All posts for the topic: Spirituality

Near death experiences are evidence for materialism

Est Reading Time: 4 min Near death experiences happen to many people when they’re near clinical death and survive. They’re often profoundly meaningful or life-changing to those who have them. They’re also frequently used to argue that there is an afterlife, a spiritual realm or “something more” out there than scientific materialism posits. A recent Intelligence2 debate on the existence of the afterlife (which I recommend everyone watch) had nothing but the testimony of a neurosurgeon about his near death experience as the case for the for side. I think near death experiences can be pretty good at convincing people that our consciousness is not […]

Continue Reading

The Dalai Lama as a blank slate for inspiration porn

Est Reading Time: 3 min It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of the Dalai Lama. For starters, he is the leader of a theocracy where leaders have brutally oppressed the population. This reality, and that of him being a leader of a religion that’s just like any other sometimes peeks through the gentle facade. Then there’s his homophobic, sex-negative and sexist attitudes (see a previous post). Though he may have improved, the point is that he still does not deserve his happy-go-lucky image. What pisses me off most is how so many people who should know better (atheists, humanists, feminists) often still […]

Continue Reading

Dalai Lama Anti-Sayings

Est Reading Time: 1 min Speaking of Buddhism, one thing I can’t stand is people giving the Dalai Lama a pass, and passing around inspirational images with his “wisdom quotes”. An example here: Not only are they usually deepities or Barnum statements or just trite but the Dalai Lama espouses a fairly reactionary ideology on par with other religious conservatives round the world. And yet people think of him as inspirational. Which dare I say it might rely on the condescending/racist notion of the Eastern man of wisdom as an exotic other. Anyway, instead of dissecting this phenomenon I thought I’d make some other “inspirational” […]

Continue Reading

Against Nirvana

Est Reading Time: 4 min Religions considered to be “Eastern” often get treated as being more profound or deeper than religions considered to be “Western”. (Or at least they do in many countries considered to be Western.) As I’ve discussed, I don’t think this has much merit. The Buddhist concept of enlightenment or Nirvana provides what I believe is a case in point in terms of relying on some of the same fallacies that religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and so on rely on. Let’s consider the alleged enlightenment of the historical Buddha (ie. Siddhartha Gautama who lived around 400-500BCE and was the founder […]

Continue Reading

Vegetarianism and Occultism

Est Reading Time: 4 min If you like to listen to something more productive than music when you’re commuting, I recommend Librivox — a very large free library of audio books of public domain works. When I was browsing their catalogue a title jumped out: “Vegetarianism and Occultism”. Interesting, I thought, I wonder if this is an anti-vegetarian rant that claims vegetarianism results in occult practices? It sounded good for a laugh so I downloaded and listened to it. It was in fact the opposite. It was a pro-vegetarian rant with occultism thrown in as a bonus. Oh well! Still, that’s even better to look […]

Continue Reading

Killing for Inner Peace

Est Reading Time: 2 min The idea of killing for inner peace isn’t as preposterous as it sounds. Or rather, it IS as preposterous as it sounds but not as uncommon as it seems. A great example comes from that Source of All Worldly Wisdom: the Simpsons. Here, Springfield stumbles onto what looks like an alien: ALIEN: I bring you love. DR. HIBBERT: Is that the love between a man and a woman, or the love of a man for a fine Cuban cigar? (He chuckles.) ALIEN: Uh…I bring you love. LENNY: It’s bringing love! Don’t let it get away! CARL: Break its legs! (Everyone […]

Continue Reading

Mysticism and Violence

Est Reading Time: 2 min Mysticism is typically associated with peace: Mother Teresa is considered the ultimate mystic/ascetic/saint in modern mythology (however this is bullshit). There are of course older archetypes like Francis of Assissi Mysticism is seen as a “more advanced” version of a religion, in opposition to the “naive/literal” interpretation. eg. Sufis considered by many to practice a less dogmatic, more “spiritual” version of Islam. Mystics are often recluses — surely they harm no-one, right? Wrong. Mysticism has a VERY close connection with violence, one that goes way beyond a coincidence: Zen is famous for violent imagery. See koans 3 and 41 here. […]

Continue Reading