143 Donald A. Crosby on A Religion of Nature: An Interview

Podcast_Donald A. CrosbyCan nature itself be an appropriate and compelling focus of religious commitment and concern? In this interview, Donald A. Crosby explains his conception of a Religion of Nature. He explains how a Religious Naturalists can and do practice their ultimate concern.

Donald A. Crosby is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Colorado State University. He is the author of several books, including More Than Discourse: Symbolic Expressions of Naturalistic Faith; The Thou of Nature: Religious Naturalism and Reverence for Sentient Life; Living with Ambiguity: Religious Naturalism and the Menace of Evil and A Religion of Nature.

To Connect with Donald A. Crosby:
Donald A. Crosby
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_A._Crosby
A Religion of Nature
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0791454541/
Nature as Sacred Ground: A Metaphysics for Religious Naturalism
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1438459297/

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The Christian Mind Trap

Blog_Christian Mind TrapChristianity is like a Chinese finger trap.

The Chinese finger trap is a simple puzzle that traps a person’s fingers in both ends of a small cylinder woven from bamboo. The only way to get out of the trap is to push your fingers further inside the trap.

Or, to change the analogy, Christianity is like a virus that is immune to most cures. Let me explain what I mean.

Christianity is like any other religion. It has a God, a Savoir, a means of salvation, and rituals and practices to follow. The fact that Christianity has survived and is the most popular religion in the world means that it has adaptive and survival ability.

Religions are like living organisms. Natural selection weeds out those that do not adapt to new and changing environments. Christianity has done a great job at evolving and changing to circumstances. That explains its vitality in the world today.

But that is changing. Christianity has come under increasing fire, as its holy book has been shown to be historically and scientifically unreliable. Science has proven that a literal interpretation of Genesis is impossible. The Bible just doesn’t tell us what really happened.

But Christianity is not going away anytime soon. It has within itself built in defense mechanisms against the truth, or should I say any truth that goes against Christian doctrine.

These defense mechanisms are beyond the normal confirmation bias that any believer has. Confirmation bias means that we look for evidence to support what we already believe, which disregarding evidence that doesn’t support it.

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142 Phil Zuckerman on Aweism: An Interview

Podcast_Phil ZuckermanBetween the secular and the needs usually designated as religious is a grey area. In this interview, Phil Zuckerman explains aweism, which is a strictly naturalistic way of expressing the deep wonder and overflowing feeling of awe we all feel at times.

Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is also a regular affiliated professor at Claremont Graduate University. He is also a Fellow of the Secular Global Institute. Phil is the author of several books, including Living the Secular Life. Phil writes a regular blog for Psychology Today titled “The Secular Life.”

To Connect with Phil Zuckerman:
Phil Zuckerman
http://PhilZuckerman.com/
Living the Secular Life
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0143127934/

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Zen Humanism

Blog_Zen HumanismZen Humanism is my attempted to forge a union between the scientific and rational world of the West, and the mindful and meditative world of the East.

Zen, according to The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, is “In Japanese, ‘Meditation.'” It a pronunciation of the Chinese word Chan, which is a translation of the Sanskrit word dhyana. Since the basic meaning in all three languages is “meditation,” a Zen Humanist is a Humanist who meditates.

There have been other names for Humanists who meditate. Some call themselves secular Buddhists. But this puts the Humanist in the Buddhist box. I prefer to think outside of the box and follow the truth wherever it leads.

Personally, I self-identify as a Humanist Meditation Teacher, calling myself “the Mindful Humanist.” But there are merits for something like “Zen Humanist.”

A Definition of Zen Humanism

Zen Humanism is Humanism plus meditation. Any further definition will open up personal interpretations of both Zen and Humanism. So the following is a definition based on my own understanding, limited and flawed as it might be.

Zen Humanism is a philosophy of life that rejects supernaturalism and affirms an individual’s dignity and responsibility to seek the greater good of humanity and live in harmony with nature, with particular emphasis on each person’s ability to achieve tranquillity through mindfulness, acceptance, and selflessness.

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141 Dr. Neil Hayes on Buddhist Psychology: An Interview

Podcast_Neil HayesBuddhist psychology opens a doorway to a different way to look at psychology than the usual Western one. In this interview, Dr. Neil Hayes explains the Buddhist perspective on body and mind, how to care for the mind, and where we go from here.

Dr. Neil Hayes has a doctorate in Psychology from the University of Oxford and is the author of A View From A Lake: Buddha, Mind and Future. He has been an active meditator for most of the last three decades, and has meditated with monks and other practitioners in multiple Buddhist traditions. He is a family man and a double cancer survivor.

To Connect with Dr Neil Hayes:
Dr Neil Hayes Website
http://www.NeilHayesAuthor.co.uk
A View From A Lake: Buddha, Mind and Future
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1784622176

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Secularizing Christianity

Blog_Secularizing ChristianityCan Christianity be secularized? In a recent conversation, a listener argued that if Buddhism can be “secularized” then so can Christianity.

An amusing comparison that ignores the vast differences between the two.

Buddhism is not a religion, in that it is not centered in a God or gods. They are mentioned but treated as irrelevant. Supernatural claims about reality form a very small part of the historical Buddha’s teaching.

Founded on Supernaturalism

Christianity, on the other hand, is founded on supernatural claims. A supernatural God sends his supernatural son to earth via a supernatural conception. His supernatural son reaches the age of adulthood and begins doing supernatural signs and wonders. Then he is arrested and crucified, only to be supernaturally resurrected from the dead and supernaturally ascended into heaven.

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140 Ted Meissner on Issues in the Mindfulness Movement: An Interview

Podcast_Ted MeissnerAs mindfulness goes mainstream, is it missing something? Is it right to create mindful killers? Where does Buddhist ethics enter into it? In this interview, Ted Meissner takes on the criticism of McMindfulness and the sense of entitlement within the Buddhist community.

Ted Meissner works at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society where he teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. His background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, and he is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the The Secular Buddhist podcast.

To Connect with Ted Meissner:
Present Moment Mindfulness
http://PresentMomentMindfulness.com
Secular Buddhist Association
http://SecularBuddhism.org

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