Coming out for the second time…

Hi!

Today's post isn't a while, which is a wonderful change!

I'm not quite sure where to begin though…

well, I've been a Christian all my life. Parents were Christian, it was All I Knew.  Then, about January or so of this year (when I was looking for The Hitchikers Guide to the Universe TV Series by the BBC) I stumbled across, and began listening to The Skeptics Guide to The Universe podcast.  It was fun, the hosts were funny and smart, and they made a heap of good points.  Awesome.  Well, one day recently I heard them interviewing Richard Saunders, who is heavily involved in Australian Skeptics.  I had no idea that there even were Australian Skeptics… well, I did, but I didn't realise that they had actually organised anything, let alone a society offering a $100,000 Challenge for Psychics and Practitioners of the Paranormal.  Upon learning of their existence, I checked out their site, and bought a subscription to The Skeptic, their quarterly publication.  I also sent an email to the Tassie branch, wondering what there was.  Nothing.  But someone up here had enquired a similar thing only a week ago, would I like to be put in touch?  Absolutely!  In fact, I'm rambling. 

After listening to the AS episode of SGU, I went back through some older ones, and stumbled across one about Immortality.  Interesting to say the least.  The panel discussed what "Immortality" (here defined as a lack of death-by-natural-causes) might mean for society, and religion in particular.  They said that a big thing about religion was the fear of death angle.  I thought "but I'm not afraid of death?".  I then wondered "am I not afraid because I'm just not, or is it my Christian belief in an afterlife kicking in?"  after some consideration, I decided that I actually don't mind whether an afterlife exists or not. If the things I do in this life are governed by the things that will happen in the next, then I need to take a serious, long look at my life and make some changes.   But they're not, so I'm happy enough. 

But this opened other things up to questioning.  I went and bought Christopher Hitchins "God Is Not Great: How Religon Poisons Everything" and devoured it.  It's a great book which I plan on reading again soon.   It makes some great points, which I'm at a loss to remember right now. (mainly because I was reading the book as a diversion from the things I should have been doing, and while it was really good, I wasn't taking things in on more than a subconscious level.)  Um, oh, yes… I started thinking about things.  I started asking "if God exists, why do all these things happen when there is no person who you could possibly say is responsible for certain atrocities?" ie Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, etc.  And that put me in a really awkward position.  It feels like there's something more than us just being meat, but what could it be?  Well, what about a non-intervening God? It starts off the big bang and watches.  Sure, It wants us to be happy etc, but It's not going to actually do anything about it.  OK, awesome, a God I can believe in again. 

I turn to my next topic of consideration: Jesus.  Problem.  God is a non-intervening God. Jesus came about because God intervened in Mary's life, and the lives of countless others.  Conclusion here? Jesus was probably a really, really great guy, but he was just human.  next? Holy Spirit.  Problem.  the glorious HS is the personification of God's intervention.  Damn. Well, no HS either under my definition of God.

So… I believe in a non-intervening God.  That would make me a Deist.  I'm not quite sure what to do about church and family and stuff.  I will be disappointing a whole lot of people when I come out of the theological closet.  A friend has advised me that she goes to chuch (with her partner) and views it as kind of a social club.  I sing up the front, and recently, I've had a hard time singing the songs that I'm supposed to.  Not because they're hard songs, but because I don't actually believe the words.  Then there's the guilt of being told "I love hearing you sing, because it's so obvious that you're really feeling what you're singing." I'm actually misleading these people! and that's not cool.  If I go to church and don't sing up front with the choir, then I get asked why so much that if I can't get to practice on Friday nights, I just don't bother going to church on sunday.  it's easier, pure and simple.  So viewing it as asocial club may not be for me.

But… I'm meeting with my pastor on Friday to hopefully sort this stuff out a bit more.  This is big, to really make any public statement about my Deism. Currently, hubby and one friend, who I knew was a bit of a far out Christian, know. and now you know too.  This isn't for people to feel sorry for me, or to convert people, just to say "here is where I am at the moment"

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Yesterday, the day that nobody remembered…

… me.

that's not quite true.  The Divine Miss C remembered. but it feels like she was the only one.  I asked B on Monday if I could stay at his place last night so I could go to a group for gay Christians.  I also suggested a Wine Time afterwards.  Yesterday while I was killing time between the end of uni and the group, Ben came home, and when I asked about the Wine Time, he said he "forgot" and was going to stay at his bf's place.  How hard is it to remember for one frigging day?!?!  I mean seriously.  And it's not like the bf isn't invited to wine times.  So that was bugging me.

