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Meaning of a Signature

This thought came to mind while watching the Count of Monte Cristo tonight.  I just finished the book and enjoyed it so much decided to Netflix the French version with Gerard Depardieu.  No need to rent it as the story does not follow the book very well and being such a great book no movie could ever do it justice.

Anyway, there is a scene in the movie where Morrell  explains to Maximilian that a signature is an extension of a handshake, which confirms your “word” your promise, your very honor that, for your part the agreement will be respected. 

The signature used to be unique and only you could sign yours.  Therefore, when you put the pen to paper it was a promise, unique to you simply because nobody else could make your signature the way you do. 

Well, with technology it seems the importance of the signature has lessened a little bit.  After all, most transactions are done electronically now and a signature could be copied very easily.  All you need is an electronic version of the original and then could create as many copies as you wanted. 

If I recall correctly people were a bit hesitant to sign on those electronic pads for companies to capture and retain their personal signature.  It would appear that this apprehension has disappeared.

But it never did for me.  I still do not like the fact that companies can retain my signature indefinitely.  So, when I am forced to sign that electronic pad I usually just make a scribble. 

I wonder if this is legal.  If it were illegal, I wonder if a case could be made to challenge the company retaining my signature as misuse could be very high.  After all, the signature belongs only to me and by the company retaining it might be akin to giving the company a blank check on my behalf. 

I’m sure these legal issues were resolved a while ago in the interest of commerce but a law is only valid as long as the legal community wishes it to be so and could always be challenged. 

Anyway, that is what was going through my head tonight. 

Goodnight.

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Astrological Signs and Blood Types

Tonight I feel like having a bit of fun.

I have been debating writing a post like this for some time and thought it over while on the elliptical at the gym.  To be honest, the elliptical is one place I can think clearly and come up with ideas for new posts.  I never turn on the T.V. turn up the music, stare out the window and start to daydream.  I sometimes become a little distracted by the TV the person next to me is using however and today they were watching the talking head pundits on CNN.

As I could not hear what they were saying, I thought about copying part of the broadcast and making my own dialogue like my friends and I used to do in High School.  I saw Wolf Blitzer (who comes up with a name like that, seriously!) and imagined him saying “You’ve been a very very naughty girl Nancy.  I should spank you.  I’m going to treat you like the Taliban Nancy, me and you, you are going to get some shock and awe baby. “

 

 

 

Then the T.V. panned to Nancy and her lips started to move.  “Yes Wolf, I am ANGRY, VERY VERY VERY VERY ANGRY.  I’ve been ANGRY my entire life!  If you come near me Wolf I’m going to bite you, I’m going to bite you VERY HARD.  I AM VERY ANGRY!”

But then, I thought no, a post about Astrological Signs, Blood Types and the Ying Yang would be much more fun.  I also started to wonder why in the hell was I thinking about doing something as juvenile as making my own dialogue to the monkeys on CNN?  Who thinks about stuff like that?

Perhaps I could find some answers with my astrological sign or perhaps my blood type.

Before I dive into it, you are probably understand the significance of astrological signs but are wondering about the blood type.  In the Japanese culture, it is believed that your blood type determines your character.  I’ll explain more about that when we come to it later on.

I.  My sign:  Gemini

To be honest, I have never really given much thought to astrological signs but in the interest of fun and entertaining myself let’s see if we can find some answers.  I looked up the description of a Gemini on astrology.com .  Let’s break this up into pieces.

1.  “Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, and those born under this sign will be quick to tell you all about it. That’s because they love to talk! It’s not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini’s conversation is their mind. The Gemini-born are intellectually inclined, forever probing people and places in search of information. The more information a Gemini collects, the better. Sharing that information later on with those they love is also a lot of fun, for Geminis are supremely interested in developing their relationships. Dalliances with these folks are always enjoyable, since Geminis are bright, quick-witted and the proverbial life of the party. Even though their intellectual minds can rationalize forever and a day, Geminis also have a surplus of imagination waiting to be tapped. Can a Gemini be boring? Never!”

– Well, I’ll be damned, it looks like they’ve got my number.  Here I am sharing a post with all of you while I learn about what it means to be a Gemini.  Perhaps there is some truth to this astrological stuff.  It is true I like to develop my relationships for I’ve always thought that life is just no fun if you do not have anyone to share your experiences with.

I’m not sure exactly what “dalliance” means so I had to look it up.

– Dalliance:

  • the deliberate act of delaying and playing instead of working
  • flirt: playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest

:biggrin: Wow, as I’m not sure who is going to be reading this I think I am not going to comment further on this point.  Let’s continue on.

2. “Since Geminis are a mix of the yin and the yang, they are represented perfectly by the Twins. The Gemini-born can easily see both sides of an issue, a wonderfully practical quality. Less practical is the fact that you’re not sure which Twin will show up half the time. Geminis may not know who’s showing up either, which can prompt others to consider them fickle and restless.”

Again, we have a perfect match.  In the blog a “Global Citizen” we are constantly trying to see both sides of the issue and combat the nonsense put forth by Wolf and Nancy.  I not only want to understand both sides but write on a blog to share it all.  Again, there seems to be some truth to astrological signs here.

I like the comparison with the Ying and Yang.  As you can see in my previous posts, some are light hearted and fun while others a bit dark.  I’m not even sure which twin is going to show up from day to day and sometimes there can be quite an internal struggle!

3. They can be wishy-washy, too, changing their mood on a simple whim. It’s this characteristic which readily suggests the Mutable Quality assigned to this sign.

