My Religious Beliefs with a Brief Mention of Pizza

Others have been posting there religious beliefs online, and as I was just appointed the official Second Cleric in Triskele, I feel it is perhaps time to share what I believe.

I was born and raised with absolutely no religion in my life. Religion was not so much ridiculed as it was ignored. The closest religious experiences I had while young were reading Genesis in hotel rooms when I was bored, and occasionally watching televangelists, at whom my father bestowed ridicule and my brother would giggle at insanely. When I once asked my mother what religion I was for the purpose of filling out a form, she said, “I don’t know, probably Lutheran. That’s what your father’s parents are.”

Having no religion made me an oddity among my peers, and from time to time they would talk about things utterly foreign to my little world. Eventually as I grew older and was able understand the concepts a little better, I became fascinated by the whole religious thing, and remain so to this day.

The term that would best describe me is Militant Spiritual Agnostic, and I am currently as close to being Christian as I am ever likely to be. My full beliefs could only be described in chapters rather than paragraphs, but I generally hold that if God exists, and if God created the universe, then, if God were fair, he would have written his commandments and wishes for us into the nature of the universe itself. The more we study and learn by the principles that the universe teaches us, the more we would follow God’s plan.

Of course, the main statement has 3 ifs and makes a rather large assumption the issue of fairness from a Godly perspective. My current “Christian” leanings are due to debatable biblical evidence that Yeshuwa’s life was prophesied from the Old Testament, a document that was finished being written at least 300 years before Christ’s birth.

I believe that fundamentally most religions are positive forces which are frequently very corrupted by bad people to excuse unspeakable things.

I do not, however, hold that all religions and beliefs are equally valid, as some are more clearly full of crap than others. I believe in crystals, as they are great in salt shakers. Astrology is likewise great for giggles in the morning paper. Psychics are sometimes people unusually tuned to making assessments of people at a glance and can be good at giving common sense advice. At other times they are great for helping relieve the problems of people who have too much money but don’t have the brains to keep it.

How Scientology even managed to get itself qualified as a religion is testament to L. Ron Hubbard’s creativity. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is pasta it’s prime. I strongly object to any religion that advocates the wholesale extermination of those who don’t believe it as I would be one of those exterminated and I’m a nice guy. As for those religions who advocate exterminating themselves, well, Darwin works in mysterious ways.

The most compelling evidence for the existence of God is pizza. That such a perfect food could be created without divine intervention is beyond reason.

Safety and love to everyone. Hugs to those who want or need them.

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The Best Pixel

“Use what talent you possess – the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
Henry Van Dyke

As those of you who know me reasonably well may have already guessed, I am not a perfectionist. I am, by nature, lazy, and I use my brain to come up with ways to do the absolute minimum work possible to get the job done. If this means duct tape and coat hangers, then duct tape and coat hangers it is.

One example of this is the way I provided power to our dishwasher in our home. Our kitchen is very small, and all the the electrical outlets were on the same circuit. Runing the dishwasher meant that no other appliances in the kitchen could be run at the same time. Also, none of the outlets were convenient.

So I fixed it the simple way–I just drilled a hole through the floor using a 1 inch spade bit and shoved an orange extension cord through to a basement power supply. The dishwasher is now run off a seperate circuit, and all is right in my little world as I don’t have to figure out the mysteries of sophistcated electrical wiring.

Nevertheless, there is something about the human/avatar ego within me that still wants to be “the best” from time to time. I may be lazy, but I am also competetive. When I write something to submit for a writing contest, I want it to be “the best” entry. Otherwise why bother? Same with my paintings, I suspect. I look at works of art so far beyond me that, again, I wonder why should I even try? And then my laziness grabs me and then the answer becomes simple. I don’t try.

The fact that I’m not the best in my community chorus doesn’t seem to bother me however. I am just now getting to the point where I can sight read a little, and I’ve heard other voices among me that put mine to shame. I am fully aware that I will never be the best singer, but somehow that doesn’t matter very much. I’m just there to have fun and to tone what little laughable talent I have to become a little better each year.

