Day in the life, Meta Stuff

To Believe or Not Believe

Religion 2

Why can’t we just agree to disagree?

This post follows on the heels of my last. I had forwarded the article on Jimmy Carter leaving his church to my FB feed without comment or opinion. A grave mistake on my part as it caused a war of words between two of my FB friends over beliefs.

The article was both religious and political, which is like lighting a stick of dynamite next to a chunk of C-4. I reserve my personal opinions for my blog instead of using a more public forum. But their fiery exchange made me ask: what causes people to get so wound up when someone opposes their belief system?

Intellect + Emotion = Passion

Passion can be expressed with kindness, courtesy, and objectivity instead of aggression. I’ve learned not to attack the belief system of another just because it doesn’t match my own. Everyone has the right to believe what they chose. So I was a little stunned to see two mature, respectable adults slinging mud at each other over someone else’s shifting belief system. Unbeknownst to them, these two people have much more in common that they’d care to believe. Both are from the same generation, the same country, both educated, kind, generous, creative people, who lost all objectivity when faced with a political and religious topic. I wish they would have been able to have a spirited debate without resorting to cheap shots and name-calling.

It was like a bad joke. A Christian and an Atheist walk into a bar. Had I been the bartender, I’d have hosed them down with the soda dispenser.

People have been battling over religion and politics since their inception. I wonder, what does God, (if he exists) think about that? Is he amused, binge watching the live theater of Earth with a bowl of popcorn? Or is he saddened that people spend so much energy focusing on differences failing to recognize their common ground? There is far more commonality in the world’s many religions than differences. As human beings, we would grow so much greater as a world community if we honored and respected each other instead of fought battles over who was right or wrong.

Aren’t there many paths to the same destination? Does God really care which route we took to get there? Will we have all these answers when we die? Because we’re all going to die.  And there are a million ways to go. Death is a very personal and individual experience. So why don’t we expect our every experience will be individual? Especially our belief systems.

What good does it do anyone to tear down someone else’s belief system? Is it good, kind, or necessary? Does it create peace and harmony?

I’ve heard people say to their kids, “What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.”

Okay. If it’s none of my business what someone thinks of me, then it’s none of God’s business what I think of him, right? And, therefore, it’s none of anyone else’s business either.  If God exists, isn’t he more evolved than us? I don’t think God wastes time thinking about what anyone thinks of him. So I don’t waste time on it either.

I’m married to someone whose beliefs differ greatly from mine. We are living proof that people of opposing beliefs can co-exist in harmony. We have stood in separate lines at the voting polls. We read and view news differently, keep our hot-button opinions to ourselves, and respect each other’s right to think and feel differently. We don’t criticize, attack, or judge each other for those differences. Our home is peaceful because we have plenty more in common than the couple things we don’t. I like to think we are passionate about the things we share, instead of the things we don’t.

Nobody likes being judged. It’s destructive. Seek to uplift and create, not destroy. Spend your energy on what is near and dear to you, and don’t worry about what other people think and believe. You want something to believe in? Believe in your ability to be tolerant and kind to others who hold opposing beliefs. The world is big enough for all of us.

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Day in the life, Non Para Things

Descent from Organized Religions

Pres carter

Former President Jimmy Carter has left his church because he believes in equality. For any white male to take a stand for women’s rights, this is huge.  I applaud anyone who stands up for their beliefs, especially against huge opposition. In the wake of the HBO released documentary on Scientology,interviewing leaders that left that church, I hope this becomes a trend.

I left organized religion at age 15, after being badgered into participating in one last rite solely to please my family. It pains me to see intelligent people push agendas because they blindly accept the claim that God is behind their actions. And they hold the Bible up every time.

Use your “God given” free will and stand up for you own beliefs instead of following the herd.

Here’s the article President Carter wrote:

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html

Film, Television

Where Do Your Beliefs Originate?

shadows-5-600x600 (Image by D?nito)

“I’m afraid to go to sleep.”

“Why?” I asked the young woman who seemed genuinely upset about hearing and seeing things she couldn’t explain.

“I watched this show where a family was tormented by an evil entity, and I had a psychic tell me that I attract that kind of stuff.”
“And where do your beliefs on evil entities come from?”
She shrugged.

“Do you have a specific spiritual practice?”

“No. I had a really strict Christian upbringing where everything was going to send me straight to hell, but I fell far away from religion.”

“So where does your knowledge of evil entities come from?”
“TV and movies, I guess.”

Precisely.

