The ‘Way of Salvation’ for Modern-day Religious Freethinkers

Human beings are neither evil beyond measure nor good beyond credibility. That is my position as a Humanist and religious liberal even though I am well aware that many Humanists tend to have a view of human nature that is far too ‘rosy’ and unrealistic.

Religious Naturalism and Humanism in Modern-day Judaism

Much of modern-day Judaism, in particular the non-Orthodox movements known as Reconstructionist Judaism and Humanistic Judaism, but also to some extent Reform Judaism, is for all intents and purposes devoid of notions of supernaturalism. This should not come as a surprise, as there has always been much less emphasis on the supernatural in Judaism than in, say, the religion of Christianity which sprang from it. There is more supernaturalism in the Christian New Testament than in the Hebrew Bible.

Enactment Theology

Enactment theology is one form of radical theology (also known as ‘Death of God theology’) which asserts that the traditional western idea of God is no longer tenable. Enactment theologians assert that if there is a God at all, that God is to be found in personal relationships with and between individuals. It is a God that we humans create and bring into being---that is, 'enact'. (After all, is it not the case that we humans have created all of the supposed gods over the centuries? I think it is indeed the case.

Self as Illusion and Mind as Feeling

Note. The attached article began as an address to the Sydney Realist Group (‘Sydney Realists’), Glebe, New South Wales, Australia, delivered on 7 May 2013. The article was subsequently published in three parts in the journal The Northern Line, No. 15 March 2014 (pp 13-16), No. 16 May 2014 (pp 10-15), and No. 17 July 2014 (pp 9-13). The article interprets some key ideas and teachings of Buddhism in light of the situational realism of the Scottish-Australian philosopher John Anderson.

Light as a Metaphor for the Divine

'God is light and in God there is no darkness at all.’ (1 Jn 1:5)

In The Celestial Hierarchy the great mystic Pseudo-Dionysius refers to God as the ‘light which is the source of all light’ and writes: ‘Of course God himself is really the source of illumination for those who are illuminated for he is truly and really Light itself. He is the Cause of being and seeing.’

In The Divine Names the same writer has this to say about God (whom he refers to as ‘the Good’) as light:

Phenomenological Ontology of Love: Body, Heart and Spirit

Just a word of warning for those not familiar with the speaker's approach to philosophy. The following is an unapologetically partisan and probably minority collection of theories, stand-points, and values (ie a world-view). That is, it does not purport to being a representative summary; nor does it seek to reconcile conflicting views. Hopefully it is not even regarded as arguments proselytizing certain theories etc. What it purports to be is one individual's enquiry and current theories in a certain subject area. So the first questions which it hopefully inspires are:

What is this person talking about ? Why do I disagree (or perhaps agree) with this person ? How do I currently view these issues ?

'Love' as a word which is simultaneously ambiguous; and likely the subject of many diverse, contentious and passionately held theories, points of view and value judgments; reminds us that as philosophers often we must just agree to disagree. Perhaps we should consider our agreement to disagree, as not merely a way of ensuring ordered discourse, but a way of recognizing and legitimising our differences, in a human diaspora into an immense 'mind-space'?

The Kingdom of God

Clarence Russell Skinner was the most influential Universalist minister of his generation. He wrote a wonderful book entitled The Social Implications of Universalism (1915). Skinner wrote that modern religion must sanctify the world.

Why Believe?

‘There is hope for whoever does not know what to believe. Human belief is a combination of superstition, gullibility and mental laziness. We need not believe anything; we need to find, to see, to know.’ Those words come from the American spiritual teacher Vernon Howard whose writings and talks have helped me greatly over the years.

Did Jesus Actually Exist?

This is a brief critical analysis of the extra-Biblical evidence for the supposed existence of Jesus Christ.

There is no non-Christian record of Jesus before the 2nd century CE. There were over forty well-known pagan and Jewish historians writing at the time of Jesus’ supposed existence or within a century of that time. Apart from two demonstrably forged passages in Josephus, and two highly disputed passages in the works of two Roman historians, not one of those historians made any mention of Jesus at all.

1. Josephus:-

Is Buddhism Atheistic?

It is often said, especially by Buddhists, that Buddhism is ‘atheistic’ or ‘nontheistic’. Often this is said in order to promote Buddhism as a sensible religious or spiritual alternative to the monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam with which many Westerners have become disillusioned.

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