Life isn’t a contest where only the best may qualify. It is a more like a digital movie screen, where each pixel in itself can’t be aware of it’s overall importance to the show. My monitor has one pixel which is defective–it essentially isn’t there. It is amazing how noticible the absense of this single pixel is. It would not be “the best” pixel should it miraculously fix itself, but it would be a welcome addition to the overall picture.

Each of us is more important than that single pixel. Imagine what we leave out when we don’t try just because we can’t be “the best.”

The lesson here is that we shouldn’t worry about being the best pixel in this new year. Just make the effort to “be.” This is a lesson that I must work very hard at myself. But as resolutions go, it is a simple one. It appeals to the lazy part of me.

Be well my friends. And special hugs to any who want or need them.

Souls Divided

One of the inexorable facts of human existence is that we are ultimately, always alone inside our heads. Discounting the divine and ignoring the possible yet tasteless jokes about multiple personalities, there comes an incontrovertible fact that our thoughts belong to us and are, forever, only ours.

Writers do their best to express thoughts on paper or in digital form, but I suspect that to express truly and fully the fullness of even a single instant of our simplest thoughts would take hundreds of pages, connected as each of thoughts are to our history and our learning experiences.

And this would not even touch upon the unconscious; the low level motivator behind the scenes that can generate entire worlds, buildings, and complete, fully detailed human beings from scratch through the “simple” act of dreaming. The unconscious mind seems to act like a puppet master—the animator for we, the animators. The only way to express unconscious thoughts is to turn off the conscious and hope that what we write or say afterward is in some way vaguely comprehensible.

Our minds are alone, and our minds are not particularly good company for themselves, either. Our minds need “reality checks”, without which our minds drift ever further from the reality based on external inputs and relies more and more on the reality as generated from our internal thoughts alone. When this happens, either we become clinically weird, or we become artists, which is really saying much the same thing.

And how do we attempt to conquer this isolation? One way is via the quest for love, the search for a “soul mate.” We seek someone less to share our thoughts with, but more to share our bodies and minds with. Many of us seek someone we can completely understand, and someone for which we can be completely understood, for this is the closest we can come to breaking the isolation of our minds.

I cannot help but wonder if this is part of the reason we are both so desiring and so fearful of God. First, how great would it be that someone knows our every thought, and that we are never alone. Second, how terrifying is it that someone can know our every thought, and that we are never alone.

May we all find a way of expressing that which we are to another or others, and may this isolation of aloneness be mitigated by sharing our spirit with our friends.

To Bitch or Not to Bitch

[RL] So, here I lie in the bed of the White Rabbit Inn. The trip thus far has been uneventful. The Princess’s animator has been moderately unhappy, and she is occasionally asking questions of me for which I don’t have answers.

Things have been difficult of late, and I’ve been feeling an overwhelming urge to whine and feel sorry for myself. I don’t like doing this. I try to avoid it to the utmost, as I know that those kinds of feelings are self-perpetuating. “I am sad, therefore, I will act sad, and therefore, by acting sad, I will become sadder, etc. etc, etc.” It is a very easy cycle to be caught in, and, once caught, not an easy cycle to break out of.

This knowledge, of course, does nothing to eliminate my desire to bitch. I can think of dozens of things to bitch about, and some instinct deep within me cries out with a deep-seeded, primordial need to bitch; to whine; to cry out, “Woe is me!” (Woe is I?) and to seek out hugs and cuddles and coddling.

And, while this is appropriate sometimes, too much of it can be habit forming. While I do enjoy coddling those who have problems on occasion, continuous coddling begins to become less of a “feel good” thing and more of an “obligation” thing.

