04
Sep
10

The Spiritual Path: Lonely and Communal

You know, maybe if I go away officially for a week or so and tell Miz Pink that she can make my top banner pink and take over for a while, I wouldn’t feel so guilty. Seems like I need to bribe her with a power trip to get her to fill in the gaps around here….LOL

But I do have stuff to say, I admit, just not as much time as I’d like to say it.

This blog began as a place where I could wax somewhat foul-mouthedly about various things (sex, politics, etc.) while bringing in some biblical and spiritual angles, as well as to actually explore specific religious and spiritual issues.

It’s become more of a random rant, and I sometimes cover those “original” topics as well (though the sex stuff less so…guess I don’t have a sex advice column in my future). But spiritual matters, while I haven’t discussed them in depth much lately…and while I don’t hit the Bible all that terribly often these days…are still very important to me.

God is still important to me. Jesus is still important to me. My relationship to and acceptance of the Holy Spirit is important to me. Reading the Bible is less important, but still not unimportant.

The thing is, I’ve found that I’m much more passionate about exploring my place in God’s plans and His place in the larger universe. Contemplation and even speculation are serving me better these days in finding my spiritual path and trying to align myself better with God.

It is a lonely portion of the spiritual path, because it doesn’t lend itself as much to sharing, or community. Some of my thoughts and considerations go in strange places. Places that I don’t want to share, or don’t feel I can give justice.

I find myself contemplating other religions more; not in the sense of practicing them but in trying to tie the disparate spiritual world together and figure out how God fits into most things quite nicely, even if He doesn’t always take the Judeo-Christo-Muslim kind of face that is so prevalent.

I remain unmoved by Hawking or anyone else who feels they can explain away God and remove Him. They cannot unprove God any more than I can prove him. I would rather that such folks stick to the science and stop trying to bring God into it. In turn, I would like for religious folks to stop trying to reinterpret science (evolution, etc.) in biblical terms.

In the end, it wouldn’t matter if God came first or the universe did. Science and religion can coexist. Different religions can coexist, even in the context of eternal salvation vs. eternal separation. Christianity remains my core, but finding what it means to me and how to employ my faith better is still a journey.

At times, it’s been a journey with many companions, but lately, it’s just been a solo stroll most days. I hope top invite you on a walk with me soon, though, and we’ll see what I might be able to share with you.

Even if many of you won’t agree with me. 😉

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14 Responses to “The Spiritual Path: Lonely and Communal”


  1. 1 thewordofme
    September 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Hello Deacon, I hope you and the family are well.

    You need to get pissed off and get your fire back…following is my contribution. 🙂

    You write:
    “I find myself contemplating other religions more; not in the sense of practicing them but in trying to tie the disparate spiritual world together and figure out how God fits into most things quite nicely, even if He doesn’t always take the Judeo-Christo-Muslim kind of face that is so prevalent.”

    I too have contemplated different religions and find they are pretty much like Christianity…they are irretrievably bound up in near cave-man mentality and world-view. Mere words and wishful thinking do not a true religion make. The Abrahamic religions make up maybe a third of world population, and yet they kill more than all other religions combined, past and present.

    And:
    “In the end, it wouldn’t matter if God came first or the universe did. Science and religion can coexist. Different religions can coexist…”

    Well the universe came first and last; God has never entered into the equation. The only way that religion and science can coexist is if religion keeps away from science classes in all schools and stops their horrendous attempts to use fake science to lie about creation and how humanity began. There are truly no doubts about human origins. That we evolved is undeniable and proven…religious followers just don’t want to accept it. Darwin WAS right.

    If you follow the war between Muslims and Jews and Christianity how can you say they can coexist?

    Just sayin’….

    twom

  2. September 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Backwards to the beginning…

    TWOM: If you follow the war between Muslims and Jews and Christianity how can you say they can coexist?

    Deacon:
    Easy. Stop behaving as if we have truly fundamental differences. Of course, while an easy solution, the problem is, as in the business world, buy-in and proper execution.

    Look, how long and how bloody were things in Ireland (and I’m sure it’s still not peaches and cream some days)? That was between Protestants and Catholics…both of them Christian denominations.

    Conflict between Jews and Muslims is more about conflict between Jews and Arabs, really. Conflict between Muslims and Christians are largely these days about culture and politics…it’s really Muslim vs. Western world views. None of these things are fundamentally about religion, because if the religions were practiced with a truly attention to the core belief, we wouldn’t be fighting with anything more than words.

