Can you mix Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism?

Each of these philosophies has important points to make, and each has aspects that won’t appeal to some people. Here’s a life philosophy that combines and modifies elements of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism: We all want pleasure and to avoid pain, but our fear of things that are beyond our control is a frequent causeContinue reading “Can you mix Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism?”

Can you be a Christian atheist?

If you think Christian atheism is an oxymoron, you might be right. On Twitter, psychology professor Ben Winegard seems to favor the idea of separating Christian ethics from Christian theology: It’s hard to know if Winegard is being serious or sarcastic. I hope it’s the latter, but based on his follow up comments I wonderContinue reading “Can you be a Christian atheist?”

Faith & Doubt: The Case for Agnosticism

Can you be a doubter who also has faith? Is being agnostic the same as being an atheist?  From a rational perspective, agnosticism is the most tenable position because it acknowledges the limits of what we can know. This doesn’t mean, though, that faith is irrational. Something that’s not inconsistent what we know to beContinue reading “Faith & Doubt: The Case for Agnosticism”

Stoicism & Epicureanism: What’s the Difference?

Stoicism and Epicureanism were ancient rivals. And both philosophies are back. Which philosophy is right? Do you really have to choose? I think Stoicism and Epicureanism were rivals because of their similarities. They’re variations on a theme. Both philosophies explore how to live a virtuous life. Both see ataraxia (“without disturbance”) as a path toContinue reading “Stoicism & Epicureanism: What’s the Difference?”

Is evil real?

Is that a dumb question? We can point to all sorts of atrocities, so why would anyone think evil isn’t real? And if evil isn’t real, then is goodness not real? Could only one but not both be real? Whatever, man Relativism—contrary to popular opinion—isn’t the attitude that anything goes. No one believes that. IContinue reading “Is evil real?”

It’s hard to be good

We all seem deeply concerned about other people’s moral behavior—while making excuses for our own. Most of us think we’re more moral and self-aware than most other people. But how can the majority be better than the majority? Truth is, most of us are lying to ourselves. Looney Tunes Cartoons with an angel on oneContinue reading “It’s hard to be good”

Stoicism might not be a bummer after all

I heard the Dude is Epicurean. He follows the pleasure principle. Take ‘er easy. And he’s anything but unemotional. I’ve never heard anyone say Mr. Spock is a dude. But wait a minute. The Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski is a tale of the Dude being very unDude. This aggression will not stand, manContinue reading “Stoicism might not be a bummer after all”

Being a prince is a rip-off

I’d rather be the Lone Ranger. Once I was at a wedding when a three-year-old girl looked in awe at the bride. She asked her mommy if she could meet the princess. I’ve heard women say they tried to steer their daughters away from the whole princess thing, but to no avail. And having threeContinue reading “Being a prince is a rip-off”

Outrage is driving us nuts

Ever get the feeling that social media is trying to piss you off? Well, that’s a dumb question. Of course it is. In the mid-’90s we actually debated whether this new internet thing would bring people together or further divide us. Well, a quarter-century later we know the answer. Pop culture’s unending stream of consciousnessContinue reading “Outrage is driving us nuts”

Can you be Stoic and compassionate at the same time?

Stoic compassion sounds like an oxymoron. But what if I told you it’s not? Don’t say, “Calm down.” Provide calmness. Ever had someone yell, “Calm down!” at you? Did being yelled at have a calming effect? Of course not. A person in deep emotional distress needs someone to lean on, but if you become tooContinue reading “Can you be Stoic and compassionate at the same time?”