Hell, Buddha and Sex

For a religion without a god (not even a benevolent one, never mind one filled with malice), and certainly without a devil, Buddhism has an unseemly preoccupation with torture. Buddhist hells—and there are many of them—are filled with pain, and Buddhist writings...

The peculiar physics of Hell

  Three issues of physics are in play in the Netherworld. Firstly, the fires of hell need no fuel and do not consume what they burn—that would rather defeat the purpose, for it would have ended sinners’ torment too soon, which would not do. So hell’s designers saw to...

Did the Pope really diss Hell?

  Did Pope Francis earlier this year (before the tsunami of negativity about priestly abuses) really scoff at the notion of hell? Did he really muse to an (atheist) Italian journalist that there was no theological justification for the eternal torment of unredeemed...

Has Satan been given a bum rap? (2)

Was Satan always a Fiend? Well, no. Was he always evil? Nope. The scholar Elaine Pagels points out that in the early lore of the Hebrews (whence came Satan, after all) Satan was not a being but an attitude – “satan” being the Hebrew word for adversary. Later, “the”...

Has Satan been given a bum rap? 1

  It would seem so. Even parts of the Bible think so. Like the Book of Job, for example, where Satan is far from (or at least not yet) the scaly-tailed horned Fiend of later centuries. Quite the contrary – he was just one of the guys, almost family. One day (this is...

Health care and Me

The word “hip” seems to have lost favor as a descriptive of cool, which I can’t help feeling is just as well. For me, at least, the word has taken on a darker connotation, or at least evokes a darker memory. Hip can also mean pain and near death, surgical incompetence...

A Riff on … Sewage

This is a brief talk I gave at a symposium sponsored by The Walrus magazine late in 2015, on the topic of Innovation. I chose the not very glamorous subject of sewage; it refers to a theme introduced in my book, Back to the Well: Rethinking the future of water. I had...

Information, disinformation or misinformation?

If you’re trying to make sense of  the privatization of water (itself a slippery term – privatization of what, exactly? The water? Or its delivery systems?) where are the facts to be found? From Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, who tells us that “untold...