“We should remember…”

“We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, – determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…” – Mary Baker Eddy

earth NASA

Earth (NASA)

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Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom…

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
– Herodotus

My dear Humoristian hooligans,

Today, as you do battle against the forces of gloom and stodge, may you know that you are making a difference in the world. May your commitment to good will and humor lighten the loads of those burdened with fear and hate. May you bring laughter to the cranky, kindness to the bullied, and cheerful enlightenment to the ignorant. Let neither snow, nor rain, nor bigotry, nor FOX, deter you from your mission of irrepressible, unrelenting joyfulness. Go out there and make some laughter!

– Karen

Where do your beliefs lead you?

Snippet of a dialogue from a discussion forum…

Robert says:
The requirements for an observation to be considered to be evidence are strict: the phenomenon must be repeatedly observable by anyone who is interested, and must be able to show, and actually show, that the thesis under discussion is true, if such is the case — AND must be able to show, and would actually show, that said thesis is false if such is the case. And this arises for good reason: it is extremely easy to fool oneself as to the nature and significance of a subjective phenomenon. Clearly, no subjective phenomena of any sort can qualify as evidence in a scientific sense.

None of this has anything whatever to do with anyone’s position on the rights of women and LGBT people — nor whether one is a theist, atheist, or whatever.

Karen writes:
Robert, you write: “None of this has anything whatever to do with anyone’s position on the rights of women and LGBT people — nor whether one is a theist, atheist, or whatever.”

Exactement!! Exactly! Which brings us back to my original question: Seeing as how my beliefs in God don’t cause me to do harm to others, why do you REALLY care about them? What impels you to want to refute them? Why does it matter to you what I believe? Why is it any of your business?

And if I were to tell you that my belief in God has made me a better person – has helped me become kinder, more compassionate, more tolerant – doesn’t that actually make my belief in God a positive thing? Something to be glad about?

I don’t think it’s our beliefs that are important. I think it’s what we do with them that matters. If your belief in Nogod has made you kinder, more compassionate, and more tolerant – then I celebrate your belief in Nogod with you.

Robert responds:
Good post. “…my beliefs in God don’t cause me to do harm to others…” Most of the time, they probably don’t. But if you ever do ANYTHING for religious reasons, there is a distinct possibility that there will be, somewhere, an adverse effect. But the more salient point is: do not these beliefs cause you to do harm to yourself? Do you spend time in a church, as opposed to doing something productive? Do you contribute time or money to religious things, instead of to things that actually improve peoples’ lives? Do you approve of what is demonstrably irrational thought?

“…my belief in God has made me a better person…” I would ask for your grounds for this. Such beliefs can impel people to do good things — or truly horrible things. And, since there does not (and, provably, cannot) exist any means for validating any such belief, whether you do well or ill in accordance with a religious belief is strictly a crapshoot. No doubt you temper your religion-impelled actions on the basis of your appraisal of their overall effect on the society in which you live, but not everybody does this. (Examples of such perfidy are rife in the news these days.)

“I think it’s what we do with them that matters.” Agreed. But the standards to be applied in determining this cannot be based solely on any religion.

Karen responds:
Robert, you ask: “…do not these beliefs cause you to do harm to yourself? Do you spend time in a church, as opposed to doing something productive? Do you contribute time or money to religious things, instead of to things that actually improve peoples’ lives? Do you approve of what is demonstrably irrational thought?”

I am a teacher in a non-profit alternative high school. Seventh-eighths of the population is composed of minority students. My students and their families are dealing with challenges that a lot of us can’t begin to imagine – and that I can’t really share here. I came to the alternative high school after a 20-year career in public education. I get paid peanuts, but I love my job and love working with these kids. I love helping them find academic success and helping them discover their gifts. There are days when I come home totally emotionally drained – not from my students, but from seeing the crap they have to deal with just to survive in our society. I feel useful there. I really like feeling useful. My work is not in any way connected with a religious institution.

