Peter Taught Marcus Who Taught Camillus Who Taught Quintus…

In the 1980 film The Competition, starring Richard Dreyfus and Amy Irving, there is a scene that has always been a metaphor, for me, for how Christians come to know Jesus Christ. Sounds strange, I know, but bear with me a moment. In the film, Richard Dreyfus plays a talented but not quite top pier […]

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Why I Secretly Root for the Atheists in Debates

Shortly after my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible came out, I was asked to fly to Ireland to participate in a debate on the existence of God at University College Cork. I had been doing radio interviews for my book and was very comfortable discussing some of the sillier arguments atheists use […]

Atheist Debates
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Today’s Golden Age of Philosophy

Few people know this, but our age is an amazing time for people who love philosophy. When I was in college 30 years ago, philosophy was strictly an academic exercise and there were few resources available for people, like me, who view philosophy more as a way of life or avocation than as a job. […]

golden age of philosophy
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Crunching the Obamacare Numbers: A Lot More Money for A Lot Less Care

Ready or not, Obamacare is finally here. Polls show that most Americans remain highly skeptical of the law’s benefits. According to a new CNN/ORC International survey released October 1, less than one in five Americans say their families will be better off under the new health care law. Nevertheless, the controversial law’s passionate defenders insist […]

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The American People Say: You Fooled Us Once with Iraq…

You know what they say:  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The American people have learned the hard way that US politicians in both political parties tend to passively defer to what the “experts” in the defense and intelligence sectors advise doing, often to the detriment of the country […]

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French Politicians Alarmed by “French Spring” Movement

The “French Spring” movement (le Printemps Français) has rattled the French political establishment – and even gay marriage advocates in faraway California. That’s because it calls into question the claim that same sex marriage is “inevitable” and opposition to it mere bigotry. In recent months, between 400,000 and a million demonstrators of all ages have […]

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How I Saw the Loch Ness Monster

I never really expected to actually see the Loch Ness Monster. As a result, when I looked through the tour boat window out at the frigid waters of the loch and happened to spot “Nessie” cruising alongside with a little monster in tow, it was a startling moment. What made it more amazing was that […]

American author Robert J. Hutchinson in St. Andrews, Scotland
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My First Decade of Aikido

My knees are a bloody mess. It’s been a while since I did suwari-waza, the strange practice in traditional Aikido dojos of doing techniques, samurai-style, on your knees. Last week, the sensei spent almost the entire class doing suwari-waza and, when I stood up, the skin on my knees was entirely rubbed off. Ouch! And […]

Author Robert Hutchinson, longtime student of Aikido
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Rob Bell Asks the Big Questions Ignored by Many Churches

What I love most about Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (HarperOne, 2011), is the way it has triggered a new debate about what is really at stake in Christianity. The odd thing about Christianity, at least in the United States, […]

Rob Bell Asks the Big Questions in Love Wins
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The Power of Habits to Transform Your Life

One of my favorite gurus is a fairly recent one: Leo Babauta, the young founder of the Zen Habits website and the author of numerous books on simple living, getting things done and living a mindful life. I discovered Leo about a year after he launched his website in 2007, and I was hooked. He […]

joggingonthebeach
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Why We Need Both Orthodoxy and Spiritual Cosmopolitanism

The photo above is of the main Bahai Temple in Haifa, Israel, one of the most beautiful religious structures in the world. It shines like a beacon on Mt. Carmel, a veritable symbol of spiritual cosmopolitanism and religious tolerance. I visited the Bahai Temple many times when I lived in Israel. It just looms above […]

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Finding a Balance Between Work and Leisure

I’ve been fortunate, over the years, because I have discovered a number of gurus who have cautioned me about indulging a monomaniacal commitment to work at all costs – especially when it involves a neglect of what really matters in life, such as anniversaries, soccer games and swim meets, school plays, sex in the afternoon, […]

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Why Parents Drag Their Kids to Church, Temple or Their Zen Sitting Group

