Educational Background


Franciscan University (1987-1990) – BA in theology, philosophy, and political science. Franciscan is a vibrant liberal arts university in Steubenville, Ohio. Studies centered on theology, personalism, political and social philosophy, and phenomenological realism.

International Academy of Philosophy (1991-1992) – M.Phil in philosophy and political economy. The Academy, located in Liechtenstein, was an academic center focused on modern and contemporary continental philosophy, including personalism, phenomenology, existentialism, and hermeneutics.

Milltown Institute of Theology & Philosophy (1992 – 1995) – Ph.D. in philosophy. The Institute, located in Dublin, Ireland was directed by the Irish Jesuits and later affiliated with Trinity College Dublin. Doctoral research focused on social philosophy, liberalism, post-Christian and post-secular Western culture, postmodernism, and political economy.


Social & Political Philosophy understanding human social systems from a personalist and evolutionary standpoint. Themes include liberalism, secularism, humane culture, human rights, and political economy. Central thinkers include Francis Fukuyama, Charles Taylor, Jurgen Habermas, Doug den Uyl, Doug Rasmussen, Don Cupitt, John Gray, and Alasdair MacIntyre.

Continental Philosophypredominantly phenomenological realism and personalism. Formative thinkers include Edmund Husserl, Maurice Blondel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Roman Ingarden, Romano Guardini, Gabriel Marcel, Emmanuel Mounier, Simone Weil, Jacques Maritain, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, John Paul II, Jacques Derrida, Josef Seifert, John F. Crosby, Rocco Buttiglione, and Christian Smith.

Virtue & Natural Law Ethicsapproaching morality as practical action that promotes human flourishing understood from a reasoned, teleological reflection on human nature informed by tradition(s). Key scholars include John Finnis, Henry Veatch, Max Scheler, Elizabeth Anscombe, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, and Alasdair MacIntyre

The Intellectual History of Western Culture – tracing the development of Western thought from antiquity to today, with particular emphasis on cultural narratives, epistemology, and truth theories. Notable thinkers include Mortimer Adler, Isaiah Berlin, Charles Freeman, Michael Oakeshott, Lewis Mumford, Richard Rorty, Alan Bloom, and Richard Tarnas.

Naturalism & Spiritualitya worldview informed by liberal naturalism that acknowledges the beauty and wonder of nature while rejecting supernatural beliefs and relying on reason, science, and evidence-based thinking to understand the world and our place in it. Prominent proponents include Jerome Stone, Donald Crosby, Loyal Rue, Thomas Berry, Bill Plotkin, Starhawk, Jason Kirkey, Ursula Goodenough, Brendan Graham Dempsey, John Vervaeke, and Jamie Wheal.

Intellectual Interests – The Evolution of the West

Meaning & Metanarrative in Western Culture

I’m interested in the intellectual transitions in Western culture that have led to our current meaning crisis.

Judeo-Christianity is rapidly declining and is no longer the dominant cultural metanarrative.

Humans find their meaning in stories – meaning narratives, and Western culture currently lacks a unifying, integrated metanarrative.

Therefore our situation has become one of amythia exacerbated by postmodernism – and subsequently, we’re experiencing increasing nihilism.

It is becoming evident that the West is undergoing a crisis of meaning. This can be seen in the chaos of increasing mental health issues, mass shootings, substance abuse, violence, polarization, political extremism, consumerism, and ecological devastation.

At risk also is liberalism which has come to define the West, with its religious foundations crumbling. A suitable alternative metanarrative must be found.

Insights within metamodernismemergent evolution, and liberal naturalism may be sources for such a new metanarrative and corresponding spiritual paradigm.

For a detailed exploration of such, continue reading A Spirituality of Emergent Nature.

Western Culture at the Crossroad

  1. Judeo-Christianity is rapidly declining and is no longer the dominant Western cultural metanarrative. This long-standing worldview is being eroded through encounters with naturalism, reductionism, rapid technological advances, and an increasingly prevalent cultural mythos of progress without limitations.

