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Philosophy: Current Issues May 3, 2007

Filed under: Athiesm,books,Catholic,college,homeschool,philosophy,politics,religion,school — bookwritegirl @ 6:06 pm

Sure, President Bush was idealistic, and as we could tell from our response of Socrates’ “ideal city” that ideology doesn’t always translate well into facts.

One of the major differences I see between Iraq and the US is that while in America we come from separate backgrounds, we all can get along or at least tolerate others. But in Iraq, I see a lot of hatred and aminosity between the Sunnis, the Shites, and the Kurds, and even though they’re all Muslims, the minor differences to them is worth it to kill, because like you said they’re at the lower level of hierarchy and don’t have the esteem of others yet. I’m just guessing, but that’s what it seems like. Imagine Christianity in America. If all of us Christians fought against other Christians just because they’re different Christians, that’s kinda what’s going on in Iraq.

As far as good and evil, better or worse goes, it all depends on your point of view (like we debated in class today šŸ™‚Ā ) Then, the Iraqis were thinking that they had it bad under Saddam, and wanted change. Then the US came in and gave them change, and while they got rid of an evil tyrant, people changed their minds and said that they had it good under his regime, and that America ruined everything for them. Sure, people weren’t fighting under Saddam’s regime, but they couldn’t do much of anything else. Remember the “elections”? Saddam got 100% of the vote. Now there’s just too much democracay in Iraq, and they don’t know what to do with it yet. That’s just my view of the situation.

Now, I’m getting off my soapbox!

***

Actually, in the newspaper it said that many historians already doubt the validity of the finding. (FYI, one historian in particular is investigating it, and he’s an athiest). It’s happened before, last time somebody found something like “James, brother of Jesus” tomb, and it was proven to be fake. Also, “brother” and “sister” were used very loosely back then to include friends and other relatives. EvenĀ cousins were considered brothers and sisters. And, even though generally when we say “Jesus”, we know we mean “Jesus Christ”. But Jesus is just another name that was probably common then just as some Muslims are named Jesus. So, even if it is proven to be Jesus’s tomb, we don’t know for sure whether it is Jesus Christ’s or if it is a different Jesus. So, scientists would have to have a DNA sample of Him to match it to the bones before “chaos” would ensue.

***

Hmm…I know what you’re talking about. But I don’t believe Islam is wholly out to destroy other religions šŸ˜‰ It’s just that it seems like all we ever hear about are these “extremists” and “radicals”. Wait…the same could be said of Catholic and other religions! That is a reason why many dislike Mormons in general…it’s their missionaries going door to door. And after the Elizabeth Smart incident, people tended to think that all Mormoms are weird like the guy who kidnapped her. It’s like falling into the elephant trap. If you build a trap for one kind of belief, that’s all you’re going to find. Or the sterotyping trap. The media likes hyping things up, you rarely hear about things like “In other news today, a Muslim cleric declared “World Peace Day””. That doesn’t have the same ring to it.

It’s not just the Ten Commandments that give a guide to everyday life, there are other passages in the Bible that provides good teaching (or advice, however sounds better). It’s not as if they’re constantly telling us “NO”, it’s more like freeing us so we can actually enjoy life. It’s the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting, like eating a dozen cookies in one sitting. But you feel sick afterwards, and hate yourself because now you’re a pound heavier. Joy is more lasting, and usually comes after a trial, some difficulty, or sadness. If you found an endorsed check for $1200 dollars, sure, you can follow your first impulse and cash it. Instant happiness. But if you go against that impulse, search in the paper phone book, then the online versions, before you finally find the person who wrote it or who it was addressed to, call them to give it back to them, true, that may be difficult, but wouldn’t you feel proud to say, “I returned it!” Think of how many people say “I stole 1200 dollars today!”. What sounds better? Yes, returning it provides joy, and yes, this is a true story that happened to my mom, though I did the legwork for her.

Here’s a hypothetical question. Would you rather be in a repressive regime that forbids or at least very strongly discourages other religions, kills whole villages when somebody from it accidentally or purposefully speaks out against you, or would you rather be in an uncertain environment, where yes, there is daily car bombings, but now you can openly practice your religion, or marry a guy of another religion, or not have to wear that stupid, stifling hijab on hot Iraqi summer days? Again, it’s choosing which is the lesser of two evils. I notice you’re not comparing Bush and Gore. šŸ™‚ I’ll quote some of my graduation speech here, “It does not do well at all/ To sit around and complain,/ To berate the results/ Previous generations have obtained/ For we are a new generation/ Our eyes are fresh, our minds are clear, our hearts are strong/ Let us put our knowledge to work/ And improve the land to which we belong…”

*

True. We just call them “extremists.” There are extremists in every religion (not just Islam). I’m not justifying the war in Iraq or anything, but Bush is going after the extremists, not just because they’re Islamic. (Perhaps he is, but thought I should offer another view of the issue). We jail extremist Catholics/Christians who bomb abortion clinics (the wrong way to go about it…I much prefer the Supreme Court ruling! yay!).

Still, we can’t judge a whole religion based on the few kooks. I mean, Jewish, Christian, and Islam all have a common history (up to a certain point), and they’re all Abrahamic religions. I don’t admire the people who read the Koran to condone violence, but I admire that Islam also believes that abortion is wrong. So long as we find some common ground, some shared history, then and only then will we have the groundwork for peace.

***

The answer is 42. (According to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)

I suppose the answer is not to dwell on our demise. It doesn’t do any good to think about our afterlife (or afterdeath) while shunning the present. It only makes us depressed.

