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RURAL POLITICS 101
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops, just changed it when you commented, sorry!

No, that was my response to when Conis and Jester went on their Caveman avatar tear last week. I have changed mine now to keep up with current topics and events! LOL!
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:00 pm    Post subject: Preaching Reply with quote

Hey, Piper...whenever we talk about what is close to our hearts is preaching, brother. Preach on!

Hey, Conis...that buck picture is all about nature...think native Americans and food for the tribe...
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:17 am    Post subject: did Reply with quote

West End Piper

Did I understand you right .???......... did you say take prayer out of school ??? .... I have a differnt view on that one .. I say keep prayer in school !!

Doug .. I agree with you alot on most things you have said ..

John Elmer Engel .. the Native Americans religion is really neat ...
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:45 am    Post subject: piper Reply with quote

Piper ..

When people talk to you about the peace in their hearts ..which you call preaching ..they only want to share what they feel .. they want everybody to feel that wonderful peace they feel !!

I do not think I share enough to my friends how I feel ... I call it sharing with them .. you call it preaching ...

We all go to diffrent churches we all have our own beliefs but we all have the same God ....
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Rich
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow,
Even if I wasn't christian and didn't believe in any higher power I don't think I would whip out my middle finger at the concept just in case I was wrong.
To claim that we have no soul is saddening. To call someone stupid for their religious beliefs ( whether christian, muslim or whatever) is mind boggling.

However, I do agree with Als other sister on Stewart /Colbert '08
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trisham
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sure was a big night for the Democrat's. Go DEMS.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took the belief o matic test. Some of the proposed religion/philosophies I had never heard of. I has been determined I ought to be one of these.

1. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (100%)
2. Mahayana Buddhism (91%)
3. New Thought (91%)
4. Neo-Pagan (89%)
5. Unitarian Universalism (87%)
6. Scientology (84%)
7. New Age (80%)
8. Hinduism (76%)
9. Theravada Buddhism (75%)
10. Liberal Quakers (75%)

What... no chicken swinger? Go figure
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Kevin Gibbons
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The DEMOCRATICS did it. I did vote for one Republician in a local race and he got blasted, maybe I shouldn't have. The Senate isn't over yet that could be a close one. We have at least 50% of the seats but tie goes to the Republicians. I spent a good part of the evening down at Democrat head quaters picking at the food and drinks it was lots of fun,since we were winning. Pretty tired this morning though. Not as bad though as when I used to fly senator Irwin around for his campaine, I didn't think that we were ever going to sleep. I was sure glad when that one was over with.
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piper, I have two thoughts on your post:

First, concerning persons willing to die for what they believe, my point is not that they might be wrong about their belief; the point is, they believe it and that is why they are willing to die for it. Suicide bombers may be wrong about the number (and gender or species!) of the virgins waiting for them, but they don't think so and that is part of why they do what they do. My point is that the followers of Jesus died for something they would have known was not true and that that does not make psychological sense.

Second, I don't understand the line you are drawing between religion and philosophy. What you seem to be saying is that secular people can set public policy but religious people cannot. My views are shaped by my religious view of the world just as, I assume, yours are shaped by a natural view of the world. Allowing only the natural viewpoint leaves out a lot of people's views including those of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. And it flies in the face of those "We are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights" words in the Declaration of Independence.

The effect of that view is that, while a secular legislator could promote legislation to sacrifice individuals for the good of the group (a perspective the Soviet Union, Cambodia and Nazi Germany took), and would be allowed to use charts and statistics (his science) to make the case for why doing so was in the best interests of society, the religious legislator would be unable even to step forth to argue that individuals have God-given rights that cannot be taken by any man, no matter that it might be in the best interests of society. Obviously, I don't agree. And while I could no doubt come up with secular rationales for my public policy positions, I should not have to. And I think any objective view of the history of the relationship between religion and government in the US supports my position.