  2. Given that this religious worldview had unifying effects and provided much of the foundation for the West’s liberalism, a suitable alternative must be found to support our traditions of freedom, human dignity, and humane culture.
  3. Unfortunately, much of current Western intellectual life has been dominated by postmodernism and its skepticism concerning metanarratives and realism.
  4. The result is amythia and increasing nihilism. In essence, the West is becoming increasingly unmoored from reality. Our culture is rejecting an organic view of humanity as embedded and interconnected in nature and instead is embracing forms of transhumanism and the destructive ideologies of the Machine.
  5. The cultural and human damage can be easily seen in the mental health pandemic, the meaning crisis, mass shootings, the drug epidemic, shallow consumerism, and the ongoing destruction of the environment.
  6. We cannot return to metanarratives rooted in supernaturalism which have been mortally wounded by Nietzsche’s pronouncement of the death of God and by the influences of naturalism, reductionism, and postmodernism.
  7. The challenge, therefore, is to take up what Thomas Berry called The Great Work and restore an organic worldview in which humanity is seen not as an addendum or intrusion into nature but quintessentially integral within nature itself.
  8. This organic vision will be informed by a new metanarrative nourished by evidence-based reasoning and insights from blending metamodernism, emergentism, and a spirituality informed by liberal naturalism.
  9. Such an alternative may provide Western culture a unifying, constructive metanarrative of emergent evolution and a subsequent spirituality based in compassion, solidarity, participation, and sustainable living.
  10. And the above metanarrative can support a new spiritual paradigm crafted by the best of human religious imagination, mythopoesis, ritual creation, storytelling, poetry, and artistic expression. Such a spiritual paradigm can empower a vigorous defense of human dignity that opposes the dehumanizing forces of materialism, reductionism, and nihilism.
  11. Current expressions of this spiritual approach include spiritual ecology, varieties of Celtic spirituality, Emergentism, Gaianism, spiritual naturalism and religious naturalism. It still may be possible to revision Judeo-Christianity along metamodern, emergent, and liberal naturalist lines. However, Christianity is so soaked in supernaturalism and bad theology and practice, that it may be practically impossible for that revisioning to be successful. 

Changes in the Understanding of Human Sexuality

Western culture has also undergone revolutionary changes in its understanding of human sexuality. While most of these changes are positive, there remain lingering unintended consequences and the subsequent cultural upheavals need to be addressed.

Contraception, feminism, gay rights, and same-sex marriage, the reconfiguration of sexual morality around consent as the central principle, increased awareness of the interplay of gender and culture, and growing awareness of transsexuality have radically altered our understanding and practice of romance, sexual relationships, marriage, family, and monogamy, as well as gender itself. 

However, given that human sexuality is the means for the survival of our species as well as the impetus for much of human creativity and drive, our sexual self-understanding must be aligned with accurate visions of human nature itself in order not to be destructive.

Therefore, the task before us is a holistic analysing of human sexuality from the perspective of philosophical anthropology, ethics, and evolutionary theory, as well as an understanding of the complex relationship between culture and sexuality, which, in turn, yields insights into broader cultural forces and trends.

Contemporary Irish Culture - A Case Study

Modern Ireland is, in many ways, a microcosm of Western culture itself. Irish identity and meaning have rapidly changed in a period of fewer than 100 years and has tracked the same trajectory of the West overall. 

To understand the ideas at the heart of the current upheaval in Western culture, one may analyse the ideas and forces that led to the creation of the Irish Republic, the collapse of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and Ireland’s integration into the technological economy and the European Union.

Studying these changes requires immersion in Irish news, politics, commentary, intellectual circles, spiritual movements, and the arts communities.

Understanding Ireland today is to understand the West today.

Selected Reading Lists

Here I offer a general reading list related to the areas of interest mentioned above.

This list is not meant to be comprehensive or complete. Rather, it offers selected works that provide perspective and insight on the topics at hand.

I update this list a few times a year, so feel to return every now and then. I also welcome suggestions for works to include.

Academic Engagement

Spiritual-Religious Naturalism

Spiritual Naturalist Society (SNS)

Gregory is the executive director of the Spiritual Naturalist Society an online community dedicated to increasing awareness of Spiritual Naturalism as a philosophy, encouraging the further development of Spiritual Naturalist thought and practice, and educating others on the traditional wisdom and contemplative practices that inspire Spiritual Naturalism. 

Religious Naturalist Association

The RNA is the online home to thousands of religious naturalists around the world. Their website contains many academic resources and links to member activities.

Institute of Religion in the Age of Science (IRAS)

A global academic association promoting scholarship on the interplay of religion and science.

The Liminal Web

The Liminal Web is a collection of thinkers, writers, theorists, podcasters, videographers and community builders who all share a commitment to exploring and developing metamodernism and related spiritualities. Emergentism is one part of this developing community.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

– Steve Jobs
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