Saturday, December 30, 2006
10 myths—and 10 Truths—About Atheism :: Sam Harris
10 myths—and 10 Truths—About Atheism
By Sam Harris
December 24, 2006
The Los Angeles Times
SEVERAL POLLS indicate that the term “atheism” has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in the United States that being an atheist is now a perfect impediment to a career in politics (in a way that being black, Muslim or homosexual is not). According to a recent Newsweek poll, only 37% of Americans would vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president.
Atheists are often imagined to be intolerant, immoral, depressed, blind to the beauty of nature and dogmatically closed to evidence of the supernatural.
Even John Locke, one of the great patriarchs of the Enlightenment, believed that atheism was “not at all to be tolerated” because, he said, “promises, covenants and oaths, which are the bonds of human societies, can have no hold upon an atheist.”
That was more than 300 years ago. But in the United States today, little seems to have changed. A remarkable 87% of the population claims “never to doubt” the existence of God; fewer than 10% identify themselves as atheists — and their reputation appears to be deteriorating.
Given that we know that atheists are often among the most intelligent and scientifically literate people in any society, it seems important to deflate the myths that prevent them from playing a larger role in our national discourse.
1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.
On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless.
2) Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.
People of faith often claim that the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were the inevitable product of unbelief. The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.
3) Atheism is dogmatic.
Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity’s needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn’t have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the historian Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71) once said: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
4) Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance.
No one knows why the universe came into being. In fact, it is not entirely clear that we can coherently speak about the “beginning” or “creation” of the universe at all, as these ideas invoke the concept of time, and here we are talking about the origin of space-time itself.
The notion that atheists believe that everything was created by chance is also regularly thrown up as a criticism of Darwinian evolution. As Richard Dawkins explains in his marvelous book, “The God Delusion,” this represents an utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. Although we don’t know precisely how the Earth’s early chemistry begat biology, we know that the diversity and complexity we see in the living world is not a product of mere chance. Evolution is a combination of chance mutation and natural selection. Darwin arrived at the phrase “natural selection” by analogy to the “artificial selection” performed by breeders of livestock. In both cases, selection exerts a highly non-random effect on the development of any species.
5) Atheism has no connection to science.
Although it is possible to be a scientist and still believe in God — as some scientists seem to manage it — there is no question that an engagement with scientific thinking tends to erode, rather than support, religious faith. Taking the U.S. population as an example: Most polls show that about 90% of the general public believes in a personal God; yet 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not. This suggests that there are few modes of thinking less congenial to religious faith than science is.
6) Atheists are arrogant.
When scientists don’t know something — like why the universe came into being or how the first self-replicating molecules formed — they admit it. Pretending to know things one doesn’t know is a profound liability in science. And yet it is the life-blood of faith-based religion. One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be found in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while claiming to know facts about cosmology, chemistry and biology that no scientist knows. When considering questions about the nature of the cosmos and our place within it, atheists tend to draw their opinions from science. This isn’t arrogance; it is intellectual honesty.
7) Atheists are closed to spiritual experience.
There is nothing that prevents an atheist from experiencing love, ecstasy, rapture and awe; atheists can value these experiences and seek them regularly. What atheists don’t tend to do is make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about the nature of reality on the basis of such experiences. There is no question that some Christians have transformed their lives for the better by reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. What does this prove? It proves that certain disciplines of attention and codes of conduct can have a profound effect upon the human mind. Do the positive experiences of Christians suggest that Jesus is the sole savior of humanity? Not even remotely — because Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and even atheists regularly have similar experiences.
There is, in fact, not a Christian on this Earth who can be certain that Jesus even wore a beard, much less that he was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. These are just not the sort of claims that spiritual experience can authenticate.
8) Atheists believe that there is nothing beyond human life and human understanding.
Atheists are free to admit the limits of human understanding in a way that religious people are not. It is obvious that we do not fully understand the universe; but it is even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Koran reflects our best understanding of it. We do not know whether there is complex life elsewhere in the cosmos, but there might be. If there is, such beings could have developed an understanding of nature’s laws that vastly exceeds our own. Atheists can freely entertain such possibilities. They also can admit that if brilliant extraterrestrials exist, the contents of the Bible and the Koran will be even less impressive to them than they are to human atheists.
