Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Years Challenge Instead Of Resolutions:

by Glenn Littrell

OK, instead of a New Years resolution, or a year ending/beginning New Years message, I propose a challenge. A year ending challenge to where or how you seek inspiration. Do you seek inspiration from sources that reafirm what you beleive? Or do you accept a chalenge to seek inspiration, in whatever form, from a source that you expect to disagree with?

This is a challenge with no expected outcome, no purpose. It is not meant to convert anyone, to change anyones mind, to get you to admit anything or concede anything. You are the sole judge of what, if anything, is proven or realized. You are free to ‘grade’ if the challenge was productive.

Is there a point? Maybe. Let’s call it an experiment. Below are several podcast of discussions on “Believers and Doubters”. Each discusses different sub-topics concerning the main topic and each are addressed by someone of a different philisophical/religious persuasion. Each podcast is from 7 to 12 minutes long. The object is to select a podcast, listent to it, and consider its meaning. Make of it what you will.

But here’s the challenge: Don’t select the podcast that is most likely to support your current view. Based on whatever criteria you choose, the sub-topic, who it is discusing the topice, or even the length of the podcast. Whatever your criteria is choose the podcast that you deem the furtherest from what you would expect to agree with. You can listen to them all, but make the first one, or the only one, is the least one that appeals to you.

Here are the choices::

  • What’s The Difference Between Believe and Faith.  Billy Graham, Christian Minister. 
  • Is Doubt Essential To Faith? Lesley Hazelton, Agnostic Jewish writer.
  • How Does A Person Go From Beleiver To Athiest? Julia Sweeney, actor and writer. 
  • What Can Atheism Learn From Religion? Alain de Bolton, Atheist and Author.
  • Are There Any Universal Beliefs And Truths? Devdutt Pattanaik, Hindu Mythologist. 

Too often when we seek information we seek information that confirms our beliefs, our opinions. Sometimes we may seek information with no concern for confirmation, we’re just looking fo an explanation, a starting point before forming our opinion. In both cases, we tend to limit what we learn because we seek confirmation or because we rely on one source.

If you believe, as is the gist of this challenge/experiment, that sources of information can be biased then you should consider that all sources can be biased. In fact, no source can be completely unbiased. It is virtually impossible to a certain degree and for too many of us we tend to accept as ‘least bias’ that source which affirms our beliefs.

The basis for deciding if a source is biased or not is not whether it agrees with us, but to discern how relative the information when compared to other sources. Of course, if we make the comparison between ‘like-minded’ sources then our affirmation will be proven in that context, but it will nonetheless be biased.

Notice the many themes spoken of in the podcast: doubt, faith, belief, etc. Yet none of the themes are spoken of by the Christian, the Hindu, The agnostic Jew, or the Athiest as being absolutly, completly or exclusivly important. They all speak of the importance of doubt, faith and belief, not the absoluteness of any, but the importance of all.

I guess the experiment here is

  • did you listen to all of the podcast?
  • did you come away with something from listening to all, more so than if you had just listened to the first one that appealed to you?

If I’m wrong then nothing gained, but hopefully, we can agree that multiple sources can help inform not just a better opinion, but also a more informed and better opinion.


The speakers that were interviewed in the above podcast from NPR Radio were selected on the basis of a Ted Talk that they had given. To here their complete talk use the links below.

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we're building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world's most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.
In fact, everything we do — from our Conferences to our TED Talks to the projects sparked by the TED Prize, from the global TEDx community to the TED-Ed lesson series — is driven by this goal: How can we best spread great ideas?
TED is owned by a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation. Our agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.

click to hear their original, complete Ted Talk:

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