Eating Popcorn With A Spoon

27 September 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster

I assume you have most likely seen the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I've seen its picture around the web since the get go. Heard lots of talk about it in the forums. Even read the wiki entry.

But that ain't nothing. Today I found the jackpot. Sorry if I'm WAY behind the times. But figure I'll post it for the drifter who may still be ignorant:

For everything you need to know about FSM and the Pastafarians. It's a big site, so you may want to spend lots of time there soaking in all the information. It's a "must" in the bookmark department. Enjoy.

25 September 2005

Bible Cosmology

This article is a long read, so I'll save you my commentary, and you can get right to the heart of the matter:

Is Heaven the Sky?

24 September 2005

Todays e-mail

Just read this e-mail today. Not sure what to think of it. But I do find it rather peculiar, so I decided to share it:

Dear Universists,

Was it case of religious discrimination, Christian conviction or Christian intimidation?

As treasurer for the Universist Movement, I was requested to order silicone wristbands as thank-you gifts for our donors. These are common items, produced for most every cause, point of view and organization. They should be simple enough to acquire, I thought. Guess that shows how little I understand about the control “church” folk have on commerce these days.

This morning I contacted Brass Reminders Company, Inc., one of the companies offering quality customized wristbands. The employee I spoke with was helpful, informative and seemed happy to take my order. He gave us a firm ship date and accepted our credit card payment. I sent our logo as soon as I got off the phone.

Several hours later, after banking, grocery shopping, visiting Mother in the nursing home and buying gas, I returned to my computer to find the following message:

“The owner of the company has decided to decline this order. We have a division that sells Inspirational products to Christian Bookstores worldwide, and we cannot be associated in any way with your movement. Your order and the credit card # you gave us has been safely shredded.”

“Thank you for understanding. We do close to a million dollars a year in the Christian market, and cannot risk association with anything that could be viewed as contrary.”

We were referred to a competitor.

Now folks I don’t know how you read that, but to me it says a hell of a lot and leaves a bunch of very serious questions.

First, right up front, every business has the right to refuse business so long as its not for reasons violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I am not questioning that. What I’m concerned about is why a commercial enterprise refuses to sell its product to a real customer “standing there with cash in hand.” Let’s look at the options.

Are we Universists encountering a company that does not accept the basic American principle of non-discrimination for reasons of race, sex, religion, etc.? Have we, by virtue of our world view, our questioning of “Faith,” our championing of humanity, our “religion,” become the acceptable group to be refused lunch at the counter, sent to the back of the bus, relegated to the “other” restroom and water fountain?

Have we, in these United States, reached the point where our money is worthless because we don’t accept the majority “religion“? It’s possible, but really there are other possibilities we need to look in to.

Perhaps our business was refused because this business owner is such a devout and dedicated fundamental Christian that he cannot allow the possibility of doubt to exist in his or her world. Such people do exist, unfortunately in abundance, it appears. There are people who are so uncertain of their own ability to reason and deal with the questions of life that they close their eyes and ears to everythingthat isn’t tagged with “WWJD,” “Christian Business”, or John 3-16. For a person of this ilk, the possibility of doing business with Universists must be frightening in the extreme, like making a pact with Satan at the cross roads at midnight; a first class ticket to hell’s fire. After all, we do reject the certainty that they live by. Of course, if that is what we’re dealing (or rather not dealing) with, we can only regret the waste of the potential another life spent boxed in fear and chained to hate and bigotry.

But there’s another more disturbing possibility, the one stated right up front. This business is dependent on its customers and believes a big one, the “Christian market,” would shut them down at the very hint that they did business with The Universist Movement. Now folks, that speaks volumes about the state of business in this country today and the ability of the “Church” to trample on the rights of citizens who do not subscribe to their dogma. Is the market being controlled by fear of reprisal from a vindictive “Christian market” that demonstrates its own lack of moral and ethical standards by threatening explicitly or implicitly such reprisals? That is exactly what I read in this note declining our business. There can be little doubt of this business owner’s fear of loss of a major customer at the suggestion of his doing business with us.

On a brighter note, it would appear that the Universist Movement is being recognized as a force to be dealt with by some. While I regret the discrimination, fear and cowardice it elicits from those who choose to live their lives in the “Faith” industry, at least we know we are opening the door for a few to escape. An inquiring mind is a terrible thing to waste.

E. Frank Smith

Treasurer, The Universist Movement

23 September 2005

The American Taliban

Damn, this is funny and/or scarey stuff:

The American Taliban <-- click here

Did I mention, I'm reading V For Vendetta?

22 September 2005

Tims Church of the Ten Commandments

I'm still kicking around the idea of starting a new religion. It's a fun thought process.

Got the god thing -- a wave that could be found using quantum physics, but is just out of reach, like the original sky gods of yesteryear.

One of the ideas that drifted past was starting a church that only used those famous 10 commandments. So, first thing I had to do was reread them. Got an english translation of the Torah (don't trust xians with the bible, sorry), and this is what I found:

Chapter 20

And God spoke all these words, saying:

I am HaShem thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;

and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of HaShem thy God in vain; for HaShem will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto HaShem thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;

for in six days HaShem made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore HaShem blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which HaShem thy God giveth thee.

Thou shalt not murder.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

And all the people perceived the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the horn, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off.

It's not very maliable, if you ask me. I can work with the angry god bit -- because it is somewhat true that a successful person is more likely to have successful offspring, etc. However, I am really bothered by having wives and slaves grouped in with belongings on par with the ox and the ass. WTF?

