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Articles 1 - 27 of 27

Full-Text Articles in Religion

A Healthy Mania For The Macabre, Stephen Asma Aug 2012

A Healthy Mania For The Macabre, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The article discusses the fascination with death in art in response to several exhibits which display preserved human bodies, such as the "Body Worlds" traveling exhibit which features human bodies preserved with silicon after an acetone bath, a technique discovered by medical scientist Gunther von Hagens. The author looks at human curiosity with morbidity and artists such as Damien Hirst that use it as the focus of their work. Topics include comments by Richard Harris, creator of "Morbid Curiosity" exhibition in Chicago, Illinois, art historian Paul Koudounaris, and the beauty of death and morbidity according to New York artist and ...


Affective Neuroscience And The Philosophy Of Self, Stephen Asma Dec 2011

Affective Neuroscience And The Philosophy Of Self, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The nature of self awareness and the origin and persistence of personal identity still loom large in contemporary philosophy of mind. Many philosophers have been wooed by the computational approach to consciousness, and they attempt to find the self amidst the phenomenon of neocortical information processing. Affective neuroscience offers another pathway to understanding the evolution and nature of self. This paper explores how affective neuroscience acts as a positive game-changer in the philosophical pursuit of self. In particular, we focus on connecting 'mammalian agency' to (a) subjective awareness, and (b) identity through time.


Gauging Gender: A Metaphysics, Stephen Asma Nov 2011

Gauging Gender: A Metaphysics, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

In this article the author discusses sex and gender in human beings and examines how the study of science, particularly biology, has influenced the study of these subjects in higher education. It traces the evolution of sex and gender studies in academe, comments on the failure of many humanities scholars to dismiss biology in studying human behavior, and explores ways in which psychoanalysis, social constructionism, and metaphysics have informed the debate over the differences between sex and gender. Other topics include research conducted by Anne Fausto-Sterling regarding intersexed people, scientific tests focusing on sexual preference in rats, and thoughts by ...


Risen Apes And Fallen Angels: The New Museology Of Human Origins, Stephen Asma Mar 2011

Risen Apes And Fallen Angels: The New Museology Of Human Origins, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

There has been a little explosion of "origin" exhibitions in the past few years. The recent bicentennial of Darwin's birth, in 2009, ushered in a bevy of traveling exhibitions and events. Grandscale permanent exhibitions have recently opened at the American Museum of Natural History (the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins) in New York, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins) in Washington, D.C. A new museology is afoot, and some of the recent changes are worth tracking. And let's not forget the recently opened Creation Museum in ...


Coerced Confessional, Miracle Exoneration: The Case Of Ex-Monster Jerry Hobbs, Stephen Asma Jan 2011

Coerced Confessional, Miracle Exoneration: The Case Of Ex-Monster Jerry Hobbs, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

No abstract provided.


The New Atheists' Narrow World-View, Stephen Asma Jan 2011

The New Atheists' Narrow World-View, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The article discusses atheism, Buddhism, and the practice of animism in southeast Asia. Atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are discussed as is the argument regarding the "provincialism" of religion. It is noted that some atheists echo the statement by philosopher Karl Marx that religion is an opiate that should be done away with because it has little moral value. The use of spirit houses as a part of religious practice in southeast Asia is described. The opinion held by theists on animism is explored. Other topics include living conditions in Cambodia and the role of religion in ...


What We Talk About When We Talk About The Soul, Stephen Asma May 2010

What We Talk About When We Talk About The Soul, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The author discusses the popularity among college students of the concept of the soul, and attempts to place it in its proper context. He dispenses with orthodox theological arguments and New Age arguments as scientifically untenable. He takes a so-called Wittgensteinian approach, noting soul's linguistic significance. He analyzes expressions which use the concept of soul and concludes that they are qualitatively different from testable factual expressions. He notes that soul talk is about hopes and aspirations, inspiration, or feelings deeper than friendship. He assigns it meaning outside of scientific concepts. He likens expressions of soul to creative and ethical ...


