Thursday, June 26, 2014

Just because it doesn't effect me, doesn't mean that I want you to have it!

As a born again Libertarian, I live by a very simple motto.  "If it doesn't break my leg or pick my pocket, I don't care."  What this means is that if it doesn't hurt me physically or mentally, and if I don't have to pay for it, then I really don't care what you do.  I find this philosophy extremely freeing and allows me to have a very easy yard stick to guarantee that I will afford to all others the maximum amount of freedom that I can.  It is really the epitome of what this country was founded upon.  That everybody would be able to do what their hearts and conscience tells them to, and to follow those dreams that they have.

It's funny that I live in a state that is considered one of the most conservative in the United States.  However, they have proven time and time again that they are huge believers in freedom, as long as it is a freedom that they believe in.  As long as what you want to do falls within their religious/political frame work you are good to go.  As I have blogged in the past, the legislature in Utah is labeled by people such as myself as the Mormon Taliban.  They have no problem instituting their own form of Sharia Law and legislating morals.  They will also fight tooth and nail to fight against any thing that they feel is against God's law.  I will say that they don't stone people or kill anyone who is "sinning" (at least any more, read Danites and blood atonement), but they will pass many draconian laws on alcohol and tobacco and waste a lot of money trying to keep gays from marrying.  The last, marriage equality, is what I'm going to talk about in this post.

For the past several months my Facebook page and the internet has been buzzing about marriage equality.  Also about the woman who was just excommunicated from the church for starting Ordain Women. org, but that is another post, although similar to this one.  I am going to explain why I think that same sex marriage is a forgone conclusion in the United States.  I am also going to explain to those who think that same sex marriage is wrong that they are fighting the wrong fight and picking the wrong battle.

I think that for the most part, being homosexual is something that you are born with, and not a choice.  I will not argue that there are people who choose to be homosexual, but I believe that those people are the minority of the total population of homosexual people.  Everybody who is older than 20 years old knows someone who has come out and stated that they are homosexual that was a surprise to no one.  We all know kids that we grew up with that when we found out that they are gay we were not surprised at all.  Besides, who would choose to be a part of a minority that is discriminated against and who is judged and picked on? However, whether they choose or are born, it really doesn't matter.  The courts have said that laws that make homosexual activity illegal are not constitutional.  (Also the laws against fornication, adultery, cohabiting without being married, and sodomy have all been struck down.)

When you ask a person who is against same sex marriage why they oppose it, you may get several answers. I will try to address as many as I can and explain why they do not and will not stand up in the courts of law.

1. They don't need to be married, when they can have all the same rights with a civil union that the courts recognize.

Many people feel this way and it kind of cracks me up.  This argument comes down to basically fighting a fight over semantics.  These people have no problem (or at least say they don't) with people living together as a married couple and having all the rights of married couples, they just don't want them to have the word "married."  They are willing to protest, give money, and much more over the definition of a word.  As long as the same sex couple doesn't call their arrangement "marriage" the people who use this defense don't have a problem.  Would they be OK with same sex marriage as long as they say marriage in another language? Maybe if those who desire a same sex marriage just called it a mutual ball and chain ceremony, then these people wouldn't have a problem.  

2.  The bible says it is wrong.

Now this one really makes me laugh to no end.  Talk about quote mining.  The bible in Leviticus doesn't say that same sex marriage is wrong.  It says that if a man lies with a man (i.e. homosexual relations) then you have to kill them both by stoning.  Why isn't anyone really politicking for the death penalty for homosexuals. I mean if we are going to follow the bible we should follow the bible.  Furthermore here are some more lovely tidbits from the bible in the same book. If you are on your period then you shouldn't be around anyone for 10 days. (On second thought, for some women with PMS, this may not be a bad idea)  You aren't allowed to wear two different types of cloth at the same time.  Bacon is right out.  Premarital sex, adultery, living together without being married are all death sentences.  Rape is OK, as long as you marry the woman you raped right after.  Disrespect your mom or dad, death.  There are some really disturbing and foul things that are done in the bible because God says to do them.  Maybe we shouldn't use that particular book as the end all be all for deciding how we are going to let people live.  Because, in all honesty, according to the bible, there are a lot of people who should be killed immediately.

