Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Creationists, Did God Create Evolution?

Creationists worry too much. If one accepts that God created all things and that God is infinite, how can one vehemently and absolutely deny the possibility that perhaps God put evolution in motion in the first moment of creation. Life is perpetual and everlasting change. 

Just as birds evolved over tens of millions of years from theropods during the Mesozoic Era, man has been around an extremely long time. And just as the dinosaurs became extinct, we will also one day disappear -- 100,000 years ago there were 3 species of humans.

Hopefully, we will grow and develop into an improved species more worthy of God's love. Tolerance of each others' differences will be a major criterion by which this shall be measured. So, if someone believes that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, who am I to shun them? But, if I believe that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, they need to be tolerant of me.

Choose Life (or Not)

We consciously and actively choose to become better human beings (or not). We choose to either apply what we learn or laggardly allow inertia to hold sway. 'Freedom of Choice' is an inescapable responsibility in everything we think, feel and do.

Choose not to decrease soot emissions and breathe dirty air, then watch cancer and other health issues increase. Treat women as chattels and lose their productive abilities. Lie to yourself and others so that you can hide your deficiencies and stifle your personal growth.

'Cause and Effect' is unavoidable. It's called Reality. Denial or failure to recognize the Truth becomes 'neurosis' and then 'psychosis'. Unanswered opportunities become challenges and then crises. Whether the issue is trade deficits or gingivitis, negligence is self-destructive whether it's at the individual level or the international level.

Individually and as groups, we can consciously commit to courses of action that are rational and wise. Then we can alter those directions as feedback from our actions occurs. The failure to take action in the first place because we are paralyzed by fear is called the "sin of omission".

Choose life.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Forgiveness vs Forgetfulness

Forgiveness is the letting go of the hurts you've experienced. Forgiving takes work.

It means not dwelling on the past; but, it does NOT mean forgetting about the lessons learned.

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as revenge.

Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness) or excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action).

In considering whether or not to work on forgiving someone, look at how much of a burden carrying the antagonism towards that person weighs. Forgiving does not mean condoning nor rationalizing nor forgetting. It means letting go of the negative feelings such as desire for revenge, etcetera. Forgiveness is made easier if one receives a heartfelt apology(s).

A person who does not forgive carries a baggage of memories of the wrong, of negative feelings, of anger and unresolved emotions that affect his or her present as well as future .... not only should one forgive others, but one must also seek forgiveness if one has wronged someone. Forgiveness is to be sought from the individual wronged, as well as society at large.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ho'oponopono: Self I'dentity


If your goal is to focus on the positive—on those things that produce
satisfaction, meaning, serenity, and joy—and you notice that you
have been lost in replaying an argument you had with someone, or
that you are wrapped in images of hurt, criticism, complaint or
blame, you can instantly refocus by repeating, “I’m sorry. Please
forgive me,” from your heart until you feel a sense of peace. Then, as peace enters you — and if you are genuine in asking for forgiveness, peace will indeed enter — you can respond to it with
“Thank you. I love you."
Your thanks is for the gift of recognizing the negative thought, and for the relief that came when you chose to apologize for it. 
Your love is an appreciation for choosing to let go of the negative, to embrace the healing, the cleansing of it from your mind. And with your sincere utterance of gratitude and love, you set off a wave of joy.

Prayer: As I Am
Dear God, 
I thank Thee for accepting me as I am. You shine your Light and Love thru me.
You give me Life eternal.
My imperfections darken Your Light and create shadows in my world.
I thank Thee for showing me my misconceptions, irrationalities and fears.

I'm sorry.
I apologize.
I recognize what I am.
Please forgive me.
I thank Thee.
I love Thee.
I adore thee.

Realize that your soul (highest level of consciousness / higher than mental body) contains all of your "past" memories. As you go thru your day, stimuli will trigger thoughts and feelings (not all positive). Neither condemn nor rationalize nor condone those that are irrational, negative, hostile, weak, ungrateful, fearful, etcetera. Simply recognize that your soul is 'dishing up' to you something that needs purification. Be grateful. This is a gift. And an excellent way to heal yourself is thru the consistent practice of Ho'oponopono:

Ho'oponopono: 8 minutes
Self I'dentity through Ho'oponopono is a wonderful tool for self-healing and causes a great improvement in all areas of your life.

