• Republicans Have Spoken
T-Sup: Republicans have spoken! This country will never accept Krooked Killary and all her nefarious doings.
We are dying for reform and will not accept any other outcome but Trump/Pence!
What do Republicans want? Specifically?
T-Sup: A non communist country....and that is where Obama has been leading us for the last eight years!
Could you please be more specific? What do Republicans want as policy?
T-Sup: Passing Keystone Pipeline. Repealing Obamacare! Ending entitlements. Free trade. Tough foreign policy. Right to bear arms. Border security.
So, a very selfish, business-as-usual, xenophobic and violent agenda, with zero concern for climate change or unsustainable economics. Thanks for explaining.
• Being Filial
ChinaGirl: Please excuse that this is very long, please also excuse the grammars. I am Chinese and English is my third language.
My mother always abuse me as a child. She destroyed me. Abused me, mentally, physcially, verbally. I forgave her. She is my mother, I would not be in this world without her. But, I left as soon as I graduated High School. I don't have anywhere to go, I had to temporary sleep in the Homeless Shelter. I would do anything to get away from her abuse.
Then, five years ago I meet my husband. From acquaintance to friends -- to dating -- to marriage, his is peaceful and loving, drama-free, zero drama. Thank you to his patience and effort that hold this marriage stable and peaceful. He ridiculously patience, patience and patience, and still ridiculously patience.. He is a devoted husband. Past or present, he treats me really really well. He loves me in every possible way that he can. I feel blessed to have him as my husband, I have no regrets this lifetime.
But he is West African. My parents have never met him, will not accept him. Won't let me talk about him. When I go to see my father, who never abused me, my mother call me dirty. She say, if I have children, she never want to see them, they would be as dirty as me and my husband. She say I make her "Lose face" (face is something very important in my culture.) She feels embarrassed and shameful about me. She very ashamed of me.
My father was not in my life much. He worked hard to get money to bring us to America when I was 12. He never abused me. But he did not stand up for me. I know he thinks I am dirty, too, but he is not up front with it.
So I avoid them.
Now know I am an awful daughter. I don't want to be unfilial. In my culture it is important to be filial. I blame myself everyday that I chose my husband over my parents. I blame myself everyday for being an unfilial daughter. In my culture-- the Confucianism Chinese culture, Unfilial is the top top biggest sin...lighting will hit those who unfilial to their parents. In our culture, we strongly believe that if you unfilial to your parents; when you have your own children, your children will be unfilial back to you.
All my husband asked me for is promise to Communicate with him, talk to him. We will face all the hardship together.. My family disapproval of him, our huge cultural difference, whatever hardship throw at us; he believe we can make it. As long two people loves each others, two people willing to communicate with each others, willing to make the effort to work it out together.
Now my husband he really want a baby to complete our little family.
This guy wasted 5 years of his life put up with my emotional childhood baggage. Despite I constantly test his love and patience, and make him wait and wait. He still have all the patience. He still here, his love still unconditionally. I know I can't keep him childless for the rest of his life.
But I feel sad for the baby; the baby won't have any maternal grandparents, and all the things my mother said it just so hurtful, how can she have the heart to say that about a baby? Babies are innocent.
Yes, I know I'm an unfilial daughter for chose a guy over my parents, but the unfilial one is me, the baby is innocent in all this.
There is something I would like you to understand. We don't even use the word 'filial' in this culture. I have never said it. Whether 'being filial' is important or not is a choice, not a fixture of the universe.
Your dad gave you the gift of freedom - now use it! You are in THIS culture, where he strived to bring you. You can do what we do in this culture, which is use our freedom to choose who we care about and associate with.
Choose the people who treat you well, like your husband, and try to not be bogged down by cultural ideas which don't matter, like 'being filial'. The quality of this short life is made up of the quality of our relationships. Have fun relationships with good people and have a fun life!!
If you still want to be 'filial', send your parents some nice letters in the mail, telling them routine news about your life and occiasionally expressing thanks or affection.
