the last century. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton was one of the people who popularized the notion of multiple religious affiliations, when he began to augment his Christian practices with Buddhist practices.

The notion of having multiple religious affiliations seriously annoys some conservative Christians, as we heard at the beginning of this sermon. We have a different point of view. We feel it’s OK to have multiple religious affiliations. Even if you have only one religious affiliation, we feel that encountering other religious traditions can help widen our perspectives and give us a better understanding of what it means to be human. With that in mind, I’d like to point out some varieties of Buddhism that might be worthy of your attention.

First and foremost, we have a Buddhist meditation group right here within First Parish. This group is led by Christine Allen, who is both a practicing Buddhist and a Unitarian Universalist. She has spent years developing her own Buddhist meditation practice, and has a deep understanding of Buddhist philosophy. You can find one of her dharma talks on the First Parish website, a talk she gave at a meditation retreat she led in Trueblood Hall last year. If you’re looking for an introduction to Buddhist practice and thought, Christine Allen and the First Parish meditation group would be a good place to start.

Our First Parish group represents a strand of Buddhism that we might call Westernized Buddhism. As Buddhism spread around the world from India where it originated, it has taken on the cultural characteristics of the places it has spread to. Westernized Buddhism adapts Buddhist thought and practice to Western cultures and Western languages. This makes it easier for Westerners to engage with Buddhism, without having to learn another language or new cultural norms.

I do have to point out that there is one form of Westernized Buddhism that it’s best to avoid. That’s the Buddhism that’s become fashionable in Silicon Valley in recent years. That’s the Buddhism that says if you practice meditation and mindfulness, you can become more successful in your career because mindfulness training allows you to work incredibly long hours in spite of poor work-life balance. I like to call this the “Prosperity Dharma,” because it’s analogous to the “Prosperity Gospel” of Christianity. The Prosperity Gospel of Christianity tells you to believe in God, give lots of money to the preacher who preaching the Prosperity Gospel to you, and that will make you financially successful. But the Prosperity Gospel really has nothing to do with Christianity, just as the Prosperity Dharma really has nothing to due with Buddhism — these aren’t religions, they’re ways for other people to make money from your credulity.

The Prosperity Dharma has a couple of other problems. Carolyn Chen, a sociologist at the University of California in Berkeley, has pointed out that the people who push the Prosperity Dharma in Silicon Valley are mostly affluent White people who are openly dismissive of Asian Buddhist traditions and practices. Instead of being Westernized Buddhism, this is what Chen calls this “Whitened Buddhism”: “it erases the ‘ethnic’ and ‘religious’ Buddhism of Asians and Asian Americans in favor of the thinking of White Westerners.” It’s a subtle form of racism.

I’m also troubled when the advocates of the Prosperity Dharma want to teach mindfulness in the schools to help children deal with stress. This perverts the real purpose of Buddhism. Mindfulness is not supposed to help your child deal with stress so they can get into Harvard. Buddhism is supposed to make you a better person. Prosperity Dharma treats children as a means to an end. Real Buddhism, like all real religions, treats persons as ends in themselves.

Now that we’ve disposed of the Prosperity Dharma, let’s look at a couple of other forms of Buddhism.

If I were going to affiliate with a Buddhist group, my first choice would be the Buddhist Churches of America. This is a Pure Land Buddhist group affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha tradition based in Kyoto, Japan. Pure Land Buddhism reminds me of our own Universalist tradition. The old Universalists, using Christian terms, said that everyone gets to go to heaven. Pure Land Buddhists say that everyone can can enter Buddha’s Pure land, everyone can achieve Buddhahood. Just as we Unitarian Universalists have translated the old Universalist ideas into modern terms, so the Buddhist Churches of America have translated the old ideas of the Pure Land into modern terms — we heard this in the second reading today, where Rev. Takashi Kenryu Tsuji said, “The Pure Land ideal is the culmination of the teaching of Wisdom and Compassion.” I also like the fact that the Buddhist Churches of America do not place much emphasis on meditation, because I have a hard time meditating. Sadly, the closest Buddhist Church of America is in New York, but if there were one nearby I would love to see if there were a way for our congregations to work together.

