Wednesday, June 7, 2023

What I believe

 I recently commented to a family member on Facebook who was spouting off about "sin."  I essentially said that the greater sin is those that judge others.  I don't get pleasure out of stirring up trouble or causing family disharmony, but I wasn't in the mood for preaching at the time so I reacted.  It's been quite some time since I've posted and I have often avoided controversy in past posts but I think it's time to let it fly and say, "this is how I feel" on many sensitive issues, so here it goes:

Religion, in general; no thank you for me.  I consider myself a pantheist (thank you Dan Brown and Richard Dawkins) whereby god is the sum of all parts.  So by this definition (good news), we are all children of god.  Yes, god is the totality of the universe.  And (more good news), there is not a wrathful god entity watching your every move who will send you to hell (or heaven).  

Sex - I think anything should be permitted between consenting adults.  

Vice - I think there should be minimal regulations on sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. for those of legal age.  Less government is better government.

Legal Age - My philosophy is that if you treat someone as an adult, they will act more like an adult.  I enlisted in the army at 19.  At that time, the drinking age was 18.  That made sense.  You can't save people from themselves and you need to let people take personal responsibility.  I do not support a 21 drinking age and I think it's bizarre to consider people children on health insurance until 26 (although I understand it to be a simple solution to getting people health insurance).

Health Insurance:  Health insurance is NOT health care.  Everyone should be able to access affordable health care that is focused on the basics - Breathing, bleeding, broken bones (you get the idea).  No, we should not be exploding the costs for everyone to cover things like IVF or sex change operations.  I'm not against either, but we need to focus on the basics for all.  Presently, we have way too many resources going toward administration (paperwork) of health care and not enough on the provision of health care.

Contraception:  I don't understand why health insurance covers pills (and devices) for women, but will not cover condoms.  Pills will not protect you from disease.  Condoms will both help to prevent pregnancy and prevent disease.  Shouldn't this be encouraged?  I want to emphasize that I support birth control and that birth control should be promoted to avoid unwanted pregnancy.  My point here is that we need to expand this thinking.

Abortion:  Absolutely should be legal and infrequent.  Yes, you are terminating a life.  I am bothered by those who candy coat this fact by calling themselves "pro choice". Bullshit, you are pro abortion.  This should be a painful decision that individuals should be able to make safely and for themselves.

Capital punishment:  Absolutely, although I am always mystified by some of the apparently weak cases that get the death penalty whereas there are others who are mass murderers and there is absolutely zero doubt as to guilt and they don't get the death penalty.  If someone is already serving a life sentence and they kill a guard or another person without cause they need to go.

Corporal punishment:  Absolutely - I don't understand why folks think this is cruel and unusual but seem to think its ok to incarcerate someone for a lengthy sentence or incarcerate them with the hopes that they will be victimized by other inmates.

Euthanasia:  Absolutely - If a pet were in pain, you would take it to the vet and may need to make a tough decision.  Why shouldn't humans be accorded the same decency?

War:  As is best said, "what is it good for, absolutely nothing..." I am troubled by the lethality.  There is no glory, just ugliness.  I am saddened for those that get dragged into participation (conscription and enlistment) as well as all those who are touched by the brutality.

Internet and Cellphone plans and online subscriptions.  I can't go onto the Spectrum website to figure out what is available or how much it costs.  Neither can I look on the Times Union website to figure out the options for subscribing to the daily paper.  When you get a rate, they are introductory teaser rates whereby they quickly bump up your cost and hope you won't object.  Sadly, the goal of these companies is to obfuscate their way to a profit.  These businesses should be required to post straightforward prices and stop auto-billing.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

What's the "real" price?

 The fun started with my annual pilgrimage to Spectrum's "retention" department.  The game goes something like this - Spectrum provides a "promo" rate for a year, the rate runs out and you are shocked with a crazy high bill, you complain and eventually are given another promo which is usually about $10 higher than your old "promo" but looks good compared to the "regular" rate (whatever that is).  This has become such an annual passage that I've now placed it on my calendar to try to avoid the price shock.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

I believe, I believe

I believe that I don't need to stick a sign in my front yard to tell others what I believe.

I believe I am a good person without the need for displays of pretentious self righteousness. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Can a pantheist pray?

I read Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, a few years back.  Among my recollections is that Dawkins' related that pantheists were really just sexed up atheists. Wow - aside from a quick laugh, that was a bit of a jolt. Hmmm, I thought, in my flavor of pantheism, god is the sum of the parts; the totality of the universe. This is a very empowering perspective as by definition you and me are all part of the concept of god. Think of that - you are part of god - heavy stuff. So it came as quite the shock to be called a sexed up atheist. Thankfully, Dawkins' provided a great discussion of his definition of an atheist as someone who does not believe in a divine being(s).  Oh, ok, and after a bit of reflection, I came to agree with Dawkins.  I don't believe in some divine being watching everyone's every move who will make some sort of judgment so as a pantheist, I guess I'm (in the words of Dawkins) a sexed up atheist.

So can a sexed up atheist pray?

I'll often hear people say or write, "I'll pray for you" or "I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers". I realize these are often just social pleasantries for some much like saying, "Tell so and so that I said, 'hi'".  Does anyone really do that?  I suppose some do and I suppose that praying may be a degree more serious so I suspect that probably more who say they'll pray will actually pray.

But what about us pantheists?  Who do we pray to?  Is it even appropriate for a pantheist to say they'll pray for someone?  Is it hypocritical for someone to regard themselves as a pantheist, but then pray when they have concerns?  

I've struggled somewhat with these thoughts and while I don't loosely promise to pray for anyone, I have found instances where concern has driven this sexed up atheist to prayer.  Gasp, yes it has been a conscious choice, but I will note that my prayer is not directed to some divine being with the hope of intervention.  Rather, it is a meditation of sorts - placing my thoughts into the ether.  As a pantheist I believe in the connectedness of the parts of the whole.  There are aspects of connectedness that we can observe and/or understand and there are also aspects of connectedness that may not be understood, but nonetheless exist.  I believe there is some ability to project thought to outcome and an ability to approach harmony through meditative prayer.  Pantheism is all about perspective as part of the whole and transformation among and between the parts of the whole.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Another Day on the Planet

Lots of changes since I last scribbled a blog entry.  In early 2018, I lost both my parents and became the executor and remained extremely busy throughout the year. Among the challenges was clearing and selling a rural property while also juggling personal emotions and the grief of family members.  2018 and beyond provided an opportunity to reflect on much - yes, even my own mortality as while they were alive there was a cushion for denial - see, they're still living so it can't happen to me.  Then suddenly, its batter up - you're next (to my amusement if I go by the mortality tables for gender I am the next among my siblings).

The engagement of my daughter for later in 2019 brought much joy, but also a reminder of the passing of time.  I am extremely happy that she has found someone to share life with.

I am now within view of retirement - I'm estimating about 3 1/2 years or so away.  Its exciting; I wish I could do the retirement without the years on the odometer.  I'm looking forward to a few years where I do what I choose when I choose to do it.  When I was young, I remember my dad expressing to me, "you'll be bored...".  No, I disagreed then and definitely disagree now.

In the meantime, my wife and I have been contemplating life changes and downsizing.  Where to live and how to get there.  I'm ready for a change; until then I continue to read, walk and spend another day on the planet.