From the atheist point of view, the world’s religions utterly trivialize the real beauty and immensity of the universe. One doesn’t have to accept anything on insufficient evidence to make such an observation.
9) Atheists ignore the fact that religion is extremely beneficial to society.
Those who emphasize the good effects of religion never seem to realize that such effects fail to demonstrate the truth of any religious doctrine. This is why we have terms such as “wishful thinking” and “self-deception.” There is a profound distinction between a consoling delusion and the truth.
In any case, the good effects of religion can surely be disputed. In most cases, it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons are actually available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?
10) Atheism provides no basis for morality.
If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine. We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.
We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Enough of that.
I've been on a bit of an Alanis Morisette kick for the last few days.
This is one of my fav's from her, mainly because I can relate to it. Yes, Mike, this one is for you.
Friday, December 08, 2006
The main thing bugging me is that I found out the mortgage on my new house is going to cost me quite a lot more than I thought it was going to. All these stupid fees. I'm not going quite into it right now, I'm just irritated that I got these mortgage papers in my mail on a Friday night and I can't get any answers to my questions until Monday. Arrrrr!
*Sigh* Ok, I've got that out in writing now and that makes me feel somewhat better.
It's times like this that bring out an odd and hard-to-understand bit about myself. Why do I get all upset and defensive when my tries to tell me about how his uncle knows all about mortgages and how he could give me an estimate of my costs. Maybe it's that I really don't trust that he knows what he's talking about. For some reason I have this really hard time accepting advice from someone unless I have (a lot of) experience that tells me they really know what they are talking about. Like my Dad--I can trust that if I'm out somewhere and my car won't start, I can call him and most of the time he could tell me just what to do to bring the damn engine to life. On some other topics I may be less inclined to listen.
I think another bit of the problem is that I like to figure things out for myself. When someone tries to tell me how to do something, if I have not asked them for their advice, it's like they're telling me "Here I see you are not competent enough to figure it out on your own, so let me set you straight." That just drives me NUTS for some reason.
Hey, all you who have given me well intentioned advice, before you get defensive: I never said it was a rational response. I'm quite sure it isn't. And I probably should be on the giving end of some sincere apologies.
I suppose the flip side of this personality trait is that I do like to figure things out for myself. And if I didn't question so much the things people told me, I'd still be believing odd stuff like the notion that I'm somehow deserving of eternal condemnation because I have not always chosen to do the right thing in every circumstance in my life. Or that I can escape this supposed condemnation by believing really hard that some guy who was God 2,000 years ago died as a sacrifice to God to save me from God's wrath. Oh and that he then rose from the dead and lives in some place outside of space and time called Heaven . . . Well, you get the drift (assuming you don't believe these things yourself).
I have a tenancy to think for myself and question what the authorities have told me.
Not just in religion either . . . I also question political and other authorities. There is just so much lying and corruption in the world it's really hard to know who you can trust. Far as I can tell my best bet is to trust my own powers of reason.
The mortgage is a rough call because I have neither expert knowledge in the area, time or motive or resources to gain this knowledge, nor anyone to talk to with real expert knowledge who is looking out for my interests (and not trying to squeeze money out of me).
Times like this I just have to gather all the limited information I can, and after that just take the plunge into the unknown. Life is just full of uncertainty. It always was.
I know I'll feel better in the morning. I always do.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
bits of starstuff: joining first unitarian church
bits of starstuff: atheist?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Afraid of the Dark
A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom.
The little boy turned to his mother and said, "Mama, I don't want to go out there. It's dark."
The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. "You don't have to be afraid of the dark," she explained. "Jesus is out there. He'll look after you and protect you."The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, "Are you sure he's out there?"
"Yes, I'm sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you need him," she said.
The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and cracked it a little. Peering out into the darkness, he called, "Jesus? If you're out there, would you please hand me the broom?"
Thursday, September 28, 2006
But we decide which is right and which is an illusion.
NASA - Strange Moonlight
Yes that was a Moody Blues lyric :) I found it appropriate.