Ho'oponopono song 9' (w/subtitles)

Variety of related music:

Dr. Hew Len

Inner Child Meditation Ľoponopono

Related postings:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

As'tWas: The Doctors Said...

My friend and I were on vacation.  We'd just arrived after midnight and pulled into a bowling alley in Hayward, Wisconsin.  We'd just barely sat down at the bar when an older guy came down and sat next to us.  I figured he was going to hit us up for a drink -- but instead, he ordered up a shot of whiskey for himself and determinedly slapped his money down on the counter.  He ruefully looked at us and told us that he'd just got out of the hospital for a bleeding ulcer / and that the doctors told him that if he had even just a single drink that it'd kill him.  When the bartender sat the drink down in front of him, he carefully picked it up and carefully studied it for a moment.  Then he suddenly tipped his head back and quickly downed it. 

We didn't know what to think.  Then, about thirty seconds later, the  tugged on my friend's sleeve and said, "Can you give me a ride to the hospital?"  He did. That morning, the alcoholic was soon dead.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

As'tIs: Fleeing Safe Haven and Into Trouble

As I stand in front of my grocery store under a huge awning watching a sudden cloudburst pour down in the early evening, I watch other customers come out of the store loaded with groceries. With little hesitation, they all head into the rain and not one has an an umbrella despite the large display of umbrellas for sale by the exit. I, myself, do have an umbrella; but watching and observing this melee is much too interesting to pass up. 

Note: One lady did pause long enough for me to tell her that my weather app radar showed that the rain would be totally gone in less than five minutes. She thanked me for the information and plunged into the heavy rain and immediately almost got backed into by a previously drenched 'escapee'.

Oops! The rain just now ended. The air is cool and fresh. And not one single person waited out the rain with me. Interesting?! Now the people who'd been waiting in their cars for the rain to stop are coming into the store. It seems there's a different mind set depending on whether you are coming or going.

Human nature- it's all too often quite perplexing. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chippewa Sniper In The Black Forest WWII

In 1975, I was vacationing in Winter, Wisconsin.  I had my tent pitched in the backyard of my best friend’s grandmother’s yard.  Fishing by day and
chumming with the townsfolk at night, John and I met a fellow named Martin, a Chippewa Indian, who’d served as a sniper in WWII.  One story that he told bears repeating:

He was perched in a high spot midday where he could survey a mountain trail.  A small group of German soldiers soon appeared.  As Martin watched them
through his scope to determine which one to target, he quickly realized that this was an unhappy troop.  Their leader was swaggering and openly berating his underlings.  It was this dolt that Martin felled with his one shot – but instead of scooting behind impervious cover after he took the shot as he would
normally do, he paused to watch the reaction of the German soldiers.  Instead of firing in his direction (which would be normal behavior), they furtively and discretely retreated --- apparently relieved to be rid of their unillustrious leader.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

As'tWas: Columbus Day Typhoon and Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

Sometimes we find ourselves swept up on a 'current of events' that defines part of our outlook on life.  Such was the case for me in October of 1962.  It  was Columbus Day in Eugene, Oregon.  As I looked out across the street from my student desk anxiously awaiting to go home towards the end of the school day, I observed that the smoke from a chimney suddenly started to flow down the side of the chimney and curl on the ground.  Before I could ponder on this too long, an announcement over the school PA system told us to all go home early without delay.  Typhoon Freda, despite the previous assurances of the national weather services, had continued up the coast and was soon to be upon us.  

I lived only a mile away, and even though I hadn't 'dilly dallied' at all, I was being hammered by steady winds that forced me to walk leaning into the wind in order to not be bowled over before I was even a third the way home.  I pitied those who had to walk further than I did.  Soon after I got home, my father arrived and the winds had increased to the point that gusts had buffeted his truck such that he'd experienced sideways slippage on the wet roads.

