April 17, 2014

Empathy, and the Long Reach of Reason

Posted in critical thinking, culture, film, history, humanism, justice, literature, philosophy, politics, psychology at 4:17 pm by Jerry


December 22, 2013

Homophobia and Cognitive Dissonance

Posted in bible, church, culture, love, psychology at 6:35 pm by Jerry


For those christians who are incapable of recognizing homosexuality as anything more than a “lifestyle,” a “belief,” a “behaviour” or a stumbling block needing to be removed, they will never understand why others accuse them of fearing and/or hating the LGBT community.

Do I believe that these christians are without any compassion or love for the LGBT community? No, I suspect all of them having some form of  love and compassion for all of humanity. To me, this isn’t an either/or situation here. It’s a matter of cognitive dissonance. People are quite capable of having both love and fear for the same person (or deity).

June 26, 2013

Purity Parody

Posted in bible, culture, film, songs at 2:05 am by Jerry

I expect, this video will offend a lot of Christians. And more so within the church’s older population (who might as well give up trying to keep it from their internet-informed teens!). Apparently, the Saddlebacking phenomenon is real. And maybe, just maybe, purity parodies such as this one is what it will take to give Christian teens the courage to break through all the reality-hushing that surrounds sex-education dialogue.

June 11, 2013

Mennonite Thought Control

Posted in church, culture, psychology of religion at 2:44 pm by Jerry

My experience as a young adult in a Mennonite community included the naive assumption that all Mennonites were heterosexual. Which makes me wonder, was I THAT clueless, or was my community THAT good at making no room for any thoughts about it.

Check out this article from a cool Mennonite magazine: http://www.rhubarbmag.com/featured-content-title/

March 31, 2012

Expressing Oneself Honestly

Posted in culture, film, martial arts at 2:38 am by Jerry

“To express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself… now that, my friend, is very hard to do.” – Bruce Lee.

The cultures we grow up in may have different ideas about who we should be, what we should do – what it means for us to be a successful human being.

Fighting your culture’s image of a successful you may demand the ultimate martial art skills within one’s heart, mind, and will. Training your body to be skilled in fighting can be a reflection of this internal fight for authenticity.

And if you can’t help but fail at being something you’re not, there really is no other option. Your only real choice… is to fight for an honest expression of your whole being.

February 9, 2012

“Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child”

Posted in bible, church, culture, family at 7:26 am by Jerry

I expected this blog post to be controversial among evangelicals due to the subject matter AND how it was presented (“Jesus showed himself to be particularly concerned about children, and we ought to be, too.”). But I honestly didn’t expect the kind of responses Prof. John Stackhouse is getting in his comments section (although, I’m not at all surprised at how poorly he responded to the comments).

Believe it or not, I remember my twenty-some year old parents being more than “particularly concerned” about how to raise their boys. Looking back, I can’t say the “main reasons” my parents hit me was that they were “lack[ing] the imagination or the determination to actually find out about other forms of discipline that do work”… or that they were “too tired or lazy to do anything other than whack [me] when [I was] bad” (see Stackhouse comment in thread #2). No, I think the main reason was because they thought they were being faithful to God.

In fact, I remember (though not word for word) my Dad expressing (confessing?) his struggles over what to do when me and my younger brothers mis-behaved. He said he and my mother had done a lot of praying about it, and finally, the pastor in the church we were attending at that time sanctioned parents to hit their children by justifying it with his interpretation of biblical verses found mostly in the book of Proverbs. And yet, though my Dad grew up with this model from his own parents, and was taught by his moral advisers that it was God’s Will to hit his children, I could see that he hated doing it. And I don’t know if his conscience was at all soothed by getting use to it over the years, either (with each consecutive child there was less hitting). So allow me to emphasize a very important point I’d like to make here…

My parents thought they were acting on the best moral values available.

Later, when the four of us boys were moving out of their house, one by one, they made sure to communicate with us that they know they weren’t perfect parents. But they said it was their hope that we would learn to be better parents than they were, just as they had learned to make their own improvements on the parental examples they were given. They said they believed that each generation of parents made improvements based on what they didn’t like about how they were raised.

These days there are so many different parenting styles out there (some made fun of in the movie above). And there are even more disapproving judgements being made of each other’s parenting styles. I’ve personally come to a place where I think that every parent is different, every child is different, and in every home methods are developed that have practical value for all who live in that home. However, when it comes to child abuse, a line has been crossed. Which begs the question: Is “spanking” (read: hitting your child hard enough that they don’t want it to happen again) child abuse? According to some of the comments following Prof. John Stackhouse’s blog post, corporal punishment isn’t abuse when it’s “mild spanking done in love” (see evedyahu’s at the end of thread #2).

February 20, 2011

Debating: weak without rhetoric

Posted in art, atheism, culture, psychology, religion, science at 8:18 pm by Jerry

People can google the info if evidence is their highest priority. (These people don’t need a debater.)

However, if peoples’ highest priority is wanting to believe in something they think is more worthy than believing in it’s competing beliefs, good debaters are needed.

Good debaters realize they have more to address than the part of the mind that collects and compares information. “Pathos” and “Ethos” are just as important as “Logos” when communicating/relating with others (a lesson I’ve been learning from my favorite rhetorician). And good debaters make good use of rhetoric to counter-act whatever misuses of rhetoric the opposition employs…

January 13, 2011

Piss On Death Penalties

Posted in art, atheism, culture, history, philosophy of religion, politics, Secular Humanism at 8:22 pm by Jerry

Whether they will ever empathize with their victims or not, I’d like criminals to LIVE without some of the key advantages society has to offer.

Not for an eternity. Just long enough for criminals to EARN A SOCIETY’S TRUST and keep societies PROTECTED IN THE MEANTIME.

It’s not perfect justice. If human beings COULD have protected themselves according to the wisdom (discovering what’s good and not-so-good) they’ve attained, I suspect we would have. We just haven’t had the resources to do so.

I think this approach to crime would be THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO, for the criminals and their keepers. And atoning for the mistakes of another? That would not be a responsible thing to do!

So here we are.



What Changes For Social Justice Are You Looking Forward To?

Posted in art, atheism, church, culture, family, history, politics, religion, Secular Humanism at 7:32 pm by Jerry

Here’s something I’d like to see changed:

December 12, 2010

This Secular Humanist Welcomes Christmas

Posted in art, culture, family, fiction, film, friends, holidays, poetry, secular humansim at 8:02 am by Jerry

Christmas can mean so many different things to so many different people.
But I think what might be the greatest meaning we can all share,
If we care to think that sharing Christmas is fair,
Was said best by Dr.Seuss in his popular book,
Listen, or take a look:

Christmas day is in our grasp,
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas day will always be,
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome Christmas, while we stand,
Heart to heart, and hand in hand.

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