Monday, September 18, 2006
There is now even a walking shark. I see a new car emblem--a shark with feet :)
Shark that walks on fins is discovered - Yahoo! News
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I went to First Unitarian church, where I was going to for a while about a year ago. At one point I'd even talked to the minister about joining, but ended up deciding not to do it right away. Since then I've checked out a Buddhism circle, biking on Sunday mornings, and a few weeks ago I checked out another Unitarian Universalist church here in town.
Going back was a good experience for me. I recognized quite a few faces and met some people I did not already know from before. We had a good discussion about ethics in the adult Sunday School (they don't call it Sunday School though--here it's called the Sunday Morning Adult Round Table or SMART for short). The Celebration of Life (what they call their Sunday morning service) message was that we can find spiritual nourishment and fulfillment no matter what our specific beliefs or situation in life. Not the words they used, but that is what I got out of it anyway.
I am considering the possibility of joining this time, now that I've tried some other things and other Unitarian churches for a while. I find that now I am a lot more secure now about my atheism, and I'm not worried about being around and discussing it with people who think that I'm wrong. As long as there is respect on both sides, and I'm not expected to submit to a creed (they have no official creed). So now may be the right time to join. . .
Friday, September 15, 2006
EDIT:Actually I found the video on YouTube! Dear God Video
Hope you got the letter,
And I pray you can make it better down here.
I dont mean a big reduction in the price of beer,
But all the people that you made in your image,
See them starving on their feet,
cause they dont get enough to eat
I cant believe in you.
Sorry to disturb you,
But I feel that I should be heard loud and clear.
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears,
And all the people that you made in your image,
See them fighting in the street,
cause they cant make opinions meet,
I cant believe in you.
Did you make disease, and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the devil too!
Dont know if you noticed,
But your name is on a lot of quotes in this book.
Us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look,
And all the people that you made in your image,
Still believing that junk is true.
Well I know it aint and so do you,
I cant believe in,
I dont believe in,
I wont believe in heaven and hell.
No saints, no sinners,
No devil as well.
No pearly gates, no thorny crown.
Youre always letting us humans down.
The wars you bring, the babes you drown.
Those lost at sea and never found,
And its the same the whole world round.
The hurt I see helps to compound,
That the father, son and holy ghost,
Is just somebodys unholy hoax,
And if youre up there youll perceive,
That my hearts here upon my sleeve.
If theres one thing I dont believe in...
Monday, September 04, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Fact Sheet: Safe Substitutes at Home: Non-toxic Household Products
Friday, August 18, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Although the Bible contains many verses calling for basic kindness and charity, it is silent on, and often actively opposed to, the philosophical principles of justice and equality needed to build a truly good society and not just a society that contains a few good people. Believers who nevertheless support these principles are better than the Bible. They are more just than the Old Testament. Their morality is superior to the teachings of Jesus. They are better people than God.
Check it out here:
Daylight Atheism: Better than the Bible
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
AOL News - Disowning Conservative Politics Is Costly for Pastor
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
- About.Com: Natural Cleaning Products You Have In Your Home
- New American Dream -- Contains info on safer, natural, cleaning products and other aspects of environmentally sustainable living.
- WorldWatch Institute: Cleaning Products
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Evangelist arrested on federal charges Local News PensacolaNewsJournal.com
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
If God Had Voice Mail:
Thank you for calling heaven. I am sorry, all of our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line.
If you would like to speak to:
God, press 1. Jesus, press 2. The Holy Spirit, press 3.If you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding, press 4.To find a loved one who has been assigned to Heaven, press 5, then enter his or her social security number followed by the pound sign. (If you get a negative response, please hang up and try area code 666.)
For reservations in heaven, please enter J-O-H-N 3:16
For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, life on other planets, and where Noah's Ark is, please wait until you arrive.If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance, please contact your local pastor.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
- That humans are not a special creation, above and separate from everything else of earth. We are as natural and dependent on the earth for survival as any other creature.
- That God is not going to come back and destroy the earth anytime soon. So we can't treat the Earth and our resources as something disposable, something that will be destroyed soon anyway.
