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I was in church this morning (for the first time in months) and had some thoughts on the words we use. I was specifically thinking of the kinds of phrases and passages we say over and over again. I thought of littany of fear from Dune or the prostration to Master Rahl from the Sword of Truth series, oh, and the things real religions say over and over again like 'hail Mary's and the Islamic statement of belief. The things we were saying at church this morning felt pretty unsatisfying. They didn’t have the meaning I wanted. If I was going to deliberately wear this groove in my mind, I want it to be the best groove possible that goes in the right directions. As is sometimes my way, I see something suboptimal and think ‘I can do better’ and proceed to attempt to try to do better.

This isn’t quite it, but it’s some of the themes I’d probably want.

We can never perfectly connect, but we are not alone.
We can never completely know, but we can always learn more.
We shall someday die, but we can live every moment until then.
We are not perfect, but we can improve.


I also had this thought: There is a state religion in the United States, and it is Science.
Of course, that’s problematic in a lot of ways, the first that comes to mind is that Science is not Religion and I shouldn’t conflate the two — it might just confuse people. I think the thought was in response to how some sect or another gets public policy set in various places (abstinence-only sex non-education, for example) but then these things don’t work and what should have happened would have been a scientifically validated solution that had been demonstrated to work. So, in that sense Science and Religion are directly opposed, and in my fabulous opinion, Science is better at setting public policy. Hmmm, or perhaps Science is better at the what and how of public policy, and Religion can muck about with why.

--

Also, I have terrible luck taking my friends to UU services. We reliably get boring ones. But, my friend had this to say in consolation:
“I’m glad that it wasn’t a 30 minute lecture from someone who’s so full of himself that I’m not sure if there’s room for God in there.”
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Watching recent Nova program on Intelligent Design and the Dover, PA trial of a couple years ago. I take away two impressions of the creationists.
1. Their anti-science willful ignorance and stupidity makes me mad and sad. The evidence is plainly obvious to me. Of course, they see it the same way and the Bible is their evidence. Fundamentalism of this kind continues to worry me. Christian Fundamentalism here worries me more than Islamic Fundamentalism far away. Still, I don’t want to be that on the other side. A ‘Science Fundamentalist’? That could get ugly too. Or, wait, no. Science is inherently skeptical and tolerant of other viewpoints when done properly. It’s the fundamentalism of one particular conclusion to the exclusion and denigration of all others that is a problem. Still, my evidence is better than theirs and I’m right. Nyah.
2. One of their big complaints, which they blame Darwin and Evolution for, is that the status of humanity has been reduced to something less than the sacred children of God that we are. I’m much more sympathetic to this complaint once I place the blame elsewhere and rewrite the theology to my own tastes. There is something wrong with the appraisal of the worth of a person in this society. Too often people are treated as worthless. Too many people estimate their own worth lower than they should and don’t speak up and claim what should be theirs. You could see both sides of this in the employer who treats people as commodity interchangeable replaceable expendable workers and the people who work there and put up with that treatment. I’m not sure exactly where to place the blame for this, but at least part of it belongs with those people who might be the very same anti-Darwin people whose theology starts with Original Sin and the belief that people are basically bad. The ‘conservative’ side of American politics holds a generally lower value for people, and the monied powers that go along with them certainly profit from commoditized people. The antidote that brings about empowerment and valuing humanity is still an open question too. They say Jesus, I say Buddha/Emmerson/etc.

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