Tag Archives: Your Living Mind

My Upcoming Talk in Shanghai

I’ve just been notified that my proposal for a presentation on consciousness has been accepted by organizers of The Science of Consciousness, Shanghai, China, June 5-10, 2017. [Update: The conference has been moved to San Diego, California.]


Here’s the abstract of my paper, Dueling Skepticisms: Strong Fallibilism Versus Illusionism. Continue reading

New “About” Page

Note: This web site provides information about several of my books, my blogs, and other writings. Each book-page includes most of the first chapter or the Introduction. For more information click the About tab, above.

I’ve just revised the About page, so here’s the new version.

About this Web Site

This site provides information about several of my books, my blogs, and other writings. It includes pages about four books:

Your Living Mind: The Mystery of Consciousness and Why It Matters to You

Bridging the God Gap: Finding Common Ground Among Believers, Atheists and Agnostics

Feel Better Now: 30 Ways to Handle Frustration in 3 Minutes or Less

Do Think Twice: Provocative Reflections on Age-Old Questions.

Each of these four book-pages includes most of the first chapter or the Introduction. I’ve also created pages describing my blogs, with sample posts from each.

I have always been fascinated by the Big Issues that puzzle everyone from school-age children to eminent scholars – how we can tell right from wrong, how we can know anything at all, the search for core values, moral rules vs. moral relativism, free will vs. determinism, theism vs. atheism, the mystery of consciousness, puzzles about selfhood, and how to deal with death. These are not just academic issues. They have a subtle but profound impact on the quality of our lives.

I am incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to consider these questions in depth for several decades. Being an early reader gave me a head start, so that by the time I entered college I was ready to jump into the deep end. I majored in philosophy, religion, and psychology, and went on to earn a doctorate in religion from Claremont School of Theology, a respected seminary in southern California. I became a psychotherapist and a Unitarian Universalist minister. I’ve taken several sabbaticals for further study, and since 2008 I’ve been writing, speaking, and leading workshops about my books, full-time.

After grappling with the Big Questions, do I have any Big Answers? I am far too emotionally involved with my work to be objective about that. But I have been willing to bet my life that if enough of us dive deeply into exploring these perennial enigmas, we will find new insights that move us closer to the truth – insights that help us become both more rational and more humane. I’m doing what I can. It’s up to others to decide whether I’ve had any success.

I would love to know how you respond to what I’ve written.

Roger Christan Schriner

Educational and professional background:

Dr. Roger “Chris” Schriner is a writer, psychotherapist, and Unitarian Universalist minister. He earned a B.A. from the University of Redlands summa cum laude in religion, philosophy, and psychology, a Doctorate in Religion from Claremont School of Theology, and an M.S. in Family Counseling from the University of LaVerne. His Honors Thesis at Redlands examined the ethical thought of theologian Paul Tillich and his dissertation at Claremont School of Theology dealt with nuclear weapons policy. He worked for 25 years as a psychotherapist and he is Minister Emeritus of Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont.

He is the author of six books, the most recent of which are:
Bridging the God Gap: Finding Common Ground Among Believers, Atheists and Agnostics, http://www.amazon.com/Bridging-God-Gap-Believers-Agnostics/dp/0984584005/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312308771&sr=1-1
Your Living Mind: The Mystery of Consciousness and Why It Matters to You,

The Mystery of Consciousness, and Why It Matters
Did God Really Say THAT!? A Blog about the Bible
Theists & Atheists: Communication & Common Ground

Oversimplifying Theism: An Example from Daniel Dennett

Note: This web site provides information about several of my books, my blogs, and other writings. When I post a new entry in one of my blogs I will typically include it in this space. Here’s the latest example, from https://theistsandatheists.wordpress.com:

Oversimplifying Theism: An Example from Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett, author of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, has suggested one reason it’s so hard for theists and atheists to talk with each other: “There’s simply no polite way to tell people they’ve dedicated their lives to an illusion.”

I have a lot of respect for Dennett. As I wrote in Your Living Mind, I have “sheepishly” come to realize that some of his radical ideas about consciousness are more insightful than they seemed at first. And in Bridging the God Gap I give him credit for being more open-minded about religion than many prominent freethinkers. I think he’s on to something very important in his comment about telling people they’ve lived for an illusion, but I would put the point somewhat differently:

“IF you assume that belief in God is all there is to someone’s religion, then questioning that belief means challenging their whole way of life.”

But that’s a false assumption. Religion is far more than a list of theological doctrines. It involves an incredibly complex array of spoken and written statements and countless hours of worship and fellowship, as well as art and music, moral principles, spiritual practices, spiritual experiences, personal relationships, and involvement with religious institutions.

One can revise or reject theological tenets without invalidating everything else. Atheist Sam Harris, for example, follows many Buddhist teachings without accepting the Buddha’s 2500-year-old worldview. And there are who atheists belong to religious organizations because they value the fellowship, the rituals, and/or their congregation’s ethical commitments (Bridging the God Gap, p. 160).

Because we are drawn to simple stereotypes, we often speak as if we could summarize entire worldviews in a word or a phrase. That makes it very hard to critique someone’s life-stance without seeming to insult and invalidate that person. Our simplistic minds make nuanced dialogue difficult.

Life is strange and our minds are limited. It may be that both religious and secular worldviews are partially right but radically incomplete. I may be correct in claiming that someone is in the grip of illusions. But perhaps my own follies are just as foolish.

Roger Christan Schriner