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Free Faith w/o Religion - Celebrate Your Faith!'s Journal
 
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Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in Free Faith w/o Religion - Celebrate Your Faith!'s LiveJournal:

Monday, April 6th, 2009
12:43 am
[ladycatherina]
Theano's Day - everyone (male or female) invited to blog June 24 to celebrate a woman philosopher!
Everyone (of all genders) is invited to participate in Theano's Day, an event to celebrate and rediscover women's contributions to philosophy throughout the centuries.

Blurb from the Pledge Bank signup site, which you may find here: http://www.pledgebank.com/theanosday

"I will blog to spotlight a woman, living or dead, who has made an important contribution to philosophy but only if 100 other people will do the same."

Also there's a Facebook group for Theano's Day to discuss the project with other participants: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=526821601&ref=profile#/group.php?gid=74564828672&ref=mf

More information, from the website: http://www.pledgebank.com/theanosday

Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras' wife Theano was a scholar and intellectual in her own right. Along with helping him raise five children, she put together writings on mathematics, art, beauty, philosophy, and child raising. She is credited with developing the Golden Mean, a crucial idea in aesthetic theory.

By taking this pledge, you sign up to honor and celebrate important women such as Theano by promising to create a blog post on June 24th concerning a female philosopher. As with Ada Lovelace Day, spotlighting women's contributions to technology, the woman you select may be from any nation, culture, or time period, living or dead...and you may blog in any style or format, using any software in any language.

I selected Theano as a mascot as she represents a work/life balance, an apparently decent and loving wife and mother as well as a scholar and professional. Throughout history and on average women have worked very hard in the background keeping things going by raising children, cooking, maintaining households, helping to earn a living through day-jobs...all very respectable activities. And many have made contributions to philosophy or other fields which may have been overlooked because the women are primarily known for work they have done in their other roles. So Theano's Day celebrates the philosophical contributions of women and attempts to bring their ideas out in the open to help inform modern society.

Also - when we think of philosophers, I've found that most people keep going back to the same list of the greats...Kant, Hume, Plato, Aristotle, etc. Of course not to say there isn't great wisdom from the greats...but honestly right now the world is facing a whole set of problems. Right here in the U.S. we're at war with three different countries with no end in sight, we're going down in a global economic crisis, etc. So - maybe looking at new ideas from any source might help us stumble on some which may be useful. And encouraging people to look at female philosophers will bring out lesser-known people and lesser-known ideas.

You may define 'philosopher' as you choose - someone need not have specialized in the field to be discussed in a blog for Theano's Day. For example, a female novelist, businesswoman, teacher, politician, nun, homemaker may have created a philosophical outlook worth discussing that is apparent through the values that come out through her work in other fields.

Some women to start with if you need help thinking of someone: Hypatia of Alexandria (mathematician and scholar), St. Catherine (mystic and humanitarian), Sor Juana (Mexican nun and intellectual) and Florence Nightingale and Jane Austen, each of whom developed a worldview and philosophy through their writings on various subjects.

We encourage as many people as possible from around the world to participate this June 24th and will set up a system to link the blogs so you may read each other's blogs. Please also pass on the word about Theano's Day!
Monday, January 16th, 2006
3:31 pm
[docjen]
I have a dream . . .

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A knight in the fight for justice, freedom, & liberty for all.




Read Dr. King's 'I have a Dream' speech

  • A right delayed is a right denied.
  • Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
  • Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
  • He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
  • Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
  • I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
  • Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
  • The time is always right to do what is right.
  • Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

    What is YOUR Dream?

    Click here to post this on your own page or weblog

...

- I Have My Dream -
A dream for all Americans, a dream for all People -


A dream of an America, of a world without anger towards each other for being unable to change who we are;
The way God made us - born man, woman, black, white, latino, asian, middle-eastern, homosexual, transexual, heterosexual -
I have a dream of a race of humanity living in peace and understanding towards each other;
Recognizing that all people deserve freedom, liberty, justice, and the right to live their lives in peace and happiness without
fear of retaliation from their fellowman.
I have a dream where a family constitutes a group of people who love and care for each other -
It does not matter of their race, of their sex, or of their sexuality -
But the love that shines from within towards each other and towards all.
That is what makes a family.
That is what makes a better people.
We have duty, as humans, to recognize our faults & fears -
And then to overcome those fears with brave patience,
To overcome our faults by fighting to make ourselves as individuals and as a whole a greater people,
And never passing judgment on those who fall along the way -
But instead giving them an open hand filled with love to help them rise.

