RJ's Corner

Religion Makes Children More Selfish…

2015-11-07_09-24-59History backs-up the scientific evidence that secular people are more moral, as reviewed by Israeli psychologist Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi. Most white supporters of the US Civil Rights Movement were non-religious, for example, while the apartheid regime in South Africa was led by devout Christians and opposed by atheists.

But the view that non-religious individuals are morally dubious is deeply embedded in American society. Atheists and agnostics are considered less trustworthy, even immoral, which explains why people who don’t believe in God are unlikely to be elected to high political office, such as President of the United States….

”It’s sometimes claimed that secular families are dysfunctional and rudderless because they lack the security of religion. But sociologist Vern Bengston, who has run California’s Longitudinal Study of Generations since 1971, says this isn’t true: “Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents …

The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterised by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

“Morality and religion are two separate things: religion has been made by humans and morality is part of our biology,” says Jean Decety.

Source: Religion Makes Children More Selfish, Say Scientists – Forbes

In some ways the above poll surprised me but in others it didn’t. I would think that people who religiously (pun intended) attend weekly places of worship would be kinder and more generous than those who don’t.  After all, Christians are exposed to the Gospel messages that often talk about the poor and the downtrodden. Shouldn’t this then become the foundations for their lives?  This poll is about children but I kind of think that children learn most of these types of things from their parents.

I am going to try to rationalize why religious children might be less altruistic than secular kids.  Most religions  embrace the belief that they are the only ones who have really figured out the true nature of God.  Everyone else is wrong to one degree or another.  We are holy &  they not so much. The logic goes like this:

“It is our job to get all those who believe things different from us to admit that they are wrong and our version is right. Then if they publicly proclaim that fact they can officially join us. Until that happens they are to be viewed with suspicion and maybe even distrust. Once they are part of our clan then they are worthy of our empathy and generosity. Real friendship/caring can only be fully established if you are part of us; if you leave us that friendship will quickly evaporate”

With that mentality the children maybe inadvertently learn of the us/them divide in most churches. My personal theology says God cares equally about all of us. He doesn’t restrict his love to religious alliances.  I found it interesting that Most white supporters of the US Civil Rights Movement were non-religious.  Another interesting point is that Muslims are the least friendly and meanest of the three groups.

I will close here by narrowing my brush:

Does my rationalization above apply to all those who claim membership to religions?  ABSOLUTELY NOT… but I think it is a pretty good description of too many of them…

Mount Trashmore… A Consumer Driven Society..

2015-09-21_08-16-22One of the things that we first-world countries have basically wrong in my opinion is that we must be a consumer driven society. Everyone buying and consuming more and more each year is the bedrock of our economic system, especially here in the U.S.

Over my seven decades on this earth I have accumulated literally tons of stuff that I really didn’t need or actually, didn’t really want.  I bought it because it was the “in” thing to do. I bought it because the marketeers convinced me that I had to have it.  Yeah, I am human too and fall for the same things I seemingly so loath in others. :)

As my income grew from poverty to upper middle class my consumption constantly increased. I can’t tell you how many things I have thrown out in my life, not because they were worn out but because I just lost interest in them or maybe they had just lived out their planned obsolescence or something new just came along. I now  seem to be at one of those milestone places in my life where I want to shake things up.  As a result I am currently shedding “stuff ” in my life.  I have hundreds of books on the shelves behind me.  I am throwing almost all of them out along with all that obsolete technology stashed in the cabinets below them.  I am contributing to the height of my local Mount Trashmore.

But I kind of think it was not as bad in my childhood as it is now.  I know I sound like that old person who laments for the “good old days” but I have to speak my mind. There are just so many what I consider frivolous things today that are considered essential that I would never have dreamed of in my youth.

  • Every child’s teeth have to be perfect. Parents spend thousands of dollars on making sure that their kids have exactly the same teeth as all the others.
  • While we are on the subject of teeth now it seems that everyone’s teeth must be the purest form of white or you will be shunned from society.  So we spend hundreds each year on things to bleach them out.
  • It is not good enough to just have a kitchen with a working stove and large enough sink.  Now we have to update our kitchens on a regular basis. It used to be granite, cherry and stainless steel but now after a half-dozen years or so that is no longer acceptable.
  • In my day if you had a nice green backyard you were considered lucky.  Now you HAVE to have a fire pit, an outdoor dining room, and a large deck costing thousands of dollars.
  • And then there is the clothing fashions, especially for women.  Don’t get me started on 7 inch heels; they are the  most ridiculous thing on this planet!