Don't expect anything back, just know that you did your part. Send adorkable pics of your children, with funny tales of how wonderful they are. What your parents do from there is on them.
• Creative Enlightenment
Rusty: I'm in a rut. My best friend thinks I need to change my hair, or something. But does that really make a difference?
People sometimes feel they are in a rut because they are not growing.
Rusty: That's how I feel! It's not my hair, it's that I need to find a way to express myself, to be creative. I've been thinking about doing more cooking...learning to cook new things and expanding my cooking techniques and knowledge.
If you want to test yourself, overcome your limits, and grow as a person, the kitchen is one of the best places you can do it. It's a well with no bottom - there is literally more to learn and experiment with than anyone could do in a lifetime, almost all within reach of a patient cook. Your failures will test your character, and your successes will delight everyone you know. Especially this time of year, when it's getting cold and the nesting instinct is kicking in, cooking is a great way to find yourself at the heart of your family and share yourself with them. Great food makes for great sharing and that spreads the love!
Rusty: And then, once I manage to get my hands on a real piano, instead of the keyboard I have now, I know I'll be spending a lot more time hunkered down at the piano.
Rusty: What other skills or hobbies do you recommend for personal growth?
I just have electronic keyboards and that is what I have spent the last three years hunkered down around. I had one song I wanted to learn to play for my family, but I started experimenting with some other songs and just never walked away.
At first I just learned some chords to play while I was singing, but eventually I started to get more interested in technical pieces. I don't even really sight-read music, I just look at the notes and sort figure out what they are and then practice it until I can play it. I arrange the music to suit myself and go for stuff that's easy and fun and recognizable. Saw this online and felt it illustrated the process perfectly:
Since then I've learned The Entertainer, Bach's Fugue in G Minor, and the themes for geeky classics like Star Trek and Star Wars. Plus a great Lord of the Rings medley and Let it Go from Frozen.
The keyboard has fun advantages over a piano, particularly in that they can transpose the key if a song you want to sing is too low or too high for you. So don't wait, you can start playing enough to show off right away!
There is always reading. Get to know more about history, art and science, and your understanding of what this life is and how to live it well will grow exponentially.
However I wish I could take my own advice more - between all this cooking and all this piano playing I barely have time to pick up a book! :-)
• When Love Started
Houseplant: You know the bible portrays very evil times before the Resurrection. All people were evil, and there was no love, until Christ came.
Houseplant: Well something was blocking any love in the OT times for sure!
Read the Sumerian Songs
. Then you will see that people could be good before Christ.
Did you read the Sumerian love songs? The beautiful words of love they wrote are so like the love we have for each other that they could have been written yesterday. How can you say that something was "blocking" their love?
I also think about all other people in this world back than too. Kind really suck for them totally.
You know when it really, totally sucked? The Dark Ages. People were incredibly cruel, warlike, stupid and brutal. Almost everyone lived in filth as feudal serfs, exploited as labor for their whole, terrible lives. Holy wars and inquisitions raged across the land, a thousand plagues tortured the populace, and almost no discovery of any kind took place.
Houseplant: What was the deal, what is wrong people back them anyways too?
This was AFTER Christ, by the way, AFTER Christianity became the dominant philosophy of the land, when the truth went on a thousand-year vacation.
If you want to know what it looks like when "all nations" value Christianity over reality, look no further. It was one of the most horrid chapters in human history and took hundreds of years to overcome. That is what pretend truth gets you.
What is wrong with people now, who have the benefit of 2000 years of experience, but refuse to look at it?
Dan: I know you are not religious, but you must believe in the Ten Commandments.
Commandments are a very primitive form of moral reckoning. They are an example of list-based morality, which can fail in any situation that does not conform to the pre-defined parameters of the list.
A better form of morality is a moral algorithm, which provides general decision-making criteria instead of specific do's and don'ts. Moral algorithms allow novel situations to be evaluated for harm vs. well-being as a guide to moral behavior.
