Episode 107 :: DT Strain :: Humanist Contemplative in Texas

| March 11, 2012 | 12 Comments

DT Strain

Humanist Contemplative DT Strain joins us to talk about being a Humanist Minister in Texas.

Today there is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of the attitudes and approaches to life we Secular Buddhists have in common with other groups with whom we don’t always directly engage. This includes people who may self identify as atheists, skeptics, and Secular Humanists. And as we do make those connections, we can learn from one another and discover how having a rich and diverse body of views, can complement our own without sacrificing our core practices.

One of the challenges we face, however, is striking the balance between respect and even admiration for one another, while not crossing over into becoming accommodationist. This is particularly true in the new concept of Humanist Ministry, a seeming oxymoron — but no more than Secular Buddhism!

DT Strain is a Humanist Minister, certified by the American Humanist Association (AHA), and is a Spiritual Naturalist. His ‘Humanist Contemplative’ group and concept has since helped inspire a similar group at Harvard University, and he is former president of the Humanists of Houston. DT has appeared as a panelist on the Houston PBS television program, The Connection, discussing religious belief and non-belief and speaks at a number of other venues upon request. He is an enthusiast of Stoicism, Buddhism, and other ancient philosophies, seeking to supplement modern scientific and humanistic values with these practices. As such, he often attends the Jade Buddha Temple, writes on Stoicism, and organizes the Humanist Contemplatives Houston Meetup group.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Japanese single malt, Yoichi.

:: Discuss this episode ::

Quotes

“Just because you don’t believe in god doesn’t mean you’re a saint.” — DT Strain

Web Links

Music for This Episode

Hon Shirabe

Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Aki

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (12)

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  1. Dana Nourie Dana Nourie says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast. I found DT to be very eloquent. He made excellent points about the divisions between Humanist groups versus Atheist groups, etc and how each have their place. His point on leaving politics and such issues out of Humanism and keeping them in, say, separation of church and state groups, or United Atheists well taken.

    I also think he spoke well about the need for groups that focus on compassion, ethics, etc, and a way of defining those.

    Very enjoyable and informative from beginning to end!

  2. stoky says:

    I also enjoyed it, mainly because he pointed out that “the new thing” is that we’re developing ways to combine a “naturalistic” view at the world with a “spiritual” practice.

    That was the thing that struck me the most while reading “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist”. Before I was only interested in Buddhism, afterwards I started practicing Buddhism.

  3. stoky says:

    I also enjoyed it, mainly because he pointed out that “the new thing” is that we’re developing ways to combine a “naturalistic” view at the world with a “spiritual” practice.

    That was the thing that struck me the most while reading “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist”. Before I was only interested in Buddhism, afterwards I started practicing Buddhism.

  4. Mark Knickelbine says:

    Hooray for DT Strain! His focus is spot on. Skepticism, atheism and even humanism is not enough. If we don’t show that there is a way to cope with our existential condition and to promote our own flourishing and the flourishing of others, we leave people to turn to religion to find these things. A life practice that offers these things without demanding belief in the unbelievable and obedience to authority based on such beliefs will draw many to it.

  5. stoky says:

    Does anyone happen to know something about the delayed launch of spiritualnaturalistsociety.org?

    Wanted to write about spiritual naturalism and a couple other things, but appearantly the site is not yet worth mentioning…

  6. Ellen says:

    I enjoyed this interview immensely. I could relate to the discussion about atheism and how conversations about atheism focus on the negative and are not well received, whereas secular Buddhism provides more opportunities for positive conversations about life views.

    It also left me curious about stoicism.

  7. NaturalEntrust says:

    Ted, I can read English enough to dare to make comments
    but I fail to listen to English due to that I don’t see the
    spelling. 🙂

    So I comment on this

    “One of the challenges we face, however, is striking the balance between respect and even admiration for one another, while not crossing over into becoming accommodationist. ”

    I’ve read that word accommodationist on PZ Myers site and some other blogs.

    What is your take on it. Why should one not cross over into becomming one?
    What is it to be one? How does one know if one are one or not?

    If one are one how does one cross over back to not be one? Are there a cure 🙂

  8. NaturalEntrust says:

    Ooops forgot to check the notify box sorry

  9. NaturalEntrust says:

    Thanks Ted, I think I get that.
    What I don’t get is why the word is seen as so bad?
    Buddhism is supposed to show compassion
    for every sentient being even the believers?

    Not only for aggressive atheists like PZ Myers?

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