Wishy washy??  I don’t know if that is the right description but I can agree with changing my mood on a simple whim.  I wrote about this in Mind Control , it’s not really hard to do, you just decide to be happy and presto.  The down side is you can also decide to be a moody b*tch as well which brings us back to the struggle as demonstrated by Luke and Darth.  LOL.

4. Geminis are both curious and clever, which is why they are such a hit at cocktail parties. Although they talk a great game, they also love to listen and learn. With any kind of luck, the Twins will find themselves in interesting company, because if they don’t, they are likely to get bored and start fidgeting.

So that is the reason I start twitching when watching Fox News and damn near went into epilepsy when I found myself at that Tea Party a while back.  I never woulda thunk it!

5. Any social setting is a good one for a Gemini, however, since these folks are charming, congenial and love to share themselves with their friends.

I’m down for a party anytime, anywhere.  I’ll bring the wine.

6. Geminis are playful, flirtatious and endless fun.

Ok, I like my sign A LOT.

But being the flighty Gemini I am, I’ve tired of all the examples of what it means to be a Gemini.  Let’s move along to blood types.

II.  Blood Types

In Japan, they do not use astrological signs but rather blood types as the determinant of personality.  In fact, during WWII the Japanese army actually arranged their battalions around blood types so the group would be more effective!

I am a B blood type which unfortunately is considered “difficult” in Japan.  Being both serious and flighty can cause issues in a relationship.  One minute we are paying full attention and the next minute we are flying across the ocean on a jet ski only to be returned to the present by “Are you li
stening to me????”

In fact, it shares quite a few characteristics with the Gemini!

Here is the complete list provided by Issendai.com

———————————–

Every Japanese celebrity writeup and every anime character description with any claim to authority gives the person’s (or character’s) blood type. Why? Because, thanks to a remarkable bit of Science! by a gentleman named Furukawa Takeji, the Japanese believe that a person’s blood type affects their personality.

Each blood type has a personality profile. These profiles—which I took from a site whose location is long since lost in the mists of time, my apologies—are:

Type A

People with blood type A have a deep-rooted strength that helps them stay calm in a crisis when everyone else is panicking. However, they tend to avoid confrontation, and feel very uncomfortable around people. A types are shy and sometimes withdrawn. They seek harmony and are very polite, but all the same feel that they never really fit in with others. A types are very responsible. If there is a job to be done, they prefer to take care of it themselves. These people crave success and are perfectionists. They are also very creative, and the most artistic of all the blood types, most likely because of their sensitivity.

People with blood type A are also likely to be considered classic “type A’s”: stressed and conscientious. In anime, people like Hotohori are type A’s.

The Third Hokage, Haruno Sakura, Hotohori, Heero Yui, Keiko (Kayko) Yukimura

Type B

People with blood type B are the most practical of the blood groups. They are specialists in what they do. When they start a project, they spend extra time understanding and trying to follow directions than others might. When they are doing something, all of their attention is focused on it. They tend to stick to a goal and follow it through to the end, even if it seems impossible. They tend to be less than cooperative, as they like to follow their own rules and their own ideas. They are individualists. B type people pay attention to their thoughts a little more than their feelings, and therefore can sometimes seem cold and serious.

People with blood type B are often considered more relaxed, freewheeling, and unconventional than other types, although not necessarily to an unacceptable degree. In anime, the genki, off-the-wall types are type B, along with any kind of well-intended character who’s ruled by their impulses.

Naruto, Duo Maxwell, Miaka, Nuriko, Tasuki, Sagara Sanosuke

Type O

People with blood type O people are outgoing, energetic and social. They are the most flexible of the blood types. They easily start up projects but often have trouble following through because they give up easily. They are flighty and not too dependable. O types always say what’s on their mind. They value the opinion of others and like to be the center of attention. Also, people with O blood are extremely self-confident.

Type O, the most “average” blood type, is considered the best type in Japan.

Quatre, Sailor Moon, Saito Hajime, Kamiya Kaoru, Tamahome

Type AB

People with blood type AB are hard to categorize. They can have characteristics on both ends of the spectrum at the same time. For instance, they are both shy and outgoing. They easily switch from one opposite to another. AB people are trustworthy and responsible, but can’t handle it when too much is asked of them. They don’t mind doing favors or helping out, as long as its on their own conditions. People with this blood type are interested in art and metaphysics.

AB is considered the worst blood type. In predictability-loving Japan, they’re loose cannons. They also like to set their own conditions and reserve the right to drop out when things don’t meet their expectations. They’re known to be sensitive and considerate—at times—but it just isn’t enough to balance out the flaws in this blood type. For a while, some companies tried dividing their employees into work groups based on blood type, and no one wanted to work with the AB group. Anime villains are likely to be type AB.

Uchiha Sasuke, Hongo Yui, Tomo, Trowa Barton, Kenshin

A is most compatible with A and AB.

B is most compatible with B and AB.

AB is most compatible with AB, B, A, and O.

O is most compatible with O and AB.

————————————–

If you ever need to break the ice with a Japanese person just start talking about blood types and I can assure you the conversation will last for an hour!  I’ve personally had this discussion with my Japanese friends on several occasions and it has NEVER gotten old.

After reading the above I’m pretty surprised that a B is most compatible with another B.  If I imagined myself with a B type, I’m quite sure we would either have insane amounts of fun or absolutely kill each other.  As the description says, we can be both serious and freewheeling but not at the same time.  This is just as with the Gemini in that we are not sure which twin is going to show up!  From the video above, if Luke wins in both people, then fun will be had, but beware if Darth Vader decides to make a presence in either individual,,, it will not be a good time.  🙁

So, if you examine yourself, would you agree that your personality matches your astrological description?  Your Blood Type Description?  Or is it all just a bunch of hooey?

