December 14, 2018

When we dissect a frog, we kill it in order to understand it. Could scientific thinking “kill” the world in an effort to understand it? “Science could not have killed the world,” you may say because the world was never alive to begin with. Or was it? It seems to me as though human minds have evolved to be naturally predisposed to seeing the world as “alive.” Throughout the recorded history of our species, virtually all societies seemed to have considered… Read more

November 9, 2018

If people actually practiced yoga, the $13 billion yoga industry would likely crumble overnight. In America, Yoga has become a caricature of itself. According to Yoga Journal’s 2012 “Yoga in America” study, 82% of practitioners of yoga in the United States are women between the ages of 18 – 44, and over 55 percent of them cite practicing yoga to improve the way they look. A multibillion-dollar fashion market has sprung up around yoga to sell expensive and unnecessary commodities… Read more

October 2, 2018

In 1995, astronomers pointed the Hubble space telescope at a seemingly empty patch of sky near the Big Dipper. They watched that patch of nothing for 10 days, and in that tiny speck of space astronomers discovered 3,000 galaxies, each containing billions of stars. That number was a low estimate. When scientists repeated this process with longer exposures and more sensitive equipment, they saw upwards of 10,000 galaxies in that dark speck of the sky. So, the Earth is not… Read more

October 2, 2018

Contrary to popular belief, the first response to the Heliocentric theory was not denial. In 1533, Johann Albrecht Widmannstetter delivered a series of lectures outlining Copernicus’ theory to Pope Clement VII and several Catholic cardinals. An archbishop encouraged Copernicus to publish a full version of his theory, which he called De Revolutionibus. It wasn’t until the Counter-Reformation and the inquisition against heretics of all sorts that heliocentrism was seen as a threat to the truth of Holy Scripture and brought… Read more

October 2, 2018

In popular culture, ‘empty your mind’ has become a catch-phrase of meditation circles. But the origins of striving to bring your mind to a place of emptiness wasn’t meant to help take your mind off our anxieties or slow our caffeine-addled brain—it was a radical statement about the nature of reality, both physical and mental. In Buddhism, this idea is called śūnyatā (“shun-ya-ta”): translated as emptiness or voidness. Śūnyatā connotes the concept that all things are empty, including our own… Read more

October 2, 2018

In searching for a compelling religious treatment of nothingness, the Jewish tradition would seem like a strange place to turn. It places a strong emphasis on the Israelites as being God’s chosen people, a guiding light for the other peoples of the world, whose actions are central to the redemption of a fallen humanity, a broken world, and the coming of the messiah. The role of the Jewish people in the light of the Torah is hardly nothing. But in… Read more

October 2, 2018

It took the Catholic Church 350 years to admit they were wrong about Galileo. We now know the Earth is not at the center of the universe, and neither are we. Science cannot disprove all the foundations of religion. But after centuries of upturning religious claims about how the universe works, science leaves an increasing number of people with an inability to believe in religions’ metaphysical frameworks—even if the moral groundwork and narratives of purpose they provide are still appealing…. Read more

September 19, 2018

If the universe is so mind-wreakingly vast, what possible significance could we have in it? The religious have an easy time answering that: we matter because God/the gods care about us. Great. We can move on with our lives. But if you don’t believe in a God or some divine order that looks at us with adoring eyes or has assigned a cosmic mission to humanity, then what are we doing here? What could we possibly ever do to justify… Read more

September 13, 2018

For one week, I allowed myself to believe in God. That week, I saw children sledding and felt as though some benevolent force were safeguarding them. The world became brighter and I felt humility before an all-powerful creator and sustainer. When I looked back at atheism, it seemed awash with egoism, centered falsely on the importance of self. And after the week was done, I went back to being an atheist. The Map Is Not The Territory It was a… Read more

August 17, 2018

After spending nearly an hour with the dead, I felt very much alive.   Graveyards and classical music are for me both gateways to intense regions of emotion. And around each of them I’ve created techniques that I consider a core part of my spiritual practice. When I engage with them correctly, I come away from my praxis with my human energies renewed. My willpower is fortified, my natural charisma returns, my confidence and resilience are rejuvenated. And when I… Read more

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