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  • hardie karges 3:17 am on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Judaism   

    Religion 401: Beyond Ficciones and Supersticiones… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    I’m Karges, not Borges, and this is Burma not Buenos Aires, so there is no time for fiction and it’s time for an end to silly superstitions, the Christian war God and 7-day creation, immaculate conception and messy ascension, hung out to dry on crosses and clotheslines, left to die in caves and blind alleys, rescued by pregnant virgins and holy whores with hearts of gold and the greatest stories ever told…

    But Islam takes holy virgins to new heights, and new depths, heaven and more, from 72 houris (hoors), with varying degrees of “lush full rounded breasts” and more. The best part: the lot of them only need one man, the double standard enshrined into canonical law! We always knew 100 women only need one man to reproduce the species!

    Then there’s this:

    Al-Suyuti. Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an. p. 351. Each time we sleep with a Houri we find her virgin. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one will marry seventy [sic] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetizing vaginas. 

    (space left intentionally blank)

    Okay, I’m back now, and feeling surprisingly refreshed. Then there is the prohibition on pork, which for many Muslims—and Jews—is the line that defines them. I know Muslims in Thailand that drink like fish, but won’t touch pork! Now we all know what pigs eat, and that’s not clean, unless they’re properly raised and fed. But to base a religion on porkly abstinence is absurd—unless all meat is being disallowed…

    The superstitions and little white lies of Christianity and Islam are not unique to the Abrahamic religions (including Judaism, of course), but are easily found in the religions founded in the Indian sub-continent including the world’s third-largest religion (atheism doesn’t count): Hinduism, arguably the worst on this list, with a list of superstitions that would make a Christian blush, including multiple gods, reincarnation, past lives, karma and a caste system to boot. Ouch!

    Buddhism corrected many of those logical inconsistencies, at least temporarily, until the advent of Mahayana Buddhism pretty much let anybody and everybody in, much like Catholicism in the West, so in came all the old superstitions—except the caste system, which is the logical consequence of karma-laden reincarnations. The Tibetans even postulated multiple realms for all the past and future lives of which they are so enamored…

    I guess Tibetans are not into space, up there in the cold winters of their remote mountain fastnesses. They’re into time—makes sense! I think I’ll pass on the ‘hungry ghost’ realm, though—sounds creepy. On second thought, I’ll pass on much of it. Mahayana Buddhism recovered some of its original inspiration by the time it passed through China and reached Japan, but even there, you’re supposed to achieve enlightenment almost magically by the realizations that arise from the linguistic conundrums that arise from unsolvable riddles…

    But there is more to life than language—I hear. Everybody loves predestination and conspiracy theory, ’cause it’s easy, it’s lazy, it’s neat, and it’s convenient—but it’s almost certainly wrong. There is just no evidence—scientific or otherwise—to support it. Karmic retribution serves the same purpose in primitive Buddhism that Hell does in Christianity—enforcement of the moral code with threat of future punishment…

    Enough already: let’s grow up and leave the child psychology behind! Theravada Buddhism has some of that, too, just not so enshrined in the canon. I really don’t think Siddhartha Gautama the Awakened One spent his life searching for answers, only to come up with something akin to Hinduism for non-Indians, or worse: Hindu Lite. No, he almost certainly intended to leave most of it behind—except meditation…

    The Dalai Lama opines that Science isn’t likely to disprove past lives, but: Hello, Dalai, ever heard of DNA? Many prisoners have gotten out of prison that way, and many just might leave religion, too, if it can do no better. Science has superstitions, too, of course, absolute materialism and pharmacological hubris, so no wonder we’re a nation of drug addicts and war whores, but it doesn’t have to be that way…

    Science is still the most obvious way out of superstitions, with DNA, carbon-14 dating, fingerprints and toe-prints to boot, so maybe Tibetans can leave their past lives and karmic retribution behind, move toward something like Reincarnation—in the Spirit, like a Christian ‘born again’, figuratively but not literally…