The first claim comes directly from an understanding that humans evolved from other forms of life just like every animal on this planet. The second follows from a naturalistic long term view of life on earth.
I have more thoughts on this for a later post . . .
Also as a result of things I was taught about environmentalism in school, I suggested to my parents that maybe it would be a good idea to have a government program that built a recycling program into the city waste disposal. Citizens would need to sort their recyclables into different bins before setting them out. The issue my folks brought up was how to pay for it and manage it--and as I had really no idea that was the end of that discussion. (I had the suspicion that raising taxes would not be an option.) So that idea was shot right down.
For a while I lost my interest in saving the environment. For one thing, I quit watching Captain Planet after watching an episode of Northern Exposure where I found out that the character Geia, the 'Spirit of the Earth' in the show, was revered as the goddess of the Earth in some pagan religion (at least Geia was referred to as a goddess in that show). It seems silly to me now, but as a very serious Christian girl at the time, I was devastated that the show used a pagan goddess as a main character. In fact, I wondered if I could trust anything from the show.
Another thing that blunted my environmental interests was that I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh with my father. As a homeschooled girl, this was pretty much my political education in highschool. Anyway I remember that anytime Rush mentioned the word 'environmentalist' on his show, it was always proceeded by the word 'wacko'. As in, people who chain themselves to trees to keep them from being cut down, and who care more about saving the kangaroo rat than they care about the livelihoods of farmers. It has taken me a long time to get the phrase 'wacko environmentalist' out of my head.
I did not regain my interest in environmentalism until my personal values went though a complete overhaul. I would not claim that this is the same for everyone--as some Christians are avid environmentalists--but in my case what sparked my interest in environmentalism once again had a lot to do with my doubting of Christianity. More specifically, it was sparked when, partly as an act of rebellion I sneakingly brought home _Cosmos_ by Carl Sagan (sneakingly because at that time I was still afraid of my parent's disapproval. From a comment I heard Dad make after we watched the movie 'Contact' at my sis's house it was clear he did not think much of Sagan.) I would read it in my room with my door closed, and hide it whenever someone opened the door. The most memorable thing about this experience was that it was the first time I'd read a comment about evolution being a grand and wonderful thing. The idea that the theory of evolution was anything good was a complete novelty to me, and the idea fascinated me. I also found a small book called a _River out of Eden_ by Richard Dawkins. This started up a great fascination with evolution in me, and I wanted to know more.
My beginning understanding of evolution watered the seeds of environmentalism in me that had lain dormant for a long time.
This story is getting to be quite long, longer than I'd intended, so I will continue it in my next post.
Friday, July 28, 2006
WP: Detainee abuse charges feared - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com
Monday, July 24, 2006
|You are an Atheist|
When it comes to religion, you're a non-believer (simple as that).
You prefer to think about what's known and proven.
You don't need religion to solve life's problems.
Instead, you tend to work things out with logic and philosophy.
I think the limitations of reason really only come from a lack of information available to us. I strongly suspect that reason is really applicable to the whole universe--the only limitation on our part is that not all the facts are at our disposal. Since our brains are really only evolved to comprehend facts that have to do with our immediate survival really anyway (this being the reason, I think, that really advanced math is so hard to grasp), it may not help a whole lot if all the facts were at our disposal. This is a cause for humility for sure--but not a reason to entertain irrationality.
Now how to be honest about my skepticism to believers without making them think that I think they're stupid or something . . .?
Friday, July 07, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
One thing I thought about was reason, and it's limitations. I have had bad reactions to mystical thinking before. I still do sometimes, but there is a way that I find it to be a deeply wonderful thing. I'm a bit torn between two ways of thinking. My rational mind wants to see everything from a scientific point of view, wanting to explain everything. Maybe I should say logical, not rational, because I don't think that what I'm contrasting this mindset with is irrational. Maybe non-rational, I don't know.