    TWOM: Well the universe came first and last; God has never entered into the equation. The only way that religion and science can coexist is if religion keeps away from science classes in all schools and stops their horrendous attempts to use fake science to lie about creation and how humanity began

    Deacon:
    Really? You have proof God doesn’t exist? Provide it please.

    And didn’t I say that religion and science should largely stay our of each others’ purview? I know I did. If religion stuck to matters of the soul and conscience, and science stuck to ferreting out how God’s creation work mechanically, we wouldn’t have problems.

    I don’t dispute evolution, and Christians who do dispute its existence are idiots. As to whether humans evolved or were created is still unknown. Circumstantial evidence is strong for evolution, but there remain missing pieces in the evolutionary chain to tie homo sapiens to other primate hominid upright folks. But regardless, evolution doesn’t preclude God.

    TWOM: I too have contemplated different religions and find they are pretty much like Christianity…they are irretrievably bound up in near cave-man mentality and world-view. Mere words and wishful thinking do not a true religion make. The Abrahamic religions make up maybe a third of world population, and yet they kill more than all other religions combined, past and present.

    Deacon:
    The constant red herring. Religions do very little killing of people. Extremists with personal agendas, governments and criminals do the killing.

    Cave man mentality? Plenty of spiritual folks look toward evolving themselves into something better and developing high consciousness. Hardly cave-man like.

    Hollywood mostly turns out shit, because most people find shit easier to produce and people are often willing to consume said shit. But there are gems within that. Religious leaders, followers, thinkers, etc. are no different. Many churn out mindless claptrap; but that’s the way of thing in most areas of the world. Frankly, even in the research world, there is a remarkable trend toward trying to prove what you WANT to prove or to try to get results with minimal effort. That’s human nature.

    TWOM: Hope you and the family are doing well.

    Deacon:
    Well, wife and I are getting along better than ever, Son of Blue is off to college and already looks to have a bright future, Little Girl Blue starts Kindergarten soon (though we’re not sure she’ll stay there…there are signs of a serious lack of cultural awareness and racial understanding at the school she’ll attend…so we may end up home-schooling her for the initial years of school. I hope not, but if so, the important thing is to do right by her.

    Which brings up a side point: You’re very hard on religious institutions on the basis of indoctrination, authority, suppression of the individual, etc. Are you as hard on the schools and the work world, which do much the same…and often to even worse effect in terms of demeaning people and harming their lives long term?

    🙂

  3. 3 thewordofme
    September 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Hello Deacon, now that’s the spirit…:-)

    Backward to the ending!!

    Deacon, regarding the war between Abrahamic religions:
    “Easy. Stop behaving as if we have truly fundamental differences. Of course, while an easy solution, the problem is, as in the business world, buy-in and proper execution.”

    It seems that the Abrahamic religions cannot get along…they have been at it for 1400 years or so and there’s no end in sight. Jews and Christians for the most part get along, because they are much more evolved than Muslin’s, who seem to still be caught-up in the 7th century. Although many Christians are still very mad at the Jews for killing Jesus…this was still institutionally prevalent in the Catholic’s as late as the 1930’s Pope Pius XII, (and by many many common Americans I might add) and just talk to some skin-heads to really get some psychotic reaction to Jewry…of course the skin-heads are Christian (so they say).

    As soon as Christianity took over the Roman Empire (not too long after religion was invented) the executions in the name of religion started and it hasn’t stopped. As soon as Islam was invented they started fighting with the Jews and Christians…do you really think it will end as long as the religions exist?

    I know what you are saying regarding humble little humans betraying the religion they profess, but it’s gone on for well over a thousand years and it doesn’t seem to be all that much better now…the death count is thousands per year. Yes men are doing this but they are using religion as their goad, as their reason, and the only way to stop it is to kill religion and de-program all. As long as religion prevails we will have murder in the name of it. There is no doubt about this if you follow the un-Godly history of them.

    In total if you weigh all the factors in all the religions; there does not seem to be a logical God behind them…they seem to be based on human logic and thought patterns and world-views of the time they were invented.

    Where was God when humans were painting the caves in France and Spain? Where was He / She when the Neanderthals were roaming Israel and Europe and Asia? Where was He when humans and Neanderthals did the nasty and left some children behind to mix up the human genes a little?

    With tremendous effort and intellect, humanity is finding the actual truth of our existence and our real history on this earth. Religion cannot seem to get out of the near stone-age.

