Thursday, March 31, 2011

"God exists" is not a scientific statement

...and it never has been. So, my question becomes: why do we need to prove the existence of God?

Back in the old days of, ummm...me, I use to get caught in this trap....quite unknowingly actually. Someone would say "God exists", and I would say, "Prove it". My head was clearly in the wrong place for a statement such as that. If our heads are in the space of science, then the existence of God makes no sense what-so-ever...especially given the being we picture in our minds when the word "God" is mentioned. Seriously, God fails the test of science right off the bat because any theory about God cannot be falsified...ever. Meaning, that you will never be able to disprove the existence of God, so by definition you can never have a theory to go on anyway.

Let's put our heads into the space where God came from: Philosophy, Theology, Mythology. Put your heads there for a minute and say, "God exists". You there? Seriously...get your head there. Good. Much different outcome. Notice where your mind goes and how little resistance there is to exploring that statement fully. When you're in science mode, your mind is ready to disprove, right away....and that is good for certain things. When you put your mind in a philosophical and theological mode, then you tend to entertain ideas you'd never entertain before. Now...that's not to say you are more gullible. The great Philosophers were anything but gullible thinkers...yet they were not afraid to let there minds go places science would never let them.

I know some of you are atheists and some of you are not. There is a wide range of opinions on the "God's existence" question. Just remember, that in order to ponder a question properly, we have to have the right mindset. Every problem of human existence does not always require the hammer of science to answer.

D

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jesus does not have to be magical

Last month I read an article in CNN from a Roman Catholic priest asserting that in order for this whole "religion" thing to work, Jesus would have to be supernatural in origin. I really don't think that really needs to be the case.

Now, if you read some of my other posts, you know that there are essentially two men in Jesus. The first one is the man before the Easter event, the second one is the Savior after the Easter event. Two completely different people as one seems a bit more real where the other seems to take on qualities that defy the natural world. I think the real Jesus was far removed from that super human person you read that rose from the dead and healed the sick...literally. I think the supernatural man's story grew out of the Christian community itself for political and sociological reasons. Regardless, if Jesus is not supernatural in origin, does that make the stories he tells any less meaningful? I think not. His message remains true regardless.

One thing to note though, and it's sort of a caveat to this whole "supernatural" business. All throughout human history, we've had people come forward who have made a very large impact on human spirituality...Jesus was one of them. We have many profits before him and many since. The interesting question isn't whether they had a supernatural element to them. The more interesting question is what did they see that the rest of us apparently cannot see. One theory is that these people had the unique ability to see a reality beyond our own. That veil between worlds was easily lifted either by them or for them. They either got a brief look into this world or saw it as regularly as we see this one. Now, this type of thing is possible as science does support multiple dimensions or realities that go along side ours. It's the kind of science that is waaaay out there on the fringes. What if these profits of ours are people who are just more in tune with a specific type of world? If this were the case....VERY big if...then there really is nothing supernatural. All of this would just be the way things work.

I think there is extremely good value in the wisdom taught in today's religious practices. Sure, there is a lot of bullshit and baggage, but I really do think that none of it has to be supernatural in order to have validity.

D

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why I'm not in the Catholic Community

OK, I was encouraged by a reader to "go there", meaning to start shining a bit more light onto the Catholic church. I do have some baggage when it comes to this institution, so I guess it is healthy to start exercising it in some way. So, I'll just number them and go through my issues with the Catholic Church one by one.

1) The Priests themselves

Ohhh my, there are some HUGE issues with the way the priesthood is set up. Yes, there are some great priests out there and I really have no issues against good people doing great work for God. What I do have an issue with is Priests and their relationship with their sexual sides...or lack thereof.

I've always maintained that human beings have three aspects to themselves: the physical, the mental and the spiritual. You're golden if you manage to balance all three of those in your life...you're also very fortunate if you. For me, I was/am spiritual unbalanced...for the priesthood, they are physically unbalanced. They neglect their sexual selves by being celibate. Each priest is sexually unbalanced in a way that is extremely unhealthy for the body, and I would argue for the mind as well. I know, we've seen some very disturbing sexual crimes in the Catholic church, but I'm not convinced that is because of the celibate nature of the priesthood. What I'm more concerned with is that priests are supposed to be our spiritual guides to being human. How can they effectively fulfill that role if they are missing an entire piece of the human experience?

2) Sex, Africa and AIDs

Christians in general have hangups about sex. They love it, but they hate themselves so much for it. This almost relates to #1, but this time it's the Catholic Church's external efforts and attitudes towards sex that I have an issue with. They frown on extramarital sex. They frown on use of condoms. They frown on masturbation. It's no wonder Christians are so dysfunctional...they're all backed up ;)

What's probably most criminal is their whole stance on AIDs...especially in Africa. Go ahead on Google your heart out, but the Catholic church and their activities in Africa are well documented. They are preying on the uneducated...keeping them in the dark while this disease kills. It's disgusting.

3) Recruiting

I remember going to a Catholic wedding for a young couple some years ago. A large portion of the ceremony was directed at recruiting the couple's children into the Catholic church. I sat there, just flabbergasted wondering what gave this priest the idea that these kids would even want to be Catholics. They weren't even born yet and yet this guy has already decided what their spiritual path will be.

Actually, I shouldn't pick on just the Catholic Church on this one. This is an issue for all of the major religions. The decree that one is a Christian, or Muslim or Jew just because your parents are. If God's message is universal and speaks to the human spirit, then that very fact should be enough to let the child find their own path...not to have it dictated to them by birth.

That's it for now...but I do want to hear from others on this.

