It was Sunday morning of the final day of our 5-day retreat at Holy Isle, Scotland, studying the work of French paleontologist and Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin, as seen through the eyes of spiritual teacher Cynthia Bourgeault. She had led us through Teilhard’s understanding of the three most important Christian virtues – purity, faith, and fidelity – which he describes in his most personally reflective book, The Divine Milieu. She then turned to us and suggested that this was our task – to define these for ourselves. Continue reading
Two opposing forces remain forever memorialized on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The Giles Cathedral, where Protestant Reformation leader John Knox delivered impassioned sermons, represents the Christian heritage of Scotland, while the great rationalist skeptic David Hume holds down a strategic position along this famed street. This entry shares the great gifts that Protestant Scotland gave to the world, but also brings attention to the fact that today David Hume’s philosophy, rather than the church, speaks for the vast majority of those living in Edinburgh, the cultural capital of Scotland.
“Much of what we take for granted in Scotland today, such as the free national education system, the National Health Service, human rights and modern democracy, came about from Christian movements of the past.”
– Paul Griffiths, Famous Lives in Edinburgh, 16. Continue reading
The Modern Story of Realism
If I ask are you a realist or an idealist, you will probably consider your basic approach to life. The realists live more cautiously or even pessimistically, while the idealists see the bright side, spotting silver linings in every cloud.
Philosophically, however, I’m trying to get at a bigger question: what is the fundamental nature of reality? Put most simply, what came first, God or the atom? Dean Radin, chief scientist of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, addresses this question by contrasting two philosophical positions taken throughout history, realism and idealism. The realists believe that the basic building blocks of reality are physical bits that we call atoms and molecules. Billions of years of random mixing of material elements resulted in the lucky strike of not only a habitable planet, but an increasingly complex evolutionary ladder that has culminated in the miracle of human personality and reflectivity that we call mind, awareness or consciousness. This certainly is the current cosmological story underpinning modern civilization. Continue reading
As students enter high school, they are asked to begin to navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood, a daunting task. A new wellness block is being offered for all incoming HKIS freshmen next year employing an interdisciplinary approach combining PE, Counseling, and Religion departmental perspectives to offer students a much-needed orientation towards well-being and wisdom. Continue reading