    Deacon, regarding God not entering the equation:
    “Really? You have proof God doesn’t exist? Provide it please.”

    I think I have mentioned some of this to you before, but the evidence is at this point circumstantial. Just like the stories in Genesis have fallen to circumstantial evidence that they didn’t happen…i.e. no six days of creation, no flood, no Tower of Babel, no Exodus, parting of the Red Sea, etc., Abraham not being the father of Billions, David’s throne/kingdom not lasting forever, Jesus not being in line of David, and so many other things that are very seriously wrong with the Christian textbook. If so many things can be proven (admittedly circumstantially) in the religions of Abraham how is it that people are able to shut their minds to the truth. How can one believe in a book and a God whose stories are being constantly being destroyed by honest human inquiry?

    Our tools are getting better and better. Now as long as religious wars leaves the human race alone and alive, we will have the final proofs in a fairly short time.

    Deacon writes:
    “As to whether humans evolved or were created is still unknown.”

    The human genome and family lines are fairly clear to science. We (not you and I, but scientists) 🙂 just recently found, due to increased knowledge and capabilities in the field, that humans and Neanderthal did mix genes and some people alive today carry some Neanderthal in their blood.

    The ability of science to learn and know more and more about DNA and genomes (and therefore our true history) is growing by leaps and bounds. Who knows, maybe sometime in the near future we will be able to trace our genealogy back through all the previous “Homo’s” (no wisecracks) that are highly suspected of being our lineage. We are the last surviving “Homo” genus. Just imagine, it was only in the early 1900’s that we started finding these fossils that enabled us to figure out what has been happening with our rise to humans after 3 or 4 million +- years.

    Deacon writes regarding my crack about cave-men mentality:
    “Cave man mentality? Plenty of spiritual folks look toward evolving themselves into something better and developing high consciousness. Hardly cave-man like.”

    That truly did not come out right on my part. What I was trying to say was that the religions are grounded in near cave-man mentality because of when it was invented and the world-view of its writers. And today’s apologists for religion have to keep more or less to that world-view. How’s that…clear as mud? Of course the writers of the time believed in magic and the supernatural, as did everyone else in the times. It was only in fairly modern times that we discovered/started to understand that there is NO magic or supernatural.

    Deacon commenting on separation of religion and science:
    “If religion stuck to matters of the soul and conscience, and science stuck to ferreting out how God’s creation work mechanically, we wouldn’t have problems.”

    Do you think it will ever happen? I see the problem as happening because science is constantly immersed in finding out how things work and it inevitably impinges on religious beliefs about how the world and humanity came about. The Bible has a near cave-man beginning and world-view that we are finding is totally wrong. The stories are wrong, period. The fundagelicals can’t accept this and they fight back with junk-science and lies. They not only lie to their followers, but they also constantly feed these lies to the world at large, causing scientists to defend themselves against the lies.

    Scientists who lie are not scientists for very long, but creationists who defend their fundamentalist world-view by lies are applauded by their peers. This is factual, but do you think this is right?

    Deacon writes regarding how hard I am on organized religion:
    “Which brings up a side point: You’re very hard on religious institutions on the basis of indoctrination, authority, suppression of the individual, etc. Are you as hard on the schools and the work world, which do much the same…and often to even worse effect in terms of demeaning people and harming their lives long term?”

    Well I really haven’t given it much thought, but regarding schools I believe that the main job of kindergarten thru high school is to indoctrinate “us” into conforming to a society that is preordained and controlled by higher ups/very very rich. We have the ability to get pretty high in society/ruling class by brains and hard-work, and sometimes just good luck…think of software and computer billionaires…they were at the right place (and very smart) at the right time. But, 99% of us are just drones.

    Authority has the job of enforcing the laws that are made by rich, for the most part, politicians and they ultimately control “us,” and the rich very often get away with murder or worse. Think of the past war in Iraq and the ongoing one in Afghanistan. Billions of dollars in cash and billions of dollars in equipment of various kinds have simply disappeared with no explanation. Very Rich people have this missing money and equipment. Nobody seems to care that we entered Iraq on lies. Nobody seems to realize that we are defeated in Afghanistan just like the Russians were decades ago. Propaganda is a wonderful thing (sarcasm here), and the US has some real geniuses in the field (truth here.

    Work of some kind is necessary of course, simply because we must eat. Ideally one finds the work they really enjoy…I have been lucky in this regard. Some jobs however are soul destroying and/or killers. I pity people in those jobs and wish I could somehow help them, but I haven’t the foggiest notion of how to get rid of those jobs without tremendous social consequences.

