Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top 10 All-Time Blog Posts

After maintaining this blog for a few years now, here are the most popular posts. The second on the list is the most popular recently and will make it to the top at some point.

Give them a read and let me know what you think.

Jan 31, 2012

Feb 6, 2010, 3 comments

Aug 31, 2011

Feb 7, 2010, 6 comments

Feb 6, 2010, 1 comment

Jun 22, 2011

Apr 17, 2010, 2 comments

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dennis Miller and the God Question

My book, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, deals directly with the below issues in Chapters 12 and 13, which focus on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (link to free online version). 

I recommend that anyone interested read my book as a primer, then read Zen and the Art, which is quite a long book, well worth reading, but you have to know what you're looking for and how it all fits together.
* * *
Below is a short audio clip of an Interview from The Dennis Miller Show. Dennis is interviewing Vince Bugliosi, author of Divinity of Doubt: The God Question (as well as Helter Skelter, and others), a book in which Bugliosi intellectualizes many tenets of Christian faith, like virgin birth, immortality of the soul, the divinity of Jesus and others.

In the interview, Bugliosi says that he is an agnostic, and that atheism is an "intellectually empty philosophy. Says Bugliosi of popular atheists like Christopher Hitchens, who he names specifically, "They simply cannot find a non-sequitur that they do not like."
But like such atheists (and religious folk from the opposite side), Bugliosi sets up these straw man intellectual arguments which do not advance the debate at all, but rather simply further obscure the basic difference between religious/spiritual people and intellectual people, which is a PHILOSOPHICAL difference concerning the nature of reality.
This sounds quite esoteric, but let's make it very, very simple:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eckhart Tolle Says Birds are the Enlightenment of the Animal Kingdom

One of the many things I enjoy about being back in Lexington is the natural beauty we have here. From the descent into Bluegrass Field over lush green horse farms, rendered Emerald Isle green by too much rain this spring, to the birds (and other critters) in my mom's backyard, Lexington is still a city carved into the countryside. (Be sure to click on the pictures for some incredible resolution.)

Eckhart Tolle says that birds are the enlightenment of the animal kingdom. Watch them for any length of time and it becomes difficult to disagree. (I'm not so sure about chipmunks but they are awfully cute.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Pain-Body Causes Criminals to Snap

This article was originally published by Technorati on 16 May 2010 as a Simply Spirited feature. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

The Oxygen Network will premiere a new episode of "Snapped," its true crime series about women who kill tonight at 10:00 p.m. EDT (9:00 Central).

The 2004 murder-for-hire plot of Florida woman Karen Tobie (attention: spoiler alert if you click this link) is the subject of tonight's installment of the series, in its eighth season, that claims all female killers share a common trait: "At some point, they all snapped." Thus the title.

This is likely true on some level for men who kill as well. Be that as it may, where does this impulse come from? Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says that violence in general arises when people lose touch with "their natural state, the joy of life within."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spiritual Clean-up on Aisle Five

This article was originally published by Technorati on 20 February 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

The Good News Gazette is reporting on a Washington Post story about Rev. Anita Naves, who has taken up shop . . . well . . . inside a shop.

After her ordination, Rev. Naves searched for a proper venue to start up a church. For two years, nothing materialized around her home in Temple Hill, MD, in the Washington, D.C., area.

But as they say, when God closes a door, he opens a produce section.

That's when Naves says she felt God's urging to check out the community room at a new Giant Food store in District Heights, MD. She arranged a meeting with an assistant manager.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Theology No Substitute for God's Presence

Theology is like gossip about God by people who haven't actually met God.

Theology isn't wrong. It's the seeking part of "Seek and you will find." But if we have an inordinate fascination with theology as an end in itself--if we make theology our "stairway to heaven," so to speak--we miss out on fulfilling our purpose in this life, here and now. Indeed, the human body is a finely tuned instrument, specifically designed for one purpose: knowing God (see The Joy of Being, Explained).

Theology is the study of the idea of God. It is at least one step removed from the actuality of God--God's presence. Ushering people into God's presence is the goal toward which religions aim. Once that's been achieved, theology becomes superfluous.

Theology is a description of the idea of God. When you know someone, to the extent you can know anyone--that is, when you've met a person, been in his or her presence--descriptions become unnecessary.

