On the Brink

The world has morphed far more in the past two centuries than in recorded history. Bring a simple peasant from the thirteenth century into the twenty-first century, and there is every chance she will have a nervous breakdown.

Science introduces us to new concepts on a daily basis. The mysteries of the elements have been largely explained, taking us from a world ruled by superstition and setting us into a previously unimaginable future.

So what does our future hold? Visionaries suggest a world running on solar and wind power in which flying cars autopilot people to important business meetings and cancer no longer steals lives. Others predict an apocalypse of scant resources and war.

Who knows?

I want to explore ideas. They range from bold to fantastical to mundane. Whether my thoughts are realistic or not doesn’t matter. This is a space where I can muse, wonder aloud, forge my philosophical path.

I am beholden to no one but myself in this blog. If you want to participate, you are welcome.

I am a dreamer. Are you?

A Place for Irrational Thought?

Critical Thinker posted a link to this video on Facebook yesterday. It runs about 34 minutes, but you can get the general idea within the first five. Go ahead and take a look. I’ll wait…

I come from a devout Catholic background. Deviation from Church teachings were not accepted in my family. Heck, they still aren’t, but they’re almost tolerated in order to keep the peace, such as it is. My questions drove my mother nuts. I will always remember our conversation about Ghandi. It went something like this:

Me: Mom, I keep thinking about people like Ghandi. He was good, right?

Mom: Yes.

Me: Well, if someone is good like that, how could God send him to Hell for not believing in Jesus?

Mom: Because Jesus died for our sins. Without Jesus, Heaven wouldn’t be open to anyone. If you don’t believe in Jesus, you can’t get in.

Me: But it’s not Ghandi’s fault he didn’t believe in Jesus. He lived in another country where they have different beliefs. It’s not fair to keep him out of Heaven if he didn’t know better.

Mom (getting annoyed): He was introduced to Christ and refused. If you are introduced to Jesus and don’t accept him, you can’t go to Heaven.

Me (getting a little upset): What about all those native tribes in the middle of rain forests? They never heard of Jesus. Why would they listen to missionaries? And what if they never met anyone who told them about Jesus?

Mom (getting really annoyed): If they never met anyone who told them about Jesus, then it’s not their fault. But if they ever met a missionary or someone who told them that Jesus died for our sins and that God is the One True God, they better accept the Truth.

(It’s not verbatim, but hey, it’s been two decades since we had this discussion.)

Neither of us was happy with this conversation. I never could accept that a loving god would turn away good–and I mean truly compassionate, caring, giving good–people just because they had different beliefs. This was the point at which I decided most religions must have some validity to them, that their god or gods spoke to them in ways they understood. I learned to keep quiet about this belief.

Over the years, I have vacillated between this overall “God wears many faces for many people” ideology to “maybe there are no gods” to “maybe there are many deities” to “who the heck knows?!” Is there such a thing as deity?And if so, is it one or many? Does s/he/they care?

In the video, the constant line is that there is no empirical evidence to the existence of deity. Another common theme not just among the elite thinkers, but among “common man” is that if there was a loving god, there wouldn’t be so much misery in the world. The faithful respond by saying misery is a result of decisions made from free will. Make that Free Will. They often insist that misery is caused not by a loving god, but by the devil, or that said loving god allows things to happen to test faith.

It seems to me that faith would be better ensured by an extension of divine good will. In other words, blatant miracles. Sure, there appear to be miracles every day, but they are inevitably explained in scientific terms.

To which a person might say: There has to be something more than this!

And to which I might respond: Yes, why not?

I prefer to believe that there is more to life than pure physics and science. Just think: A couple hundred years ago, my laptop would have appeared to be a gift from the gods. Science and technology had few terms that could approach how this miracle of modern tech functions (albeit slowly at times). Therefore it would have been a divine–or demonic–device.

Much of mythology and religion has functioned to explain why things happen. Now that we have science, with all its empirical evidence to support it, we have new stories to form the whys of the world into understandable nuggets.

But is there such a thing as the divine?

Without that solid evidence, there may never be an answer. Theories, yes. Answers, no. Perhaps, as science advances, such evidence will come to the fore. Or if there is god or a group of gods, a corporal appearance will quell disbelief. Then again, if godly characters suddenly appeared and performed miraculous achievements, I think humanity is geared more toward believing such creatures to be alien or extra dimensional beings. Doesn’t that say something right there?

In other posts, I’ll write about research being conducted on related subjects. It is possible some of our questions may be answered–or at least given hints–by ground-breaking experiments.

In the meantime, relish every moment of life, for every moment of the day has the universe to offer.

Proud to be an American?

United States of America House of Representatives

United States of America House of Representatives

There are times I’m proud to be an American. Then there are moments when I’m ashamed. This is one of those moments.

Everyone jokes about the self-serving nature of our elected politicians. We complain they’re all corrupt, that they vote according to who pays them more, or according to what will get them reelected. Yet we keep voting them in. Or the electorate just throw their hands in the air and give up by not going to vote.

I wish there were answers. I wish I could barge into Congress and say “Get your shit together! Wake up and take care of your people!” Unfortunately, that would be quickly followed by a visit in a very secure facility.

We, the voting public, must get through to the politicians! I heard that the phone lines to Congress were jammed today after President Obama demanded citizens call their representatives. That is fantastic, but it’s not enough. We need to flood their phone lines, e-mail inboxes, snail mail boxes, everything! Make Congress listen! They are supposed to answer to US–the citizens of the United States, not some jerkwads who pad their pockets with cash.

I might be a dreamer, but I’ll be damned if I don’t see what’s really right. Let’s make Congress understand its role. Demand better, America. Demand better.

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