Religion Stuff

9.16.10 by Tim + 86 comments!

This is pretty short, I just have one story that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, and then a quick quote.

I was in Savannah, GA a ways back, and in the hotel room there was a small book about the city. The section that caught my attention, oddly enough, was about religion. It discussed the general religious history of savannah, showed some pictures of pretty churches, and then talked a little about the wide variety of religious beliefs present there today. Apparently, all sorts of religions are present in Savannah today, christianity of course in its many varied forms, judaism, islam, and “even paganism.” Which was all fine. Then the last line went, from memory, something like this: “No matter what your faith, you are welcome in savannah, as long as you believe in something.”

Dear Savannah Tourism Commission, way to completely screw up what was supposed to be an inclusive statement.

“Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society.”

Thank you for that, Pope Benedict XVI.

The Road

1.8.10 by m.a.garvin + 82 comments!

I haven’t yet read the book but I have just seen the movie adaptation. Coupled with the first half of “Earth 2100″ I have come out of January 7, 2010 with a very pessimistic outlook on the future.

Let’s start with the present: We are wasting resources at an alarming rate. Between our gas guzzling automobiles, extensive light use, and obsession with having the most “stuff” I can safely assume that in 50 years we’re going to wish that we had saved up some of our resources for later. I’m personally taking this year to be greener. Live greener. This Earth is a gift. Life is a gift and here we are spitting on our presents. It’s like that bratty child that looks at a doll in disdain on Christmas and says, “Mommy, I wanted the blonde one.” There are many things that we could do. In fact, the market is indeed cashing in on our new-found consumption awareness (which strangely enough sounds rather oxymoronic). Clorox has come out with “Green Works” products, paper companies are advertising the percentage of recycled materials that go into their goods, it is now en vogue to keep your vegetable garden and wear soy panties. But not enough of us are getting the picture.

It is projected: that the Earth’s population is growing exponentially. Something like 370,000 babies are born every day. Now, I’m not in favor of necessarily supporting the Chinese census limitation of families, but that’s a lot of new people in the world every single day. Just think of how many of those children grow up without homes or enough food. It’s alarming. It takes about three days to accumulate 1,000,000 people. I’m not mathematician but I know enough about numbers to figure that about every month there are 1,000,000,000 new people in the world. Let’s multiply that number by 12 and start counting the number of years it takes to get to 20 billion, huh?

What does that mean? It means major food shortages. Not everyone owns actual land anymore. There isn’t enough of it. And those that do are most likely commercial vendors. I would have to do more research on this, but I can’t imagine the staggering ratio of farmland to city land at this point in time. It’s not glamorous to farm, I get that. But it’s necessary.

On “Earth 2100″ it said that if the rest of the world consumed as much meat as the average American we could exterminate all the cattle in the world rather quickly. I just read on that animals are farmed and force fed in certain circumstances in order to be considered delicacies– and that’s only for the part of the body that will be cooked. Foie gras was the meal item in question. Duck livers. Check out the article.

This is probably the least educational place to get the numbers, the double-checked facts, and the expertise on things like post-apocalyptic Earth but I wanted to write about my concerns. Our fuel is running out. Our food is bound to run out. Our water supplies will stagger to devastating lows. Your children, my children, our grandchildren are going to inherit a naked Earth, badly abused. We could revert back into hunters and gatherers, or out of human greed, cannibalism. We could become scavengers. We could forsake all the things we know about right and wrong, intrinsic human values, and give into the eat, sleep, reproduce mindset that we forsook eras ago. Does that scare you? It scares me.

What can we do? We can recycle. went into a rather detailed explanation about what it takes to both make and recycle paper products and the nitty-gritty composition of plastic bags. We can look for other energy sources– at least our governments can, but they seem convinced that off-shore drilling is the answer. We could use solar panels, support companies using wind energy, buy all natural products, and grow our own vegetable gardens. There are simple solutions (save the finding new energy sources, I can imagine that would be rather difficult in larger scenarios) that aren’t being taken advantage of.

I wonder if this is the panic that the apostles felt when they witnessed Jesus’ resurrection. This absolute need to tell people that the here and now matters, that what you do in this life has direct consequences (maybe in this case, not your soul and eternal being, but definitely on future generations), and that something has to change.

(Just a note here: I will probably edit this as I do more research and add on to it, but don’t hesitate to add your own opinions and knowledge. Know that this post is not necessarily complete.)

It just so happens that your blog here is only MOSTLY dead

7.22.09 by Tim + 112 comments!

I think my problem is that I expect coherent thoughts that take more than a paragraph to express, and I expect to get them expressed well before I publish. This generally just prevents me from posting anything at all. So. No more attempts at coherent posts.

The moon really fascinates me. Everyone knows what it is, but it’s one of these things that we just can’t comprehend. Next time you notice the moon’s around, stare at it and comprehend the fact that what you’re staring at is 238857 miles away. Think about how HUGE it’s got to be. (can i make “that’s what she said jokes” on this blog?)

I am vaguely reminded of an incident at Boys State, when we were waiting in the basement of the cafeteria for the hail to stop, and I found myself conversing with someone about climate change, the environment, and natural resources. he explained to me his really interesting view of space exploration- eventually humanity is going to grow off of the planet earth and into colonies on other planets, first in our solar system, and then beyond. He thought of it as a magnificent destiny for us, but I thought it seemed kind of sad, relying on being able to leave behind planets which we’ve effectively destroyed or which have no more resources that hold value to us.

