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Showing posts from February, 2013

Good things

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As they are worded, each of the statements in the picture is true.  There are people who wait and good things come to them, and there are people who work really hard without giving up and good things come to them too.  However, when interpreted (as invariably they are) universally, they become false.  And we don't have to look very hard for examples.

I think I can forgo offering examples of people who wait and wait and still nothing good happens to them, so we'll move on to the second statement.  The most obvious example that comes to mind is slavery.  There have been (throughout history) generations of people born into slavery who were enslaved their entire lives and "good things" didn't really happen to them ever.  They had really crappy lives.  They were whipped and beaten and paid nothing for their labor.  They weren't even treated as people.  In many cases, the slavedriver treated his own pets more humanely than he treated his slaves.

Now let's ta…

Just for pretends

It's honestly something I never even thought about before we got Konan.  But I've seen him do it a couple times now.  He has an imagination.  He'll take one of his toys and pretend that it's either a playmate or prey or something.  He tosses it up in the air and barks at it.  He shies away from it as though it's posing a threat to him.  He attacks it.  It's quite entertaining to watch, and it taught me that animals do indeed have an imagination.  This is not a strictly human quality.

So, I decided to read about it.  Apparently they've done lots of studies about this.  A chimpanzee who has an imaginary pulltoy that gets stuck from time to time as she's pulling it behind her.  A gorilla who nurses her dolls and mediates pretend fights between them.  It's quite fascinating.

It leads me to ask other questions of the nature "What else do we have in common with animals?"  Do animals have a sense of humor?  Apparently gorillas do because that a…

Mockery

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In the past, I have said that one reason I'm so vocal about disbelief is because I want my friends to know the truth.  And that's certainly true.  I do want people to know the truth, and to believe what is true and only what is true.  And there is part of me that is concerned for my friends and I do that out of concern.  But, I suppose that one of the main reasons that I'm anti-theist is because religion really does mess things up.  Fundamentalism causes jihad.  It causes anti-black, pro-slavery, anti-women, anti-gay sentiment.  It stunts society's growth.  It promotes war and aggression.  There are many reasons that I believe society would be better off without it.


 I have struggled with this idea much over the last few years.  I agree with what Dusty is saying in the video above.  I know that in my own life, I have often been motivated out of offense.  The strongest example that comes to mind was my senior year of high school.  I knew that I was the best math studen…

Straw Man

I often wonder why it is said that religion and politics are taboo topics and should not be discussed in the workplace (or anywhere "professional" or "polite"). One of the things I've noticed is the problem of the straw man argument. This is a logical fallacy where an argument is replaced by one which is more ridiculous so as to make it seem false. I have included here many such examples. This makes logical discussion impossible because the rebuttal given does not even address the argument proposed by the first person.
I say...Radical conservative thinks I'm saying...Let's talk about gun controlTake away everyone's gun and don't let anyone own one.Let's have a secular governmentKill Jesus and persecute all Christians.Let gay people get marriedAll straight marriages are null and void. Force everyone to marry someone of the same sex. Teach all children that gay sex is the only way to go.Let women decide what to do with their bodiesMurder …

Pavlov

Since we signed the paperwork for adopting Konan on Saturday, Conrad and I have been reading a lot about dogs, mostly how to train dogs.  I was surprised to learn that there are so many different philosophies on how to train dogs.

For example, I had heard almost unanimously that the best way to potty train a dog is to hold its nose close to any accident that it has in the house and to scold it.  However, there are other trainers which say that punishing a dog for an accident while potty training will only have the effect of teaching it either to avoid the person giving the punishment or that voiding is an inappropriate act, neither of which is good or desirable.

It's very interesting for me because as I watch these videos and see the way these trainers suggest training dogs, I see the parallels between training dogs and raising children.  When I was in school, I was taught that animals don't think, they just act on instinct.  I have since learned that this is patently false.…

Like a child at home

There would I find a welcome rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home. Regretfully, I must admit that I have said many unfortunate things about pets and their owners.  Having many people around me who have spoken with disdain about animals, I have developed an attitude of disinterest toward non-human life forms.  Many of the things I have said from time to have have been in jest, but many have been in earnest.

My boyfriend has been very good for me.  He has a very tender heart and a soft spot for animals.  He is kind to even the smallest creatures, and he feels sincere pain when he witnesses animal cruelty.  His heart holds so much room for his four-legged fellow Earthlings.

When I was a child, we had a dog and a cat.  I loved them, as much as an 8-year old is capable of loving an animal.  I was so distraught at the loss of our dog that I wrote a book about it entitled "I used to have a dog".  One time when there was a book…

Get back in the closet

An unexpected event turned into an uncomfortable event and one which made me introspect a great deal on Monday.  As I was driving home from work, my car broke down.  I wasn't sure exactly what happened, but I knew that my tachometer dropped significantly, then the engine cut altogether.  I was on a busy 4-lane divided highway, but fortunately had just enough momentum left to pull onto a side street before the power steering cut out completely.