I am involved in supporting political issues that matter to me – I served as a state delegate to the 2012 Democratic convention, and write letters to politicians and newspapers, and write posts on my blogs that take the time to address these issues. I have given money to the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, and Doctors Without Borders, among others. I have helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

I also like to keep moving – hiking, gardening – healthy activities that keep the blood pumping. And I’ve found it’s important to my well-being to set aside time for creative pursuits, too – I’m big into photography, singing, and writing.

I am not, actually, a very religious person. Not all theists are. There are periods in my life when I don’t attend church. And there are periods when I do. Right now I am the Reader at the mid-week testimony meetings, and my job is to pick the week’s topic, find readings on it, and conduct the service. I try to find readings that I think will be helpful and healing to the world. Last week’s readings were on “wrath/anger” and “love/forgiveness.” People seemed really grateful for the inspiration they felt from the readings, and I was glad I could provide that for them.

And now I give the question back to you: How do your beliefs in Nogod help mankind? How do they make the world a better place?

“We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out on the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat… Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.” – Tim Minchin

I really like that quote. I especially like the thought that we need to start with our OWN biases when it comes to thinking critically. How much of your time do you spend on self-reflection? When was the last time you changed the way you thought about something? Or recognized a bias that wasn’t healthy for you to have?

How do we know when we need to change our beliefs about something? Well, for me it starts with looking at where my beliefs are taking me. If they’re leading me towards hate, fear, anger, bigotry, bullying, greed, and selfishness, then those beliefs have got to go. But if my beliefs are leading me towards love – guiding me to a place of courage and compassion, generosity and hope, joy and kindness and forgiveness and integrity – then those are the beliefs I’m going to nurture.

What about you? Where do your beliefs lead you?

Robert responds:

A most excellent post. It appears that you have your life well together — something that is rare in this day and age. I entirely approve of the Minchen quote. I am not young, and have spent much time and intellectual effort on identifying the source and nature of knowledge and what can be done with it.”it starts with looking at where my beliefs are taking me.” In other words, you are looking for evidence. Are your theses sound, or are they refuted by evidence of some sort? This is exactly what you should be doing — and are, with the notable exception of religious beliefs. You are doing appropriate things with respect to society, but your foundation is weak.”Where do your beliefs lead you?” Among other things, to participate in these forums. We have all seen the horrors that religious beliefs have brought to the world society; it is my purpose to show these to be the nonsense that they are. So, that instead of flying airplanes into tall buildings, we can indeed spend our efforts productively in things like teaching the next generation, discovering cures for loathsome diseases, and making it possible for people to live in comfort and peace.Carry on!

Seeker responds to Karen:
I read your post and then the reply from Robert, and I have to say that I don’t see your “foundation” as being weak. Even though I would probably side with Robert on the idea that there is no proof of God, I don’t see religious belief as automatically detrimental. In fact, in proper perspective and using definitions appropriately I have seen great value from those that profit by their faith. That said… it is sad that so many use religion to justify those reprehensible things you mention, “hate, fear, anger, bigotry, bullying, greed, and selfishness”, and do it in the name of religion. What is strange is that most of those failing in these areas ARE the religious. Very sad, and certainly detrimental to those that use faith as you apparently do.

I believe your last question, in context with your examples of guidance, is one that all people should be aware of. So I will ask it again…Where do your beliefs lead you?

Robert writes:
Re Karen T., above and elsewhere: You have well described your various activities, which I consider meritorious. Suppose, now, that you concluded that, since the existence of any god cannot be demonstrated by any means [1], you decide that it is pointless to believe in one. In what way (if at all), would your subsequent activities differ from what you are doing now?

1. Recall that this is provable.

Karen responds:
Thank you, Robert. You don’t know what a relief it is to learn that my life has met with your approval. 🙂

I guess I could lie and tell you that I no longer believe in God – and maybe win your complete approval of me and stuff… but… well, it wouldn’t be honest of me.

My belief in God is based on happenings I have witnessed or experienced first-hand – so, although these experiences are just nice anecdotes to people who didn’t live them or see them, to me they are more than that. For me, they are “proof.”

Remember that I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god. I believe in a power and presence and Consciousness of Love and Truth. There’s nothing supernatural about this God.