That was just a sliver of the conversation. She relaxed a little when I reminded her that most of what was scripted in television and movies came from creative minds with a vested interest in scaring the pecan stuffing out of viewers. Entertainment is primarily fictional. Even if the story has some basis in fact, nothing paranormal can be proven with any physical evidence. And with entertainment being a marketing industry that benefits from promoting the sale of goods and services, an educated consumer does his/her research before blindly buying into any suggestions.

Everyone loves a ghost story. But how many cases are from evil entities?

There have been many ghost hunting programs that claim to be as authentic as they are intriguing, but use common sense when viewing. Some groups go into an investigation assuming a haunting. Others go in assuming a logical explanation. Let’s face it. You can’t sneeze without hitting an acre of land that someone hasn’t died on or been buried near. But not everyone’s home is built over a battleground or ancient burial site.

I’ve had a number of experiences, still I hesitate to label them as anything more that authentic to me, questioning their reality until a recurrence. But I’m one who must have the experience myself to fully believe anything. I’m dying for someone to bring back physical evidence of Bigfoot. Unless I have my own encounter, or someone drags home a body, I’ll remain a skeptic with a healthy curiosity.

As my conversation continued with young woman above, I suggested she learn as much as possible on psychic protection, since she believes she has abilities. Once she feels safe, she can explore the existence of evil entities. If she doesn’t, she should steer clear of things that frighten her, remaining curious, but not gullible. At least until she has her own personal encounter.

Don’t believe everything you see on screen or read. Be smart and make your own inquiries. Watch movies and television with an open mind, but allow your gut to weigh in as well. And remind yourself that being on television doesn’t automatically qualify a person as an expert.

Note: A reputable psychic would not deliver such information without further explaining to the querent how to proactively protect themselves. A great many disreputable psychics will ask for money (usually a sizable amount) to rid the person of their evil entity problem. Run from those. Run far. Run fast.

importantly, ask yourself where your beliefs came from. If they originate from the entertainment industry, remind yourself that the industry is designed to provoke emotion. If something you watched frightened you, they did their job well. Even if those beliefs came from your religious upbringing, you have Free Will to question everything and decide for yourself what rings true to you. Reserve the right to trust your own judgment.

As with buying a car or a computer, do your own research before buying. And you always reserve the right to change your mind.

Books

Playing with the Devil

A new title by Marcus F. Griffin dropped just before the holiday season yielding a story that claims to be a true account of one band’s many encounters with a dark entity through their musical journey.  I had run across this title on several occasions, but I didn’t pick up a copy until a bookstore display practically grabbed me by the arm. This supernatural yarn chronicles the band’s inception to its sad dissolution, at the mercy of a powerful force.

I have to say, some very creepy things happened to these guys, and people connected to them. Stephen King kind of creepy. But if I’d had the time, I would have read it in one sitting.

The more they engaged an entity they referred to as the Gray Man, the greater their work seemed to progress. A group of rock and rollers were kicking ass and gaining recognition. Success seemed imminent. This nameless, faceless man-shaped shadow appeared to protect them, even assist them in strange ways. But with sweet success came sour grapes, and there was price to be paid as the activity ramped up.

I’m not going to drop any spoilers here. This is one of those stories you must-read-to-believe. And I have no doubt that many won’t believe this account to be real. They will claim that the band members were stoned or high on something, hallucinating, or embellishing events under the influence. Those will be the readers who have never encountered such a force.

Believe it. Don’t believe it. That’s free will.

I believed it.

I do not, however, believe it was the Devil they were playing with. I have my own theories. But it was something very powerful and equally dangerous. Playing with the Devil is a cautionary tale of what can happen when you dabble with forces unknown, and how you should respect the power, not piss it off.

Meta Stuff

Skeptics go at reincarnation

Shirley MacLaine

Can everything be proven?

Scientists seem to think everything should be. But I don’t think beliefs can.

According to my dictionary, belief is defined as “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” (This comes from a book written by people who somewhere deep in history created the English language and therefore, constructed and assigned a meaning to each word.)

Do you believe in the possibility that you get to live more than one lifetime? Or is this it? (Shirley MacLaine has written extensively on this, among other things she believes.)

Do you believe there is a Heaven or Hell? Or do you believe that death is the big dirt nap?

Most religious beliefs are based on text written by a person they believed was directly connected to the divine. The Browne family from the TLC show Sister Wives believes their plural lifestyle brings them closer to God and Heaven. There is no science that can prove or disprove that belief any more than it can the belief in reincarnation.

Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of a Heaven or a Hell or a God or Bigfoot….Oh, the list is endless.  But just because it cannot be proven doesn’t mean it isn’t real to believers. Believing means you don’t require proof.

Here’s the article:

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/blackford20130806