And if I were going to affiliate with a Buddhist group, my second choice would be to affiliate with the Engaged Buddhism tradition, whose best known advocate is the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Engaged Buddhism teaches that a primary purpose of religion is to make this world a better place. Engaged Buddhism started out by working for world peace, and they have since expanded into other social justice work such a human rights work and women’s rights. Beyond that, Thich Nhat Hanh is, in my opinion, one of the best religious writers of the past fifty years. Even though I’m not a Buddhist, I’ve gotten a lot from Thich Nhat Hanh’s books on pacifism and peace. In particular, his concept of “interbeing” — which we heard a little about in the first reading — has given me a new way to think about world peace.

We began by hearing from some people who commented on the Cohasset 143 Facebook page, telling us how they restrict themselves to one exclusive religious tradition. By contrast, we Unitarian Universalists are open to other religious points of view, and curious about other religion. We believe it is acceptable to have more than one religious affiliation. You can be a Unitarian Universalist, and you can be a Buddhist — just as you can be a Unitarian Universalist and an atheist, or you can be a Unitarian Universalist and a Christian. You can even be all of these things at once.

This brings me to one final point I’d like to leave you with. When we talk with people who have a different religious outlook from ours, we don’t have to be defensive. We don’t have to immediately tell them about our religious outlook. We can respect the diversity in our world, while at the same time respecting our own religious outlook. We can engage in respectful dialogue that will enrich us, and make the world a more peaceful place.

Three Hundred and One

Sermon copyright (c) 2022 Dan Harper. Delivered to First Parish in Cohasset. The sermon text may contain typographical errors. The sermon as preached included a significant amount of improvisation.


The first reading is from the book Work Pray Code: When Work Becomes Religion in Silicon Valley, by sociologist Carolyn Chen (Princeton Univ. Press, 2022, p. 209). In this book, Chen shows how work has become religion in Silicon Valley, and she documents how destructive the worship of work can be. She then says:

“How do we break the theocracy of work? The late writer David Foster Wallace observed, ‘In the day-to-day trenches of adult life there is actually no such thing as atheism. Everybody worship. The only choice is what we get to worship.’ We can stop worshipping work, Wallace suggests, by choosing to worship something else. But we cannot do it alone, in the private sanctuary of our personal prayers and devotions. Since worshipping work is a social enterprise, choosing not to worship work must also be a collective endeavor. We can do this by intentionally building shared places of worship, fulfillment, and belonging that attract our time, energy, and devotion. These are our families, neighborhoods, clubs, and civic associations, as well as our faith communities. We need to recharge these ‘magnets’ that have grown weak. Contrary to what time management pundits tell us, we do this by letting these magnets attract more and not less of our time, energy, and passion. This is not a call to end work; it’s a call to energize non-workplaces. It’s an invitation to reflect on how we as a society expend out collective energy.”

The second reading comes from Rabbi Howard I Bogot, from his 1979 essay “Why Jewishness?” in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service (vol. 56, no. 1, 1979, p. 108).

“For many years I have carried with me an Emerson-like quote which reads as follows: ‘The gods will write their names on our faces, be sure of that; and man will worship something, have no doubt of that either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret, in the deep recesses of his heart but it will out. That which dominates his imagination and his thought will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.’”

Sermon: “Three hundred and One”

On Tuesday, December 13, First Parish will celebrate its three hundred and first birthday. This past fall, I’ve given a few sermons looking back at the past three hundred years. So today, just before the end of our three hundredth birthday year, I thought I’d give a sermon about the future.