I don't know anything about cars.  I was thinking maybe it was a faulty spark plug or something.  I posted the symptoms on Facebook and asked my friends for advice.  I was told that it was most likely a fuel line problem, which makes sense because in hindsight the car did act sort of like it was out of gas when it died, although usually (in my experience) there's sort of a stuttering when that happens which was absent in this case.  But anyway, I didn't know how to diagnose or repair the issue.  I called Conrad to ask him to pic…

Apostates

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(Update: video added below)
1. I left because I was offended
2. I left because I wanted to sin
3. I never had a testimony to begin with
4. I was not diligent in studying the scriptures and praying
5. I lost my testimony because I read anti-Mormon literature

I have been told all of these things during the course of the last two years.  I personally think that one reason these are typical things that active Mormons think about inactive Mormons or apostates is because of cognitive dissonance.  Admitting that someone has a legitimate reason for the leaving the church would be admitting that there's something wrong with the church, which an active member mustn't do.

It is good to see that this issue is being taken seriously.  I have had contact with John Dehlin over the Internet, and I have participated in some of the research he has done concerning people who leave the LDS church.  I must say that I have been quite impressed with his open-mindedness and his sincerity in trying to…

Cognitive dissonance

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In many different settings, on both sides of any issue, I have often heard the claim that "The fact you're angry about this indicates that you're wrong", in some form or other, perhaps not that exact wording.  This is a logical fallacy.  There are actually many reasons that a person could become angry while arguing, and being wrong isn't the only one.  But the reason that I would like to focus on in this post is a term called "cognitive dissonance."

Cognitive dissonance is the state of experiencing two dissonant, or contradictory, ideas (or cognitions) at the same time.  This is actually a very big field of study in psychology.  For example, as a gay teenager, I felt cognitive dissonance in high school when I noticed feelings of attractions for other boys.  I was raised to believe that homosexuality is bad and that men should date and marry women, not other men.  Therefore, feelings of attraction toward males were dissonant with what I believed concerni…

Do you hear what I hear?

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I like sharing videos such as this one but I often hesitate to do so because the way they are received.  I have many friends who think I merely do so because I am bitter at the church.  One friend told me that he thought I just wanted to make people fight, and that I enjoyed the contention.  One person told me that he thinks I just hate religion because my church didn't let me do what I wanted to do (namely, have a boyfriend).  There are many other false impressions people have had.  And I find that to be unfortunate.  I do what I can to try to clear up these misunderstandings.

I didn't just simply post this video on my Facebook wall because I want to give this disclaimer with it.  I have very little hope that many of my family or Mormon friends read my blog anymore, but with that tiny spark of hope, I write to them to try to explain why I feel that sharing these kinds of things is so important, and why I wish so very much that they would watch these videos that I post.

Firs…

GSAs are good

Kevin Jennings started one of the first gay-straight alliances in 1988 in Concord, Massachusetts.  Two years later, he established the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).  They currently have over 3600 gay-straight alliance registered throughout the country.

So, what's so great about GSAs?  GSAs succeed because of the simple fact that humans understand other humans best when they interact in person, on a personal level.  A school with a GSA can be a safe haven for an LGBT youth.  A gay person can go to the GSA to find support and acceptance.  A straight person can go to learn more about gay people and understand them better.  An alliance is formed.  Where two groups of people were previously at war (or, rather, one group bullying the other), they are now at peace, hugging each other and experiencing mutual understanding.  Those who fear homosexuality can learn about it and resolve those fears.

This is an idea that I think we need to incorporate much much more int…

When you can't use logic...

The following are all statements made by someone on Conrad's wall concerning the post he made about the brief filed by the LDS church, and others, that I blogged about in the previous post.  I promise I'm not making any of this up.  And it was all the same person saying all of it, even though it is self-contradictory in so many ways.  (My favorite one is "I am not a blind follower" and then "I will always support the church.")

"I think we will all find out that marriage is not a civil right"

"There is no mention of anything related to marriage in the constitution."

"Prop eight was deemed unconstitutional by a biased judge with an agenda."

"Being gay is not a race. It is a lifestyle."

"You all know that if there was a case to make this about class then this discussion is over. That is why many people try to use race examples."

"I never said a right of mine would be taken away. But the claim that Marriage…

Political churches

Four days ago, a group of churches filed a brief for the Supreme Court concerning the Prop 8 case, which will be heard next month.  Those churches/church groups are as follows.

National Association of EvangelicalsThe Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist ConventionThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsThe Lutheran Church-Missouri SynodThe Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of AmericaThe Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance of North AmericaTruth in Action Ministries The first striking irony to me is the fact that the LDS church recently established this website which was constructed with the main purpose of giving the illusion that the church is reaching out to LGBT persons in love.  The fact that they filed this brief, in conjunction with other churches, shows that their outreach is insincere.  They want to be seen as friendly toward gay people but behind the scenes will continue to do whatever they can to fight against rights for gay people.�…

Family

Being raised Mormon, I was always taught that family is important--that family is eternal.  In fact, that the family is the only societal unit which perpetuates beyond the grave (how God's going to pull that off in the next life was never explained to me, and I really didn't think about it that much either).  Families are forever.   That's what we're taught.

This was actually one teaching that caused me to feel guilt on many different occasions.  I fought with my family.  I think I fought with every single member of my family--from time to time.  I even fought with my oldest brother who's 9 years my senior and whom I did't interact with very closely.  But I think that's normal.  I think fights happen in many relationships.  What I really felt guilty about was the fact that I so often preferred the company of other people to that of my own family.  I enjoyed going over to my friends' houses and spending time with their families.  One time, I believe it …