Monday, November 19, 2007

Modest success at the AAR

As reported just below, and here, New World Encyclopedia was presented during the reception of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP) at the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) . Frank Kaufmann, moderated the session in which Arts and Literature editor, David Burgess, and History and Biography Editor, Clinton Bennett offered presentations (accompanied by power point) to explain issues surrounding fact and value as pertains to their respective areas of editorial responsibility.

We wished for a better turn out in the "voluntary" environment of convention receptions, but we are grateful indeed for the strong and sincere interest plainly shown by those in attendance. Professors and students included those from Yale, Calvin, Fuller, and others. For this we are grateful.

The catering and banquet services from the Manchester Grand Hyatt, for the reception following the panel presentation, were exceptional. We extend our thanks and happily make mention here of their fine support for our event.

On the morning following our reception, editors present taped interviews for films that are now in production to accompany the forthcoming release of the New World Encyclopedia. Hard Rock Hotel, whom we also wish sincerely to thank, generously provided free space for filming.

Here are a few images of our time together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

IRFWP reception at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, 2007

The Inter Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP) and its predecessors hold a reception at the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), and have done so every year since 1981.

Below is the announcement and information for our reception this year. If you are in San Diego, please be sure to visit. We would love to see you.
clipped from
Follow this link to see the list of program units from this year's conference

Here is the announcement for the IRFWP meeting this year.

M16-119 - Annual Reception: Interreligious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP) and New World Encyclopedia

Friday (November 16), 7:00 PM-8:30 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

This year the Interreligious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP) and the Religion Office of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) continues with the second in the series of receptions introducing to the Academy the pending launch and ongoing progress of the New World Encyclopedia (a full, general knowledge encyclopedia based in universal values).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

SURV Meeting at SUNY Purchase

On Wednesday evening, November 7, 2007, I had the pleasure to work with Theo Wilson, Kimiyake Miyahira, and the leadership of Students United in Realizing the Vision (SURV) at SUNY Purchase to speak at their meeting devoted to Family and Identity. My presentation was on The Relationship between family and the pursuit of peace.

Ms. Sophia Kirkley presented on two youth movements, namely Service for Peace (SFP), and College Association for the Research of Principles (CARP). Also included in the program were informal and personal meeting activities as well as small group discussion sessions.

These are an inspired and inspiring young people who hold promise for positive leadership now and in the future.

Here are a few pictures from the event:

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Conference on the Convergence of Science and Spirituality

My day at the Conference on the Convergence of Science and Spirituality proved edifying and delightful at every turn.

The conference transpired in honor of Professor T.D. Singh, International Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute

Larry Goldberg assembled a sterling line up of speakers and presenters, every one worthy of mention, including creation theologian Matthew Fox and Iliff president David Trickett to name just two.

I personally found every talk genuinely educational and transformative, and learned a great deal from each one. The morning tended to have the papers with spirit as the starting point, and the afternoon tended to have papers with science as the starting point.

An unexpected and enriching addition to the conference was Errol and Rochelle Strider founders of Innertainment

Here is a little slide show with some images from the conference and related gatherings and events:

Many thanks and much praise for the organizers, presenters, participants, and generous patrons of this lovely and important occasion.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guru Nanak Award

Please note in the article that I am nominated for this award.

Jew, Christian, Sikh scholars vie for
Guru Nanak award

Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
An award of $ 50,000, to be given every other year to an individual
or an organisation in recognition of propagating Guru Nanak’s
philosophy of discovering oneness of humanity by exploring the
differences that separate people, has attracted nominations
from top Jew, Christian, Muslim and Sikh scholars besides academics
and inter-faith organisations.

Instituted by the New York-based HOFSTRA University and
supported by the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Foundation, the
first Guru Nanak Interfaith Award will be presented in
September, 2008.

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former Indian
Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, US Senators Charles Schumer
and Norm Coleman, academics Rabbi David Rosen, Dr Martin Marty
besides celebrated writer and author Khushwant Singh and a
member of the Rajya Sabha (MP) Tarlochan Singh are members
of the selection committee constituted for the inaugural award.

HOFSTRA University had invited nominations by inserting
advertisements in major US newspapers.

Interestingly, the list of nominees is who’s who of individuals and
organisations involved in spreading the message of universal
brotherhood as preached by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.

