One Helping of Spirituality, Hold the Patchouli Oil

People who want to share their religious beliefs with you almost never want you to share yours with them. Dave Barry

How do you define theology? What’s the difference between it and spirituality? Does religion differ from either? Where does mysticism fit in? Comment on the following poem and the view of mystics presented in it:

Mystic Currents
Current Mystics

A mystic is a cartographer
mapping the ocean floor
from the surface ripples.

We are all born prophets.
To see the future
is no more than
seeing the present

Expect prophecy within
your own home.
Listen closer.

A moment lived
in the awareness of death
is a speck of infinity,

The answer to the
to be fully human
is to be
fully divine.

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Don’t Kick the Dogma

What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak. George Santayana

What is your dogma? What is it that you would believe even if everyone you knew disagreed with you? What is it that you know to be true, whether or not the evidence is there? List everything that you’re not willing to question, examine or prove, and why it makes a difference. How does that belief affect your actions?

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Faith and the Apostles of Purity

Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings.

Salman Rushdie, “In Good Faith,” in Independent on Sunday (London, 4 Feb. 1990).

What is Faith?

If you have to ask, you haven’t got it. Or so some would have us believe.

This is like saying, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Both establish superiority without the nuisance of having to defend or even define terms.

  1. Define faith first as a bad thing – the sort of thing you wouldn’t want to be associated with.
  2. Define it as a good thing that you’d love to see widespread in the world.
  3. Define it neutrally.
  4. By what criteria could you decide whether a faith was healthy or unhealthy?
  5. If a faith is healthy for the people who believe in it, does it matter if it’s true?
  6. What’s the opposite of faith?


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