Saturday, August 13, 2005

Spirituality, Mudslinging, and Religionism

I’ve taken the Theta Healing class. I’m going to take the two-day workshop a week from now, and until then, I’ll suspend judgment of the technique. Just a couple of quick notes about it first. The class was not intended to be, and did not serve as, a healing clinic. It was meant to instruct and familiarize the students with the principles and techniques. Three days before the class started, I decided to get some extra sleep, so I wouldn’t be nodding off during the class. That first day, I woke up at 1:00 PM with what felt like plugged up ears. That’s still happening at this time. I have this, and much more to work on. Most of the students in the class were professionals who work in the healing arts or various areas of alternative medicine, such as massage therapy, naturopathy, herbology, and so forth. As far as belief in God goes, the technique respects all beliefs in God, but does not endorse any particular religion or belief system. Students are asked to claim that they “pray to God, and God heals.”

I’ve decided that blogging on political issues is a major drain on my time and energy. If my main objective at this time is to build up the ecommerce web business, and after that has been accomplished, to develop more writing and marketing skills, then blogging extensively about world politics is interfering with my immediate goals, and not contributing significantly to my development of either writing or marketing skills.

But I can’t help but to maintain an interest anyway. I’ve been reading the Islamic web site,, and the comments that are posted there. I’ve resisted the temptation to add to the already inflammatory comments, which would just be further fueling the terrorist sentiment. I’ve noticed that the articles that are written are often out-dated, and usually distort the views in an anti-American way, or just misrepresent the facts. The comments that are posted are almost universally inflammatory, use extremely poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. I suspect that many of those who post comments are among a small band of hired ghost-writers who post inflammatory comments from the perspective of both extremes, for the purpose of fueling the controversy and the anti-American sentiment.

On another favorite blog, Pedro on the quietist has some good comments that I largely concur with. It’s a little acknowledged fact that negative campaigning is one of the most widely used political tactics: to discredit the other side with loosely supported accusations of insanity or immorality. They used to call this “mudslinging.” I guess calling it “negative campaigning” gives some dignity back to taking the dignity away from one’s opponent. For the record, I voted for Bush in the last election. I thought long and hard about the issue of the war on terror. I concluded that George W. Bush already had a strategy for dealing with the situation in Iraq, and the problem of Islamic extremism, and was familiar with the issues, whereas John Kerry never did present any strategy at all for the war, except to attempt to discredit Bush. At the state level, however, I decided to vote Democratic. Senate candidate Pete Coors, head of the Coors beer dynasty, who I began to refer to as “Senator Beer Baron” represented some rather dangerous possibilities. Coors proposed to cut taxes. It turned out that he wanted to cut corporate taxes, while leaving individual income taxes unchanged. I’ve always been suspicious of trickle-down economic theory. Thinking from the perspective of corporate executives, why would they trickle-down tax savings to the grunt-level employees or even the shareholders, when they could increase their own executive salaries by the same amount? And there was the issue of major funding for Pete Coors coming from the NRA. As much as I believe in gun safety and second amendment rights, I think that the NRA should just keep out of politics. That places the NRA in the position of a militia, which is not what we need when we already have a competent well-trained military. And there’s the fact that the Denver Post advertised for Pete Coors, but not for his democratic opponent Ken Salazar. So I preferred to vote for “Senator Salad-Bar” (Salazar), who would actually do some things for the Colorado citizens, rather than “Senator Beer Baron,” and his self-serving interests.

Another article on the quietist discusses “Religion vs. Spirituality.” I have some strong views on this subject. I’m not sure what the perspective of the original article is; I think it’s facetious, but I’ve always found sarcasm to be confusing, and often take it literally and get in trouble. I grew up in a Christian family. I started seeking broader views of God at about age eight. Sometime during the many years of studying mysticism, I concluded that conventional religionism is suitable only for those who lack the capacity to contemplate the mysteries of life and of the Universe, and derive their own cosmology, that might even be consistent with scientific as well as progressive religious thinking. Religion provides a ready-made package of answers to all of life’s problems. After all, millions of Muslims can’t all be wrong. Except in the eyes of Christians. Okay then, millions of Christians can’t all be wrong. Except in the eyes of Jews. Okay then, millions of Jews can’t all be wrong. Repeat for Hindus, Buddhists, and any other religion you find.

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