My uncle, who just passed, was a prime example of stoicism in the face of impossible obstacles. The man’s wife died fifteen some years ago. He had a heart attack seven or so years ago, had open heart surgery a couple of times, congestive heart failure frequently, bypass surgery on what seemed to be more than a dozen occasions. He had diabetes, was ninety-five percent blind, had hand surgery that left his hand in a permanent, claw-like position, and had a slow-moving, painful form of cancer that was gradually eating him away.

And yet, he was always smiling, rarely complained, loved listening to classical music, and always answered, “fine,” whenever anyone asked him how he was feeling.

My uncle, in short, never bitched. Moreover, in spite of his troubles, he was usually a very happy man.

So there is some kind of secret there. Perhaps the key to happiness is not being unhappy. A bit simplistic perhaps, but I can’t say that bitching has ever led to happiness, at least for myself. Maybe not being unhappy is worth a shot.

Safe paths, my friends. Bitch if it brings you pleasure. As for myself, I think I’m just going to say that everything is “just fine” instead. 🙂

Light, Dark, Life, Death, and Curiostiy.

There was a time, a time not so long ago, when I felt it possible to heal the world. I have come along, matured, enough now to know that this was naïve: a vanity I imposed on myself out of ignorance. I have since learned that there are people who cannot be reached through any means known to me, and emotions and thoughts in others that seem to be utterly beyond my comprehension. And, with difficulty, I am learning to accept this.

The dark moods: depression, anger, hate, remorse—these too, serve a purpose. It seems not just that our minds will experience them; it seems rather that our minds MUST experience them. The euphoria of joy can cause us to make naïve decisions. The murk of depression causes us to make conservative decisions, and perhaps not to make decisions at all. Balance exists in all of nature, and this balance likewise exists in the mind. There is much truth in the saying that without pain there can be no knowledge of joy.

As to the darker emotions, fear is one of them. And fear of death is one of the prevelent of all fears. Death has never been so much a fear with me as a thing to be avoided. I frequently joke that I never plan on dying. In my heart, I truly wish that this were possible. What grounds me, more than anything else, is simply the desire to see how “it” all turns out–simple curiosity. Humanity is currently living through what is probably the most pinnacle moments in our history. Life on earth, for the first time since it was born in the muck all of those billions of years ago, has found a way to control its own destiny. It would not matter to me if I were forced to watch the outcome of this era from a golden tower, from a bed or a wheel chair, or through the sealed windows of mental hospital. Curiosity as to humanity’s fate drives me. What, ultimately, will we as a species become?

It is not in my nature to be able to take religion as a solace. I am, and fear I ever shall remain, a militant agnostic. Short of hard, incontrovertible evidence, I maintain that what happens to us after death, to our minds, our souls, the spirit of what we are, remains unknown and unknowable. Mykyl believes that the influence we have by our mere existence carries the sum total of what we are forward. I acknowledge how our current existence, the sum of what we are; can carry forward through the future of humanity. While our knowledge of the physics of such things is incomplete, I can acknowledge the possibility of it.

What I remain uncertain of is whether this sum total of influence results in a sense of spiritual consciousness. I may exist in the sense that all that I was imparts itself upon the universe in some way, but will I maintain a consciousness of this existence? Will I be self-aware? I currently see no mechanism within the realm of physics, or the broader rules of reality, that makes this possible. This means little, of course, for I know laughably little of the full rules of reality. I do not dismiss the possibility of this consciousness. But I remain somewhat confident that I am currently conscious. It is this that I rely upon, and it is this upon which I pin my hopes for satiating my curiosity for humanities future fate.

This is my fallback reason for living. Currently, I have many, many others. But in times of the bleakest darkness it is my hope that that this curiosity will keep me from taking my own life.

I wish light and love to all who read this, and may all experience true joy. But fear not if this joy fails us at times, and if at times all hope seems lost. It is simply the way of things. If any small part of you desires life, than find an excuse, any excuse, to live. For me, this excuse would be curiosity. I can say nothing of the outcome of you, the reader’s, own life, and of that which you have suffered and still currently suffer. I can, however, guarantee that, if nothing else, the future of humanity promises to be quite interesting.

