Monday, February 28, 2011

Touchy Feely Christianity

In one of my classes last week we had to work in groups, and somehow during the course of the group work, the topic of 17th century witch burnings came up. The girl who was in our group said how she thought seemed antithetical and hypocritical for Christians to burn people who they thought were witches, and it seemed apparent from the way she said it that she is a Christian herself. I couldn't help myself but interject, and explained how they weren't really being hypocrites in doing that, they were taking a passage from Exodus that says if you find a witch you are not supposed let them live. I could tell this made her slightly uncomfortable, and even though I pointed out that the witch hunters had biblical justification for what they did, she still thought it seemed hypocritical.

This brief exchange highlighted a couple of things to me. One- unsurprisingly, Christians don't know their own Bible. I've known this for a while, but this is more evidence to that fact. Two- Christians, even though they claim to get their morality from the Bible, they actually judge things to be right and wrong for themselves. I think 99% of people actually do this, but then claim they get it from their religion of choice, which I would imagine in this case, she would think it was hypocritical because Jesus said to love your neighbor, which isn't the whole story if you claim to believe the Bible. I think the what we should take away from this, is why don't we take the nice things about life/philosophy, it doesn't matter where they come from, and then get rid of the atrocious things along with the supernatural things that we have no proper justification to believe, and just get along with each other. Maybe it's just me but that seems like a better option.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Simple Mistake, or an Ignorant Buffoon?

I think my boss doesn't know my name. Well, I know he knows my first name, but I think it's possible he doesn't know my last name, even though I've worked at the theater for over four years, and under this manager for nearly three, not to mention the fact that he gave me a performance review just over a month ago. It seems like knowing your employees' full names, especially those who have worked under you for a long time would simply just happen.

Why do I think my boss doesn't know my last name? Yesterday (Thursday), I left my wallet at work, so I figured it would just be available for me to pick up when I got to work today, so I wasn't horribly worried about it (though I did have some concern about it getting in to some customers' hands or something). This morning just as I'm about to get in the shower to get ready for work, I receive a phone call from my school saying my wallet had been turned in at the theater, and I could pick it up any time after 3 pm, to which I replied, "That's really strange that I can't pick it up until after three, considering I'll be working there at 11:00." My boss would have been the only person at the theater earlier then 10:00 during the day, so it would had to have been him who made the call, which means either he didn't look at the IDs in it except to call the school (unlikely), or he saw the name, didn't recognize it, and called the school to call the appropriate person (more likely).

To me, this just adds to the list of things that makes him ill-equipped to be anyone's boss, especially people who are not mentally handicapped, and just makes me that more frustrated with the fact that I have to answer to him. It seems like every day there are more and more things that demonstrate his incompetence, and even though I've addressed several of these issues before with him via manifesto-ish letters of complaint; even arguing with him head-on, and I don't know how to make it better.

For now I guess I'll just listen to Matt & Kim to feel better. Goodnight.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Religion in the Doctor's Office

I went to the doctor this morning because of some sinus issues I've been having over the past month and at first it seemed like it would be nothing out of the ordinary. However, during the usual run of questions asked by the nurse, I was caught off guard when asked what my religion was. This caused me to hesitate before responding just for a fraction of a second, because I was wondering how the hell it was even relevant to my visit before answering "none".  It wasn't until a little later (surprisingly) that I figured out some way to tie the two together, considering Jehovah's Witnesses won't accept blood transfusions, or even vaccines, if I'm not mistaken. Still, I feel like it was a weird question to ask. You would think if someone's beliefs were that opposed to particular types of medical treatment they would just tell the doctor from the outset or something. Maybe you can think of a reason why this question can/should be asked before someone is about to be seen by a medical professional, in what I'm pretty sure is a secular medical institution, but as of now, I feel like it's an inappropriate and irrelevant question to ask upon a visit to the doctor. Let me know what you think.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Because It's Alive?

There is an older fellow (between age 50 and 60) in my 18th Century Philosophy class with whom there doesn't seem to be anything I can agree with him on. I have had arguments in the past with him about the Existence of God a few times before. Not only that, but he is very conservative and seems to not even understand the dribble that comes out of people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's respective mouths, because he takes what they say and tries to make it more moderate and less crazy.

To add to the list of things we have polarized views on, yesterday he said something like, "I don't understand why those hardcore vegetarians who hate people who eat meat can tear open a piece of lettuce and see water come out of it and not be upset, because it's alive and the water that comes out is practically its blood."

This is a really inane and idiotic thing to say, and I gave him a simplified explanation of why I (as a transitioning vegetarian) can do just that. Put bluntly, animals suffer and lettuce does not. I may not be able to know it as absolutely as I know my own existence, but it's about as certain as I can be about anything. Animals can display behavior and emotions, and from that we can attain a satisfactory understanding of the types of things that cause suffering and happiness in them. I think this should be practically obvious, but maybe I'm wrong. On the other hand, lettuce leaves and other vegetation, while they do perform biological functions, they don't display any kind of behavior whatsoever, and behavior is the primary way we can tell how an organism is feeling emotionally (e.g. body language). Some plants have mild internal responses to stimuli, but they aren't any more significant than how water reacts when you throw a rock in to it, and I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks water can suffer (except maybe homeopaths).

In a nutshell, I have no reason to believe that lettuce or, really, any other plant can suffer. It's irrelevant to me whether or not something is technically "alive" in whether or not I think it is immoral to kill it. My skin cells are alive, but I don't think that I'm inflicting suffering upon another mind when I scratch my arm because there is no evidence to support that, but there is a vast amount of evidence to support the fact that animals can suffer (just ask anyone who has a dog or a cat). To think that vegetarians/vegans don't eat animals simply because they're alive, in the vast majority of case, is, frankly, hugely mistaken.

Of course, he said after that he doesn't go out of his way to avoid suffering, especially to animals that caused him to suffer, which I doubt there are more than a few, if any, which I think is also without reason. It doesn't surprise me that his actions are without cause because he is an old, conservative fart. The discussion ended after that. I like discussing things with people I disagree with but that man sure is frustrating.

Have a pleasant day.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oscars: Original Score

For this post I've provided a sample of each of the scores so you may listen to them yourself.

While I think this Hans Zimmer score was pretty good, I think it's definitely the weakest of the nominees. I know a lot of people have a nearly dogmatic love for everything Inception/Christopher Nolan, especially people I go to school with, but I don't think this soundtrack was nearly as good as the other nominees. Not undeserving of the nomination though.

127 Hours
Another good choice, but I think this soundtrack had it's weak moments, along with some really strong moments. My favorite piece in the movie I don't think is actually part of the score (listen here) , but the score does a really good job of setting the tone for each scene.

The King's Speech
Likely my second favorite score, but I think if How to Train Your Dragon. Alexandre Desplat's score does really great in contrasting the very serious with the light-hearted, with the more dramatic moments in the film, and if it wins the Oscar, I wouldn't be upset.

How to Train Your Dragon
This is my personal favorite of all of the nominees. I think it hit a lot of emotional queues in a way that was really touching. It's my pick for the Oscar, but I'm not as sure about it winning as I am for some of the other categories.

The Social Network
This score I actually really like, and fits the theme of being specific to this sliver of time, but I'm not sure the Academy would have it win. I could be wrong, but I think it's to out of the vein of the majority of past Original Score winners. I definitely agree that it deserved the nomination though, and I'm sure I would enjoy just listening to it on its own.

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