Month: July 2014

Why Law Shouldn’t Be Based on Morality

There’s a common argument that law ought to be based on morality, but I disagree. While there is a huge amount of overlap, law and morality operate on slightly different planes. I wrote about this in Rethinking Religion, but I

Posted in Buddhism, Life, Morality Tagged with: , , ,

Empty Your Cup

Someone asked this question,  and I decided to discuss it in a post because the question itself reflects the kinds of barriers we face trying to understand other religions: “I am a Christian but, having lived in India for quite

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Why the U.S. Christian Right Is Dangerous

Amanda Marcotte writes about The Christian right’s obscene, defining hypocrisy. Whether it’s liberal college professors supposedly turning kids to Marxism or gay people who are accused of recruiting, over and over you hear the claim that the children of conservatives

Posted in Christian Right, Fundamentalism, Religion in America, Religious Violence Tagged with: , , ,

The Basis of Morality

One chapter in Rethinking Religion is devoted to rethinking morality. Many religious people insist — absurdly, to my mind — that there can be no morality without religion. Secularists have taken up this challenge and have devised various non-religious moral

Posted in Atheism, Life, Morality, Religion in America, What Is Religion For? Tagged with: , , , ,

Ritual, Modernity and Citta

One of the arguments I make in my book Rethinking Religion is that religion is not about adopting supernatural belief systems. Instead, religion is about changing the way we experience and understand our lives and our selves, especially as part

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The Misuse of Mindfulness

Back in the Jurassic Age when I was a college student, a boyfriend decided he was going to live a completely spontaneous life. He would make no plans but simply do what he felt like doing at the moment, he

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Fanatics of Faith

Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times that fewer than 7 percent of humankind’s wars involved religion. “Of 1,723 armed conflicts documented in the three-volume ‘Encyclopedia of Wars,’” he says, “only 123, or less than 7 percent, involved a

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What Is Faith?

Here is something about faith from a Buddhist perspective. The first chapter in the book How to Raise an Ox by Francis Dojun Cook is titled “The Importance of Faith,” and it begins, “Practice is not possible without faith.” Dojun

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You Can’t Kill Intolerance With More Intolerance

If you’ve read my book Rethinking Religion, you know how much I want reactionary Christians to stop trying to force the rest of us to bow to their tribal totems. If it were up to me, there’d be no Ten

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America on Buddhism — More Popular Than Evangelicals

The Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project has a new poll out revealing how Americans feel about various religious traditions. The “mean thermometer rating,” meaning how groups ranked among all respondents, was: I take it from this that Protestant

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