religion – Perspectives & Possibilities

Tag: religion

(Left: Title: Shoes taken off of the Jews-Holocaust Museum | Author: rpavich | Source: rpavich | License: CC BY 2.0) (Right: Berlin Holocaust Memorial)

The Menace of Mendacity

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. —Albert Einstein There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. —Buddha Truth is not a trivial thing. Words matter. Being accurate requires curiosity, diligence, and rigor. I know that everyone has a different idea about what is truth. Much of the debate started when Pontius Pilate asked Read More

Title: Blackbird on Mount Sinai, South Sinai, Egypt | Author: David Stanek | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Prophets and Their Purposes

The world has been blessed with powerful messages from prophets of the past. Five of these prophets have a present-day influence on billions of people: Moses, Laozi, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. These five men were the impetus for Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Those religions represent almost 6 billion of the 7.6 billion people on the planet. Given those numbers, it seems appropriate to discuss who they were and what they were about. Read More

Featured Author: George Yancy

On June 19th in the New York Times, George Yancy published a Stone article entitled “Is Your God Dead?” I was so inspired by the power and prose of his piece that I am turning the microphone over today to this brilliant scholar will not only give you a break from my endless ranting, but will hopefully rekindle your outrage and stoke your passion for justice. After I read this piece for the third time (yes, Read More

Title: Cnidaria, MultiView Light Sheet Microscopy (3 of 4) | Author: Helena Parra | Source: ZEISS Microscopy | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Evolution of Consciousness

My wife sometimes accuses me of selective engagement. She says I am much more open to conversation with people whom I find physically attractive, intellectually stimulating, emotionally responsive, or spiritually evolved.

Guilty as charged. As it turns out, the idea of selective engagement goes back 500 million years.

Image Credit: Eleanor Caves and Claire Spottiswoode | Source: African Cuckoos

Shams and Shame

In the book, Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale, Henry Wonham quotes Twain as saying, “the moral responsibility of the American humorist is ‘the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities,’ and ‘the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence.’” Thus, he said, “the humorist is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges, and all kindred swindles, and is the natural friend of human rights and liberties.” Twain offered high praise Read More

Title: Window of St. Mary’s Cathedral in linz | Author: Magdalena Sick-Leitner | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sin and Spin

There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. —Tao Te Ching, Chapter 46 It seems to me that religions focus too much on sin; and politics focuses too much on spin. They may both be guilty of the sin of spin and the spin on sin. Religions specifically call out the Read More

Title: Half Full Half Empty | Author: Thomas Hawk | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC 2.0

Wisdom and Wealth

All religions allude to the challenge of acquiring enough wisdom to deal with whatever wealth you may have.

These various points of view help us address the questions, “What is wisdom?” and “How do you measure wealth?”

"Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg" http://www.2dhouse.com/rubegoldbergmachines.php

Fear, Fantasy, Faith, and Facts

In the face of fear, most people either substitute fantasy for reality, cling more tightly to their faith, or distort the facts. It appears to me like a chain reaction: fear leads to fantasy that is then expressed in faith which creates its own convoluted “truth” or faux facts. With fear levels at unprecedented heights, we need to explore the components of this reaction more closely.

Title: November 24, 2015 | Author: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com

Truth, Honor, Integrity, and Sensitivity (THIS)

My dad was a man of honor. If he said he was going to do something, you could bank on it getting done. He was also a very talented man. He constructed two family houses pretty much by himself. He built me a small car from scratch. He invented aluminum two-by-fours for houses. I never saw him treat anyone with anything but decency and respect. Most importantly, he stood by his principles, and his word was gold.

