I spoke recently with Kiwa Fukushima, Chief Priest, Genshoin, at Zenkoji, in Nagano, Japan. Fukushima-sensei is a priest of the Tendai sect of Mahayana Buddhism. He is also a scientist by trade, having received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Later, he worked as a researcher in chemical engineering at Yokohama National University until his father, a Buddhist priest, retired and he was entrusted with serving in his father’s position. I studied Buddhism with Fukushima-sensei… Read more

My wife, daughter and I met for dinner recently with a Buddhist scholar Prof. Shizuka Sasaki and his wife (a fellow scholar and colleague at Hanazono University) in Kyoto, Japan. I first met Prof. Shizuka Sasaki two years ago as a result of a Templeton science grant initiative on faith and science in the Japanese context. I was struck by his keen commitment to the historical Buddha’s teaching on enlightenment, including the emphasis on non-grasping and non-being. According to Prof…. Read more

  [Read part one here, and part two here]   5. Forgive others and yourself. Part of the power of the Christian faith is the power to love and forgive one’s enemies. Jesus forgave his enemies on the cross (Luke 23:34), and calls on his followers to love their enemies, pray for them, and forgive them (Matthew 5:44; Matthew 6:12, 14-15). Torture affects the tortured and torturer alike, in addition to others (Refer to these articles by The New York Times, Christian… Read more

[Miss part one?  Click here!] Beware of being wary of everyone. Don’t be paranoid and look for persecutors behind every bush. This is easier said than done for those who have experienced traumatic stress as a result of torture. For consideration of what torture does to a person, see these PBS and CNN reports. American Christians, who believe they are being persecuted, or who perceive persecution is fast approaching, need to ask themselves if they are confusing a loss of… Read more

Many American Christians speak of the rise of religious persecution in our country. Certainly, religious and cultural pluralism is increasing, and Christian privileges are decreasing. Could it be that Christians sometimes confuse the decrease in privileges with the rise of religious persecution?[1] Do we sometimes betray signs of a persecution complex? What might such a complex mean if it is the case that wounded people wound others? An important article in The Atlantic by Alan Noble encourages fellow Evangelicals to… Read more

We hear a lot about the conflict between faith and science, but have you heard of how science might serve to reduce conflicts between faiths? I discussed this possibility with Prof. Katsuhiro Kohara, Professor of Systematic Theology at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. It is a subject to which he has given a great deal of attention in his various academic pursuits. Prof. Kohara has focused much of his scholarly energies on the relationship between the Abrahamic faith traditions and… Read more

There is an old Protestant Reformation doctrine associated with Martin Luther “Simul Justus et Peccator” (simultaneously wholly righteous and sinful)[1]. Apart from our union with Christ, we are completely unjust, unrighteousness. However, those who respond in faith to the good news of God’s grace through Jesus Christ are completely just and righteous in total dependent relation to him. This dialectical reality remains constant throughout the Christian’s life, highlighting total dependence on God’s mercy. Does the same kind of dialectical reality… Read more

It has been debated whether Asian or Western religions are more compatible with modern science. Perhaps the question itself is suggestive of the struggle for the survival of the fittest religion! Some will argue that the Judeo-Christian faith was instrumental in the rise of modern science given such factors as its belief in a rational deity in whose image we are created and upon whose orderly and comprehensive designs we can reflect;[1] in fact, many of the leading early scientists… Read more

The conversation took an unexpected though welcome turn, like all really good dialogues: you never quite know where they will go. I had gone to Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan to interview Prof. Seung Chul Kim (Dr. Theol.). He is the Director of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, and Professor, Faculty of Arts & Letters, at Nanzan University. I asked Prof. Kim why he has dedicated so much of his energies to incorporating science into religious studies. Among various endeavors, he… Read more

There is nothing like bathing in nature for one’s health. The July 25th 2016 issue of TIME Magazine documented how the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (translated literally as forest bathing) could do wonders for one’s body: Japan’s Forest Agency encouraged the practice of forest bathing or investing time in nature in Japan back in the 1980s; since then, scientific studies have been confirming its merits for human well-being.[1] This should not come as too much of a surprise. After all,… Read more

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