every religion and every point of view is correct. reality is a matter of personal beliefs, formed by upbringing and all events perceived.
religion is personal, even when imposed by higher authority (not god). one is not better than the other, and within one relgion, one sect or version is not better. i’ve struggled over this break in the past b/c i don’t care much one way or the other about religion. whatever you worship is fine, and i don’t have much personal preference. but when push comes to shove, i get almost scentimental for orthodox jewish services b/c its what i grew up w/. i say that other versions of judaism are fine w/ me, but i prefer to worhsip in orthodox services – even though i am not observant. i now don’t think its necessarily b/c its what i grew up w/, though that obviously hugely influenced me, but moreso b/c i feel that there is a communal spirit of agreement at work. everyone in that service has a relatively similar view on religion, is schooled extensively in it, and feels strongly about it, and this is apparent in their worship.
maybe my predilection towards orthodox judaism is strong b/c i haven’t seen another version of judaism pray w/ as much fervor, dedication, or education as does orthodox judaism. i can relate moreso to a devout catholic service than i can to a reform service – not b/c reform is a stripped down version of religion (b/c, again, it’s all personal) but b/c the service seems to lack warmth, spirit, and conviction. i personally like to feel the gutteral reverberations of a group of men singing from their depths – women singing don’t affect me the same way. perhaps this is CEREBRAL.
this connects to another feeling of higher power and connection – it doesn’t come in the precision tuning of single focus, but in the imperfect singularities that form a greater whole. a group of men singing the same song and tune, but at their own relative paces and tonal abilities forms an extremely strong web of song thats impenetrable. it’s like a mob, a rabble – nothing can get through it, and you can feel it well up to a high degree of power. a choir may be something to marvel at – it’s something that you can listen to and admire, but an orthodox service is something that swallows you and makes you a part of it. single computer = choir. network of computers = orthodox. and if it lacks conviction, it doesn’t produce the same effect, and full circle i don’t respect it enough to worship there (again, even though i don’t worship to a god or through prayer, if a do take part in a service, i want to be among people who are strong in their belief and their religion – my personal connection to something greater, if i even feel that i have one, is entirely undefined and not practiced through reading words from a book).
so on my way back from my run-in w/ the oafish football players, i biked through a public ‘discussion’ on the steps of the Main Bldg at the edge of the West Mall. not a discussion in reality, but i don’t really know what to call it. maybe proselytizing?
it wasn’t one of the regular preachers that come screaming for everyone to convert or burn in hell. it was a more refined, developed method. this guy, who apparently comes to campus every year, arranged his pulpit/discussion at the edge of a set of stairs, so that people could sit and listen while he talked. this gave it a more relaxed, comfortable appearance – you know, to let the passersby know that this is some good honest discussion, where anyone can feel comfortable about voicing their opinions. it was somewhat inviting.
and there was no yelling – you can’t have a comfortable atmosphere if billy preacher is yelling at you that you’re going to burn in a lake of fire. no, if you speak to the audience in a calm, confident, forceful manner (one that comes from the inherent knowledge in the utter truth of one’s views), then they will accept that they are going to burn in a lake of fire as a matter of fact, not a matter of faith insinuated by angry, fear inducing men.
it works – kind of. b/c he wasn’t just bible thumping, and speaking in a scholarly, logical fashion, he caught my attention. just what is this crowd listening to? he has tv cameras trained on him (i forgot to mention that – cameras also lend a huge amount of credibility to whatever you have to say), he’s calm, and he appears to be laying out an argument. let me stop and listen for a moment!
“and so, if you say that you don’t believe in jesus, and that jesus died on the cross for your sins, then what you’re saying is that your view, your atheist primordial goop view, is superior.”
i wish i had been the student who’s question elicited that response. b/c i would have replied, “no, i don’t believe in primordial goop. i actually believe that humanity was placed on this earth by a race of super-intelligent insects, and that our purpose here is to protect a sacred crystal that binds all the matter in the universe in one coherent fabric. that crystal is named Mchdfolesdfk, and it smells like candy. whoop whoop!”
i love it! just watching seinfeld, they’re sitting in the diner as always when in walks some random friend, they exchange casual what’s ups, and the guy says ‘i’m a jew!’. he had just converted 2 days prior. george noticed he had a gym bag – you at the gym? ‘nah, just sat around in the sauna – more like a jewish workout!’ game, set match, straight to commercial. do non-jews get that joke immediately w/o explanation (which came after commercial break)? i don’t know, i’ve seen first hand how ‘off’ jewish humor can be – so many people down here don’t like seinfeld. that’s just odd.
i’m sometimes still amazed at how bible thumping austin is, especially when i know how liberal it is as a texan city. austin is liberal – it’s a bike riding, hippie loving, organic eating, university town. but late at night when watching the local news, i’m confronted w/ all this christian propaganda posing as news. passion of the christ, which came out a month ago already, got 10 minutes of view time, to let viewers know how powerful the movie is, and how incredible it is to see the amount of suffering jesus went through for ‘our sins’. for cryin out loud, jesus did NOT have the worst torture ever. yes, crucifixion is a horrific death, but for the love of god (wink), the man died after a supposed few hours. a few hours! that’s nothing! it normally took days for people to suffocate from their own body weight when crucified! jesus got off easy! and his whippings were no worse than the torture inflicted by the roman soldiers on all their prisoners! this warranted 10 minutes of news time? get real. and then another ten minutes about church music and how it helps people learn to read music. yeah, so does beethoven.
small video for all who attended seder: a flock of crazed seagulls. sorry for poor image quality, but the audio is what counts.
and thanks to anne-marie and ben (and jenny for the brisket) for hosting a great second seder.
and dammit if the bush administration isn’t trying to kill us all for a cheap buck. why won’t anyone act on their own common sense until science backs us up? White House Minimized the Risks of Mercury in Proposed Rules, Scientists Say
and one more thing: in case you were unaware, I FUCKING HATE ALLERGIES!
first night of seder was groovy. 15 people piled into cindy’s house, for a veritable gourmet dinner. everything was hand made – potato kugel, spinach dish, maror, charoset, salad dressing, chocolate cake, pear cobbler, the list goes on. we had to run out during dinner to buy some more wine, but on the whole, it was a superb seder. probably about 10 of the 15 attending were either not jewish or had no idea really what was going on, so to get everyone involved we did some of the songs in english, or just had everybody yelling ‘cha cha’ at specific points. muy bien.
on a different happy kenny front, my design, w/ a little help from marc, was chosen as the 2005 solar decathlon logo! yay! now on w/ the website construction!