During the night, the storm did its worst.  In the morning, with the sun shining, we climbed out through the front window of our apartment because the neighboring buildings' shingles were all stacked up in front of our door.  Trees everywhere were either mangled or laying on the ground.  The roof had been blown off of my school -- with 2x4s from it shot like arrows into the building across from the school like arrows.  A wall in an old folks home down the street had blown inwards and killed several unfortunates.

I had a couple of weeks of staying home while the school was being repaired -- but it wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been.  The Cuban missile crisis was peaking before the school could be reopened.  And having  just experienced what a typhoon could do, I was all too aware of what a nuclear war could hold in store for all of us. [Two years prior, we'd been living in rural Idaho close to an air base and I'd spent one summer digging a deep hole in the ground to build a nuclear fallout shelter in.]

As'tWas: Lucky Marine in WWII

On the subject of our 'dropping the bomb' on Japan to end WWII, 
some apologists feel we shouldn't have done so.  The men of the
generation who actually had to fight the war don't agree.

One of my father’s best friends,
“Red” Thayne, served as a Marine In
WWII.  Here are a few stories on the
lighter side that bear repeating:
1) While digging a network of foxholes
on one island, his Sergeant (who was
notorious for his sense of humor & practical jokes) hollered at his troop, “All those who smoke, take a 15 minute break!”.  Normally there was no time differentiation between smokers and nonsmokers and since this was five minutes longer than the usual break, “Red” decided that this was a good time to take up smoking. 15 minutes later, Sarge hollered with a grin,” Now, everybody else take twenty”.
2) One day, as Red's platoon was advancing on their bellies through a huge expanse of high grass, “Red” thought he heard a strange noise in the direction that they were advancing. Quickly, he popped up, saw a Japanese soldier, fired his rifle, and ducked back down. Bizarrely, the enemy had done exactly the same thing in the same instant.  What makes this story worth repeating is the fact that their bullets met in  midair and ricocheted off one another.  If that hadn’t occurred, then both soldiers could’ve been casualties.
3) On another occasion, “Red” was working his way up a hill towards a Japanese strong point.  Suddenly, he felt the impact of a bullet hit him in the back.  He was perplexed when he didn’t feel any pain or blood seepage. 
After they took the hilltop, he pulled off his pack to grab his shovel and start ‘digging in’ --- that is when he found a ‘ding’ in his shovel made by the bullet that had impacted him in the back.  The shovel had saved his life.
4) The most miserable day he ever spent was advancing through a former plantation that was overgrown with what looked to him like Johnson
grass.  The weather was hot and extremely humid. As they moved along, the pollination of the grass stuck to every portion of their skin and worked its way under their uniforms.  Intense itching doesn’t even begin to describe their tormented suffering. And when they came to the abandoned greenhouse where the former land occupants had grown a 
garden, the only thing still growing were radishes. When they tried assuaging their hunger by trying  to eat them, they were worse off than ever. Suffice it to say, radishes are only worth eating when they’re very young and tender.

[p.s., "Red" knew that dropping the bomb was a 'no-brainer'.  There's really nothing else we could have done. Apologists who think we really had any other choice live in 'ivory towers'.  If they want to apologize for something, then they should reference the 'forced opening of Japan' by Commodore Perry.]

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Priests Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki

In Hiroshima, a group of eight Jesuit priests lived in a presbytery near the parish church less than a mile away from where the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city exploded well within the total death and devastation radius. Keep in mind this was a blast that killed 80,000 people almost instantly and up to a total of 140,000 eventually.
All eight priests in their home building sat in the direct kill zone while for miles around nothing but ashes remained. They were not only “virtually unscathed from the effects of the bomb” but none of the group suffered either the ill-effects of radiation or major injuries from the bomb blast.  Furthermore, while their building received some damage, unlike others it still stood.
While it is true that small numbers of other civilians in the blast area survived, all presumably suffered, and most if not all eventually died from radiation sickness.
What is truly miraculous is that radiation sickness did not affect ANY of the Jesuits at that time or decades later.
Why were these eight priests spared in an area of total death and destruction?

"In a strange parallel to what happened at Hiroshima, the Franciscan Friary established by St Maximilian Kolbe in Nagasaki was likewise unaffected by the bomb which fell there. St Maximilian, who was well-known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, had decided to go against the advice he had been given to build his friary in a certain location. When the bomb was dropped, the friary was protected from the force of the bomb by an intervening mountain. So both at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, can we see Mary’s protective hand at work?"