One of the nominees, Debora Batcha, for example, is designer of
a talisman symbolising the fundamental unity of three Abrahamic religions.
Abode of the Message (a community of Lebanon), Rabbi Arthur Schneier
(spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue, and a member of the
first interfaith delegation to visit the Soviet Union and China),
medicos Alan Astrow and Daniel Sulmasy, the Bo Yin Ra Foundation
and the Center for Religious Inquiry.

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Compassionate
Listening Project, the Esalen Institute for Theory and Research and
Track Two’s Abrahamic Family Reunion, Sacha Stone and the
Humanitad Foundation, Hands of Peace, Hartford Seminary,
the Interfaith Encounter Association, Interfaith Peace Building
Initiative, Interfaith Works of Central New York, Joseph
Interfaith Foundation, Interfaith Mission Service for
Greater Tennessee Valley, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy,
International Summer School on Religion and Public Life,
Molloy College Institute for Christian/ Jewish Dialogue and the
Liberian Council for Churches are among some of the organizations
whose nominations have been received.

Interestingly, nomination of Modernage Public School and College of
Abbottabad in Pakistan for the award has also been acknowledged.

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, is also on the nominee
list for the award list.

Among individuals of Indian origin Jagdish Gandhi of Lucknow,
Dr Eboo Patel, an eminent speaker and broadcaster on interfaith,
Sukhbir Singh Kapoor, an author of 40 books on Sikh religion,
Bhai Harbans Lal, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Neurosciences
and Baba Virsa Singh of Delhi and Trilochan Singh, Professor of
Mechanical engineering at Wayne University in Detroit.

Others individuals nominated for the award include Steve D. Martin,
president of Vital Visions, Ruth Broyde-Sharone, a film maker,
Dr Sayyed Hussain Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies,
Dr Paul F. Knitter, Gary Krupp, Dr Frank Kaufmann and Dr Harold Kasimow,
a pioneer in introducing the study of non-Christian traditions
in the curriculum.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

American Muslim Day Parade

I had the honor to be invited by event co-chairman Imam Shamsi Ali of the 96th Street Mosque
to walk with participants and speak with leaders and invited guests at the 22nd American Muslim Day Parade.

When I tried to read back through news reportage of the event, I was STARTLED to see the coverage! It was covered as a controversial strife-riven event full of protest and ire! In fact, it was impossible to find a single news article that described the event in a way that even remotely resembled my experience (and I stayed with the parade and stage events from beginning to end).

It was a sunny, balmy Sunday. The event began with midday prayers for the faithful prior to the start of the actual parade, after which press was invited in to meet and interview the organizers. At the lead of parade was a color guard of bright flags, then Muslim members of the New York City Police, followed by three lines of dignitaries, and then all others.

Security on the streets was remarkably sparse. In fact the only time I saw police was at intersections to help coordinate marchers and cross-town traffic as lights changed.

The parade traversed a short distance (42nd street to 24th street) at a slow, leisurely pace, for the most part in silence or simple conversation among those walking.

At one point there was suddenly a shrill, angy little group shouting "No Sharia in America." They caught me off guard. I couldn't make out more than a small handful of people, and even at our snail's pace, they faded in the distance in just a moment or two. Across the street from the one angry group was another equally angry group only this second one I think were folks who think of themselves as Muslims. The funny thing was that they too were reviling the people in the parade. Apparent the second angry group was full of rage that the Muslims in the parade failed to be sufficiently hateful to their non-Muslim detractors from the other side of the street.

I felt like we had passed momentarily through some Alice in Wonderland-like bubble of anger, as we ambled quietly and peacefully down the street.

We got to the stage, prayers and scripture was read, the national anthem was sung by two beautiful, humble young ladies in hijab, the MC occasionally explained a little about Muslim terms or traditions, and a bunch of people spoke from the mike. I spoke too representing the Universal Peace Federation, and the Family Federation for World Peace.

I guess the most interesting thing about the day was the fact that Mayor Bloomberg stood down a letter writing campaign, and perhaps other political pressures to cancel the parade. In response he declared the day American Muslim Day, and sent a cabinet representative to march from beginning to end, and at the end on stage read and present the Mayor's declaration.

As I say, it was very hard to find any reportage matching my experience, but this one article at least is not completely crazy. In it one reads:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to the critics [saying] "Muslims are a "vital part of our city... "It would be a terrible mistake for anyone to implicate a whole group of innocent individuals -- no matter what their faith -- with the terrible acts committed on September 11, 2001."

