Showing posts with label Inter-faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inter-faith. Show all posts

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lessons Learned from Franklin Graham and the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer

This article was originally published by Technorati on 23 April 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

Well it looks like the Franklin Graham-Pentagon National Day of Prayer imbroglio is over. After complaints from Muslim participants and a formal objection by a religious rights group, the Pentagon Chaplain's Office disinvited Graham from the May 6th service.

Perhaps the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which organizes the yearly Pentagon event, acted unwisely in selecting as its Honorary Chairman Graham, who has called Islam an "evil and wicked religion"; has said Muslims are "enslaved by their religion"; and has confirmed his opinion yet again that he believe that Islam is "just horrid."

The decision was especially ill-taken, given that the National Day of Prayer is meant to be an ecumenical endeavor.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

President's Exhortation to Common Religious Bond is Important

This article was originally published by Technorati on 4 April 2010.

In his Easter address on Saturday, President Obama highlighted spiritual themes in route to plugs for some of his most important policy initiatives. "All of us know how important work is," was one lead-in. "All of us value our health," was another. And finally, "All of us value education."

Promoting these issues, Obama mentioned non-believers, but on this weekend of the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter, the emphasis was on the "common bond" that unites all people of faith.

What is that bond? That bond is a philosophy. More specifically, that bond is a philosophy of the nature of reality.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

No Role for Wisdom in American Jurisprudence

An edited portion of this article was published by
Technorati on 25 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

Back in Solomon's day, judges were lauded for their wisdom. Not so today.

Take the lesbian prom case out of Itawamba County, Mississippi, for example. School officials canceled this years soiree when they learned that lesbian Constance McMillen and her girlfriend intended to attend as a couple.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sleep Poll Reveals Wives' Tales

This article was first published by Technorati on 8 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

The National Sleep Foundation released its 2010 Sleep and Ethnicity Poll results today, uncovering unexpected findings that will forever stand in the way of some much beloved wives tales vis-a-vie sex and good sleep.

The poll, conducted by telephone with over a thousand participants, seems to be completely legit, with a nice PDF brochure of its "Summary of Findings," which contains lots of graphs and charts.

Word of warning: please consult that brochure yourself, because I stand behind none of these conclusions.

One of the stated goals of this research effort was: "To investigate attitudes and behaviors about the relationship between sleep and health across different ethnic groups." Last on the Foundations list, first on mine.

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.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

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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