    Then more than a few Buddhists get obsessed with which direction to circumnavigate a stupa, without questioning whether the whole activity might not just be a littlt bit ‘stupa’d’ itself, if you stop to think about it. If this is what constitutes a religion, then atheists are probably right…

    Same with removing shoes. As with the aforementioned pigs and their sh*t, certain prohibitions made much sense millennia ago, just as a matter of good health. But religion, i.e. a belief system, should be more than that, at least in this day and age. We have vacuum cleaners…

    But the thoroughly modern Christian will say “Love is our belief system,” except that love from above, victors over vanquished, is not the same as the religious magnanimous type. And Muslims will say, “Our jihad is not with swords and the words of war, but in our hearts against the evil thoughts that haunt us. You should try meditation…

    And Hindus will finger their prayer beads and Buddhists will wrap their necks in charms and fetishes. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this, just that it’s not necessary and it cheapens the cause of religion in the eyes of atheists, agnostics and even some scientists. Religion can do better than the analogies and metaphors of bygone eras. And it can do better than the ‘no-thought’ reliance on writ, whether Christian, Muslim, Theravada or Mahayana…

     

     

     

     
  • hardie karges 8:29 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Judaism, , secular humanism   

    Secular Humanism? Yeah, right: Gimme Religion, and ASAP… 

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    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    For better or worse, Bernie, “We’re-All-In-This-Together” is not a religion. Spirituality? Maybe, but I doubt it. Nice try, though. It’s okay to be Jewish, you know. It doesn’t mean anything bad, as long as you’re not a tool of the modern state of Israel. So feel free to clarify that, ASAP, but obscuring your ethnic origins by muddying up religious waters is not helpful…

    So Bernie sounds like a ‘secular humanist’ to me, and not a ‘practicing Jew’. But I’m not interested in politics right now. I’m interested in religion. So is ‘secular humanism’ a religion? Naah, not really. Why not? They’re all just belief systems, aren’t they, ‘secular humanism’ and every religion? So what’s the difference? Does a religion have to have a God? Buddhism doesn’t really have a God, and Islam allows no images of one. Hinduism has loads.  So what’s the difference?

    Short answer: plenty. In fact, secular humanism DOES have a God, and its name is mostly ME. That’s the difference, and that’s the opposite of what religion is all about. Religion is all about being a part of something bigger than you, and secular humanism is all about individuality, and individualism, specifically this individual, and all too often (drum roll here, please): ego.  God help us. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:03 am on December 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Judaism, Muhammad,   

    The New Religion: Science (and the speed of light as the threshold to heaven) 

    LGBTQA’s like to talk about how they often feel ‘trapped in this body’, generally referring to a male in a female body or vice versa, but aren’t we all ‘trapped in this body’? Isn’t it almost an axiom of Christianity that our souls are trying to be free? Isn’t that why we’re all here, looking for something more, something different, something ‘spiritual’ if not holy religious, some philosophical succor on an otherwise average Sunday, which could be used for the counting of our monies were it not for some lingering Judeo-Christian-Islamic notion of a Sabbath to be kept sacred, not scared and not working?

    I mean: there’s nothing wrong with this world of five or so senses, nothing except for the fears, hatred, frustrations and cruelty, that is, but full of undeniable beauty, also, e.g. nature in all its splendor and grandeur. But still: isn’t there something more, just behind our reach, right behind the projection screen, almost touchable almost ‘feel-able’ if not quite audible visible or smell-able—okay, so maybe smell-able… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:55 am on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Judaism, Michelangelo   

    Pictures of God—Faces and Places… 

    Michelangelo’s God…

    God’s face is a concept best left in the textbooks, suggesting as it does Michelangelo’s Charlton Heston, mugging for the cameras and getting all wrathful, railing at the Ishmaelites and rooting for the Jews; it’s better to talk about Nature, and Love, and Heaven up above, than God-heads with silver hair and yellow teeth…

