The West has very rich contemplative tradition. Monastics of the early Christian church practiced forms of meditation that have been adopted by many people seeking a deeper, more serene experience of life.[...]
It takes a special kind of person to calmly debate those who prefer dogma to reason and who insist on ignoring or distorting evidence to suit their preconceptions. Carl Sagan was such a person. Among his many other scientific accomplishments, he became legendary for his skill as an educator and science advocate.[...]
Many religious leaders would like to liven up their services to attract a younger, hipper flock, but few have the necessary background to pull it off in a truly impressive way.[...]
By the end of the 1960s, Alan Watts had become one of the gurus of the counterculture. Though he was not really a Zen Buddhist, he was many a person’s gateway into the religion due to The Way of Zen published in 1958. His was a philosophical and populist approach to Eastern religion, an antecedent to the Eckhart Tolles of our time.[...]
Leo Tolstoy is remembered as both a towering pinnacle of Russian literature and a fascinating example of Christian anarchism, a mystical version of which the aristocratic author pioneered in the last quarter century of his life.[...]
Organized religion got you down? Feel like giving up on it altogether? You are not by any stretch alone. Religiosity is in grave decline in Europe and the U.S., prompting panic in some quarters and satisfaction in others (that young adults, for example, agree more with Karl Marx than with the Bible).[...]
Image by Jules Jacot Guillarmod, via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, we brought you a rather strange story about the rivalry between poet William Butler Yeats and magician Aleister Crowley. Theirs was a feud over the practices of occult society the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; but it was also—at least for Crowley—over poetry.
Aleister Crowley—English magician and founder of the religion of Thelema—has been admired as a powerful theorist and practitioner of what he called “Magick,” and reviled as a spoiled, abusive buffoon.[...]
Images via Wikimedia Commons
In a 1997 essay in Natural History, Stephen Jay Gould (in)famously called the realms of religion and science “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”—a phrase that acknowledges both endeavors as equally powerful and important to human life.
Jazz has inspired a great many things, and a great many things have inspired jazz, and more than a few of the music’s masters have found their aspiration by looking — or listening — to the divine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they subscribe to traditional religion.[...]