D

UBB and Caeser

For those that read this blog and not my other one, the CRTC agreed to allow Bell Canada to start instituting caps on internet usage. This cap would amount to about 25gigs for Bell customers. Not only that, Bell would be able to charge smaller ISPs that use their network, resulting in higher operating costs which would then trickle to customers who dared to go outside the "Bell Family" for their internet. Teksavvy was a great example of what happened. Tesavvy had unlimited and 200Gig plans available for customers. With the UBB, they were forced to bring their caps to 25Gigs and institute a very confusing pricing model on all it's customers.

When news of this got around, people did not like it very much. As a gamer, I use a lot of bandwidth. As a streamer of content on Netflix, I use a lot of bandwidth. Other users who use these services...called "greedy" by CRTC officials...started using social media like Twitter and Facebook, and started an online army headed by OpenMedia. Last I checked, over 400000 people have signed the petition...and it's growing. The CRTC got its nose swatted in a public hearing and they have to go back to the "drawing board" to rethink the policy.

OK...enough background, what does this have to do with spiritual concerns. Anyone who knows who Jesus was as a person, knows that he did not care for the established order. He was a rebel. He was omeone who continually challenged the authority of the day. He was...in a sense...a political as much as a spiritual activist. He was called "Lord" in his day (...and after he died..), a term that was only used for the highest authority of Caeser, hence he was a political power. He protested everyday of his life against powers he thought were corrupted...including Caeser and the church. In the end those powers killed him.

When I see things like the protest against UBB, you essentially have two sides: Big Telecom and their puppet the CRTC on one end, and customers of internet services on the other. As internet customers, it is clear that Big Telecom and the CRTC are the Caesers of our day. They sit there making policies with little or no concern with how it effects or hurts the people around them. When I see this type of uprising of people against power, I am very much reminded of how spiritual it is to watch. They found their Caeser. It's the same story, but different players. Jesus and Caeser. Pharaoh and Moses. CRTC and Internet People. It's the story of bondage and liberation all over again. Fascinating that we keep struggling against this over and over again throughout history.

Most likely, the people who are protesting the CRTC and Bell are not Christians. Know that it's not my job to convert or even tell them what they should be, but it amazes me how much like Christ each one of them are, just by speaking truth to power.

D

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daniel Dennett - What to replace religion with

I'm VERY behind on my posts here...lots to talk about but no time to write it all up yet. In the meantime, listen to one of the "Four Horsemen", Daniel Dennett. Interesting stuff:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Relationships

Well...the new year has started and that means another Bible study "course" started up last week. The title of the session was mysteriously called "Restoring Relationships"...but I do not get why just yet.

What I got out of the session last week was that there are three narratives to the Bible. Basically, most stories that you find in the bible will follow these narratives: Forgiveness and Sin, Bondage and Liberation, and finally Exile and Return. I'll go over each of these and how I see them right now.

Forgiveness and Sin

I see this most when it comes to the New Testament. When people are meeting Jesus or talking to Jesus, the idea of forgiveness and sin comes up a lot. Seems that every time someone comes up to Jesus to be cured, sin comes into play. If I were to look a bit deeper, I would almost say that Jesus isn't curing leprosy or sickness, he is curing sin. What I see in the New Testament is that Jesus was a healer of sin, not some miracle cure guy you called on when you sprained your foot.

An interesting point came up for discussion regarding Forgiveness and Sin. Out of all of the narratives, Forgiveness and Sin are THE most emphasized in modern Christianity. "You are a sinner"... "You must be forgiven"...yadda yadda. The Catholic church goes so far as to say you must be forgiven for your sins...and, yes, they insist that ONLY a priest can help you do that. Yes...a middle man is required to give your message to God. How... convenient..for them. One has to wonder why we only concentrate on the narrative of forgiveness and sin when the other two might be more applicable. One also has to wonder why the church insists that you need them for forgiveness in the first place.

Bondage and Liberation

This is probably my favorite narrative of the Bible; the narrative of Bondage and Liberation (...no...not that kind of bondage you dirty little monkeys... ;)). The most obvious story in the Bible of this type is the one of the Jews under Pharaoh...the whole Moses story. I haven't gotten to this part of the bible yet, so I'm quite weak on the details right now. From "memory", it's the whole part of the bible were Moses goes all "Let my people go" on the Pharaoh.

The most interesting activity we did was try to come up with examples of things or events that we have encountered or seen that follow this narrative. For example, a teenage girl may be held in bondage from the fashion industry to "stay thin" and "look good". She needs liberation from that image. We see this narrative everywhere actually: in our jobs, our family, our friends, our churches. Marcus Borg actually brought up the point that the very idea of being socialized in society is a form of bondage due to the expectations it puts on us (...how to look, how to act, etc...).

Another point on this one. We kind of need bondage and liberation in our lives, don't we. What is the first duty of someone who finds themselves in bondage of something? To escape. To liberate ourselves. To become better than what the conditions of that bondage dictate. How would we ever improve or strive for something better if we didn't have something resisting that change in the first place?

Exile and Return

This is one that I'm not too familiar with and speaks to me the least right now. Again, I think the most obvious story for this one is the Moses story. Actually, even more famous than Moses would be the prodigal son story. The story of someone leaving for long periods and then returning is a very popular narrative in movies and books these days as well; Lord of the Rings has a whole bunch of them.

So...there you have it. Again, I think one of the weaknesses of modern Christianity (...especially in North America...), is that we apply the one narrative of Forgiveness and Sin to situations where it does not apply. Someone in the group brought up the example of a father in Canada who can't get his daughters out of Haiti. Does the narrative of Forgiveness and Sin speak to him? No....but the other two might. So, we need to always evaluate how the Bible speaks to us and stop using specific parts of it as a hammer for every nail we see.

D.