Why I Am A Buddhist, Stephen Asma Feb 2010

Why I Am A Buddhist, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Profound and amusing, this book provides a viable approach to answering the perennial questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How can I live a meaningful life? For Asma, the answers are to be found in Buddhism.

There have been a lot of books that have made the case for Buddhism. What makes this book fresh and exciting is Asma's iconoclasm, irreverence, and hardheaded approach to the subject. He is distressed that much of what passes for Buddhism is really little more than "New Age mush." He loudly asserts that it is time to "take the California out ...


Green Guilt, Stephen Asma Jan 2010

Green Guilt, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The essay discusses the more neurotic aspects of environmentalism, involving guilt over failure to recycle or turn off the lights. It notes that those most prone to these sensibilities are those who have left traditional religion. It quotes philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who states that religious emotions such as guilt and indignation are still present in a post-Christian world. The essay argues that we should certainly save the planet but avoid the neurosis that often accompanies it.


Monsters And The Moral Imagination, Stephen Asma Oct 2009

Monsters And The Moral Imagination, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The article discusses the cultural interest in monsters in the 21st century. The author speculates on the reasons for the interest, citing anxiety after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq, or the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. He notes a conference in September 2009 at the University of Oxford entitled "Monsters and the Monstrous." Cultural uses of monsters, he notes, include scolding ourselves for failure to be inclusive, the medievals' punishment for the sin of pride, or the ancient Greeks' warnings of impending calamity. He notes that monster stories can promote the individual's thought about ...


Ancient Antidotes To Timeless Troubles: Stoicism And The Recession, Stephen Asma May 2009

Ancient Antidotes To Timeless Troubles: Stoicism And The Recession, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The article reviews the books "The Present Alone is Our Happiness," by Arnold I. Davidson and Jeannie Carlier and "A Life Worthy of the Gods: The Materialist Psychology of Epicurus" by David Konstan.


Happy Serf Liberation Day: China And Tibet, Stephen Asma May 2009

Happy Serf Liberation Day: China And Tibet, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

No abstract provided.


Buddha For Beginners, Stephen Asma Dec 2008

Buddha For Beginners, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Originally published by Writers and Readers in 1998, this is an iconoclastic, illustrated romp through the life of the Buddha both a credible exploration of his life and teachings and an entertaining introduction to the philosophy of Buddhism.

Many Westerners know about the meditation practices of Buddhism, but few understand the Buddha's philosophical teachings. This book puts the teachings (dharma) in their proper context and unravels some of the more dense knots of Buddha's thinking. And it does all this while entertaining the reader with humorous illustrations and pop-culture sensibility. This primer, constructed like a graphic novel, cuts ...


Trapped In The Creation Museum, Stephen Asma Jan 2008

Trapped In The Creation Museum, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Into the swampy debate over evolution has waded the new Creation Museum, in Petersburg, Ky. In an America divided between those who accept Darwin's theories and those who believe God created the world in six days, it seeks to win moderates and compromisers over to its side. Shortly after the museum opened last spring, I made a pilgrimage to witness this quirky new spectacle of Americana...


Never Mind Grendel! Can Beowulf Conquer The 21st-Century Guilt Trip?, Stephen Asma Dec 2007

Never Mind Grendel! Can Beowulf Conquer The 21st-Century Guilt Trip?, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The writer casts doubt on whether the emasculated Beowulf put forward by J. R. R. Tolkien and in the recent movie version of the story transcends and nullifies the heroic original. He suggests that both Beowulfs may be necessary.


Looking Up From The Gutter: Pop-Culture And Philosophy, Stephen Asma Oct 2007

Looking Up From The Gutter: Pop-Culture And Philosophy, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

No abstract provided.


How To Survive The Apocalypse, Stephen Asma Aug 2007

How To Survive The Apocalypse, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The article presents a guide on how people with skepticism and critical thinking can survive the Rapture and Armageddon. According to the Book of Revelations, the Lord will return to the earth to separate the good and the bad. When the Great Tribulation comes, people have no more time for repentance. The impostor strategy is one way to avoid the Tribulation.