3.  Children do better in a traditional home life.

This is an absolute fact.  There have been any number of studies that prove this.  That being said, it is also a fact that children do better in a loving environment, no matter what relationship the people in that environment are in, compared to foster care or an orphanage.  My argument is that as long as we still have a broken foster care system and orphanages around the world, can we really be picky about who is willing to take the kids in and give them a loving home?

Besides, this argument assumes that same sex marriage is a zero sum game.  Well, we aren't going to let the gays marry.  The gays will obviously respond by saying, "Dang! Well, I better go and find myself a wife and raise some children in a stable and loving environment that we call the traditional family."  Not going to happen.  Homosexual men have taken themselves out of the game the minute they come out of the closet. They aren't going to marry and start a traditional family, so in reality, letting them marry one another doesn't lessen the pool of those who are going to start a traditional family.  I would further argue that lessening the stigma about coming out  for those people who are homosexual may help the traditional family. We all know people or have heard stories of the guy or girl who gets divorced and tears the family apart, because they have come out of the closet.  These people felt that they had to hide their true self and in the process complicated the situation by living a lie and now have an ex and children that no longer have a mother or a father.  Had they felt more comfortable about themselves, and had another option, maybe they wouldn't have gone down a road that they eventually felt they couldn't live and many a sorrow would never have happened.

If we allow gays to marry, people will be marrying their dogs or horses next.

This is just effing stupid.  This argument hurts the anti-gay marriage crowd immensely. Is a dog or horse recognized as a person under the law?  Can a dog or horse agree to a contract and be a party to a contract?  No, no they aren't and no they can't. Never go full retard bro.  Never go full retard.

5.  The State should be able to define what marriage is.

Here we get into the nuts and bolts of the situation.  The legal nitty gritty.  The judicial mumbo jumbo.  And to be frank, where I think the opponents to same sex marriage have really missed the boat.  The pro same sex marriage crowd argue that the State doesn't have the right to limit marriage, because by doing so they take away the civil liberties of a class of people.  They argue that this issue is no different from the old laws that made interracial marriage illegal.  The other side immediately says that the two are not the same as one was based on race which can't be helped, and the other is based on sexual preference, which is a choice. The heart of this argument is whether or not homosexuality is a choice or not.  I have already given you my opinion on this.  Even saying it is a choice, I still don't think that the State can say no.  Here's why.

The State gives benefits and recognition to marriage.  These are "rights" that currently are only given to a certain portion of the citizens.  A small portion of citizens do not have these rights or protections. A century or so ago, these rights would have been to promote the population to grow and to increase the size base of the citizenry. However, with people currently talking about overcrowding and the desire we have to close the border, I think we are good on the population front.  Also, with over 7 billion humans on this Earth, I don't think we are in danger of extinction any time soon. So telling a portion of the tax paying citizens of this country that they are not able to have the same rights that are afforded to other citizens by the government is discriminatory by its very nature. And that is the reason why right now the same sex marriage proponents are batting 1000 on the law suits, no matter how conservative the state is.  And that is also the reason why I feel that the people against same sex marriage aren't even fighting the correct fight.

The true problem is that government is involved in marriage.  Why does the government have any say at all in my marriage?  Isn't it a pact between me and another person?  Why do I have to get a license to get married? Why do I have to ask the state's permission and pay a fee to marry someone?  As soon as the government started to be the bestow-er of marriages, it was a forgone conclusion that same sex marriage was going to be the law of the land.  The government can't pick and choose who it will allow to marry.  The Constitution's equal protection clause won't allow it. I should be able to marry whomever I want.  In a church of my choosing, or common law style by just getting a woman to agree that we are married.  Then, if I want to have the government recognize my marriage for any benefits involved, then my significant other and myself should go down to the clerk's office, fill out a form and affirm that we are married.  Done deal.

Finally, I come back to what I started this blog with.  My motto as a Libertarian.  Do you have any idea what happened to me when I woke up a while back and found out that the Supreme Court had struck down many important provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act?  Do you know how my life changed?  The answer is nothing, not a thing.  My life didn't change.  Nothing happened to me.  It didn't effect me in the least.  It didn't cost me anything and it did me no harm.  Therefore, I didn't care.

