Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bible Quiz #2

Quiz #2 from the lovely Crystal

When the prophet Elisha came out of the water, 42 little children teased him by saying "Go up, thou bald head!" How did Elisha react?
A. He cursed their children, and their children's children to be   bald.
B. He ran away crying, clutching his head in shame.
C. He called upon two bears to tear the children limb from limb.
D. He laughed at their innocent joke, and gave them gifts of sweets and shoes.
Again, I was surprised to see a Bible story I didn't even recognize! Oh, and since I didn't check the answer before posting this, I'm going to guess A... although I'm particularly fond of answer C. 
What do you think?

Bible Quiz!

My life has become a chaotic (but awesome) mess recently, so until it calms down a bit, I'd like to entertain you all with a treat from my friend Crystal. She's been posting these lovely Bible Quizzes on Facebook, and I adore them.

Let's play, shall we?

God sends an Angel to speak to Balaam as he's riding along on his donkey. The Angel stands right in the Balaam's path. The donkey responds by:

A. Walking straight through the Angel's belly.
B. Bouncing off of the Angel's body and then convulsing on the ground.
C. Getting spooked and running in the opposite direction.
D. Turning to Balaam to ask "What're you hitting me for, don't you see this Angel??"
Leave your answer in the comments! No peeking at the link until you've guessed!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Secular Sacred Places

NPR did a story on Secular Sacred Spaces way back in August and I've thought about that piece quite often since then. Mostly they refer to places like Ground Zero, Gettysburg, or Anne Frank's house that feel special, sacrosanct, and somehow different from other spaces.

The story made me think about personal "sacred" spaces. For instance, when I was a kid, my family was the first one to build in a wooded cul-de-sac. It was just our home and one or two others for many years and I loved roaming the woods and climbing trees and getting muddy in the streams. And I was crushed when a new home was finally built on my favorite spot. The one with the best climbing tree and a rock covered in moss and a tiny patch of sunflowers. That was my childhood sacred space.

Today, there are little corners of the Los Angeles Zoo that are special to me. When the partner and I were broke and unemployed, we still kept our membership to the zoo and went about once a week. It made us feel like we had something when we financially had very little at all. Now, this year, we're getting married there... because the Zoo feels more sacred to us than any house of worship.

Libraries and buildings with beautiful architecture have this feeling for me, too. Libraries are one of my favorite spots to be contemplative and lose myself in rows of books. A friend and I recently visited the L.A. Central Library downtown and it is fabulously beautiful. Just check out this rotunda and chandelier.

You can keep your god... I worship knowledge and literature and art. I could hang out here all day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

GD IS LV... A powerful message for us all.

I saw this lovely license plate as GOP's other half and I were driving around town. Forgive the bad image-- you try taking a photo in a moving car at night!

I don't get this kind of proclamation via license plate. God is Love. Wow. Original and clever. Good for you. I hope this driver is some kind of minister, otherwise, is this really the focus of their life? Is this the total summation of their philosophy? 

"God is Love" doesn't make any sense, either. I doubt they're some kind of "spiritual" type person who thinks that Love is God... meaning that love triumphs all evil and that the presence of love and the capacity to love is the closest to godliness that any of us can get. That sort of philosophy I can get on board with. When someone is shocked by my atheism, gasps, and asks, "But what do you BELIEVE in??" I can usually at least placate them by saying that I believe in love.

But I don't think that was the message this SUV driving do-gooder was going after. I'm sure they were trying to tell us that God is all-loving. That he loves unconditionally. Well, no. 

LOVE ME OR I SEND YOU TO HELL! WORSHIP ME ON THE SABBATH OR I SEND YOU TO HELL! In most religions, you have to at least repent at the last second or be "saved" to get into Heaven. That's not really unconditional love.

Even if you belong to a religion like Judaism that doesn't believe in Heaven or Hell... you still have to admit that isn't a very loving god. The Old Testament god is certainly not a loving god, but a vengeful, spiteful, wrath and fury sort of god. Let's not forget my favorite Hollywood temple...

So.... I'm still confused. Who is this god that's all love? Because I have yet to see evidence for it.

WAIT! Unless I'm interpreting this all wrong. Could that license plate actually mean:

God Damn IS L'Heart

Of course! This person isn't religious! They're just emo and have been tortured by love! I totally get it now! Are there some interpretations that I'm missing here?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Astrology is just as stupid as religion

Ah, the silliness of the all.