Anyway, back to sitting by the river. I feel an odd attraction to the river, and I have all my life. A sort of fascination. My boyfriend says that I should be attracted to water because I'm a Cancer. Now hold on a minute right here. I am strongly suspicious of astrology. It makes no sense to me that objects out in space influenced by personality by their configuration when I was born. It's illogical. However, the idea has a strange seduction to it. He also says that we (Cancer's that is, he was also born in June) are the "beasts of burden" for other people. This also strikes a chord with me, especially regarding my roomate. (Check previous posts.) Then jumps in the rational part of me that says "Well, yes you can take personality traits that you already know I have and then attribute them to a "sign," but just try to predict what a person is like based on their birth month. You can't do it, unless you just dabble in vagaries that could apply to anyone, and then only remember the bits that were right." Course, I don't tell him that, and I figure I never will. We just think differently about these things, and that is something that attracts me to him. No pressure, just temptation. He tempts me to believe. (Not just astrology, but other things that seem to be a lot closer to reality.) I don't believe in astrology, but maybe I could find some symbolic meaning in all of this . . .
Monday, May 08, 2006
About the things I said about him before, I don't know if it was completely fair. It was how I was feeling at the moment though. I'm not used to a relationship that didn't involve some sort of communication usually at least every other day. Maybe this is a good thing for me, as this is the longest lasting romantic relationship I've been involved in to date.
I'm still sorting things out here. I love this guy, I have no doubt about that. I'm not sure if a relationship between us would last a lifetime or not though. And I don't need to know right now really, as I'm not in any hurry to jump into any lifetime commitment (I wonder what I'll do if that opportunity presents itself). Right now I'm just holding on and seeing what happens.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
My roomate and I have been getting along rather better since the last couple of posts. He has improved since we first moved in--though there are still the little quirks like his battery powered alarm system that he insists on having but I seem to always forget to turn off when I get home. And his insisting on always having the door locked, even when I'm home. Couple of times I had to bang on the door for him to let me in because I'd gone outside to do something and he locked the door out of habit. I still don't know for sure if I will stay or move out when the lease is up. Part of it is because I'd like a nicer appartment, though I've also had the idea that a bit of work and spending could improve this one. I don't know what he's do if I left. He's dependent enough on someone else to do laundry, shopping, etc, that he has to either have a roomate willing to do it or else talk his mother into doing all that for him again. (She seemed very relieved when I took over all that stuff.)
As for my boyfriend, I'm not sure exactly what is going on. I called him and left a message on Thursday (or was it Wednesday, I'm not sure) but I've not heard a thing back from him. I know his sister is in town this weekend and that has got to be something to do with it. He's also the busy workaholic, but you'd think he could take just ten minutes out to let me know he thinks of me every couple days. I get the feeling that he is controlling all the interaction in this relationship--I can't get ahold of him when I call and he just calls when he wants. (This week is not the first time this has happened, if it was it wouldn't be a problem.) If the cell phone is broken, there is still a land line when he lives. I guess I'll just wait and see what happens--the ball is in his court, so to speak.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I'm planning to go to my Sangha meeting this morning. It's been a long time, and I haven't been meditating for a couple of months now. Just got the idea yesterday that I'd up and go today.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
Anyway, I am pissed. It's about my roommate. We have an interesting situation, one that I was well aware that I was getting into when I got into this apartment with him. After all, we've been best friends for a bit over eight years now. For one thing, he's blind, and never learned to do laundry, dishes, or cook beyond putting something in the microwave or toaster. I don't mind doing these things, though I wonder what he will do when I'm not living here anymore and when his mother isn't available to do the laundry. He can't get around anywhere by himself at all because he also has a disoriented problem and tends to veer off course if he doesn't have something to follow like a sidewalk. So if he wants to go anywhere he has to arrange a ride with the busing service or get me or some member of his family to take him.
Note that I'm only mentioning this as background information. I'm not mad about any of this stuff--I only mention it because it does put a little strain on our friendship. Like how he wants advance notice whenever I'm going to be doing something out at night. So he can plan dinner, and because he gets lonely in the appartment. It's a strain becuase I feel like I'm doing everything for him. It's an imbalance.