Be brave enough to truly value and embrace freedom.  The Supreme Court has said in regards to the freedom of speech, that it is of necessity (free speech that is) offensive.  And that there would need to be no protection of speech if no one was offended by it.  The same can be said of all of our rights.  We can be offended.  We can not like how someone is living their life.  We can even find it icky.  But we should be willing to defend that person's right to live their life as they see fit.  If it doesn't harm us and we don't have to pay for them to do something that we disagree with, our answer should be, "I don't care."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guilt Free and Loving It!

It has been a while, o ye people of the earth.  Long have been the days since I have chosen to roar at you from on high.  Yea, even though I, DinoJesus, am constantly present and look upon the the inhabitants of the Earth, I have not deigned to pour upon you my wisdom in lo, these many days.  Hear then the words of my faithful servant and prosper from his righteous insights into the workings of man. For lo, the time of the great gnashing of my teeth is at hand, and they whom shall perpetuate in unbelief and who do not know the sharpness of my fangs shall feel my wrath and my bite and shall endure an eternity being digested in the greatness of my belly.

One of the first things my wife mentioned when we "graduated" from religious belief is that she no longer had the overwhelming since of guilt that had been instilled in her from an early age.   She and I can feel bad about our actions and can endeavor to be better spouses, parents, neighbors, friends and citizens without having to feel the crushing guilt of never being good enough.  We can live our lives to the best of our ability and not have to worry if it was enough.  We can do good things for the sake of doing good without having to make sure that we are getting "credit" from other people who need to see us being good.  Most importantly, we can concentrate on the people who really matter in our lives and not have to spend so much time trying to impress the people we go to church with so they will think that we are doing the right things.

A buddy of mine recently called me to vent about his ex-wife.  He was complaining because she was basically neglecting his kids (who live with her most of the time) because she was spending so much time at church being the perfect church goer.  She would spend hours with the youth at church because that was her duty, but then not want to go to any of her children's activities because she was tired, and it wouldn't get here any credit with the people at church.  That attitude used to drive me crazy.

I can remember so many times that I would get asked to go and help someone in the church with moving or yard work or any number of other things, because the man of the house wasn't around because he was too busy with his church calling.  He would neglect his family and rely on the assistance of others so that he could spend 20-30 hours a week performing his church calling.  What a crock of crap.  It is the same mentality which has men who are in dead end jobs not going back to school to get the education they need to get a better job to better be able to support the gaggle of children they have because with their "important" church calling they have no time at night to go back to school.  So they schlep around making $30,000 a year with 4 kids all the while hating it, but knowing that it is just the Lord testing them and if they are faithful enough they will eventually be blessed.

So, when I finally saw the light, not only did I get a 10% raise and an extra day off, but I saved hours each week not having to feel guilty because I wasn't doing something more for the church.  I also gained the freedom to be able to do whatever I like without feeling guilty or judged.  I even got a few tattoos.  They are awesome.  Below is the most recent and I have to tell you that I really like it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to live your life.  You only get one.  Be a moral person for its own sake and not because you are afraid of being punished by the great sky daddy after you die.  Make your mistakes and live your life and learn how to have fun.  In the immortal words of Obi Wan Kenobi, "Let go!"  Let go of the guilt and feelings of inadequacy.  Let go of your envy of the lady across the street and her "perfect" life.  She is just like you. She is only better and building and maintaining the facade that makes people like you think she has her shit together.  Life isn't fair, but for the most part it's not out to get you either.  The law of averages will work your way if you work hard enough and concentrate on taking care of business.  Maybe you fail, but as long as you try your best, and live your life to the fullest, you aren't a failure and you have nothing to be ashamed about.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Judge you, you judging judger!

I haven't written a blog for a while, and for that I truly apologize.  You see, like everybody else, life gets busy and we drift into other pursuits, and to be honest, I just haven't seen anything that would really make DinoJesus roar lately (See my first blog to understand DinoJesus better).  It's all been kinda blah.  That was until recently when the faithful in Utah have reared their ugly head and DinoJesus has once again become attracted to the rotting carrion which the local Shiite Mormons sometimes become. 