Religious Fundamentalists and Zygotic Personhood

Radical 'fundamentalists' believe that because millions of children were not conceived because of "birth control pill" contraception then that makes it evil. Reasonable people see that because unwanted children were not produced, countless suffering has been abolished (e.g., decreases in crime, child abuse, and ecological nightmares). Regardless, with women gaining more control over their reproductive fate, society has changed. Reliable birth control became as easy as taking a pill, which some call the single greatest factor in helping women achieve equality.

Although religious people may debate whether a fertilized egg (zygote) should be accorded the same rights as a child, no one debates that the pill has decreased the suffering of fully formed, multicellular humans.

   Note that "zygotic personhood" (the idea that a fertilized egg is a person) is a recent concept. Historically, many believed that the embryo was not a person until it was 40 days old. Thus, a human did not have a soul have a soul until day 40. 
Note: This was the belief before the invention of Christian fundamentalism one hundred years ago / the movement reflected the cultural disorientation of poorer, more rural, less well-educated Americans in a rapidly urbanizing America, especially in conjunction with WWI.

But perhaps the real issue here is the question of when the soul is created (and by whom)? Some believe that the soul is created at conception (thus making the human coupling the creators). However, I believe that the soul exists much prior to this and is God's creation and that the soul does not even "begin" the long process of incarnating until about the time the embryo loses it's "vestigial tail".

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Bible: Which Parts To Believe?

I recently heard the question asked:
"How do you decide which part of the Bible you believe in and which part you don't? Because from my perspective God doesn't lie and the Bible is God breathed."

My response would be:
The Old Testament is basically a latter day finally writing down of what had been passed down orally from generation to generation for hundreds of years before Jesus was born. The New Testament is of a different origin though / and is well documented.

If you take the Bible too literally, it becomes problematic. For example, there are two different creation stories in Genesis. Other problems are caused by mistranslations of older texts into newer and different languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, etc.). For example, the original text did not say to 'fear thy God'. It said to respect and hold in awe God, but the translator either did a poor job or interjected his own desired meaning.

Also, the Council of Nicaea left out many books from the Bible. Some held women in higher regard than what Paul believed. Culture and politics interfered.

Anyway, faith in God does not depend on faith in the Bible being literally true every step of the way. The Bible is full of riddles and mysteries. Even Jesus' parables are designed to make us think deeper and deeper. 

In answer to your question:
I believe in God and that Jesus came to show us the way to God. The earliest Christians called themselves "The People of the Way"."

Note: Over the years, I've posted a variety of blog entries relating to the Bible. This particular one most directly to what I was saying earlier.
Some other postings:

Trump's Republicans: Too Much Testosterone?

....."When the House passed the American Health Care Act last week, only 20 of the 217 votes in favor came from women. Among women House members, the bill lost 63 to 20. A photo of President Trump celebrating the bill's passage shows him surrounded by more than 30 congressmen, with just two women visible. In the Senate, the 13 legislators chosen to draft that chamber's version of TrumpCare are — yep — all white males. No women, blacks, or Hispanics need apply. And it's not just health care. Every time President Trump signs a new executive order, he is surrounded by dozens of grinning aides, congressmen, and industry CEOs, nearly all of them white, male, and over 50"....

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Creationists: Not Completely Wrong?

A whooping 40+% of Americans believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Are these the same people who are not worried about global warming induced climate change? Are they, also, the ones who believe that we are living in the end-of-times? If so, then I presume that they assume that a major nuclear holocaust is the most likely scenario? That would certainly put the rate of increase in global warming on hold for a bit. The climate change factor would then be that of cooling. I guess "two out of three" ain't bad?!

Note: I see the above human dynamic as being problematic because it demonstrates why such a high percentage of the population does not understand the physical science behind greenhouse gases. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Did The Story Of Satan Originate?

