Category: Meaning of Life
At Bible Funmentionables, Michael Morris points out some of the Bible’s advice on child rearing:
The Bible has been held up as the pinnacle of moral authority, so when the Bible says, “Do not lie,” we don’t lie. When the Bible says, “Do not steal,” we don’t steal. So when the Bible says,”Kill your juvenile delinquents,” do we really have any other choice?
The Bible delivers many examples of bad parenting. Lot offers his daughters to the rapacious mob of Sodom, so that the mob would be okay with not having their way with his male house guests. Thoughtful host, worst parent ever.
This is the same Lot that impregnated two of his daughters, and according to Wikipedia, “Christians and Muslims revere Lot as a righteous man of God.”
In the famous story of the sacrifice of Isaac, God at the very last minute stops Abraham from killing his son Isaac.
Along with the above advice on child raising, I offer the follow Bible advice regarding family values (this is a posting on Facebook–I cannot determine the original creator of the image):
Morris offer much more advice from the Bible, all of it reprehensible, including the requirement that we kill people who gathers sticks on the sabbath —Numbers 15:32-36.
With regard to all of the above advice, the bottom line would seem to be this: Don’t obey the Bible.
I’m sick of the undeclared drone war that the U.S. (led by President Obama) is waging against thousands people in the Middle East who have not been shown to be guilty of anything at all. Who are all these people we are killing? The Obama Administration says “Trust Us,” but I don’t. I’m tired of hearing the U.S. claim that these drone attacks are killing “insurgents” while more reputable sources show the bodies of civilians and children. This reckless use of drones is causing millions of people to HATE the United States. The drone wars are thus contrary to our national interest. Even if you very much prefer Obama to the insane GOP alternative this November, please speak up against the drone wars. The following cartoons were drawn by a friend of mine, Ray Gregory, who is no fan of the drone wars.
George Lakoff writes about the actual Republican war on women and the supposed “war on religion”
A recent Gallup Poll has shown that, in the US, 82 per cent of Catholics think that birth control is “morally acceptable.” 90 per cent of non-Catholics believe the same. Overall, 89 per cent of Americans agree on this. In the May 2012 poll, Gallup tested beliefs about the moral acceptability of 18 issues total, including divorce, gambling, stem cell research, the death penalty, gay relationships, and so on. Contraception had by far the greatest approval rating. Divorce, the next on the list, had only 67 per cent approval compared to 89 per cent for contraception.
On September 13, 2012, the Dalai Lama wrote the following on Facebook:
All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
For more, see this post on “Before it’s News.”
I often think of Steven Covey’s reminder to take time to “sharpen the saw.”
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.
I’ve been feeling quite “stretched” over the past year, trying to accommodate duties to family, job and community, in addition to writing and trying to recharge, which I best do by taking time to play music. The problem is that by trying to attend to all of these aspects of my life, I don’t attend to any of the adequately, or so it seems. On top of that, the issues that I want to write about tend to be complex, or that is the way I tend to see them. Therefore, most of the writing I try to do begs for serious research and time-consuming writing. Looking back over the past year, at least as a general rule, I see that I haven’t adequately taken the time to write about the topics that interest me in way that adds much of value to the conversation.Too much of my blogging consist of citing to trackbacks while making an observation or two.
In the meantime, I have various growing outlines with many dozens of topics that I’m contemplating and developing. I’m excited about some of these ideas because I have some original approaches to some of them. I’d love to write about them, and I will. But I find that I’m not able to deal with them well, at least until now. I often made the judgment that it’s better to not write at all on many topics rather than to throw words around sloppily. The bottom line is that I’ve been writing somewhat less than I have in the past, despite my dream of writing more and doing it better.
This time “away” has been good for me. My mind seems more focused, at least to me inside my own head. This is the essence of Covey’s admonition to “sharpen the saw.” I feel more at peace when I am more selective, despite my unrealistic urge to live multiple simultaneous lives pursuing everything that interests me.
I think I’m about to get into a better writing spot soon, thanks to this new approach of being more selective. I’m definitely not “burned out.” I’m quite interested in writing better and adding something worthy to all of the world-wide chatter. My hope for this blog is found in the About Page: “This blog will focus on using current events as a springboard to higher-level discussions about human animals and the human condition.” This is where I need to focus–not on the day to day events, but on merely noting these fascinating (and oftentimes distressful) occurrences and using them as fodder for making deeper sense of the world.