Let us consume this meal in chronological order.  First, Utah, like many states, has a law called the Utah Clean Air Act, which forbids you from smoking within 25' of a building.  No big deal right?  Of course for the Mormon Taliban, that is not enough.  For you see there is a new bill in the legislature to include hookahs and electronic cigarettes in the law.  How many people have you seen walking around with a large glass hookah to smoke their tobacco?  Is this really a problem?  No, it is not.  However, the idea that people can go into a "Hookah Bar" and smoke drives the righteous crazy.  And since some dork in Hurricane, Utah (Pronounce huricun) is a member of the Utah Legislature, by golly he will fix their wagon.  Nobody goes in to a Hookah Bar and is surprised that people are smoking.  Except, of course, for the Ward Mission Leader who was just going in there looking for a prostitute.  (Don't laugh, I've seen worse.)

Then of course there is the electronic cigarette.  This device delivers nicotine to smokers in a way that they feel like they are smoking.  The only thing that they are breathing out though is water vapor.  I'm not a smoker, but I will let my friend that do smoke do so in my house if they are using "e" cigarettes, because there is NO smoke.  No stench.  No health hazard to me or my dog.  So now the Utah Legislature is basically trying to outlaw clouds.  Water vapor is bad.  They started out by arguing that second hand smoke is bad for the public and people can somewhat get behind that.  Now we see what is really going on.  It isn't a health concern so much as they are trying to outlaw the "appearance of evil."  All anyone has to do to see how this stupidity works is to examine the Utah liquor laws.  Dumb. (See previous blogs for more details)

Now let me move on to the main course of this scavenger's feast.  Utah has made the national news again.  Why you might ask?  Because some supposed christian at BYU decided to be a Judger.  Before I get into the details let me make an aside.  Recently on facebook, the following picture has been going around from all my Mormon acquaintances. 

It's kind of witty in a "you have to be Mormon to get this joke" kind or way.  I only have one problem with it.  In the bottom left corner it shows two missionaries and states that this is the way atheists see Mormons.  I think that is incorrect.  I think the picture below is how atheist (at least this one for sure) see Mormons.

Now to the details.  On Valentine's day, a young woman who attends BYU was studying at one of the buildings on campus.  A young man (Judger!) came up and gave her a note.  She at first thought it was a love note and she thought it was cute.  Oh, but not so fast.  It was a judger note.  Evidently the young harlot was dressed so provocatively that this young christian soldier felt the need to straighten her out in no uncertain terms.  It was done not only for her own good, but to protect the chastity and righteousness of all the other young men (and women) in the nearby vicinity.  Thank DinoJesus this man acted quickly, bravely and selflessly to protect everyone's virtue.  Below is a picture of the note and what the young skank was wearing.

Oh what a foul temptress she is.  You can almost see her wrists for indecency's sake.  In case you can't read the note she was given, I have included the quote for your enjoyment.

"You may want to consider that what you're wearing has a negative effect on men (and women) around you.  Many people come to this university because they feel safe morally as well as physically here.  They expect others to abide by the Honor Code that we all agreed to.  Please consider your commitment to the Honor Code (which you agreed to) when dressing each day.  Thank you."
This very attitude is one of the things that allowed me to start questioning the religion that I was raised in.  Not because I was offended or had sinned, but because I couldn't understand how a church that supposedly was the only true church of Christ on earth could foster such an amazing number of Judgers and create in people the feeling that they are never good enough.  That they never can do enough.  That they must create a facade around them so that other members will think that they are perfect, so that they won't be judged.  When my spouse left the church she stated that the greatest thing that she received (besides an extra day off and a 10% pay raise) was that she no longer had a feeling of guilt or inadequacy.  That she could just be the person she wanted to be in the best way she knew how and be happy. 

The Mormon churche's problem isn't the missionaries out in the field.  It is the Judge Dredds back home that stink the place up.  They need to remember that in the last days, all such shall be blasted by the roar of DinoJesus and feel the teeth of righteous anger pierce them to the very core.  So let it be written, so (I would wish) let it be done.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Isn't there an app for that?

I feel cheated.  I have ever since I was a kid, but especially now that I am an adult.  This sense of unfairness that I have felt may be the over riding reason why I am no longer a believer.  It boils down to one unequivocal statement.  God is stingy.

