Category Archives: religion

Down With Islam, Long Live Islam

Howard Dean told us that Muslim terrorists are not Muslim. That is probably news to them. Instead Dean calls these people a cult.

In this version of doublespeak, pedophile Catholic priests are not Catholic, they are a cult. Yet the world reviles pedophilia in the Catholic church as a horrific part of the whole, in fact, as a powerful representation of this whole.

Too much misrepresentation of the truth today passes for truth. We have lost the ability to use judgement and logic. Our language and thought processes are meant to trick us.

“Arabic activists” call themselves Muslim. Take their word for it. Why try to pigeonhole them into something else?

Call out the crap as you see it.


A Skewed Bird’s-Eye View

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The concern environmental activists have for planet earth illustrates the egocentricity of human nature.

Earth is special. We are made in the image of God. We must settle on other planets just in case our kind cease to exist here. Human life must continue somewhere, somehow. This is so important since the universe must still revolve around the earth.

If we poison our planet and life dies out, the earth will still go on. It may develop new life forms despite the destruction. If we blow up the planet, there are other planets out there.

If a soul exists, it will merge with the spiritual creator and all will be good. If no soul exists, each particle is still in communion with the whole and all will be good. If none of this is good in our eyes, new cycles and patterns will keep going no matter what we think or want.

I recycle and think it is wrong to be wasteful. But I doubt that recycling will save the planet. Every time I deposit my paper, plastic, glass, or metal in the proper recycling bin, I wonder if the energy and resources needed to reuse this material is, on final tally, worth the process. The best remedy is not to use it in the first place.

Moving backwards, against the tide of progress, may prove impossible. Once you bite the apple, there is no turning back. Until the finite resources are used up and no new ones materialize, people will not willingly stop doing what they do.

A undiscovered source of energy may be out there that can replace oil, coal, and other nasty stuff we depend on today. But most likely it will come with its own demons; knowledge doesn’t come free and clear.

If wind power becomes the only energy source available to keep our cellphones alive, or keep our cars humming, even PETA will look the other way when windmills chop up free-flying birds. Our survival and our desires trump virtue. It’s not easy being green.

The Emily Dickinson of Tao

The Tao Te Ching, a work of art as far removed from New England in location and language as can possibly be, is well-known to Western society nonetheless.

Chapter 47 of the Tao reminds me of Emily Dickinson:

Without opening your door,

you can know the whole world.

Without looking out your window,

you can understand the way of the Tao.

The more knowledge you seek,

the less you will understand.

The Master understands without leaving,

sees clearly without looking,

accomplishes much without doing anything.

Others have linked Emily Dickinson with Eastern religion and this passage from the Tao seems to prove the point and fits her well. She kept to her small room, but she explored metaphysical depths in her poetry.

Dickinson probably never heard of the Tao or read much about Eastern beliefs (outside of an exposure to transcendentalism), but she traveled that path. And she did it without wandering much past her New England garden.

Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned

It’s been 30 years since my last confession.

For $1.99 I can get Confession: A Roman Catholic App to use on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

It doesn’t replace the dark confessional booth alongside a real priest, but it does try to get me back in the habit of recording my sins and walk me through the process of confession.

This is not the first application created to help Catholics with confession, but it is the first to get official approval from a church authority. It has been tested and proved that it adheres to the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

Catholics are going less and less to confession and when they do, they go in scared and forget what they were going to say and how to say it. It’s a good fit if you are out of the confession loop for a long time and don’t know what to do once you get in that dark little room. The purpose of this app is to revive interest in confession and help a Catholic prepare for the sacrament.

I remember my First Confession. After all us kids filed through the booth, the priest came out angry. According to him, our sins were not serious enough. I’m sure many of us confessed that we talked back to our parents. But I doubt that we had the time or inclination to do some really serious sinning such as adultery or murder. If only the confession app had been invented, I would have been able to make that priest proud of the sins I could surf through and repeat as my own.

The confession app goes through the 10 Commandants and asks you questions after each one. Then you can check a box next to a sin if it applies to you. You can refer to it while in confession. It has a space on the app to record absolution or penance from the priest. It even has an amen prompt.

Will it work? Probably not with me. I don’t have an iPad nor an iPod. My cell phone is an old Nokia dinosaur that takes no photos, no texting (took it off when salespeople started texting me), and certainly no Internet. So the excuses continue. There is no help for the wicked.

No Mystery in Life After Death for Atheists

When we die, our senses shut down and there is nothing more.  The Great Beyond is a void.  To believe in an afterlife is foolish since rationalism proves it wrong.

A reasonable person can find no logical bit of evidence to support a religious outlook.  No Jesus, no Mohammed, no Vishnu, no Isis, no Apollo.  Wake up people.  Stop getting duped.  Religion is a scam and people must stop pretending to believe.