Two final notes: First, the New Testament is filled with radical statements about how we are to live that, because our country is so "Christianized", we take for granted. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"; "If someone takes your coat, give him your shirt as well."; and, "God allows the sun to shine on both the good and evil [implying that we should love everyone]." This kind of loving response to people in our lives does not come naturally to most individuals, let alone cultures. And I am not sure reason would necessarily get you there, though it could. In the US, we take our radical notions of love for granted. It is why Martin Luther King gave up his love for his people. Madalyn Murray O'Hair gave up her life, and that of her son and granddaughter, as I recall, for money. I know that secular people sacrifice their lives daily for their families and others, and that many do so in a way that puts many religious people to shame--but I don't think the rationale for doing so comes primarily from their philosophy. I think it is primarily a result of growing up in a country that has Judeo-Christian values at its core.

Second, just as an aside, it is worth noting that God is literally in the US Constitution. The document specifically refers to "Our Lord" in the phrase, "In the year of our Lord". And while I am being a bit facetious, l do think it is important to consider. Try to put that phrase in any current piece of legislation or public school textbook for that matter. Faster than you can say "diversity" the ACLU would file a lawsuit claiming a violation of Church and State. Well if it is a violation now and so must have been a violation then--the implication is that the drafters of the Constitution did not believe in separating God from civic affairs--a very different thing, by the way, than separating Church and State (which, by the way, is not in the Constitution).
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Dan Reynolds
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has all been quite thought-provoking.

My mother was raised Catholic. Although she left the "organized" religion behind when she left home as a teenager, she always believed deeply in a higher power, and still does. It brings her comfort and, though she would make reference to God from time to time as we were growing up, she never insisted that our beliefs match hers. We were not church-goers.

My Dad, on the other hand, subscribed to no organized religion whatsoever. He was the "captain of his soul" (from his favorite poem, Invictus).

I find it interesting that organized religions are so preoccupied with what happens to us when we die. To my way of thinking, if there is a higher power, it is expressed in what we do while we are alive. The "higher power" I imagine is something that is part of us, a relationship between collective and individual consciousness, not a separate entity that determines right vs. wrong or reward vs. penalty.

Whenever I was faced with a quandary of some sort while growing up, my Dad would say, "Do what you think is right." At the time (usually while I was a teenager), I thought it was kind of a stupid thing to say... Later, I realized what he meant. YOU need to know, in your own heart and in your own mind, what is 'right'. No outside entity can dictate that for you. Your faith in yourself and your own beliefs is the most important faith of all.

WWYD?
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan:

Your post reminded me of an interview I saw many years ago with the actress, Glenn Close. She was raised by parents who were part of a fringey, cult-like religious group. When she was an older teenager, she realized that many of the things she believed about the world were either not true or might not be true. But what really struck me was this: She said that she realized that, because of her upbringing, she couldn't necessarily trust her instincts about what was right, what was wrong, etc. and that she would have to look elsewhere (books, people she respected, etc.) for guidance. That seems to me a profound insight.

I think the advice in Hamlet from Polonius to his son who is about to venture to the big city is excellent; "Above all else, to thine own self be true." But I don't think that is exactly the same thing as saying, as the theme song I hear every morning on the Arthur cartoon says, "Believe in yourself." The advice in Hamlet tells you that if it is art you care for, don't go into accounting. But I don't think it is saying to believe what you like without reference to things outside of you. I like that old saying that 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. I think we need to examine our life, our beliefs, our values, and do so by reading books, talking to people, observing the natural world, you name it. After that, if you conclude that your belief or value seems right, then 'believing in yourself' is a good thing. My guess is that we probably agree on that.

As one who was, from birth to college, part of the Catholic Church (my mother like yours grew up Catholic--no surprise, I suppose, since the same man (a Catholic milkman in Chicago) was their respective grandfather and greatgrandfather!), and from college to the present a member of an independent Protestant Church, I think I can say with some authority that, while the question of our mortality is one of the things the Christian Church focuses on, there are many other things that are equally important. Being for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter is one. Loving your neighbor is another. Sacrificially loving your spouse by doing the dishes when it isn't your turn is one more. And those are just for starters.

