Stray Thoughts #4: Random Observations from an Intellectual Outlaw

“Tennis Anyone?

When good things happen, God is praised:
  1. he miraculously cured you of eczema
  2. he graciously found your mother a second mortgage
  3. he secretly whispered winning lottery numbers in your ear
When bad things happen, God works in ‘mysterious ways’:
  1. nine million kids each year choke on their last breath before the age of five
  2. an Asian tsunami rips infants from their mother’s arms & drowns ¼ million people
  3. horrible suffering is visited daily upon innocent people on a scope & scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psychopath

Note the double standard here…

God is said to be kind & loving & just. But when it is pointed out that God is obviously cruel & unjust, we are told that God is ‘mysterious’ – and what ‘mere mortal’ can understand God’s divine will?

  1. ON THE ONE HAND: the fallibility/limitation of a “mere human understanding” of God’s will is offered as an excuse to callously explain away ‘apparent’ instances of God’s evil
  2. ON THE OTHER HAND: the strength/reliability of a “mere human understanding” of God’s will is employed to spot ‘confirmed’ instances of God’s goodness

 

This, folks, is how you play tennis without a net.

co3erluwiaadkv9

Morally reprehensible, eh? 

🙂 🙂 🙂

[“Stray Thoughts” is a weekly opportunity to go skinny dippin’ in muddled puddles of questionable beliefs & crazy ideas. Join me if you dare.]

“A very popular error – having the courage of one’s convictions: Rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions.”

– Nietzsche –

Stray Thoughts #3: Random Observations from an Intellectual Outlaw

“SMOKE & MIRRORS?

Why is it taboo in nearly every corner of our culture to question religion?

Religion is so sheltered from criticism that it allows perfectly sane/intelligent people to believe en masse what only idiots and lunatics could believe in isolation.

If you believe that saying a few Latin words over your pancakes will turn it into the body of Elvis – you are crazy.

elvis

But if you believe that the same mumbo jumbo over a cracker will transform it into the body of Christ – you are just Catholic.

transubstantiation

Family values, everyone agrees, are important.

Shouldn’t they include, at a minimum, honesty and a healthy respect for intellectual integrity?

🙂 🙂 🙂

[“Stray Thoughts” is a weekly opportunity to go skinny dippin’ in muddled puddles of questionable beliefs & crazy ideas. Join me if you dare.]

“A very popular error – having the courage of one’s convictions: Rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions.”

– Nietzsche –

 

 

Stray Thoughts #2: Random Observations from an Intellectual Outlaw

“INTELLIGENT DESIGN?

Is this the ‘best of all possible worlds’? When you look around, do you see the handiwork of an “intelligent designer”?

A pair of unjaundiced eyes might notice the following:

Universe

sky-clouds-ar-wallpaper

  1. Most planets are unstable
  2. Most places would kill life instantly
  3. We are on a collision course with the Andromeda Galaxy
  4. Our one-way expanding universe will eventually wind down to oblivion
Earth

bbc-magazine_mega-tsunami-_sketch31

  1. Earthquakes & volcanoes level cities
  2. Tsunamis kill hundreds of thousands
  3. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning strikes kill many more
  4. Humans can’t live on two-thirds of the earth’s surface
  5. 99% of all species that ever lived are now extinct
  6. It took 3-5 billion years just to make multi-cellular life
Humans

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. Hundreds of diseases can kill us
  2. The human eye is practically blind compared to the entire spectrum of light waves
  3. As warm-blooded creatures we must constantly scrounge for food
  4. Human anatomy . . .

Well . . . has it occurred to anyone that we have an entertainment complex smack dab in the middle of a sewage system?

1c805da08d949dca374b710da153805b

🙂 🙂 🙂

[“Stray Thoughts” is a weekly opportunity to go skinny dippin’ in muddled puddles of questionable beliefs & crazy ideas. Join me if you dare.]

“A very popular error – having the courage of one’s convictions: Rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions.”

 

– Nietzsche –

 

Stray Thoughts #1: Random Observations from an Intellectual Outlaw

“THE WARM FUZZIES OF BELIEVING”

Can a belief give life meaning and purpose? Make people happy?

I’m ecstatic because I’m going to marry Sandra Bullock. I know in the depths of my heart Sandra and I will one day walk down the aisle and then for our honeymoon be whisked off in a diamond-studded chariot to streets paved with gold. That’s my destiny; it gives my life meaning and dignity and serenity – and I wouldn’t want to live in a world without the comfort of that certainty.

Glory Hallelujah

 

I proudly confess that I have totally dedicated my life to Sandra. I think about her every minute. I dream about her every night. I get down on my knees facing Hollywood and pray to her six times a day. I fast regularly, abstain from an unhealthy lifestyle, and purify myself in her name every chance I get. I never see her but like the Holy Ghost I know she is with me at all times. Faith works miracles, love is mysterious, and Sandra will reveal herself in due time.