I for one believe my astrological sign and blood type descriptions match up pretty well!

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America and Religion

Yesterday, across all networks the story was repeated over and over that 24% of Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Upon reading this I really had to fight the urge to bash my head into my keyboard.  I usually try to refrain from causing myself bodily harm but the onslaught of stupid news is causing me tremendous mental damage.  It looks like I will have to go re-read my previous post “Mind Control” in order to remain sane.

I have so many thoughts about this that this post is practically jumping from my fingertips and the keyboard struggling to respond to the furious typing.  It may be difficult to write a clean, neat post with all the ends tied up so I’ll promise you this.  I won’t even try.  It is going to be more of an opinion dump but I’ll do my best to keep things clear.  So, let’s start simple.

1. Separation of Church and State

– In theory, it really shouldn’t matter what the religion of the president is as we have separation of Church and State in this country.  However, that is a pipe dream.

We all very well know that the public expects the President to be “Christian” and it would be impossible to win the presidency unless the contender explicitly promises the public that he in fact is.  The caveat is, he must make his decisions independently from any religious institution as the power he holds is supposed to come from the people and not any specific institution.

But why is this and what is it that people fear from religious institutions.  Now, that is a pretty good question for a Ph. D candidate and I would love to read a dissertation on the matter.  But I am no Ph. D but believe I have a general idea.

I think it all relates back to England and the split from the Roman Catholic Church during Henry V’s reign.  Henry did not like being told what to do from the man in the pointy hat who resides in Rome.  So, he made himself the head of the Church of England and everyone had to follow the king.  As the founders of America were English, they too had no mind to give any power what-so-ever back to Rome.

But according to Wikipedia, The Church of England considers itself to be both Catholic and Reformed (Protestant).  As both of these religious groups share many of the same ideas it’s not a huge deal to try and find the differences except for one.  That difference is the powerful “reformists” prefer to not grant any authority to the Pope.

So, fast forward from then until now, we have always had “WASP” Presidents (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Males) except for one, JFK.  The fact that JFK was a Catholic caused quite a stir as many Americans were afraid the Pope would gain more influence in the USA with Kennedy.  Looking at the state of religion in Latin America (where the Pope does retain influence) the elite members of society were pretty concerned.

And look what happened to JFK (Enter conspiracy theories).  Then we return to the WASPS for a while until President Obama.  Given his exotic childhood people have their concerns and he does not fit the lock-tight WASP model.  Can you guess which letter does not apply to Obama?

However, Obama attended a “Christian” church and professed his faith very clearly a couple of times but many Americans still have their doubts.  This leads me to my next point “What is a Christian?”

*Side Note: Imagine how we feel when we hear that the country is an “Islamic Country.”  Most Americans would then get on their high horse and point out that we have separation of Church and State, and how “advanced” we are.  But when it comes to our own President, he better well be Christian.  If we look at “Islamic” countries with distrust, I wonder if citizens of those countries would feel the same way towards America in terms of religion.  After all, we do demand that the President be Christian, so to say that there is a separation is a bit silly.

2.  What is a Christian?

There was a decent article in USA Today called “Who, exactly, is a ‘Christian’?  Obama?  You?

They point out some interesting facts in that all of us “Christians” think the other “Christians” may not actually be a “Christian” or have got it all wrong!

If I were to ask a normal American “Christian” what they thought of the Eastern Orthodox Religion, I wonder what kind of answers I would get.  I’m sure I would be met with a blank stare.  I would half expect them to call the priests in this picture Muslims!

In fact, that might not be a bad idea.  Let’s release this picture to the general public and take a poll.  I’m quite certain that 35% of Americans would identify them as Muslims.  This is just to point out how I feel about polls and the opinions of a third of the population.

So what exactly is a Christian?  Do all “Christians” believe other sects, denominations etc are equally as “Christian as them?  The answer to that is probably a resounding no, or a very weak yes.

For example, if we compare Evangelicals and Catholics, I’m certain that Catholics would feel superior due to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelicals would think the Catholics to be mindless sheep who really do not feel passion when worshiping God.

The Catholics would look at the Evangelical and believe them to be in complete disarray with no direction, simply homegrown countryside bumpkins who like to shout and jump around in Church.  Where is the ORDER people!?  You can’t just construct a building, call it “House of Holy Salvation of the Divine Angel” and get any respect!

Then the Evangelical would look at the Catholics and disapprove of their boring, repetitious way of worship and think that is no way to really feel the joy that Jesus is supposed to bring.  The would see a kind of corporation directing their “flock” to the grinding mill every Sunday and see no passion in that service at all!

Now, let’s go deeper into the Catholic Religion.  This is worth a complete library of research but for lack of time let’s just get to the point.  The Catholic Church has its own divisions.  It has: Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Benedictines and so on and so on.  In fact, there are well over 300 according to Wikipedia and I’m sure that is not even close to a complete list.  So, I ask, which one is the right one to belong to?  Is there a right one?  Are they all equal or do some look down on others?

Now, coming back out of the Catholic Church, we have all different types of “Christians” – Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Shakers, Quakers, Lutherans, Methodists etcetera etcetera.

Well, I’ve bored myself with all the different divisions in Christianity, but I can tell you that each one will not believe they are equally “Christian” as the other denominations.  In short, their denomination is right and all the others are wrong.

