Words By S.

Friday, 31 March 2006

On Religion.

Filed under: Atheism,Ramblings,Religion — S @ 10:21 am

Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again” –Marx, 1844

Sometimes it takes someone else to put into words what you’re thinking. Such is the case with the above quote from Karl Marx. The complexity of the simple statement that, “man makes religion,” creates the entire point of this post, as it relates very much to an aspect of a previous post that I made.

As I pointed out before, what has turned into religion started off as simple mythology to explain why things are as they exist in the way that they do. For example, as you have in Christianity: the book of Genesis which states, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” Every culture, every society has a creation story of its own. Children have stories (some in the form of Aesop’s Fables) for why things are the way they are. Although the language may be different and the names may differ, the idea is exactly the same – some divine being (or perhaps even entity) that is larger than Man created everything around us.

Everything starts off innocently, but as everyone knows, innocence can be corrupted. Therein lies the problem with religion. What is essentially a classic tale of how the earth came to be, why women experience pain during childbirth, why rainbows exist, why a zebra has stripes but a horse doesn’t – has become so grand that it has infiltrated the lives of billions of people around the world.

But, I am moving slightly ahead of myself here. So to back up, I will re-post the original idea: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. In that statement, you have a couple things going on here. The first thing is that Man comes up with this idea, this explanation if you will. “Why is this this way? Well, let’s see…” The second is a sort of commentary on what happens when man becomes consumed by his own creation. That is – religion evolves and becomes so big that later man convinces himself that he exists only because of what is said in this document that early man made. The second expresses why religion is problematic.

I am not completely anti-religion. I acknowledge that good things do come out of religion. One thing that I admire most about religious people is that because they believe in this thing that is greater than they are, they feel that they have a purpose. It gives them hope. I feel that anything that is able to do that can’t be all bad. However, the problem arises when the very thing that gives people hope greatly restricts their lives.

The restrictions are what I interpret Marx to mean when he says, “religion does not make man.” When certain aspects of your life that you once enjoyed suddenly become forbidden, that should be the point at which you say, “enough is enough.” When your religion is broken into tiny pieces that become twisted in such a way that the purpose is to justify the unjust, it is time to stop the validation of it. Religion itself isn’t bad, but what modern man has turned it into is.

When you have wars based on a belief that is unable to even be proven as fact, when a belief system produces extremists, when it becomes a dogma, is it not time to end it?

There are religions out there that have not yet been corrupted, and that are still pure and innocent. There are belief systems based on tangible ideas that can be proven. With a simple equation, the Pythagoreans were able to explain the rhythm of life. Why are these beliefs not validated, but others are?

People die because of religion. People are able to persecute and alienate others because of religion. A country can determine a moral code for an entire society based on religion. The bigger it gets, the more blinded the devout become. This is where the problem lies. This is what is meant by “religion does not make man.”

How is it possible to not see that building your self-esteem, your self-worth by diminishing the value of others based on this untangible idea is wrong?

That is where my problem with religion lies.

Monday, 27 March 2006

Touching From A Distance

Filed under: Books/Literature,Music — S @ 10:06 am

Touching from a Distance

Obviously this isn't going to be the religion post (keep an eye out for that one, though).

This book is an amazing story of the life of a man and, essentially, two bands as well. I think it's pretty safe to say that if this man hadn't existed, neither band would have become what they did nor achieved as much.

It was so easy to get absorbed into this story because of how much adoration the involved parties receive even now, and how important they were to what has become one of the greatest musical movements (in my opinion, anyway). It was also a very human story, in spite of the subject at hand.

However, the story, in its captivating style and language, was a bit flawed. What I mean by this is that I can't help but to think that in some ways, the story was written in a little bit of a self-pity mind-set. This sounds harsh, so I will clarify.

There is one distinct tone change in the tale, and that is when we get to the subject matter of the affair. It is at that point that I started to notice how the words were written in a sort of desperate manner – almost as if she was a helpless victim of circumstance. "This was impossible for me as I didn't understand the situation myself. I still didn't know about Ian and Annik's relationship." (97) In fact, she later admits to having found out about the relationship, and continuing on with the relationship in spite of becoming increasingly unhappy. But it was at that very point, that very sentence that the tone started to change. It was also at that very point that the book became disheartening and depressing; perhaps because it was obvious that Deborah herself had become demoralized.

This book was also quite interesting in that because of knowing what would happen in the end, and knowing when it would happen, I was able to get quite anxious upon realizing that there was only a month left to go. However, when the end came, I felt nothing. This was quite possibly the hardest thing to grasp.

Perhaps my being so far removed from the situation and era could be an explanation of it all. Having not been born until 1983, and being an American, I have no real connection to this story beyond my current love for Joy Division. Perhaps given the story in its entirety, I could spot how it happened. Perhaps having already known what would happen, I was able to close off that part of myself. It is so unexplainable, yet there are so many different explanations. One thing remains certain, though, and that's that I wanted to be able to feel something.

