Be Patient with Patients: They Are Far More than Temporarily Animated Corpses

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Is a patient near the end of life simply temporarily animated matter--a soon-to-be corpse that is turned to ash or locked in a box?[1] Is the patient a combination of material and immaterial substances, the latter of which is easily separated like a pound of flesh that lessens the body's weight at death?[2] Or is the patient a relational energy (namely, a soul or spirit), who returns to the divine Spirit, the same Spirit who enlivens his or her bodily particularity until life's end?And who … [Read more...]

Ban Nastiness and Naiveté, not Muslims

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Donald Trump’s recent statements about banning Muslims from the States has met with a wide array of reactions—from total support to outright disgust.Some fear that Trump’s stance is counterproductive and will only benefit ISIS propaganda that the States and the West as a whole are anti-Muslim. Tribalism only intensifies conflicts rather than reduces them, as Steven Pinker argues in The Better Angles of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. While some dispute Pinker’s view that violence is on … [Read more...]

Science, Metaphysics and Metaphorical Ladders: When Science is Theology

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Anti-Theologies Are Theologies, Part IFor those who think that metaphysics and theology are antiquated disciplines that have no place in our scientific age, please think again. Take one prominent contemporary example—Richard Dawkins. Like Freud, he is an anti-theology theologian in disguise. The anti-theological Dawkins presents theological or metaphysical claims. His fundamental thesis that the gene is selfish and that it governs all reality is not a hypotheses that Dawkins could readily j … [Read more...]

Should Ethics Be “Biologicized”? What Might that Mean for Eugenics?

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In the concluding chapter of Sociobiology: A New Synthesis, Harvard University’s Edward O. Wilson states, “Scientists and humanists should consider together the possibility that the time has come for ethics to be removed temporarily from the hands of the philosophers and biologicized.”[1] Wilson is certainly not the first to recommend this move.[2] For Wilson, it is bound up with his aim to promote the “Modern Synthesis” involving sociobiology, which he defines as “the systematic study of the bio … [Read more...]

Lights Out: Shining a Light on Caring for the Dying in a Multi-Faith World

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What would you do if you were a chaplain or pastor or trusted friend given the honor of caring for someone of another faith tradition who is approaching death? My students and I have heard from many faith leaders in my world religions class this semester talk about their views of the soul and body as well as end of life care.There were a variety of views presented, as one would expect. For all the differences, though, we can start from a common basis. As the Buddhist guest speaker shared, … [Read more...]

If I Weren’t a Christian, Perhaps I’d Be a Pagan

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Max Weber wrote that the "progressive disenchantment of the world" marks modernity. This is indeed the case, even though some have sought to demonstrate a potent counter-trend in modernity to provide forms of re-enchantment compatible with secular reason.[1]I discussed the theme of disenchantment and re-enchantment with a Pagan during a recent dinner event involving Pagans and Evangelicals. We were gathered together for the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. My P … [Read more...]

The French Connection—The Human Connection: The Law of Relational Gravity

©Paul Louis Metzger

Last night, our monthly Buddhist-Christian dialogue took a sudden turn in view of the deeply disturbing news reaching us from Paris. We decided to change the focus of conversation after dinner to share how we process such violent tragedies as humans and as adherents of our particular faith traditions (For more on our dialogue project, refer here).There was almost a mystical bond that formed around the table. Perhaps we all sensed more than most times our need for connection as humans given … [Read more...]


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