Nando Perrado describes “God” this way (Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home) and I have not found a better description for the God I believe in: “…I did not feel God as most people see Him. I did feel something larger than myself, something in the mountains and the glaciers and the glowing sky that, in rare moments, reassured me, and made me feel that the world was orderly and loving and good… It was simply a silence, a wholeness, an awe-inspiring simplicity. It seemed to reach me through my own feelings of love, and I have often thought that when we feel what we call love, we are really feeling our connection to this awesome presence.”

Seeker responds to Karen:
That’s nice, and I am awed by what can be experienced, too.

The Anger Pandemic and Its Antidote

Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I just watched a great video on YouTube (“This Video Will Make You Angry”) about the epidemic spread of anger thought-germs on the internet. This video got my “brain” sparking in all kinds of directions: I thought about some of the internet “conversations” I’ve gotten myself involved in the last several years; took a look at how internet dialogues have changed since I first began participating in them seven or eight years ago; compared some of the thoughts shared in the video with thoughts shared by Mary Baker Eddy back in the late 1800’s – long before the invention of the internet, but, I think, still pertinent today; and began looking around me for some good news – signs of hope and salvation from the anger pandemic that seems to be infecting the globe.

In the video, the narrator tells us: “Anger by-passes your mental immune system…The internet is the best thing to happen to thought-germs…The more they (anger-germs)  are shared they under-go the same process (as biological germs), changing and distorting to become more aggravating. These have a better chance of spreading than their possibly more accurate rivals.”

– Ohmygosh! I’m guessing we can all recognize the truth of those words! According to this video there are two emotions that are highly contagious to humans – anger and awe. Anger and awe are almost irresistible. When anger or awe go hopping by us we are like the dog in Up! and…squirrel!  – we have to look, right?

The narrator in the video continues: “Once everyone agrees (on something), it’s hard to keep talking (about it)… but if there’s an opposing thought-germ then the thinking doesn’t have to stop. The more visible an argument gets, the more by-standers it draws in – which makes it more visible. These thought germs aren’t competing, they’re cooperating… working together they reach more brains… Thought-germs on opposite sides of an argument can be symbiotic… its divisiveness also  grows its symbiotic partner… gaining more allies also gains more enemies… Though the participants think they’re involved in a fiery battle to the death, from the anger germ’s perspective one field is a field of flowers and the other a flock of butterflies… ”

– I suppose most of us would now agree that the earth is roundish. Can you remember the last time you got in an in-depth conversation about the roundishness of the planet? No, right? We don’t generally talk about stuff we all acknowledge as true. But I can guarantee that if there suddenly appeared a large group of people – not outliers, but a mainstream group – that rose up and declared the earth was flat, there’d be a hot fiery debate about it all over Facebook. Flat-earthers would be calling round-earthers arrogant and smug, round-earthers would be calling flat-earthers ignorant and stoopid, and the oblate-spheroid-earthers would be denouncing everyone but themselves as unrealistic fuzzy thinkers.

The narrator continues: “When opposing groups get big they don’t really argue with each other, they mostly argue with themselves about how angry the other group makes them… We can actually graph fights on the internet to see this in action – each becomes its own quasi-isolated internet – sharing thoughts about the other…each group breeds thought-germs about the other…the group almost can’t help but construct a totem of the other so enraging they’ll talk about it all the time…”

– And don’t we see this in politics ALL THE TIME?!! Republicans are this. Democrats are that. Socialists are the other. And don’t even get me started on the Libertarians. 🙂  We take a certain pride in our alliances and our loyalty to our team. And we insulate ourselves from other perspectives and hang out with our own group. We lump everyone who belongs to another group into one monolithic unit – no longer seeing individuals – and rant about the short-comings of everyone who isn’t “us.” In short, we become bigots.

The narrator ends the video with these thoughts: “It’s useful to be aware of how thoughts can use our emotions to spread… If you want to maintain a healthy brain it pays to be cautious of thoughts that have passed through a lot of brains… it’s your brain – be hygienic with it.”  

– And this brings me to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. In her Miscellaneous Writings, Eddy writes: “Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.”