    Religion is different because I know and recognize the problem and I know how to fix it…education and eventual outlawing or marginalizing it.

    I do write occasionally about government and how screwed up it is, but the propagandists lying voices totally overwhelms my very small and powerless voice. I picture myself up against the Rush’s, Hannity’s, Beck’s, etc. of this country, and their multi-millions audience, and throw my hands up in despair. Religion somehow seems to me to be something I can work on.

    Now that I have totally outworn my welcome I’ll shut up. Sorry for long post. 😦

    Peace and love to you and yours.

    twom

  4. 4 thewordofme
    September 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Sorry Deacon, this sentence: “Our tools are getting better and better. Now as long as religious wars leaves the human race alone and alive, we will have the final proofs in a fairly short time.”

    The words “human race” should be replaced with “scientists.”

  5. September 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

    “Outworn your welcome?” Nonsense, TWOM…far from it. You’re one of my most civil opponents. 😉

    I haven’t had time to more than skim your answer for now, as I’m enjoying the long holiday weekend with my family, but I must say that this line stood out distrubringly:

    Religion is different because I know and recognize the problem and I know how to fix it…education and eventual outlawing or marginalizing it.

    The first (and more minor) problem for me is that you “know” both the problem and how to fix it. Don’t you find any irony in the fact that you say religious folks are the confused ones (even though they remain the vast majority of the population even in these modern and highly scientific times), and you chide them for saying they KNOW God’s will and KNOW the right way and KNOW everyone is wrong…and yet you KNOW it all yourself on the other end of that spectrum.

    One thing I have stayed away from is saying that I know the answers. I know the questions and I tease at the edge of the answers. The power is in the search and the journey toward enlightenment and truth. The end of the journey is far outside my earthly lifetime.

    Second, though, and more distressingly, I read that you see the answer as outlawing or marginalizing religion.

    The latter is bad enough…to marginalize people for different belief that do not inherently harm anyone (I’ve mentioned before the potential harm that religion can be used for, but any philosophical, economic, political or social system can be used thus). I mean, is driving people away and shunning them really a good response to the diversity of human experience and opinion?

    But worse yet…OUTLAW? How extremist is THAT? Outlawing people’s beliefs. There’s something terribly fascist-sounding about that. What next? Sexual orientations? Sexual kinks/fetishes? Certain political beliefs? Certain economic systems? When anyone talks of outlawing ideas and thoughts and belief, that is scary beyond imagining. We are dragging ourselves out of outlawing things like homosexuality and the like, and you would suggest that we simply turn around and find new groups to persecute with laws…who don’t deserve persecution?

  6. September 6, 2010 at 11:12 am

    OK, let me reiterate, as I said above, that eliminating or outlawing religion is a terrible idea.

    Even if you amend it to say, we’ll eradicate it through education and THEN outlaw ORGANIZED religion so that only a few people might have “superstitious” notions and they will be harmlessly disorganized, that still is terrible. When you outlaw the ability of people to gather and share ideas that are not inherently illegal (that is, they are not plotting harm), you are taking a very totalitarian and oppressive stance.

    To outlaw RELIGION, even if you claim you aren’t outlawing SPIRITUAL pursuits and thoughts, is like saying, “Sure, you can be homosexual, but we will outlaw gay/lesbian bars” or “Yes, you can believe in Communism, but we will outlaw any party espousing that doctrine and forbid people from running under its philosophies.”

    For someone who seems so enlightened about other things, that strikes me as highly unenlightened.

    As for the fact that people have used religion as an excuse for thousands of years to do harm, you conveniently ignore the good that religious institutions have done…and more importantly the good work that people have done in smaller or less organized fashions as part of their spiritual work. As always, it’s easy to look at the bad and ignore the good.

    And isn’t is always easy to pick a scapegoat somehow, right?

    Let’s virtually outlaw smoking and make smokers pariahs, yet say that it isn’t cool to call people “fat” and do nothing to address the rampant issues related to people becoming overweight, which poses more health problems and costs to society than smoking? Why? Because lots of us in the Western world like to eat, and indulge, and are fat or know people who are, and because second-hand smoke makes smokers stand out more as a “nuisance.” So they get to be demonized, while obesity is treated as a problem that we need to be sensitive toward as we “gently” treat it. But does overeating get regulated? Unhealthy food stuffed in the grocery stores? No.

    Again, pick a convenient target.