Then I went to my gay Christians group.  This is usually a really recharging experience, and I rarely go away feeling worse than when I arrive.  But last night was one of those nights.  Right on the heels of being forgotten by B, I got basically ignored by the group.  Now, I'm sure that it wasn't intentional, but it hurts nonetheless.  To explain:  The group I go to is basically a support group for GLBTI people and their friends/family/supporters with a bit of a Christian focus.  Each meeting we have a little bit of a devotional thingy and an opening prayer, and then we go around the group talking about how our month was.  Mine has been a bit crappy, a bit hectic, a bit up and down, and just generally exhausting.  We had a quasi-new member this week, (a number of the group had met him before and knew him for his efforts in GLBTI reconciliation in his local area)  and we got him to talk to us about his life and his locale.  then we went around the table.  I was sitting next to the newbie, and the guy on the other side of me started talking about his month.  They got right around the table to the girl sitting next to Newbie, and then just broke off and started talking amongst themselves.  I said in a clear, loud voice, to no-one and everyone in particular "My month has been exhausting!" and one person said, the third time I said it, "I don't think they've noticed, so just tell me"  This was quite sweet, and I must send an email to the guy thanking him, but it highlighted that no-one else had noticed at all.  I live the furthest away out of the whole (regular) group (the newbie was from further away) and going to the group impacts 2 days out of my week. (I stay in town, which involves all the inconveniences that staying somewhere not-your-home entail) Not to mention the fact taht I worked extra-hard so I'd have time to go to it. I'm left wondering if I should send an email to those present.  On any other day, or for any other month, I'd probably be fine.  but that day, the month just gone, I needed to have my spill, and it hurt that they didn't even notice that I didn't get a chance.

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QotD: My 15 Minutes

What would you consider to be your 15 minutes of fame so far in life?

hmmm….

It wasn't 15 minutes, but I'm going to go with the time I went to The Forum, a discussion on GLBTI equality not long before the Relationships Act was passed here in Tas.  I was broadcast on state TV, right in the centre of the frame in the audience…. I tell you, that was interesting to explain to the conservative church I used to attend before I moved to Launceston…

I'm an honest person, and I'm proud to be able to say that I don't lie.  The simple fact of the matter is that most of the time, you don't need to.  A technically true statement will almost always do better than a lie, and when people realise what you meant, they may watch me more carefully in future, but they know that when I say something is so, then it is the case (to the best of my (rather shaky) recollection & (more stable) knowledge).

I cloaked myself in the truth, and said "A transgender friend of mine wanted to go, but wanted someone to go with her for support" Which is technically true, and considering the question I was asked was "why were you there" it's all they needed to know… I felt justified when I got the response "Well, I guess we need to love these people too, love the sinner, hate the sin…" 

I HATE that phrase.  how can you do that when the sinner is partially personally defined by the sin? (it's not a sin, it's a beautiful expression of God's diversity, by the way)

So I was -the- person to talk to that weekend, for all the wrong reasons, but there it is…

for the record, that was in 2003, and I'd only been out to my parents for a couple of months.  If the same people asked me again now, I'm not sure exactly what I'd say, but unlike last time, my response wouldn't be based on how I think they'd react outwardly, but on whether I think they're in a place where they can deal with it.  And truth be told, I'd probably just tell them anyway, and if they have a problem, well, they'll get over it eventually, or not. *shrugs*  Point is, it's up to them at that point

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Evolution, God, Religion, Life

I've been listening to The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, a great podcast about science, the paranormal, and skepticism, for a couple of months now, and they talk about all sorts of things, ranging from Scientology, who, by dint of their name, try and piggyback on Science's reputation, to Intelligent Design, and Psychic phenomenon, etc.

Before we begin, I'm going to explain me: I'm a Liberal Christian, I'm happy to deal with things like Evolution and I'm not freaked out by the "satanicism" of psychic phenomenon and other paranormal events, I believe they're possible, but would like to get something consistent happening.

The Skeptics Guide Panel are either aetheist or agnostic, and if that works for them, goodo, but their spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) not my cup of coffee (I hate tea).

That's where I am, that's where they're coming from, here's the real post

So I've listened to them about Evolution, particularly as it relates to the American "Intelligent Design as part of the science curriculum".  Now: I don't claim to really know how the earth was made, how the universe was made, but I'm happy enough to believe that God, The Divine, whatever you want to call the Power Connecting the Universe, made the lot… but I make no claim as to the mechanism of that creation…  Big Bang theory seems fine to me, something from nothing? sounds like something God could do, but I'm not going to limit it to that… what if God fashioned the nothingness that was before the universe, and let the big bang happen on its own.
 