It seems the marketeers tell us what to do and almost all of us jump to their demands. We must spend more and more in order to keep our country great!  Ironically now, instead of lamenting about what we don’t have, so many of us mourn the fact that our lives are just too complicated. But we still almost religiously go on and on to the next new fad.


I’m Being Picked On….

Carson insists no other candidate has received the level of scrutiny that he has. Asked on NBC whether he is getting more than President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, Carson replied: “Not like this. Not even close.”Scrutiny of his past is par for any major candidate for president, not only Carson. Obama’s citizenship was questioned and he later released a birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii.

Clinton’s marital dalliances were probed during his 1992 campaign. The Miami Herald staked out then-Sen. Gary Hart’s townhouse in 1987 and caught him in an extramarital affair.

Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, last month testified about the private email server she kept at her house and used for government business while she was secretary of state.

Carson is a newcomer to presidential politics, so much about his life, career and published works are being raked over for the first time, and his longtime status as an American success story examined. Carson strongly disputed that there was any dishonesty intended.

Source: Ben Carson Says Questions on Autobiography Aren’t ‘Real’ Scandals | TIME

Poor Ben, he is being picked on!! They are taking things from his autobiographies and showing that they are not really true to fact.  Poor Ben, I’ll bet he thinks this is the first time a candidate with little or no previous public service record running for president has ever been “attacked”.

I think he kind of forgets what Obama went through eight years ago from the GOP. He forgets all the racist pictures and the just below the surface racial slurs. He forgets the “birthers” who said he wasn’t like them and he wasn’t even an American.  And then there was the Jeremiah Wright thing attacking his beliefs in God!  If you can’t even remember eight years ago how do we know what you really know?

Why don’t they, meaning the “liberal” media, just take his word for all that he claims happened in his life? Why are they picking on him!!!

OK, now lets get down to a little more serious discussion of this issue.  Ben Carson is certainly to be congratulated for pulling himself out of the Detroit ghetto and becoming a well known surgeon but that doesn’t in itself give him a free pass on running for president.  Most of the others running, except for Carly and Donald, have a publicly known track record of how they might perform in the highest office in the world.  All we really know about Ben is that he has very steady hands and seems to have a calm demeanor.  Is that enough or should we do what we can to determine  more about his character and how he might handle the thousands of emergencies while in the Oval office?

2015-11-09_12-03-47The one thing I have found about him is that he  just seems to be too prone to conspiracy theories and other wacko things.

  • how Obama will suspend the 2016 elections and declare himself an autocrat.
  • how Obamacare, which give affordable healthcare to millions,  is the worst thing since slavery.
  • and then there is the Nazi comparison.

A Will Rogers quote come to mind when I think about you Ben.

You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects

I know you are good at prodding and carving up brains  Ben but do you know anything about running a country? From all your words to date I just can’t even begin to figure that out…. but leave it up to so many of the GOP base who want to make him president and just take their chances…. not if I, and I hope a lot of others, have anything to say about it…

They Deserve Their Failure….

2015-11-07_08-53-00That is the moral-ideological core of conservatism today. It presumes that life is a competition or race, that people are unequal in talent, drive, and ambition, and that those who end up on top deserve their victory and rewards — and those who come out on the bottom deserve their failure and hardships. Any attempt to overturn or even mitigate this moral order — whether through government regulation or changes in habits or assumptions in school or on the playground — amounts to an offense against justice itself.

Source: What defines conservatism today?

I want to spend a few posts in the coming week or so on morality and to a lesser degree empathy. But then to me the two are very intertwined. It often disturbs me how I see those who consistently vote Republican just don’t seem to have any sympathy for those who are not like them.  As a previous viewer of this blog frequently said I often seem to paint with too broad a brush. That is true, but it is really a matter of degree. The question is “what percentage of the GOP voters have little sympathy for others?” It is obvious that the top three GOP presidential candidates in that party all share that characteristic but how many of those who back them also share it? Is that why they back them or is it something else?

