Tuesday, 03 January 2017 11:22

Awe Shapes Views of Science

In general, we feel awe when in the presence of something that is so big, beautiful, powerful or complex that it is hard to wrap our heads around (e.g. gazing at the stars and contemplating the vastness of the universe, witnessing the destructive force of a natural disaster). We feel it when we are struck dumb by the presence of the mysterious, magical, wondrous or beautiful and its experience drives us to seek explanations. Something has not only defied our expectations about how the world works, but it has made us want to understand, explain and find meaning in what has happened.

Published in Practical
Sunday, 06 March 2016 15:32

Predestination - A False Doctrine

Predestination is a bit of a thorny thicket for theologians.  Today, strict predestinarianism (to include double predestination) is a minority view.  Among the broad theological community, predestination is widely understood to be heresy.

Why?

As this paper will illustrate, that free will does not exist (the premise of strict predestination) is simply not supported in scripture and in many places directly contradicts scripture.  Then there is the notion of paradox.

The doctrine reduces the eternal salvation of the elect as well as the eternal damnation of the reprobate to one cause alone -- namely to the sovereign will of a Higher Power, Being, or God.  It thereby denies and excludes the free co-operation of man as a secondary factor in bringing about a happy or unhappy future in the life to come.

Published in Spiritual
Sunday, 06 March 2016 15:17

Predestination and Wicca

The juxtaposition of predestination with the exercise of free will is as old as human thought itself.  Prior to Western civilization, the disperse pagan world, at times, (conveniently) embraced the idea of predestination and, at other times, (conveniently) rejected the idea of predestination.  It was widely believed that certain Pagan gods actively meddled in the affairs of human lives and human events.

Today, however, most Wiccans don’t believe in predestination (or other kinds of determinism, not inclusive of broadly accepted (loosely defined) karma).  The idea of a predestined elect was a gnostic idea.  That said, most Wiccans honor and revere a Goddess and God, there is a strong knowing among practitioners that they are free souls with full control and responsibility for their individual lives, actions, and consequences. The rational Wiccan, whether a believer in Transmigration of Souls or not, sees each new life as a tabula rasa, a clean slate, and shuns all beliefs that smack of predestination.

Published in Spiritual
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:03

Rinzai Zen - Fujaku, fugu.

"Where should your mind be kept?  If your mind is not fixed anywhere it will pervade throughout the body... If your mind is fixed on a certain spot, it will be seized by that spot, and no activities can be performed efficiently. Not to fix your mind anywhere is essential. Not fixed anywhere, the mind is everywhere."

  • Study Zen -- one discovers the key to all forms of Buddhism.
  • Practice Zen -- one's life is brought to fulfillment in the attainment of enlightenment.

Samsara is the same as nirvana, defilement the same as purity, and delusion the same as enlightenment.  The challenge to understanding is due to one's ignorance -- the ignorance in mistaking phenomena for ultimate reality. Great is Mind. Heaven's height is immeasurable, but Mind goes beyond heaven; the earth's depth is also unfathomable, but Mind reaches below the earth.

Published in Personal
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