• The Truth of Christianity
Carol: Here's a quote from that article I was telling you about:
"How can Christians be sure their religion is the right one? Being born into a Christian family or growing up in a Christian community doesn't make one a Christian; culture and ethnicity don't determine one's relationship with God. Instead, people become Christians because they are convinced of the truth of Christianity and/or have had experiences with God - in short, they have good reasons for believing Christianity to be true."
As a matter of fact, being born in a Christian family or community is exactly the main determining factor of who becomes Christian. Same with other religions. Studies have shown that the most influential factor in determining what religion a person espouses is what religion they were taught to espouse. Hands down.
"Furthermore, Christianity is unique among religions because it addresses the fact that we can never be good enough to be in the presence of a perfect, holy God."
Also, people "have experiences with God" in every religion and no religion. People in every culture pray to gods, have their prayers answered, feel divine presence, have moments of awe and reverence, experience healing, etc. It is not exclusive to Christianity. Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Shinto, Buddhists etc. all have the same types of experiences with life. Only the veneer of culture and tradition causes people in different places to give them different names.
There is no evidence that "experiences with God" confirm Christianity, are exclusive to Christianity, or cause people to become exclusively Christian.
Lastly, people being "convinced" it is true is not what determines truth. Correspondence to reality is what determines truth. And Christianity, for the most part - particularly as described in this article - is a bunch of hearsay ideas with no correspondence to reality.
In addition to being completely removed from anything like true, these ideas are also extremely unpleasant and problematic.
Some "fact." It is just the claim of some people that God or gods exist. It is just the claim of some people that God is perfect. It is just a claim that He can't tolerate imperfection.
"Other religions teach that we can somehow do enough good to earn heaven or nirvana, but they don't address the fact that we continually make mistakes."
Maybe a God or gods exist who are not so fussy. Or maybe there are no gods involved...this is certainly how it appears. Nothing is known of gods or what they might be like. There is certainly nothing that can be examined and no evidence to show that the "perfect-God-who-can't-stand-humans" claim is how things actually are.
That Christianity addresses this made-up "shortfall" is, if anything, a sign that it is not true. It's like a snake oil salesman telling you that you have a disease, even when you have no symptoms, but then telling you that he has the only cure. Sure he does.
This kind of claim ought to at least raise a red flag.
First of all, being mainly concerned with the afterlife is another red flag. Christianity places most of its rewards outside of real life where they could be examined. Instead, it promises you will get great, amazing things...later. Since nothing is known of any kind of afterlife, that makes it awfully convenient that most of the great things about Christianity happen there. You can't check and see if what they are promising really happens.
Carol: "Christ is the only way to God, because without the forgiveness that comes through his death and resurrection, there's no way for us to be able to stand before a holy God."
Secondly, all religions address the fact that humans make mistakes. That is what the moral component of religion is. Religion in human history has existed largely as a way to codify social mores and make it so that people could function in social groups with a minimal amount of friction.
Thirdly, the "continually makes mistakes" thing is at the heart of much of what is wrong with Christianity.
Humans are creatures with organic brains which learn by doing. Making mistakes is exactly what you would expect from a learning brain in a social milieu with a lot of competing priorities.
The explanation for why we make mistakes is perfectly natural. But Christianity claims that our ordinary mistakes are "evil." They have all kinds of claims about it: mistakes are "sins" that go against God or hurt Him; our mistakes are the result of Original Sin and the evil nature we inherited; we make mistakes continually; our mistakes separate us from God. Even grosser - gods require blood sacrifice for atonement of sin, etc.
It goes almost without saying that there is no evidence that any of this is true...people just claim it.
The result of these claims is that people are made to feel dirty and bad, just for being people with learning brains. Inducing these feelings plays on people's natural fear of being excluded, and serves to frighten them into submission. So, it is cruel and manipulative.
Also, the fact that the Christian moral system is completely removed from actual moral reality makes it extremely confusing and counter-productive. People get hung up on supposed sins, like doubting the religion, or traditional prejudices, like that homosexual sex is abomination, when these things are not actually mistakes.
