Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quotes that amaze me.

There was an article on the CNN Faith blog recently about how there isn't now and has never been a founding bible (accd. to the writer, who wrote a book on the matter).

Anyone who knows the history of the bible to some extent probably wouldn't be surprised about this. I definitely wasn't, and already believed this before reading the post.

Naturally, the surprise came from the comment section. This one followed a comment that was (loosely) about how the Bible caused white folk from back in the day to consider Native Americans to be heathens, and therefore killed them and took over their land by force (you know, "Manifest Destiny"):
"Native Americans were not living fine but were enslaved by their own barbarism. Sorry they could not sustain themselves like the people in Asia in encountering superior Europeans. Many of them died of diseases and also assimilated into the main population. The Bible enabled mankind establish freedom, human rights, civility and sane laws. No other, because Bible alone is the divinely inspired book in the entire world. We are more educated? Humans are more evil and stupid and more mass-destructive than ever. If you are trult [sic] sorry for Native Americans, please leave the continent and never come back so they can have more room. Hypocrites. Great nations such as USA were well-constructed by Christians but you guys are ruining it."

Wow. Just...wow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

He sure does.

God hates figs.

(from Reddit)

The Singularity

Remember that post where I said I replaced hope in God with hope that eventually, we'll reach the singularity?

Time recently published an article about it.

I think you'll find it worthwhile to understand what Ray Kurzweil has to say about the future. Also, if you're interested, the debate between him and PZ Myers about this is pretty interesting.

I don't think that all of Kurzweil's predictions will come true, but I think eventually, they will. I just feel like he doesn't factor in the human side of things: it takes people and knowledge to reach a result, not just accelerating returns on technology development.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Separation of church and state

So many backwards concepts are promoted by the politics of the overly faith-promoting.

One of them is the separation of church and state not being a part of the constitution.

And then, we see a legislative attempt to pass a bill that bans Sharia law, as if that's 1) a valid concern, and 2) not hypocritical.

Anyways. Opponents of the separation will sometimes say things like "separation of church and state can't be found at all in the constitution."

Here's one way to respond to this remark, as quoted in this article:

When Bradley and Mercer asked to identify where the words “separation of church and state” could be found in the Constitution, Frank Knaack of the American Civil Liberties Union shot back, “it probably is alongside right to privacy, separation of powers, [and] other understood concepts from the Constitution that do not exist in those words in the Constitution.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finding peace without the Lord

Obama talked about his faith recently. Holding the presidency has got to be one of the most stressful jobs imaginable, so hearing about how his faith plays a role is a big interest to me.

In his speech, he related a quote from Abe Lincoln: “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”

It instantly reminded me of all the times I went to God back when I was a believer.

It also reminded me of the dilemma I saw myself facing once I realized I didn't believe anymore: how do you cope with life without believing God has your back? I used that idea so much I became nearly care-free with it. Still amazes me how incredibly calm I could get over a belief in something that didn't exist (at least, in the Biblical way I was taught He exists).

And sometimes, I honestly wish church was about the recent findings of social and behavioral psychologists and how we can use them to improve our lives. I'm sure there are tons of people out there, young and old, who could really benefit from the instruction.

But for now, I find faith in humanity and the self (as opposed to myself, in which case, I'd sound arrogant).

I find faith in humanity because the singularity is near, and eventually all these problems brought on by human discrimination and stupidity should disappear (namely, my own stupidity). I have faith in the self because, quite honestly, I have this goal in life (that I'll never tell you about, lest I risk my hopefully anonymous identity), and I feel "exceedingly" happy and euphoric whenever I make progress with it.

Honestly, I can't tell you how amazing life is when I pursue this goal. It's not spiritually amazing like worshiping God, but it's extremely uplifting.

So when I start to get down over life, I do one of two things. I either envision how things will be once the singularity comes, and we're all really advanced human cyborgs (and once we know basically everything, won't we be all play?); or, I do something meaningful with my life.

It all stems from acknowledging to myself when life isn't that great and saying "okay, can I do something about it? If so, what? If not, don't worry. Things will be incredibly amazing some day." And furthermore, I can be genuine with that last statement.

It's working really well so far. What do you think? And how do you cope?