Those questions aside let’s get on to the quote above.  Is this the core of conservatism today? If it is then in my mind it has several fundamental flaws.

  • The teachings of Jesus just don’t agree with it – A large part of the “conservative” base claims to be Christian so you would think that their founders words would be extremely important to them. There are just too many places in the Christian bible where Jesus tells us to give the shirt off our back to those less fortunate than ourselves. The “What you did for the least of these you did for me” should make it totally clear that He did not believe that those on the bottom deserve their failures! He tells us to take care of the poor and homeless not to just abandon them because they made poor choices.
  • We don’t all start out the same – The above logic might make some sense if all of us were presented the same opportunities and some chose to make the most of it and some didn’t.  But that simply is not the case.  Some of us, particularly those who are from affluent families, have many more opportunities than those who are born to families stuck in minimum wage jobs or no jobs at all.
  • It doesn’t give much of a chance for improvement – The logic in the statement above seems to say that if you made the wrong choices then you are stuck at the bottom and there is nothing we who succeeded need to do to help you survive. This is clearly a “survival of the fittest” mentality and has no place in American morality.
  • It reverses the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” just doesn’t align with this supposed conservative core.

You Don’t Have To Be Busy All The Time….

2015-11-04_08-58-20About Life BannerOne of the things that I learned the hard way during my years of retirement is that you don’t have to be busy all the time. I just couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around the idea of just having “down” time where I literally did nothing. No work, no thinking to any degree; just sitting alone with myself.   The Quakers call this “centering down”, some call it meditation, I just call it being alone with myself.

There are so many who say that time is rushing by and out of their control. My wife and I watch the TV show House Hunters when we eat our lunch. In that show there are many who move from one part of the world to another seeking a “slower lifestyle”. They say that things in their lives are just moving so fast that they have to get away.  But in reality no matter where you live you still have the same 24/7 as the place you left.  Time doesn’t slow down, only the activities you fill it with changes. I have learned in my old-age wisdom that you don’t have to chase a slower lifestyle around the globe, you can find it wherever you are.

Since I have no kids or grand kids I am only speculating here but it seems that kids today have a lot more scheduled activities than I did when I was a kid. “Soccer Moms” is a term that revolves around this phenomenon where one parent spends hours a day driving their kids to one event or another.

In my day my “events” were running around the neighbor visiting my friends and just hanging out. Sometimes we might get together for an ad hoc baseball game or whatever but it was not a scheduled thing.  It just kind of happened. Today it seems that parents, or maybe it is the kids themselves, think they have to fill their days with constant activity.  Looking back I kind of liked my down time where I could do nothing but maybe lay on my back in the yard and just gaze at the stars above.  There seemed to be many more stars in my youth than there are now but that is getting off topic.

When I was in the corporate world, especially 1980 and after,  I was constantly being told I have to do more with less. In the last ten years of that life I  saw my co-workers getting laid off one after another and was told I had to take on their work responsibilities because they would not be replaced. The mantra then was “Doing More With Less”. That jingle never appealed to me or I suspect anyone else except maybe the bosses who sang them.

In my retirement years I have once again learned how to just do nothing. As in my childhood I have again discovered that you don’t have to be busy all the time. In fact doing nothing once in a while has a calming effect that nothing else seems to provide.  Cutting off the thinking and doing nothing isn’t as easy as it sounds but it is worth the effort in order to maintain your sanity in this insane world we live in now… :)

Artificial Intelligence… and the Second Industrial Revolution


HAWKING: The outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

Source: Highlights from Stephen Hawking’s Reddit AMA: ‘Women’ are the most intriguing ‘mystery’ – The Washington Post

I’m not a fan of Stephen Hawking, he just seems to be a guy who dreams up stuff that is impossible to verify. Just because you can’t be proven wrong doesn’t make what you say right.  But his words above are insightful but not unique to Mr. Hawking.  I recently read a book entitled Machines of Loving Grace – The Quest For Common Ground. It is about automation and the two completely different approaches  to it. I will be getting into the book and quotes from it soon but wanted to mention it during this post.