Author and former nun Karen Armstrong expresses the Buddha's view this way:

"Religion is like a raft. Once you get across the river, moor the raft and go on. Don't lug it with you if you don't need it anymore." (For a thorough account of the Buddha's view, see An Excerpt from Karen Armstrong's Book, Buddha)

[See Eckhart Tolle's view on theology here: Excerpt on Theology from Eckhart Tolle's Book, The Power of Now]

Theology is of man (humanity); spirituality is of God.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The New Earth Economy - A Radical Approach to Money

I'm here to tell you about a little thing I like to call the New Earth Economy, or N.E.E. for short. The N.E.E. is named in honor of one of our favorite books here at Todd Wright Now, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61),by Eckhart Tolle. In that book, our good friend Eckhart expounds upon his vision for the evolution of us humans:

"'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,' writes the biblical prophet. The foundation for a new earth is a new heaven--the awakened consciousness."

The N.E.E. is based on the principle expressed by Jesus: "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you." (WEB)

Now Jesus certainly never said, "Give, but don't sell." But the NEE is predicated on the idea that if you're going to be given so much as a result of giving, why bother to sell?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vatican Publicists Could Learn from Their Hollywood Peers

This article was originally published by Technorati on 6 April 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

The AP is reporting that the Vatican has launched a counter-offensive against what it sees as wrongful accusations alleging that Pope Benedict XVI was in some way complicit in cases of sex abuse by priests in Ireland, the United States and elsewhere.

Through Vatican Radio and surrogates, high-ranking members of the College of Cardinals, the Pontiff has decided to fight fire with fire, countering what he sees as an orchestrated media campaign with one of his own, linking the calls of cover up with the Catholic stance against abortion and same-sex marriage.

Millionaire Gives Away Fortune, Keeps Next to Nothing

This article was originally published by Technorati on 11 February 2010. Well worth a second look. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder has decided to give away all of the $6.7 million fortune he amassed in the furniture business because he said it made him miserable.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Black Marriage Day A Celebration of Suffering

This article was originally published by Technorati on 26 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

Black Marriage Day is the 28th of March. What to wear? What to wear? Though I'm neither black nor married (with no prospects even), I'm pretty excited about it.

Some 300 communities across the country will celebrate the joys of marriage with various events, such as vow renewal ceremonies, marriage workshops, black tie galas and the premier of two marriage-related movies, You Saved Me and Why Did I Get Married Too?.

See the trailers . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Churches Can Fight City Hall and Win

A version of this article originally appeared on Technorati on 2 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

The Crossroads United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, has an outreach ministry to the city's homeless population. Part of that outreach includes reaching out to the downtown area and pulling in, by the bus load, as many homeless folks as they can find every Saturday morning for a pancake breakfast.

The problem with this laudable practice is that Crossroads is in a posh neighborhood, and the rich folks that live there are none too keen on having walking, talking reminders of "There, but for the grace of God, go I" in their midst. They like their churches like they like their children, seen and not heard.

Rich folks have lawyers, and these rich folks' lawyers impressed their clients' position upon the local politicians they underwrite, who forthwith issued an injunction against said pancake breakfast, ordering Crossroads, citing zoning law restrictions, to cease and desist, or face consequences.

That should take care of that, said the city fathers to themselves, what with the little guy's inability to fight city hall and all.

Enter the hero in the white hat, in this western melodrama, who happens to be none other than . . . the U.S. Congress?

That's right, that loathsome first branch of government passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act back in 2000, and it's been taking down city halls under similar scenarios all across the country ever since.

"Jesus" Help Me Find My Proper Place

Lou Reed and the Blind Boys of Alabama prove once again that, when it's heartfelt, there's no such thing as a bad prayer. Reed who wrote the simple song, "Jesus," first recorded it with the Velvet Underground in 1968.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Law of Cause and Effect a Tenet of Aristotelian Faith

I went to a religious college for my undergraduate degree. I remember a professor in the Philosophy department answering a question from a student in class, "What in philosophy gives you the most qualms as a man of faith?"

The professor, without hesitation, said, "Immanuel Kant." It would be many years before I would really understand this answer and be in a position to offer the professor a prescription for his troubled mind (though surely he has passed by now, God rest his soul).

His problem with Kant had to do with the latter's view on miracles. Basically, Kant believed that there is no such thing.

Wrote Kant: "If one asks: What is to be understood by the word miracle? it may be explained . . . by saying that they are events in the world the operating laws of whose causes are, and must remain, absolutely unknown to us." (Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, Harper Torchbooks, p. 81, cite courtesy of Maverick Philosopher)

In other words, when you see something that appears miraculous, it's only nature functioning according to laws we don't yet understand.

