corey-45 asked: Last question: Do you believe in a God? Surely a universe as complex as this could not have come about by accident? I believe that there must have been a creating force behind it all.
Nope, I don’t. I think that ascribing the wonders of the universe to a creator actually subtracts from the amazing beauty of the world. I find it much more fantastic to look at scientific evidence that pieces together how we have come to be. What amazing processes go on every day beneath our notice. The fact that we are made of the same elements as stars. “Accident” is surely a misleading word. Millions of years of evolution, mutations, trial and error is hardly an accident. So no, I don’t believe in a creator. I am much more faithful to science. ^_^ Thanks for the questions!
corey-45 asked: With that in mind, do you have any kind of religious affiliation? Are you Christian, or any other kind of religious person?
Not really. I practice some aspects of Zen Buddhism, as it helps me to focus on the present moment and enjoy my experiences more fully. I find the basic ingredients of Buddhism attractive. I love reading sutras. However, when you start getting into Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, I feel that the message begins to get lost.
I was raised in a Christian household. However, by the time I became a teenager, I felt that organized Christianity did not have the answers for me. I read the bible, cover to cover, and I also looked into numerous other religions. I found I didn’t need religion to be happy. The universe is amazing enough on its own.
As a side note, living in Japan, I find animistic practices such as Shinto to be very endearing. The love for nature without a true pervading dogma is refreshing.
corey-45 asked: WHat's your personal stance on religion?
My personal stance on religion? I suppose I am against a lot of forms of organized religion, as they tend to do more harm than good. However, religion or faith or spirituality - whatever you’d like to call it - is fine when you are not trying to force your beliefs on someone else. When you are harming people, attempting to deny basic human rights, treating people as less-than-human, or considering everyone who is not of your religion an enemy, I think this goes against the core ideals and concepts that all religions were created with.
I think it is important to realize that you don’t need religion or the belief in some higher power in order to act responsibly and rightly. However, if you find comfort in religion, then good. If you can be a good person while taking part in your religion, excellent!
We should all be striving to be better people for the sake of humanity. Organized religion waters down religious texts, can distort the faith, and is entirely man-built. So it’s easy to see how something man created is likely to be flawed.
To summarize, I think that your religion is your business. But when you start negatively affecting others, you’ve crossed a line. This blog is just one way I choose to point out the many facets of a religion that people are not taught by organized religion.
In all honesty, I think the best way to get others to join your faith is to demonstrate kind actions, kind thoughts, kind words. I attempt to practice this every day, not because I want something in return, but because I simply think it is the right thing to do. And that is enough for me.
13 “‘When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean. 14 On the eighth day he must take two doves or two young pigeons and come before the LORD to the entrance to the tent of meeting and give them to the priest. 15 The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement before the LORD for the man because of his discharge.
Every time you are either constipated or have the runs, a priest must sacrifice two white doves to free you of your shameful sin.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean. Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean.’
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment. (82:1)
9And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
10Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
11And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
12Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.