    After all, profit-making, greed and mercantalism have existed a long time and ruined lives…damaged mental health…upturned economies…killed millions…and more. But we lift up wealth and making profit. It’s a notion that’s existed as long as religion, but we see more value in it, and continue to minimize the values that religion can offer.

    Convenient scapegoat. Nothing else.

    As for genomics, I’m well aware of all that. And proteomics. And metabolomics. Molecular biology. And much more. I write about this stuff all the time. I don’t dispute it.

    But what I find appalling is that people who spit on religion INSIST there is no such thing as a spirit or soul. Look, even if there is no BEING known as God, I think that belittling people for believing in spiritual things is obnoxious. People lift up scientists who denigrate spiritual beliefs as nonsense, but ignore those who hold religious and spiritual beliefs, as if there is some across the board scientific agreement that God doesn’t exist. Which isn’t true.

    Look, even in the most primitive times, religious people never claimed that faith solves everything or answers everything. Even if you prayed for a good harvest or for someone to fall in love with you, you knew you were still going to have to plant seed and water the field…and go through the normal wooing process. So why is it that the bigger science gets in it britches, the more people think that science answers ALL?

    Isn’t that arrogant itself? The assumption that science will answer EVERYTHING? Enough things remain unexplained in the universe for their to be room to consider more than science. In the end, sometimes science does nothing more than open up a multitude of new questions that cannot be answered now or perhaps ever. Why it is OK for science to bring up difficult and perhaps impossible questions, but bad when religion does? And why is religious or spiritual growth reviled and the value to the INDIVIDUAL diminished as useless?

    I do gain much from my spiritual journey, including tolerance, understanding, maturity and more. For you to say religion is useless is to entirely invalidate my own experience, which is callous, shallow and ultimately, as arrogant as any loud-mouthed preacher who says everyone who doesn’t claim Jesus now is definitely going to hell.

  7. 7 thewordofme
    September 6, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Sorry Deacon, family thing on can’t read all and comment very good now, but let me say “good” I’ve got your ire up (is that the right word?) just trying to blow the cobwebs out. 🙂

    I would never try to force anything like that on anybody.

  8. September 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    You ire-monger, you. 😉

    In all seriousness, it isn’t so much that my fire has been dampened lately as I’ve been to busy for blogging (well, not entirely true. I’ve done somewhat more at my other blog, but even that has been behind normal productivity rates).

    Hope the family thing works out well.

  9. 9 Inda Pink
    September 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    “You know, maybe if I go away officially for a week or so and tell Miz Pink that she can make my top banner pink and take over for a while, I wouldn’t feel so guilty. Seems like I need to bribe her with a power trip to get her to fill in the gaps around here”

    Deke, you must speak my name three times while spinning in a circle wearing a pink latex tu-tu and singing Rasberry Beret by Prince if you wish to summon me.

  10. 10 thewordofme
    September 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Deacon, glad to get into a conversation with you again.

    Twom: “Religion is different because I know and recognize the problem and I know how to fix it…education and eventual outlawing or marginalizing it.”

    Deacon: “The first (and more minor) problem for me is that you “know” both the problem and how to fix it. Don’t you find any irony in the fact that you say religious folks are the confused ones (even though they remain the vast majority of the population even in these modern and highly scientific times), and you chide them for saying they KNOW God’s will and KNOW the right way and KNOW everyone is wrong…and yet you KNOW it all yourself on the other end of that spectrum.”

    And:
    Deacon: “Second, though, and more distressingly, I read that you see the answer as outlawing or marginalizing religion.”

    As I mentioned in my later email I was trying to get you mad and blow out the cobwebs and I seem to have accomplished this…I hope you aren’t too mad at me. 🙂 I know when I kind of lose it for awhile someone will give a snarky comment and all hell will break loose in my brain (what’s left of it).

    Give me an honest opinion about the following…do you really think Islam should be allowed to continue? Its entire history is filled with military conquest of civilizations that it encounters. Even today it is operating in some countries by using murders to effectively control those it does not have in its direct dominance. It refuses to leave its 7th century mindset behind. Christianity however lost its ability to kill with abandon when the rule of secular law started taking over in countries around the world.

    In countries where Muslims control the government there is no real separation of church and state and they have lost a lot of their human rights. Females have lost all of their rights. Competing religions are mostly not allowed, and the countries are forced back into the 7th century mindset and world view of the Muslims.

