The battle to marry *

The battle to marry *

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Politics, Science, Religion

by maria on 29.12.2008 - 22:57  

It has been a while since I have posted anything. November and December sort of blindsided me. Lots going on. Somehow between dealing with craziness, ;-) I did run across an interesting article about the question of whether sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice or a biological trait. The article compares sexual orientation to handedness, and it seems a very apt comparison, and makes very good arguments as to why sexual orientation is a biological trait. I assumed that this would be the end of the story, but recently I was part of a discussion with a person from the religious right persuasion, who thinks that even if sexual orientation is a biological trait, and even if there is nothing a person can do about which sex they are attracted to, practicing homosexuality is still a sin. Apparently, according to her church, some people are unlucky enough to be born having to fight their sexual urges their entire lives. I can sort of see the logic, I mean I guess there are people who have an urge to murder people, and they probably have to fight this urge their whole life. But, murderers are clearly infringing on other people's right to life, if they give in to their urge, and consenting homosexual adults are clearly not. And on the more common end of the comparison spectrum, it seems to me a bit more intense then say, a married person having to battle wanting to cheat on their spouses occasionally (adultery, interestingly enough, is illegal in about 20 states, according to myfamilylaw.com, and is arguably infringing on the spouses rights). According to this church, it seems some people are given homosexuality as their cross to bear. I'm guessing there aren't a whole lot of gay men and women in her church. But the worse bit is that apparently she is obligated by her religion to push for legislation against giving gay people the right to marry each other. So, it isn't just wrong for her, and people with the same beliefs that she has, but it is also wrong for people who worship the flying spaghetti monster. While I can see where this argument comes from, it just seems a bit ridiculous to me. My first hurdle is getting past my 'if it isn't infringing on someone else's rights, then leave well enough alone' tendency. And then, I just completely don't understand the leap from, 'my religion states that this is wrong so I shouldn't do it' to 'I must do what I can to make sure this becomes against the law'. Is there going to be legislation soon that we cannot work on Sundays or that we aren't allowed to eat pork?

  • I did amuse myself with this title, which if I were talking about myself, would have been titled the battle not to marry.

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emergence

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Science, Religion

by me on 20.04.2008 - 15:22  

I've been thinking about emergence intelligence lately. Emergence intelligence is basically the idea of the whole is larger than the sum of its parts. For example, looking at the way an ant colony works, or how birds fly in flocks or birds swim in schools. There are no leaders in these groups, and individuals aren't particularly smart, and yet somehow the group solves complex problems and seems more intelligent than one would expect looking at the individuals. Other people have already compared this behavior to the cells in our brain. There is no one brain cell where we do our thinking or that is controlling the rest of the cells. Somehow, we think using all of our brain cells working together, although individual cells seem to have little intelligence. Recently I've been thinking about applying this idea to entire species, or the earth in its entirety. What if we are also all part of a greater intelligence. We don't realize it, in much the same way our brain cells don't know that they are part of a more intelligent being. Or think about the ant. The ant is just following signals, and although it may realize it is in a colony with other ants, it doesn't really realize that the problems that the colony as a whole are solving are much more complex then those that that ant could solve on its own. It is busy solving its own individual problems, and somehow by doing that is working with other ants to solve much greater problems. I believe we are all part of a greater intelligence, and are collectively solving problems that we are only vaguely aware of, if at all. We are all intricately connected in ways we don't really understand. When I think of god, this is what I think of. We are all part of an intelligence that is taking care of us, but there is no individual guiding anything. We are all part of it, but none of us is particularly important. There is no single guiding individual. Which is a humbling thought.

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christian god

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Religion, myLife

by maria on 12.03.2008 - 23:29  

So, when I was in Uganda, these very nice girls were braiding my hair for the wedding, and one of them asked me if I was born again. I told her no, well, actually I had been born again when I was in sixth grade, but I no longer believed. She asked me why, and I explained how I got very turned off of Christianity, because I had met so many that were horrible hypocrites, and some that were just plain mean. We kind of left it at that. I thought about bringing up the inherent unfairness of Christianity, but decided that her religion seemed to be doing her good, and if she wanted to drop pressing her religion on me, then I wasn't going to try to dissuade her from her religion. But, I do have to wonder what born again Christians think about the inherent unfairness of being born again. I remember being bothered by it as a child, and I would think it would bother adults enough to dissuade them, but clearly I'm wrong. There I go again, assuming people make choices like this rationally.

So, I was taught that even if someone had never met a Christian or heard anything about Christianity, if they failed to somehow decide to take Christ into their hearts, even having never heard of him, then they would go to hell. This was why it was so important to proselytize to anyone and everyone you possibly could. Which I also found unbearable, as I am not a saleswoman, but that is a side point. My point is that it just seems so random. So, if I grow up in a muslim family, surrounded by other muslims, never hear of Jesus (Ok, this was a bit more realistic a few years ago, but still, it could happen!), and then die, then that's it, I go to hell? Doesn't matter that I was an outstanding muslim, and that I lived a godly life? Maybe I was a better Christian (ie, lived according to the teachings of Christ, just by coincidence), then Jimmy Swaggart (I mean, how hard is that?), but I still go to hell, and Jimmy goes to heaven? What kind of grace is that? Oh, wait, even better. I am a completely despicable person. Someone teaches me about the invisible pink unicorn, and I see the error of my ways, beg forgiveness, and become a loving, wonderful person. Ok, maybe not the unicorn, but this does happen to people with religions other than Christianity, but they are apparently also screwed, because they called the god that they prayed to for forgiveness the wrong name. So much for grace.

I don't get the whole faith bit either. I am suppose to believe in Christianity, even though I have no proof, because of faith? But if I choose to believe in the flying spaghetti monster based on faith, and also no proof, then I am screwed. Humph. But, since I was taught that once you are born again, you are always born again, I'm ok, because I really was sincere in sixth grade. :-p

http://xkcd.com/224/

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