Monday, January 23, 2012

6 Things About Religion

It feels almost like synchronicity, the sheer number of interesting things about religion that have come up in my life this week. So in roughly chronological order, I present my religion-themed discoveries and thoughts of the week:

1.  I was listening to CBC radio and heard a story about Kopimism, a religion that just received official recognition in Sweden. They don't seem to be a parody, but the same cannot be said of Pastafarianism, also known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Kopimism is based around the sacred act of copying - including acts like illegal online file-sharing. I would love to see their "right to religious freedom" be crushed, so we can demand why other crazy religious "rights" are so untouchable. I also would love to start my own religion to poke fun at established churches and test the boundaries of religious freedom.

2.  The god meme. Basically hilarious, poking fun at the Judeo-Christan God and all his idiosyncrasies.

3.  Rachel Held Evans's blog. She's a Christian writer who is amazingly reasonable. On her blog she documented her "year of living biblically," exploring the many rules in the Old Testament that women no longer follow. She did this to highlight that all modern Christians, no matter how strict they think they are, are selective in their approach to the Bible. This brought to the forefront the interesting discussion about what can be disregarded as "cultural of the time" and what has to be kept up as a command from god.

4.  Same blog. Rachel also regularly hosts conversations with people of different faiths and/or beliefs, for example a gay Christian and an atheist. The atheist had a great line when he was explaining how being an atheist doesn't make you immoral: if your belief in god is the only reason you're not killing, robbing, or raping others, then maybe you need to see a psychiatrist…  I loved that interview in particular, but mostly I just loved the sanity and openness on her website.

5.  Our physics teacher did a survey about our religious background and our personal beliefs. I marked down Christian for my heritage, since I did go to church occasionally as a kid, even though both my parents are basically non-believers. For my own beliefs, I marked atheism. But that's just my logical beliefs. Emotionally I'm agnostic, because I find believing in nothing supernatural way too depressing. Wishfully, I'm a pantheist, because I think having a pantheon of gods to pray to for different occasions would be really neat, without having one all powerful "loving yet vindictive" god. Which brings me to the last point...

6.  A classmate gave a presentation today about the Cathars, who believed in a good god and a bad god. They thought humans and animals were spirits stolen from the good god by the bad god and imprisoned in bodies on earth, which was Hell. They were anti-materialists, pacifists and vegans who preached tolerance and believed women and men were equal. So of course, they got crushed by the Catholic Church. But the interesting thing is that, as far as I know, they were the one Judeo-Christian sect that actually had a logical explanation (the bad god) for bad things happening..

And on a completely unrelated note, putting orange juice and yogurt in the same smoothie is a bad idea. Trust me, it was bad.

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