aka "Confessions of an Agnostic Living in the Bible Belt"
My father-in-law is a Minister. He hasn't always been one, it was kind of a mid-life crisis, epiphany kind of thing. He used to be an atheist. Some guys going through mid-life buy fast cars, some date young women, he found God.
I love the guy and he has been nothing but wonderful to me. I have a huge amount of respect for him for never hassling me about not going to church or not having my kids baptized. He's a good grandfather and keeps the God talk to a minimum with the kids out of respect for me. You have to hand it to him for that.
This is not so much a critizism of him as it is on the culture here where I live. You see, last Thanksgiving my father-in-law confessed to me that he was very tempted to buy my 5 year old son a b-b gun. Now I am not particularly for or against guns. Every little boy wants one and my mind muses at the boy from "A Christmas Story". My son was making guns out of legos at 3 (he called them shooters). None the less I really did not want to introduce firearms into our house at this time. That same weekend while watching TV, we saw a commercial for the new Harry Potter movie. We have the first two movies on DVD (I think the kids wore them out from watching them so much) and we have read the first book to our kids. My father-in-law loudly proclaimed "I am proud to say that I have not seen any of the Harry Potter movies". O.K., they are kind of kid movies, but we knew the point of his statment came out of his religious theology. Harry Potter is bad, evil, witchcraft stuff! This really disappointed me from a man that is very intelligent and well-read. Doesn't that seem a little superstitious to you? Is the devil going to possess my children because they love Harry Potter? My spouse came to me later that night and said "What is the deal with my Dad? Giving a 5 year old a gun is a good thing, but Harry Potter is bad? He really drives me nuts sometimes!"
I view Harry as a wonderful modern-day mythology. It is a fantasy about childhood empowerment. What child doesn't wish they had magical powers to control the world around them, especially when they have such little control in reality. They have to follow the rules of their parent, their teachers, their culture. Someone tells them when to go to bed, what to eat, where to spend their day, etc.
That little scenario is pretty typical for where I live. I call it "fringy bible belt" because, thankfully, we are not in the rural deep south (the true bible belt). Every coffee shop you go into here, there are bible studies going on. Hey, whatever turns your crank, but don't you think if you are going to believe is something so strongly, you should also study it's origins? I mean the ones that can be backed up with ancient texts. And who says it's o.k. to believe that one part of the bible is "truth", but other parts don't apply? Most people around here refuse to read a book like The Da Vinci Code (my father-in-law is one of those) calling it blasphemy (even though it is a fictional novel with actual places and societies woven in. I guess that should not be allowed, when does the Christian Communism start?)
It all kind of reminds me of when "The Last Temtation of Christ" came out. I was just out of high school, so of course, all the publicity about people walking out of theaters made me what to see it more. What a great movie! Why was that considered to so against biblical teachings. Who knows what Jesus was thinking on the cross (or if Jesus even existed if you as me, or maybe he was an alien, like the whole Crowley thing). The story in that movie sounded just as plausable to me as any other (hmmm, Jesus marries Mary Mag. and has children - where have I heard that recently).
For now, I'll stick with Harry and leave the guns in the catalog. I don't think my children will need therapy over this one.
I am ranted out for now. Someday, if anyone cares, I'll rant about how the evangelical movement in the states is one of the biggest ego trips in our lifetime.
Born March 14, 1879
The United Nations has declared 2005 "The World Year of Physics".
That's right, distract and divert. It works with kids, it works with the masses.
I have been following this site for a couple months and feel I have found my web home! The links to the articles; sometimes silly, sometimes skeptical, always entertaining, are right up my alley. The humorous references are the best! (Although I laughed myself sick over the "rag on a stick" reference last week, I have no idea where it comes from or what it is a reference to, is it a cultural thing? )I love the science articles and am trying to wrap my brain around the string theory.
I look foward to having this blog to post some of my own weird ideas that often stem from links I have read on TDG. Has anyone else ever noticed the similarities of a solar system and an atom? Electrons orbiting a proton? Or how things in the universe seem to "breathe" or have a "heartbeat": the ebb and flow of the ocean, the theorized expanding and contracting of the universe, the global warming and cooling cycles of our planet, on and on . . .
Speaking of links and whole Yellowstone supervolcano thing, here is a link about more supervolcano stuff in the US:
It looks like this supervolcano is probably the cause of the massive New Madrid earthquakes in 1812 here in the states.