Churches are in many ways like any other human organization. People 'join' because they have similar interests, believe in many of the same things, have similar goals, etc. Doesn't matter if its the local union, a conservation group, a political organization, or Alcoholics Anonymous. And one of the most important things human organizations do is help the members live according to their shared values. Loving people in practical ways is not easy. I find it much easier to be impatient with my son than patient and, for me, going to Church regularly, reminds me that patience is a virtue and, more importantly, helps me to be patient.

I think the Christian Church in America gets a bad rap because, in the soundbite, bad news all the time world we live in, the media focus is always on 'ministers gone bad' etc. And as in every human organization, there are plenty of bad things to look at in the millions of churches in America. But the good things they do--running the homeless shelters, taking care of new immigrants, responding to disasters, etc, is often not recognized.

I did not become a Christian so I could spread the gospel of political conservatism (though my conservative social views do flow naturally from my faith). As I probably wrote in an earlier post, my faith is the result of a search for meaning. I appreciate and respect those who find that meaning in the natural world. But the natural world did not satisfy my quest--like many, as much as I love the natural world, I felt and feel a "stranger in a strange land." It has always seemed to me that there was more. Here is a short poem I wrote a long time ago that sort of reflects my thinking:

I understand so little, yet
It seems to me I matter.
And though my flesh will die with death
It seems I'll live forever.

I am not trying to change anyone's mind about the conclusions they reached about the meaning of life. But I do think it is important for me to defend those who examined their life and the world around them and concluded that God exists.

Sorry for all the words. I think Conis is rubbing off on me! (Makes me think of the line in Amadeus where the King criticises Mozart's opera by saying "Too many notes!" My wife and I use that line when one of us is going on a bit too long. And as an aside, my wife and I were having dinner with another couple who both tended to be longwinded and knew it. At dinner, the wife was telling a very long, very detailed story, and her husband finally said, "Okay, dear, Land the plane!" A great line.)
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Dan Reynolds
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully, you didn't interpret my comments as criticisms of those who have concluded God exists, or as excluding the necessity to examine the world around us. We are largely reflections of that world. But what makes us people - the "higher power" in all of us, perhaps - is the ability to take those reflections and derive something meaningful and unique.

Interestingly, I think most organized religions and individual beliefs, at their core, are in agreement. I see God as a way for certain religions to understand and relate to a higher power that I choose not to quantify at this time. That power may well exist, but the "manifestation" doesn't necessarily match any one particular religion's interpretation. Science has yet to explain a lot about human behavior and potential. It's pretty much covered all the bases of corporeal life and death.

I would never seek to deny any person her or his beliefs. My mother's convictions, for example, bring her joy and comfort, which is more powerful than any worldly force I know. I do know that my own comfort and shelter is derived from the examination of life you described. Maybe WEP and JEE see that as an examination of nature - I can respect that. Others, of course, interpret what they see using traditional Christian symbols. Also something I can respect. But to me, the most meaningful and inspiring elements of life come from the people I have known and the relationships we've had. They give me shelter and hope.

Some of those special people have died. One might argue that they live forever in an afterlife by the grace of God. I would contend that they live on in a more tangible sense because of what they meant to other people, like me. Their actions affect my actions to this very moment. In that way, they are alive. If I act based on that inspiration, they will continue to live beyond my life. I guess you could say that I see life as an energy, a force, and the afterlife as a wave in a pool. The life goes on long after the initial splash has ended. (Doug - I like your poem and I think it fits here.)

Organized religions receive a bad rap because of a few lousy spokespeople for them. Like WEP has said, I don't want anyone forcing their beliefs on me, "taking pity" on me because they think I am missing something they can see, or being critical of me because I don't say the same incantations or practice the same customs and routines. As a young child, I remember answering the door and receiving an earful of scary statements from a nicely-dressed lady who reminded me of one of my schoolteachers. In a very sing-songy tone, she was basically threatening me with fire and brimstone for not taking one of her pamphlets and sharing it with my family. This is a really sad outcome for what probably began as a faith-based effort to bring people comfort. It had become corrupted and tainted by the time it reached the point of scaring a child.