But this view of Kant's is a natural progression from the law of causality (cause and effect), first stated with clarity within Kant's philosophical lineage by our arch nemesis Aristotle. (See The Philosophy of Success elsewhere on this blog). It's Aristotle with whom the professor should have picked his bone, not Kant. Kant's too far gone. He's too far down the line.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Trouble with Televangelists

Ever wonder why Plato wrote his Dialogues the way he did? They're narratives; they read like stories, generally about dialogues that took place between Socrates and philosophers or students in and around Athens. They are timeless, as good a-reading today, if you are interested in the subject, as they ever were.

Compare them with Aristotle's Metaphysics and the vast majority of written matter on the subject of philosophy, which is completely cerebral and dry as the dust that coats them in libraries. No one reads them except academics, a condemnation not shared by Plato.

Apart for abounding good taste, why did Plato write like this? The answer may be found in one of his Dialogues called "Phaedrus." In it, Socrates has traveled to the countryside outside the walls of Athens, where he engages in his familiar verbal jousting (called "dialectic") with his young friend Phaedrus.

The storyline is generally about the benefits of rhetoric versus philosophy. But one of the lines of questioning concerns the benefit of writing. Socrates tells Phaedrus a myth about an Egyptian god, Theuth, who, according to the myth, was the inventor of writing.

Theuth brought his invention to King Thamus, hoping that all the Egyptians might make use of it, claiming, "This . . . will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories."

King Thamus told Theuth that he was mistaken. Writing would not benefit memory at all. Rather, it would weaken it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eckhart Tolle for Christians

Christianity--and probably most religions--can be broken down into two component parts. On the one side you have its mythos. This is the broad story on which it's based.

For Christianity, that's the story of redemption: how Jesus, before the world began was the Son of God, how He was born into the world, how He lead a blameless life and yet He was put to death, and how He rose again and ascended to heaven, and how one day He will return to judge the living and the dead. That's the mythos of Christianity.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jesus and Aristotle

This is a section of a much larger article called The Philosophy of Success.

Aristotle lived about 300 years before Jesus, but Alexander the Great made sure they would meet by invading the area (called the Levant) in 332 B.C. He and his successors ruled until 63 B.C., when the Romans took over.

I've simplified the timeline a little. The Maccabean Revolt began around 167 B.C., ushering in a short quarter-decade of Jewish independence. The revolt was fought--and this is my point--contra deep and offensive Hellenization of Jewish religion and culture.

This included Aristotelian philosophy among the educated classes, which continued under the Romans, who became the torchbearers of Greek culture and philosophy.

Jesus was born into a thoroughly Hellenized Palestine, and nowhere was this more pervasive than in the priestly caste. This explains why Jesus' main antagonists in the Christian Gospels are the Pharisees and Sadducees. The earmarks of Aristotelian thought run throughout the Biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry.

Aristotle and Christianity

This is the final section of an article called The Philosophy of Success.

So Jesus had his say and then he was crucified--most of us know the story--and then another religion developed in his name. This is where the story really gets good.

So what do you think that religion did? Do you think they kept up the fight with Aristotelianism that Jesus had started? Far from it.

Christianity plugged along for several hundred years under the auspices of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, a neo-Plantonist (i.e. pre-Aristotelian thinking; for more information see Radical Academy); along with the inspirational handbook, The Consolation of Philosophy: Revised Edition (Penguin Classics), by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, also a Platonist.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Alchemy of Happiness

Jesus (upon whom be peace!) saw the world revealed in the form of an ugly hag. He asked her how many husbands she had possessed; she replied that they were countless. He asked whether they had died or been divorced; she said that she had slain them all. "I marvel," he said, "at the fools who see what you have done to others and still desire you.

Mohammed Al-Ghazali

The Alchemy of Happiness

For those of us familiar with the parables of Jesus from the Christian tradition, this one ain't in there, it's not in the Bible. Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1058-1111; that's him on the right) was a scholar of the Islamic tradition. This comes from his book The Alchemy of Happiness. The parable isn't in the Koran either. I haven't located its source other than al-Ghazali.

The phrase "upon whome be peace!" is usually included whenever Jesus' name is mentioned in Islamic texts. The world of Islam views Jesus as a major prophet and the teachings of Mohammed and Jesus overlap quite a bit in many areas.

Technically, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians are not considered infidels in Islam (kafir in Arabic), but rather "People of the Book." According to Wikipedia, it's even an offense against Islamic law to use the term in reference to followers of these three religions (

Regardless of its source, the parable is a profound commentary on the perishable nature of existence.

For more on al-Ghazali and The Alchemy of Happiness check out this website:

As always, your comments are welcome. They will be helpful to others.

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