The answer to what is a “Christian” is simply one who follows Christ.  (Christ – ian).  That’s it!

So, if Obama “follows Christ” then he is a Christian.  The issue is that a small portion of Americans do not believe him.  And even if they did, he is probably not following the right one, unless it is considered “Protestant.”  Then we will have all the divisions with those that call themselves “Protestant” and none of the denominations will satisfy this small portion of Americans.

3. Are you a “good” Christian?

What a
question!  This might be very hard to answer in that if you do not belong to the ‘right’ denomination then you can still be a Christian but just in the wrong group.  Which is the correct group?  Well, the one I’m in,,,, unless of course I’m you, then it is the one you are in.  But I’m not you, I’m me, ergo, you are wrong.

How stupid, how mundane!  If we were to really ask this question of the population, they may try to dodge the question unless we really pin them down on scripture.  Then they would refer to their denomination’s “authorized” scripture and repeat from that.  Which would make all the others wrong, strictly speaking.  Then they would feel uncomfortable and not want to discuss it anymore.

Since we are uncomfortable confronting each other, let’s just confront ourselves for fun.  Do we really even know that much about our own religion?  This brings me to my next point along with a personal story.

4.  How well do we know our own Religion?

To start off, I’ll give you the answer; Not very well.

I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Ireland with my family.  I was under the assumption that it was simply a vacation but I was mislead!  In fact, it was a PILGRIMAGE!!!  My family knew I would have reservations with hanging out in Ireland with a bunch of old church ladies so they conveniently skipped that detail.  Yet, it turned out to be wonderful and I learned a lot.

I would say the best thing I got out of that trip were discussions with a very intelligent priest.  At that time, I had read too much and had a lot of questions.  I was also starting to break free from the authority of priests and starting to think for myself.  As I was developing into an adult, I had started to think of many priests (not all – some were good) as almost adolescent, undeveloped aberration of men.  I started to see them from the eyes of an adult and saw how incomplete they were.  Yet, they asked me to call them “Father!”  (I’ll return to language and it’s usage later on)  In fact, quite a few had been suspected of pedophilia and had left the church.  So, my opinion of priests was not good at this time to say the least.

But, the priest who was directing this pilgrimage, was very intelligent and I respected him for a number of reasons.

1. He spoke Gaelic
2. He played the SPOONS!
3. He had no problems drinking a few pints with me
4. He was an academic.  No more of “It’s a mystery” nonsense, this guy had actual answers!
5.  He did not try to duck any of my questions and we could be open.
6. He became frustrated with some members in that they really didn’t know much about the faith they adhered to.  He said “Study your faith people!”  To me, this was refreshing in that the history and theology of the Catholic Church really is fascinating, but unfortunately, church is often filled with the same old boring readings and absolutely NO academic inquiry.  Just a blind following of whatever happened to be uttered from the priests mouth.

On one of the first nights, I was very surprised that he agreed to come to the bar with us and seemed enthusiastic about it.   There was a band and after ordering our pints of Guiness we sat down to listen.  He pulled out his spoons and was just itching to get up and play with the band.  And get up and play he did!!  This was a priest unlike any other I had ever met!

Afterwards we were walking back we started to get into a religious discussion.  I forget all the points but about halfway in I decided to blow this conversation wide open.

Me: Father, why are you Catholic?
Father:  It is what I believe (this was the standard answer I was used to getting)
Me: Father (I hate using that word, but out of respect I stuck with the standard)  Did you go to a Catholic grade school?
Father: Yes
Me: Did you go to a Catholic High School?
Father: Yes
Me: I would venture to say you even went to a Catholic College
Father: Yes, I went to (insert, I forgot the name)
Me:  Then Father, how did you think you would turn out?  Buddhist?  You were told your whole life to be Catholic and that is what you became!  How can you be so certain that it is the correct religion when that is the path the majority of people will take?  They will simply follow the religion that their parents and grandparents were!?  You ask a lot of interesting questions about your own faith, but are stuck within these parameters and have never even given a though to venturing outside them!

Enter alcohol infused haze and I cannot recall how the rest of the conversation went.  I was just pretty amazed at myself for having asked such a question when up until that point, I would never have dared to.  The only other thing I can remember is I asked him about the Masonic Order and what he knew, but he really didn’t have any information that I didn’t already know.

The point of all this is here was a priest that was not afraid to reach into the depths of Catholicism and explore as far as it will go.  Again, I had never met a priest as academic as he was.  He left an impression which left me wanting more information.

5. Diving into Christianity

Again, how well do we know our own faith?  I’d like to share with you a few examples that were very eye opening for me and provide some answers.  These are not answers that will solve the ultimate mystery but they are fascinating none the less.

I’ve met very few people who actually question their own religion.  They are told x is representative of y and ask no questions.  As for me, I ask questions, I want to know!  I’m not sure how I came to discover these things but I’m sure it was a mix of my travels and readings.  As for books, I can’t quite recall which book I read but I’m sure it was something like this (Religions of the World: Illustrated Guide To Origins, Beliefs, Traditions and Festivals).  I’m not sure how many examples I can come up with but lets give it a shot.

a.) The Cross is More Powerful Than the Sun

One of the most interesting things I learned is that the ancient religions always worshiped the Sun.  As Christianity spread the duty of the priests was to convert the locals.  To help with this, they placed their religious symbols in front of the sun.

If you have ever seen a Celtic cross, you will notice a circle around the cross.  This symbolizes the cross being in front of the sun and therefore the cross is more powerful than the sun.