I am not, however, going to try to predict what the next three hundred years will hold for our congregation. I’m willing to try to look ahead for a dozen years, or at most for twenty years — in other words, look ahead for another generation. Think of the youngest child in our Sunday school, and think ahead to when that child heads off to college or to a job: what will First Parish look like then? I’m not willing to look ahead for the next three hundred years, but I’m willing to try one generation.

But even trying to look ahead one generation is difficult. We are in the midst of a major change in American religion. When I started out working in Unitarian Universalist congregations, back in 1994, we could feel pretty confident that in 2014 our congregations would look much like they did in 1994. During the teens, though, we started seeing an increasing number of people who had no religious affiliation at all. Sociologists began to call these people the “Nones,” as in when you asked them what their religion was, they’d respond, “None.”

In the past decade and a half, the number of Nones in America has just kept increasing. Many people assume this is a trend towards increasing secularization, but I don’t think that’s a good assumption. Surveys show that a large percentage of Americans continue to believe in God or in some higher power. (1) It’s not that religious belief is going away; rather, it’s a matter of people not affiliating with religious organizations.

This is partly due to another demographic trend. Since the 1960s, Americans have been disengaging with all forms of community and organizations. Political scientist Robert Putnam popularized this idea back in the year 2000 in his book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. (2) Putnam blamed much of the disengagement on individualized entertainment that was first delivered through television, and later through the internet. Think about it this way: on Sunday morning, it’s easier to stay home and look at NetFlix or TikTok than it is to drive to Cohasset center, find parking, and walk over to this Meeting House. Maybe the quality of interaction is better here in the Meeting House than what you’ll find on TikTok, but for many people the convenience and the ability to individualize one’s interaction makes up for the lower quality of interaction.

Interestingly, right after Donald Trump’s election in 2016, the authors Thomas E. Mann, Norm Ornstein and E. J. Dionne, pointed out that many people “rallied to [Donald Trump] out of a yearning for forms of community and solidarity that they sense have been lost.” (3) I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Whether you agree or disagree with Donald Trump’s politics, there is no doubt he was adept at bringing a crowd of his supporters together, making them feel a part of something larger than themselves. In fact, his rallies look to me more like religious revivals than political rallies. Nor is it only Republican candidates who create that feeling: recently, we’ve seen how Raphael Warnock uses that feeling of a religious revival to rally people to vote for him.

Indeed, both the Republican party and the Democratic party have begun to resemble religions. Each party has doctrines and dogmas that they promote; and they are eager to denigrate the doctrines and dogmas of the other religion — sorry, of the other party. Each party has a mythological dimension, myths that they tell about heroic figures. There are rituals specific to each group, including things like chanting and pilgrimages. Adherents of each party can have strong emotional experiences, akin to traditional religious experiences like praying or worshipping in a church. There’s even material culture associated with each party, objects that take on almost religious significance, like MAGA hats or Barack Obama posters. All this looks a lot like religion to me. (4)

But it’s not just political parties that have taken on religious dimensions. Other forms of social interaction are also taking the place of traditional religious congregations. Think about sports events. The World Cup, with the special fan clothing, the fans making long pilgrimages to a distant land, the chanting and sense of identity — this all looks like religion. Or, closer to home, as someone who grew up in the Boston area, I can tell you that around here, baseball often feels like a religion. I found it difficult to explain to people in California how belonging to Red Sox nation was more like a religious affiliation than simply rooting for the home team. I’m told Red Sox fans are quite similar in this regard to Green Bay Packers fans. So you can see that for the true believers, sports looks like religion to outsiders, and from the inside, to true believers, sports feels like religion. (5)

And then there’s work. Over the past few years, sociologist Carolyn Chen of the University of California at Berkeley has focused her research on Silicon Valley workers. She finds that these workers “point to their jobs and careers” when they are asked “what brings meaning to their lives.” That’s the ultimate purpose of religion, isn’t it? — to help us bring meaning into our lives. Instead of turning to sports or politics, many Silicon Valley workers are finding the ultimate meaning and purpose of their lives through their work.

