January 22, 2010

Is Faith a Virtue?


Is faith a virtue, or just foolishness?

I've recently seen a couple examples of TV characters touting faith as a moral virtue. In their definition, faith means believing in something with absolutely no evidence. But I will argue that faith not only doesn't have to be blind, but can not be.

For instance, you have faith your car is not going to explode on the way to work this morning (trust in the manufacturers and its million person track record). You have faith that the elevator you're going to take to your floor is not going to free-fall and plummet you to your death (trust in the engineers and safety inspectors). You have faith that your spouse is not going to cheat on you today (trust in the person).

These things aren't foolish things to believe in. There are loads of evidence to back up this faith.

Now, is it foolish for me to believe in an omniscient spaghetti monster that's controlling the universe? Well, is there any evidence at all to back it up? Not that I'm aware of. This faith is blind. Subjective, personal and unconvincing. It almost seems silly to count on this.

What about belief in a loving God? Well, is there any evidence at all to back it up? Hundreds of eyewitnesses claimed the resurrection of Jesus. Historical evidence and records that back up his supernatural life. Now, you may not have experienced first-person evidence to the life of Jesus. But, that doesn't mean believing requires blind faith. There is evidence. Same reason I believe in the Civil War without taking part in it.

Therefore, comparing faith in an omniscient spaghetti monster and faith in Jesus is simply not appropriate. There's simply no reason to have confidence in the former.

I'm going to be taking next week off. Comment with things you trust in that you know to be slightly foolish. And enjoy the break. See you next Monday.

January 21, 2010

Why I Avoid Activities that Require Tipping



I just realized this morning why I always go and pick up pizza rather than get it delivered to my door.
I hate the tipping process. I hate the expectation. I hate to think what they might think of me based on what I give them.

The only person I tip on a regular basis is whatever lady cuts my hair at Great Clips that day. A $13 haircut and I tip $5. Not because of the quality of their work, but because I'm confident that a 38% percent is good enough to avoid resentment.

January 20, 2010

If I Didn't Tithe, I'd Buy...


Some families splurge on vacations. Some cars. Some clothes. Some electronics.

Why aren't there ANY middle-class families who buy a butler?
Just think of the hi-jinx!

January 19, 2010

The Good Samaritan and Welfare Statism


The following quote is from a post I came across the other day. I found it to be a fascinating analogy, but I'm curious for your thoughts.

"Christ taught that one can not live by the sword - I'd add that one can not give by the sword. If the Good Samaritan had robbed the priest in order to take care of the man in need and pay for his lodging at the inn, he would have been the Bad Samaritan. If he had fancied himself charitable while doing so, he would have been the Hypocritical Samaritan."

January 18, 2010

The Beauty of Donations


As of yesterday, more than $16 million dollars has been raised for Haiti relief...by individuals...through texting. Most popular is texting the word "Haiti" to "90999" to donate $10 through the Red Cross. But, there are countless other services doing the same thing.

There's something very beautiful about that.

When progressive advocates claim that things wouldn't get done without the big-government system, what they mean is, things wouldn't get done unless they're a top priority on the minds of the populace.

But in a freer society, it becomes a persuasion game, rather than one of legalized theft through mandate.

We all care about Haiti, because we understand the magnitude and the importance. It's your job to convince me what my next priority should be. Not work to make it illegal for me not to fund it.

January 15, 2010

Forced Memories


You know how certain events in your childhood are very memorable? Just little interactions that really stand out, even after all this time?

Sometimes I wonder if the only reason we remember things like that is because we're supposed to.

But, I also wonder if there's a method to it? Is there a way to "manipulate" a situation to make it stick in someone's mind forever? Obviously, a traumatic experience will do the trick. But, what about really interesting wordplay? Is this something a teacher could capitalize on? Any ideas for methods?

January 14, 2010

I'd Never Do That in Real Life


You ever have a dream where you're a criminal, and you're passively aware that what you're doing is wrong, but you just do it anyway?

I wonder if actual criminals feel like that, too?

January 13, 2010

The Apple Corer Proves My Laziness


Now that I have an apple corer, I eat apples all the time.

How lazy must I be for that to make so big of a difference? And it makes me wonder if one's diet could be vastly improved simply by making better choices easier to make?

Any ideas?

