Naming What We Want: Thoughts on Religious Vocabulary and the Desire for Quality of Life

  • Anthony B. Pinn
Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


President Obama’s inauguration address briefly mapped out a geography of belonging that included a fuller range of religious and philosophical perspectives running from nontheists to the-ists. To the extent that it forced a momentary reckoning with the competing life orientation claims lodged in the United States, this “opening up” has been of some value. Yet, it did little to address the vocabulary and grammar used to shape and present the sense of “life, liberty, and happiness” operative in so many quarters. How does one present “life, liberty, and happiness” within the context of competing faith claims with differing perspectives on, for example, the nature of the humans who are undertaking such pursuits and claiming these rights? For instance, much of the undergirding thought for these pursuits and claims rest on a soft theism; yet, what is the “look” of this pursuit (and the nature of happiness) when not buttressed by theism but instead by the “non-belief,” as President Obama put it, of some citizens?


Religious Orientation Religious Commitment Religious Diversity Christian Faith Liberal Theology 
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Copyright information

© Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Mary McClintock Fulkerson, and Rosemary P. Carbine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony B. Pinn

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