Trying to base our modern morals on the systems devised by sheepherders from thousands of years ago results in a morass of prejudices and superstitions masquarading as morality. And it means watching the taboos of the past fall away as people learn, through trial and error, what really works and what doesn't.
To sum up, Christianity is co-opting natural behavior, stigmatizing it for reasons of control, and then stagnating it in the 1st century. This is causing a lot of unforced error in our society. It's certainly not an argument for the truth of Christianity.
Or so they have heard.
Carol: "If Christianity is true, then there is only one God and salvation comes only through Him, and religions that deny this are not merely alternate forms of spiritual expression, but systems of belief that prevent their adherents from obtaining salvation."
The article then attempts to address the question of whether Christianity is intolerant of other religions. The answer seems to be, yes, Christianity is intolerant, but for good reasons:
First of all, pretty big if. There is no evidence that Christianity is true.
"Yet if everyone automatically goes to heaven, this includes evil people as well as good people. Should an unrepentant killer go to heaven? Should someone who enjoys torturing people, or who molests children and feels no guilt, go to heaven? If not, then there are cases when it's morally right for people to be excluded from heaven."
Secondly, this fails to recognize all religions for what they are, social systems used by cultures. There is no understanding in this conceit that other religions are complete systems which engage their adherents in the same way that Christianity engages Christians.
Providing a perfect example of this is Saharra, suggesting that the Holy Spirit is actually reaching out to Muslims about Christ, but they are drinking the Kool-Aid of a cult shyster instead of answering.
What Christians like Saharra completely fail to acknowledge is that the feeling of having faith confirmed by the Holy Spirit happens to Muslims too. This feeling happens to people in all religions and out of them. There is nothing that Christians feel confirming their belief that others do not also feel, also confirming their own beliefs.
So, the result of declaring that other religions are not working for "salvation" is declaring that other people - mostly on other continents - are not able to get right with God because of their own failings. The Holy Spirit is reaching out to them, but they are too stupid to understand that He wants them to be Christians, or they are too blind to see it, or they are too evil to make the right choice. As Saharra says, "...maybe in reality they are closing Him off and doing what they want."
The result of this policy is the unavoidable conclusion that we are better than them. We're not drinking Kool-aid - they are. We are not ignoring the Holy Spirit and doing what we want - they are.
Sadly, this is the only way to reconcile a supposedly voluntary salvation with the fact that some people don't choose it. They are bad. Therefore, they will descend to hell, where they will be tortured forever and ever, while we march to heaven with a clear conscience. Or so we have heard.
The article then muses if perhaps everyone could go to Heaven:
This is just plain logical garbage. They jump from "You wouldn't want child-molesters in Heaven" to "you wouldn't want some types in Heaven" to imply "you wouldn't want Muslims in Heaven." Child molesters, non-believers...what's the difference? Garbage.
"Indeed, there are people "from every nation, tribe, people and language" who will be saved (Rev 7:9). Thus, far from being exclusive, Christianity is inclusive. Anyone who chooses to accept Christ as Lord and Savior is a Christian and has equal standing with all other Christians before God."
About as inclusive as a fraternity. Sure, everyone is welcome, as long as they are exactly like us!
Nothing could be more exclusive than claiming only Christians have standing "before God."
Saharra and other Christians who buy the party line are left with no choice except to believe that people of their religion are doing God right and people of all other religions are doing God wrong. This is an extremely toxic idea to have, not least because it justifies all manner of aggression and exploitation by "right doing" cultures against "wrong doing" cultures. It is a form of oppression.
And the saddest part is that Christians seem to be simply wrong about this. There is nothing that can be examined and not the slightest trace of evidence supporting the claims that Christianity is true, that humans require salvation through Christ, that there is any kind of afterlife, any kind of god.
They claim Muslims are drinking the purple Kool Aid while they stand there with a glass of the red version in their own hands. It may be a different flavor but it's still nothing but water, with sugar.