What pisses me off is his how he handles conflict. The other day he misplaced his watch. Fucking $16 dollar talking watch from Radio Shack. He starts ranting and raving and bitching about how he can't afford another $16 for a watch, and how someone at Denny's must have stole it (the theory was that it fell out of his pocket at Denny's Restaurant) and on and on. I even called Denny's but no one could find it there. Turns out that he had just placed it in an odd spot and forgot it. Then all was fine and good.
The most current thing, which riled me up today, was concerning a microphone. He really went off on this one. He's in a band, and the mic was supposed to be in the keyboard pouch. But I looked for it, and it wasn't. Therefore someone on the band was careless with his equipment. Or stole it. And he's quitting the band if they mistreat his equipment again. And he can't afford a $200 microphone. Bitch, bitch, bitch. Right in front of one of the band members that came to pick him up for band practice. You know where the microphone was? Right with the other band microphones at the house where they have their practices.
The really bad thing about all this? I can not stand to be around someone who is yelling and screaming and bitching and jumping to horrible conclusions whenever something of theirs is not where it's supposed to be. On top of me needing to take care of stuff for him that a roomate would normally take care of himself--even if he is blind--this is driving me crazy!
Friday, April 21, 2006
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Well, besides the weather getting really warm and the trees budding out and getting really beautiful. That is always something to celebrate this time of the year!
But that's not really what was on my mind when I started this post. I always remember my Christian days around Easter time, and I thought I'd write about an insight I've had. You other women out there may be able to relate.
Everyone thinks they know about women's mood swings--how that monthly cycle affects her emotions. I know I have them, though now that I understand better what is happening when I get emotional around the middle of the month (usually) I can deal with it rationally and say "Yes I know feel moody but since there is nothing in my circumstances to feel moody about it's probably just my hormones. I'll just wait a few days and it'll go away." And it does, inevitably. Reason is my lifeline here.
When I was younger I didn't understand as well what was going on. I didn't understand the chemical nature of emotions, and I still believed in a supernatural, eternal soul. So when I had those down times, they were almost always mixed with another emotion--guilt. I never felt like a very good Christian--I didn't know how to witness since the things I had to say to others wouldn't have convinced me. lol This lead to doubt, mostly doubt over my own salvation. This would lead me to be very susceptible to altar calls--to where I would jump and confess all my supposed sins (and I was a goody-two-shoes back then! ) and make sure I was saved and then feel light and free from the while cathartic nature of it all. Then next time around (or maybe even the next day) I'd be down again and doubt my forgiveness and feel guilty about doubting and the whole process would start all over again.
So what is the point? I dunno it was just on my mind--maybe the point is that there is an advantage to having a rational, materialistic view of emotion over having a supernatural view. God is not convicting me of anything. There is no God to convict me of anything. If I've done something wrong I can figure it out myself (or have someone point it out) and feel real guilt and do what needs to be done. Not have false guilt over imaginary sins that I must have commited.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
They have a cool quiz for determining where you fall on the political scale. It's a very short quiz and is, far as I can tell, pretty accurate. And (this is rare) it doesn't denegrate any of the political leanings, only describes them as favoring different types of freedom--different priorities.
BTW, I came out of the quiz as Liberal. I knew I was, but I wasn't sure just how much I was. lol
The other cool site is http://www.churchofreality.org/wisdom/
A religion that believes in whatever is real. Now there's a breath of fresh air!
Friday, April 07, 2006
The biggest thing is my job interview at Service Net. I currently have a job but I'm still casting out to see what is out there. Since I'm in a project currently, I want to stay until at least the first roll-out.
My boyfriend in now in Maine for a few weeks. Since I've been going to his place every weekend for the last couple months, it's going to feel odd without him around here.
Someone planted the thought in my head a couple weekends ago. So I've been playing with the idea of changing my name. It is an interesting conversation starter, but I'm getting a bit tired of people looking at me wierd when I tell them my name. "Did your parents want a boy?" Though it is kinda fun watching them get the look on my face like "OMG, I really just put my foot in my mouth didn't I?" LOL I'd never had a good idea what to change my name to, but someone suggested changing to Mikayla. I like that one--and I'm giving it some thought. I'd be a hassle though, trying to get people to call me something different though. But it's close, I like the sound of it, and it actually sounds feminine. And it's still unique.