    Islam and its current radical top leaders and lower level leaders constitute an ongoing threat to me and my family and friends. One cannot be sure that sleeper cells are not still existent and plotting to blow up or kill on American soil. It has happened in Britain, Spain, Italy, and just recently the DHS broke up another plot in New York. The overseas attacks were assuredly religious inspired and the New York people were Muslims plotting to blow up public space. That sure sounds like religious extremism or religious terrorism.

    Deacon writes:
    “…to marginalize people for different belief that do not inherently harm anyone (I’ve mentioned before the potential harm that religion can be used for, but any philosophical, economic, political or social system can be used thus). I mean, is driving people away and shunning them really a good response to the diversity of human experience and opinion?”

    If religion somehow spawns people that take rifles and kill abortion doctors in the name of their Christian religion…what should I think? Likewise Christian religion has spawned a bomber who blows up abortion clinics…should I embrace these people for their dedication to the cause? Or, perhaps I should look at the churches these evil people came from and condemn the church. These churches sponsor rallies where hundreds of followers picket the medical facility and curse anyone who enters. They also set up false clinics where religious workers posing as nurses try to shame and browbeat pregnant patients into not getting abortions. Congregations of the faithful are funding these clinics; so these lies ultimately fall on them.

    I know that some Christian sects support shunning of family and friends who do not conform to their Ideal. Not meaning to use sects in a pejorative manner here. I ran into people in Texas that would socially shun anyone who did not believe as they did…they were Baptists (several divisions), Pentecostal, Assembly of God, and Church of God. Sure many congregations do good things, but at a price…you must listen to a sermon or follow their interpretation of belief. You either have the potential to be a convert or they’re not interested.

    The Jews kill people in Palestine because “God” gave them that land…they are killing in the name of their God. The Jews and the Muslims in the Middle East are poised to open up Armageddon with their nuclear weapons. The Muslims kill homosexuals, people who renounce Islam, Adulterers and anyone (read female mostly), who doesn’t follow their ideal of sexual morays.

    The Christians and Muslims both want to be in your bedroom and dictate who and how you love. Some Texan just proposed a state law outlawing oral and anal sex, by either male or female, in any possible combination or with use of toys. The Jews have had a few thousand years since the supposed time of Moses and their “God directed” slaying of many tribes in the “promised land” for sexual and moral crimes (apparently), so they pretty much stay out of peoples bedrooms anymore. I think they must realize now that these directions did not come from some god cleaning up the neighborhood.

    So what is it with religious people that they feel that they have to stick their noses in other people’s business? You don’t find atheists going up to people on the street and asking if they’re “not saved” or don’t believe in Jesus. You don’t find atheists wanting to know what goes on in anybody’s bedroom and proselytizing on how to “do” and “not do” sex. You don’t find atheists trying to slyly take over the country (America) and institute Biblical law on everyone. We don’t get upset and kill over cartoons or imagined slights to Muhammad. We don’t burn flags of the “infidels” or necessarily want “In God We Don’t Trust” on our money.

    You write:
    “But worse yet…OUTLAW? How extremist is THAT? Outlawing people’s beliefs. There’s something terribly fascist-sounding about that. What next? Sexual orientations? Sexual kinks/fetishes? Certain political beliefs? Certain economic systems? When anyone talks of outlawing ideas and thoughts and belief, that is scary beyond imagining. We are dragging ourselves out of outlawing things like homosexuality and the like, and you would suggest that we simply turn around and find new groups to persecute with laws…who don’t deserve persecution?”

    Christianity and Islam is all about controlling what people think, say, or do. You MUST believe in this ghost in the sky or we will kill you; or damn you to hell and control you socially however we can…you know, peer pressure, condemning, marginalization, outlawing (remember Texas).

    My outlook is that any religion can be practiced…but they must NOT promote any religiously inspired agenda at ALL in the government. And, religious people who gain power in our government must not promote a purely Christian (or any religions) agenda. I don’t like believers in magic telling me how to comport myself and what my morals, beliefs, and outlook should be.

    I admit that most Christians are not like the ones described above and that I like almost all Christians I know, but I realize that depending on many disparate issues and changing time’s, things can quickly change. The religious right is actively trying to change our constitutional government, and that changes the whole ballgame. That is something I will fight with everything I can possibly muster. Religion must understand this is not an option in this country.

    What can stop these Protestant (some are saying that at least a few Catholics are in on this too) congregations from doing this? It’s illegal to violently overthrow the government, so they work to replace our Senators and Congressmen/women (and Presidents) with fundagelical candidates and advance their agenda. Should I not react or pay attention? Should I just let it happen?