An obvious flaw in Young Earth Creationism's response to evolutionary evidence

Basically, they claim that God has just made it look like evolution happened, and it the earth was really created 6000 years ago as documented by the Bible.
There are 2 assumptions in play here to make the argument stand (both of which are highly contested even within Christianity):
A1: The Bible is a factual historical account of creation.
A2: That either Genesis 1 and 2 don't contradict each other, or the contradiction doesn't matter.

There are also 2 accepted facts involved:
Mathematics: Millions of years is longer than 6000 years. (1 million > 6000, years are time units)
English: If evolution didn't happen, but evidence suggests that it did, then Scientific Humans would be victims of deception by the creator of that evidence. (definition of deception (biblically "False Witness"))

Based on those assumptions and facts, are the bones of the YEC argument:
YEC1: God fashioned the world 6,000 years ago (Based on Biblical factuality). 
YEC2: Science tells us that current evidence suggests that evolution happened over millions of years.
YEC3: If the world hasn't been around for millions of years, then if the evidence suggests that evolution happened over millions of years, then God must have manufactured it during creation so that there would appear to be an evolutionary chain of events, because the world hasn't been around for millions of years. 

YEC Conclusion: So God has created an elaborate deception for Scientific Humanity.

So far so good…
Applying consistency causes an issue though.

Counter sub-argument (SA):
SA 1: Sin is anything "offensive to God".
SA 2: God deems lying and deception offensive to Him/Her self.
SA 3: perfect Holiness is absolute Sinlessness (definition of holiness is "being separate from sin" (see Ordinary Men Ministries))
SA 4: God is (by biblical definition) perfectly Holy
SA 5: God cannot sin, as to sin would cause God to cease being God.
SA Conclusion: God cannot perform deception.

Now: based on the fact that both these things came from the same book, we should be able to reasonably assume that God in the YEC argument, is the same God as in my Counter sub-argument

From the first argument, we discover God is deceiving us. (YEC Conlcusion)
From the second, we discover God cannot perform deceptions. (SA Conclusion)

To Conclude, the original hypothesis, that God has just made it look like evolution happened, and it the earth was really created 6000 years ago as documented by the Bible, is provably false using Reductio ad absurdium. (assume the conclusion is true (the hypothesis in this case), and you can prove it is false if it provides a contradiction).
Now, I need to say: yes, it is only the case if you take two arguments and combine them. However, these two arguments should support one another as the premises for both are taken from Christian Scripture, which is being touted by Young Earth Creationism as a factual historical set of documents.

  Anyway, What I come away from this with is: If Science is providing a reasonable explanation, (and it doesn't sound all that far-fetched to me) on how we got here as we are today, and if Science is not usable to research supernatural phenomenon, (which is inherent in its design, repeatables only please), then the involvement of God is immaterial to the notion of how you got here to read this in the first place.

Now I've tried to structure this argument as logically as I can, and attempted to use truth-preserving logical operators in the construction of the argument, but if I have any logical fallacies here, please point them out…

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The results are in…

well well well! that time of of year (the one I can't type to save myself)

In fact, the results are in!

Programming with Data Structures : 67% = Credit
Operating Systems: 69% = Credit
Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing : 74% = Distinction
Computer Security : 82% = High Distinction

That seems pretty good, feels less so when contrasted with 3xHD plus a Distinction… but ah well, all I do next year for honours is pass, and I'm in! (not that that would ever be good enough)

besides that, there have been minor frustrations with the band at church. there's a concert thing at Longford this weekend, and I went to the practice for it and for the rest of Advent (Dec + part of Jan), and being a musician and singer, attempted to help people keep in time, pointing out problems where half the band was singing one rhythm and the rest sang another. One of the members apparently had enough, and made a bunch of snide remarks about me not being there for the concert at longford (tomorrow, and it's one of those rare Sundays where I'm saying I'm gonna keep the afternoon for me).  I'm pernickety, and I'm a perfectionist, but in music, those things are basically required for it to sound good. -especially- with choral type music

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Sunday…

Did the church thing, last week as Duty Leader, which is nice.

So, I went to the gym today, with Erin, and what do you think I saw…

that's right! I saw some -fine- looking men, who appeared to have (to quote Patsy) "buns so tight they were bouncing off the walls".  It was one of those times that makes you wish the Gym doesn't require tops.

Did some groceries, mainly junkfoods.  This is a predictable problem after going to the Gym, I must figure something else out.

I don't know what else I did today really, got home, did nothing really. (which is bad, assignment due Wednesday.)

um, that's it for today

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