23 September 2007

Catch All

Fair warning: this is going to be a random compilation with no common thread running through it except that it's stuff I keep meaning to mention and haven't gotten around to.

Item the first: My mom's Camry is quite nice. So far, I've been impressed with all the Toyotas I've ridden in. Admittedly, there are only two: My Echo and my mom's new Camry. But they have a lot of cubby-holes for storage and a very nice overall design. The Camry is quite a bit nicer than the Echo in many respects but Jean Luc fits into smaller parking spaces and gets better gas mileage! For me, those are more important.

Item the second: I seem to be getting better on the Halloween front. Today Winco's Halloween display actually interested me somewhat, though overall I felt mostly indifference. This is a marked improvement over extreme rage.

Item the third: Today I happened upon a rather interesting Buddhist response to Christianity. It's interesting to read another tradition's take on the matter. Naturally, the site presents Buddhism as a superior alternative, and I don't agree with all their stances there, but there are some good thoughts. I take issue with one part. They are examining the more liberal Christian idea that "Buddhism is just a different expression of man's understanding of God," and interpret it as another expression of Christian arrogance. And, yes, it can be said that way. But I'm pretty sure that the expression, "All roads lead to the same place in the end" originated in Buddhism. It's the idea that there is a single "thing" called the Divine and that it's at the heart of every religion. An honest expression of this idea would not involve trying to convert someone from their chosen path unless there were some specific reason, like it was a path that made said person unhappy.

Hmmm... now I'm wondering where atheists fall in that scheme of things. First thought: science and rationality are their vision of the Divine. As far as I'm concerned, any honest attempt to understand the universe is a pursuit of the Divine. This puts science at or on the pinnacle of the sacred. The problem with that conception is that, taken too far, it will restrict scientific inquiry. Taken in context, all discoveries become sacred, whether they uphold or overturn prior ideas. Heresy is overriding those discoveries with outdated dogma.

Item the Fourth: Chapter 5 is up. Otherwise, I think I'm done for the night. Sleep well.


John said...

"science and rationality are their vision of the Divine"

That depends on your definition of Divine. Like the Gaia hypothesis (which models the Earth as a single organism), I take it that "Divine" models the universe as one being. I can see where this would be a useful model, but like all models it has limits and is open to misinterpretation.

This is too tough to express in a comment, and since it fits in witlh some other stuff I have been thinking about, I'm going to make a post about it when I have time (hopefully soon).

Qalmlea said...

Eh, that was just the first thing that popped into my head. And I suspect it would hold for some and not others. ^/^

John said...

I seem to have a problem that is similar to what most Xians seem to have.

When I hear "religion," I automatically think "Xianity." That's because I am not at all familiar with other religions, having been raised in a small community predominantly (very nearly exclusively) Xian.

Plus, the most vocal anti-science voices are currently Xian.

So, when I argue against religion, I mean Xianity, and any other that has anthropomorphic (and usually authoritarian) deities that supposedly affect the world in testable ways.

I am not spiritual in any way, but that is more along the lines of not understanding what you mean when you describe words or feelings as having colors.

Qalmlea said...

When I hear religion, I think "overbearing edifice about to collapse under the weight of its own pomposity," which is why I avoid the term "religion" and "religious" as much as possible. "Spiritual" is a bit too ephemeral, but closer to how I might describe myself.

And I know what you mean about not knowing there are options other than Christianity. A big part of why I called myself an atheist for a while was because I didn't KNOW there was any option besides Christianity or Atheism. I suspect that Christians like it that way.

John said...

Except that part about atheism being and option. they like to pretend that atheists are just angry at god or something.