Dick said I should read the book Religion Is Not About God by Loyal Rue (Rutgers University, 2005). Dick is right, I do need to read this book: Rue manages to link two of my primary concerns, religious naturalism and the growing crisis of overpopulation. I’m slowly working my way through the book — slowly, because periodically I have to stop and think about what Rue is saying.
To tempt you into reading the book, I found a 5 minute online video in which Rue presents one of the key concepts of the book. Come on, you have five minutes — sit for a moment and watch this video:
By the way, Jerome Stone, a recognized authority on religious naturalism, passes this positive judgment on Rue: “One of the best treatments of religion by a religious naturalist is Loyal Rue’s Religion Is Not About God” (in Religious Naturalism Today [SUNY Press, 2008], p. 4).
I’ve been thinking about the nature of human beings recently — “theological anthropology” in theology jargon. Unitarian Universalists have this myth that we are rational human beings. Neuroscience increasingly confirms that this is a myth, not fact, and that we humans are not particularly rational beings.
If we were rational in the way Unitarian Universalist myth seems to assume, all of us would floss our teeth regularly — of course many of us don’t floss regularly, because we are not as rational as we’d like to believe. But you can use your rational mind to change your behavior by making use of the power of habits — tiny habits, that is. Jenny told me about a technique being developed by BJ Fogg, director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford, called “Tiny Habits.” Back in January, KQED summarized the difference between Fogg’s approach and classic behavior models:
“The strength of a habit is defined, at least the way I see it, is how much of a decision was that behavior. So if you’re deciding ‘yeah, I’m going to go to the gym today,’ it’s a pretty good indication it’s not a habit. Habits are things you do without deciding,” says Fogg.
Classic behavior models focus on decision-making as a key component of behavior. Fogg is trying to get away from that by working on a new model of habit formation that’s built on baby steps.