    So I can understand why people are put off by the pictures of God, early on depicted by Renaissance painters as harsh and warlike, playing headlong into the notion of ‘God-fearingness’ as the proper basis of religion, AND…

    …even later depictions of Jesus with the bedroom eyes and the doe-like gaze do little to mitigate the sneaking feeling that, in effect, we’re doing exactly what the Bible enjoins against, i.e. worshiping graven images, whether graven in stone, oil pigments, silver nitrate, or bits and bytes, BUT… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:27 am on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Judaism,   

    Christmas Goes Viral: Festivus for the Rest of Us 

    Babel on in Babylon, the Hanging Gardens (as imagined) and the Tower of Babel

    Everything is a caricature of itself now, and entertainment is king. So Christmas in America is when we all get to return to our childhood fantasies, beyond sugar plums and into consumer gluttony—or not. If Thanksgiving morphs simple thanks toward God into thanks for the goods, then Christmas goes beyond celebrating the birth of Christ into celebrating the birth of consumerism. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    George Costanza’s dad on the old ‘Seinfeld’ series made alternative celebrations official, but I’m starting to warm up to the many ‘orphan’ events that now spring up around this time of year to give the rest of us some reason for the season: simple social camaraderie and spiritual communion, nuclear family optional. ‘Nuclear’ can sometimes be dangerous, after all.

    Christmas—and Christianity—is not alone in pushing their holidays to absurd viral proportions, though. Other countries and religions do it, too. Anyone who’s gone to Thailand for the Songkran water fest (read: ‘water fight’) is witnessing the modern spectacle of what started off as a simple dousing of water as a symbol of renewal. And I hear that the daylight fasting that occurs during Islamic Ramadan says nothing about what happens after dark. This is cultural neoteny, the evolutionary regression to childhood (in biology, literally the decreasing age of reproduction). (More …)

     
    • mary 9:52 am on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      and a happy winter solstice to you. no xmas for us-mas. the shortest day of the year-grand, it means they will be getting longer, if that is a good thing or not i am uncertain. pax

      • hardie karges 11:28 am on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes yes yes, it is all good if we want it to be that way and act accordingly…

    • Esther Fabbricante 6:54 am on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Family is first with me – 31 members including in-laws and step children..
      Merry Christmas to you.

  • hardie karges 9:16 am on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Judaism, ,   

    Religions Gone Awry, Systems Rendered Asunder 

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Islam promotes discipline and ends up glorifying violence. Christianity promotes love and ends up glorifying sex. Buddhism promotes non-possession and ends up glorifying money. Hinduism promotes India. Judaism promotes Israel. How did our major religions go so badly wrong? Good question. An even better question is how to set them right again. It won’t be easy.

    Religion was long ago taken over by politics, and used as a tool for manipulation, souls for sale as the price of politics, people’s desire for meaning in life reduced to authoritarian submission and hopes for the best. Truth, beauty, and goodness have been traded for sex, money, and violence in some devil’s bargain, arbitrage of the soul, leveraged buy-outs of vestigial beliefs, so much debris and detritus… (More …)

     
    • chicagoja 11:22 am on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I agree whole-heartedly. However, understanding God never required a religion, a church or even a holy book.

  • hardie karges 4:08 pm on July 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Judaism   

    #God as Big #Boss 

    God as Morgan Freeman

    God as Morgan Freeman

    “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy,” definitely my favorite Commandment, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work,” etc., keeps us workaholics from working our selves to death, only problem is defining ‘work’ and separating it from non-work.

    But what if I enjoy work? Then is it okay? Are we supposed to be miserable six days a week?

    Then there’s the question of which day is the ‘true’ Sabbath. If you could be Muslim, Jew, and Christian too, some kind of 3-in-1 monotheist, then I guess you’d get a 3-day weekend. Now there’s a thought…

     
    • Kc 10:36 pm on July 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      No repro. Here, and you? I recal you did not like condoms. Whatever happened to r list and his wife Vicki?

c
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