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Showing posts from August, 2012

Why does religion work?

The very first time I got an email saying there was a rich African prince who wanted to give me some huge sum of money, I didn't need anyone to tell me it was a bunch of baloney.  I didn't need to research online and see whether this claim was correct.  I just knew I couldn't trust it.  And I was probably a teenager (or perhaps just barely over 21) at the time it happened.  Stories that are so extremely far-fetched really aren't believed by anyone other than perhaps the most gullible or naive among us.  So, I wonder why similarly incredible stories are taken seriously when they are wrapped in a religious context.  I've come up with a few ideas on why this is so.  Let's examine some of the key aspects that are part of (almost) every religion.

1. A creation story.
Most religions have some teaching about "how it all began".  Why is this a key aspect of a religion?  Because we, as humans, are curious.  We like to know things.  More importantly, we like to…

Be at peace evermore

I read this article recently about 31 ways to know you're in the right relationship.  I can't say I'm a relationship expert or have any kind of background in therapy or psychology or anything (and I don't know whether the author has either) , but while I was reading through, most of the items seemed like good advice for couples, and it seemed to me that a relationship would be healthier if those points were followed.   All except one.  #22 Fight.

I remember as a child I would often hear my parents fight--usually after all the kids had gone to bed.  It scared me.  When I was in 6th grade, one of my close friend's parents divorced.  I didn't understand it.  But, I knew that when my parents fought I was worried that they would get divorced.  One time, my mom was so upset that she stormed out of the house saying "That's it!  I'm leaving!" and drove off in the car.  I remember, as a young boy, I watched her drive down the road and seriously wondere…

Everyone should always be drunk

I went to the bar the other day with some friends.  I've been several times before.  I had my first alcoholic drink in July of last year.  Many of my friends couldn't believe that I made it to 28 without ever having a drink.  Anyway, since that time I've only ever had a couple drinks in the same sitting.  I don't like the taste of alcohol, and I really didn't understand why so many people found it to be so appealing.  Until St. Patrick's Day.

I'm going to make myself vulnerable here.  I grew up extremely sheltered--not that my parents specifically made a great effort to shelter us since nearly all of my siblings weren't quite as sheltered as myself.  In fact, even to this day, I still learn some "worldly" things from my brother (who's Mormon).  Being Mormon definitely adds to the isolation from the rest of the world, and living in Utah does too--they really are in a bubble over there.  But, I would say a good deal of it was self-imposed.  …


I almost never click on online ads.  Ever.  But, every once in a while one will catch my eye.  Such was the case with an ad the other day that popped up on my Facebook account.  It was an ad for the PC version of Final Fantasy 7.  In my personal opinion, that is the single best RPG I have ever played in my life.  There are many reasons for this.  The story line was rich, the characters had depth, the love was poignant.  I cried every time I got to the part where Aeris dies.  In fact, I would save the game right before that scene so that I could go back and watch it whenever I wanted to have a good cry.  I would also save right before she leaves your party, so I could go back and play her some more, just for fun.

Anyhow, I went there and saw that they had redone the game for the PC.  I'm not a computer science guy, and I really don't know what they changed "under the hood", but they did say that they made it up-to-date with the latest software and hardware--whatever t…


I volunteered at the food bank today.  It was a very enjoyable experience.  All I did was sort boxes of donations into several different categories.  Apparently they do a couple sortings afterward, and this was just the preliminary one.  (I did find it rather counter-intuitive to have a box labeled "misc" when sorting).  But I liked to think that I was contributing to a good cause.

A little bit after I got there, a group of businessmen came in and started helping.  I guess because I was already there (and I was wearing a grey shirt, which the staff members were wearing) they treated me like I knew more than they did.  It was fun.  Half the time, I just went with it and told them what to do, even though I had no clue.  But it was so much fun watching how excited some of these guys got thinking that they're helping out with the food bank.  I felt like their facial expressions on the inside, but I'm not very expressive myself.  It was kind of like watching children on C…

Ideological Isolation

This post was sparked by something one of my friends said the other day.  Do we really want world peace?  Because a lot of the things we say are increasingly angry and derisive.  We insult people who don't agree with us, rather than trying to have a meaningful conversation about it.

I've noticed this more and more over the last year or so.  I used to think of myself as a very open-minded person.  When I was a totally believing Mormon, I shared my office with an atheist.  He and I would talk about religion often, and it was (nearly) always a very constructive conversation.  I always had in the back of my mind the hope that I would convert him.  In fact, he had even met with the missionaries for several months and attended LDS church services (prior to ever meeting me).

We were able to discuss our differing views politely and intelligently.  He would say how he felt, and I would say how I felt.  He'd ask questions about my religion, and I would answer.  I had several questi…

Being Considerate

I know everyone's tired of hearing about Chick-Fil-A.  Frankly, I'm tired of it too.  I'm tired of having to daily fight to be considered normal.  I'm tired of having the issue of homosexuality something I'm constantly thinking about.

Dan Savage tweeted this blog post here about Chick-Fil-A.  I strongly recommend that you go read it, if you haven't already.  It is very important to me, and it is very personal to me.

I was greatly disappointed in the outcome of the Chick-Fil-A appreciation day yesterday.  All over the country, people flocked to CFA to buy chicken sandwiches and show their support for Dan Cathy's remarks about "traditional marriage".

Just for a second, let's turn the tables.  Let's suppose that your marriage was in question here.  How would you feel if there was a national debate going on concerning whether you should be able to marry the person that you love?  This is something you have to face every day.  And then, one …