Goodness and Guilt on the Dark Edge of Life

Guilt

I’m thinking about guilt as a driving force of religion. If you treat somebody badly, and they later die before you have a chance to apologize or correct your action, you have no way to make it right with them. If you’re religious, though, you can regain balance both through the ceremonial forgiveness your religion offers and through the “knowledge” that you will either see them again and have the chance to make it right, or that they’re alive-after-death and able to see you, hear … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Fresh Crops in Failing Fields

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Thinking out loud here ... I've written about converting at least one closed church into a Beta Culture Nexus in every large city in America. But I have this slightly different idea for ... well, think about this: Look at this article about abandoned malls across the U.S.: Completely Surreal Photos of America's Abandoned Malls. Say you acquired an abandoned mall at a fire-sale price. You turn most of the shops inside into dwelling units, nice condos, plus maybe a small hotel. You … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Social Sharing, Social Shaping

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Early on, I asked myself why anyone would want to join an artificially-created culture, which would, obviously, entail some sort of adherence or obedience to cultural norms. If you're going to be a member of the Water Buffaloes, you have to wear the Big Funny Hat, right? But what if you don't want to wear the Big Funny Hat? The answer is that people would join if they knew the culture would empower and protect them. If it made them BETTER people, healthier, smarter, more effective in the … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Forgotten Gods 2

Frankenstein

Following up on my thesis that "remnant religion" still occupies us in ways simultaneously invisible and rampant, I've been thinking about movies, and science. Maybe a dozen times in my life, I've tossed out the general question: If you could live to be 200/500/forever (the question has varied with each asking), would you? I've been amazed each time, not so much at the quantity of negative answers (a huge majority), but at the INSTANTANEOUS negative answers. No thought required, people … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Long Shadow of Forgotten Gods

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So you’re an atheist, and you’re totally free of religion, right? Oh ... maybe. And maybe not. Say one of your ancestors learned this thing in church a thousand years or so ago: The Book of Bob 9:17 — Verily, God saith that all men shall roll down the tops of their socks, or they shall never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but shall instead be bound screaming in a pit of flaming scorpions, which shall rend them even unto the ends of time. It’s safe to say that still today, … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: A Citizen of Earth

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I don't think I ever really got around to explaining the title of this blog. So why “A Citizen of Earth”? When I was still in elementary school (grades 1-6, here in the U.S.), my oldest brother graduated to high school (grades 9-12). I’d been hearing him cheer for his junior high school (grades 7-8) football team — the Catamounts — for two years, but here he was suddenly backing his new high school team, the Eagles. Something about being a Catamount supporter felt natural and … [Read more...]

Please Don’t Plan to Picket Fred Phelps’ Funeral

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Word is that Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, is dying. His estranged son Nathan Phelps, reported on Facebook: I've learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the "church" back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the … [Read more...]

Grieving Mother Mistreated by Heartless Atheists

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Here's this article: Atheists Fight With Grieving Mom Over Roadside Crosses. Son dies in a auto accident at the age of 19, grief-stricken mother erects a memorial of crosses and flowers on city property, humanist group asks city council to disallow it. Good call? Bad call? Commenting on Facebook, Sinis Tergrin weighs in: I think it's pretty mean spirited to target a grieving mother. What kind of person complains about this based on the "separation of church and state"?? I thought we in … [Read more...]

An Epiphany on Road Rage … Online

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I had to do a silly damned "defensive driving course" at work. It was this SIX HOUR LONG online thingie, where you have to read a short screen of text, and then wait out a timer before you can click to the next short screen of text, and read that. Argh. If you were ever a student and had a writing assignment that included a necessary word or page count, and you used up your facts or thoughts halfway through that assigned length and had to pad things out with extra words, you can imagine what … [Read more...]

The Dark Side of the Sun

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I belong to a couple of Facebook groups on Transhumanism and the Singularity, and I avidly read the articles and posts. But I don't buy into every one of them. Yes, I want fantastic things to happen. Hell, I fully EXPECT fantastic things to happen. But ... a lot of the articles are more about possibilities than realities.  For instance, I think we've been predicting safe, abundant fusion energy -- any time now -- for the past 50 years. I've kinda begun to wonder "What if it just isn't … [Read more...]