Archive for the ‘theory’ Category

America! America! God mend thine every flaw

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

 

I am fearful that our beloved United States of America is going to follow a path (despite the rules laid down by our founders) that defies to protect us from the fate of Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.  All of those places have no tolerance for intellectual freedom much less freedom of religion or freedom to love. 

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I love America with all my heart…   her amber waves of grain are being destroyed by pipelinesHer purple mountain majesty is being blown to bits by coal magnates.

amber waves of grain

 

 

Her beautiful spacious skies will again be choked with soot and fear.  Her brotherhood of good From sea to shining sea will have to hide and whisper in corners and alleys.

texas

Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.  Self-control is likened to weakness and liberty to peril. 

I weep, and seek the comfort of the like minded.  I cling to to the lovers of clean air and thought, pristine water and mind, clear air and soul.  Greed is the enemy of all those things. 

America please see what is happening.  Please embrace what our founders saw and tried to keep for everyone after them.  O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years

O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years   I repeat –> O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years.  Take that in.

patriot dreams

 

that sees

 

waterfall

 

maine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Till selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!

 

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Theology vs Science

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

within one generationThis is a legitimate theory in my mind because no Buddhist has ever started a war.   TJ and the gang had written some stuff about God, religion, and spirituality that I’ve been collecting.  Here are a few…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”  (<– I love that line) and “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
-Thomas Jefferson 
I refer to him as “TJ”

 

We have already compared the benefits of theology and science.  When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few.  To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts.  The poor were clad in rags and skins — they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones.  The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of today.  Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegances than the princes and kings of the theological times.  Above and over all this, is the development of the mind.  There is more value in the brain of an average man of today — of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago.  These blessings did not fall from the skies.  These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests.  They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars —  neither were they searched for with holy candles.  They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication.  They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience — and for them all, man is indebted to man.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “God In The Constitution

Faith

Churches are becoming political organizations…     It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed.  The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.  All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the inquisition.  All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the  ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men.  An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.    Robert Green Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses, Section III, “The Politicians,” in Works, Dresden Edition, Volume 2

Our civilization is not Christian.  It does not come from the skies.  It is not a result of “inspiration.”  it is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge — that is to say, of science.  When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “Reply To The Indianapolis Clergy” The Iconoclast, Indianapolis, Indiana (1882)

human experience

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as some day, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
J. D. Salinger 

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.  A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

not a bad life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not thinking I’m going to meet my spiritual master until I leave this life.  I listen to the theories and observe the actions of others while I’m here.  The power of a strong faith or good karma seem to be as useful and real and tangent as scientific theories.   Jo

your beliefs

 

 
 



Faith

Monday, October 19th, 2009

dinosaur extinction finally explained

The thoughts of this person are worth sharing.  There is a book called The Case for God by Karen Armstrong.  Ms Armstrong spent seven years as a nun in a Roman Catholic order.  The italicized commentary is from a person known as “Johannes”.

Johannes says:

October 6, 2009

There’s a tendency to disparage people who believe in God as weak, groveling sheep. Kindness is often equated to weakness. It’s easy to debunk evangelical Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Quakers, Gnostic tradition or Episcopalians. But let us not forget that Western mathematicians Goedel, Newton, Gauss or scholars like Emerson, Kierkegaard, and more had their own particular way of discovering what God meant to them. Kierkegaard was an affluent depressed Danish philosopher who wrote some very interesting papers on faith. He loved his woman so much that he didn’t marry her.  He didn’t want her to have to deal with his depression.  He wrote that faith can only exist where there is doubt. You don’t have to have faith in a table because you can see it and feel it and put stuff on it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson lost his memory in later years and it embarrassed him.  I once read that fish have no memory and that is why it is OK for them to live in a bowl.  Every time they swim to the other side of the bowl there is a whole fascinating and undiscovered world.  I had a betta fish in a bowl on my desk here. I was so sad when he died.  I used to put a mirror next to his bowl sometimes and he would try to fight his reflection.  No one taught him to fight it was just innately in him to do so.  I think some people are like that.

I’m getting off track.

 Christianity is more complex and God was often viewed as aphotic (dark, nebulous, somber)  than  as a paternal deliverer of goodness to your prayers.   One of her main points indeed is that both logic and myth have their place in thought, just as reason and emotion have their place in humanity. otherwise we’d be conformist robots.  We’d run around killing and pillaging those who don’t think like us. I think they call that religious wars.

If you ever studied advanced mathematics (beyond the standard calculus or linear algebra), there are places where “logic” becomes less insightful — Russell’s paradox is an example or invoking Zorn’s lemma just to create something as basic as counting (natural) numbers. What does it mean to the mind that there are different sizes of “infinity”? Yet Cantor, who formalized set theoretic foundations of all modern mathematics, proved that indeed we do have different orders of infinity. when you look up Bertrand Russell, Max Zorn, and Georg Cantor you read some pretty heady stuff.  Brilliance and depression seemed to hang out together.   Most of us can be glad we’re not that brilliant.

Blanket rejection of faith in such a smug, strident attitude is rather sad and unappreciative of the beauty of a free mind engaging in something fully outside the limited realms of “self.” I think Johannes is trying to tell us to “step outside our own box”;  But, do we then step into the box of someone else?

Yes, there is doubt, but faith without doubt is mere credulity as Kierkegaard posits. Faith is not to simply overcome doubt, but it, like love, transcends rationality. Religion ought to be more than just a set of logical beliefs, as music is more than just notes on a page and dry theory or mere vibrations or life is more than books, theories, and philosophers. The theory came after the experience, to explain and justify and to share. I love what Johannes says here. Love is something you can’t see or prove, the color yellow is something you can’t describe to a blind person, yet they exist.

Religion is embodied in practice, in action, in process with something greater than yourself. The existence of God is not so much a falsifiable hypothesis, and the semantics of language obfuscate much communication. Religious zealots, the oil industry and the GMO industry hire lobbyists who do an incredible job of obfuscation. Show me where “love” exists. Show me where “music” exists. Show me where “beauty” is. There are many things outside the faculty of logic and language. Be humble and grateful that there is more. I am

 


I’m glad there are scientists and philosophers busy trying to find out why a pear smells like a pear or why the beautiful colors represented in this photograph happen.  I guess it all fits in the periodic table somewhere.

My point is Faith should not be mocked because it is based on doubt.  Faith is the driver for scientists and activists and incredible discoveries that people have made through all the recorded eras.  Faith and prayer saved my son.  I believe in the incredible power of faith.

http://knopfdoubleday.com/2009/09/22/the-case-for-god-by-karen-armstrong/

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