That is all for now. There is a bit more I could write but I don't feel like it right now.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Honestly, I wasn't really expecting to strike up a new relationship at that dance. My plan was just to go, dance with a few people, have fun and go home. What ends up happening is that at first I'm not getting any invitations to dance so I decided to just go out on the dance floor and dance by myself. I was not up there long, probably not more than one song, when this pretty well built guy with brown eyes and dark curly hair asked if I minded if he joined me. I didn't mind, so we danced together for a few songs. He was a good dancer too, and taught me a few moves. I had a blast! He also liked to talk and was asking me stuff like what kind of drinks do I like and what kind of vices I had. When I first saw him the first thing I thought was that he didn't look too old (most of the crowd was around 50 or something) and that he looked Hispanic. Next thing I noticed was his accent, which I couldn't place, but which definately did not sound Hispanic. This was cool for me--I seem to have a thing for dark guys with odd accents. LOL Anyway, it turned out that he was from Maine. After a while we parted and I went to sit back down, but it wasn't long before I was looking around to see where he was--and he noticed and asked me later if I was looking for him. We were dancing together when the New Year started, and at his request I gave him my number before I left.
A few days later he called me, and on Tuesday we went to see King Kong at the theater near my apartment. The movie was good too, and I got into it. What really got me is that when we were talking after the movie ended, he was watching my face during the movie to see how I was reacting to the more intimate scenes of the movie--like the scene at the top of the tower (if you've seen the movie you should know what I'm talking about). He said that he could tell that I was really into the movie at those points. I couldn't help melting a bit when he started talking about that--I think there is something irresistible about a guy that in tune with how I'm feeling, even about a movie. Even back when we were dancing on New Year's I just felt like this was a guy who could understand me.
Since then I've been to a couple more dances with him, and I've spent a few weekends at his place over the past month. I've learned a lot more about him than I knew on New Year's. I think I've found something really special here, but I'm trying my darnest not to rush ahead. He told me that when he tries too hard to make a relationship work it has usually caused it not to work, and this has been my experience as well. Just got to take this one day at a time. But right now I feel like I could keep this up one day at a time for quite a long time.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Here is some of what happened this year. These are in the order they come to my mind, no chronological:
- I moved into an apartment in November, with my best friend.
- I have finished all of my college classes, and have started my final co-op. I'll graduate in the Spring.
- I've got my first real programming job, full time and with health insurance.
- For the first time I actually have my own heath insurance instead of relying on my mother's.
- I started meditating and then started looking into Buddhism--and found a lot that really rings true with me. Also started to attend the meeting of the Louisville Community of Mindfulness on Sunday mornings (playing hookey today though lol).
Last year at about New Years I said:
- I'm working on exercising more and drinking more water.
- I want to work on keeping a positive attitude when I'm stressed out. (It's
not a problem when I'm not stressed.)
- I intend to graduate at the end of 2005. This involved also finding a co-op
for next year.
- I'd like to be moved out on my own by the end of this year, or shortly after
I actually accomplished most of these. The exercising fizzled around the end of February, cause I got tired of Dad's elliptical machine. Ok, I got a bit lazy lol. But it lasted a whole two months--not bad I guess. But I did keep drinking more water.
My meditation practice has helped me not to get stressed out so much--it helps me to keep a clear head and be able to see when what I'm worried about will just not be helped by me giving myself an headache over it.
I'm close on the graduation bit. I finished my classes in 2005, but my official graduation will be in the Spring of '06.
I am moved out into an apartment now. Woo hoo!
On to next year:
Here are my intentions for this coming year:
- I plan to continue my meditation practice and find out more about Buddhism.
- I plan to start taking classes at Gold's Gym, which is just a couple of minutes from my apartment. In fact, I just signed up for a monthly membership yesterday.
- I would like to get my Microsoft Certified Application Developer certificate, though I've not made serious plans toward that end just yet.
- I'd like to go to more dances, like the the one I went to last night. Found a new friend who was teaching me how to dance. I'm expecting maybe to get a call from him today . . .
We'll see how it goes :)