I could go on, and tell you about other social and cultural phenomena look a lot like religion — celebrity worship, humanistic psychology, network Christianity, yoga, and so on. But you get the point. Religion is taking on new forms. No longer is religion confined to local churches and synagogues. Religion can no longer be neatly categorized into denominations and world religions. American religion now includes sports, and politics, and work.

So where does that leave First Parish? How can we compete with a Raphael Warnock rally, or a Donald Trump rally? How can we compete with Red Sox baseball, or with downhill skiing? How can we compete with the jobs of knowledge workers? What we can do is we can offer an alternative.

For there’s a problem with sports, politics, or work as religion. Each of these things asks our devotion, not for our own sake, but for the sake of another. Donald Trump and Raphael Warnock ask us to participate in the religious rituals of their political rallies, not to make us better people, but so that they can win an election. There’s nothing wrong with supporting a political candidate, there’s nothing wrong with helping someone get elected. But when our support of them starts looking like religion — when we start getting our personal meaning and fulfillment out of it — then someone else is using our fulfillment to meet their own ends and goals.

Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with sports. I sometimes worship at the altar of the Red Sox, and will happily tell you about the time I got seats four rows back from the visitor’s dugout when the legendary knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was pitching against the New York Yankees. But we have to remember that professional sports is a business. If when I get my personal meaning and fulfillment in life by boosting someone else’s profit, I’m no longer an end in myself; someone else is using me as a means to their own ends.

Perhaps most troubling to me is when knowledge workers find their entire life’s meaning in their jobs. When you work for a corporation, you are a means to an end. You may get something out of your job, but the ultimate end of your job is to create profits for the company. As important as your work may be, you are more than your job. To be fully human is to be an end in yourself.

In the second reading this morning, Rabbi Howard Bogot talks about a quote he carried around with him for many years, a quote from an anonymous twentieth century source. That anonymous but wise person pointed out that those things which dominate our imaginations and our thoughts have a tendency to determine the course of our lives and our characters. Therefore, concludes this wise anonymous source, “it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.”

This anonymous quote helps us understand the big change in American religion that’s going on right now. People are leaving the old religious organizations, the churches and the synagogues — leaving the traditional religious groups like denominations. But that doesn’t mean that religion is going away; religion is simply taking new forms.

Theoretically, there’s nothing wrong with religion taking on new forms. But there is problem with some of these new forms of religion: they have the capacity to tear our society apart. When politics becomes religion, it can take the relatively benign form of political rallies. In a more extreme, more toxic form, it can turn into something like Christian militias and Christian nationalism. And Christian nationalism has gotten to the point where one proponent is calling for the United States to be governed by a Christian Taliban. (6) Thus, in an extreme form, politics as religion can wind up being dangerous to democracy.

When work becomes religion, it can take the relatively benign form of someone absolutely loving their job, so much so that they’re willing to work more than 80 hours a week and sleep on a couch at their workplace. In an extreme form, as in Silicon Valley where workers are expected to spend most of their lives at work, sociologist Carolyn Chen has documented the the destructive side effects of excessive devotion to jobs: destruction of families, destruction of civic organizations, and disinvestment in public government. Thus, in its extreme form, work as religion can become dangerous to our society. (7)

As I gaze into my crystal ball and try to catch sight of what next ten or twenty years will look like here at First Parish, I spend a lot of time thinking about this big change in American religion. How should we here in First Parish respond to this drift away from organized religion?

First of all, our kind of religion is no longer the norm. We cannot automatically assume that when someone walks into our Meeting House, they will know what we’re doing, what’s going on here. We now have to explain what organized religion is like, what it does. We now have to explain that religious congregations like First Parish are civic organizations, places where we join together both to help ourselves and our families, and to make our communities stronger. Religious congregations like First Parish are cornerstones of democracy. Religious congregations like First Parish exist, not for the sake of the congregation, but for the sake of each person in the congregation. We come here, not to profit someone else, but to profit ourselves.