Here is a little personal slide show with a few images from the parade:

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Conference on the Convergence of Science and Spirituality

On September 29, 2007, I will present a paper at the:

The Second Annual Conference on the Convergence of Science and Spirituality: "Beyond Einstein's Determinism: How Interdisciplinary and Interfaith Cooperation are Inspiring New Perspectives on Consciousness"
September 29, 2007 | 09:00 AM

It will be held at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO

Here is the announcement about the conference.

Here below is some information from the conference program:

INTRODUCTION: Rev. John Thompson

9:10 – 10:00 A.M: Opening Address

Dr. Matthew Fox: Science, Spirituality and Consciousness: Gifts and Convergences in a Perilous Time

Abstract: The relationship between science and spirituality is an ancient one: it is only in modern times that science divorced from spirituality, though it is true that in the West with Augustine's notion of the corruption of nature a dominant stream of Christianity felt science was irrelevant. But not so in the creation spirituality tradition including Hildegard of Bingen ("all science comes from God") and Thomas Aquinas ("a mistake about creation results in a mistake about God.")

We will explore the four Paths of creation spirituality in light of today's many gifts from science, for example, the Via Positiva (science provides many reasons for arousal of awe); the Via Negativa (science substantiates what meditators East and West have been doing for centuries and chaos theory mirrors the Dark Night of the Soul experience of the mystics); the Via Creativa (creativity becomes the identifying characteristic of human beings and our nearest ancestors); the Via Transformativa (applied science helps solve real issues of global warming, the universality of homosexuality, and more).

Bio: Matthew Fox is author of 28 books on spirituality and culture including two books of dialog with British biologist Rupert Sheldrake, Natural Grace and The Physics of Angels. Among his other books are Original Blessing; The Reinvention of Work; Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart; One River, Many Wells; Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet; The New Reformation. He holds a doctorate in spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and has developed masters and doctoral programs over the years that do education differently by including creativity and meditation as integral to the curriculum along with courses in the new cosmology and world spiritual traditions and practices.

10:00 – 10:30 A.M.

Dr. Vic Mansfield: Einstein and Quantum Nonlocality: a Doorway to Buddhist Emptiness and Compassion

Abstract: Einstein’s objection to the indeterminism in quantum mechanics is well known. However, Einstein’s most influential challenge to quantum theory revolved around his rejection of the lack of independent existence in quantum objects. For example, Einstein’s biographer, the physicist Abraham Pais, wrote, “We often discussed his notions on objective reality. I recall that during one walk Einstein suddenly stopped, turned to me, and asked whether I really believed that the moon exists only when I look at it.”[1] Einstein’s rejection of a central feature of quantum mechanics (quantum object’s lack of independent existence) ignited a debate about the philosophic foundation of nature that lasted for a half century. It culminated in what many people consider the most important finding since the advent of modern science: the famous experiments that conclusively revealed nonlocality in nature. Now we know that “quantum moons” demonstrably do not exist when unobserved. Assuming no technical background in physics, this lecture shows how such “experimental metaphysics” has an extraordinarily detailed resonance with the Middle Way Buddhist principle of emptiness, the very heart of Buddhism. What Einstein found to be the most vexing feature of quantum mechanics is, in the eyes of Middle Way Buddhists, the ultimate nature of reality and the foundation for universal compassion. In this way, physics sheds light on the nature of reality, including consciousness, and has moral implications for how we treat each other and the planet.

[1] Abraham Pais, “Subtle is the Lord”: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (Oxford University Press, New York, 1983) p. 455.

Bio: Vic Mansfield is a professor of physics at Colgate University. For four decades, he has practiced and studied with spiritual leaders in the U.S., Europe, and India. Along with teaching a wide range of physics and astronomy courses, for two decades he has been teaching a popular course on Tibetan culture and Buddhism. He has written three interdisciplinary books and scores of papers. His most recent book, Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge (Templeton Foundation Press, February 2008) will be translated into Tibetan and Chinese by the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who will also write a preface to the book. Vic warmly invites you to his website at

10:40 – 11:10 A.M.

Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Bridged Epistemology, Bridged Traditions, Multifaith Family

Abstract: In almost all people, religious conviction and religious adherence derive from conflating knowledge with interpretive speculation. These two natural and positive faculties cannot inhere fully. Thus the foundation for virtually all religious life in individuals and in the world has a fracture at its foundation (a fracture with the potential to yield both positive and negative responses and outcomes). This tear in the basis of religious life informs and participates in all subsequent religiosity and religious expression, often infecting religious life with a particularly virulent strain of the disease of separation. The tiny few whose religious life is all knowledge and no speculation found religions, or are the saints of their various traditions. War, conflict, disease, exploitation, ecological dereliction, and other forms of disorder and horror are due to an insufficient number of saints at any given time (but this is a difficult problem to solve). This paper introduces interim and intermediary (also more widely available) steps we can take to realize humane ends on a global scale, while striving to increase the saint population.