Let me explain why I feel this way.  Growing up in a religious household, I was taught all the many stories of the Bible and (since I was raised Mormon) the Book of Mormon also.  The Bible primarily, but the Book of Mormon also, is chock full of wonderful miracles that seem to happen on a daily basis to those whom are participating in the narrative.  If you google "Bible Miracles" you will quickly be able to find thousands of web pages that list the hundreds of miracles that the bible describes.  Many of us can name dozens just off the top of our heads.  Some of them are real doozies.  Creation.  That one was huge.  The flood.  The opposite of creation, but still a major undertaking.  Sampson's strength, the vast number of plagues called down on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, being guided by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night, the survival of the three youths (no, I'm not going to spend the time trying to spell their names correctly) from the fiery furnace, turning water to wine, voices from heaven, mass hysteria.  Sorry, started quoting from Ghost Busters there for a minute.

My point is that it would seem that people back in the day were much more likely to be treated to a pretty seriously cool miracle now and again.  When some of your uppity brethren get swallowed up by the earth because they wanted the priesthood and God had already told them no, and then the prophet says the words and the ground opens up and then slams shut on them, that is some faith promoting action right there.  Not to mention entire armies being defeated by angels without the opposing side having to lift a finger.  These types of circumstances would effect entire generations.  I mean, even if you didn't see it, but instead were told by your father or grandfather, it would be something to cause you to meander towards God.

Then we fast forward in time to Christ coming and we see more cool miracles.  Not necessarily so brash as some of the earlier miracles but definitely cool and faith promoting.  Jesus never caused two she bears to come out of the woods and tear up 42 children, but he did raise the dead, cure leprosy, and cause those that were blind since childhood to see.  Pretty good stuff.  Not to mention raising himself from the dead, appearing to his apostles, and if you believe the Book of Mormon, flying across the Atlantic ocean and hanging out with the people of this continent after they have been bumping around in the dark for three days.

Even after Jesus left the scene for good, his apostles still did some pretty cool stuff.  Miracles followed them around also.  But then, nothing much.  The catholic church would sometimes report some small miracle or other, usually a statue bleeding or a person with wounds on their hands that wouldn't heal.  Even the church though, caused these to be investigated thoroughly before they would get behind it.  Then we go a couple of thousand years with not much happening.  Enter Joseph Smith.  I have hope again.  If you believe the press there was some pretty good miracles that happened around the early part of 1800s.  Of course, the best ones were only witnessed by one or two people at a time, so even though Joseph claimed to see God and Jesus, it doesn't have the same impact as a million people seeing the Red Sea part.  Still, we may be getting something going.

But then, not so much.  After Joseph was killed the miracles dried up.  Revelations stopped coming for the most part and the modern day prophets aren't even close.  Joseph supposedly received the news right from God himself, having many revelations pertaining to both weighty spiritual matters as well as when people should sell their farms.  God was active in the lives of his saints and things were going to be great (unless you count the constantly having to migrate somewhere else because you had pissed off the local population, and your leaders were constantly getting arrested, but other than that, good times.)

Today, when asked, the modern prophet, the president of the church, to whom I always knew was the man that actually talked face to face with God and Jesus, will say that they don't actually talk to God, or have even seen him face to face, but instead get feelings and impressions as to what to do.  Feelings?  Impressions?  Really?  Why is God being so stingy with his miracles and face time?  We are told over and over that these are the last days, and they are tough.  So why is it when the going gets tough, that God stops.  Wouldn't it make more sense to step up the hard sell now that there is so much that is competing for our attention.  I mean, the modern devices that we use would have been considered miraculous by ancient standards, but were created by man, not God.  If God wants to compete he needs to get his own app or something.  I mean, compared to what he has done in the past, how hard would it be for a pillar of fire to come down and shake everything up around here?  Maybe a voice from heaven saying "Knock that shit off!"  I'm just saying, that I feel cheated.  I think that God doesn't care anymore.  Maybe it's possible that we have created our own miracles so much that God doesn't want to compete.  Maybe sheep herders a few thousand years ago were easy to impress.  Is it possible that God fears that even if he were to fire up the old miracle machine again, that we would be so busy playing with our various electronic devices that we wouldn't even notice?  Or would we just say, "big deal, I've got an app for that?"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Objection! Hearsay!

Human beings are interesting creatures.  I mean, comparatively speaking they have one of the largest brains in all the animal kingdom.  It allows us to do some really remarkable things.  Our imagination has been able to get us to the moon and and we have sent probes to beyond our own solar system.  We have cured many diseases that shortened the lives of our progenitors and have come up with vaccinations against many diseases that would wipe out large numbers of our children even just a hundred years ago.  Truly, we have made and are still making huge leaps in learning and bettering our lives collectively.  