We used to spend a lot of time explaining to newcomers what we believed. We would tell people that we didn’t have a creed or a dogma, that we search together for truth and goodness. In the past, that was how we differentiated ourselves from other religious congregations. But now, I’ve been finding newcomers are more interested in learning what it is that we do. When I try to explain what it is that we do here at First Parish, a few things come immediately to mind.

First of all, each week in our worship services, we affirm our highest values. We recall ourselves to our deepest humanity. We strengthen ourselves for the week ahead.

Next, we are the leaders of our congregation. While we do have paid staff, leadership is shared among all who are part of our community. We all make the decisions together, we all staff the committees, we are the volunteers.

Next, we join together to make the world a better place. We support charitable causes, we volunteer together, we help bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice.

Perhaps most importantly, we raise the next generation to become moral, joyful, humane people. And this is yet another way in which we help bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice.

As you can see, what we do is quite different from what the new forms of religion do. Again, the new forms of religion — work and politics and sports and so on — are mostly done for someone else’s profit. No one is making a profit from what we do here in First Parish. What we do benefits each one of us, and all of us collectively. What we do benefits the wider community, and ultimately the whole world.

In addition to telling people what we believe and showing them what it is that we do, there’s another way we should be explaining ourselves to curious newcomers. We need to show people that we have a different way of being in the world. Our kind of being is not a selfish kind of being. Our kind of being is being-with-others. As an old prophet once put it, we strive to love our neighbors as we love our selves. (8) Sometimes I like to call this inter-being, or or sometime we might use the phrase “the interdependent web of all life.” When others sense within us this love for neighbor and love for self, they may find that they want to be a part of this community. They may want to feel part of the interdependent web of life.

When I look ahead to the next ten or twenty years at First Parish, this is what I hope we put at the center of our community: loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Or if you prefer, living as if the interdependent web of life truly mattered. These are the permanent center of our religious community. And if we can keep these at our center, if we can show in our lives and in our being that these are of greatest importance to us, we will continue to be a force for good in the next ten years, in the next twenty years, indeed for the next three hundred years of our existence.


(1) See e.g., Pew Research Center, “Nones on the Rise,” 9 October 2012, www.pewresearch.org/religion/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/ accessed 10 December 2022.
(2) Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000).
(3) E. J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported (St. Martin’s Publishing Group, 2018).
(4) To help define define religion, I’m using Ninian Smart’s seven dimensions of religion from his book Dimensions of the Sacred: An Anatomy of the World’s Beliefs (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1998). Smart’s seven dimensions of religion are: Ritual; Narrative and Mythic; Experiential and emotional; Social and Institutional; Ethical and legal; Doctrinal and philosophical; Material (i.e., objects that symbolize the sacred). According to Smart, different religions emphasize different dimensions of the sacred.
(5) There is a great deal of scholarly writing about sport as religion. For just one example, the book From Season to Season: Sports as American Religion (Mercer University Press, 2001), ed. Joseph L. Price, contains a collection of essays on this topic, with titles like “The Final Four as Final Judgement,” “The Super Bowl as Religious Festival,” and “The Pitcher’s Mound as Cosmic Mountain.”
(6) Christian nationalist Nick Fuentes has called for this, according to “Who Is Trump’s Dinner Companion, Nick Fuentes?,” Religion News Service, 27 November 2022, religionnews.com/2022/11/27/who-is-trump-and-kanyes-dinner-companion-nick-fuentes/ accessed10 December 2022.
(7) For more about the destructive side effects of work as religion, see the final chapter of Chen’s book Work Pray Code: When Work Becomes Religion in Silicon Valley (Princeton Univ. Press, 2022).
(8) Jesus of Nazareth, as reported in the Gospel according to Mark, 12:31.