Just some Friday afternoon ruminations on religion.
You really never hear or read anything about Buddhist fundamentalists. I’m sure they exist, given that fascism seems to know no geographic, ethnic, or religious boundaries. However, I suppose the rare cases are the exceptions proving the rule. I suppose it’s just hard to get that worked up about non-existence, as opposed to that whole heaven vs. hell thing.
Water At Communion?
I find many of the traits of Southern Baptists odd. One is the notion that alcohol is wrong. I’m not debating drunkenness here, just alcohol in general. Of all the world’s major religions, east and west, the Judeo-Christian section is the only one that does not out-and-out forbid alcohol. Further, for Christians, they have the only deity who not only drank it openly, but is renowned for His ability to turn water into it! Don’t tell the Southern Baptists (among some others) though, as they have all penciled into their bibles that Jesus turned the wine into water.
No Cell Phone For You!
There is a lot of discussion in this country going on (again) about the teaching of evolution vs. creationism in public schools. This time, creationism has been branded Intelligent Design®. However, there are also school systems which have added disclaimers to classes and textbooks informing students that evolution is only a theory and, therefore, should be taken with a grain of salt. This is using legal-ese and plain speech to mis-construe the language of science. Vast sections of scientific fields are nothing more than working theories: it’s hard to prove everything. When you stack these up against faith (religion, spirituality, etc.), which is by definition, without proof, it is of course going to fall short. However, I think we’re going to have to make a choice as a country:
- Use science and the scientific method to continue to improve the human condition through medicine, engineering, and technology, or
- Allow the fundamentalist influenced policies to push us all back into the stone ages.
I’d argue there is a direct link between the fundamentalist nature of a country/region and it’s ranking on the worldwide scale of civilizations. When you don’t allow people to pursue where discovery and imagination take them, you don’t move forward as a people. So, here’s my new rule: future benefits of science that have stemmed from biological (evolution) and physical (big-bang, quantum physics) studies should not be allowed to be used by those who cannot at least agree that these ideas merit teaching. The freedom of religion in this country guarantees the right to pass on religious views. What will guaranty our right to ensure that we are also well versed in the sciences?
Long Haired Hippie Savior?
Jesus of Nazareth said and did many things that have inspired millions, and not all white Republicans. As I mentioned, He was known for his ability to provide drinks for His friends. He also was a proponent of social care systems, such as: defending the meek (access to legal care), feeding the hungry (welfare systems), healing the sick (pro bono miracles, as in free health care), and so on. Further, every picture I’ve ever seen of the Christ reminds me a lot of Duane Allman. He is also always wearing sandals and loose clothes in these images. What does all this point to? Jesus was the epitome of the socialist, hippie movement. Ironic isn’t it, then, that the 50’s obsessed right-wing movement has adopted Him as their mascot?
Force · Distance = Work, Except on Sundays
Not surprisingly, different Jews and Christians have varying attitudes on working on the Sabbath. I always saw this as a sort of union/worker’s rights demand from up on high: you all should take a day of rest each week and thank God you’re able to (this falls under the previous section, as well). However, my understanding is that many Jews and Christians go well out of their way as to do no work on Sunday and further use as little effort as possible. Example, people who tape down the auto-off switches on their ovens so they aren’t technically “baking” on the sabbath. However, I’m an engineer, and I have two definitions for work:
- Professional Work
- Physical and mental effort for which an individual is paid a wage or otherwise compensated by another individual or organization.
- Mechanical Work
- The product of a force times the distance through which it moves.
Now, if we define work for the purposes of what-to-avoid-on-Sundays as Mechanical Work, you really need to just stop breathing after midnight on Saturday. Anything other than that, and you’re doing work. Okay, that seems a little hard to for 24 whole hours each week, so let’s use the former. That’s what I use, which is just a lay-persons definition of work. Therefore, I garden, I run, I bake, I do whatever I feel like on Sunday. I have even broken that rule and worked for money on Sundays, in order to try and keep my job so I wouldn’t have to spend everyday of the week not doing work for money. However, I don’t spend my time on Sunday sneering at others gardening, running, baking etc. while on my way to church. I think some of the residents of Richmond might do well to do the same.