Stephen Batchelor and Ven Brahmali debate in Melbourne 2014 – Pick your winner

You can now watch this debate between the famous "Secular Buddhist" Stephen Batchelor and Ajahn Brahmali, of the Thai Theravadin tradition from earlier this month.I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts (Jayarava, Mufi, Doug Smith, Ted Meissner - and the whole 'Secular Buddhist' crowd, US and UK - Nathan Thompson, and others who have discussed this intersection of 'the world' / seculum according to Batchelor and Buddhism).As debates go, it was highly collegial. They agree on far … [Read more...]

The Future or Death of Religion: an Interfaith Discussion

February 25, 1pm PST.Mark your calendars.I will be speaking with three amazing representatives of different religions, hosted by Mark W. Gura, on the topic of the future of religion. Here is the official blurb:An Interfaith Discussion About The Future Or Death Of Religion Hosted By Mark W. Gura With the turn of the new year and recent depictions of religion in the media, many are asking where religion is heading in 2014. The Rise of the Nones, the recent Pew Study on Religious … [Read more...]

Reflections on my observance of Ramadan

Friday I wrote about "Exploring discomfort: My first day of fasting for Ramadan," ending at the evening prayers, which I chose to 'sit out' and observe from the side. In my experiences in Catholicism, this was the best thing to do when it came time to receive Communion if you weren't a confirmed (and 'in communion') Catholic.*After the prayers concluded, everyone made their way back toward me and I was joined by Aleem, one of the two elders that I met and spoke with that night. He insisted I … [Read more...]

Jesus & Buddha: Practicing Across Traditions, a review

I sat down over the weekend to watch (for a second time), this short documentary, joined by two fellow PhD students, one a Theravadin Buddhist, the other a Roman Catholic. At just 44 minutes in length, it is brief, but perhaps it is the perfect length for a high school or university class on Comparative Religions or a faith group to watch over tea and cookies. The film features three people who are intimately familiar with both traditions:Father Robert Kennedy, a Jesuit priest and Zen … [Read more...]

Why I’d Make a Good Atheist

As the title suggests, this is essentially a response to Marc Barnes' post on his blog, Bad Catholic, titled: Why I'd Make a Bad Atheist.His argument in brief is that he wants to be happy forever, life doesn't guarantee happiness, and if his 'want' is to make any sense for him, it must be fulfillable: ergo heaven (God, angels, demons, pixies, unicorns, and flying spaghetti monsters are optional). Okay, I added the last part. And as atheists don't go to heaven (I guess), he'd make a bad … [Read more...]