There weren’t any blogs or 24/7 reporting during the first industrial revolution but if there were I’m sure many would be lamenting how all the farm jobs were disappearing and how fearful they were about the future. Change, especially sudden change is a very traumatic thing to many of us then and now.

Replacing humans with robots started more than fifty years ago and it now expanding at an exponential rate.  It will soon be that any job that simply requires repetition will be done by robotic means. This phenomenon started out with physical activity and is now quickly moving into the intellectual area.  From blue-collar to white-collar with no end in sight. Where there was once a good paying job in industries such as auto, and office work they are now replaced by robots  and computers who work twenty-four hours a day with no breaks.

I personally think that eventually this will be a good thing. Humans will be rid of the mind numbing work of the past and can then move on to more creative and productive endeavors. This revolution could also cause the family unit to be stronger than it has been in a century. Recently we have farmed out the care giving and moral education of our children to others so that both parents could work at providing income for the family.  Now with robotics doing much of the day-to-day work there will be no need for double income so a permanent care-giver can once again be the norm.  Another possibility is for a 30 hour work week.

Of course this all hinges on how the gains due to robotics are distributed.  Will it go to the stake holder or the remaining workers.  Right now the top 1% are getting a very inordinate share but that doesn’t have to be the case. Unfettered capitalism naturally favors them but if proper regulations are put in place things could quickly change to even out the distribution of the gains.

I have high hopes that, even though I won’t be around, things will be much better in the future than they are now. We will be more educated, informed, and diligent citizens. We will reign it the capitalistic greed that is inherent to our current system.  Yes, I am a dreamer…. and if you are going to dream why not dream big positive things… :)

Life Flow …

2015-11-03_13-42-55This Sunday I want to flesh out a little more of what God means to me personally.  Theologians throughout the centuries have molded God into a being mainly of their own making.  If they can do it so can I, at least for my own purposes.

As I have said in the last two Sunday posts I see God as primarily the keeper of life.  There is something inside of us that makes us alive . Call it the spirit, soul, life blood or what ever you want but only God can make life. When you are born you are filled with life and consciousness. Part of consciousness is an underlying knowledge of right and wrong, of joy, empathy, and self-awareness and something greater than ourselves. Christians call this the “fruit of the Spirit”. All of this is part of life. When you die that spirit, which has everlasting life, leaves your body and rejoins the pool of life maintained by God.  The Bible here and there mentions Judgement day. It is treated as a one time event but I kind of think it is an ongoing thing upon the departure of each individual life. What is judged I will leave up to God to determine.

To me God controls life but not how that life is lived.  What that life becomes is a matter of circumstances sometimes within and sometimes beyond our control. Some of it is a result of our environment and particular culture. Some of it is due to our making the right decisions or the wrong decisions. Some of it is due to others who help or mistreat us to various degrees. It is up to each of us as to how we approach life.

Being the keeper of life he cares about all of us as we all come from him. I know that through the ages God has been viewed as sometimes a being very vengeful being who says “Say these words” or “Tow this line” and if we don’t he will send us to an eternity of agony beyond anything we can imagine. I simply don’t buy into a God who hates so much of his creation to do such a horrible thing! Now on to the last topic for today.

“Spiritual but not religious” has come to mean a very important difference to me.  I see a religion as a collective composition of previous thoughts from theologians about the spiritual realm. Various thinkers throughout time have come up with some very dramatically different views of God. Several of these views have gained millions of followers and then become a religion unto themselves.  In Christianity there are now over 35,000 different religious organizations who claim to be followers of Jesus and it seems each on says their version is right and everyone else is wrong to one degree or another.  I could, and have, belonged to different ones at various times in my life.  It is only recently that I have  decided not to even try to align with any of them. I refuse to pledge allegiance to any particular, and that is what most of them demand. So now I call myself spiritual but not religious…

Next Sunday I will discuss my thoughts about some of the current religious organizations and their followers and leaders. That should then close out this topic for me, at least for now.


Settler’s Cabin…

Old Time Cabin

This is a picture of the inside of one of the cabins at O’Bannon State Park in Indiana that I visited early this year. It showed that a family on the frontier often lived in a 200 square foot or small house. Today it seems most of us think that is too small for even a bathroom. :)  I love the hand hewn logs and such but I kinda think the flower are more an embellishment of today than they were a reality of yesterday.