Then there is the line in bold about the universe being created in six days. Can't get around it, people. The creation story was meant to be six days of 24 hours. I've heard a million times that the six "days" are periods of time, not 24 hour days. Just doesn't jive with the 10 Commandments. Here is the creation story for your enjoyment, and note that each day ends, but the seventh day doesn't (-:

Chapter 1

IN THE beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.

And God said: 'Let there be light' And there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters'.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

And God said: 'Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear' And it was so.

And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good.

And God said: 'Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth' And it was so.

And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

And God said: 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;

and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth' And it was so.

And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

And God said: 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven'.

And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that creepeth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after its kind, and every winged fowl after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth'.

And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

And God said: 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind' And it was so.

And God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth'.

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth'.

And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed--to you it shall be for food;

and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, I have given every green herb for food' And it was so.

And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Chapter 2

And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.

And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made.

There you have it. And so dies the fleeting idea of church based only on the Ten Commandments. Just too much baggage. Oh well. I'm off to continue my reading of V for Vendetta.

Have a nice day

19 September 2005

Homeless in New York

For some reason, I don't know why, today I searched for the phrase "homeless buddhist". I came across an article titled The Nights of the Shanties. It takes about three sentences before I realize they author just doesn't get it. Here is a great sample:

These inhabitants, I learned later, are known as the Mole People. In retrospect, I can see why some folks wonder if the homeless are human, because beings like this don't fit the definition. This is not a condescending thing to say; on the contrary, it's quite accurate. I, too, have had to ask myself if these people are human, especially the Mole People.

I wasted a good long time reading the essay that has nothing to do with buddhism. Or maybe it does. The founder, Siddhartha Gautama, was a rich guy who decided to leave his home and settle in with a the lower caste. I picture Bill Gates deciding to leave Microsoft and live in the ghetto. So, a couple thousand years ago, people listened to what Mr. Gautama had to say, (surprise surprise), and Buddhism was founded. I can't speak for other areas of the world, but in America, at present, I get the distict feeling that buddhism is something that the rich and or well educated pursue. There is no longer that sense of crossing the divide between rich and poor. There is no big step needed to leave your nice suburban home. You just fork over some big bucks to attend medition classes with your socio-econimic peers, and you read old books on the topic of suffering and truth. And the essay quoted above gives you some insight into how the son of a doctor views the world of homelessness. The author is one of those who has some knowledge of buddhism:

The longer I stayed in the shelter system, the more I began to consider homelessness from a spiritual perspective, wondering what its message might be for the rest of us. I sought answers in the scriptures of all the great traditions--the texts of ancient Egypt, Judaism, Christi-anity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
Buddhist monks are exhorted not to stay anywhere long and to beg for their food each day. But it is one thing to choose homelessness, as Jesus and the Buddha did, and quite another to have homelessness thrust upon you.

But lots of good the knowledge does. He doesn't think the homeless should be classified as human. Interesting.

14 September 2005

Thank God there is a God

I'm just stealing todays post from a message board:

Thank goodness there is a real God!
Just imagine how different the world would be if, for example, god of Christianity and Islam were manmade make-beliefs.

These are some of the differences I could think of:

  • If there was no God, each year, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone would be in so much pain that they would commit suicide. Of course, taking one’s own life is not easy, and these people would do anything to avoid it. They will try, in any way they know and can, to reach out to God who claims to love them, but since there wouldn’t be a god they will only hear silence.

  • If god was not real, prayer would do little more than offering false hope.

  • The faithful would’ve had to come up with complicated and sometimes absurd explanations and apologetics to justify their faiths.

  • Holy books would not have been inspired or revealed by god; instead they would be the work of mere mortals with limited knowledge and therefore as time passes religions would have been forced to pick and choose their teachings to remain relevant. As a result, they would almost become synonymous with hypocrisy.

  • Religion institutions, like most other manmade constructs, would be prone to corruption, variation, and evolution. Schisms would be ridiculously common.

  • If god was not real, there wouldn’t be much difference between superstition and true religion. Religions created by false prophets would be as successful and as popular as real ones.

  • Without a god, faith would be neither necessary nor sufficient for morality. There would be priests and imams who would do unspeakable acts to children. Of course, most of them would beg and pray hard to god to give them the strength to overcome temptation, but since there wouldn’t be a god, those prayers would go unanswered and the children would end up getting f***ed.

  • The world would be filled with senseless violence, misery, and suffering from human perspective. Just as if there was nobody who cared about leaving organisms and their struggle. Only a mindless nature.

  • If God was manmade, Bible would not be a divinely inspired book, therefore it would be vague and open to all kinds of interpretations and those who followed its teachings could be misled into believing ridiculous things like a flat earth, geocentric solar system, and that human race came about by a whole lot of incest in Adam and Eve’s family.

  • It wouldn’t matter how faithful and altruistic you’d be. Since there wouldn’t be a god to prevent it, horrific things could happen to you until you loose your faith. Luckily, there is a loving god who wouldn’t give us more than we can handle.

  • If God was not real, religious worldviews would be simpleminded and misleading and as a result there would be various disagreements between science and religion. Scientific discoveries would’ve been chipping away at religions credibility throughout history.

    Can you think of other ways, in which the world would be different if there was no God?


  • 07 September 2005

    What a relief

    Here, I've been thinking I'd have to start my own religion. Even have a rough draft started, and a time line for roll-out. Then, quite by accident, I found something mighty close to what I've been thinking. (Ain't perfect, but close enough for now.)

    Universism unites freethinkers

    Read the FAQ

    Kiss this

    I have a gaggle of bookmarked websites, but these days I'm feeling devoid of commentary. (Still wallowing in that "defining god in the realm of quantum physics" quandary.) But here is something that I think is simple enough to speak for itself:

    This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first...

    Read what happened