I am no longer a Capricorn, my friends. I am now a Sagittarius, like GOP's other half. I wonder, has our compatibility now changed as a result? Are we more or less destined to be together? Our roommate is no longer a Gemini, but a Taurus. Hopefully, this means he'll be a little less crazy and two-faced.

Today's announcement that our old astrology charts are now all out of whack because of the Earth's tilt will completely alter the lives of all of those Zodiac worshipers out there. There's even a new sign, Ophiuchus, which I don't even know how to pronounce. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE! I don't understand them, therefore, I don't trust them!

I have a dear friend who owns a book that breaks down a person's zodiac sign to the very week that they were born and has a detailed match-up of each personality. The book weighs about a ton, and my friend is thoroughly convinced of its accuracy. Personally, I find it to be more than a little absurd, but the fact that someone put so much effort into the creation is fascinating. But what does this new zodiac mean to that book? Is it now all false???

The comments this is generating are priceless... People saying that they are REAL Libras, not fake ones, and "Born a Pisces, always a Pisces." My favorite ones though are from people saying that this news won't make them change their tattoos!! Yeah! You tell 'em.

Astrology is just as silly as religion. It's all made-up stories meant to comfort people and give them reasons for the unexplainable, to give order to a chaotic universe.

Now, let's play a game. I'm going to put up a profile for a zodiac sign, and you try to guess which one it's for (no Google cheating).... READY? GO!
This dramatic, creative, and outgoing sign has the keyword magnetism for good reason. Fiery and self-assured, a _____'s charm can be almost impossible to resist. Whether it's time spent with family and friends or efforts on the job scene, a ______ is going to bring a lot to the table.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Some Easy Reading in a Not So Easy World

I've been pretty contemplative and more than a little sad about the Gabrielle Gifford's shooting, and became even more upset today when I read that the suspect was an "ardent atheist" according to an article I just read. It's sad because the media will probably try to spin him and his motives a thousand different ways, but it seems like he wasn't a right-wing nutbag, but just a mentally ill individual. Seems like he was full of conspiracy theories and hated all government. For some reason or other, he became fixated on Rep. Gifford.

Certainly, we'll all be inundated with reports on this shooting, and all I can say is that it's extremely troubling and depressing. So, since I'm a little too sad about the whole thing to say much else on the matter, here's an oldie but goodie... "Advice God" meme from GOP to you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year News

Sorry about the lack of posts for the past two weeks... Work gets cuh-razy during the holidays, plus there was a lot of time spent with family and friends, and I incorrectly believed that I was having a computer crisis. Did you know that if you have an Mac adapter with the wrong wattage (60 vs. 85), it will appear to charge the computer, but won't allow it to start up if it's plugged in? Neither did we! So I spent about 5 days of the holiday sans computer because I incorrectly believed that I was having video card issues again. Silly me!

But here's the New Year News:

God Obscures Perception is getting married!

We've been together over 6 years and became officially engaged in October (on our anniversary). We've debated a lot about the cultural meanings and history of marriage, what it means to the LGBTQ community, and if getting married is the right thing to do. Ultimately, though, we decided that not getting married does not help the gay community achieve that right for themselves. We'll be having a completely non-religious ceremony with some nods to atheism, officiated by our best friend. I didn't post the news any earlier because we didn't want to even think about planning anything until after the New Year. So here we are!

Not that I'm interested in having a wedding remotely inspired by anything on The Knot (but they do have some decent organizing tools that we can use as broad outlines), but can I mention how irritating it was that they do not have an option for an "atheist" or "non-religious" tag for profiles?

I selected "Intercultural" because my parents are very devout Catholics. That's practically like another culture, right? Or would that make it "Interfaith?" At least they have a "Same Sex" option. These options are so limiting! Why bother even giving tags like this?

That's why I love Offbeat Bride. Just doing a search for "atheist" on that page turns up about 40 results. As opposed to the 10 results you get on The Knot, which mostly features different pages of the same 3 threads.

And I don't think you'll find many articles titled "Musings on Feminism and Weddings" on The Knot. While our wedding will probably seem completely irreverent to some, we hope that it will be a thoughtful celebration of our personal commitment to one another and an expression of our appreciation that we are legally allowed to wed and enjoy the benefits of marriage... with our deepest regret that same-sex couples are usually denied this right and our hope that this will change someday soon.

Plus a really great party.