Of course, our imagination also has a downside to it.  We seem to be hard wired with the capacity to believe two completely different ideas at the same time.  People of various religions will believe in the creation story and the idea that the animals of today were created exactly as they are now, but at the same time absolutely believe in dinosaurs and that other animals have been on the Earth for hundreds of millions of years.  For some, these two opposing ideas will eventually cause too much cognitive dissonance and one idea will die an ugly death.  Usually, if an idea is to die, it will be that one which has the less physical evidence supporting it.  I don't know for sure, but I suspect that there are more atheists who were once religious than the other way around.  

It seems to me that our modern society is more cynical than the societies that came before.  You will hear children playing and one child will say, "Oh yeah, prove it!"  From prospectuses in investing to looking into a business or an idea, we constantly want the proof of what it is that we are being told.  We do our research, we talk to those who have done what it is we want to do, we look for reviews online.  Every product I buy now, will have been researched online for a week or more before I make my purchase.  Online websites will have places where people can put their opinion about a product or service.  The web site "Angie's List" is all about rating and reviewing products and service providers so that people can know what to expect before they shell out the cash.  Now, admittedly much of this relies upon listening to others experience and taking their word for it.  However, they are giving their opinion on something that they actually bought or saw occur. It is a first hand experience that meets with our expectations, and so we attempt to learn by their experience, so that if it wasn't a pleasant experience, we won't repeat it.  

Not so with religion.  For whatever reason, when it comes to religion all of our cynicism melts away.  There must be something in our collective make-up that causes us to put aside our desire for proof when it comes to religion.  Please think about the following scenario.  You meet a man at a party.  He is a really nice guy and seems to be very charismatic.  After short time he tells you that he has personally seen God and talked with him.  God told him to start a church and let everybody know that it was the true church.  He tells you that you will have to make sacrifices and people will probably hate you, but if you do what he says and follow him, the true prophet of God, then you will be saved and be happy forever.  What would you do?  Honestly?  In this modern world most people would try their best to stay polite, but would rapidly start looking for an excuse to put something solid like a kitchen table or a bowl of artichoke dip between them and this nut job.  Everybody would think he was completely nutso.  You'd look to your significant other and start doing the secret "Its Time To Go!  Get Your Shit And Meet Me By The Front Door" look.  

Now, take that same example.  Just put 190 some odd years between it and you  and have a young man tell you that this is what happened a long time ago and for some reason we as humans want to believe it.  So much so that in the last two centuries this church has baptized somewhere between 11 and 13 million people. (I say baptized, because the number of actual active members is probably much less like 4-5 million)  Of course the same could be said for any religion.  The Scriptures that the Christians rely on, the New Testament, was written approximately around 70 AD.  That was about 40 years after Jesus was to have lived and been killed.  Now, if you were to tell me to write down word for word what had occurred last month between me and my wife I wouldn't be able to do it.  So what are the chances, that four disciples of Jesus could write their gospels 40 years afterword and have the words be almost word for word?  And more importantly, Christians rely on these writings to the letter to know what it is that God wants them to do.  Muslims aren't any better, as the Quran was written much later and has the same amount of improbable occurrences that the bible does. (All the Jews being turned into apes and pigs, etc.)

That is really the problem with religion.  The entire basis of religion is hearsay.  In courts of law, hearsay is inadmissible because it is unreliable and you are testifying to what someone else said.  The basis for religion is a bunch of really cool stuff that happened a long time ago to someone else who had been dead for centuries.  No, you can't see a really cool miracle, because you must have faith and believe the hearsay that is being told to you.  Besides which, miracles were only done a long time ago before humans had the capacity to measure and study an occurrence which appears to be impossible, and possibly find out its really just a slight of hand. Yes, yes, God once spoke from the clouds so that everybody who heard it would know without a doubt what his intentions were, but that is because the people in the olden days were complete morons and needed that kind of encouragement.  I mean, the Old Testament is chock full of stories about how the people had to know who was in charge and leading them, and they rebelled anyway.  Complete imbeciles.  We of course in modern times should be able to cast our doubts aside and listen to our feelings and come to the conclusion that religion is right.  No voices or pillars of fire for us.  We have feelings.  Of course, that doesn't help when I get teary eyed at some beer commercials.  Does that mean that I should recognize the truthfulness of Budweiser?  Maybe.   


