606. Stephen Meyer

Stephen MeyerStephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Meyer is author of the New York Times bestseller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design and Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, a (London) Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year. In 2004, Meyer ignited a firestorm of media and scientific controversy when a biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published his peer-reviewed scientific article advancing intelligent design. Meyer has been featured on national television and radio programs, including The Jim Lehrer News Hour, CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News, Good Morning America, Nightline, FOX News Live, Paula Zahn Now (CNN), and the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS. He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top national media.

Latest Book: Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe

Website: stephencmeyer.org

Interview recorded July 9, 2021

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

604. Ilia Delio

Ilia DelioIlia Delio, OSF holds the Josephine C. Connelly Chair in Christian Theology at Villanova University. Her area of research is Science and Religion with interests in artificial intelligence, evolution, quantum physics, and the import of these for Christian doctrine and life. She holds a doctorate in Pharmacology from Rutgers University, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and a doctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University. She is the author of over twenty books including Making All things New (Catholicity in an Evolving Universe), a finalist for the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize and The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, for which she won the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award and a 2014 Catholic Press Association Book Award in Faith and Science. Her latest book is Re-Enchanting the Earth: Why AI Needs Religion. She is the founder of the Center for Christogenesis, an online educational resource for promoting the vision of Teilhard de Chardin and, more broadly, the integration of science and religion in the 21st century.

Some of the main points discussed in this conversation.

  • What is God?
  • As we enter the mystery of God, language fails us, and the mystery grasps us all the more.
  • The mystery of God is the same mystery at the heart of physics.
  • There’s nothing outside the existence of God. God is existence itself.
  • God’s love is so infinite that there is nothing in this creation that’s un-loveable or unloved by God.
  • This is a finite creation. Wherever there are boundaries there is the possibility of suffering.  Suffering and death are part of the life cycle.
  • Reincarnation discussion. Are multiple incarnations sequential or simultaneous?
  • A deep experience of the mystery of God supports the freedom to speculate, dream, and imagine.
  • Science and religion need one another in order to fully understand the world.
  • The necessity and drawbacks of specialization and the complexification of knowledge.
  • If our hearts are grounded in holy mystery we become more fully God-like in our actions.
  • Humanity won’t have a sustainable future unless we renew the deeper dimension in our lives.
  • Cyborgs and transhumanism
  • The mutually beneficial relationship between spiritual and material technologies.
  • A profound spiritual transformation is underway.
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s idea of a new religion of the earth, retaining the wisdom of the past but creating something new for the future.
  • Wherever in the universe intelligent life exists, it will search for ultimate intelligence.
  • Intelligent design
  • The core energy of the universe – God – is love. The force that creates stars is the same force that manifests as love in humans.
  • Love is the highest knowledge. In the evening of life, we shall be judged on love alone.
  • Making love the lens through which we see all of life.
  • “The more I am in union with another, the more I am in touch with myself because it’s the core of myself that’s in union.”
  • What might the world be like if everyone were enlightened?

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded June 26, 2021.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

601. Laurence Freeman

Laurence FreemanLaurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk and teacher and is Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) a global, inclusive contemplative community. He resides at the international centre of the WCCM at Bonnevaux Centre for Peace near Paris.

With Irish and English roots, he was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at New College, Oxford University. Before entering monastic life, he worked with the United Nations in New York, in Banking and Journalism.

Fr. Laurence is a monk of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. John Main was his teacher and Fr. Laurence assisted him in establishing the foundations of the Community. Laurence is the author of a number of books on Meditation. He teaches meditation in religious and secular contexts and works in interfaith dialogue. He travels extensively teaching and leading Retreats dialogues. Laurence sees meditation as opening the common ground of humanity and developing the contemplative consciousness that he believes the world today needs for its survival. 

Some of the points discussed in this conversation:

  • “Meditation itself is a universal wisdom, we find it in all the great spiritual families.”
  • Lawrence’s introduction to meditation by John Main. John Main’s background.
  • The roots of the mantra meditation taught by the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM): its connection with Ramana Maharshi and the Christian tradition of the desert fathers and John Cassian.
  • “Meditation is a work of attention that gives deep care to the soul.”
  • The loss of esoteric knowledge in the Cristian tradition.
  • Three elements of religion: Mystical, Institutional, Intellectual.
  • How easily the subtle and mystical elements of a religion can be lost.
  • The distinction between contemplative consciousness and transitory yet transformative mystical experiences.
  • Mindfulness is helpful but is preparatory for the deeper and more transformative work of single-pointed meditation.
  • The inevitability of a “dark night” or purificatory stage.
  • How a connection with your deeper self can transform the dying experience.
  • The best scientists are mystics.
  • The influence on society of the materialist paradigm, which fails to recognize that consciousness is fundamental.
  • An encounter with the meaning of suffering at the heart of all great mystical traditions.
  • Finding the still point within ourselves and meeting others from that place is a fundamental prerequisite to solving global problems.
  • Importance of community.
  • Convening leaders who understand the importance of contemplative consciousness and how this might transform the world.
  • Connecting contemplative practice with the work necessary to heal the world.
  • Can meditation alone ensure moral clarity? The issue of ethical integrity in the spiritual community.
  • Good work is that which brings out the best in you and will bring benefits to others – that’s ‘virtue’.
  • “The fruits of the spirit are actually the life of God, burgeoning in your humanity.”
  • “God became human so that human beings might become God.” If some Christians find this blasphemous, they should read the early Church fathers.
  • Emptiness versus fullness in the Cristian tradition.
  • St. Irenaeus: “We can never know God as an object, we can only know God by participating in his own self-knowledge”.
  • Reincarnation vs. resurrection vs. purgatory.
  • Meditation is the journey from the mind, into the heart.
  • Three stages of meditation.
  • 3-minute group meditation.
  • How to learn more about Lawrence’s work.

Books

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded June 5, 2021

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.