And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy writes: “The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.”

I have found this to be true. 🙂

 “We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, – determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…” – Mary Baker Eddy

Reluctant Heroes and Reluctant Leaders

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
– William Shakespeare

 “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

I’ve always enjoyed the “reluctant heroes” and “reluctant leaders” of literature and film, and real life – the people who don’t really seek to be heroes or leaders; who don’t really want to risk their lives; who have some concept of what might happen to them if they step forward and do the right thing, and sigh and take a deep breath, and do it anyway. These aren’t the people who are seeking the limelight. They aren’t looking for glory. They don’t want medals and awards and accolades and power. They’re doing the right thing in spite of their trepidation. They’re doing the right thing simply because they don’t have it in them to NOT try to save someone else’s life, or rescue the puppy, or stand up for what is right and fair, or to lead when there is a need. They are, in my mind, the best kinds of heroes and leaders.

In literature, one of my favorite “reluctant heroes” is Frodo Baggins. Frodo clearly does not want the responsibility of The Ring. He’d much rather have given that responsibility to someone else, and gone home to his quiet life in the Shire. But he realizes that he’s the only one equipped – mentally and emotionally – to take on the responsibility. He’s the only one humble enough. In short, his very reluctance to be the hero is exactly why he’s the best one fit to BE the hero.

In “Are You a Reluctant Leader?” Walt Grassle writes: “…often, reluctant leaders are the best leaders. They lead from a desire to serve, not a desire for power.” And in “The Reluctant Leader” Lainie Heneghan writes: “Adaptability, humility, a capacity to bring others along in their efforts, and a plain old willingness to listen are defining qualities of reluctant leaders.”

In thinking about reluctant leadership, the death of one of my dad’s climbing friends in an avalanche on Mount Rainier comes to mind. Dad’s friend, Willy, had been leading a group of climbers from Evergreen State College up Mount Rainier when an avalanche struck the team.  Willy and another climber were buried under the avalanche. The other team members were able to uncover the snow from the two victims’ bodies, and tried to resuscitate them, but without success. The team’s leader, Willy, was gone, and the remaining members were in a perilous situation – exhausted, traumatized, and in shock. It was then, according to Dad, that Ian, one of the student-members of the climbing team, stepped forward and assumed leadership. As I understand it, this student had been one of the quieter members of the team until that moment – a strong climber who had earlier helped Willy scout out the route to the summit – but not someone who had sought attention for himself. I’m sure that Iain would rather not have been in a situation where he had to assume leadership.  But, as Dad tells it, Ian was an observer and he’d seen there was a need – recognized that someone needed to step forward and give direction to the team – and he had done what he knew needed to be done to get the surviving members of the team safely off the mountain.

I’m guessing the world is full or reluctant heroes and leaders – people quietly making the lives of other people better; people stepping up to the plate when a leader is needed, or a hero; people who recognize that in their neighborhood, or workplace, or political organization they are the ones best equipped to create a positive atmosphere or lead in a positive direction – and then quietly go about doing so. Without fanfare. Without hope of recognition or credit. Just because it’s the right thing to do.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant…” – Matthew 20: 25-27

Walt Grassle’s article: http://researchcareersblog.com/2014/12/08/are-you-a-reluctant-leader/#sthash.ifYrR64X.dpbs

Lainie Heneghan’s article: http://www.jmw.com/assets/JMW_Reluctant_Leader.pdf

reluctant heroes

Photo of cannon at Fort Ticonderoga, NY (Karen Molenaar Terrell)

 

 

 

An Incident in a Discussion Forum (okay, this is me being cranky)

Asking people about their opinions is a very good way of making friends. Telling them about your own opinions can also work, but not always quite as well. – Douglas Adams

 She arrived in the middle of a discussion upon international politics. “Look at India,” one of the ladies was saying. “Yes, but look at Japan,” urged the other with intense vehemence. Barbara was introduced to the ladies, of course, but she never heard their names. They were already labeled, much more legibly in her retentive memory, as Mrs. Japan and Mrs. India. She was rather crushed at the farsightedness of the two ladies— what did they see when they looked at Japan and India like that? Did their bird’s-eye view take in the whole of these Asiatic countries at a glance? Were India and Japan open before their eyes like a child’s picture book? – D.E. Stevenson

