Naturalism and Humanism

Blog_Naturalism and HumanismWhat is the difference between Naturalism and Humanism?

The simple answer is that Naturalism tells us what exists, Humanism tells us what’s important.

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words, Naturalism is “a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.”

So in this sense, Humanism is built on Naturalism. You could say that Humanism is naturalism plus. As the Humanist Manifesto III states, “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”

Three Kinds of Naturalism

There are really three major kinds of Naturalism. First, there is the basic understanding of Naturalism as that which is opposite of supernaturalism. Basically, everything arises from natural properties and causes, supernatural explanations being excluded as unfruitful.

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139 Tom Clark on Naturalistic Spirituality: An Interview

Podcast_Tom ClarkCan naturalism serve as the basis for an authentic spirituality? In this interview, Tom Clark explains what naturalism is, what naturalistic spirituality is, and the place of meditation from a naturalistic viewpoint.

Thomas W. Clark is founder and director of the Center for Naturalism and creator of Naturalism.Org, and is the author of Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses. Tom is currently a research associate at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

To Connect with Tom Clark:
Naturalism.org website
http://www.naturalism.org

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Two Questions for Healthier Eating

Blog_Two Questions for Healthier EatingI must make a confession, I have not been eating healthy lately. Too many doughnuts at work.

Well, actions have consequences. Yup, I gained some weight. Ever been in that situation? So now what?

The first and hardest part of losing weight is getting motivated. It is not like I don’t know what to do. It is not like I don’t know that Krispy Kreme is not a good choice.

The First Question

So I decided to ask myself two questions before I eat or drink anything. The first question is, “Is it healthy?” If the answer is “no,” I don’t consume it. No exceptions.

This may seem extreme to some people. No ice cream, doughnuts, or cookies ever? That is the plan. Unrealistic? Maybe.

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138 Susan Blackmore on Zen Practice and Science: An Interview

Podcast_Susan BlackmoreHow does a psychologist integrate Zen practice with their scientific career? In this interview with psychologist Susan Blackmore, we discuss Zen practice, science, and her take on the problem of consciousness.

Dr. Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, lecturer and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is has been training in Zen for over thirty years, and is the author of a number of books including Zen and the Art of Consciousness.

To Connect with Susan Blackmore:
Susan Blackmore’s website
http://www.SusanBlackmore.co.uk

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The Available Light

Blog_The Available LightYou only know what you know. But much of what we think we know, just ain’s so.

So our first problem is to have a humble and realistic evaluation of what we really know and what we merely believe.

The difference between knowing and believing is the degree in which one has evidence for something. We can be fairly certain that we exist, that other people exist, and that the world is pretty much how it appears to be.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the belief in gods, angels, and demons. These have to be taken on faith because there are no facts to support them.

The Grey Area

Now between the fairly certain and the things we have to take on faith is the grey area. This is the area where investigation, experience, and the weighing of evidence determine whether something is “known” or whether it is just “believed.”

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137 Rick Heller on Buddhism and Humanism: An Interview

Podcast_Rick_HellerDoes Buddhism and Humanism go together? And if so, how do the two related to one another? In this interview with Rick Heller, we explore how Buddhist practices can be secularized and applied to our lives to help us cultivate inner peace, compassion, and joy.

Rick Heller is a Meditation teacher who leads the Humanist Mindfulness Group at the Humanist Community at Harvard. He is a freelance journalist and has written for the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Buddhadharma, and others. He has two master’s degrees, one in public policy from Harvard University, and one in journalism from Boston University.

To Connect with Rick Heller:
Rick Heller’s website
http://www.RickHeller.com
Secular Meditation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016SOZWPY/
Weekend Workshop with Rick Heller (August 19-21, 2016)
http://www.eomega.org/workshops/secular-meditation#-workshop-description-block

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The Yin and the Yang

Blog_The Yin and the YangThe yin-yang symbol is technically and more accurately called Taijitu, meaning “supreme ultimate diagrams.”

The Taijitu is my favorite of all symbols. It is simple, yet illustrates profound truths. It is used by Taoism and Zen Buddhism.

Yin originally referred to the “shady side” of a mountain. In the yin-yang symbol, it is represented as black. Yang originally referred to the “sunny side” of a mountain and is represented as white.

This duality of sun and shade do not make the mountain two different things. It is still one mountain. So the duality of light and dark are an illusion, they are only apparent. They are not real or essential.

Dualities

This sets up a whole series of dualities. There are light and darkness, positive and negative, objective and subjective, mental and physical, male and female, life and death, heat and cold, soft and hard, and many more.

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