Automatic voter registration through DMV

Gov. Jerry Brown acted Saturday to increase participation in California elections and help prevent shootings at colleges, approving automatic voter registration and banning concealed weapons on campuses.

Source: Jerry Brown OKs automatic voter registration through DMV – LA Times

California has always been kind of “out there” for me but they do things that need to be done much before most other States. Where most of the “red” States are doing things to make it harder to vote, leave it up to very blue California to do the opposite. Thinking about it, it just makes sense that if you are getting a license with a permanent address attached why shouldn’t that automatically allow you to vote with that address? Why do you have to do anything else? Given that so few of us seem to vote these days we should make it as easy as possible to vote.  You got a driver’s license, you can vote…

But since this new law will mainly affect those 18-24 year old voters I imagine the GOP will fight it in red States. Most of those young folks will likely vote Democrat.  Maybe their decision to require a valid driver’s license at the polls in the red States  will backfire on them. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I just don’t understand how a party that claims almost sole ownership of patriotism and the Constitution can act the way they do sometimes.  I read recently where a southern State is now limiting the hours of voting in certain districts.  They say it is to save money but almost all the districts are predominately African-American.  Hypocrisy is saying one thing will doing the exact opposite. That description just seem to totally fit the 21st century GOP right now.  I hope that changes but I don’t see, given the current anti everything mood over there, that it has a chance of happening…

As Goes California, So Goes The Nation

“Untrustworthy” — Really???

Press secretary Josh Earnest called Ryan’s claim that he cannot trust the president on the issue “ironic,” given he helped write bipartisan immigration reform legislation in 2013 only to stand with House GOP leaders in Congress who refused to take up a bill.

“The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue, because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Obama’s executive actions to loosen his deportation policies. “The president’s proven himself to be untrustworthy on this issue.”

Source: White House blasts Ryan’s ‘preposterous’ position on immigration | TheHill

Let’s look at the concept of being untrustworthy a little bit. As cited in the first paragraph above Congressman Ryan helped write a bipartisan bill on immigration in 2013 and then stood by while the GOP leaders refused to take it up. He didn’t make a peep.  I would call that untrustworthy. If he doesn’t support what he helped craft how can we trust him to do anything on this topic.

He calls the President untrustworthy because when after many repeated attempts to get the GOP to work with him on immigration and failed he went on to do what he could by himself.

Untrustworthy?? Really??

Mr. Ryan says because of that he will not work with this president on the immigration issue.  But this is just another serious issue that has needed addressing for years now that has been thrown into a junk pile by the GOP. It seems that Mr. Ryan is confused as to which side of the table the trustworthiness resides.   If an issue doesn’t involve the rich it is not worth their time in making legislation it seems…

I couldn’t  agree more with him when he says it is congress’ job to write legislation. But when congress fails to do just that like they have done for the last two years what is the alternative?  Do we sit on our hands watching the topic explode? Really, that’s the answer, really???

I hope this is an anomaly for the new Speaker and that he lives up to his words that he is ready to do what it takes to meet his legislative responsibility as the new speaker of the house. If he evetually does live up to his words I will be one of the first to congratulate him for doing so and then say it’s about time.  I realize that the politics within the Republican party, especially in the house, is totally out of control so he needs to appear to appease all of them but I hope that eventually he does his job and is not shown UNTRUSTWORTHY in the position he now occupies…

Stuff Happens….

Mr. Obama ordered flags at the White House on Friday to half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting. “When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer,” he said on Thursday night as early reports of the dead and injured in Oregon reached the White House. “When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.”

Source: Obama Rebukes Bush on ‘Stuff Happens’ Reaction to Oregon Shootings – The New York Times

2015-11-04_07-43-09The above quote comes from President Obama in the aftermath of one of our seemingly weekly mass murders in this country.  Presidential candidate Bush’s comments on the topic were “stuff happen”. All the other cart full of GOP candidates pretty much said the same thing.   All these guys need hope that their loved ones are not in the wrong place at the wrong time when “stuff happen”.

If a terrorist from outside our country had killed nine and injured several more of our citizens I’m sure all those in congress would immediately rush to increase our military spending so that we can go after the perps who conspired to kill. Instead when it is a domestic terrorist they silently sit on their hands. The tragedy of that bi-polar response is numbing to me.