The following was originally a chapter in The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New, but I took it out because the voice in this chapter doesn’t fit in with the rest of the book. In this chapter you see me being cranky and a little ticked off. It ain’t pretty…

Have you ever looked back on a period in your life and smiled with amusement and a certain amount of affection for the person you were? That’s how I feel when I look back on the person I was five years ago – during the period when I was spending a lot of my free time on a religion discussion board. I was cute, wasn’t I? – idealistic, naïve, really believing that everyone was on the discussion board for the same reason I was – to learn about other people’s beliefs, share their own, and exchange ideas and thoughts about religion, science, metaphysics, philosophy, literature, music, art.

I learned an awful lot from that discussion board – some of it was awesome, and some of it not so much. I learned there were a lot of people in the world with kind hearts and open minds and good humor. I also learned that there are an awful lot of people who want everyone else to think and believe exactly what they think and believe – and I learned that I wasn’t one of them.

I saw bigotry.

If there’s one thing that toasts my cookies it is bigotry.

At first I found myself mostly coming to the defense of the atheists on the discussion board, who, initially, seemed to be the major target of bigotry. They were told they were going to hell. They were told they were all lacking any kind of moral compass. They were compared to Pol Pot and Stalin. It was all ridiculous and hateful, and I could not let the bigotry slide by without responding to it.

Then for a time the bigotry seemed to be mostly directed towards the “believers”. Those who believe in God were called ignorant, uneducated, unintelligent, superstitious scaredy cats, and blamed for the murders committed during The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Salem witch trials. Which… yeah… I’m sitting here now, just shaking my head, as I remember the nonsense.

There were a lot of generalizations made – every atheist was lumped together into one group – as if they all believed, felt, and thought the same about everything; and every Christian was lumped together into another monolithic group. Finger-pointing and blame-laying was rampant. As a Christian Scientist, I was told by many of the Christians that I was going to hell because I didn’t believe in hell, or in a devil, or that Jesus was God. And as someone who identified as a Christian, a number of atheists seemed inclined to assume I held the same beliefs about God that they had learned when they were youngsters attending Christian Sunday Schools – and then judged me for the beliefs that they wrongly attributed to me.

It could all be a little exasperating.

For the first few years the humor, friendship, and intellectual stimulation I got from the discussion forum outweighed the exasperation. I met some really good friends there – people I still continue to call my friends – people who became familiar with my spiritual perspective about life in a way that many of my offline friends never did.

But after several years my interest in the discussion board began to wane. More and more I found myself in these weird dialogues with people who presumed to know what was in my head and heart without giving me the opportunity to tell them myself. More and more I found myself in the unsatisfying position of being treated like a student whose job it was to quietly sit and listen while others threw their great wisdom and knowledge at me. I found myself getting lectured to and preached at a lot, and I do not particularly enjoy being the target of lectures and preaching. Dialogues became one-sided monologues; the exchange of ideas turned into a one-way sermon – people telling me what I should believe, think, and feel, and then getting really agitated with me if I dared to question or voice a thought of my own.

The Grand Finale – the defining moment when I realized I no longer had any interest in serious participation on the discussion board – came for me on a thread titled “Repeal the child abuse for Christian Scientists in Washington State law”. For four pages (100 posts) I read comments, written by my friends (people whose atheism or Christianity I had defended time and again on the forum) about the lunatic Christian Scientists who are “neither Christian nor scientists” (pretty original, right?). For four pages I read comments from people attacking a “strawman” – indignantly pontificating on how wrong it is to legally allow Christian Scientists to abuse their children – when there never was a law or lobby that supported child abuse by Christian Scientists. And then I saw where one of my forum friends had written this: “I just took issue with the thought that the faith healers could be unaware that their ‘healings’ have zero positive effect… I think the fact that the alleged Christian Science lobby feels the need to protect themselves from prosecution tells me that they must know the reality of their faith… He seems to be saying that Christian Scientists aren’t True Christians. The Christian Science people seem to think they are Christians, based on my scanty reading of what they believe.”

