Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Religion

I have been thinking a lot lately... about a lot of things... kind of thinking about all the things I have thinked until now, and putting them in order. Just figuring out me, life and the world, which is probably the one thing my head uses most of the time doing...

Now, among all the things I have thinked about there is religion, and so I remembered a post by Moby, which goes like this...

i was talking with a friend today about how most of the worlds religions are all pretty similar as long as they're talking about how to comport yourself while you're alive.
they go their seperate ways, however, when it comes to life after death and divinity. simply(very simply)- christians believe that life after death is a choice between heaven and hell, and those who are saved go to heaven and those who are not go to hell.
buddhists believe that unless we become buddha's(enlightened beings)we are stuck in the wheel and doomed to live in samsarra.
muslims believe that martyrs are met in a date-palm filled heaven and waited on by doe eyed virgins.
and so on.
but as different as their after-life scenarios are they all kind of agree on how we should live while we're alive.
to generalize: they all state that we should be humble and decent and kind and treat our fellow people as we would like to be treated.
so why not start a new religion that states as its credo: 'while you're alive you should be humble and decent and kind and treat people as you'd like to be treated, ok? and after you die?
well, who knows? we sure don't. the universe is vast and nuanced and complicted beyond our imaginings so it seems like the height of absurdity to make specific claims about what might/might not happen after we die. also, lots of enlightened beings who might or might not have been divine have walked(or sat)around on earth. there might be one true god and one true path, or there might not. so how about we focus on the good things upon which we agree and leave the rest to later?'
i know that sounds blasphemous to some, but wouldn't that be a good place to start?
cos right now all of the religions kind of smugly think that they've discovered the one-true-path to salvation/enlightenment/etc. maybe, as the universe is complicated, they're all right?
maybe, but doubtful.
can you imagine a world without any post-life guarantees?
no more suicide bombers?
no more celibate priests?
seems like it might be worth considering, no?
maybe a religion that has a big question-mark on the last page of it's holy text, preceded by the question: 'what happens after we die?'
i'm going to have a long winded p.s in case anyone wants to read it.
-moby

long winded p.s-
see, here's what bugs me. humans have over time proven that they love systems. humans have also over time proven that they love to be on the winning team. 250,000 years ago this made sense. if you had a system to find food in times of hardship you increased your chances of survival. and if you were on the winning team you lived(often at the expense of the losers)to perpetuate your genetic line. but these two things: systems and, for lack of a better word, tribalism, don't really seem to make much sense when applied to religions.
most religions are based around some good ideas. but rather than have the entire credo of a religion be: 'be nice, be humble, treat others as you'd like to be treated, and we have no idea what happens after we die', every religion eventually builds up layers and layers of beaurocracy and minutiae and hierarchy.
so when a religion purports to have the winning system it makes me ask the simple questions:
1-don't all religions purport to have the winning system?
2-aren't humans innately pre-disposed towards system creation?
3-aren't humans tribal and innately pre-disposed to see their group as right and all other groups as wrong?
so i then want to ask the devout practitioners of different religions: doesn't your system say more about human nature/inclination than it does about the validity of your system?
no true believers ever want to answer that question, be they muslims, christians, buddhists, alcoholics anonymous members, punk rockers, etc.
people love systems because sytems are clear and orderly and exclusive.
but life is not clear and orderly, and trying to establish the primacy of one system over another is not just impossible, but also incredibly dangerous in that it leads to wars and discrimination and prejudice and suppression of thought/inquiry.

It is certainly interesting to get to know about different religions, and it would be a strange world if different groups of people didn't had different beliefs, but I mean it really makes you think when you see the world situation. And I mean it is difficult for me, being raised a Catholic in a mostly Catholic country and with a Catholic family to figure out myself and my view of the world, when I have being raised all my life believing in Jesus, Mary and all, because even if when I'm asked I'd usually say I have no religion, it is difficult to throw away the image of Jesus or Mary. But I guess it is just because Jesus, just as Buddha, etc, is the image of "
be humble and decent and kind and treat our fellow people (and fellow living things I'd have to add) as we would like to be treated", and I guess you always need that image, or something that reminds you of it. But when religion (or not even religion but society) comes together with all those rules, I cannot stop thinking that being people so different one from another, how is it that we are all supposed to live life in the same way, and find happiness in the same way... I guess each person needs to go around their life exploring themselves and the world, free of being judged (just because they go out of the normal) as long as they are not doing (unneccesary) harm to other creatures.

But then humans like to judge other people... so I guess you just have to figure out that yourself, and search for your own happiness. But it would be a good start if we try not to judge other things just because they are not "normal" or accepted, that will probably make things better...

Minority - Green Day

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Coming Clean - Green Day



Seventeen and strung out on confusion
Trapped inside a roll of disillusion
I found out what it takes to be a man
Well, Mom and Dad will never understand

Secrets collecting dust but never forget
Skeletons come to life in my closet

I found out what it takes to be a man
Well, Mom and Dad will never understand
What's happening to me

Seventeen and coming clean for the first time
I finally figured out myself for the first time
I found out what it takes to be a man
Mom and Dad will never understand
What's happening to me

Perfect - Simple Plan

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Amazon: Forest to Farms


"In the name of Progress: How Soya is destroying the Amazon"


I had saw this video from Greenpeace last year, and I just remembered it a few weeks ago when I went to a bookstore and I was looking at the last National Geographic issue with this pic on its cover. Its quite amazing how long can it take for a recognized magazine take a issue that an NGO has already research so much about, and a issue of such importance for the people who live in the Amazon, for the whole environment it holds, for all the people who live around it, and has live for thousands of years in harmony with it, and in the end to all of the world, taking into account how close to the point of no return we are heading... you know, in the Global Warming issue.

I guess its the same with a lot of stuff, in the end all this recognized newspapers, magazines, and the whole media, is more concerned on the money they can receive from publicity (and the companies paying it) than in showing all of the facts. It's also something you can see with Factory Farm and Animal Right issues, the way they just show activists as extremists (though I have to accept sometimes they are) without going into the issues at all. But then what can you expect when even the government is being bought by the companies ("lobbying") in order to create laws which will make it illegal to go inside a factory farm and take pictures (even for newspapers...).

Something I also thought just now while watching "Constant Gardener" which by the way I have to recommend! I know its a fiction story but quoting
John le Carre, the author of the book it is based on, "By comparison with the reality, my story [is] as tame as a holiday postcard."

I know it may sound a far away story. You know, Africa, that mysterious country we hear so much about, but which we we know pretty much nothing about, and then the Amazon, that even as a Colombian, I really dont know much about it, but after being there last year (2005) for just a week, and seeing the way things are, I could feel much closer to that, specially when you think that all this issues are connected, isn't that why we call it globalization after all?

Anyway, just if you have any interest, check this video, the last issue (January 2007) of National Geographic, and watch "The Constant Gardener"...