Is Sam Harris Unaware of “No-Self” in Jesus’ Sacrifice?

In the second night of the debate between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson in Vancouver on June 24, 2018, Harris said this in regards to the concept of human sacrifice:

Christianity is actually a cult of human sacrifice. Christianity is not a religion that repudiates human sacrifice. Christianity is a religion that says, actually, no, human sacrifice is necessary and there was only one that in fact was necessary and effective, and that was the sacrifice of Jesus. And I think that is, when you dig into the details, not only a morally uninteresting vision of our circumstance and how we can be redeemed, it’s morally abhorrent.

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Resurrecting the Resurrection in Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris

I listened to a conversation between Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris in Vancouver on June 23, 2018, where Harris asked this seemingly simple question (which had been previously asked of Peterson):

“Was Jesus literally resurrected?”

Peterson said it would take him 40 hours to answer that question. Harris offered his own succinct answer:

“Almost certainly not.”

Continue reading “Resurrecting the Resurrection in Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris”

What Good is the Ego-Self?

Over the past several months I’ve explored the nature of the human ego as it relates to spirituality in many of the major religious and spiritual traditions, as well as in science. As I noted in a series of posts, it seems that a recurrent theme throughout many of them is the idea of sacrificing ego, overcoming ego, transcending ego, even experiencing a kind of “death” of the ego, so as to realize the true nature of the self, of reality, and of God. We might ask then, what good is the ego? Is it all bad? Do we want to destroy our ego? Is that true spirituality? Continue reading “What Good is the Ego-Self?”

What is the Second Coming?

One of the most profound realizations I’ve had in recent years is that the Second Coming is something that we can effect through our “repentance” (metanoia = a change of mind, or conscious perception of the world).

I don’t mean to say that we bring it about directly, because there is a real element of Grace involved (ego is absent, so “we” end up not “doing” anything in the end), but it is not something that we wait around for as an event in an indefinite future. We can do something now (“works,” practices, service), which can reveal Heaven on Earth, and which eventually reveals the Christ. This has been known in the past, but we’ve largely forgotten it in our modern culture. Continue reading “What is the Second Coming?”

What is the Spirit or Soul?

Many religious people believe that the spirit or soul is the ego-self, our personality, the person we think we are in our heads, our psychological “self,” with all our memories and experiences and relationships, etc. But none of this existed at our birth. We had no ego, no personality, no sense of “self” in our heads, no memories, no self-awareness whatsoever. These all develop gradually throughout our childhood and life, and are mortal qualities formed through the arrangement of neural networks in our brains during mortal life. Continue reading “What is the Spirit or Soul?”

The “Hidden Treasure” of God in Mormonism and Buddhism

In my paper “The Book of Mormon as Literary Alchemy: Joseph’s Magnum Opus and the Philosopher’s Stone,” I suggested that the “gold plates” that Joseph Smith had in his possession were not actually made of gold, and did not actually contain ancient historical records like Mormons traditionally think. But that doesn’t mean that there were not “gold plates” which were a kind of “hidden treasure” that Joseph really did discover within himself, which was the source of real divine wisdom, “ancient wisdom,” and which he taught could be found within all people as well. Such teachings can be found in other spiritual traditions too, including Buddhism. First I’ll review a few of Joseph’s writings about this “hidden treasure,” and then I’ll turn to the Buddhist concepts that seem to reflect a similar nature. Continue reading “The “Hidden Treasure” of God in Mormonism and Buddhism”