That is my dream.

What is yours?
Sunday, January 1st, 2006
3:16 am
[ladycatherina]
New Year's reflection - taken from my own journal
In her essay collection Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, author Anne Lamott describes a speaking gig she was invited to where nothing went right. Her flight was delayed, the airlines lost her luggage, her hotel gave her room to someone else - basically there was a lot of inconvenience.

Eventually, while waiting in a line somewhere, she ran into a kindly gentleman and began venting about her experiences, not realizing that he was a Buddhist monk. He listened patiently, and then explained that in his tradition he believed that when one suffered a whole series of minor mishaps, that something great and beautiful was in the process of getting started, and that one was meant to be distracted so that one could not interfere with it.

When I read that, I remember appreciating the positive spin the monk gave for the sufferings and irritations of life (which could apply to the serious as well as the not-so-serious problems we all face). Life always involves ups and downs - and we never know what could be getting started around the world or in our lives.

I've decided to take this time to take stock of my past year...but while doing it to consciously choose hope for the next.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005
9:52 am
[doug2fly]
Thoughts on “The New Age & Devil Worship” Article by Thomas Horn
Yesterday, I stumbled onto an article by Thomas Horn in the RadiersNews.com website. The article entitled “The New Age & Devil Worship” (http://www.raidersnewsupdate.com/newage.htm) condemns the New Age Movement as Devil worships. It is interesting that the article, instead of changing my mind, actually reinforces my belief in the New Age Movement.

The article starts out with a narration of Mr. Horn’s emotional turmoil during and after his visit to a New Age store. The following is a quote from the passage: “In a derisive tone I said to my wife, ‘Can you believe some people's lack of intelligence?’” Is Mr. Horn saying that he is more intelligent than many people?

I then went on to read more and found Mr. Horn’s reactions after he leaves the store amusing. The following is his account of the incident: “Suddenly, a dull sensation hit me. It began in my stomach and shot upward through my head, impacting my equilibrium. As I stepped outside, into the main mall walkway, my head started to spin, my hands started shaking. I felt as if I was going to faint. It was literally as if an invisible terror had ‘jumped’ on me, and was somehow injecting powerful feelings of nausea and anxiety throughout my entire body. I tried shaking it off, but couldn’t. I attempted to walk it off and failed. At last, feigning interest in something, I moved away from my wife and began to pray. I asked the Lord to forgive me for my sarcastic attitude, my lack of caution, and for my want of concern for the lost. I prayed for deliverance from evil and for healing of the body and mind. After several hours of such walking and praying, I was finally restored.”

I would like to propose two alternative explanations to his reactions. The first explanation is that his feeling of guilt for being sarcastic probably manifests into physiological symptoms. The second explanation is a metaphysical one; God is working on him. God wants him to take a closer investigation of the materials in the store. That is why God causes the physiological symptoms in him to encourage him to stay in the store. That perhaps explains why his symptoms exacerbate after he leaves the store.

I am not trying to say that these ARE the explanations. I am only pointing out that Mr. Horn’s conclusion is premature because he fixates on believing that his explanation is the only plausible one. The truth is that there are millions of other explanations that could account for his symptoms.

