There are only two basic forms of religion:
Theism and A-Theism
The "third alternative," namely agnosticism, is merely a decision not to vote. This is particularly uninteresting and therefore may be left out of intelligent conversation. If you are an agnostic, I sympathize and hope you find your truth soon. Check under your bed, that's normally where I lose things.
A-theism is a challenging perspective, because in declaring the absence of a higher power one is automatically implying that you are, in fact, the highest authority. What great arrogance that takes! Unless, of course, you are correct. In which case it is lonely perspective, is it not? And, if you are the highest authority, can there ever be one higher? Or are you the pinnacle of all you can ever see? As I said, challenging. But, in its own way, powerful.
Theism covers all other beliefs.
Here are the common variations on theism as you will meet them in the western world:
Deism is a subset of theism where believers accept a benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient God, but not a conscious or personal God.
Judaism is a subset believing in a benevolent, conscious and omniscient God, but not necessarily omnipotent. He created everything, but in the last few millennia things have been getting a little out of hand.
Muslims believe in the same God as above, except that they are the chosen people instead of their half-brothers the Jews. No significant theological differences here.
Hindus believe in a series of little God (kind of like angels) created by a conscious omnipotent, omniscient God. He has a SubGod, or angel, who is benevolent, personal and helps out people. Balanced by his brother the god of death. It is these sub-gods that separates Hindus from deists.
Christians believe in a benevolent, personal, conscious, omnipotent, omniscient God. This God has no limitations, nor makes mistakes. He is also three-in-one, the closest to truly polytheistic of all religions. Many branches of Christianity believe in salvation through grace.
Mormons believe in a benevolent, personal, conscious, omniscient God. However, he is not omnipotent since he either a)gave that up to create us, or b)is only a God because he was Mormon on another planet somewhere, and he didn't really create the universe after all. Like vishnu et al of the Hindu system, we have a hierarchy from God the source of all, to Jesus and Satan, the life-bringer and death-bringer respectively.
Scientologists Worship a science-fiction author.
Logicians believe in a omnipotent God. He has no characteristics other than complete constancy and reliability. His name is more accurately Reason, not Logic, and appeals to Him are as iron-clad as they are silly. Many people do not see this as a religion, citing its basis on faith in an unseen power as proof. Cause-and-effect, statistics, and gravity being among its most famous beliefs. Most so-called atheists fall into this category.
Buddhism is of course, not a religion but a methodology. The underlying belief system is entirely flexible, although originally Hindu.
Science was meant to be a methodology also, but has become so mired in its own appeals to higher authority that it quickly forces a follower into religion (see logician). The purpose of both religion and science are to explain the surrounding world, the only difference being the youth of science allows it a closer connection to reality. (Assuming reality exists at all).
Feel free to respond to what I write, but be sure, I will write again
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"Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great. When a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate" --Monty Python
The Roman Catholic church has always fought against masturbation and birth control of all kinds. They do believe that all sperm and all eggs should be given the maximum opportunity to become human beings.
Of course, this indicates an inability to count on the part of the Pope. Yet another indication that the worst thing that ever happened to any third world country was conversion to "Christianity."
As to abortion, I do not consider it morally or practically acceptable, I believe in things like personal responsibility and social support.
However, in a society such as this one, where young children are never taught about birth control and unwed motherhood is still stigmatized, it is the only visible option. In such cases, abortions do happen whether or not they are legal, and because of awareness and councelling, they are less prevalent now that it is legal.
Adoption is often cited as an alternative, but it is not. Too much social stigma is attached to adoption for most pregnant children to consider it. The source of the stigma is irrelevant in this case, only its effect. And its effect is that abortions will take place, legal or not.
If you'd like to work with at risk teens and discuss the benefits of adoption with them, feel free. That is the only viable way to decrease the number of abortions.
There is a clear dicotomy betwen the anti-choice folks and the pro-life folks. I am pro-life, in that I am pro-choice. I do not wish to punish 16-year-olds for getting pregnant, rather I would hope we can avoid forcing them to make that choice at all.
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I don't necessarily take pride in my patriotism, but it is there none-the-less. I take no pride in hunger, either, but I need not deny its existence.
When someone says "I am hungry, I have more right to that food than you." I say "I'm hungry too, and you've already eaten."
I could just as easily gone into a debate about the worthlessness of hunger as a measure of objective need, or discussed the fallacy of using hunger to imbue nobility.
However, what would be the point? Is one off the street capable of understanding the subtle degrees of such an argument?