After it all, I was left to know that in spite of the songs, in spite of the writings – incomplete and whole, no one will ever know the full story from the man himself. That is probably the worst bit of knowledge to have. To know that no one will actually know what went on in his head all that time, to know the adverse affect of those around him. At the end of it all, this is just one person's account of the time and how it affected her.

While Deborah Curtis most likely got extreme closure from writing and publishing this book, it left it wide open for me.

 

That, perhaps, is the point of the whole thing.

Friday, 24 March 2006

And here we are

Filed under: News,Politics — S @ 11:10 am

In the news today, the article of how the battle to save abortion rights is being put into motion.

Battle to overturn S. Dakota abortion law begins

Friday, March 24, 2006 10:20 a.m. ET

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (Reuters) – Abortion-rights supporters planned to launch an attack on Friday on a new South Dakota abortion law designed as a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion 33 years ago.

An abortion-rights coalition, South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, said it would lay out its strategy to take down the law in mid-morning news conferences in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

The Sioux Falls local newspaper reported that the group would announce a petition drive to overturn the law through a referendum in November. The group has not publicly detailed its strategy, but participants in the campaign have said that a referendum had advantages over a lawsuit.

"When you take things to the courts you don't have the opportunity to engage the public in the process. You don't have the ability to build a movement," said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kate Looby.

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, signed the law, widely considered the most restrictive in the nation, March 6. The measure bans nearly all abortions, even in cases of incest and rape, and says that if a woman's life is in jeopardy, doctors must try to save the life of the fetus as well as the woman.

To get the issue on the ballot for the November 7 election, abortion rights supporters must collect more than 16,700 signatures by June 19.

If they fail to get enough signatures by the deadline and there is no further legal challenge, the law would take effect on July 1.

A petition drive would fly in the face of the expectations of abortion opponents, who have been counting on a legal challenge to the law in the hopes that the case would eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

With two conservative justices recently appointed to the high court, abortion opponents believe they have an improving chance of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established the right to abortion.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

This is quite nerve-wracking for obvious reasons. For this reason (as well as others), look forward to a post about religion in the (very) near future.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

The Human Condition

Filed under: Humanity,Life,Ramblings — S @ 12:39 am

I’ve had several discussions today about humanity, in general.

One was in terms of technological and evolutionary advancement. It is absolutely amazing to know, or rather to be aware of and to recognize, that humans were able to create so much from absolutely nothing. To know that billions of years ago, there was no such thing as language, and then a group of humans came up with this intricate way to communicate that began to evolve and to manifest into different forms, and into the hundreds of different languages we have today.

It is also amazing to see what Early Man was able to accomplish within the realm of technology. The idea that agriculture, hunting tools, building shelter, making clothing, coming up with a currency system all stemmed from curiosity, survival, and general intelligence. It’s amazing and admirable at the same time.

However, to now be at the point where Evolved Man is gradually destroying and undoing billions of years of work and curiosity, and evolution is incredibly depressing. And that’s what I mean when I say “The Human Condition”. Humanity has reached a point where there is the feeling of entitlement and superiority. Where we can bastardize hard work and take everything for granted. Where nothing has any sort of sacred meaning anymore.

Humanity, as a whole, does not appreciate the technology that has been accomplished. A prime example of this is the notion that in not too long from now, humans will be able to colonize Mars. Thoughts like this upset me the most because I look at how Man treats Earth and each other. How we feel entitled to infiltrate other ways of life and completely destroy it for the sole purpose of cloning our own cultures. We destroy Earth, our own planet, and decide that we’re too great to stay here and that we must expand onto other planets within the galaxy.

This leads me to believe that the Human Condition is to destroy everything around us.

Think of one of the most basic entities to come from Early Man’s beginnings of civilization – mythology. Creation stories to explain how life works. Different theories to explain natural rhythms. Yet, the Human Condition has lead us to become so egotistical and superior that we’re able to have Holy Wars to try and prove that one mythology is better than the other. And unless it comes from Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt – don’t you dare refer to it as mythology. When referred to as a mythology it then becomes trivialized, and can no longer be treated as Dogma, Religion, Doctrine, what ever it is you choose to refer to it as.

Another symptom of the Human Condition is the manner in which we treat each other. When “feeling” becomes a mere thing that can be objectified. When “future” doesn’t matter – only the here and now. How I treat you today matters only today, and only to me – there are no future repercussions, and you are merely an object to me. You are something with which I can play, brag about, and use to boost myself. “I” am the only one that matters.

We live in a time where everything exists only in terms of the Human. When if some organism exists in opposition to the Human, the Human’s duty is to destroy it. When Human becomes the “be all” and “say all” in terms of culture. When everything must look alike, act alike, think alike and exist alike (Big Brother syndrome). If it is different, then the Human must destroy it.

Thus, the purpose of the Human is to live in terms of the Human Condition – no more curiosity, discovery, trial and error – unless it is to service the ego of the Human.

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