July 10th, 2002

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Chase

Last night I spent a few hours over at Jessica's. I arrived shortly after 9:30. I could hear Jessica on the phone in the kitchen with someone. From around the corner sprung a short curly haired boy wearing a cowboy hat and playing a flute. I think luckily for his mother, the flute didn't work too well, although Chase was able to extract a note or two from the instrument. Jessica remained on the phone discussing something vaguely relationship related.

There are many games we can play with a flute. Chase and I made our own two man/one flute band. I covered the holes and Chase blew. Of course, I know nothing of how to play wind instruments, in spite of the fact that I am known for hot air. Chase also showed me a neat trick where he could balance the flute on the brim of his cowboy hat. Of course, I told him that that was easy. In order to be really amazing, one had to run down the hall and back without it falling off. So we practiced that for a while. After a few minutes Chase mastered the technique of running full speed down the hall, then slowing down for the turn so the flute would not fall off. We also practiced balancing the flute on end. Neither of us were particularly good at that.

Ate dinner and then it was Chase's bed time. Chase was shy so I had to turn around so I couldn't see him change. Standing in the hallway, I was struck by how high the ceilings are at Jessica's apartment. I noticed this before when me moved her in last week. However, I hadn't answered the burning question most males have when encountering an abnormally high ceiling. So I immediately began to formulate an experiment to answer that question. The results are: yes, I can jump and touch the ceiling. Chase was impressed, and his mood improved. Then he claimed I couldn't touch the ceiling in his room though. So I proved it. Fair being fair, with a little bit of help, Chase was also able to jump and touch the ceiling, in spite of his obvious lack in the height department.

I've thought about having children. To me, the 4 to 6 years are the best. I think I could hang out with kindergartners all day long. But I don't think I would make a good father. First, I don't have much patience. Changing diapers, packing lunches, shopping for ever increasing shoe sizes. I would let a lot of these kinds of things slide. Second, I would be completely ineffective at discipline. I would much rather spend time playing with a child than disciplining a kid. I would let them have cereal for every meal. It would serve as a great excuse for me to eat cereal.

On the other hand, children and I get along quite well. I'm great for helping find the monsters under the bed. For reassuring a kid when he's scared, or has scraped an elbow. I love merry-go-rounds, swings and slides. Although I pout cause they don't really make slides big enough for kids my size.

For the moment, I shall survive playing with other people's kids. Should be enough to keep any kind of fatherly cravings from taking root.

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Nature of belief & truth

If I were to pick apart and question Jews or Wiccans in many forums, I would be slaughtered. Although some of that sort of thing does go on, criticism of some of the more popular religions is definitely more muted.

Why do people personally feel it is okay to criticize other religions/belief systems? Not asking why people in general do this. Why do you feel it is okay to criticize atheists beliefs but not christian beliefs, for instance? or do you do this at all? are you an equal opportunity picker? do you want to be but find certain religions get your ire up so you end up focusing on them?


I am going to get myself in trouble probably. Cause I will make criticisms of other people's religions.

I won't criticize you if you believe that Christ came back from the dead or that God stopped the sun so that Joshua (?) could defeat a Canaanite city. Nor will I criticize a belief that a solstice ceremony is the proper way to give homage to the earth. Because I could not prove those true or false, even if I think them to be improbable as to their truth.

But other things that can be demonstrated true or false will get me going, especially the more "out there" the belief gets. Stuff like that guy who does "Crossing Over" and faith healing and casting spells for the protection of a house or praying for the health of a person. These things can be shown to be false or not have much of the desired effect. I don't normally go out of my way but sometimes listening to a person espouse this sort of thing gets my ire up. I want to get them to show me. I will challenge them.

For instance, in the Seattle Gothic forums I made fun of John Hagelin and TM. I challenged someone who was looking for a psychic reader to send the psychic reader they found over to James Randi's foundation for the $1 million prize for demonstrating a paranormal ability.

When I don't do this, it's merely because either I figure the discussion won't do any good. Or because I don't want to piss off everyone. But I *always* have that voice in my head saying things like "are they absolutely nuts? that just wouldn't work that way!"

On the other hand, for things that really are inherently unprovable one way or the other, I get really ticked at people who attack such beliefs. Or people who attack a belief over its followers. Especially the Catholic Church. Few things will get me angrier than someone accusing Catholics of being sheep or sucking up the opiate of the masses. Even though Catholicism no longer makes any sense to me. I get ticked, although not as worked up, over similar attacks on other religions as well.


I was watching people jump on atheists, and I took a look at my own behavior, and was questioning why I exhibited such behavior. In particular, I realized that in some cases I do criticize religious belief, and in others, I do not. And I wanted to examine why that was, and if I thought my behavior was wrong. Not so much if other people thought it was wrong. And so I invite others to discuss their own behavior. People lose sight of that. That is to be expected of any discussion.

I purposefully avoided the question of what people thought of criticism of their own religion from others, even though it is an intertwined question. I can get irritated at people who criticize me and my beliefs, but upon quiet reflection it's never really a bad thing.

If the criticism is thoughtful and well reasoned, then perhaps I have learned something and strengthened my belief, either by adopting a "better" belief or by looking deeper into my belief. If criticism is incorrect, uninformed, or based on bad assumptions, so what? At most I've lost only time.

The truth needs no defense. The truth simply is. I does not have feelings, nor does the truth change because more or less people agree with it. A fact in an instant of time does not change. If it was a fact then, looking back at the point of time, it will always still be a fact about that particular instant. My agreement or disagreement with it does not affect it. This attitude is what I fall back on when I catch myself getting irritated at criticism.

Cribbed from a thread I started on the Seattle Gothic board.