Therefore, it conveyed to the locals that the priest’s religious imagery was more powerful than their own.  Make a symbol, put your own in front of the local symbol and automatically it is more powerful.

In Mexico, the most powerful image is La Virgen de Gua
dalupe.  Again, we can see that Mary has been placed in front of the sun.  But why is this?  The truth is the Spanish were very merciless with the natives and killed so many.  To win them over a miracle was necessary.

The story goes, that a native “Mexican” Juan Diego actually saw Mary and she spoke with him.  There are different versions to the story but some say he healed Juan’s uncle and at other another time presented him with roses to prove he was not lying (Roses did not grow in Winter, when she appeared).  In short, his uncle got better and local priests believed Mary had appeared due to the roses he presented them with.  Now, let’s pay attention to what she said:

“I shall be there to listen to your cries, your sadness.  I shall be there to cure your grievances, Your misery, your sufferings.”

But we have to ask ourselves, who was causing these “sufferings.”  Well, it was the Spanish who just happened to be the same people who brought the Catholic religion to Mexico!  So, the same people that were causing these horrible sufferings also brought the solution with the Virgin Mary and converted an entire empire.

Also, we notice an “aura” around the Virgin Mary.  The Aztecs worshiped the sun and again we follow the same formula of putting a Christian symbol directly in front of the sun to make it more powerful.  It would not do well to put the cross in front of the sun because that is the symbol the Spanish used and they were the ones killing everybody!  Therefore, it is much better to put a delicate, caring “mother” which would take care of the people that her religion was directly responsible for killing the locals!

To make matters more interesting, those humongous cathedrals you will find in Spain were directly financed by gold plundered from “The New World.”  That is to say, they were funded by exterminating a group of people and taking their gold to build something religious.  How is that for irony?

People are praying in a building funded by the blood of native Americans and praying for peace!!

b.) Festivals

How well do we know our own festivals?  Why is it that Christmas falls directly on the Winter Solstice?  The dates are both on December 25th.  Then, we have Easter falling directly on the Spring Equinox!  And why is it that we use Easter bunnies to also commemorate this holiday?  The reason is the ancient people saw the rabbit as a sign of fertility.  So, killing two birds with one stone, it is very convenient to have Jesus rise at the same time of the Spring Equinox.  Then, mixing traditions we throw in the Easter Bunny.

In fact, use any “Christian Holiday” and you will find it has replaced a more ancient holiday.  Why is this?  Because the local population was used to celebrating at that time and to encourage them to convert, Christianity had to create a holiday at the exact same time.  This made things easy.

Now, does any of this matter?

For many, the answer is no.  They were simply taught to believe in Christianity because their parents and their parents before them did so.  They work themselves into a tizzy with no understanding of why things are the way they are.  For some, the euphoria of telling yourself something is true and getting yourself excited about it is enough!

c.) The Cult of Osiris

This is going to be a very long post and for those of you looking for parallels between Christianity and other religions, it would do you well to take a look at the Egyptian, “Cult of Osiris.”  Osiris also rose from the dead and there are many other similarities.  In the tradition of replacing old religions with the Christian teaching we cannot fail to examine this one.  It seems Christ wasn’t the only one to rise from the dead.

6. Language

The language of Christianity has been refined over many centuries.  If we were to truly understand, then we would have to study Aramaic which was the language of Jesus.  But instead, most of us only have English to go on and therefore that is what we use.

One aspect that has always irked me is the submissive nature of the language of the church.  We are expected to refer to priests as “Father” and he refers to the rest of us as his “flock.”  In the language alone, we submit to the priest’s authority.

Why is this?

In the past, the priest was the learned, the one who could read.  He was more intelligent then the rest of the population and a leader.  Now, that a good part of the population have attended University and perhaps studied more than the priest, this use of language might not fit so well.  I highly doubt the priest calling a layman “father” since it is only supposed to work one way.

The priest often refers to his subordinate as his “son.”  As I mentioned earlier I have no use for these dysfunctional, shells of men referring to me as their son.  We can have an intelligent discussion if we are on equal ground and respect can still (sometimes) be due but let’s dispense with this “Father/Son” nonsense.

The reason people still use it is because that is how they were taught.  They were told not to question and that the priest is the authority.  No questions.

Further, to add a bit of “sanctity” to the language, some still speak with terms such as “Thou, thee, thine,” such as “Thine is the Kingdom of God.”  This does nothing more than create a false sense of “holiness” to the language, as though it is superior than speaking in the common tongue!

Most people do not use those types of words, and therefore, if one is able to use it, it might seem superior to the less educated and thus more powerful.  The truth is, it does absolutely nothing than make the speaker sound silly.

7. The Usefulness of Christianity

Academics and those that study history always take the fun out of the party.  They deflate what people have taught themselves to believe.  But does this mean their passion does not serve a purpose?  The answer is no.

We as humans are not very good at taking care of each other.  We look to our own needs first and to be honest treat each other very poorly.  The fact is we need a guide to tell us to behave because the truth is we are not very good at doing it on our own!

Religion fills a void, it provides a road map on how to behave and treat one another.  The instruction is very clear which is simply “Love Each Other.”  Yet, even with a very clear teaching, we still have trouble doing this!!  We look to the scripture to find reasons to kill and hate.

Going back to Barack Obama, what those people are looking for is a reason to dislike the President and hate!  We humans are very good at twisting very simple teachings and the reason that people are calling Barack Obama a Muslim is they want to find a reason to dislike him, I daresay to HATE him!