Instead, I approach with arguments they are capable of understanding, based as always in the truth I seek. I do not deny my animalistic nature, I embrace and become it. I am fully human because I experience the fluctuations of emotion as well as the cold hard day of reason. I control my body and my mind, with sparing touches.
Despair not, Wanderer. The hard strength of reason is always nearly spent. The night of turmoil is always hard upon us. Yet, reason will out, and strength it has left for another generation.
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First and foremost, gays and lesbians are not trying to change their sex. They are not men trying to be women, or women trying to be men. They are simply people who happen to have found happiness in marriage with one of their own sex.
Transgendered people OTOH are people who have bought into social gendering so strongly that they believe physical mutilation can change their personality. They think that being a man is significant outside of reproduction, in the same way that zxz obviously does.
No-one can justify to me why it matters whether my secretary is male or female, unless I plan on sleeping with them. Further, no-one has explained why it matters what gender my spouse is, unless we plan on having children.
Believe it or not, there are enough ins on a man and enough outs on a woman to more than make up for whatever difficulties you envision. You forget, the most powerful sexual organ in the human body is the brain.
We are born with innate sexual desire. As we grow, society teaches us that we can only express that desire towards one gender, so we suppress our other attraction to the point that it feels like revulsion. In some people, this process goes "badly wrong" and they wind up fixated on their own gender instead of the opposite. This 'mistake' is not reversable since humans lose their flexibility of mind when they become adults.
Some however, remain mostly free of this inhibition. They remain bisexual, and they get a bad name because those who escape one batch of social programming probably escaped others too, making them unpredictable and dangerous by affiliation.
In a monogamous-based society bisexuality is not likely to be maintained. Once you pick a partner, people assume you are only attracted to people of the same gender as your partner. Since this is error is difficult to correct, it becomes accepted and eventually becomes the truth itself. A married woman is not likely to receive offers from other women, nor is she likely to accept those offers even if she would like to. She's committed now, remember.
Date: 01-19-03 18:40
I am quite glad that you see that you and I DO NOT live in the same world. We walk on the same ground and breathe the same air but rest assured this is all that we share.
I have read your posts and thought much about a response and still the only fitting response that I can think of is "Are you joking?"
I hope this .zinger. was a little more specific and a little less obnoxious.
Date: 01-19-03 19:51
This is something I can accept, respect, and respond.
I am indeed not joking, for a careful examination of the air and soil has lead me to this analysis.
Why you do not share it, you leave open. I am therefore forced to continue to conjecture as I have in previous posts, but I'll try not to poke fun, as much for your friends' sake as for yours.
You feel no attraction towards men, and you therefore conclude you are 'straight'. By common understanding, you are, and I do not seek to argue with you on that.
When you were a child, you loved men, such as you father, your best friend, brothers, etc. This is platonic love, for all childish love is platonic.
When you began to grow up, you found yourself feeling urges and desires that were frightening in their strength and unpredictability. By this point you already knew the appropriate direction for these feelings, though not their strength. You did not wish to feel any attraction towards men, so you probably did not.
Indeed, many people do feel this attraction, and simply lie about it to themselves. I credit you more honesty than that, so you may have simply avoided such feelings.
The question here then, is: are you incapable of such feelings towards men? A good indication that you are not would be revulsion at even asking the question. If you can look at the issue without any strong emotional response, then your answer is more likely. Keep in mind that sodomy is not the full extent of homosexuality, and there are other milder activities that you even now probably enjoy. Given an open mind and appropriate conditioning, I doubt that your preferences are as fixed as you imagine.
Keep in mind that the great philosophers of the past that you have undoubtably studied were for a large part homosexual.
Having said all this, I will not have you "turn gay" on me. I do not take responsibility for the havoc and disruption this would have upon your life, nor do I recommend it as a course of action. You are no more likely to find happiness with a man than with a woman, and nothing I have said should lead you to
The most you can take from me is a recommendation for openness towards bisexuality, and even that is only on the condition that you are having difficulty finding a life-partner.
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Piper, you have the right to decide what's good and what's bad? Sorry, I still think that's God's prerogative. And since you believe we have the right to judge each other, I call down judgment upon you and yours.
...or does that sound just a little strange?
Seriously, I do not hate you and even if it were in my power I would never condemn you. Piper, you don't have the right to judge because you don't expect to be judged. Unless you're saying you've already earned your salvation on your own? I wonder if you believe in grace. It's not just a sound bite, it's the word of God.
1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Mathew 7:1-5
BTW, I re-read acts since everyone was focused on the food side of things. The issue is not food, but people: "You went into the house of uncircumsized men and ate with them." --Acts 11:3 They weren't angry about what he ate, and neither are you. You'd judge me by the company I keep.
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