The Search for a Purpose in Life

Chilean Volcano Eruption

Years ago I read the book by Orange County mega pastor Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life. The premise of the book is that successful lives are born of those people that make living Biblical principles their purpose. In other words, make God your main purpose in life and all else will fall into place. Pastor Warren and his book left me unconvinced that I should adopt his prescribed purpose into my own life. However this idea of humans needing a purpose to organize their lives has percolated in my…

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Religion Today | Will Doctrine or Love Prevail?

Truth and love

Love always trumps doctrine. I’ve also heard this principle expressed as ‘Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.’ Many people in this world are obsessed with being right, having the right doctrine, having the right knowledge, believing the right gospel. It is laudable to want to be right, but how can we be sure we are right about the mysteries of the world? How can we be right about things that have not happened yet? Until we experience death for ourselves, we will never…

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My First Religious Experiences

The Joy Bus

My earliest recollection of contemplating the nature of God was around the age of six or seven. As a family we did not attend church at the time. The neighborhood kids I played with were all Catholic and were taken to church regularly. I heard much about God and church and in a way, longed to be part of that group. In those days there was less fear of letting your child roam the neighborhood unsupervised, and I rode my bicycle constantly visiting others and just for the joy of…

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The Triangle of Life

The Triangle of Life

“Mind of a Scholar Body of a Warrior …Soul of an Artist That is how we must live” – Mason Hartwell, my son. He was only 16 or 17 when he wrote this, but my son poetically captured for me the perspective we need to find total happiness in our lives. In a classic 3-part synopsis of life, it conveys the concept of balance and perspective on our various natures. Mind of a Scholar: We need to have a thirst for knowledge and understanding of our world. Whether through formal…

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Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are not always accepted by traditional Christian religions. They arose from a Bible study group in the late 19th century guided by a gentleman called Charles Russell. Like many religious groups of that period, they were dissatisfied with the old time religion that seemed to have failed and looked forward to a new beginning in the millennial return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Their movement is best categorized as a restoration movement in Christianity. They claim exclusivity in correctness of doctrine and practice. They are tightly controlled…

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Saturday’s Visitors

This past weekend I received a visit from a nice couple handing out Bible Tracts. They are part of the Watchtower Tract Society, and call themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses. They were very cordial with a soft sell on their evangelism and only wished to hand me a pamphlet regarding the Garden of Eden. I graciously accepted, and within 2 minutes they had left my doorstep. This is not my first encounter with this group, and on other occasions I have spent considerable time discussing or debating issues of Christian doctrine with…

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What is Karma? The Golden Rule?

Karma

In popular American practice, many people declare that they “believe in Karma” when doing something right, that they expect that something good will happen to them. It is often expressed as “what goes around, comes around.”  This is a twisted take on the golden rule, which is “treat others as you wish to be treated” and turns it into , ‘do good unto others, so good things will be done unto you’. This ego-centric approach of doing well to others, so that the same will come back to us, seems…

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Competition is not compatible with Religion.

competition

Jews reject the New Testament beliefs of Christianity. Christians see the Jews as incomplete for rejecting Jesus. Muslims accept Jesus and the ancient prophets such as Moses and Abraham, but reject the divinity of Jesus that the Christians claim. Mormons accept Jesus and the ancient apostles, but reject Muhammad as a valid prophet. All of them reject the ancient beliefs of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zorastrianism, Greek and Roman Gods. The truth is, we all reject the beliefs and truths of others more than we accept them. We are tribal in…

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Yesterday’s science is tomorrow’s religion

Books on Religion

The greatest philosophers and thinkers in our history are considered great because they were the first to propose a new idea that radically changed our perspective on life and existence. These new explanations of our world and its meaning revolutionized previously held beliefs, but today we no longer consider them novel, but common knowledge. The ancient mid-easterners adopted the creation stories emanating from the Zoroastrians and eventually canonized them in books of sacred texts such as the Bible. The Romans had their myths to explain the creation as well as…

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Political Pluralism

Coexist Rainbow by Brian Hartwell

In America, we seem to always be fighting right vs. left; the Christian right wants to make America more of a Christian Nation, and the left a more secular state. Although there are conservatives who are atheists or agnostics and strong believing Christians who are also liberal, the popular characterization in the media of left and right follows the secular and religious respectively. Americans, whether they realize it or not, prefer a government of opposites. In the past twenty years neither party has had a strong hold on all the…

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