Is that a crazy belief?

Yes.

Is such a believer dangerous?

Possibly.

And yet, that’s precisely the stance religion often takes. A religion is deemed “true” and indispensable because, among other reasons, it satisfies, makes one feel worthy, anchors the lost in a cozy nexus of support. The motives of many religious people are undeniably therapeutic, to achieve a sense of wholeness and social cohesiveness, and without the comfort of such belief one’s life is accused of being cold and lonely

What’s obscured in such a heartfelt testimonial, however, is that valid beliefs require good reasons. And sound reasoning doesn’t include the possible effects a belief might have on one’s life.

Wish-fulfilling fantasies are self-deceptive and should not be employed as bargaining chips in religious conversation.

Yield not to temptation

6808710-sandra-bullockWould I be better off ignoring my infatuation with Sandra Bullock?

🙂 🙂 🙂

[“Stray Thoughts” is a weekly opportunity to go skinny dippin’ in muddled puddles of questionable beliefs & crazy ideas. Join me if you dare.]

“A very popular error – having the courage of one’s convictions: Rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions.”

 

– Nietzsche –

Thoughts to usher in a New Year

“A demagogue like Trump is what you get when you turn culture and the press into burlesque.” 

–  Chris Hedges –

 

Postmodern, post-humanist, post-factual – there seems to be no dearth of terms attempting to describe the world we live in today. But sift through the intellectual gibberish and they all say the same thing: we ain’t what we used to be.

The dignity and inherent self-worth of each and every individual is no longer a given, nor is reliance on rational discourse foundational to the quest for common ground.

And to add insult to injury, the lame observation that “perception is reality” has been replaced by such ominous corollaries as “opinion is fact” and “illusion is truth.”

******

I am a member of an alumni chat group overwhelmingly united in their distrust of the new President-elect. Before the election they smugly advised each other to hand out flyers and hawk Hilary on street corners, and now instead of licking their wounds they are frantically signing petitions and organizing prayer groups.

Pray? That’s about as ludicrous as those frequent headlines emanating from the Vatican: “Pope decries violence…” “Pope calls for peace…” “Pope laments the persecution of…”

Get over it, folks. There is no God listening to your pleas. And T’Rump is not the problem.

Look to your left and look to your right – there’s the problem, the man and woman next to you. Cultural paradigms have been shifting for decades now, and T’Rump is simply taking advantage of a new mindset dominating the cultural landscape.

Gird up your loins and get on with your life, if you have one.

******

Equally disconcerting to many is the proliferation of “fake news” that seems to assail us from all sides.

“The media landscape in America is dominated by “fake news.” It has been for decades. This fake news does not emanate from the Kremlin. It is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry that is skillfully designed and managed by public relations agencies, publicists and communications departments on behalf of individuals, government and corporations to manipulate public opinion. This propaganda industry stages pseudo-events to shape our perception of reality. The public is so awash in these lies, delivered 24 hours a day through electronic devices and print, that viewers and readers can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction.

Donald Trump and the racist-conspiracy theorists, generals and billionaires around him inherited and exploited this condition, just as they have inherited and will exploit the destruction of civil liberties and collapse of democratic institutions. Trump did not create this political, moral and intellectual vacuum. It created him. It created a world where fact is interchangeable with opinion, where celebrities have huge megaphones simply because they are celebrities, where information must be entertaining and where we can all believe what we want to believe regardless of truth. A demagogue like Trump is what you get when you turn culture and the press into burlesque.”

Chris Hedges, ‘Fake News’ in America: Homegrown, and Far From New – click to read

******

Breaking News!
"Santa kills 39 in Istanbul nightclub"

Unfortunately, folks, that’s not fake news – click to read.

🙂 🙂 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Horse & The Fiancé

I’m grading mid-term essays right now. What a bummer!

I provide students with several topics to choose from, including this one:

The Book of Job asks why bad things happen to good people. He doesn’t receive a direct answer other than that divine wisdom is beyond human comprehension. How might you answer a little child who wants to know why innocent people have to suffer?

I was grading on auto-pilot, having at one time or another seen just about every conceivable answer to this question. Until I got to this response, which really made my day!

So if a child came up to me and asked me why innocent people have to suffer, I would tell the child that everything happens for a reason. Even though some things that happen are absolutely horrible, you need to take all of the bad things and just put them aside and remember all of the good things that you can put into that situation. For instance, I used to always get really depressed especially for my pacemaker surgery when I was only 12 years of age, and I would ask my parents why I was stuck with my heart problems and they would always tell me that everything will get better soon. It may have taken me a few years after that to realize that everything does happen for a reason! If I did not get so sick and depressed, I would have never met my horse and my fiancé.

Any suggestions as to what comment I should put on this girl’s paper?

😀 😀 😀