To conclude yet another lengthy post, I wish everyone comfort in what they believe, and may that comfort translate into genuine respect for fellow humans and the planet.

Dan
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West End Piper
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attention fellow bloggers! While reviewing my posts on the subject of religion, I have realized that I may have come across a bit harsh. I have tried to relate my belief that we should all have the right to worship and believe whatever we want. I have, however been insulting and condescending at times, and for that I apologize. I am done discussing the subject, as I believe I have more than adequately stated my position. And "Praise the Lord" the Democrats have seized control of both houses of congress, so I am not so worried about the religious wrong ruining my beloved country! Laughing

Just for the record Rich - I never said we don't have a soul. Very Happy

Good day to all! There is now light at the end of the political tunnel!
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Piper.. I hope you will agree play the Pipes at the time of my passing, in my church filled with Republicans, Independents and Democrats, surrounded by a military Honor guard, with my box placed on two PINK rocks guarded by JEE, and words about Rocky presented by Conis..... Cool
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:13 pm    Post subject: I Reply with quote

Doug.. I enjoyed very much reading your post ....

Dan ... I liked your post also .....

Piper ... I appreciate you coming on here ...
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Rich
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doug, That poem you wrote is great. It's short and simple and probably has meaning to anyone of any faith.
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West End Piper
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, here's my last word on religion. This is a little poem I wrote, about a year ago, on the subject.

Knowledge is their enemy -

There is no shame in non-belief
You're one of the enlightened few
Who see the world with clarity
For noone has obscured your view

You won't be fooled by pious wolves
Who seek to infiltrate your mind
With needless guilt and fear of Hell
Their means of keeping you in line

What is it that they crave the most?
Your money or your precious soul?
They claim to want to save the one
The other is their lusty goal

And what about our scientists
And all the mysteries they've solved?
And what of all that we have learned
About the way that we've EVOLVED?

"Deceit!" they say, "The Devil's work!"
They have to keep you dumb, you see
For knowledge and plain common sense
Will positively set you free

Jeff T. Duncan Started 11-27-2005, Finished 12-29-2005
Written at Stations 4 and 1, Sterling Heights, MI
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Rich
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piper, Not so good like Doug's.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:33 pm    Post subject: Poems Reply with quote

As a retired English teacher, I am glad to see expressions in poetry to explain a point of view.

Happy Happy Happy
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West End Piper
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks John Elmer! I've got a million of 'em.

Rich, I think Doug's poem is quite telling.....particularly, the first line.

Sorry you didn't like mine. I'll try to use smaller words next time. Very Happy

Just kidding of course, I'm trying to be a kinder, gentler atheist. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yours was all right West End Piper. Like you said, "kinder and much gentler" is good.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel as if someone should be passing me the plate for a donation.
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Rich
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piper,
I must be smarter than you think because I knew you hadn't written your last word on this topic.
For the record, I don't have a problem with you being an atheist. I simply disagree with your philosophy.
You should extend the same courtesy. I'll admit that it's been fun sparring with you but at the same time I am offended by you associating faith with stupidity.
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West End Piper
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to have offended you Rich. You have your beliefs and I have mine. And I am done talking about mine. Very Happy
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with you Piper, no more posts on this topic (at least at this time!)

But I do have to say that the line you were no doubt referring to, "I understand so little . . ." is really just a statement of pure, unbiased science. There is far more about the universe, our world, our humanity and even the actual makeup of a grain of sand that we do not know than what we do know. It is why all of us are forced to make leaps of faith about the nature and meaning of our life--whether they be leaps to God, leaps to agnosticism, leaps to science, etc.

John Elmer--I was an English major too. Maybe we should start a post forum to discuss literature, poems, songs, artists, etc that we enjoy or don't enjoy.
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