Thursday, June 14, 2007
I think it's time to round up all of the 3.14 heretics and burn them at the stake! ;)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
"Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling.
Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain."
I scored a 17/20. I rock!
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
So, what did I do for my birthday weekend? Not much, really. Still had a good time. My mother decided to come over during the day Friday and clean the heck out of parts of my house. Is anyone else out there scared of having their mother find something embarrassing while rummaging through things? It's a constant fear that I live with. :)
Friday evening, I attended a full moon hash at West Ashley High School. I even got named at this event. My hash name is officially "Bobby Boucher" (pronounced "boo-shay"). They thought this a fitting name since I'm the only one who's always drinking water. It also looks like I'm registered and all set to go to the upcoming NC/SC interhash in a few weeks. I'm looking quite forward to it since Mike and a couple of other friends are going to be here in Chucktown. Good times will be had! :)
Saturday evening, I was supposed to go to see 'Spiderman 3', but the person who was taking me out that night talked too much during dinner and we ended up missing the movie. Therefore, we went back to my place and watched 'Monster House'. That is a really good movie for anyone out there with any inkling of imagination.
Sunday evening...more of the same. Another friend took me out to dinner at IHOP and then we went to go see 'Pirates of the Caribbean 3'. It was ok. I'd have to say that it was my least favorite of the three movies. It was definitely worth the see though. :)
Am I a pagan? No.
Do people consider me to be a pagan? No.
Do I practice any pagan rituals? Again...no.
So, why talk about it? Well...to put it simply, it seems like I've been having theological discussions with a lot of people of late and the subject of paganism usually enters the fray (much to the chagrin of the other person(s) ).
Although I'm hardly a practicing pagan, I find that its foundations are (what I consider to be) a perfect counter-example of what I find wrong with faith-based dogmas.
Before anyone starts sending me hate mail and other nasty-grams, please keep in mind that I respect everybody's right to their own religious convictions and traditions. Although agnostic, I would go kicking and screaming to the grave to preserve man's right to freedom-of-religion.
The primary issue that I have with faith-based religions is the method by which they arrive at conclusions. I didn't realize how huge of a deal this was to me until I found myself describing it to a friend recently.
I'm not going to turn this into another one of those 'Science vs. Religion' speeches that people are so fond of giving these days. However, I would like to mention the scientific method. I don't credit science for the creation or discovery of that method. I do credit science for using it though. Personally, I think that the name is somewhat unjustified and that this particular method could apply to pretty much anything....not just scientific inquiry.
Here is an example that I gave someone recently.
Susan is watching TV and hears the weather man say that there is a 100% chance of rain at 5pm. She has great faith in the weather man. At 4:59pm, she looks up and notices that there isn't a cloud in the sky and that the sun is shining brightly. There are two potential thoughts that enter Susan's mind at this moment.
1. The weather man must have been mistaken.
2. The weather man is still correct. Clouds must really not be necessary for there to be rain.
Most people (including Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc) would look at #2 and think that Susan would have to be smoking some serious hash to arrive at that conclusion.
Well...oddly enough, #2 should actually sound very family to most faith-based religions. Again, before anyone starts pelting me with fruit and rotten eggs, let me explain.
Per the scientific method, Susan would look up, notice the lack of any cloud cover, and compare that against the premise that led her to believe that clouds were required for rain. She would think that the lack of clouds does NOT support the weather man's assertion (premise) and therefore, he MUST be mistaken.
However, in the case of #2, Susan decides that her faith in the weather man is well placed and that, if the premise does not support the weather man's prediction, the premise MUST invariably be wrong.
Again...it seems like she's smoking a pipe, but that's her faith talking. Again (disclaimer time)...I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH FAITH....I simply do not subscribe to the concept of BLIND faith.
In science, if the premises do not support a conclusion, then the CONCLUSION must be incorrect. In faith, if the premises do not support a conclusion, then the PREMISE(S) must be incorrect. Personally, I like seeing evidence (for lack of a better word) for myself and drawing conclusions that are supported BY that evidence.
