I’ve not posted anything here in quite a while. I’ve been busy with school and life. Rest assured, though… I have not stopped contemplating One Higher Power. Below is the text of a paper I wrote for my very first Philosophy class this Summer. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope for some feedback from people who have been great friends in this endeavor.
Just for a moment… All of the Jesus, none of the religion.
Jesus healed the sick. He fed the hungry. He gave to the poor. He cared as best he could with the resources he had for any man, woman, or child who crossed his path. He counseled his friends and enemies alike. He never Continued→
Who am I to fear? Obviously, I am mortal and, thus, have material boundaries which cannot be crossed without resulting in physical harm or even death. These are rightly “feared,” but only in a material sense, in the sake of self-preservation. Yet, mortal fears aside, what am I to fear? Continued→
I’m not really sure whether I believe in Santa or not. After all, I learned long ago that the bearded, red-dressed men who frequent photo-booths and shopping malls this time of year are actually agents of Santa’s Secret Service and very often with the shady backgrounds we adults might expect from individuals in any kind of “secret” service. Yet, believe it or not, while the most powerful nation in the world can’t seem to keep a secret these days, WikiLeaks has yet to blow Santa’s cover. Similarly Continued→
About a month ago, I attended the first “wake” or “viewing” I’ve ever been to. The man who died, I’ve known for a decade — a strong, kind, compassionate man who’s been a powerful mentor and friend to many people, including me. The mood was somber and sad, as it is any time the world loses a good person, though there was a sense of peace and a subtle kind of strength in the eyes of those who knew him well. He lived a good life, and made a positive impact on everyone who had the opportunity to befriend him. His stories and laughter are sorely missed, even in the reassurance of fond memories.
The illness that took him was a surprise to the family: Continued→
As a simple man searching for simple Truth in this complex world we humans have crafted, I am drawn to the wisdom of individuals who have toiled these fields for a long time. A good friend shared this with me, and I found the words so compelling and timeless it is well worth sharing with you!
These kinds of observations about life can only be forged from the fires of many years’ experience. This valuable insight is from Walter Breuning: a man who has lived longer than anyone else currently living on this ball of mud out in the midst of the Milky Way galaxy.
Great Falls, Montana, USA — September 21, 2009 Continued→
When one thinks about religion and science, it’s easy to point to the tense differences in method and philosophy and see the two realms as distinctly separate. Science is born of structured analysis of fact, religion is arguably based on emotion and simple faith, and so on. Some might even say that advances in science are restructuring societies in general, and that scientific endeavors are largely aimed at debunking long-held misunderstandings about human life once monopolized by religion.
Enter psychology: Continued→
It’s not exactly the kind of “conviction” you might normally think of when talking about religion. Conviction is a word that religious and spiritual-minded people more often use to ambiguously rate the steadfastness or sincerity of someone’s beliefs. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your view regarding it, the Church of Scientology was convicted of fraud in France, with the organization’s finances at the center of the investigation.
You can easily find the details of this case elsewhere so I won’t echo them here. However, while I have long had the suspicion Scientology is just a big money-laundering scam hiding behind a veil of religion (which this conviction in France tends to support), I see a deeper and even more serious scenario developing. It has to do with the cognitive way in which we human beings associate ourselves with religion and spiritual practices. Continued→
One of the most alluring, elusive, and ultimately frustrating aspects of religion is the notion human beings are able to “effect” an intent upon the order of the universe by sheer will and determination. Many people believe, if they pray and are steadfast in their conviction, the Almighty will work His magic toward the ends intended by the prayor. In contrast, some believe, while they may pray and petition the great Cosmos for a desired outcome within a certain set of circumstances, if what happens falls outside of what might be considered as a logical “answer” to the request, there “must be” some unknown design behind the ultimate happening which, must assuredly explain the course of events. Then there are some who look at the whole process as crap, or just don’t give a crap at all.
While I am personally somewhere between crap, design, and desire, I think this kind of thought process puts “average” people in a dangerous position of association, completely out of touch with the purpose of religion in the first place. Let me explain: Continued→
One of the most important losses in this modern era is an ability for the average person to stay focused. By nature of our fast-food, instant-access society, compounded by the immediacy of “Internet Culture,” human beings are more united and informed and less unified or focused than ever before.
The average person folds under the pressure of a myriad sources of input, and we see an increase in claims of children, and even adults, who “suffer” from “attention deficit disorder.” It seems the price of digitizing the globe comes at the cost of paying attention.
It really makes no difference what area we’re talking about — whether topics like spirituality and religion, or government and finance. Information overload is causing human beings to become devoid of conviction, lacking in motivation, and act with a propensity toward the obscure. The result of this disparity of position and purpose is a society with little ability to organize or prosper.
Do you think this is true? If so, is it by design or just happenstance?
My grandfather is a rather conservative guy. He refers to himself as sort of a skin-flint penny pincher, but according to him, for good reason. This is not to say he is unkind or inconsiderate, because he really is one of the most endearing people you could meet, but he’s not really one to take chances. He says he has what’s called, “Jones’ Luck,” which is apparently a subsidiary of Murphy’s Law, only applied specifically and specially to my grandfather.
I have inherited some of this Jones’ Luck, whether biologically or behaviorally (I’ll leave that to the psychoanalysts among you). However, because of this inherited trait, I am primarily a skeptic. My first reaction to things is usually one of doubt — like a fish, eyeing every wiggling-wriggling morsel, on the look-out for a Hook. Unfortunately for me, this clashes with another tendency in me: one of insatiable hope and a resulting propensity for taking risks. Continued→
So, I’ve taken a turn for the worse, or better, depending on your perspective.
On one hand, I’m still seeking and wondering and asking and concluding. On the other, the more answers and conclusions I reach, the less informed I realize we all are.
Recently, I’ve wondered what I would ask, given an audience with someone such as, “The Pope.” So many revere such a man as ultimately connected with God, yet I wonder: what does such a man wonder and conclude to himself in private? I imagine something very similar to you or me — this life-mystery we cloak ourselves in, while we fumble about trying to find meaning and purpose, is woven of a fabric none of us know aside from personally and ethereally.
So I continue to seek and wonder and ask and conclude, of my own volition. Yet, so many spiritual words guide we humans to disregard our doubt, to quash the questions, to forge ahead in faith by bubbling with belief. Knowing, deep-down that what we’ve been told is true, that we can trust, and that events work out to a greater design than we can understand.
Is it all hogwash? Like the Pope, I don’t know. Is it true? How can any one say, without knowing?
There is an old saying in war: “Divide and conquer.” Though the origins of the saying are unclear, the strategy has been around and been used for a long, long time. Separating an adversary into multiple groups allows for two important things. First, injecting strife and infighting to an opponent’s ranks creates confusion, blurs focus, and disintegrates morale. Second, multiple smaller groups are much easier defeated or controlled one by one than a single massive united force.
This strategy is used in politics to keep a citizenry at odds with each other, rather than unified in purpose. It is used in business to reduce the strength and effectiveness of a competitor or even internal forces. It is most commonly associated with the tactics of war, but is just as effective in tactics of “peace.”