Therefore, they use religion which tries to teach us to love and being a typical human use it in a perverse way and to hate.  How despicable!  How low and base!!  Only human beings could take something so simple and turn it completely on it’s head!

With the lessons above about the origins above, the fact is, they really do not matter.  Sure they are good things to know, but they have absolutely no influence on the core teaching which is simply to love.  I used the examples above to prove to people how little they know about religion and to provoke a bit of shame.  How dare they use religion, which they know very little about, to provoke hate, which is the exact opposite of the main point religion is trying to co
nvey!!!!  How stupid, how silly and how shameful!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, reading a new article stating that a third of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim is simply stupid.  These are people that are looking for a reason to hate and by turning Obama into something he is not gives them this right.  The irony is their own religion teaches them to love yet, the purposefully seek out a reason do the opposite.

 

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Journal

The New York Times and The Economist

The New York Times and The Economist

 

In the New York Times this morning there is a wonderful article entitled “The Economist Tends Its Sophisticated Garden.”  As a decade old subscriber I was very curious to see how my favorite magazine would be treated by the Times.

After treading the opening introduction of The Economist, I am extremely impatient to see how the Economist is going to respond.  Being a British publication I am quite sure they will come up with a stinging, witty response to The Times.  Or not, I have never been able to understand those British but I am voting for a STINGING, WITTY RESPONSE!

*Note to The Economist Editors – Please don’t let me down.

If you’re an avid reader of both The Economist and The Times, then you will know there has been an ongoing feud between Paul Krugman, The Times Senior Economic party-pooper in chief and the identity-less army of economists at The Economist.

*Note: I still like Paul Krugman and his articles.  🙂

The formula goes:

1. Paul writes an economic article – Usually that the apocalypse is coming.
2. The Economist, not liking their turf to be tread upon, tells Paul he is wrong.
3. Repeat.

I was aware of the recent spat but doing a quick search, the first article I came upon was from 2008:  Krugman’s conundrum

Recently, things have gotten ugly.

1. The Times – “I’m Gonna Haul Out The Next Guy Who Calls Me ‘Crude’ And Punch Him In The Kisser,” – Paul Krugman

This was in response to,

2. The Economist – Austerity Alarm – Which really upset Mr. Krugman by saying this:

“Mr Krugman’s crude Keynesianism underplays the link between firms’ and households’ behaviour and their expectations of future tax and spending policy.”

Which was in response to,

3. The Times – The Third Depression – Paul Krugman

Boy, things are becoming very interesting concerning The Times and The Economist.  Again, I’m very impatient for The Economists reply to the recent dig by The Times!!

The Times states:

“The newsweekly, a bible of global affairs for those who wear aspirations of worldliness on their sleeves, did not become a status symbol overnight. It took 25 years of clever advertising that tugs at the insecurities and ambitions of the status-seeking reader to help the magazine get there.”

I cannot say why others may read the Economist but I can tell you The Times definitely has my number as one “who wears aspirations of worldliness on their sleeves.”  I created a blog called The Global Citizen for God’s sakes and take pride in understanding other cultures, languages and keeping up to date on “worldly” affairs.  So there is no way I can escape the accusation.

However, as for “insecurities and ambitions,” I’m not sure how they came up with these.  Perhaps when interviewing people who read the Economist, the first reader couldn’t make eye contact but really had his mind set on becoming Secretary of State?

I was first introduced to The Economist by my father who is a very avid reader and whose opinion I hold in very high regard.  I was studying abroad at the time and the international focus of The Economist really appealed to me.  It was a very large breath of fresh air from the American sources of news that focused and continues to focus on one area of the globe.  America.

As I was looking for news sources like this, the only other quality “international” publication I could find was The International Herald Tribune published by guess who??  Yep, The New York Times.

However, with the IHT the formula followed that of many other newspapers whose articles simply report “this happened there, and this other thing happened over there.”  What I was looking for was in-depth reporting with a splash of opinion and The Economist provided this very well.  I wanted insight, not just a report of what has happened.

This does not mean I am not without criticism at of The Economist.  At times, I become a little tired of this group of Brits continually telling foreign countries what to do and that if they did “x” then everything would get better.  Perhaps they are mostly right, but it still feels like an uppity British banker telling poor countries how stupid they are and to get their act together.

My other criticism is that they see the world through an economic lens and it often seems that this is the only lens they use.  I have often thought that I would really love to read a magazine that is The Economist, but strips out a good majority of the economics.  But I guess with a name such as The Economist, this is simply a ridiculous thing to say.  🙂

My criticisms are very few however and I still love my Economist.  I love their liberal standpoint on social issues and I find their publication a very good counter to the current American conservatives.  The conservatives here in the USA now believe good economic management (free trade, low taxes, less government) belongs only to them.  There may be some truth to this but the problem is that they couple this with regression and stagnation socially.  One this first point, I am very much inclined to agree with them but what repels me is their stance on the social issues.  The conservatives are against things such as Gay marriage, Immigration and anything that smells of a “socialist policy.”  To be honest, they have relied too much on their extremest elements which no matter how many ways they try to justify their position, all too often boils down to simple raw hate.

The Economist however, has a greater claim to “economics” and spells out why certain policies would be beneficial in numbers.  The American conservatives just yell.  Therefore, this gives The Economist more authority over anything economic and the fact that they also realize that some people are going to need a safety net really endears me to their publication.

Instead of “yelling” like American conservative media outlets, The Economist lays out a very clear and thoughtful argument to social problems and often supplements these with numbers.  Media outlets such as Fox news however, simply whip their audience into a froth on every issue with their underlying point being, “If we let this happen, America is going to die.”

