Sep 012015
 

I am 56 years old. I grew up in the 60s and 70s. I know the 60s especially were a period of social upheaval and change, but it was a period of people coming together more. Labor unions organized to get workers decent wages, healthcare, and a stable retirement. We invested in public schools. We were wowed by and respected science and scholarship. We started talking about conservation and protecting the environment. We accepted that it cost money to do those things. We looked to the future with excitement and anticipation, but today, we seem to be in a rush to go backwards as far and fast as possible. We fear everything, and demand absolute security, and think it can be found in some nostalgic past.

Apollo 11America, through public and private cooperation and investment built an unrivaled infrastructure. We became the country that invented the things of a new and exciting world, and we built those things. The workers who did the building mostly got a decent wage that allowed them to live a decent and comfortable life, plan for the future, and set a foundation that raised the next generation a little higher.

The government created Social Security and Medicare so the disabled and elderly could live out their lives with some stability and small comforts. We built public schools and public colleges and universities. Trade schools and community colleges were developed to help those who needed an interim step on the financial ladder. And we all realized we had to chip in to pay for those things. As Barney Frank once said, “Government is what we choose to do together.” We made mostly good choices.

We built the machinery and the forces to win World War II. We put men on the moon, sent people to the deepest reaches of the seas, captured the power of the atom, and built (for better or worse) the internet. We laid the foundation to connect the world. Continue reading »

Sep 012008
 

I am a huge fan of Lewis Black. His stand-up routines and commentaries on the Daily Show almost always evoke a laugh-out-loud reaction from me. One night last week I watched, for a second time, a Comedy Central showing of Black on stage in Washington, D.C. In response to Bush’s comments about Evolution that, “the jury is still out,” Black does a routine about the Old Testament. As is always the case with the best comedy, it made me think about me think about things from a different perspective…about how we Christians use the Old Testament to discriminate against gay people.

Black talks about the first books of the Bible being the book of his people, the Jewish people. He proceeds to make fun of Christians deciding the Old Testament wasn’t good enough, and having to come up with our own book…calling ours “New,” and his “Old.” It really gets funny when he talks about how, despite having to have our own book, Black says, “Yet every Sunday I turn on the TV set, and there’s a priest or pastor reading from my book, and interpreting it. And their interpretations, I have to tell you, are usually wrong. It’s not their fault, ’cause it’s not their book. You never see a Rabbi on TV interpreting the New Testament…do you?”

He notes that if there’s something about the Old Testament we don’t understand, there are Jews who walk among us we can ask. Now Black is making a point about the Creation story, but I find his logic applicable to other areas, such as the religious conservative view of homosexuality. Remember that most of the scripture cited by the krazy kristian kooks to justify their bigotry against gay people comes from the Old Testament. Of course, for the most part, the books of the Christian Old Testament constitute the Jewish Torah.

Black is correct that this is “his book,” and, while I understand there are very conservative orthodox Jews who also believe homosexuality is wrong, all the Jewish people I know have no problem at all with homosexuality. Funny, isn’t it, that most of the passages used to endorse homophobia come from the Old Testament, but the Jewish people…the people of “the Old Testament”…are the ones that seem to have the least aversion to homosexuals. Maybe we Christians should take Black’s advice to seek out the Jews among us, and have them interpret the Old Testament for us.

Peanut Butter proves Creationism

 Religion, Right Wingnuts  Comments Off on Peanut Butter proves Creationism
Apr 082007
 

After my previous post on the need for separation of Church and State, if you needed any more reason why we don’t mix religion and government, look no further than this video.

Chuck Missler, a biblical fundamentalist and founder of Koinonia House Ministry, presents what he believes is proof that the theory of evolution isn’t viable – he opens a jar of peanut butter. And because we’ve never found “new life” inside a jar of peanut butter, the entire food industry of the world is proof that evolution just isn’t true.

These are the people the GOP bows to to gain their support in elections.

Imagination and Knowledge

 Deep Thoughts, Science  Comments Off on Imagination and Knowledge
May 062006
 
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Deep Thoughts

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.  –Albert Einstein

Along with some of the great theories of how our universe works, Einstein is also know for some great insights into human nature. It seems, despite a depth of knowledge exceeding almost everyone else in human history, yet he is saying that knowledge has a limit. We can only know so much.

On the other hand, imagination has no limits, and by using imagination we can advance our lives and knowledge, and make our world better. Einstein also seemed to an optimist.