I like to read anti-civilization books sometimes. Anarcho-primitivism is pretty cool i think, even if it’s not ever going to happen just because we want it to. Derrick Jensen in “A Language Older Than Words” wrote an interesting passage i thought… something about how every day he gets up and wonders if instead of writing the next chapter, he should blow up a dam. I’m afraid I’d lean more towards the blowing up a dam side.

suggested anti-civilization reading: Ishmael, and Beyond Civilization (Daniel Quinn), A Language Older Than Words (Derrick Jensen), this one pamphlet I found downtown about how agriculture is bad.

Freenet is a weird concept. First off this is not the Freenet which has wireless hotspots around town (”they’re not free”) this is a network designed to give total privacy to its users. I really think I believe in privacy, but I wasn’t happy with it. Because it was pulling everything off of random other computers, in random pathways where everything is encrypted, it was almost unbearably slow, even for pages that were purely text. what was interesting was what it was used for. A significantly large amount of the websites were either: porn, in french, or about ecoterrorism. So you know, if you ever need information about blowing up dams or monkeywrenching, i can totally show you where to go.

I’m pretty confident in that stream-of-consciousness kind of organization. this was a triumph. just as a test, anyone who reads this should comment so we can get an idea of how often anybody’s checking the blog at this point. THE END

Dungeons and Discourse

4.15.09 by Ben + 80 comments!

I am going to abuse my position as a contributor and write my second article in one day.

Does anyone remember when I examined the philosophy of Dungeons and Dragons? Well, the internet has one-upped me, and it’s time to get revenge.

What I’m talking about, of course, is the cult hit by Aaron Diaz (in his wonderful comic Dresden Codak) known as Dungeons and Discourse.

The idea is that instead of character classes (such as Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, etc.), characters derive their powers from various Philosophies.

So, in order to properly exact my revenge, I (and if you want to, you) need ideas on how to turn this into a reality and then turn it into a fully-fledged meme.

Here are my Class ideas (each class should have two builds or paths);

And those are the only full ones. Others include;

So, you can help by commenting on which ones you think should be included, which ones shouldn’t, new ideas, or new builds. Wikipedia is your friend!

Second, each class derives powers from their beliefs, and these classes and powers fall into one of four categories; Leaders (who heal friends), Strikers (who do massive damage to one person), Defenders (who are very hard to kill), or Controllers (who do less damage to larger groups of people).

This is also a great place to discuss these different philosophies. I personally am an Existentialist and Atheist, which means that I don’t believe in a power, God, or any form of purpose in the Universe. What do you believe? Leave a comment!

The End of ze World

4.12.09 by Deus + 118 comments!

We once had a poll in the Free Press about whether the world will end in 2012 - fifty percent if not more of the nine votes (maybe I’m remembering something incorrectly) said yes. Now I wonder - how many people actually know why the Mayans thought that the world would end? I got this from an authentic Mayan descendant: they had a base-20 counting system, and a denoted dates in the form a.b.c.d.e. Starting at, the date they believed they were created (some 5000 years ago), the first digit was incremented for each day that passed. When it reached 20, it returned to 0 and the second digit was incremented. There were specific day values for each position (first position is one day per each count, second is twenty for each count, I don’t remember the third and fourth, and fifth position 144000 days per increment). December 20, 2012 is when the calendar reaches and December 21 is when it goes back to So essentially, people are getting excited (ahem) because of the quirks of their numbering system and a religious belief that has been disproven by the fact that humans are considerably older than ~3000 BC. Of course, the likes of this gentleman aren’t much for the idea of us having been apes at some point (better to have been created by an omnipotent third party), but we have found some pretty old bones in the ground. But I digress.

That is not to say that the world won’t end in some sense - it’s just almost certain that we can’t predict the date by some mysterious prophecy. Right now, a third of the world (2.3 billion) is positive for tuberculosis. Some strains are incurable. We’ve got the Large Hadron Collider that can theoretically do some very interesting things (black holes, tears in reality, Satan, and all that science fiction that it probably won’t do but might [except the Satan thing]). When they originally tested the atomic bomb, they thought that it might ignite the atmosphere and put Outback out of business, but they detonated it anyway - who cares if our steak isn’t medium-rare and doesn’t have all the delicious tapeworms as long as we can blow up Japan a thousand times over? Shouldn’t we wait until we can do these things in space before we risk cracking our planet in half? Some lab is producing carbon nanotubes for the US government at a rate of 1g a day, which can stretch to 18 miles. They need about 140000 miles to build a viable space elevator, so my idea is that someone with the money should put together sufficient funds to sponsor an international collaboration on building this space elevator. I digress again.

But in any case, we can’t predict when the world will end. It almost definitely won’t happen because someone arbitrarily thought so.

Edit: So it seems that Wikipedia’s version of the Mayan apocalypse contradicts what I’ve written here. I got my information from an actual Mexican native so I’m more inclined to believe that, but I honestly don’t know which one is correct. Mine makes more sense, so I’ll leave it for now.

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