Arlene Green - 12:37 a.m. Pacific Time - Apr 2, 2006 - #4421 of 4449
I haven't really gone into my personal philosophy and my struggles with this subject on this thread but I think it is time I did.
What ticks me off the most about the politically religious (notice I don't say fundamentalist, there is a reason for that) is that they give the non-Christians/believers in the world this idea that Christianity is all about forcing them to live by a creed that they don't believe in because it is the one true way.
It isn't. Christianity in its truest form is about freedom. Not bondage. Not telling other people what they must do. The kind of Christianity that is most often portrayed on the evening news is a perversion. Regardless of how people have misused the religion for their own gain; no matter that historically organized Christianity has abused the trust of the masses to further the power and wealth of unscrupulous men...
That isn't what being a Christian means. Even if it is a myth I subscribe to the fact that Christ, be he myth or be he man, never intended for his message to bring oppression.
Abortion is and will remain a gray area for me. On the one hand I can see where it can be wrong. On the other hand I can see where it is the right choice. But on the gripping hand (Sugar will get that, Motie that he is) it isn't my job to judge who or when of either of those.
Which is why it should remain legal. Which is why I am pro-choice. God is pro-choice, too. That is what free will is all about. We are free to choose whatever we think is right. But only what we think is right for us. The Christian God never gave anyone carte blanche to decide for other people what was unforgivable. And anyone who thinks that they are qualified to judge such personal matters for anyone other than themselves is about as arrogant as it gets and they might want to remember that the reason Lucifer was cast out was because he thought he was qualified to judge, that he was akin to God. It was his pride in his own righteousness that did him in.
And he was more honest. At least he didn't claim to speak for God. He just claimed he was as qualified as God. How much more wrong is someone who claims both to be the voice of God and as qualified to judge?
TheChief - 01:28 pm Pacific Time - Mar 28, 2006 - #81 of 748
As far as the struggles people go through to get to our "beloved" country, I have seen firsthand, those who make it easily, who have a life threatening trip, and those who die trying.
These have been Cuban, Haitian, Dominican, Mexican, Central/South American...
I have escorted "boats" (a loose term for some of the vessels) to a safe mooring. I have pulled people from the water, who lived. I have pulled people from the water who died for the chance to be free.
I have been part of a crew who pulled families from dinghies, rafts, and floating planks. Where we had to give them medical care, carefully feed them (soft, bland foods) because all of their food was washed overboard. I have seen babies who have not had milk for 2 days. We cleared out lounge area, and one of our "heads" (showers/sinks/toilets) so they could shed there clothing and clean themselves up, and then taken some of our clothing from our lockers so they could have something clean to wear.
I have seen crewmen and INS personnel jump into the water to save people because when they saw the USCG Cutter, they all went to one side of the vessel (tipping it over), they would change into their "United States clothes," still knee deep in seawater and human waste.
The laws have changed over the years, but they still keep coming. All they want to do is to work, have a better life, send some money home to help. The ones depicted in "Scarface" are so very few and far between.
I speak Florida Spanish (a bastardization of Cuban and Puerto Rican), Haitian Creole, and English. I grew up in South Florida, pre-Castro until just a few years ago. The memories, good and bad, heartwarming and sad, will always be with me.
People are people, no matter where they come from; some of the people in South Florida, who never got the paperwork, were better citizens than those who were citizens by birthright.
If they live and work within our borders, they are ours. Just as we expect them to live within our laws, we have the responsibility to provide them with the same rights, privilieges, and services as anyone else. The only thing "formal" citizenship should give them is the right to vote. Everything else, in both directions, is part of a responsible society.
Phyl Good - 09:32 a.m. Pacific Time - Apr 4, 2006 - #5330 of 5358
I was thinking again about the aging business, just this morning. (I guess it comes from being about to turn 50; one gets annoyingly philosophical. I did it at 39 too.)
I have the thing of having had so many big plans -- I was going to be an astrophysicist and work for NASA, and then a whole bunch of other plans that equally went kablooie. I often have to contemplete the very likely prospect of reaching my 90s and pretty much having accomplished nothing of much note or worth.
It's galling for two reasons: I've had people telling me all my life, "You're so smart! You're going to do wonderful things before you're done!" Blah blah blah. I've gritted my teeth for years, wishing they'd shut their f**king mouths. But then there's my dad, who tried very hard at so many things -- and failed miserably at every single one, despite being very brainy and diligent at everything he did. My two brothers and I have often, through our lives, fretted to each other that we didn't want to turn out like that, and we hoped it wasn't somehow genetic.
Well. It seems to be. Darn it.
So anyway. One thing I lost when I stopped being a fundie was the reassurance that there was a "long run" in which everything would be made right, and there was somehow Eternal Value just in my trying, even if I saw no tangible results.
But, in a way, it's still been kind of profound, realizing that nothing whatsoever is going to come of my life, except my own pleasure in living it. It's not profound because of those facts, but it's profound because it's the one gigantic thing about being human: We're probably the only species, on earth anyway, that is aware of our own mortality and has to come to terms with it. It's the most profound struggle, I think, on the planet.
We're wrestling with Human-ness itself. We might all come up with different answers, but I am undergoing the exact same struggle that the Buddha did -- Gandhi -- the Pharaoh Khufu -- Leonidas the Spartan King -- and millions and millions of unknown beings who were as Human as me.
In a bizarre way, I take a lot of comfort from that, even though I'm quite sure my name won't be remembered by anyone, more than maybe a generation after I'm gone. I'm engaged in THE great human enterprise. And I have just as much authority as any other Human Thinker, to learn the grace of growing older, to accumulate some temporary wisdom, to see if I can build a character I might be proud of, and all that.
It seems to me that learning to accept our inevitable flow in the vast river of Humanity, learning to accept and even embrace our aging, is the one great triumph we really achieve, no matter what else we do that everyone else thinks is great.