Saturday, January 3, 2009

Says It All

[Image snipped from Pharyngula. Too good to pass up.]


Frank Drackman said...

I think the Cartoonist is playin a joke on Y'all Atheists...check out what the abreviation is...AAS..OK, its not quite "ASS" but pretty damn close...and I don't quite get the symbolism anyway? Atheists sit out in the Sinai? Why would Atheists meet MONTHLY? I mean who schedules their meetings based on the orbital period of an Astronomical Object?? And what about that well known Atheist/Vegetarian/Artist....whats his name??? A something...

Sid Schwab said...

There's a term for excessively concrete thinking. For some, it's treatable; but it could affect your next staff application.

Ellen Kimball said...

That is one funny cartoon, Sid.

Thanks for posting it.

Ellen K.

PS. The Unitarians of the Desert had a great service on Dec. 24th in Rancho Mirage. Their logo had a roadrunner on it! We sang songs from Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa. One member read a desert version of "A Christmas Carol." You would have loved it. My aetheist husband wouldn't sing "Silent Night," but the UUs modify it to leave out the religious words... "'Round yon virgin... holy infant" etc.

The minister, Rev. Paul, was from New York, so he sounded like family. (I've been married to two New Yorkers and one Bostonian whose mother was from Brooklyn.) Rev. Paul wore a vestment like a damask tablecloth around his neck, with fringes. I told him it reminded me of the "tallis" and he chuckled. He was born Jewish, but took me aside after the service and told me he had been married once and then had two partners. For a moment, I was confused, but then he advised he had been in a heterosexual relationship, and then had two same sex partners (not at the same time)!

"Here's to ecumenical families, Moshe." Next March, we vacation with the Conservative/Orthodox Jewish branch of the family; in May, we'll be with the Mormons.



GDad said...

Too funny.

Frank Drackman said...

Ah C'mon Sid, you were a flight surgeon!! you're tellin me when you were at 40,000 feet in an F-4 Phantom in the early evening high enough you can just start to make out the curvature of the Earth, and the Stars are so bright, you can almost reach out and grab em, that you didn't feel the presence of something a little Bigger than even a Surgeons Ego??? OK, so I threw up in my Oxygen mask...
Same concept.....

Sid Schwab said...

Well, if you want to have a legitimate discussion of belief, I'm game.... although I may have said most of it here already in some previous posts. But sure: I've looked at the world and felt spiritually moved; I can feel it looking out my window. But to say that inspirational beauty implies a creator is a non sequitur. In fact, it's the ability of all people to find spiritual meaning in the beauty and complexity and wonder of the world that -- to the extent it's possible to prove a negative -- disproves God, in my view: it's there for all of us; we feel it. That's true, and truth. The rest of it is conjecture, an unnecessary construct when there's wonder enough in what we see for ourselves.

But I don't think you're really up for that sort of discussion. Or if you are, you wouldn't admit it here.

Frank Drackman said...

If there's not a God howcome the Good guys win almost every war? I mean except for that one y'all Yankees won...Shouldn't there be more parity if theres no Guy with a White Beard Up in the Replay Booth?? HMM? HMM? and don't try and read my mind, Mister Dis-Believer, you're the one who started this Aug-ust discussion with a crummy Cartoon....

Ellen Kimball said...

Right there with you, Sid.

I tell my grandchildren that no one has ever proved the existence of a god (small "g"), even though virtually every culture -- since man evolved(!) on this earth -- feels the need to make one up.

How else do we as humans answer this complex question:


People have pondered the question as long as we have been able to think. Yet, each one of us lives this life without really knowing the answer. The spectre of death looms for all of us at the end, and it truly gnaws at me as I reach my 70th birthday this year.

One of the frights is that I might accept some religion on my deathbed just to calm myself down. I have a little nonsense mantra that I say to myself when I feel anxious. Other than that, I now fall asleep using Dr. Art Ulene's tried-and-true message: I count backwards from 1,000!

Some of us THINK we know the answer, but I am a true skeptic. I just try to live this life as best I can. When I am in a church or a temple or out in a desert or meditating or hearing beautiful music, I do feel something spiritual. But deep down, I know I will never REALLY be able to explain how all of this came about or what the true meaning of it is.

When I studied world religions in college, it amazed me to find the basic concepts of religions were quite appealing in theory. The pantheon of Roman and Egyptian gods was inspiring. I even love to learn about the devoted saints of Catholicism. When I was a young girl, I wanted to go to the local church because it was big and beautiful. After the movie "A Nun's Story" was released, I thought about becoming one! I think it was the theatrical pagentry -- Scenery! Lighting! Costumes! Music! A foreign language (Latin)!

I got involved with Zen Buddhism for a while, and Jean Paul Sartre's existentialism was very seductive. Each one of them has an orderly way of explaining the main questions, and I was amazed at the inventiveness of my newly-discovered religions. It was like a wine-tasting... a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Prior to college, I was a true product of a Judeo-Christian upbringing. But the world has so many imaginative god-figures and proof built only on faith, which I could never understand. Sometimes the details were so audacious or simplistic in my mind that I was laughable. Humans all over the world had the temerity and audacity to shape "gods" in the form of a man (rarely, a woman)!

I try not to question the opinions of the devoted faithful of whatever religion. This life is a very personal journey and if people have found faith is a good pacifier, they have a feeling of security that helps them along their way.

I'll tell you a little secret.

Sometimes I even envy them.


Sid Schwab said...

Ellen: I think I've written it here, somewhere: I envy faithful certainty, too, at times.

Funny thing: you almost have to believe the Romans and Greeks had it right. To make any sense all of the world, if you were a believer you'd have to imagine all sorts of gods at war with each other, none entirely in control of everything. Settling on one god, you have to accept (but not mention) that he suffers from dissociative personality disorder and is both severely flawed and incompetent. At least if he's trying to keep all the other gods in line, the craziness makes a little sense.

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