I am proud to be an American and to be able to live in this country but that does not mean that I can’t criticize it when we do dumb things and this lack of adequate gun control is definitely a dumb thing.

I will get off my soapbox now and wait a week or two until the next time innocents are killed by our obsession for guns before I bring it up again.

WingNut Sighting….


From a Facebook friend.  I don’t know how much all the supposed supporters really know about this guy.

What’s Good For Me Is….


Banner Ed CartoonsThis being election day I thought I would throw in a little political banter for those who think for themselves…

I thought it was noble that one of the conditions that Paul Ryan put down for accepting the Speaker job was he demanded that he be able to  set aside time to be with his family.  Family time is important. But then there is his history with being against paid family leave bills that have been consistently rejected by him and the rest of the GOP. He claims he is against it because it would require a “vast bureaucracy” to maintain it. That’s BS to me and I think even to him if he honestly thought about it. Valued families indeed….

I guess what is good for him is  … just good for him!

Congress and most federal government employees have an excellent healthcare plan where the government pays about 75% of the costs. Yet the Republicans in congress have tried many many times to strip even the poorly funded ACA away from so many of their constituents.

This type of anti-family voting practices are somewhat typical of that party.  For the life of me I can’t understand how so many voters are 100% Republican?  Why don’t they at least sometimes vote with their hearts instead of always being in lockstep with one political party??   I just don’t understand……..

Thanks Adam Zyglis for the picture worth a thousand words.

Poor Little Rich Kids…

RJC - Best of the best BannerI know I shouldn’t nominate myself for the best of the best list but when I ran across this post from October 11, 2011 I couldn’t resist.  It seems it is even more applicable today than it was four years ago.

This excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article peaked my senses. It seems the rich, who we give massive tax breaks,  are aware that their kids will probably blow through their inherited wealth after they are gone.  What a bind to be in!  I bet they take all this planning and  trustees as tax deductions. It seems very ironic that while most of us are just trying to stay out of the poor house, and in any other house at all, there are those who worry about the other end of the spectrum.

Instead of “cleverly written trusts” and “carefully chosen trustees” how about just letting them make their own way in life like the other 98% of us do? Who knows, maybe Paris Hilton would even be a productive member of our society if she had not inherited so much of granddaddy’s wealth. :) Up until recently (the 1980s that is) the government taxed wealthy estates so that a significant part of the accumulated money could go back for the common good.  Our country was even established around the ideas that aristocracies are a drain on society. They thoroughly renounced the European version when we formed our country. In fact it was not long after our revolution that the French also rebelled against their aristocracy in a very bloody fashion.  So how is it now that we do so much to retain our version of aristocracy that makes up the top 1% of our population but controls almost 50% of the country’s wealth?

OK, here I go again with the “Walters plan” for accumulated wealth.  I know we can’t force the super rich to allow their children to make their own way in the world. But let’s treat the money they pass on to their children as “income” and therefore subject to the usual income taxes.  To me income is income no matter where it comes from. If you get money that you didn’t work for and you haven’t paid any taxes on  it is still considered income to you. Another part of the “Walters Plan”  is where we establish a more equitable income tax structure. Don’t tax the billionaires at a lower rate than the people who empty their trash. Let’s set a level of tax free income so that a person can get the basic necessities and then tax everything else at a certain rate and with no tax deductions. These big tax loop holes that congress seems to endlessly write for the rich, and for many others for that matter,  are one of the reasons we are in the deficit hole we are in.

But what do I know.

God, The River Of Life…

2015-10-18_09-02-12This is a continuation of last Sunday’s Post on God and Life.  If you haven’t already read it you might want to do that now as this post won’t make much sense without that background. (God Is All About Life)  In that post I put forth the proposition that God is life. With this post  I will expand just what that means to me. I will repeat here that this concept is primarily for me to come to a personal understanding of God. I don’t expect, or even want, you to agree with me.  You need to do the work to come to your own conclusions on the very heady matter. Question everything…

Being the “keeper of life” and being the “controller of life” are two very different things that have been intertwined by too many  past theologians. Here are some of my personal inquiries on this topic:

  • Does God know every hair on our head? — He just might since all life flows through him.
  • Does he have a will for each of us? — Collectively I think he does.
  • Does he determine before our existence what we will do or accomplish in minute detail? — I don’t think that God is simply writing plays with known outcomes or is a puppet master. I think that concept is a man-made. I think God leaves it to us to determine our own fate. Sometimes random chance comes into the equation but definitely not everything that happens is ordained by God.
  • Did God ordain Paul to set up the rules for Christianity? — It seems most current Christian organizations take that as a yes but I differ.  I follow the Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy view that Paul took the simple messages of Jesus and made them complicated.