January 12, 2010

A Gateway to Vegetables?


I am looking for a gateway drug to vegetables.

I like cold carrots and celery. That's about as far I've gotten. I like V-8 fusion, but don't think it really counts. They just hide some vegetable extract in the fruit juice. It's probably like taking a multi-vitamin.

Any suggestions?

January 11, 2010

Brett Favre Should Be Coaching the Vikings



Recently, Brett Favre got into an argument with Vikings coach, Brad Childress, about calling plays on the fly. In essence, Favre wanted full authority to be able to call the shots. But Childress said, "I'm the coach."

My gut response was to support Childress. Since then, I've thought about it a little more. Favre is one of the best quarterbacks to ever live, and has more real-game experience than practically anyone in the world. Who is more qualified to improvise strategy than he is?

Just because a coach is the "coach", it's a dictatorship? Maybe Childress needs to just suck up his pride and trust Favre a little more. But, that can be hard to do when you're the one accountable for the result.

January 08, 2010

www.newsinsong.com


So, with all of the requests I've received to start yet another side project that interests only me, yesterday I launched www.newsinsong.com.

The idea here is to give people a quick and entertaining to meet their desire of staying up to speed with the world's happenings without interfering with their extraordinary apathy.

So, give the first video/song a watch/listen, and post any ideas you have that would make this project something you'd want to pay attention to. Thanks all!

January 07, 2010

Sleigh Track Logic: Collective Consciousness

In the philosophically-provocative film, Waking Life (which also explores the idea of stream-of-consciousness mentioned the other day), an animated Ethan Hawke teaches us about a fascinating crossword-puzzle experiment.

This anecdote was based off a real London study that proved a person's ability to solve a crossword puzzle is statistically affected by whether or not other people have already solved the same puzzle.

Does this imply that, once information is out there, people can pick up on it?

This idea has already been popularized with countless inventions and vaccines having been simultaneously created in separate parts of the world within a 3-month period. So, the question becomes, once someone thinks something up, is everyone else just picking up on that? Or is the original idea not coming from the human level in the first place?

Ok, I warned you this was going to be "weird week". But, here's the way this becomes less weird to me. We can create these little dinky, incredibly simplistic remote controls that can influence an electronic device from across the room. Why are we opposed to the idea that the incredibly complex human brain can do something similar?

January 06, 2010

Sleigh Track Logic: Healing?

Why don't we WANT to believe the stuff shown in this video is true?

I understand how non-believers find the miraculous simply impossible. But, even Christians who think this stuff USED to happen all the time, and not just by Jesus, but by every dude who hung out with him, don't think stuff like this can happen anymore. Why not?

January 05, 2010

Sleigh Track Logic: Stream-of-Consciousness


Acclaimed authors James Joyce and Virgina Woolf both experimented in stream-of-consciouness writing.

Meaning, they wrote as they thought - in real-time. No forethought. No plan. They just wrote. It's ALMOST as if they acted as the pen, and either they subconsciously or someone/something else did the writing.

Now here's the crazier part. Both Woolf's novel, "Mrs. Dalloway" and Joyce's "Ulysses" are widely acclaimed as two of the greatest fiction books of all time. In fact, "Ulysses" often ranks first on the list.

How is that possible? And why do we want to reject the thought of anything weird going on.

January 04, 2010

Sleigh Track Logic: Revisited


We began 2009 looking at Sleigh Track Logic and why we we believe the things we do.

To refresh everyone's memory, the phrase "Sleigh Track Logic" comes from my friend and oft-contributor Emily's cousin's parents, who go out of the way to make the magic of Santa Claus extra special for her.

More than just taking a bite out of the cookies she leaves for him, they go out and create indentations in their front yard, claiming they are tracks from Santa's sleigh. This now 8-year old believer made it through this year once again, after her mother resorted to time travel logic to explain how Santa could visit each house in one night.

This girl is going to believe in Santa for the rest of her life.

The evidence is overwhelming. (bitten cookies, sleigh tracks, the affirmation of her most trusted authorities). We believe in things with a whole lot less than that.

But the reason we stop believing in Santa Claus is because we are given alternative evidence to explain acts we had attributed to him.

So this year, let's begin 2010 looking at the things we don't believe in, and ask ourselves why?