Alphonsus Finds Religion

My animator grew up in a non-religious household. While his father seemed open minded toward religion in the most part, he never spoke of it. Of course, he did ridicule and despise televangelists, but this is a normal and healthy thing to do, and says nothing about true religion. In his household, religion simply, “wasn’t”.

My animator tried to experiment with religion. After brief stints of being religiously devote, and then atheistic, he settled into a comfortable kind of agnosticism. Religion, nonetheless, remained an object of fascination for him. He studied both externally through classes, through reading, and internally, through his own philosophical thoughts. While never a religiously devote person, my animator considered himself to be a spiritual person, using the very vagueness of the term “spiritual” to hide behind.

And now I find myself as the head of a religious sect, and I find this somewhat disconcerting.

In Everwind, I briefly toyed with the idea of being a mage, but quickly found that both through a notice of the lack of healers and through some natural inclination in this direction, I decided to become a cleric.

There are eight or so gods in Everwind. The god that bares the closest relationship to the one we call simply God is there referred to as, “The One”. I originally chose to worship to this god. It turns out that there are no clerics of The One, however, and no quests or role-plays have ever been designed for them. I selected therefore selected the god closest to The One: Castan.

Castan has been defined as the right hand of The One, and is the leader the other gods. Castan depicted as a lion, and is the god of Justice, Honor, Valor, Truth, and Wisdom. He is essentially a spiritual version of the knights of the round table, and part of his discipline involves always seeking the truth and to never knowingly tell a lie. In retrospect, given my own personality, Castan is the ideal god for me.

What came quite unexpectedly to me was the fact that there were no other worshipers of Castan in the realm. When I became a cleric of Castan, I quickly learned that I was the ONLY cleric of Castan. Thus, after a meeting of the clerics, I found myself enrolled as the Speaker for Castan—essentially responsible for the training of any Castan acolytes who were to follow me and to write out the rules, beliefs, and, indeed, to better define the god himself.

While I know this is a role-play game, the task, nevertheless, is daunting to me. My responsibility is essentially to define fully a religious sect; to define a god, and to specify the ways in which he is to be worshipped. My own spiritual and philosophical background, instead of making this an easy task, instead makes it much more difficult. For the principles of Castan are truly principles that I value myself, almost to the point where they were a religion to me before they became a religion in this role-play. As a cleric who honors these principles, I become a role model of sorts to other avatars, and to the real people who animate them.

Where I will take this, I do not yet know. With the help of a boffo outfit, coincidence of circumstance, and good role-play, I already find myself to be one of the most respected of the clerics. It is a game, but, just as the games of real life teach lessons, this game, as realistically played as it is, has the potential to teach powerful ones.

I thus take my role as the Speaker for Castan quite seriously. It will take me some time, nevertheless, to figure out just what exactly this role must be.

The Secular 12 Step Program (draft 1)

1. I admit I am powerless over my flaws — that my life has become unmanageable.

2. I believe that releasing my ownership and self-reproach of the problem is the key to my sanity.

3. I have decided to turn my life over to the inner voice of my Ideal Self, and to let this voice guide me.

4. I have decided to make a searching and fearless inventory of myself.

5. I have decided to admit fully and honestly to myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.

6. I am entirely ready to have my defects of character removed.

7. I ask the inner voice of my Ideal Self for guidance to help me remove my shortcomings.

8. I will make a list of all persons I have harmed, and become willing to make amends to all of them.

9. I will make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. I will continue to take personal inventory and when I was wrong, I will promptly admit fault.

11. I will seek through meditation to improve my ability to hear my inner voice, seeking for wisdom, and for strength to act it out.

12. Seeing the light because of these steps, I will try to carry these messages to others, and to practice these principles in all my affairs.