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Just a reminder – We tweet!

Baby Bird 08 by Jayme Frye

Baby Bird 08 by Jayme Frye via Flickr

Updates for all things and at Twitter!

Also, I recently rediscovered a whole bunch of alternative and progressive news categories that I formerly used back in the ill-fated days of RSS. And today I added even more.

Every morning the best stories around the web are hand-picked—sometimes in the evening too. So check out our Twitter account. The feed at right only shows the latest 4 or 5 stories. There are TONS more!



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Charles Hartshorne – Does God Grow With Experience?

Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) – Image via Wikipedia

Charles Hartshorne  (1897-2000) was an American theologian who developed Alfred North Whitehead‘s idea of an organic, interactive process into a version of Process Theology.

Wikipedia traces his views to the ancient Greek Heraclitus, who emphasized change with his famous line, “you cannot step into the same river twice.” Heraclitus also believed that religious signs could be received through the oracle at Delphi. But Hartshorne’s theological system arguably adds a bit more to the picture than mere change and signs (we don’t know what Heraclitus fully believed in because only fragments of his work survive).

Hartshorne upholds the idea that God has a separate existence but is also present in the world. To me this is explained by the already existing ideas of transcendence and immanence (not imminence). Wikipedia explains Hartshorne’s view:

One of the technical terms Hartshorne used is pan-en-theism, originally coined by Karl Christian Friedrich Krause in 1828. Panentheism (all is in God) must be differentiated from Classical pantheism (all is God). In Hartshorne’s theology God is not identical with the world, but God is also not completely independent from the world. God has his self-identity that transcends the earth, but the world is also contained within God. A rough analogy is the relationship between a mother and a fetus. The mother has her own identity and is different from the unborn, yet is intimately connected to the unborn. The unborn is within the womb and attached to the mother via the umbilical cord.¹

However, Hartshorne took on classical theologians by taking a more Jungian approach to God. For both Jung and Hartshorne, God is not omniscient but learns as s/he goes along. Unlike classical definitions of God’s perfection, Hartshorne believes that being perfect does not entail knowing everything. Rather, it means knowing and feeling more through experience.

God is capable of surpassing himself by growing and changing in his knowledge and feeling for the world.²

Myself, I think this is a flawed view, one born of a lack of intellectual humility. It’s fine to try to understand God and the workings of God. But whenever a human being makes some kind of definitive statement about knowing God, that’s where I draw the line.

However, if someone says they believe that God has certain qualities and behaves in such a way, I can take them far more seriously. In my view, everything comes down to belief in one way or another. But not everyone appreciates this idea. The human mind is easily hoodwinked into confusing belief with knowledge.

The statue of Plato in front of the Academy of Athens

The distinction between belief and knowledge goes back to another ancient Greek, Plato. Plato, however, held a different view than mine. He believed that knowledge (as justified true belief – episteme)³ was superior to:

  • an opinion that seems to be or may be true but is accepted on the basis of a weak argument (dogma)
  • popular belief (doxa)

By way of contrast, I maintain that for a rational, reflective mind, everything comes down to belief—true, false or partly true belief. We may say we have reason to believe but, as human beings, we can never really know. We have to believe.4


² Ibid.

³ This type of knowledge is differentiated from knowledge of a craft (techne). And some scholars rightly ask, what does full “justification” for episteme require? See a good discussion here:

4 To defend this view I’d probably have to go into a lengthy philosophical argument, and this entry is not the place for that. However, if anyone wishes to further discuss in the comments area, I will try to outline my position (providing I felt that the discussion was positive enough to justify the time and energy spent on it). I say this because I tried to explain my position once at the David Bowie site with a bookish “intellectual” hooked on a particular philosopher and found that I was just wasting my time and energy. As with most unproductive internet debates, we don’t always carefully read or reply to things we don’t understand, perhaps cannot understand, or consciously or subconsciously do not wish or believe it necessary to understand. And some apparently just want to win an argument rather than learn and grow from it. I’m not saying I’m immune to this pretty common situation. But I don’t waste time and energy if I see myself falling into it.

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Herod ‘The Great’

Herod ‘The Great’ » Hero

This post needs content. Why not help us get it started? Please remember that copying and pasting large amounts of material from Wikipedia (or some other online encyclopedia) is not what is about. We want a fresh view, from you… not from your copy and paste editor!