Bio: Dr. Frank Kaufmann is executive director of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP), editor in chief of Dialogue and Alliance (a scholarly journal on religion and peace), and editor in chief of The New World Encyclopedia (a values based, general knowledge encyclopedia). He has worked in the area of religion and conflict resolution for 29 years in over 65 countries, at times in physical danger and life threatening circumstances.

11:10 - 11:40 am

Dr. David Trickett:

Bio: David Trickett recently joined the Iliff community as its 13th president and as Henry White Warren Professor of Ethics and Leadership. He was previously chairperson of the board and senior fellow at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, as well as the founder and president of The Jefferson Circle.

As an ordained United Methodist elder in full connection within The United Methodist Church (UMC), President Trickett has worked in congregations from 350-10,000 members. His service to the UMC includes membership on numerous committees at district, annual conference, and jurisdictional levels; participation in the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies; election to the World Methodist Council; and service on the denominational Genetic Science Task Force. As an interfaith leader involved in global dialogue, he has worked to bring many different faith traditions together on complex issues.

President Trickett has taught at several theological schools, including Perkins School of Theology, Washington Theological Consortium (which he also headed), Virginia Theological Seminary, Howard University School of Divinity, and the Catholic University of America.

1:35 – 2:05 P.M.

Dr. Héctor Rosario: Towards a New Ontological Argument: The Existence of the Soul vis-à-vis The Existence of God

Abstract: Ontological arguments are philosophical discourses that purport to deductively prove the existence of God. The first recorded argument in Western thought is due to St. Anselm, which mathematicians Descartes and Leibniz later refined. This argument reached the pinnacle of abstraction in the realm of symbolic logic in the twentieth century thanks to Gödel. Nevertheless, the argument has met with fierce critics and opponents. In this article I will briefly review the history of the ontological arguments and discuss two major hurdles in the traditional approach to the subject. The first obstacle is a result of the consequences related to the definitions of God used by the proponents of the ontological arguments. The second obstacle lies in addressing the existence of God without first addressing the existence of the soul. I will build on Gödel’s ontological argument – whose theology is essentially Judeo-Christian – and combine it with the philosophical framework of the Vaishnava school of thought based on the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedanta Sutra. I will present my rationale and plans for advancing an ontological argument that first considers the existence of the soul, and once that is established, proceeds to conclusively address the existence of God.

Bio: Héctor Rosario teaches mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. He was born in Puerto Rico in 1974 and earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York in 2003. His current academic interests are the ontological arguments, the foundations of mathematics, and the philosophy of science and mathematics. He is also an ordained Gaudiya Vaishnava priest known as Ananta Ram das Adhikari.

2:05 – 2:35 P.M.

Dr. Jagdish Srivastava: Science Supports Spirituality and Contradicts Neo-Darwinism

Abstract: This paper is based on the scientific exploration of the nature of Reality, which includes both Quantum Reality (which is the foundation of physical universes) and the realm of pure ideas. This exploration is done through a scientific theory (denoted by TK) propounded by the author, which (so far as the author is aware) is the only theory put forward so far by any philosopher or scientist which spans the entire realm of Reality, both physical and otherwise.

This paper deals mainly with the implications of TK in the Spiritual realm, which is defined to be that part of Reality wherein the destiny of man is embedded. Indeed, for humans, Spirituality is that behavior and frame of mind which would be required of a person if he is to act rationally in the face of Reality (i.e., in the face of facts as they really exist). (Here, by a 'rational action', we mean an action that is not foolish, inefficient, misguided, or naive. A rational person would ignore Spirituality only because of ignorance of pertinent facts that are not easily visible to the mind's eye.)

Darwin's theory of evolution is well known; the author does not work in this field, and cannot provide any new argument against or in favor of this theory. However, there is a sub-theory, which we shall call 'Neo-Darwinism' which is contradicted by TK (irrespective of whether Darwin's theory is right or wrong). This sub-theory assumes that 'Consciousness' 'evolved' on the planet earth, where as TK establishes that Consciousness is independent of time and space. (In other words, the Consciousness that a human has existed before his body was born and will exist after his body dies.)

This explanation and the associated discussion shall lead us into the general spiritual implications of TK, that throw light on Religion and its occasional conflict with Science.