"Any Sunday school student can tell you that Satan is a fallen angel, but this fall actually isn't described in the New Testament or the Christian bible.
However, Satan suddenly appears in the gospels as the tempter of Jesus, with nary an introduction of how the evil presence got there. So, Christian theologians have come to this conclusion: If God created the universe, and everything God creates is good, then Satan must have been something good that went bad, Walls said.
"The only thing that can go bad by itself is a free being. Since there was evil before human beings came on the scene, the inference is [Satan] must have been a fallen angel."
"There are other references to Satan in the Bible, depending on different interpretations. The Hebrew Bible has two passages about people who aren't respectful toward God. In these passages, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, human rulers make outrageous boasts, and some Christians interpret these actions as expressions of Satan"
"Moreover, the gospel of Paul in the New Testament refers to the snake from the Garden of Eden as Satan, though the snake isn't described that way in Genesis. In this sense, the snake and Satan can be seen as tempters that try to get people to disobey God, but aren't always successful....".

Note: The original Hebrew term satan is a noun from a verb meaning primarily "to obstruct, oppose". Ha-Satan is traditionally translated as "the accuser" or "the adversary". The definite article ha- (English: "the") is used to show that this is a title bestowed on a being, versus the name of a being. Thus, this being would be referred to as "the satan".
Read about Judaism's Hebrew use of 'satan'.

...."The final construct of Satan as the evil opponent of a good and loving God comes from the book of Revelation. According to traditional Christian theology Revelation is the story of the final battle in the spiritual war for the human soul when Satan is defeated and cast into hell. Modern scholarship however considers this book to be a writing intended for a Christian audience of the time, and not a prophetic warning of the world’s end."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Revelations: Trump as Part of Self-fulfilling Prophecy for Apocalypse

Revelations, the last book of the New Testament, was not written predicting an apocalypse for us in our time. It was written forecasting doom and gloom for early Christians facing destruction from Rome. In short, it is not a valid prophecy for our time.

Yet, even knowing this, many still will choose to believe otherwise. It fuels a self-fulfilling prophetic impetus in fundamentalist religion that bleeds out into our culture because it fills psychological needs.

I'm not saying that the world as we know it will not end. Indeed, eventual natural changes guarantees that much. What I'm saying is that the potential for manmade apocalyptic events exponentially increases (self-fulfilling prophecies) with greater numbers of people believing that an apocalypse will bring about the Second Coming.
The majority of white evangelical Christians say Christ will return to Earth in their lifetimes, which was a factor in Trump's appeal to many.

"...over one-third of those Americans who support Israel report that they do so because they believe the Bible teaches that the Jews must possess their own country in the Holy  before Jesus can return."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Peggy Hull: First Female War Correspondent

"In 1916, 25-year-old reporter Peggy Hull blew into El Paso to cover the U.S. military response to Pancho Villa’s attacks for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Eager to be taken seriously by her editors, Hull crafted her own uniform of khaki pants, knee-high boots and a brown hat, modeled after the Ohio National Guard soldiers whom she followed to Texas to cover the border conflict.
While embedded with the soldiers, Hull wrote compelling stories, and El Paso newsmen soon took notice. The El Paso Herald described how the young but seasoned reporter had fought a “real battle” with her editors at the Plain Dealer.
Hull pushed to work with the Ohio troops, but her editors refused to send a woman to the conflict. In response, she funded her own way to Texas in the first of several daring moves that propelled her to become first documented American female war correspondent....."

Coverage of WWI soon followed:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Climate Change and the Second Coming

We have now passed the Climate Change tipping point (think "methane hydrate"). Only drastic reductions in carbon emissions could 'soften the blow' of what has now become inevitable. And we all know that won't happen.

The Greenland ice sheet keeps melting while ocean currents and jet streams keep shifting. Polar regions and tundra manifest the most dramatic changes. But, "Joe Six Pack" seems oblivious to this. He knows only that the worst of what's to come won't hit until after he's long gone. Meanwhile, he'll keep using alcohol and other forms of pain killers to assuage the generalized fear that has already incapacitated him.

Of course, global warming could be slowed if a large enough nuclear holocaust were to greatly reduce our capacity to maintain current levels of carbonization. Famine and pestilence would play a role in this manifestation of the self-fulfilling prophecy of an apocalypse. The Second Coming of Christ would consist of His greeting departing souls 'en masse' on their way out.