if evolution is true then the creation story is not true, and if the creation story is not true, then there is no fall of man, if there is no fall of man, there is no need for redemption, if there is no need for redemption, then there is no need for christ and the whole of the religion falls down. problematic indeed.
but that's not the entire picture, another problem rears its ugly head: it the "fall of man/redeemer' framework is rendered impotent, then what? then it falls to us individually to choose between the light and dark within us. we cannot blame some evil spirit or demons, we can only look to ourselves for how we will behave and speak. being on our own can be a frightening prospect for some. it means we must grow up, it means we are accountable to ourselves. that indeed is a solemn burden to bear.
are we without hope? of course not. i'll let you in on a secret. in all of mankind's history, in all of our stories, from all cultures, to present time good always triumphs over evil. we don't know any other way to write the narrative. we are good. we choose right.
if we possess such a rich culture of good prevailing over evil, then the burden of individual accountability is lightened. we need only have faith.....in ourselves. no problem.
18 June 2012
"One of Marlow's researchers has developed a way to calculate a country's "gross national happiness" from its Facebook activity by logging the occurrence of words and phrases that signal positive or negative emotion. Gross national happiness fluctuates in a way that suggests the measure is accurate: it jumps during holidays and dips when popular public figures die. After a major earthquake in Chile in February 2010, the country's score plummeted and took many months to return to normal. "
13 June 2012
12 June 2012
The most basic element of a being a democratic citizen is to be involved in decision-making, and this is where you see the real degeneration of American politics
11 June 2012
Socialism: Old Perceptions stifling New Growth
Republicans love hurling the “socialist” label on anything Democrat because it scares people, especially older generations who are all too familiar with the word and its vile associations with communism, a la the Cold War. Certainly there were problems with the way the Soviet Union addressed its socialist programs, but fear of the idea and its workings actually stunts our nation’s growth and its ability to move forward. Whether we want to admit it or not, socialism is one of the elements that have made our country great. If we look at the way socialism works for the U.S., its benefits and its place in our economy, then we can eliminate the fear associated with old perceptions and allow ourselves to grow once more.
While there are subtle differences in the way socialism can be defined, the underlining idea is that a nation’s government provides or has some control over certain aspects of its economy as opposed to allowing the free market and capitalism to govern – simply put it is government intervention vs. unchecked capitalism and privatization. In the failed Soviet Union, where the government controlled production of goods, inefficiency reigned supreme and the world watched and cheered to see communism/socialism fail. Here in the U.S. however, socialism has thrived. One of the main differences has to do with exactly what aspects of the economy socialism are applied to. Here, as in Europe, socialism is characterized by the government providing or subsidizing services to its people, rather than intervening with the production goods as the Soviet Union did; an element which is best left to the private sector.
Some examples of the services our government provides are education, pension, medical care, infrastructure, and defense. We pay for these services with our taxes and we all benefit from them. A free, quality education (well, we used to have one), access to affordable health care and food, clean water to drink and working roads allow the majority of us to go about our business, be productive, and fuel consumerism which keeps the free market afloat and growing. Because these services are available to the majority of our nation, we’ve created a healthy middle class which has allowed us to thrive.
The United States is no longer thriving. When these services are cut then the middle class shrinks and we become imbalanced. If most of the people cannot spend money, the economy slows down and we all end up losing. We still feel painful reminders of that from the 2007 debacle (except of course the people that broke the law that caused the debacle).
Besides the benefits of allowing our government to use our dollars to provide social services, there is the quite negative downside of having them privatized. See, with the government providing these services there is some accountability as to how they are priced and administered. If the private sector has control, the only concern is profit since corporations blatantly pander more to their shareholders than their actual clients. There is no sense of accountability. This has happened in several countries in South America when ‘shock doctrine’ economic policies were initiated. Eventually the conditions there became so bad that their governments had to step in and start providing the services it once was…free education, free lunches for schoolchildren, and other social service programs. There is a place for socialism.
I do not want to indicate that capitalism/privatization is evil either and certainly capitalism has made this country great as well. There must be balance though. We’ve already experienced the dire repercussions of unfettered capitalism and remember it as the Great Depression. The private sector simply wasn’t able to meet some of the needs of the majority of the populace. We’ve learned since then that most healthy kind of economy is a mixed economy, with government providing some social services and subsidies, while allowing the free market the ability to produce goods according to demand and competition. Socialism within this context, as opposed to the old perceptions associated with communism, works well and is imperative to a healthy, growing nation. In fact, it is one element that has made us great. It is time to change our perceptions and embrace the fact that socialism is a vital part of this nation, we fail ourselves and our nation if we do not.
mr. sununu needs to do a fact check....."Classrooms are busting at the seams because there are fewer teachers, and cities and towns across the country are closingentire public safety departments due to budget cuts.
10 June 2012
"we’re far more likely to win people from religion by working alongside them against the forces of oppression in this world – and thus showing them in practice that religious consolations aren’t necessary – rather than by dismissing them as dupes and stooges" says jeff sparrow in this thought provoking article.
