Atheism at the Bedside of the Dying

_Dan Bright Sun 2

When I took my canine buddy Ranger the Valiant Warrior for that last trip to the vet, the doctor asked me to leave the room while he gave him the shot. I looked at him like he was crazy, told him flatly, "I'm not leaving." I also asked him to give Ranger a shot of painkiller before the real killer. As Ranger died, I was there talking to him, stroking him, holding him, "You were the best, buddy! I'll never forget you! I love you, handsome beast!" When Tito the Mighty Hunter died, I was right … [Read more...]

Diving Into the Question of Free Will

Free Will Diver

The subject of free will has cropped up in my life again. I think about it every so often, and there are some things that always come to mind when I do. So: If you define free will as "the ability to flout or ignore physical laws," the discussion ends almost before it starts. You can’t defy natural laws. The weird thing is, MOST of the people commenting or writing on the subject speak exclusively in this vein, concluding rightly there is no such thing as free will. Either there’s some … [Read more...]

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...]

An Epiphany on Road Rage … Online

road rage

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...]

Feeling the Pain of the Rich and Famous

PSH

Apparently actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died. He ROCKED "Capote," but hell, I liked him as far back as "Boogie Nights." There seems to be some doubt about his death: Yep, dead: Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead with needle in arm Nope, alive: Philip Seymour Hoffman Death Hoax ... but his Wikipedia page lists him as deceased, so I'm going with that. Considering it a "teachable moment," I said something unflattering about Whitney Houston back when she died of an overdose: "Whitney, … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Footprint of the Past

War Dead

One of my many interests is the residual social / societal effects of historical events and social movements. For instance, the fact that we still say “God bless you” when people sneeze, 14 centuries after the supposed origin of the practice ... One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of … [Read more...]


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