For the rest of his article, he details that the New Age Movement is nothing but an act of the Devil. He even goes further into grouping all the major world religions and even breathing practices, which are health exercises, into his definition of the New Age Movement. He writes in his article: “Then the New Age Movement came along with its focus on human-potential and self-empowerment … Old-fashioned gospel preaching was replaced with positive thinking, self-realization, and pop psychology, and mystical experiences which tantalize the flesh were sanctioned as ‘the last great revival. … an inward-focusing generation … willing to trade their soul for whatever makes them happy is exactly what is necessary for the appearance of Antichrist, ‘stamp my hand if you’ll give me what I want’ is the required attitude.” Mr. Horn appears to be saying that New Age believers care nothing but their own selfish and immediate gratifications and in some cases, those gratifications are purely physical. I would like to challenge his believe by asserting that many New Age believers are people of high integrity. The idea behind self-empowerment is that once we take care of ourselves, we will have energy for others. When our needs are not met, our mental energy naturally focuses on fulfilling those needs and we thus have little resource left for others. Contrary to Mr. Horn’s belief, taking care of oneself is a vital part for the spiritual enhancement of humanity as a whole. Ideally, if each one of us could take care of ourselves, the entire humanity would automatically be healthy because individuals would no longer need to acquire help form others. Let me also stress that self-empowerment is a spiraling process that is in no way selfish. When we empower ourselves, we also gain energy to empower others. When we see others benefit from our efforts, we feel more empowered. It is therefore faulty to believe that self-sacrifice is the only way to enhance humanity’s growth.

The fallacy of Christian fundamentalism is that it believes Christianity is the only way to achieving salvation. When this belief is ingrained into our mind, we turn rigid and refuse to accept new ideas. We are conveying to others that we know the ultimate truth. When we think we already know the truth, we cease to learn and grow. This is an egocentric attitude.

Our believe systems are founded upon the assimilation of our personal experiences and knowledge up to the present point of our lives. For someone who has been exposed to Christianity and believes in it, Christianity automatically becomes the “right” religion. Same can be said for another person who has been exposed to, say, Muslim and believes in it; they both believe that they are right. Who then has the right belief? The answer depends on whom you ask. A Christian would most likely say the Christian had the right belief while a Muslim would say otherwise. Therefore, it is once again about ego; it is about demonstrating to others that you are more intelligent and thus able to find salvation while others cannot. This egocentric point of view could occur in a subconscious level. The persons themselves may not be aware of it.

To me, faith has two components: The first component is that faith is not swayable by external forces. The second component is that faith is yieldable to external forces. Furthermore, these two components make up a continuum of varying degrees of the two. These two seemingly contradictory components are beautifully represented in the Yin/Yen symbol. When one’s faith is strong, no demons can penetrate one’s believe. If Mr. Horn had strong faith in his religion, he would not have had all the physiological symptoms in the New Age store. Rather, being exposed to the “Devilish” materials would have only reinforced his belief. This is thus a good example for the first component of faith. The other components of faith can be illustrated by another hypothetical situation occurs to Mr. Horn: If Mr. Horn took the time to investigate in some New Age teachings and came to the conclusion that his former belief was flawed and reestablished a newly refined relationship with God, he would then yield to a positive external force. Although the external forces swayed his past belief, it reinforced his faith in God by switching to a new paradigm. In sort, both components are essential to one’s faith and spiritual maturity.

I am not trying to convey the message that the New Age movements are the only correct ways towards spiritual enlightenment. In fact, I believe that there are many bad elements in these movements and we need to constantly exercise cautions while embarking on such spiritual journeys. It is paramount for us to constantly apply our intelligence and ask questions (faith component two). Do not afraid of making mistakes for that is how your faith grows. Do not expect quick answers. Chances are that the ultimate answers would never come. They would just get closer and closer and your faith would thus be further strengthened (faith component one). The journey could be frightful. Therefore, always arm yourself with humbleness and ask for God to be your shield.

(P.S.: I sincerely apologize to Mr. Horn’s for my at times poignant remarks in this article. It is not my intention to induce any personal attacks on Mr. Horn. Unfortunately, I found it helpful to quote excerpts from his article and comment on them to better illustrate my conviction.)

Current Mood: contemplative
Thursday, October 20th, 2005
8:27 pm
[docjen]
The Book

I've mulled it over - and I've decided - that there will indeed be

 

a BookCollapse )

Thursday, October 13th, 2005
10:52 pm
[docjen]
A true story of this evening. . .
I was sitting on a street corner of Asheville - with about 15 minutes until the show was to start.
I was staring into the window of the business next to me, looking at a buddha statue staring at its own reflection. While contemplating the differences between Siddharta Gautama and Jesus Christ's lives - I suddenly noticed something across the street. . .