  11. September 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Only had time to scan your comments, and I will likely have some more pertinent things to add, but in general, I will say this:

    Religion and/or spirituality, like many things in the world, evolve.

    Evolution is not always a smooth process, nor always a kind one. It seems to trend toward bettering whatever is evolving, but sometimes violent chances occur (for good or ill) and there can be setbacks or great leaps forward.

    Islam is younger than Christianity, and younger by far than Judaism. Look at how far Judaism has come (in general…we cannot use Israel and some of its more nasty actions, esp. toward Palestinians as the sole guidepost for a faith that exists globally). Look at how far Christianity has come from some of its very low points historically (and credit where credit is due…it was VERY progressive before it became massively institutionalized by Rome).

    Yes, you should pay attention. No, you shouldn’t permit religion to dictate politics. But neither should we let jingoism dictate politics. Or irrational fears. Or arrogance. But look how often those other things have afflicted the U.S. and other nations in the 20th and 21st centuries, and how much it has cost in blood and money.

  12. 12 thewordofme
    September 13, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Hello again Deacon,

    You write:
    “OK, let me reiterate, as I said above, that eliminating or outlawing religion is a terrible idea.”

    And:
    “Even if you amend it to say, we’ll eradicate it through education and THEN outlaw ORGANIZED religion so that only a few people might have “superstitious” notions and they will be harmlessly disorganized, that still is terrible. When you outlaw the ability of people to gather and share ideas that are not inherently illegal (that is, they are not plotting harm), you are taking a very totalitarian and oppressive stance.”

    At least part of this is answered by the reply post above. I don’t think our constitution would allow us to do this. I actually don’t think it would be a good idea to outlaw religion…that just tends to bring out the martyrdom side of the Christian religion and makes matters worse…that’s all we need, Christian self immolating bombers. 🙂

    You write:
    “To outlaw RELIGION, even if you claim you aren’t outlawing SPIRITUAL pursuits and thoughts, is like saying, “Sure, you can be homosexual, but we will outlaw gay/lesbian bars” or “Yes, you can believe in Communism, but we will outlaw any party espousing that doctrine and forbid people from running under its philosophies.”

    Whoa, back up a minute. It’s the Christians who are trying to outlaw Homo’s again and marginalize any many other beliefs or practices.

    You write:
    “For someone who seems so enlightened about other things, that strikes me as highly unenlightened.”

    Yeah, I’m sorry…I fall off the wagon occasionally.

    You write:
    “As for the fact that people have used religion as an excuse for thousands of years to do harm, you conveniently ignore the good that religious institutions have done…and more importantly the good work that people have done in smaller or less organized fashions as part of their spiritual work. As always, it’s easy to look at the bad and ignore the good.”

    You are absolutely right that many religions do some good. If I were a bum in L.A.’s skid row on Christmas day I would be the first to turn into that Hope Mission. I would probably fall asleep however when they give the sermon that always follows.

    You write:
    “Let’s virtually outlaw smoking and make smokers pariahs, yet say that it isn’t cool to call people “fat” and do nothing to address the rampant issues related to people becoming overweight, which poses more health problems and costs to society than smoking? Why? Because lots of us in the Western world like to eat, and indulge, and are fat or know people who are, and because second-hand smoke makes smokers stand out more as a “nuisance.” So they get to be demonized, while obesity is treated as a problem that we need to be sensitive toward as we “gently” treat it. But does overeating get regulated? Unhealthy food stuffed in the grocery stores? No.”

    I again agree wholeheartedly with you. We do all that and more. Smokers were “paying their way” long before people started bitching about them. The taxes that were in existence way back when, on a pack of cigarettes, more than paid for their “health care burden.” No fat person pays any kind of tax related too overeating or fat consumption…yet. Give the politicians a little more time though. 🙂

    You write:
    “After all, profit-making, greed and mercantalism have existed a long time and ruined lives…damaged mental health…upturned economies…killed millions…and more. But we lift up wealth and making profit. It’s a notion that’s existed as long as religion, but we see more value in it, and continue to minimize the values that religion can offer.”
    And:
    “Convenient scapegoat. Nothing else.”

    That “making a profit” of course is what allows us to be employed, or be employers, and yes you are right, it does cause untold misery in many ways…think of all those poor little Chinese kids working on the assembly lines. 🙂

    You write:
    “As for genomics, I’m well aware of all that. And proteomics. And metabolomics. Molecular biology. And much more. I write about this stuff all the time. I don’t dispute it.”