Here’s what sucks about life: You wake up in your crib, confused and more than a little dazed, and then spend the next 20 or 30 years trying to figure out what to do with yourself. You mostly do what you’re told. You learn how to read, play sports, try to attract members of the […]

why parents drag their kids to church or synagogue
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How to Muddle Through in Life

In the end, life is about muddling through as best you can. Most self-help books (and I read a lot of them) will advise you to find your “life’s purpose and passion,” but that’s like telling you the secret to success in business is to found a good company and make lots of money. The […]

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A Routine Near-Death Experience… and a Rumor of Angels

Two days ago, I was almost killed in an instant. I had one of those experiences that shake you to your very core – and which, to me, constitute some sort of proof of divine providence. It was a very ordinary day. I drove my son to the beach train for his daily trip up […]

my-guardian-angel
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The Conservative Case Against the Death Penalty

I’ve always been opposed to capital punishment, and for the most conservative of reasons:  I don’t believe government should have the authority to take human life, at least not in a society, such as ours, that has the resources to build prisons. This is a fundamentally conservative position because it rests upon the assumption that […]

Grunewald Crucifixion
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Why Evolution Can’t Explain Evolutionists

John Haught, a Catholic theologian, had yet another interesting but perplexing article in the December 6 issue of America, the Jesuit weekly.  It was entitled “Do We Need God to Be Good?” Haught is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and he has spent the last decade, at least, wading […]

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The Nature of Existence

For a beach philosophizer like myself, it doesn’t get much better than “The Nature of Existence,” the quirky little documentary on the Meaning of Life that is opening this weekend. Filmmaker Roger Nygard wrote down the 85 toughest questions he could think of about the meaning of life — and then set out with a […]

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Frank Fenner: Another Crackpot Prediction of Doom

NOTE:  The photo above is an illustration of what the earth would look like if ALL of the ice on earth melted and the worst fears of the climate change doomsayers came true:  About 4% more of the earth’s surface would be covered by water than is true today. I would take the aged scientist […]

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Thriving Long-Term Marriages

The break-up of Al and Tipper Gore’s 40-year marriage is sparking a soul-searching among many long-time married couples. The Wall Street Journal today had an interesting article about the shifting marriage patterns among couples who have been married 30, 40 years or more. It turns out the Gores are typical of the baby boom generation: […]

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Debating Atheism, Part 1

A week ago, I was scrambling to get my daughters off to a major swim meet at six o’clock in the morning, when I got a strange email: I was being invited to come to the Philosopical Society at University College Cork, Ireland, and participate in a debate about “whether this house would” reject atheism. […]

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New York Times Has Predicted Melting Polar Ice Cap for 128 Years

This is interesting.  A blogger at The Daily Telegraph compiled a list of predictions of imminent doom due to the melting polar ice cap featured in The New York Times over the past, oh, 128 years… It’s really true:  Liberals have been predicting the end of the world (unless we immediately do what they say) […]

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Confessions of a Climate Change Skeptic

I am one of those people whom the media have dubbed with the ominous title of “Climate Skeptic.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in “climate change,” whatever that means. I am open to persuasion. But as the word “skeptic” implies, it simply means that I am skeptical: I am not wholly convinced that […]

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Aikido’s Strange History

Part of Aikido’s weirdness comes from its strange history. Aikido is a modern martial art that evolved out of Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujitsu, a deadly, no-holds-barred fighting form taught secretly to the Japanese samurai. The principal aim of the art was to teach samurai how to quickly kill opponents on the battlefield if they lost their weapons. […]

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The Real Reason Why Health Care is So Expensive

In the early evening of the Fourth of July, my wife was cutting cilantro for a salad we were bringing to a friend’s party. Distracted by yelling children, she accidentally cut her left index finger with the knife. Yikes! It was a fairly deep cut across a nail, bleeding profusely, and we all agreed she […]

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JFK’s Inaugural Address Reaffirmed Divine Origin of Human Rights

Today, I was re-watching the inaugural addresses of previous presidents… in anticipation of Barrack Obama’s inauguration next week.  But what struck me in Kennedy’s address was his powerful reaffirmation of freedom and the religious, even biblical origin of the concept of human rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Here is the key passage: The […]

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