The Cracker Barrel (Page 1) WHAT IS GOD?
(Notice I did not ask "WHO IS GOD?)
What is God? The "Creator": The Big Bang! Who says there was ever only one? What if there were more, or if Big Bangs happen all the time? My friend in college, Steve Svach, was pretty heavily into Physics and Mathematics. He once asked me, what if there are other galaxies or universes which are traveling right through us? How would we even know? Man for many centuries had believed that the Earth was the Center of the Universe/everything. The more we now know about the extent of our Universe, the more insignificant each of us seems to become. We are truly Cosmic Debris!... All of which brings us to the question of Creation and Man's relationship to "God."
Giordano de Bruno (1548 - 1600) was an Italian philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who was burned at the stake as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition. He was essentially a Pantheist (beginning in 1584 with his "Concerning the Cause, Principle, and One"), who also felt thst nothing in his philosophy conflicted with Christianity itself, incidentally. The old Roman Catholic Catechism stated that "God created Man in His (sic) image and likeness." That Catechism also defined the question "Who is God?" as "God is the Supreme Being who always was, always will be, and always remains the same." Therefore, the Universe was "created" by God, according to this thinking. But what if the Universe "always was, always will be, and never remains the same"? When faced with two or more explanations for something, as Occam's Razor proposes, the most likely explanation is the simplest - - the one with the fewest assumptions. If the Universe "always was...", the introduction of another being to "create" this Universe would therefore be unnecessary, logically, and I feel such theory is most likely incorrect. Thus I have arrived at the conclusion that the Cosmos is God and we're all inseparably part of It: That is Pantheism.
NEXT: "SO, WHAT IS EVIL?"
The Cracker Barrel (Page 2) WHAT IS EVIL?
What is Evil? "Evil is he who thinks evil"... Confucius. Evil perhaps exists only in Man's mind, much like the concepts such as "Love", "Faith", "Hope", and others (even "Universe"!). Look at the animals: Dogs bark, cats hiss at relative strangers, for example. Is this in response to a concept of "Evil" in them? These examples, granted, are in domesticated animals, which have some investment in protecting their owners/caretakers. It involves the typical reactions to stress or threat in the Animal Kingdom: "Fight, flight, or freeze." This is for survival of the individual, to enable the survival of the species. But is stress or threat "evil"? We would consider events such as Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, or the 9/11 (World Trade Center) as "evil", as "war crimes," etc. The intent of the Japanese, the Nazis, or of Al-Qaeda was/is to destroy a perceived "enemy". They have seen our country/culture as "evil", too. Are both sides, then, "evil"? Did "God" create Evil? Let's go back to Genesis. In the Garden of Eden, according to the account, everything was copacetic at first. But then this God decided to "test" Man, literally or figuratively forbidding the fruit of just one tree ("The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil"?). But of course, this God "created" that tree, Man, and that test. For what ostensible purpose? To create "Evil"? Oh, yes, that's right, "Free Will" in Man, choosing between "Good" and "Evil", was an absolute necessity to this God, so we are told. If so, "evil" originally existed only in "God's Mind"?
Then, by this story, "Satan" or the "Devil" appeared in the form of a serpent, or whatever. Supposedly, this was Lucifer, the "Angel of Light" who apparently also had "free will" and fell from Heaven because he chose to (oh, horrors!) "want to be like God"! It sounds like this omniscient "God" was caught off guard! And the snake then allegedly used the same ruse with Adam and Eve ("God forbids this tree because God knows the fruit of this tree will make you as powerful as, or like, God"). The Orientals go a different way. They believe in the balance of positive and negative energies, the Yin and the Yang. Neither can exist without the other and each is part of all cycles. Neither is "better" than the other, both necessary for "balance". I knew a Chinese girl once who said she cannot understand why people in Western Civilization are intolerant of, and strive so much to avoid, feelings of sadness. To her, sadness was an emotion which has an equal place with the other emotions, to be experienced for itself, and for it to then just naturally cycle eventually into other emotions. A balanced view, in my opinion (Who doesn't enjoy a good cry now and then or a fine tragic play or movie?)
The precocious 5 year old son of a friend once said to me, "Doc, I think 'crazy' is just a crazy word!" Perhaps "evil" is just an evil word, having meaning only to those who believe it exists.
The Cracker Barrel (Page 3) HEAVEN AND HELL
Oh, for Heaven's Sake!!! (He's gotta "point" there!)
People are generally accustomed to point upward in designating where "Heaven" is. However, just think about it. If a person in Cuba is pointing upward and a person in geographically, diametrically opposed Australia is doing the same, they are indeed pointing upward, but in opposite directions! So that would mean "Heaven" is everywhere outside the Earth.
"Hell", being "down there, does not pose so much a problem, because everyone would be pointing to the hot core center of the Earth, in that case... not nearly as hot as the Sun, but hot nevertheless!
We speak of "souls" going upward after death which, of course, would mean they are dispersed throughout Space. In other words, they are any place but on Earth (except for Poltergeists and such, that is, LOL!).
So maybe it would be more appropriate to speak of people going to the "Heavens," instead of just plain old singular "Heaven".
However, I still believe we were non-existent before conception, and will be non-existent after we leave this life, except in people's memories.
History makes some men and women immortal but, for the vast majority of us, we "live on" after death only as long as the family and friends who actually knew us survive. In that way, persons, for instance, of the Hindu persuasion do not believe in keeping family trees (genealogy) and, in fact, believe it is a desecration to keep memories of individuals for hundreds of years. But they honor their dead on anniversaries (birth, death, marriage), again only as long as there is anyone left to remember that deceased person in his/her actual life.
. Why We're Just Cosmik Debris!
A LIBERTARIAN PROPOSAL FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA
Federal and State governments can't wait to tax commercial marijuana. State especially want those taxes because they cannot mint money, and see this as a way to balance their budgets, or expand their services or "entitlements." Let's prevent the government from making money on this.
The only business of the Federal government would be to regulate marijuana. The only business of the States and Local governments would be to enforce those regulations.
Quite simply, adult persons would be able to grow in their own homes whatever amount they require, FOR THEIR OWN USE, and use it only within that household. That grown marijuana may not be sold, traded, borrowed, gifted, mailed, OR TRANSPORTED IN ANY WAY. There would be very heavy penalties and/or fines for transporting marijuana in any way (using it "on the road, for example)." Those rules would be entailed in the Federal regulations, and enforced locally.
There would need to be a quantitative test for marijuana (as with alcohol) to prevent driving "high", or showing up for work/school, etc., under the acute influence of marijuana.
The only questions, therefore, are the transportation of marijuana seeds and/or or starter hydroponic buds, and where these can be purchased. Preferably these starters would be available only by mail or other delivery agency, requiring signature of the receiver.
Ideally. all public offices would be limited to two four-year terms, four two year terms, or, only in the case of the U.S. Senate, two six-year terms.No person would be allowed to run for the same office again in his/her lifetime, in any district or State, after completing the last term.The only seniority would therefor be based on the last term. Of course a person could run for a higher office, with the same limitations, in this scenario.
But let's be real! These politicians will never pass such limitations on themselves. It might be imposed by initiative or referendum by the people, if the State Constitution permits this.
The only other way to limit terms is for the voting public to be aware of the number of terms an incumbent has served, and be sure to not re-elect anyone running for excessive terms. That would mean the public would have to keep track. Perhaps the newspapers (and other news media) could keep the public informed about this, update their editorial candidate preferences, and/or refuse such candidates advertising time. Maybe then the politicians will get the point. Long terms lead to corruption, and never-ending funding campaigns.