Let's use Catholicism as an example (as I hide behind the counter to avoid the rotten fruit that is about to be thrown at me). If I were to find a historically-rel event piece of literature that did not support my current belief structure, I would simply think..."Hmm...maybe I'm not completely correct and need to re-evaluate a few details". However, the Vatican would simply say that the document is either fake, irrelevant, or heretical. ANYTHING that challenges their perception of faith simply can NOT be correct. The conclusion is unimpeachably written in stone and if the evidence doesn't support it, then the evidence is bogus. To me, that's like saying "I think you shot your wife. The DNA evidence goes toward your innocence, but since I believe that you did it, you get the chair anyway.".
Ok...on to the pagans! :)
Again....why the pagan route? Simple. Pagan chicks are hot!!!
All knowledge that I have on the concept of pagan tradition is very general. I've read about some of the major forms - Shamanism, Druidism, and everyone's favorite, Wicca. I don't claim to be an expert on any of them but have a pretty good working knowledge of the high-level similarities between them.
To be blunt....pagan traditions are founded on observation (or so they appear to be). They observe the sun, the moon, the placement of both and the amount of time that each rules the sky. They observe the crops, the weather, and even the fertility of the human body. You could walk up to someone in a Muslim place of worship and claim that the Earth is the mother (or father, or god, or whatever) of mankind. They would look at you like you had two heads and say something to the effect of "Ummm....no. That would be Allah (praise be unto him)."
How far-fetched is the idea of the earth-as-creator concept? Not as far-fetched as I once thought. Genesis tells that we are created in God's own image. Not trying to spark a debate here, but what would God need with fingers? How about ears? A tongue? How about a rectum?
The more I thought about it, the more the similarities between the human form and the Earth became apparent. The earth has a circulatory system (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc), the earth has a respiratory system (the atmosphere, which, interestingly enough, has annually fluctuating inverse-proportions between oxygen and carbon dioxide). The Earth has flesh (land). The earth ages and shows signs of that age (plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, continental drift). Our bodies are literally made up of elements and compounds that are provided from the planet. In a way, the Earth LITERALLY birthed us (and it's kind of hard to argue that it didn't).
I find it humorous that people think that the above observable similarities are simply a figment of imagination and that I must be drunk because we are OBVIOUSLY in the image of a being whom 6 billion people can't agree on, has only conflicting written texts, and is pretty much passed on from generation to generation through word-of-mouth (man's mouth, no less) through parable and story. Yeah. What was *I* thinking??? :)
I'm not saying that pagans are right or that Christians/Muslims are wrong. I'm simply saying that nobody can begrudge any pagans who subscribe to the above. Their belief is based on observation that anyone can argue about, but yet nobody can deny the existence of.
Do you hate me yet? ;)
"But we have the 5 pillars of Islam, the 10 commandments, and the 8-fold path."
Yes...your point being? (and I mention the Buddhist 8-fold path lightly since most don't consider it to be a religion).
What is the first rule of Wicca? Anybody? Anybody? Here are some choices...
1. Thou shalt sacrifice goats on a monthly basis
2. Thou shalt fornicate with no thought of reprehension
3. Thou shalt make potions
4. Thou shalt effect the actions of others using spells
...and my personal favorite...
5. Thou shalt worship the devil
If you actually gave any credence to any of the above, then your ignorance precedes you.
The first (and often, ONLY) rule of Wicca is, "Do no harm".
Very interesting. That one rule could potentially encompass 6 of the commandments all by itself. Plus, based on the path of Wicca that someone chooses to walk on, the extent of that rule is up to interpretation. Liberal Wickens could simply take it to mean "Do no harm to your fellow man" or "Do no harm to the earth or her beasts". Other, more conservative ones, may go so far as to say "Do no harm to yourself in the consumption of substance and the use of body". Again...interpretation.
Of all the groups that I've encountered (and I've spent time with quite a few), the two I liked most were Pagan and Unitarian. They really consider tolerance to be an integral part of the their foundation. They give reverence to the concept of "A stranger is simply a friend whom you haven't met yet". They're perfectly content to believe what they believe and to respect their fellow man. Again, I know there are always exceptions, but still.
You know...I've rambled on quite a bit here and have other things I need to get done, so I'm going to have to end the topic here.
If I have any more thoughts on the subject, I'll post them. Till then, hasta luego! :)