Bio: Professor Srivastava received his Ph.D. degree in 1961. In 1966, he became full Professor at Colorado State University, from where he retired in 2004. In the early nineties, he also had joint appointment in Philosophy. He is a Fellow of the top world organizations in Statistics and in Combinatorial Mathematics. He is also a Fellow of TWAS: The World Academy of Science for developing countries.

In 1998, on his 65th birthday, two large felicitation volumes (containing articles from top experts from all over the world) were published. In 1975, he founded the prestigious monthly Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, of which he has been the Editor-in-Chief. He has been the President of several world organizations. He has made many important discoveries, several of which bear his name. He has written more than 140 papers, and (co-) authored or edited several books. Since the sixties, he has also been interested in Philosophy, Consciousness, Quantum Physics, and Spirituality, in which he has lectured internationally and written extensively.

2:45 – 3:15 P.M.

Dr. Beverly Rubik: The Biofield: The Flame of Life and a Key Link Between Science and Spirituality

Abstract: Long ago Western science discarded the concept of a vital force. However, this concept is central to virtually all indigenous medicine and perennial wisdom throughout the world. It has often been considered to be the very quintessence of life. Today a similar concept similar is emerging at the frontiers of science, known as the biological field or “biofield”.

The biofield is an invisible energy field of each organism that is proposed to be the super-regulator of all the biochemistry and physiology of the body, holding the key to the invisible higher order of being. Linking the metaphysical realm of invisible fields to the physical body, the biofield may be the closest that science can ever approach the soul.

Laboratory measurements show that each person has a unique energy signature that is influenced by states of consciousness. The human biofield extends from the body into the surrounding space and is thought to “entangle” each person with one another, the biosphere, and even the cosmos.

The biofield is central to understanding life’s integral wholeness and to the development of an integrative medicine that incorporates indigenous healing methods. It is thought to be the scientific basis of many types of therapies, including laying-on-of-hands by spiritual healers, energy psychology, and homeopathy. This talk will summarize the biofield concept and its practical consequences for spirituality and the environment.

Bio: Dr. Beverly Rubik is President and founder of the Institute for Frontier Science and a researcher, speaker and writer in the frontier fields of biofield science, energy medicine, and spiritual healing. She was a Congressionally-appointed member of the Program Advisory Board to the Office of Alternative Medicine at NIH and chaired NIH panels on electromagnetic medicine and manual healing.

3:15 – 3:45 P.M.

Dr. Larry Goldberg: Complexity Theory, Quantum Theory, and the Theory of Consciousness: Towards a Worldview that Unifies the Core Commitments of our Scientific and Spiritual Heritage

Abstract: If we succeed in understanding consciousness scientifically, we could never explain away the mystery of subjectivity or its creative abilities. But we might be able to characterize how everyday complexity (dramatized by living systems and the entire cosmos), quantum perplexity (famously including uncertainty, the probabilistic “reality” of wavefunctions, and nonlocal entanglement), and the capacity for conscious experience are interrelated. If it turns out that only complex systems that are coupled with the quantum world in which they are immersed (like fish at sea) in a certain way can become conscious and can express and inform conscious experience, this discovery would have tremendous implications for our spiritual perspectives. Reciprocally, our spiritual appreciation of the context of the sacred could motivate the direction of consciousness studies research, as, for example, in the study of the relationships among the entire cosmos, the quantum vacuum, and the Supreme Consciousness or God. This talk will explore the potential for a worldview that integrates scientific and spiritual perspectives in the quest to comprehend the roots of conscious experience.

Bio: Dr. Larry Goldberg is a philosopher of science, environment, and mind who has applied his interdisciplinary methodology to the development of new educational and research programs in global change, computational science and engineering, bioethics, educational hypermedia, the health effects of Denver’s air pollution, and the integration of the physiological and psychological dimensions of medical and nursing research. He is currently developing a theory of how quantum mechanical phenomena may mediate the mutual relationship between consciousness and the states of complex systems; and a methodology for integrating the contributions of cognitive scientists, quantum physicists, and consciousness and spirituality researchers in interdisciplinary programs that investigate the interface between the inner and outer worlds.


The Integration of Science and Spirituality: 3:50 to 4:45 P.M.

Panel Members: Drs. Matt Fox, David Trickett, Vic Mansfield, Frank Kaufmann, Jagdish Srivastava, Héctor Rosario, Beverly Rubik — Fifty-five minutes — Moderator for Panel: Dr. Larry Goldberg