SCANTY READING?!!! Oh, for Pete’s sake! I’d been sharing my experiences as a Christian Scientist on that forum for almost seven years – shared wonderful healings I’d had in Christian Science, shared my thoughts about “Christianity” – but my friend hadn’t, apparently, learned anything about my way of life or beliefs from what I’d written on there. It came to me, then, that the only reason some of these people had ever considered me their friend was because I had been a good audience – willing to listen to THEM – but that they hadn’t really been interested in anything I’d had to say.

I wrote a response:

Christian Scientist from Washington State here. I’m sure you are all completely right about me. I mean, you must be, right? I should be, like, locked-up for the good of society. Interned in a camp maybe. I should never have been allowed to marry – and certainly not to a nice, decent liberal man raised by his decent God-loving Methodist parents. I should never have been allowed to have children, and certainly never been allowed to raise them – it’s a miracle that they survived to adulthood and turned out to be such intelligent, healthy, whole, well-adjusted young men, considering their mom was a Christian Scientist. I should not be allowed to share in the rights of citizenship of this land – it’s far too good for the likes of me. I should certainly never have been allowed to vote – and never been allowed to participate in the democratic process. I should never have been allowed to be elected delegate to our state Democratic convention, and should never have been allowed to write letters and donate in support of environmental causes, the ACLU, gay rights, Habitat for Humanity, atheists, Amnesty International, and yes, universal health care (I don’t believe anyone should be denied the health care they feel they need just because they’re poor – health care should be considered a basic human right). I am, of course, just a cardboard cutout of a person – like every other Christian Scientist in the world.

As you know – seeing as how I’ve been on here for ALMOST SEVEN YEARS sharing my beliefs, thoughts, and feelings with you – I am a despicable, ignorant, uneducated, illiterate human being. I should probably be lined up with my fellow CSists against a wall and shot, as was once suggested on a local talk show.

Am I Christian? Nope, probably not (according to the current accepted definition of a “Christian”). Like my fellow CSists, I do not believe Jesus was god. Do not believe in a literal place of hell or heaven. Do not believe in Original Sin. Do not believe the story of Adam and Eve should be taken literally. Do not believe the world was, literally, created in seven days and seven nights. Do not believe in creationism. Do not believe dinosaurs and humans roamed the world at the same time. And, like those familiar with quantum physics, I DO believe matter is pretty much nothing . So shoot me.

My children , by the way, were vaccinated (edit: the topic of vaccinations is probably worth a whole ‘nother blog post), and were taken by me to doctors, when the need arose – which wasn’t often – they were mostly healthy. They also were raised by their parents – as I was raised by mine – to not be quick to make judgments on others, to try to approach the world without bigotry, and to question political and religious dogma, and those in authority (including the medical profession – you do all know that traditional medical practice is the third-leading cause of death in this country according to the JAMA, right? – it shouldn’t be surprising that thinking people might sometimes look for alternatives to it).

Okay. I’m pretty much done here. I’ve been yammering away on this forum for seven years. And apparently no one was listening.

Karen

Weirdly, I got nine out of ten “yes” votes for that post. 🙂 Most gratifying personally, though, was the response that came right after my post from my atheist friend, Conley. I think when I first came onto the forum Conley had had some pre-conceived notions about me as a Christian Scientist, but, like any true critical thinker, Conley had listened and observed and been willing to learn and shift his thinking. I liked and respected him. Following my post, Conley wrote: “Damned well said, Karen. And I was happy to note that you listed about half my favorite causes–which is what I’d have guessed of you. Best regards. -Conley”

I guess it’s because of people like Conley that I still sometimes pop in on the discussion forum. As for the “others” – the close-minded, arrogant, sermonizing, judgmental know-it-alls from the right and the left, the up and the down – both religious and non-religious –  who don’t really want to hear what other people have to say – I guess I just feel really bad for them. They are missing out, ain’t they?

what people think I do