Friday, September 2, 2011

Sure they're big, but we know they are Devil Rocks.

The thing that I like best about religion and those that practice it (I say practice, because with as messed up as religion tends to be, you can never perfect it) is the fact that it is only possible to do if you have a really unique brain.  Luckily for religion's sake, humans have this type of brain.  The followers of DinoJesus never had to worry about becoming unbelievers, because they didn't have a brain that was sophisticated enough to think their way out of religion.  (If you ask me, this may have been a major design flaw from the creator of this planet.) Anyway, back to my original point.  The human brain can partition (metaphorically speaking) itself into various sections, with each section believing a different, non-compatible thing, and the two shall never mix.  If this were not possible, then humans, as they grew older would come to a time in their life when their different beliefs would meet, and like matter and anti-matter meeting the result wouldn't be good.  Somewhere around 8 to 10 years old the child would question whether Santa Claus was real, and then their head would explode and it would really be hard for the human species to propagate.

So, taking a step back from the thoughts of little kids walking around and their head suddenly blowing up, what am I trying to say?  Just that humans are made for religion.  We always are looking for the explanation.  In our youth as a modern species, it was easy to make up explanations to explain away the unknown.  What is lightening?  It is an angry god hurling bolts from his house on high.  Why does the sun go around the sky?  It is a fiery chariot that makes its daily trip across the sky before another goddess can pull her cloak over the world.  Perfectly reasonable explanations.  As long as you pay no attention to science or what we have discovered since then.

However, have we really traveled that far from our ancestors?  Approximately 50% of people in the United States believe that humans were created in their present form sometime in the last 10,000 years.  If you asked these same people if they believe that dinosaurs existed, many of them would say yes.  The fossil record is conclusive in support of evolution and that life has existed for hundreds of millions of years, and yet, a vast number of people can easily hold two diametrically opposite views in their heads with no problem.  "I believe that the story of Adam and Eve is true and that God created all the creatures of the earth at the same time and they lived in the garden with Adam and Eve."  "I love visiting the dinosaur museum and seeing all the bones and wondering at how the Earth must have been back then when the dinosaurs were roaming the planet for millions of years long before the mammals even came in to existence."  One would think that these two statements would come from two very different individuals.  But in reality, these thoughts can come from the same brain.  One side is the religious side, and the other is the science side, and we keep them compartmentalized and separate for our own sanity.  (This of course does not take in to account those people that explain the dinosaur fossils as "Devil Rocks" that were put there by Satan to confuse us in to believing in that whole "Evil lution" thing.)

Now many people will say "so what?"  As long as we can believe two different things, then who cares?  The problem is that people will often make decisions using one part of their brains that believes one thing, when the other part that believes something else would have been the more appropriate part to use.  Can you imagine the number of problems that could be wiped out if everybody would keep their religion thoughts to themselves and not allow them to make decisions in the real world?  Think about the current problems between the western world and the middle east.  If you were to take religion out of the mix, I would bet that there would be no such problems.

But even closer to home (Utah) you would see a huge change.  The people of Utah and their leaders think of themselves as Conservative and defenders of liberty.  Not so fast.  You see, they often allow the religious brain to get involved and it has a tendency to really mess things up.  Would you like a glass of wine with your dinner?  Let me go behind this curtain and pour you a glass and then bring it out to the table.  I have to have a curtain there, because the law says that people shouldn't see the evil alcohol being poured, because it might cause the youth to want to drink.  Really.  I kid you not.  So, the kid sitting across from me can see the glass of wine.  Knows what is in the glass if he has half a brain (which, since he is probably religious is true), but because he didn't see it poured he is safe from the malicious effects of the temptation to drink.  This is the type of thinking that happens when the religious side of the brain takes over for a second or two.  The leadership of the state claim to believe in freedom, but only the freedom to do those things that are in agreement with their core beliefs.  If you want to do something that they don't feel is "right" then they have no problem legislating their morals on you.  And, even more, see no problem in their doing it.

