Posts Tagged ‘On Being’

Ethics, Religion, and Father Greg Boyle, SJ

April 15, 2013

SolidarityBusiness ethics students often ask me what’s the connection between ethics and religion, and I stumble to answer, something like all religions share the Golden Rule, which is the heart of ethics. As Hillel said in the 1st century, “All else is commentary.”

And at the heart of the Golden Rule is the ability to see others as like you, not as “other.” Father Greg Boyle, SJ, must be the world champion at seeing others this way. And he does this in the unlikeliest of environments: the Latino gangland of South Los Angeles, where he ministers to/saves/employs/buries—and most of all, loves—gang members and ex-gang members, most of them covered in tattoos and recently released from incarceration. He created Homeboy Industries, which has given thousands on gang members a path to employment and responsibility.

I first heard Greg Boyle (“G-dog” to his “homies”) being interviewed by Krista Tippett on her “On Being” radio show. He’s such a compelling person that I immediately ordered and read his memoir, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. He’s (obviously) religious and I am not, but his steadfast belief that we are all the same before God is an attitude all of us, believers and not, could strive for. He calls his God “not the ‘one false move’ God but the ‘no matter what’ God.”

The book is heartwarming, funny, heartbreaking, and page-turning. Father Boyle is a man of unbelievable courage, love, compassion, and faith. And a heckuva storyteller.


Ethicists practice jihad, along with Buddhists and Muslims

April 29, 2012

On Being is a public radio program and podcast hosted by Krista Tippett, and dedicated to conversations about religion, meaning, and ethics. Tippett often finds commonality and conjunctions among a variety of religions and philosophies, and recently she outdid herself with a conversation among:

  • ·        the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people
  • ·        Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University,
  • ·        Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the British Commonwealth, and Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

During a wide ranging conversation about happiness, the Dalai Lama observed, “One of my Muslim friends explained to me one interpretation of Jihad, not only sort of attack on other, but real meaning is combative attack your own wrongdoing or negativities.”

 “The greater Jihad*, the bigger Jihad, is to combat your own negative forces within you. Yes, yes,” Dr. Nasr agreed enthusiastically.

The Dalai Lama made the connection: “So in that sense, the whole Buddhist practice is practice of Jihad.”

“Exactly, absolutely,” concluded Dr Nasr.

In the same way one could say our struggle to be ethical is the practice of jihad—an inner struggle to be the virtuous person that we know how to be, but sometimes fall short of. It’s easier (more…)

Here’s the secret of achieving happiness, according to the wisdom of the ages

November 18, 2010

We now know the three great determinants of happiness, thanks to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth. They are:

· doing good to others
· a network of strong supportive relationships, and
· a sense that one’s life is worthwhile.

Rabbi Sacks told Krista Tippett, on her PBS program, On Being (formerly called Speaking of Faith), that this idea has been part of the “great tradition of wisdom for 3000-4000 years,” and we now know, thanks to modern science, that it is true.

One of the issues continually raised by students of ethics is, does ethics pay? That is, does ethical behavior lead to happiness? Rabbi Sacks’s formulation strengthens the argument that it does.


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