07 June 2012
06 June 2012
"We planned our meals meticulously for the week and shopped in multiple markets to find the best value at the lowest prices; a time consuming and difficult endeavor."
quoted from the following article written by food network's mario batali......socialism does have its place
04 June 2012
i found this while researching for the book i am writing....excellent material and it underlines the role that socialism plays in a healthy country. be well kids, frankie
31 May 2012
this is important...and why we need to change our conversations from fruitless arguments to actually addressing our problems..
"Among rich countries, the U.S. is exceptional," he said. "We are exceptional in our tolerance of poverty." Sheldon Danziger, the director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan
30 May 2012
a boy wins a trip to disneyland, donates it to a soldier's family....well done brendan, you are my hero for the day!
29 May 2012
When does Life begin?
A new perception for a nagging question.
Recent attempts to pass “personhood” legislation once again reveal our passion concerning the nagging question: when, exactly, does Life begin? It’s an important question since we place value on human life, some sort of spirit or soul is at stake amidst the argument, we cannot be flippant about an answer.
Certainly to claim that a simple cell qualifies as a living being is pushing the limit in various ways. Most obviously, attaching personhood to the simple cell of conception ignores the fact that a million and one things can go wrong between conception and actual Life. Ask any woman who has experienced a miscarriage. Or a stillbirth; I know a girl whose fetus was born on her due date, after a seemingly healthy pregnancy, yet it did not take one single breath. From the moment of conception through the perilous journey of birth, one cannot at any moment assume that a viable Life will emerge. There are simply too many factors that are out of our control, and to which Life must conform.
If conception can be logically ruled out as the beginning of Life, then when does it begin? Thanks to scientific research we know that a group of cells that will become the heart begin to contract or ’beat’ at just a few weeks of gestation and many pro-Lifers refer to this earmark as proof of Life. They use this fact to claim that abortion is really ‘murder’ since it stops a beating heart. Even our courts use this information - when a pregnant woman is murdered, the suspect is often charged with two murders rather than one; the logic being that two heartbeats have been stopped.
While the ‘heartbeat’ approach to the beginning of Life provides a bit of a framework for us to work with, it is limited to the biological component of Life and has its drawbacks for the same reasons listed above - Life can be capricious. It seems then that there must be something more to the pronouncement of Life. The real question is when is the soul or spirit, our real human worth, attached to the beating heart ?
If a subtler question is in order then a more discriminating answer must be available. I had an idea, sprung from my bible reading days, and spent some time studying a series of words and their history. I came to the conclusion that it is possible to assert that Life begins when we take our first breath.
It caught my attention long ago that the Greek word pneuma was used to describe the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2, and its actual meaning is ‘wind, spirit, or breath.’ The original Hebrew word was u’ruch, the ‘Spirit of Eiohim’ or ruwach, a feminine noun meaning ‘breath or spirit’ as well. The Latin Vulgate translates the Greek word pneuma to spiritus ‘of breathing, of the spirit.’ The Old French word espirit is derived from the Latin and denotes the ideas of ‘soul, courage, vigor, breath’. Our ancestors used the word breather in the 17th century to denote ‘a living creature, one who breathes.’
Breathe, Life, Spirit. There is a very clear, logistical relationship in our language between having breath (Life) and having a Spirit. To breathe is to have spirit. We can claim therefore, that Life begins when we take our first breath.
This bold claim actually plays out if we consider a few more details. Bringing back the pregnant mother scenario, we see that the only reason the fetus survives is because the mother does all the breathing for it. Its heart, brain, and even bowel functions are made possible solely because the mother’s act of breathing makes it possible. The one thing that the fetus is required to do upon birth, the one thing that separates it from its mother, is to breathe for itself (or according to our word study, to be of the spirit).
Consider the amazing tools we’ve invented to allow us the ability to breathe, stay alive, and keep our spirit in various environments: the astronaut’s suit and S.C.U.B.A. gear for example. More to the point, consider what a respirator does for a person…it breathes for them. What are the agonizing consequences when we contemplate ‘pulling the plug’ on a loved one? We know that we are really speaking of stopping their breathing, and when the breath goes, we know that the spirit or soul departs as well. Life begins, and ends, with our breath.
Creating a new perspective for a charged question is an onerous task. We must give ourselves permission to change. We must talk about it, hash it out and decide how to best use new information. Perhaps a new perspective will allow us to finally move on from wasting our time and money on fruitless, illogical arguments such as ‘abortion is murder.’ Abortion, whether voluntary or involuntary, cannot be considered murder if there is no Life value at stake, there is no soul or spirit being destroyed. Certainly there is Life potential, but to claim that a fetus or group of cells has the same value as a living, breathing, spirit-inhabited individual is a very far reach indeed.
We place too much value upon Life to be flippant in our perceptions about when it begins. And if we really value and respect Life, we must accept that the decision not to bring a Life into the world should be as free as the decision to bring a Life into the world. Thankfully, the very history of our words provides us a new perception to reasonably make those kinds of decisions.
28 May 2012
30 January 2012
Banks: one of the biggest bullies out there.