My regard for the magazine became even stronger when they supported Barack Obama for president.  They were not afraid to point out the various catastrophes of the Bush administration and knew that a change was needed.  I came to respect them even more when they took Obama to task for some of his failings!

This is what every news publication should be.  One that praises the achievements and underscores the failures of every leader no matter their political affiliation.  This is how we do become smarter!

So when the times states the below in their article, my answer is “YES!  I do feel smarter!”

“They’ve always implied that if you read The Economist, you’ll be just a little bit wiser and smarter than the average guy,” said Joseph Plummer

When I first read this quote I was simply AGHAST as I thought The Times (who I also love) had quoted “Joe THE Plummer” who still manages to poke his head out of the sand like a ground hog and say something ridiculous on occasion.  I thought for a split second that the end of the world was upon us if one of my favorite publications was now quot
ing head dufus from the McCain campaign days.

Yet, I was quickly relieved when I read his title being; “adjunct professor of marketing at Columbia Business School and a former executive at McCann Worldgroup.”

*Note, that says McCann not McCain. – Just to make sure we are clear.

Finally, I responded with a quizzical Japanese head tilt when The Times claims in their opening sentence:

“Its fire-engine-red logo peeks out of fashionable handbags and from the back pockets of designer jeans.”

I’m not sure about other countries but here in downtown San Francisco (Union Square area) I would think that The Economist would make designer bag wearers heads tilt so much that they might actually fall over.  I’m not sure what those people read but I can be sure it is anything but economics.

 

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Journal My Best Posts

What is Marriage? – A Unique Perspective

In the past week there as been a major Federal court decision which declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  Proposition 8 was passed last year by a statewide vote which disallowed gay marriage in California.

The proposition states:

Proposition 8 (or the California Marriage Protection Act) was a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008, state elections. The measure added a new provision,Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” – Wikipedia

This has been chewed over in the media for some time and without delving into the details I would just like to add a unique opinion which has not been discussed but I find quite relevant.  As my passions are history, linguistics and international living I simply would like an answer to the following question.

What is marriage?

Most people will not give this a passing thought and believe the question silly as the answer should be obvious.  But I ask, is it really obvious?  If one is to engage in this societal contract, under which authority makes the union valid?

Is marriage something the state confers upon the couple or is it religion?

Or perhaps it is a promise we make to ourselves and our partner?  How much weight should we give to “authorities” and under what authority do they derive their own authority?  Do they really even matter?

The easiest answers concerning our current “authorities” are perhaps the State and organized religion.

1. The State

The state confers benefits upon married people in terms of taxes, contracts and so on.  Therefore, when we marry it is beneficial to register with the state to receive these benefits and work within the system.

However, should we decide later on to leave the state (the country) for another country then any decision by the state would be rendered  unless the country which we have moved to also recognizes decisions made by the country we have just left.  That is to say foreign countries do not necessarily recognize contracts (marriage contract) made in other countries.

Most couples will register with the State as they have no choice or they are not really married as far as the State is concerned.  But then we could ask ourselves what is a ‘law’ and who gives them the authority to determine whether we choose to be married or not?  The laws are arbitrary and I would guess that they had some sort of influence from organized religion.

As time passes the law can be changed and here in the USA we are a secular nation (with some caveats), and religion should really retain no influence.  Instead, it should be a consensus among the elites or possibly the entire population as to what constitutes a law.  Many people today believe that “the will of the people” is what makes laws but that is not really true.  Congress makes the laws and is often persuaded by lobbying organizations.

Also, as we can see from history, the opinion of the masses is not a very good way in which to craft laws.  If this were the case, interracial marriages would still be banned and society would most likely just have the law of the state follow the mandates of an organized religion.

Since we are creating our own laws, made by consensus among elites and possibly with a dash of public opinion these laws really derive from no higher authority.  The laws are simply made up and may or may not reflect public opinion.

To give additional and possibly final authority to any proclamation from the state many leaders have turned to religion and God.  We still swear on bibles in the court room and the words “Under God” are still maintained on our currency and in our national pledge.  Therefore, it acts as a very strong “supplement” to laws made by the State which adds an additional layer of authority.  In common-speak it says “If you are not willing to respect laws made by man, then you should respect those laws made by God and God gives the State direct authority to make his laws.”

However, as we are now more of an enlightened society we continue to be in the process of stripping religion  from our laws and believe they should be followed on their own merits.

In terms of marriage, most people will not consider this issue and just sign the paper to register with the state while also participating in an organized religious ceremony to add another (if not more important) level to confirm their union.

2. Religion

Again, the USA is a nation that has separated Church and State although a good portion of the citizens fail to recognize or even consider this.  It is to them as though the State and their religion should go hand in hand.  As a very good majority of citizens in the USA are Christians, religion may still play a role in making laws even today.  This is what happened with Proposition 8 and the following Bible verse was used to make a law against homosexual unions.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes norhomosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”


Now, there are some counterpoints such as the translation being wrong and that the Bible is not really condemning homosexuality.  This is not a point I will discuss here.

My point is that homosexual couples are not asking organized religion to bless their unions.  They are instead simply asking the state to recognize the union as they know they do not have a “snowball’s chance in hell” to have it recognized by Catholicism but have made progress with the Anglicans and I’m not really sure about the others.

The current debate however is not about religious acceptance but simply that of the State.

If the State has separated from religion then religion should play no role in whether or not gay couples are allowed to marry.