Too many of us shirk our personal responsibilities in life in favor of putting them on decisions already made by God. There is way too much rationalization around this subject. We say it is God’s will that this happened to me and that takes the pressure off of us to make a different fate.  To me God’s will is very simple, Love God the keeper of life and love each other. Jesus said it as simply as that. Everything else is just blah blah blah to me.

I’m sure some who might read my words here will call me at best an agnostic because I don’t believe in their version of God.  But I do very much believe in God’s presence in the world and in each of us. I also believe that Jesus was from God in one respect or another. It is the degree that I don’t know, but that is kind or irreverent to me.   I don’t  believe that everything in the Bible attributed to Jesus necessarily came from his lips.   But again the degree is what I’m not sure of.

For this post that sums it up for me…..

Next Sunday I will be talking more about  life flow and being “spiritual but not religious”.  Two very different categories but it sums these thoughts up for me.

Question Everything…


Don’t worry, your brain won’t overheat

It is as simple as that…..

Why America is Falling Behind the Rest of the World??

2015-10-04_12-02-35The authors collect many previously published rankings, and the picture that emerges, however, is sobering:

1. Median household income Rank of U.S.: 27th out of 27 

2. Education and skills Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 23 countries  

3. Internet speed and access Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 34 countries

 4. Health Rank of U.S.: 33rd out of 145 countries

5. People living below the poverty line Rank of U.S.: 36th out of 162 countries

6. Children in poverty Rank of U.S.: 34th out of 35 countries surveyed

7. Income inequality Rank of U.S.: Fourth highest inequality in the world.

9. Life satisfaction Rank of U.S.: 17th out of 36 countries

10. Corruption Rank of U.S.: 17th out of 175 countries. 

11. Stability Rank of U.S.: 20th out of 178 countries.

12. Social progress index  Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 133 countries

Source: Why America is Falling Behind the Rest of the World | TIME

We might be the only military super-power left in the world but when it comes to the welfare of its citizens we sadly trail dismally  behind much of the rest of the world. I wonder why we are only mediocre when it comes to so many things.

  • We are by far the most affluent country in the world but our life satisfaction is no better than the middle of the pack.  I guess, as the old saying goes money doesn’t buy happiness.  The very socialistic Scandinavian countries top this category.
  • Given our almost unregulated capitalist system it is not too surprising to see that median income is so dismal. Yeah we have more than our share of the super-rich but the guy in the middle just can’t seem to get a break anymore. That also explains the children in poverty one.
  • The health one is obvious. Most other first world countries have affordable  and more comprehensive single payer healthcare.
  • Internet speed kind of baffles me. We invented and perfected it but so many of our citizens are either blocked out of it or are creeping along at agonizingly slow connections. I am one of those because I am in a rural/low density area that doesn’t generate enough profits for the suppliers to upgrade our connection.
  • I guess we are pretty good in the corruption category; we are only the 17th highest there.  But if we included our election process where money buys power we might move closer to the top.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I believe the U.S. is the best country in the world but we sure do have a lot of room for improvement in so many people issues.  If only we could get rid of all that gridlock in our nation’s capital and our obsessive fear and the resulting gross military spending we could probably do a better job of attacking these things. But that will never happen until those who cling to the GOP label expel the radical fringes of their party…

The Low Info Voter — DOWN WITH SOCIALISM….


Banner Ed CartoonsI love this one by David Fitzsimmons. This runs the line of the ranter who says

Keep government hands off my social security!!” 

It is sad to see so many low-info voters around today who have no idea of what socialism or much of anything else really is.  All they know is that “their” political party told them it is a bad communist inspired thing.


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