Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.
See also: http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart
My name: Brian Martin
1. Atheists tend to present themselves as "rational" people, which amuses me, since atheism is nothing more than unprovable faith that God does not exist. A more rational approach would be agnosticism, which doesn't require any faith. Atheists seem to have as much need to believe in something as, say, Christians do. Which makes it weird that so many of them berate Christians for their "need to believe."
2. Blues Traveler has the greatest Biblical reference I've ever heard in a pop song. The quotation, from King James, is, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." In the song "Run-Around," BT, focusing on the second part of the quotation, says, "As we seek, so shall we find." And what makes it so great is that it isn't saying the same thing, yet it is saying something of profound importance; something that, like the best Biblical quotations, can be applied in a myriad of situations. The only caveat is, the Bible (not surprisingly) already said it: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
3. I am not a Christian. You cannot *not* believe in free will and be a Christian. You can be a Calvinist, though. Calvinists are tough. Much tougher than I am. I believe in the interconnectedness of all things. I accept Einstein's thought that "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous" -- provided it is filtered through Jung and "synchronicity" is substituted for "coincidence." The fascinating thing about this, though, is that once you accept *something*, much of what the Bible says regains its relevance, just from a different perspective.
4. The scariest part of the Bible, to me, is not Revelation. It is Jesus' words on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" For these do not sound like the words of the son of God, but of a man discovering that he was wrong. And yet -- to the eternal credit of Christians -- these words were written down and have been preserved ever since, allowing people to draw their own conclusions.
5. I am a friend to reasonable people, which includes as many Christians as any other group. (My wife is a practicing Catholic and she's a whole lot more stable than I am or ever was.) Yet I occasionally have fun at their expense. One of my favorite stories is of the biologist Louis Agassiz, who spent his entire life trying to find support for the traditional God yet who instead, at every turn, helped to prove evolution. I feel sorry for the guy. When I'm not laughing.