It’s all a leap of faith.

January 23, 2010 1 comment

It seems that the world of thought is divided into a few basic groups. It is the spectrum between these groups that give so much variety.  Two big groups are, secular and religious.  As I understand it secularism is a way of looking at the world in the absence of religion and is associated with: logic, reason, science and the scientific method. Religion is concerned with looking at the world through the lens of belief, faith and hope in unseen and supernatural things.

Within the gap of these two opposing views there is a wide spectrum for people to place an opinion. There is also plenty of room for confusion, misunderstanding and disagreement. Trying to see the world not only from your speck on the spectrum, but also trying to understand other points on the spectrum will help a person understand their world, and the events around them a little better. To improve my understanding is one of the reasons I started this blog.

Even with the many many differences in religion, it is understood fairly well. As Wikipedia states; “A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” While this definition comes across as a bit stuffy it seems to me a fairly accurate, general description of religion. While there are many strengths and weaknesses to religion that is not what this post is about.

The secular world tends to be viewed as based on real, tangible and rational things. Science, logic and reason rule the day. While there are many strengths here, there are also weaknesses that I don’t think get as much attention as the weaknesses of religion. Not being aware of these drawbacks is at least as harmful and damaging as an unawareness of religious shortcomings.

One drawback to putting your trust in logic and science is that a person must make a leap of faith similar to putting your trust in a supernatural being, and most people do not realize it. That is quite a statement. What do I mean by that? Lets take a look at science. Back in the day science said, the earth was flat, the earth was at the center of the universe, the  universe remains constant (steady-state theory), or even that our solar system had nine planets. Now we even theorize that 95% of the universe consists of dark matter and energy, we can only put forward theories about it because we don’t know how to measure or quantify it. So we have 5% of the universe that we don’t fully understand yet and 95% that we don’t even know how to understand. What we know now we will look back on as simple and naïve some time in the future.

Let me stop here and clarify. I do believe in the importance of science and think that it is very valuable to our society. The fact that I can type on a computer and put my thoughts on the internet for people to see, if they care to read them, or the medication and medical treatments available to us or improvements in agriculture or the technology that make cities possible are incredible things.  I only point out the shortcomings of science to show there are shortcomings, and we fill in those gaps with assumptions until we know otherwise.

Why is this so dangerous? I’ll give you an example. Man-made global warming was a done deal, settled science. The earth is warming, it’s caused by man-made activity, and it will lead to catastrophe. Many in the world are ready to change the entire economies and societies of the world to reverse the potential damage done. All of this is based on supposed scientific facts.

Now there is evidence that: the earth is cooling, there is no increase in CO2 due to man-made activities, some of the data (more) that the original global warming theory is based on is untrue.

Now when I read and hear arguments for and against global warming almost every one of them come down to something like “well you can’t prove there is or isn’t global warming, but on the chance that it is true we should take the steps necessary to limit our carbon footprints because the disastrous effects of global warming are so bad.” Now correct me if I’m wrong but I think I have heard the same argument from religious people that goes something like “you can’t prove there is or isn’t a God, but you should live a religious life because avoiding spending eternity in hell is worth any inconvenience you might have now.”

Belief in global warming is based in science and the belief in God is based in religion, but it takes the same LEAP of FAITH to come to your belief. Understanding that changing the entire world because of global warming is based on a belief, or a leap of faith, and not on scientific fact is important when deciding if its worth it.

Categories: politics, religion

Now I get it

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

In the spring of this year many people were confused by a report from a newly minted Obama administration. Why is right-wing extremism the rising threat to American security? After all, the report says that the Department of Homeland Security  “has no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” I guess someone has to be the bad guy, but why the right-wing?

What did our security picture look like leading up to the report? We hadn’t been hit on American soil since 9/11 and the new stance on terrorism was moving from a war to law enforcement strategy.  We foiled close to 20 terrorist plots between 9/11 and the beginning of the year. There had been a number of violent acts (Beltway sniper, Salt Lake, North Carolina, Seattle) committed by individuals in the name of Islam. These aren’t “real” terrorists though, they didn’t coordinate with Al Qaeda or any other person or group (read the 4th from the bottom paragraph) that promotes Jihad. Any “real” plot had been broken-up and everything else can be written off by some other motive. Obviously we have this terrorism thing all wrapped up and we can move on.

What has happened since this report?  Well there were a few plots (Bronx, Subway, Dallas) broken up and a few individual shooters, including the Fort Hood shooting, that the country is trying so hard to label as an individual with “other motives”. It was in the search for “other motives” that I found the answer to my confusion with the report’s findings.

It’s plain as day to educated folks that a man who has for years endorsed extremist Islamic views and supported violent attacks would not go on a shooting rampage for ideological reasons. Something else must have been driving him. Could it have been that he felt persecuted because of his Muslim faith, or that the military is putting too much stress on its solders? My favorite excuse is pre-traumatic stress disorder as said on NPR. He hadn’t been sent to the war yet so it must have been the thought of war that sent him over the top.

Pre-traumatic stress disorder is the answer to my question. Many in the new Obama administration knew how far left or socialist his agenda was going to be. They assumed that since left-wing extremist get violent (more examples here, here, here and here ) when they are faced with right or capitalist governance, that the right-wing would behave similarly. Just the thought of living under a leftist government should push the right-wing “nut-jobs” to violence. That qualifies as pre-traumatic stress disorder.

With conservatives being the largest ideological group, and a percentage of those being “right-wing extremists” there is a large group of people for the left to worry about. I can’t say that I blame them with all of the pre-traumatic stress violence (oh the humanity) already taking place. Can you imagine the utter chaos that will break out when the democrats start passing their agenda?! That is if the right-wing reacts like the left-wing.

Categories: politics

I don’t know about you…

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

…but I have a constant flow of stuff bouncing around in my head. I thought it would be good to have a place to put it down in writing, organize it and start to make sense of it all. The topics should range from current events to religion to some of the big questions in life. So here’s to a journey of thought.

Categories: Uncategorized