But even if we believe religion should still play a role in marriage, it might be beneficial to ask on whose authority is religion able to “make a marriage?”  Most people would quickly say “God,” but is there evidence in scripture of this?  At what point in time did the priestly class insert themselves into the important occasions of our lives?  Why is it that priests must be present at an individuals birth, marriage and death?  This question has also been asked in “The Antichrist” by Friedrich Nietzsche.

“Simply this: the priest had formulated, once and for all
time and with the strictest meticulousness, what tithes were to be paid to him, from the largest to the smallest (–not forgetting the most appetizing cuts of meat, for the priest is a great consumer of beefsteaks); in brief, he let it be known just what he wanted, what “the will of God” was…. From this time forward things were so arranged that the priest became indispensable everywhere; at all the great natural events of life, at birth, at marriage, in sickness, at death, not to say at the “sacrifice” (that is, at meal-times), the holy parasite put in his appearance, and proceeded to denaturize it–in his own phrase, to “sanctify” it. . .”

If we throw away the authority of the state (after all, they only last about 500 years or so) then all we have to rely on is religion in that they have an outstanding reputation for longevity.  Yet, if we are to examine religion, it would be beneficial to ask ourselves at what point did the priests interject themselves and gain control of the most important events of our lives?

Are there Biblical references that state a priest must be present at these events?  Do priests have some magical powers to really solidify a union?  I would say no.

But I return to my previous point that homosexuals are not asking for the blessing of organized religion but only that of the state and to be treated fairly and equally under the law of the state.

3. The word marriage

This word is simply that, a word.  It could be called anything but in the English language we have settled on the word marriage to describe this social custom.  The problem arises that we are very unsure as how to define it.  Does it mean a union recognized by the state or by religion?  Can we call it something else like “domestic partnerships?”  I’ve understood that gay couples are afforded the same legal rights under “domestic partnerships” so in terms of the State does it really matter what we call this “union?”

I would say it does if you call one union “marriage” but reserve another title only for gay couples.  This would not be equality and akin to the “separate but equal” issue that was struck down in the past.  Would straight couples be able to obtain “domestic partnerships” or would that seem weird?

4. Authority

As I said above, if a married couple were to leave the state for a foreign country and do not recognize any organized religions that do not allow their type of union then under what supreme authority could the union therefore be recognized?

The state maintains no authority outside its own borders and religion retains no authority unless the individual allows it to do so.

5. Conclusion

So I ask again, “What is Marriage?”  I would say that it is a promise we make to ourselves and our partner that we will stay by them and support them until we die.  This is the most important aspect of a marriage, a promise we make to ourselves.  Whether the State or religion choose to accept this union should play a seriously less significant role.

Concerning marriage and homosexuality there has been a very large shift into how people view homosexuals.  The younger generation most likely happens to know a few and realize that it is just the way they were created and is not “evil” as religion would have us believe.  Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why they should be denied the same benefits as straight couples by the State.  The laws of the State are a reflection of the ideas and reasonings that the elites of the population created, or shall we say simply made up in order to have a properly functioning society.

Again, religion is and has been stripped away due to the separation of church and state and therefore should retain no more influence.

And as our laws are a reflection of “the will of the people” and the people are slowly coming to realize that gay people are not “evil” and that they have been unjustly discriminated against would it not follow that the law should change as well?

I believe those for Prop 8 (against gay marriage) are fighting a losing battle.  The younger generation realizes this mistake and the laws will slowly come to reflect this and give homosexuals equal treatment.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard and the extremist elements in organized religion are trying to maintain their grasp on the lives of citizens everywhere.  They wish the state to craft laws to reflect their values and what they have been taught in their religious books.

I ask if this were to be the case, should we go back to stoning women for adultery and throw out all scientific progress simply because a religious book tells us to?

It is time for religion to stop interfering with the laws of this nation and for the USA to give equal treatment to all of its citizens.  Even if we have a very hard time letting go of religion, perhaps we could use the commandment “Love they neighbor,” a bit more and have a little less of the hate.

*Side Note:  Reasons for my view

You may ask how I even came up with these ideas?  Well, it is due to my international experience, especially in Japan.  If a foreign national marries a Japanese outside of Japan things become a little complicated.

a.)  The State

Japan does not automatically recognize marriages outside of Japan.  Instead, the Japanese individual must submit paperwork to the Japanese Embassy to make this “official.”  And to add one more complex element the Japanese individual has the option to change their “koseki” (戸籍) which means “Family Registration.”

A koseki (?) is a Japanesefamily registry. Japanese law requires all Japanese households (ie) to report births, acknowledgements of paternity, adoptions, disruptions of adoptions, deaths, marriages and divorces of Japanese citizens to their local authority, which compiles such records encompassing all Japanese citizens within their jurisdiction. Marriages, adoptions and acknowledgements of paternity become legally effective only when such events are recorded in the koseki. Births and deaths became legally effective as they happen, but such events must be filed by family members.

Most Japanese will register with the Embassy but not change their koseki as it can be a real pain and more trouble than it is worth.  It is due to this that I question the authority of the State and if their decisions even really matter in terms of citizens considering themselves “married” or not.

2. Religion

Most Japanese are Buddhists.  As people in the USA are overwhelmingly Christian would the couple have to go get married in both traditions to have it be valid in terms of religion?  Or could we just dispense with the religious aspect?

For these reasons I started
thinking about how much authority the state and religion have in creating a marriage.  Why is it that they should have a lock on this important event?  What if we really give no weight to their “authority” and simply decide to think of marriage as a promise we make to ourselves?

Just food for thought.