    And:
    “But what I find appalling is that people who spit on religion INSIST there is no such thing as a spirit or soul. Look, even if there is no BEING known as God, I think that belittling people for believing in spiritual things is obnoxious. People lift up scientists who denigrate spiritual beliefs as nonsense, but ignore those who hold religious and spiritual beliefs, as if there is some across the board scientific agreement that God doesn’t exist. Which isn’t true.”

    Do you actually follow the knowledge that DNA and genomes is imparting to us? Do you understand what these sciences are telling us about religion? So far genetic science is totally contradicting a lot of the Genesis story. The genetic science is aligning with what we had already suspected about human life on earth. Genetics is confirming what a few scientists had believed about Neanderthal mating with us Homo-sapiens. Unfortunately I was originally on the wrong side of this controversy, but I really applaud the gaining of this knowledge.

    Now that you know humans and *not quit* humans were mating, 30,000 or more years ago, and as much as 4% of some peoples in Europe and Asia today contain ancient Neanderthal genes, how does that effect your religious beliefs in the inerrant Bible? Now that genetics is confirming our very ancient humanity, and also confirming some main parts of Darwin’s work I might add; how do you integrate this knowledge?

    The Christian religion has changed radically from the way it was even a 150 years ago…it had to, the evidence is so strong.

    I don’t mean to spit on religion when I’m practicing Gnu Atheism; I’m just trying to get across that what with the fairly recent explosion of knowledge in fields that somehow relate to the Bible, and religion in general, one should really re-examine what they thought they knew. I do know that I’m strident at times…I apologize, but it excites me now that the true story is coming out. Cross correlation of new information with closely held theory really impresses me. Of course there is not yet an agreement, across the board, on the matter of God and his existence, but it is coming I think. One can only deny the truth for so long.

    I have had people tell me they are “spiritual, not religious” and I really don’t know how to interpret this statement. My feeling is that there are no spirits, demons, Satan, angels, ghosts, magic, or supernatural…so where is this spirituality actually coming from, and what exactly does it mean to be spiritual? Because I follow the Golden Rule closely and treat people with respect does this make me spiritual? Except for the first egotistical parts about God, I actually follow the 5 or so commandments left out of the 10 commandments, but I do it unconsciously because it is actually common sense to not kill, lie, cheat, screw over your neighbor, etc…this is civics and humanity 101, and I hold on tightly to the belief that humanity is basically good…not evil.

    You write:
    “Look, even in the most primitive times, religious people never claimed that faith solves everything or answers everything. Even if you prayed for a good harvest or for someone to fall in love with you, you knew you were still going to have to plant seed and water the field…and go through the normal wooing process. So why is it that the bigger science gets in it britches, the more people think that science answers ALL?”

    People think or believe in a lot of stuff that isn’t true. We now understand that there are no witches, but years ago you could get killed because of that line in the Bible. Years ago people believed in Noah’s flood and all those silly stories in Genesis, but we know better now. We don’t believe in magic anymore, and we ask for proofs, not mere words from a book written by goat herders and Hebrews and people who make up stuff.

    Scientists I know easily admit they don’t, and won’t, know everything, I don’t think they ever did. We are never going to know everything…that’s probably impossible.

    You write:
    “I do gain much from my spiritual journey, including tolerance, understanding, maturity and more. For you to say religion is useless is to entirely invalidate my own experience, which is callous, shallow and ultimately, as arrogant as any loud-mouthed preacher who says everyone who doesn’t claim Jesus now is definitely going to hell.”

    Although I don’t understand why you have to get your tolerance, understanding, maturity, etc. from the/your Bible, I do really respect you as a human, and I hardly know you. I do know that there is uncommon intellect and generosity behind you, and I respect that immensely. You defend your beliefs quite strongly and proudly and I respect that in you also. Don’t let me get you down, but think about what I’m saying…I’m not trying to con you or lie to you or browbeat you.

    You write:
    “And why is religious or spiritual growth reviled and the value to the INDIVIDUAL diminished as useless?

    Just what is spiritual growth and why would I revile that?

    Peace
    twom

  13. 13 thewordofme
    September 13, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Sorry about the typo’s…

  14. September 13, 2010 at 11:14 am

    LOL…You’re gonna have to wait a day or two for a full response I expect. That’s a lot o’ posting you’ve done, and I’ve got to get my ducks in a row for topics I need to report on in the pharmaceutical research/business world. 😉


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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