• How the Universe Started
Houseplant: How could the universe have gotten started, without God, anyways? How could all this have come together?
Carbon atoms are sticky on four sides. This allows them to stick together in a lot of different patterns. Sometimes they form long chains. Sometimes other atoms are mixed in which are sticky in some places and pushy in others. This forms twisty chains of atoms which are looped around themselves.
Houseplant: But, what made the carbon atoms?
On the early Earth there was a lot of carbon. There was also a lot of electrical activity, a lot of radiation, a lot of heat and impact from cometary bombardment, and a lot of geothermal energy in the oceans.
Somewhere in all this furious boiling of energy and matter, some of the loopy, sticky chains started to split in half, and then rebuild on the sticky spots. The same type of particle that was stuck there when the pieces were together, got stuck there again as it drifted by. Pretty soon there were two very similar sticky chains there instead of one.
Some of the chains got mushed apart before they could split and re-form. That was the end of them. But some of the chains were a bit better shaped. They made lots of copies of themselves and not all of them got mushed. The ones that did not get mushed kept going.
Some of these sticky chains found homes inside bubbles. The ones which could make their own bubbles, or cells, were the most successful of all. The rest is, literally, history.
If you have to push God back to doing nothing since the formation of carbon atoms, what point is there in dragging Him into it at all?
Houseplant: There was Creator at the beginning of all time.
As I have explained to you before, carbon atoms and other heavier elements are made by the fusion in stars.
There is no, exactly zero evidence for this, and no suggestion of it in anything that has transpired since.
Houseplant: This Creator made time too.
Again, if that's the only place in the universe you can find the slightest room to wedge in a Creator, why bother?
There is no evidence of this. And even there was, it certainly doesn't make any of the rest of the crap from your religion true.
Houseplant: Nobody was good before Christ blood washed away all sin.
Ugh. This is such crap.
The oldest known love songs are over 4,000 years old:
"Though they are thousands of years old, the earliest love songs sound so contemporary, so honest, so urgent, they might have been written yesterday. They are proof that human emotions have not changed. When we fall in love today, we feel what men and women felt in centuries past: desire, joy, disappointment, yearning, fulfillment."
Sumerian songs, among the oldest of any human literature, include romantic songs like "My Honey Sweet" and "Man of My Heart," along with other songs of love and affection like "Lullaby for a Son" and "Lu-dingir-ra's Praise of his Mother."
Are you saying the beautiful, poetic souls who wrote these songs of love 2,000 years before Christ were no good?
• Teaching Islam in School
Carol: Did you see that picture, it was all over Facebook. For a school assignment, the kids had to learn the 5 pillars of Islam! Outrageous! I don't let my kids hang out with gang members, but I'm supposed to allow this?
Reba: Are you saying you wouldn't let your kids hang out with Muslims? That's prejudiced. You can't make blanket statments about Muslims, you don't know every one personally.
Carol: I don't need to know every Muslim personally, I know what is the belief of all of them. I'm neither male nor mulsim, so I know where I fall in line in their belief.
According to Christianity, humans are born with original sin and require salvation from Christ or they will go to the bad afterlife when they die. That's what the religion says.
Carol: Do you think American children should be required to learn this crap the islamic religion spews?
Some Christains believe this literally, some figuratively, some not at all. There is no way to know how much a person goes along with the crap their religion spews until you talk to them. So, I try to give Christians the benefit. Muslims, too.
Of course! All children throughout the world should learn what the ancient religions said. They should learn the crap the ancient Greeks and Romans used to believe, the crap the ancient Egyptians used to believe, the crap the ancient Hebrews believed, the crap the ancient Christians and Muslims believed, the crap the ancient Hindus and Celts believed, etc. All of this is important for understanding the history of human thought - and conflict.
They just shouldn't be taught that any of it is true.
And IF it's true that she is an alien from the planet Volmack then it's even more disgusting. They eat babies! They don't recycle! If she is one of them, she should be drawn, quartered, and deported back immediately!
I only stated, IF.