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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No Religious Test Shall Ever Be Required For the President. Article VI – US Constitution

No Religious Test for the President

In American politics today there is a faction of right wing conservative Christians who judge every candidate by their religion. There are those who have long maintained that President Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, and therefore unqualified for the presidency. During his 2008 bid for the presidency former Governor Mitt Romney was incessantly questioned about his Mormon faith. It was so bad he had to give a famed “Faith in America” speech specifically declaring that electing him was not the same as putting the LDS church in charge of…

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From Whence Does Morality Come?

Epictetus Morals book from 1716

One issue that has been discussed at length through the ages is morality. Questions such as what is moral? Where does morality come from? And why it is important have been hotly contested for as long as man could conceive of morality. Epictetus, a second century stoic philosopher wrote in 135 CE the following: “The first and most necessary topic in philosophy is that of the use of moral theorems, such as, “We ought not to lie;” the second is that of demonstrations, such as, “What is the origin of…

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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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Maintaining Religion in the Age of Reason

Sistene Chapel Michael Angelo painting

During the last decade we have seen in America a growing divide between the religious and the scientific community. We have seen books written by atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the like with titles that speak of God as a delusion and a scourge on humanity. We have religious conservatives consistently battling to put their belief of creation into the science classroom to combat what they see as a competing theory of why we are here on the earth. This is fueled in part by the rise…

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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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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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Obama the nice guy

Mr Obama is a too nice?  One of the criticisms I hear very often from his right wing detractors is that Obama is not tough enough, or doesn’t take a strong enough stance against America’s enemies and competitors.  Dick Cheney has harped on this concept since the campaign for the 2008 election. We all know the saying about nice guys finish last. But does that really mean that the only way to get things done is to be harsh and cruel?  If so, I understand why those right wingers cling…

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