Part of my optimism for more better writing stems from the completion of an enormously distracting task. My aging home computer had been slowing gradually and then dramatically due to mal-ware and likely other technical issues. I’ve probably spend 40 hours over the past 3 months trying to make my PC fast again, and I recently gave up. I bought a new PC, and just spent another 12 hours transferring data to the new drive as well as installing and validating the many programs I use. As of today, that task is done–everything is humming. To given an example of how bad things got, MSWord now opens in about a second. Last week, it took about 3-5 minutes to open. I used 4 virus/malware/spyware removal programs. I defragged and diagnosed my drive. I cleaned out unneeded software. I failed to figure out how to remove the damned Babylon malway, despite many approaches. The slow speed and perhaps viruses screwed up my software to my scanner, which led to a 6 hour diversion (fixed when I bought the new computer and reinstalled the software. My data has always been safe, in that I have multiple levels of backup in multiple locations.
As to my old PC, I wiped it’s memory clean, and put to use in a bedroom, where it still runs unimpressively yet adequately.
With these technical problems behind me and my new focus, I’m looking forward to doing some serious writing in the coming days, and making some new videos in the coming months.
I’m hoping that, from now on, my hours sitting in front of my computer will be spent writing rather than tweaking and fixing.
I very much enjoyed Brene Brown’s TED talk on living whole-heartedly. She combines a humorous presentation with a deep and serious topic. At the outset, she recognized that “connection” is what life is all about, but shame (the fear that “I’m not X enough”) destroys this sense of connection. To allow connection, we need to take chances; we need to allow ourselves to be SEEN.
With this as the context, Brown set out to understand more about shame. It boils down to whether someone BELIEVES that they are worthy of love and belonging. The one thing that destroys a sense of love and connection is a fear that one is not worthy of love and belonging.
People with a sense of worthiness, the “whole-hearted,” have the courage to be imperfect. They have the compassion to be kind to themselves first, and then to others (because you can’t do the latter without doing the former), They also develop their sense of connection as a result of being authentic. They believe that what makes them vulnerable is what makes them beautiful–these are people who are willing to do something where there are no guarantees. Vulnerability is the core of our sense of shame and fear, but it is also the “birthplace” of joy, of creativity, belonging and love.”
Brown’s research showed that many of us “numb” vulnerability through our many addictions and obsessions. We can’t selectively numb the bad emotions without also numbing the good emotions. Because we numb all of our emotions, we then instinctively feed our cravings through our destructive addictions. We compensate by trying to make uncertain things certain. We also compensate by blaming. We try to perfect ourselves and our children. We also pretend that what we do does not have an impact on other people. We don’t know how to say that we’re sorry and that we’ll make things right.
Brown’s advice: Don’t be afraid to be seen for the vulnerable people we are. We must learn to love with our whole hearts, even when there is no guarantee. We need to practice gratitude and “lean into joy.” Most important, we need to learn to recognize that “we are enough,” because we then stop screaming and start listening. “Only then can we be kinder and gentler to ourselves and the people around us.”
From Glenn Greenwald’s new platform, the U.K. Guardian:
[A]ttacking rescuers (and arguably worse, bombing funerals of America’s drone victims) is now a tactic routinely used by the US in Pakistan. In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that “the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” Specifically: “at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims.” That initial TBIJ report detailed numerous civilians killed by such follow-up strikes on rescuers, and established precisely the terror effect which the US government has long warned are sown by such attacks. . .
It is telling indeed that the Obama administration now routinely uses tactics in Pakistan long denounced as terrorism when used by others, and does so with so little controversy. Just in the past several months, attacks on funerals of victims have taken place in Yemen (purportedly by al-Qaida) and in Syria (purportedly, though without evidence, by the Assad regime), and such attacks – understandably – sparked outrage. Yet, in the west, the silence about the Obama administration’s attacks on funerals and rescuers is deafening.
Salon presents a young adult’s description of how Ayn Rand destroyed her family. This vivid and intensely personal article by Alyssa Bereznak exposes the ugly underbelly of objectivism, summed up by the following words by Ayn Rand:
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
I disagree with those who believe that Rand offers a path to a meaningful life. I see life as a yin-yang dynamic, a struggle we all have trying to balance our own needs and wants with the needs of the group. [More . . . ]