#MiddleGroundPodcast – Fajr Club – “What Is Secular Humanism”

In this session of Middle Ground’s Saturday class, Fajr Club, I direct a discussion of John Wesley Robb’s The Reverent Skeptic – A Critical Inquiry into the Religion of Secular Humanism. It’s in conjunction with Linda Raeder’s article, Mill’s Religion of Humanity – Consequences and Implications.

“All … forms of humanism have at least two things in common: (1) A concern for human good, both individually and collectively, and (2) A belief that man must resolve his problems alone and that there is no reality, above or below or outside of man, that can provide a resource or energizing power that will assist him in facing the exigencies of human life and society. Man and nature are all there is.”John Wesley Robb

“Another type of secularism that is most prevalent among intellectuals is what might be called a spiritual secularism, which places its emphasis upon the life of the creative mind. Some have called it the new religion of culture. It stresses the arts, in all of their forms, and places the creative expressions of men and women throughout history as prime examples of the transcendent power of the human mind and spirit to overcome the vicissitudes of daily life. It provides moments of self-transcendence for its adherents through the theatre, the visual arts, a wide variety of literary forms and through music. It glorifies the outreach of the human spirit toward higher and more expressive forms of creativity. It is a source for the nourishment of the human spirit and is often a replacement for the self-transcending experience that traditional forms of religion attempt to provide.”John Wesley Robb

Full audio (2+ hours)

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Also episode #116 from The Mad Mamluks’ podcast, Somewhere in Time, with Joseph Kaminski.

#MiddleGroundPodcast – Salah (Prayer) Is Islamic Spirituality

Do you desire a close(r) relationship with God?

  • What do you imagine that relationship will look like?
  • What do you bring to the relationship?
  • How much time are you willing to invest?

Given that God doesn’t “talk” to anyone directly, how will you have a relationship with Him?

  • The importance of the physical rituals in Islam.
  • Without them, the relationship will not have a routine.
  • While intellectually we may desire that we should read the Quran every day for a certain amount of time, in the physical reality of human life, this desire alone is not sufficient. There is a missing ingredient; we need something to subdue the body to make it come along for the ride, every day.

Salah (Prayer) – the perfect combination of body and spirit.

  • You cannot maintain a daily Qur’an reading, with consistency, without also integrating it with your prayer.

Tahajjud – the great Islamic mystical ritual

  • Tahajjud allows and enables us to always remain close to God. How? Because it’s on His terms, not ours.
  • It is a reliable means to renew our relationship with Him daily.
  • The nature of that relationship is going to primarily rotate around forgiveness of sins, reorienting ourselves away from the worldly life’s pull and stress, and encouraging us to live a far simpler life, living in the blessed realm of walking with God through life.