I watched a bird of grace and beauty suddenly fall out of the sky.
The bird fell into a power line, and then tumbled through the branches of a tree.
I jumped up and ran across the street in an attempt to either catch or help the bird.
The bird was lay on the ground, suffering and stumbling.
I picked the bird up as it panicked in the last few moments of life.
I held the bird, feeling the warmth of the its life body.
The bird at my touch became very calm.
It leaned its head upon me, gasping for sweet breath with its beak -
The bird turned its resting head and its yellow eye stared up at me,
I stroked its back feathers gently and calmly & I looked into its yellow eye,
"Be at peace. Be at peace feathered friend." I said calmly - knowing I could not assist its death but I could be there to hold the bird when its moment came.
The bird closed its eye, & passed into the next realm.
I layed the bird under a tree -
And proceeded to sound-board op for The Syringa Tree.

One of the most amazing - somewhat beautiful, yet surreal experiences I have ever been a part of.
Sunday, October 9th, 2005
4:58 pm
[docjen]
Destiny? Does it exist?
Do we have a calling?
Does everyone have a calling - or just the select few?
Do you have one?
Do you know yours?
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005
1:07 am
[docjen]
So what happens after you die?

I have a few philosophies - but I'll share them after I've read some others. However, do love this passage from the Robert Pinsky (US Poet Laurette) 'At Pleasure Bay

"....After you die
You hover near the ceiling above your body
And watch the mourners awhile. A few days more
You float above the heads of the ones you knew
And watch them through a twilight. As it grows darker
You wander off and find your way to the river
And wade across. On the other side, night air,
Willows, the smell of the river, and a mass
Of sleeping bodies all along the bank,
A kind of singing from among the rushes
Calling you further forward in the dark.
You lie down and embrace one body, the limbs
Heavy with sleep reach eagerly up around you
And you make love until your soul brims up
And burns free out of you and shifts and spills
Down over into that other body, and you
Forget the life you had and begin again
On the same crossing--maybe as a child who passes
Through the same place. But never the same way twice."
Thursday, September 29th, 2005
12:11 pm
[ladycatherina]
Mother Teresa quotes
We have all been created for greater things - to love and to be loved. Love is love - to love a person without any conditions, without any expectations. Works of love are works of peace and purity. Works of love are always a means of becoming closer to God, so the more we help each other, the more we really love God better by loving each other. Jesus very clearly said, "Love one another as I have loved you." Love in action is what gives us grace. We pray, and if we are able to love with a whole heart, then we will see the need. Those who are unwanted, unloved, and uncared for become just a throwaway of society - and that's why we must really make everybody feel wanted.

There is something else to remember - that this kind of love begins at home. We cannot give to the outside what we don't have on the inside. This is very important. If I can't see God's love in my brother and sister then how can I see that love in somebody else? How can I give it to somebody else? Everybody has got some good. Some hide it, some neglect it, but it is there.

--Mother Teresa
Sunday, September 25th, 2005
5:08 am
[docjen]
To Experience, To Think, To Exist, To Live, To Understand, To Evolve, To be Human.

Continuing on an essay of thought from Jan 05: 

René Descartes stated "I think, therefore I am."

 

This can be observed two ways.

The first is to believe it to mean, "I think I am _____, thus I am _____."

This is great motivation for some.  However I would attempt to disprove this notion in two ways.   In the physical sense, I can think I am a monkey, and I can act like a monkey, but I will never be a monkey. 

On the psychological level, as an example, thinking you are happy may lead to the belief that you are happy, but as in all feelings there are complications that can not be ruled by aspects of the mind.  And thus it is more of an understanding in faith of the knowledge of that you are indeed happy.

 

Then there is the face value of the statement, which is without the process of thought - one ceases to exist on the human level.

This idea can be examined as that the vessel of our essence, or our soul if you will, resides in our minds.  Without the ability to think - one ceases to exist on a personal level. One may exist purely in the physical sense of bodily vessel for the internal structure, but one will no longer be living.  Thus the internal true self no longer applies to the brain dead victim.

While the heart beat is the spark of life that keeps the external structure from decay, it does not control the mind. So if the babe in the womb sits with the heart beating fast - it's life has been sparked - but has the spark given the mind the ability to think and process? Abortion is murder if one is stopping a child's thought should the fetus' mind be able to clearly process thought - however - according to Camus' 'Myth of Sisyphus' and other essays, life is made of nothing but experiences.