Dinosaurs On The Ark: Natural History And The New Evangelical Museum, Stephen Asma May 2007

Dinosaurs On The Ark: Natural History And The New Evangelical Museum, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

This article examines the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Featured at the museum is a replica of Noah's Ark. The author notes that there is some fudging going on to fit all the supposedly transported animals in such a small vessel. According to the museum, the Grand Canyon was not millions of years in the making but appeared after the flood. The evangelical museum is an offshoot of the Answers in Genesis ministry. Ken A. Ham is the director of the museum as well as the head of the ministry. He says that the notion of evolution has done more ...


Holy Toyland, Stephen Asma Dec 2006

Holy Toyland, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

No abstract provided.


Solomon's House, Stephen Asma Dec 2006

Solomon's House, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The article discusses the author's experience of touring the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which was opened in May 2007. He met the museum's director Ken A. Ham, and asked him various questions about the art exhibits. He inquired about the capacity of Noah's ark to carry all pairs of animals in it, and notes that the museum is scaling back the universe. He also shared that the biggest challenge facing the museum is making people see the difference in using the present method and one's belief.


The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment In The Land Of The Tattered Buddha, Stephen Asma Apr 2006

The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment In The Land Of The Tattered Buddha, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Asma, a professor of Buddhism at Columbia College in Chicago and the author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads (2001), recounts his intense and revelatory Cambodian adventures while teaching at Phnom Penh's Buddhist Institute. In an electrifying and frank mix of hair-raising anecdotes and expert analysis, he explicates the vast difference between text-based Buddhist teachings and daily life in a poor and politically volatile Buddhist society. Amid tales of massage parlors, marijuana-spiced pizza, and bloodshed, he cogently explains how Theravada Buddhism, the form practiced throughout Southeast Asia, differs from the Buddhism Westerners are familiar with, and how entwined it ...


Against Transcendentalism: The Meaning Of Life And Buddhism, Stephen Asma Mar 2006

Against Transcendentalism: The Meaning Of Life And Buddhism, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

From the 1970s cult TV show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, to the current hit musical Spamalot, the Monty Python comedy troupe has been at the center of popular culture and entertainment. The Pythons John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam are increasingly recognized and honored for their creativity and enduring influence in the worlds of comedy and film. Monty Python and Philosophy extends that recognition into the world of philosophy. Fifteen experts in topics like mythology, Buddhism, feminism, logic, ethics, and the philosophy of science bring their expertise to bear on Python movies ...


My Teaching Experience In Cambodia, Stephen Asma Apr 2005

My Teaching Experience In Cambodia, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

No abstract provided.


'Mass Delusion' Or 'True Myth'? Pbs Considers The Question Of God, Stephen Asma Sep 2004

'Mass Delusion' Or 'True Myth'? Pbs Considers The Question Of God, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

The Question of God is a new 4-hour miniseries from PBS. It is based on a long-running course taught by Harvard University psychiatry professor Armand Nicholi that compares the biographies and theories of Sigmund Freud, skeptic, and C. S. Lewis, believer. On balance, the miniseries succeeds as an introduction to complex issues.


Is 'The Blues' Black Enough?, Stephen Asma Sep 2003

Is 'The Blues' Black Enough?, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Reviews the television program "The Blues."


Blues Man On A Mojo Mission, Stephen Asma Nov 2002

Blues Man On A Mojo Mission, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Presents an article on rhythm and blues music in the U.S. Non-sponsorship of actual blues music in the House of Blues; Information on Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson; Insights on using charms and amulets to improve guitar skills.


A Portrait Of The Artist As A Work In Progress, Stephen Asma Jan 2001

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Work In Progress, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

Features performance artists Orlan and Stelarc and their different approaches to explore the fuzzy boundary between technology and biological body. How art students described nose surgery of Stelarc, a French performance artist; Definition of posthuman artist; Qualities of posthuman artists; Details on the works of Stelarc; Information on the `Stomach Sculpture' of Stelarc.