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Category: Religion

Past lives: The Archive of DNA

Past lives: The Archive of DNA

All religious scripture speaks on many levels, in a multitude of ways. Some who read scripture believe them to be literally true, while others see them as poetic, symbolic, allegorical. They see metaphors where others see history. And all writers of scripture no doubt realized this vast sea of difference. They all realized that their work would be interpretated differently, given the context, the culture, the times, the levels of literacy and education. The best of them wrote in such…

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The Center is Everywhere

The Center is Everywhere

Having just finished another Bart Ehrman book, Jesus, Interrupted, I can’t help but ponder the human need to remain in the distant past. The human need to remake that past to fit the present. Square pegs and all of that. The round hole of now. The miserably archaic square peg of then. This need is both puzzling and understandable, given how difficult and complex life is in the present, in our modern world. Understandable, in that because of those difficulties…

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No Time to Wait: The Secrets

No Time to Wait: The Secrets

Another aspect of The Secrets is generational conflict and resolution. This is most obvious in the battle between Naomi and her father, Rabbi Hess. Not only does her father see Naomi as rash in her desire to break with tradition and forgo the arranged marriage, he also feels she does not understand his role within the family, or the true role of his departed wife. Naomi says very little about her mother, but makes a powerful insinuation that Rabbi Hess treated…

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Tony Jones: Pizza Space

Tony Jones: Pizza Space

[Guest blogger du jour Tony Jones] What’s the mystique about mysticism? (Or is the question itself just a misleading fork in the road, excluded middle term, dun leaves dead on a worm-ridden tree, as in “not seeing the forest for the … ”, regarding spirituality). When I watched Kung Fu as a young child, then as now I was entranced by the mixture of action and the ambiance of a kind of deep inner peace that drove it. I think…

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Practical Ecstasy

Practical Ecstasy

Recent events have me thinking yet again about ecstasy, mind, spirit and the power of suggestion and belief. The laying on of hands by Pentecostals. The ecstatic motions of Sufis. The chanting OMs of Hindus and Buddhists. The trance-states of shamans, west, east, south and north. The universal appearance of X proves that X is not uniquely the province of any one region, culture, or religion. By definition. As in, if there are instances of peanut butter all over the…

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The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge

Philip Pullman’s usage of the myth of Adam and Eve had me revisiting the metaphors, symbols, and scenarios in that ancient garden. While there are many different interpretations of the myth, and a wide range of disagreements between Jewish and Christian exegesis, I thought Pullman was really onto something fundamentally important. Contrary to much of the received wisdom about that story, Adam and Eve did the right thing. They sought knowledge. In effect, consciousness. Had they stayed in the garden,…

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The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass

Reading three books at once right now. Multi-tasking in a sense. But concentrating mostly on just one: Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Still reading Doctor Zhivago, and Zamyatin’s We, but am having a great time with Pullman’s book. Enjoyed the movie as well. Outside of the Potter books, I’ve read no other kids’ books since I was a kid. This current reading is a serious departure for me. But I think I’ve discovered something very interesting in the process. Something…

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Caveats East and West

Caveats East and West

My musings on dualisms come with many qualifications and the usual hemming and hawing. But, I’m going to skip past most of that and push on, despite the obvious flaws in any kind of capsulism. Was thinking about the difference between layers in society and culture. That there has been, over time, a difference between the top and the bottom–and later the middle–across time, across cultures is too obvious to require elaboration at the moment. But there are differences as…

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Dualisms East and West . . . .

Dualisms East and West . . . .

My title is a teaser. I am for it and against it. Meaning, this post is too short to fully develop the differences between cultures, or to explore the fact that many of those differences that were are no longer. Sad to say. That said, Tony Jones offers a very concise and thought-provoking essay on the subject of various dualismsbelow. He, too, slimmed it down for the purposes of opening up discussion, rather than trying to close something that can’t…

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The Question

The Question

Humans have two choices. Well, we actually have millions of choices, but for the purpose of this post, we have two. Believe in a divinity that guides our lives and controls the universe, or in a universe that guides itself, leaving us basically on our own. Strike that. There may just be a third choice in there somewhere. Yes. At least for the purpose of this post. The belief in a divine entity that no organized religion has yet described,…

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