Without experiences one cannot have thought. So when scientists in the 1970's-80's kept the brains of monkey's alive in tubs of fluid by machines for up to six weeks - these poor creatures can also not be described as alive. Despite the vessel of life being kept alive, without the ability to experience the being can not think - and thus does not exist.

 

The vessel of life, the mind - and the spark of life, the heart - must coexist in order to truly know life. The fullest life one can live is that filled with nothing but as many different extreme experiences, and then giving oneself the time to think and process the experiences so one can come to an evaluation of wisdom. There are three levels of intelligence: the first being the be able to regurgitate and conceive thoughts and ideas (i.e. being smart), the second is taking those ideas and beliefs and putting them to use and applying them to life (i.e. knowledge and knowing), the third is evaluating those experiences gained from knowledge and processing them into formulated thoughts and understandings (i.e. wisdom). 

As Camus states, "The mind, when it reaches its limits, must make a judgment and choose its conclusions."

Thus while one would live life to extremes - one must do it in moderation so as to continue experiencing new limits.

 

This is to say, the means are more important then the end. Why should one live life safely and confined in hopes of a glorious fairy tale conclusion? To believe one must deserve an ascension for giving up an immediate life on earth. Or again to relate to Camus again, "Hope of another life one must 'deserve' or trickery of those who live not for life itself but for some great idea that will transcend it, refine it, give it a meaning, and betray it."

In other words, life for today, carpe' diem, as you know today exists - but you do not know for certain tomorrow or anything after that actually does exist.

Live not to regret - as one should not regret anything as it shapes and is life.

 

However, when one manages the aspect of faith into this understanding of thought, one must make the distinction within its self as to if one believes in the hope for a better more conclusive understanding of knowledge and understanding to the realm of life.  Humanity has been asking larger questions and seeking broader truths since the dawn of understanding.  Humanity as a whole has in no matter what cultural religious process as a majority held a deeper faith of knowing that there is a higher being then our own selves.  To understand that Human beings are not the pinnacle of existence, nor are they at their pinnacle of existence and can always progress and evolve their humanity. 

Some may argue that there is nothing past the tangible world; but the artists, poets, and dreamers would argue that there is an internal invisible psyche of thought that is the blanket of humanity which is just as real as any atom, though it can not be contained. 

This is the difference between the abstract and the analytical. 

The expression and the logic. 

The art and the science. 

The yin and the yang.

 

There are three things that separate humans from the beasts in the animal kingdom.  The ability to express, to create, to be artistic and understand the abstract; the ability to think in analytical terms, to use logic, to understand the science of the tangible world; and the third is to be understand that humanity allows us the choice between good and bad. 

While some may argue the terms of good and evil and thus the understandings of said concepts are merely social or cultural or environmental in understanding and thus are taught to us, I would argue this to be sophomoric in thought. 

When one does something bad, we know we have caused negative force or action, and thus we our selves feel bad.  When we do good, we feel good.

This is a basic inherit feeling and understanding.  However through experience as well as social, guttural, and/or environmental factors we learn to realize we have choice in our actions. 

Free will.

 

---------------------------------------

The conclusion of this thought will progress later, but for now my brain is hitting tired mode. 

Friday, September 23rd, 2005
2:24 am
[docjen]
Just to keep some discussions & ideas flowing
Destiny? Fate? History repeating itself?

Does or does not divinity take a role in everyday life, or are we all sorta on our own and hope for the best with a dosing of karma?
Sunday, September 18th, 2005
1:56 am
[docjen]
Next. . .
How would YOU define the soul - or spirit - or center - or self, or whatever you may explain you as?

-------------------------

Out of curiosity, does anyone here have any beliefs towards the time of the full-moon as a time of celebration or ceromony approach towards their faith? I.e. how Wiccan's use it as a time to really celebrate the mother earth and goddess.
Just wondering if anyone else has noticed any change in the overall atmosphere around the phases of the moon. Since it is a full moon and all.
Thursday, September 15th, 2005
1:45 am
[docjen]
The beginning
In the beginning - what happened?
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