My Boring Blog

Just a blog about me and whatever I\’m thinking at the time. Ho hum.

Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Ramifications of the Bush “shit”

Posted by austinburns on July 18, 2006

So we all know that President Bush dropped the “s” word (no, not “shut up”) in casual conversation with PM Blair at the G8 Summit in Russia. What I find odd is the various censorship/lack of censorship over the president’s usage of the word. For instance, the Orlando Sentinel printed the word without censorship. However, I cannot find a printing of the word online. The Daily Show, however, allowed the audio to go uncensored, but censored the caption that accompanied the video. CNN and BBC News have also published the word uncensored.
Why is this utterance allowed to go uncensored while Jon Stewart can’t say it without a bleep? Is the president uncensored only because he’s the president?

I have no problem with the president cursing. In fact, I wish he would do it more often. Many situations in this modern world require cursing. Israel and Hezbollah blowing each other up is such a situation. I, too, wish that something could be done to stop that shit.

We will likely not hear very many criticisms of Bush’s speech by the conservatives. If this had been Clinton or Gore or Kerry, we probably wouldn’t have heard the end of it. Why do we tolerate moral posturing?

Posted in Politics, Religion | Leave a Comment »

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Posted by austinburns on May 27, 2006

The Plot Against America

Wow. What a great book. What a weird book. What a creative book. This book is about what happens when Charles Lindberg wins the presidency at the start of World War II. He keeps America out of war and starts a sort of “Anti-Semitism lite” policy. The story centers around a young boy, Philip Roth (it’s written as kind of a memoir), and his Jewish family living in Newark. His family goes through the best and the worst of the new presidency.

Also, at the end of the book, he gives a true timeline of all the player’s involved. Great reading.

A

Posted in Books, Politics, Religion, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Da Vinci Code (the movie)

Posted by austinburns on May 22, 2006

Da Vinci Code

Oh boy, where to start. This movie was terrible. I hate to agree with so many critics, but it’s true. When I first read the book, I thought it was good, but not great. The story was intriguing, but the dialogue was bad. Unfortunately, this was carried over into the film. With the storyline stripped to its bare essentials, I never realized how lame it could be. Cheesy flashbacks, bad exposition, and wooden dialogue plagued this movie.

I heard a review from LA Times critic (I think) who said that it seemed the everybody was so afraid to mess up the story that it hampered their ability to act. I believe that.

Tom Hanks was OK. Definitely not his best, but definitely not his worst. Audrey Tautou was good. Her accent was a little thick, but I guess I’m too much of an Amelie fan to let that bother me. Ian McKellen saved the movie. He seemed to be the only one passionate enough about his lines to actually put some feeling into them, rather than just say them. Jean Reno was a waste of Jean Reno. Paul Bettany was Silas, and I think I had too high of hopes for his character. He was very one-dimensional. I guess he was supposed to represent the worst of religion with his blind devotion, not to God, but to a bishop who saved his life.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this movie. I’m anxious to see how someone who hasn’t read the book would like the movie.

D

Posted in Movies, Religion, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Bertrand Russell: Why I Am Not A Christian

Posted by austinburns on January 22, 2006

Bertrand Russell: Why I Am Not A Christian

Learn about Bertrand Russell here. Basically, he was a logician who was considered one of the founders of analytical philosophy.

Overall, I pretty much agree with the theme of this essay. He does make some overly generous statements, such as:

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

and:

One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it.

I don’t think that ALL churches are against moral progress, and I do believe that there are truly virtuous people of religion.

However, Russell does make some compelling arguments about the reasons why we believe in God and Jesus. He is also correct in stating that:

Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people’s desire for a belief in God.

and:

I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds.

For many people, believing in religion has nothing to do with rational thought or logical decision making. It is purely emotional. And I have no problem with that. I guess what really bugs me is when people blindly believe in something. Most people never take time to ask important questions like: Would a benevolent God really punish people to Hell for eternity based on what they did in a short lifetime? Is that really justice? Or is that overkill? Was Jesus perfect? Or was he just a good teacher and thinker, much like Buddha or Socrates? Jesus preached love your neighbor, but he also preached that men of iniquity will be cast into a furnace of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Is that loving your enemy or your neighbor?

Also, Russell does outline some of Christ’s teaching that many Christians have a hard time following, such as “turn the other cheek” and “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Granted, these are very hard teaching to follow, but it seems that many people are unapologetic in not following these. Jesus very much taught nonviolence and pacifism, and I think that the greatest follower of Christ was Ghandi, and he wasn’t even a Christian.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I really do have no problem with people’s personal decisions regarding religion. I’m also not looking to convert anyone. I’m merely stating my beliefs.

I believe that people, on the whole, are good. I believe in the good of humanity. I believe in the power of humanity to overcome evil.

I do not believe in Hell, and I wonder if it is possible to believe in Heaven without believing in Hell. Is there a need for eternal reward if there is no eternal punishment? Is this world all we have? Is there anything after we die? My rational mind screams, “Of course not! That doesn’t make any sense!” but my emotional mind pleads, “There has to be something, right? Right?” Really, it comes down to the fact that we don’t know. We’ll never know.

And that’s the mystery. We’ll never know for sure. I’ll give it to God, He does work in ways that cannot be proven. By some cruel trick, he makes us believe in spite of ourselves. He gives us knowledge to doubt Him, but expects us to believe anyway.

He’s a clever one, I’ll give Him that.

Posted in Religion | Leave a Comment »

Vatican Blasts “Intelligent Design”

Posted by austinburns on January 22, 2006

From Orlando Sentinel:

[Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna,] lamented that certain American “creationists” had brought the debate back to the “dogmatic” 1800s, and said their arguments weren’t science but ideology.

Amen to that. Hopefully, this will keep some IDer’s mouths shut, but I doubt it.

Posted in Politics, Religion, Science | Leave a Comment »

Deism

Posted by austinburns on January 15, 2006

The more I read about deism, the more I like it.

From Deism – Wikipedia:

Deism is defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God.

This seems to me to be the way to go. It makes much more sense to believe that if a God (not necessarily the Judeo-Christian God) were truly all-powerful and all-knowing, he would create and set into motion everything the universe needed to run without having to “maintain” it. It’s a very selfish thought to think that God would intervene in our lives.

Many of our founding fathers were actually deist. Most notably, Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence), James Madison (father of the Constitution) Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine (author of The Age of Reason). The mention of a “Creator” in the Declaration of Independence is a deist reference to a deity.

Deism teaches that the only way to “know” God is through knowledge, not random revelation. My search for God is purely personal and I don’t necessarily adhere to any creed or tenet of any one faith. I try to pick and choose what works for me.

I believe in science and I believe that science will be able to explain most, if not all, of the universe given enough time. Just as we have done in the past, things we once thought of as “miracles” will summarily be explained.

I think the Bible is a wonderful story book. It is by no means infallible. It was written by men, and edited many times from the original text. It is also by no means literal. It is full of allegory and parables. The stories of Adam and Eve and Noah and the Flood are just that, stories. They give us examples of how to live our life. But that doesn’t mean their events actually happened.

Jesus was a good man and a good teacher. I do believe that Jesus actually existed, but I’m not sure if he is actually the Son of God. He taught some wonderful things like forgiveness and humility. Many “Christians” know nothing of humility or forgiveness, and that’s why I think many people nowadays are shying away from organized religion.

Well, I think that this is enough for now.

Posted in Personal, Religion | Leave a Comment »