Testing a naturalist’s faith

Writing my first column for spiritualnaturalistsociety.org , I’m going to assume, appropriately or not, that I’m addressing people who, like me, reject supernatural explanations for all phenomena but have some kind of active spiritual life. Believers are tested in their faith in countless ways and learn over time to read the universe in particular ways [Read More...]

Daily Fruit


There is a folktale from India called The King and the Corpse. At the beginning of this tale we are told of a mendicant who appears every day at the king’s court to deliver an offering of fruit. Each day the king accepts this fruit and passes it on to his treasurer who carries it [Read More...]

Three Transcendents, part 4: Mind


Reaching inward, we discover our participation in something greater than what we normally call ourselves. This post concludes the series on transcendence in naturalism. Part 1 introduced naturalistic transcendence, part 2 covered nature as a source of transcendence, and part 3 explored community. Now we conclude with mind. In our recent poll on symbols of [Read More...]

Three Transcendents, part 3: Community


In relationships with other people, we participate in something greater than ourselves. This post continues the series on transcendence in naturalism. Part 1 introduced naturalistic transcendence, and part 2 covered nature as a source of transcendence. Part 4 will delve into mind.   On August 28th, 1963, over 200,000 men and women descended upon Washington, [Read More...]

The Integrated Practice


I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. My father is a traditional oil painter whose work usually involves realistic landscapes. Being works of realism, his paintings have always been very detailed (one can literally count the leaves on some of his trees). This influenced me toward realism and hyper-detail in my own [Read More...]

What “Death is a Part of Life” Means


Often in reading philosophy and wisdom teachings, one has a kind of repeating experience. We see many common phrases or statements by wise teachers. Perhaps we see the same or similar notions from a variety of traditions. And, the first time we see them, we may think we understand them; agreeing or disagreeing. Then we [Read More...]

When love seems absent


We all face times when it seems there is little genuine love in the world. Perhaps we’ve been seeing a lot of depressing things in the news, or perhaps it’s more personal. Maybe it’s been a long time since people close to us have shown any love to us. Maybe it’s a general feeling regarding [Read More...]

Bicycle Meditation


“What better place is there to ride a bike than right here, right now?” I love to wake early on a Sunday morning and go for a bike ride. Unlike the many people who pass me as I plod along, I do not ride for exercise or any other discernible purpose. I have no particular [Read More...]

Life Challenges as Mirror


This morning my wife discovered that the left side mirror on her car had been smashed by vandals sometime during the night. The same thing happened to our neighbor’s car, both parked on the street. As I later reflected on my initial response to this, I found it interesting. Sometimes, as we are making progress [Read More...]

Three Transcendents, part 1: Naturalistic Transcendence


  As my wife and I slogged along on our bicycles, generally irritated at each other, suddenly there was a pop. Her back tire went flat, and we were in the middle of nowhere on a Korean highway. We had to find a repair shop, communicate our problem, and somehow make it home. As we [Read More...]