"Generative Art - Drawing Machine" by Amber Case

The Many Sides of Extremism

I just finished two books that shed new light on service and sacrifice and put them in perspective. The first, Strangers Drowning, discusses multiple examples of moral extremism; the second, When Breath Becomes Air, describes the experience of a 37-year-old Stanford neurosurgeon who died of cancer the year he finished his residency and was about to embark on a stellar career. In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar shares the stories of people who broke all norms and Read More

20101230-dontvnctoyourself by Flickr user ClintJCL https://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/

The Wisdom of Walls

In response to public charges against his high school principle for soliciting sex from a 13 year old, Liam O’Brien, a 16-year-old student at the school, said: “I guess it’s unnerving, but at the same time I almost feel bad because it seems like the Internet creates this wall where people are separated from the reality of their decisions and so they explore things that they normally would never be OK with – that sort Read More

Photo by Sérgio Rola, http://unsplash.com/sergio_rola

Wonder and Wondering

In 1968, I met Stephen Williams at Fort Holabird, Maryland, where we were both enrolled in Army Spy School.

Photo by Master Wen on Unsplash, https://unsplash.com/@36chambers

Religion: For Better or For Worse

And it seems such a waste of time If that’s what it’s all about Mama, if that’s movin’ up then I’m movin’ out And if that’s what you have in mind Yeah, if that’s what you’re all about Good luck, moving up, ‘cause I’m movin’ out —Billy Joel In psychology, there is a body of work that suggests that confrontation may at times be necessary for change, but it is never sufficient. Similarly, one might Read More

"Falling Leaves, Winter" by torbakhopper

Consciousness: Physics, Philosophy, and Possibilities

Since I am turning 70 today, I thought I would post a bold article on the possibilities and potential of expanded consciousness. Carl Jung once said, “In history, everything depends on consciousness.” There are, however, many conflicting views on consciousness, how it can be defined, and its relationship to the brain.

Grass | Author: Johan Blomström

Holism

Holism is the theory that parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole or cannot be understood without reference to the whole, i.e. the whole is more than the sum of its parts. If you believe in the power of synergy, then 2+2 may equal 5. While it is sometimes very useful from a scientific point of view to break things down into smaller and smaller Read More

Photo of swingset by Aaron Burden (License: CC0)

Abuse

We are hearing a lot of sordid stories these days about professional athletes abusing their spouses and children. As horrific and wrong as these cases are, they make us think that abuse is mostly physical and is contained within a small sub-section of the population. To me, abuse is more than physical, and it is practically universal. Let me explain. Abuse can be physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual. It can occur in blatant and obvious Read More

Credit: John Robert Marasigan

Finding Meaning

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe describes well the experience of people who are trying to find meaning while living in the middle.

Author: Elizabeth Lies

Conscious Dualism

Dualism means the tendency of humans to perceive and understand the world as being divided into two discrete categories. Dualism exists in many belief systems including Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism. In these beliefs the universe is divided into the complementary oppositions, e.g. good and evil. In traditions such as classical Hinduism, Zen Buddhism or Sufism, a key to enlightenment is “transcending” this sort of dualistic thinking.

"Saturn's red band," @ Big Huge Labs | Author: rainchurch | License: CC BY-SA 2.0

The Centrality Delusion

In 1632, Galileo angered the Pope when he published a book in which he openly stated that the Earth was moving around the Sun. He was put on trial by the Inquisition in Rome, where he was found suspect of heresy, and forced to say that all of his findings were wrong. He was first imprisoned, and later confined to his house near Florence.  This event was an early indication that debunking myths around centrality Read More

Image by Thomas Hawk

Being at Home in the Universe

An Internal Space or an External Refuge At my older daughter’s wedding, she sang the song, “Feels Like Home to Me” to her husband. It struck me that we are all searching for a sense of home in our lives and I was so grateful that she had found a man with whom she felt at home. Her beautiful voice filled the reception hall and my hope for everyone there was that they felt, in Read More

Science and Spirituality: Bridges or Barriers to God

Most religions preach that both science and spirituality are barriers to God. Science creates doubts, and spirituality offers an alternative path that doesn’t require contributions to the church coffers or preachers’ egos. While some spiritual paths may take you off into the weeds or into mountain caves, others offer legitimate ways to tap into higher power, higher purpose, and higher energy.