The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

“Climb every mountain, Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow, Till you find your dream, A dream that will need, All the love you can give, Every day of your life, For as long as you live!”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”

We can use the earth’s resources to our advantage, because otherwise we would have died off a long time ago! But true, we also need to take care of the earth. If we’re rich enough to.

“To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

“…For we are a new generation/ Our eyes are fresh, our minds are clear, our hearts are strong,/ Let us put our knowledge to work/ And improve the land to which we belong…”

Who’s to say we’re all going to die anytime soon? “The end of the world is at hand!” If we do things right, our race just might continue to last as long as the dinosaurs, or even longer. Or we might end up like the Galactica, we’ll roam space and try to stay alive until we find the Earth, or we just might be like Captain Picard, and enjoy archaeology on other planets, studying the ruins of other civilizations, possibly including our own.

But…”Do what you can with what you have, where you are”. We can’t worry about that now; that can be a goal for our kind, but what about your personal goal? Striving, striving, striving. What’s the purpose of your life?

***

I agree, technology really has helped in the education arena, even for homeschoolers. A lot of the learning games helped me (and a few didn’t)…like Treasure Mathstorm, Treasure Mountain, Read, Write, and Type, and the Princeton Review ACT. The internet helped to fill in some of the information I couldn’t find in books for my reports. But so long as we don’t train people to rely soley on technology–a well-rounded education is important. Sure, we can watch War of the Worlds, but it’s far better to hold HGĀ  Wells’s book in your hand. Sure, you can find lots of information on the Internet, but it’s my preference to use the Internet to search for books at the library, then go pick up the books. And, like I said, the librarians can’t always rely on the computerized catalog; it fails sometimes (quite frequently in the summer, unfortunately)Ā so they have to keep the Dewey Decimal System in their heads–even the pages have a mental map of most of the books in the library.

We can’t take a blind leap into the future; we must keep a firm foot on the past, just in case. Otherwise, it would be a win-all/lose-all situation, a brave new world, or a steep cliff. We don’t want to be lemmings (which, by the way, is a old wives’ tale, another thing you learn from books!)

***

No, don’t apologize; it’s an interesting topic! (I actually thought you guys might have learned about it last semester…).

Organized religion divides the world only because many choose to divide on the basis of religion. Perhaps it’s the Maslow thingy; most of us aren’t high enough on the Hiearchy to say, “Hey, wait a minute. Why are we fighting? We share the same history and much of the same religious texts. We’re practically family!”. Sure, some families aren’t so great. But some families are. Sure, I may getĀ irritatedĀ at my sister for putting the toilet paper roll on backwards. But do I yell at her? No, I just switch it. Or I endure it. It’s not really thatĀ  big of a deal. Do you yell at someone because they left their dishes in the sink? No, you either deal with it or you put it in the dishwasher for them (If they’re taking advantage of you, then yeah, talk to them. With your mouth, not your fists.)

True, religion is a little bigger deal than toilet paper or dishes. But it’s only as big a deal as you let it be. Most of us live in harmony with one another. It’s just that in journalism, you don’t have a headline of “Another day of neighbors living peacefully with each other”. The real story is “Israelites bomb Palestinians” (or vice versa). That’s sinking to the belonging needs level. But you can still belong to a religion and progress up the Hiearchy, so long as it’s not your whole life. It’s a facet of your life, that’s all. Just like I’m Catholic, a homeschool graduate, a book lover, a sister, a daughter, a student, a library employee, deaf, an American, etc. None of these take over my whole life. Even nuns and priests and married couples don’t make their life-changing vows take over their own life. Their personality still endures, the other facets of your life still endures. If I became a nun, I’d still be able to read/write/pray/volunteer like I usually do. And I’ll still treat people alike; even if I hate them, I still treat them like I do everybody else. I don’t begrudge Islam. Like I said elsewhere, Jews, Christians, Islamics all have the same background, some common ground that we can find a footing of peace on together. I would have bought a cookie from the Islam Awareness table today, if I had cash with me.

In conclusion (yeah, it’s long enough for a conclusion) the chasm between religions are only as wide as you make them.

***

I agree that the clash of beliefs and ideology are like crossed wires; you don’t get the effect you want from your religion or policy. (Like a few months ago, whenever I shut the microwave door, the back doorbell would ring. Obviously not what I was intending.) I do think that you can fix crossed wires. If you can’t uncross them, you can at least sheath them in a protective covering that keeps the wires from interacting. This is what America tries to do, allow for the multiplicity of religions and ideologies, all while keeping us from being at each others’ throats. We use that sheathing to take a step back and say, “Okay, you don’t believe what I believe. You don’t step on grass. I can live with that. What’s theĀ big deal anyway?”

I agree that today’s conflicts, while having a religious name, are based out of power, land, and political gain. They just use religion to cover up that true meaning.

About the land, what’s interesting is that our textbook says that the Jewish people were there before the Muslims drove them out and took over. So, you side with the Jews if you say that “they had it first, give it back”, and you side with the Muslims when you say, “Survival of the fittest”. Now, reduced to those terms, don’t they sound like a bunch of toddlers whose parents have different ideas of parenting? However, if you side with the latter, then that gives precedence to continual bickering and pushing and shoving until the next person is the king of the hill. (Remember that game when you were little?) Neither response is fair in the long run, however, as our mothers knew. After a while they’d say, “Why don’t you share?” I think that’s what the Jewish and the Palestineans have to learn in order to have peace in the land.

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