Michael Clark, Ph.D.


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Stigmata – signs of holiness or illness?

Francisco de Zurbarán - St Francis of Assisi R...

Francisco de Zurbarán – St Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata – WGA26078 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stigmata are physical marks of Christ‘s crucifixion miraculously received on a person’s hands and feet. At least, this is what those who receive stigmata usually believe. Modern critics have suggested that physical or, perhaps, mental illness may come into play in the production of stigmata.

The phenomenon is found mostly in Catholicism, although not all stigmata are authenticated by the Catholic Church. And about 80% of stigmatics are women.

As with any kind of religious, especially mystical, phenomenon, it is difficult to ascertain when someone is just sick or misguided vs. intensely spiritual. Sometimes, in my opinion, the two combine. Physical or mental sickness may be a way of purifying or humbling a seeker. The big question, however, is whether the person gets better and realizes they’re off kilter, or whether they just continue in their nuttiness.

There is no shame in someone admitting that they have made errors in trying to figure out their spiritual life.  It would be very surprising indeed, if a seeker did not make mistakes. We all make mistakes in life. Mistakes in investing, in relationships, in parenting. Why would it be any different with the inner life? In fact, those pursuing the inner life are especially prone to making mistakes because of its subtle and private character.

But to return to the topic at hand, this is not to say that stigmata are false. However, any account that blindly accepts stigmata without a thorough investigation is, in my view, suspect.

Phenomena similar to stigmata occur in non-Christian religions. But it would be wrong to say these are equivalent to Christian stigmata because the Trinitarian doctrine of Christianity, and many more of its features, are unique.

Related » St. Francis of Assisi

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Call for collaborators, developers, web gurus

Blogging is cheap and the exposure is pretty good if you have something the public wants. However, for some bloggers on a limited budget (like myself), the sputtering economy will probably mean we’ll have to adapt to keep doing what we feel called to do.

One solution, which I’ve been considering for several years, is to transform Earthpages into a revenue generating entity. But here’s the rub. I’m mostly into research and spirituality, and only know the business basics.

Transforming and to a professional platform cannot be accomplished by just one person. It will take a team of experts and, probably at some point, investors.

Earthpages could go the Wikipedia route and become a “Foundation” with an operating budget to cover the cost of living. Or it could go a more commercial route and become ad driven.

At the moment I am willing to consider all reasonable possibilities.

If you want to help shape the future, and believe you have the relevant skills to become part of a diversified team, contact me

—Michael W. Clark, PhD

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Sudra caste

English: A sudra, a man from the lower caste o...

A sudra, a man from the lower caste of Bali. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Hinduism, the Sudra caste is the fourth, lowest and darkest-skinned caste of human beings. Sudras are mainly servants.

Based on an interpretation of the sacred scripture known as the Rig Veda, the sudras are believed to be the feet of the parusha, or “cosmic man.” Scholars subscribing to the Aryan invasion theory of the Indian subcontinent say that this caste was probably created by the Aryans to account for the indigenous, darker skinned Dravidians.

English: Pyramid of Caste system in India 한국어:...

Pyramid of Caste system in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historically, sudras were forbidden to read the Veda, which no doubt helped to keep them in their lowly social position.

For more and recent challenges to the old caste system, see » Caste

¹ The Aryan invasion theory was once largely unquestioned but is now challenged by some who, the majority says, overlook important data. Like most matters where ethnicity and religion overlap, it is a heated, politically charged debate. See

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Note to readers…

Instead of updating Think Free by letter category, starting today we’re going to update the very oldest entry at the site. So instead of updating the next “S” that hasn’t been updated for a while, we’ll be updating whatever is the oldest entry, regardless of its letter heading.

The site might appear a little jumbled at first but, in reality, we lost the strict alphabetical order a long time ago. Sometimes we skipped updating entries we just didn’t have enough information about. Other times we’d gain new information and post an entry out of alphabetical order. So what we have (up until today) is groups of letter categories. They’re not in perfect alphabetical order.

We thought maybe would come up with a one-click alphabetical sorting option. But so far this hasn’t appeared.

No matter. Starting today we’re just going to update the oldest entry at the site. This should keep things fresher. And intra-site searches will still reveal the same clusters of information around a given topic.

Enjoy! And… don’t forget to THINK FREE! 🙂