At least that is what the American Atheists are telling the world by their billboard messages.

The American Atheists want to get their message out louder and clearer than it has in the past.  Some reasons for this new campaign:

  1. They believe most people are atheists and passively go along with religion just to get along with others.
  2. They want to separate the hold Christianity has on Christmastime (a.k.a. winter solstice) by attaching the birth of Christ to it.
  3. They want to raise awareness of the American Atheist organization.

Actually I do like one aspect of this billboard, the multi-religious symbols on the churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.  If you’re going to slam religion, be an equal opportunity slammer.

It is true that religion has a hand in human suffering.  Popes in medieval times have led less than stellar lives.  The child abuse by 20th century priests doesn’t redeem Catholicism.  Islamic leaders praise the murder of any number of Christian or Jewish people and their followers hold them in high esteem.

And it’s true no one has come back from the dead and explained it all to us.  Near death experiences may just as well be explained by tricks of the mind than direct proof of an afterlife.

But this doesn’t negate the human drive for the spiritual.

Logic can only take us so far.   The Great Beyond is unknowable by mere human understanding.  The truth as the American Atheists see it is a shallow scratching at the limits of human senses.  Any scenario after death is possible.  Any religion may have it right.  Absolutely nothing may in fact lie on the other side.   Or the human brain may not have yet conceived the actual course of events after death.  Only faith can explain it. If the universe is infinite, an infinite set of possibilities exist.

Atheists claiming to know the Truth cross over into the realm of faith. Anything is possible, we just cannot know.  At least not on this side of the fence.

Muslims Hate Housewives

A non-definitive list on why Muslim terrorists hate Western culture:

  1. Real Housewives of Orange County, New Jersey, DC, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, and New York (common Western vapidity)
  2. The Spanish Inquisition
  3. Medieval Crusades
  4. Lindsay Lohan / Paris Hilton (drugs, sex, materialism)
  5. Friendship with Israel
  6. Christianity, dominant form of religion
  7. Secularism, dominant form of religion
  8. Jersey Shores (drinking, sleeping, screwing, eating, fighting – all in the day of the average Westernized youth)
  9. WWI (Western countries arbitrarily set boundaries for Middle Eastern countries, not working out well)
  10. Individualism (not very popular with liberals either)

Karma: The Road to Heaven Is Paved With Good Intentions

I just finished a book by Ayya Khema, “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere.” It’s sort of a step-by-step introduction to the Buddhist path.  Although don’t think this will simplify Buddhism, because it doesn’t; moving through each step is far more complicated and difficult than a step-by-step method might imply.

In this book, Ayya uses the word kamma instead of the more well-known word karma.  Apparently one language Buddha used often was Pali; a language that used the word kamma. We might mete out some blame to the television show “My Name Is Earl” for this among other karma-using popular cultural phenomena.

In one aspect, kamma means to take full responsiblity for what happens to you.  Don’t blame other people or circumstances.  Each person is the master of his or her own destiny and has the ability to change.  We can’t change the world or other people, only ourselves. We cannot eliminate problems, but eliminate our reactions to them.  The end result to moving along this Buddhist path would bring us to view ourselves as a non-self.

The word kamma literally means action, but Buddha believed that it encompasses more than just action.  The intention behind the action is very important.  Not just the doing, but what we think about and speak of matters.  And whether we do something intentionally or unintentionally makes a difference.

Even when two people do the same thing, it may not bring the same result.  Two people may create the same bad kamma action, but one may have a full list of good kamma and this one bad choice will not make a big difference.  The other with very little good kamma, creates the same bad kamma and it may poison his or her life.  Since no one knows truly how much good kamma we each possess, it is better to assume that we have the lesser amount, lest we poison our lives with wrongful thinking.

All we have is the present moment to make a difference.  To dwell on yesterday or tomorrow will not change anything.  Our present day intentions and actions can bring about a good kamma.

So in this case, is it the road to heaven that is paved with good intentions instead of the road to hell?  A permanent heaven or hell doesn’t exist in Buddhism.  To a Buddhist, the only heaven or hell that may exist would be temporary.  The cycle of rebirth interrupts these temporary states until a person becomes fully enlightened and fades away into a sort of nothingness.  The goal is being nobody and going nowhere.

I am drawn to the Buddhist spiritual path.  Yet I have taken virtually no steps toward enlightenment.  If it was easy, we’d all be there.

I may have to give up feeling the hurt I feel from my fellow Muslims. That gift of chocolate won’t make up for the blind anger I feel toward a colleague.  My intentions are not on the right path.  The tug of both East and West won’t let go.