So, the problem is simple.  The answer complex.  Can we believe two things and use the right belief at the right time to act?  Can I listen to a moral story in the bible, without "not suffering a witch to live?"  Can I understand it's important to live an honest, moral life, without trying to kill with stones a person who cheated on their spouse?  Can I appreciate the simpleness of a Hobbit's life without having to live in the Shire?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Now that would be one really big rock.

Have you ever heard the philosophical questions about God?  You know, about if God is all powerful, can he make a boulder so big that even he couldn't lift it?  Or, the ever famous, is there anything that God can't do?  In the scriptures, we read that God can do anything.  That all things are possible with God.  Of course, upon further examination, this is obviously not true.  So, what is it that God can't do?  The answer to that will become apparent later.  But first, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ever Y. Mann.  He was constantly worried.  His over riding fear was that he knew that he was going to be punished for something he had done.  He didn't know when, or whether it would be tomorrow or not for decades yet, but he knew that he was going to be punished sooner or later.  This worried him a lot because he also knew that the punishment was going to be terrible.  He wasn't exactly sure what he had done that was so terrible, but he knew that he wasn't perfect, and therefore punishment awaited him.  He had also been told by his parents that one of the main reasons he had to be punished was that his sister had done something really bad before he was even born and that his parents were super angry about it.  The only reason that they had even had children was so that the children would love them and obey them always.  But now, since Ever's older sister had messed up, punishment was going to be handed out and in abundance too.  That is why Ever was so worried.

What had Ever's older sister done that was so bad?  She had eaten a piece of fruit out of the refrigerator that her father had specifically forbidden her to eat.  I know.  A terrible transgression that deserves the ultimate price to be paid.  (DinoJesus knows that if one of my kids eats the left over pizza that I put away for lunch the next day, punishment will be swift and there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth.)

So, there Ever sits.  Waiting for the punishment to happen.  He is worried.  But then a miracle happens.  Ever's parents come to him and tell him of the actions they took to get him out of this terrible bind that his sister has caused him.  You see, because Ever's parents love him so much, they took his older brother, who was a middle child and tortured him.  This was before Ever was born also.  They took him and they tortured him with unspeakable tortures.  For three days they had him in a closet and he was made to suffer terribly.  At the end of three days, they took him out of the closet and he was never seen again.  (Although a bed sheet that may or may not have an image on it and some fluid was found and hung on a wall in Turin.)  Ever's parents told him that they had done this for him so that they wouldn't have to punish him for his sister's mistakes and any that he might have made also.  It was a big, all encompassing punishment to end all punishments.  The only thing that Ever has to do is accept this punishment that was done on his behalf and all would be as it should be.  Oh, and he had to try to be good and worth the sacrifice that his brother had paid for him and his sister.  What a great plan.

Can you imagine if we tried to emulate this type of plan in our own justice system?  Do you think anyone would find it satisfactory?  "I'm sorry sir, I understand that you are the designated driver, but since your friend there got himself intoxicated and unable to drive, we are going to take you to jail to pay for his intoxication."  "Well Ma'am, I can certainly tell that you are abused by your husband, and he admitted to us that he has beaten you tonight, so we took the dog outside and shot it.  That should pay the price for your husbands transgressions against you."  Why were we so happy when Osama Bin Ladin was finally killed?  Shouldn't we have been satisfied by any innocent civilian collateral damage that might have taken place during the almost 10 years of looking for him?  No.  Justice demanded that the person who committed the offense pay for it.  Of course, mercy can come in to play also.  If an individual is nice enough or Christian enough or Dinosaurian enough, they could forgive the person who committed a trespass against them.  In the modern day parlance, "No victim, no crime."  If someone will forgive the person who hurt them, there is no further need of retribution.

So, have you guessed the one thing that God can't do?  He can't forgive.  The Mormon Scripture of D&C 64:10 says
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
This scripture is misleading.  It implies that if God wants to he will forgive you.  That is of course not true.  You see, evidently God can not simply forgive ANYONE without SOMEONE paying a price for it.  So maybe he will forgive you your sins, but only if you agree to the sacrifice that he already had done for an innocent to pay the price for your sins.  God is incapable of simple forgiveness for mercy's sake alone.  He needed blood for him to be able to do it.  I guess God isn't Omnipotent after all.  What next?  Am I going to find out that a tree falling in the forest with no witnesses really doesn't make a sound?