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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Maturity

Sometimes I doubt whether I’ve matured at all in the past two years.  It must have something to do with leaving teenage egocentricism and starting to develop at a much slower rate, even if all kinds of crazy things are going on all around me.  I keep looking back to when I was sixteen and seventeen and thinking that maybe I wasn’t all that stupid, which now strikes me as odd.  All throughout my life, I would look back at the things I wrote from a few years before and scoff at how incredibly dumb I was.  Now, though I’ll laugh at how I know better as an adult, I can’t bring myself to make fun of myself from a few years ago.  Once I hit that point where, cognitively, I was an adult, things just kind of… stagnated.

But, as a slap to the face, I received a very lengthy comment from a man whom I had written to a year and a half ago about his doctrine concerning suicide and religion.  To sum up his argument, it was that by teaching evolution/atheism, that it was the cause of teenage suicide.  Finding that ridiculous, I had written a letter to him detailing the causation-correlation dilemma and psychological facts presented with teen suicide.  But, when I had posted a copy to my blog, it was not in the most civil of tones and was quite condescending.  Looking back, I wish I’d done something different.

I never agreed with him.  I still don’t agree with him.  But even sixteen months later, I’m shaking my head at my behaviour.  It’s the nagging question: Why couldn’t you have presented the facts and left it at that?  I wonder why, and it makes me question my maturity.  And it makes me wonder if I have matured since then since I now see what I wrote in a different light.

It’s just something to think about.  Maturity, and what the word means when it really comes down to your actions, behaviours, what you say, et cetera.

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From a site about ‘true American Values’:

“As arrows are to an archer, children are to a father.”

So, children are instruments for killing things or hitting darts for entertainment?  Last I checked, children weren’t meant for that and shouldn’t be used as tools of destruction.  And why should the children only be used or coveted by their father?  What’s the say of all the mothers out there who birthed and helped to raise those children?  There’s no winning me over with sexist or discriminatory remarks, now.  Nice try American-values website, but you didn’t quite hit the bull’s eye with this one.

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I woke up this morning and peered out of the window as usual from my bed, but I could only see the tips of the grass in a layer of white.  Snow.  I had forgotten that it was supposed to snow one to four inches over night, and I felt my self put off as I folded up my blankets.  But, when I climbed down from my lofted bed and peered out, I couldn’t stay mad at the snow.  It was just too beautiful.

There was an inch on the ground when I awoke and another inch after my first class.  I’ll leave for my second class soon here, and there will probably be another half inch on the ground.  When I get back from German, maybe the accumulations will be around three inches.  Who knows?

I’ve seen more snow this winter than probably the rest of my life combined, and I say that in all seriousness.  It snowed six times during my winter holidays at home, where we usually get about four snows during the entire season.  And, in Kirksville, I’ve already seen a good five snows.  That brings up our total to eleven different times that it has snowed and accumulated so far this winter.  Astounding.

– – –

Last evening, I was in a bit of an odd mood.  It’s a mood that has hovered over me for a week now, ever since the interview, and I know that a lot of it has to do with accepting defeat a little early.  So, since I wasn’t being productive, I decided to go out on a little walk.

Well, my little walk turned into an hour long walk, and it was nice to just clear my head by walking around campus with some music playing (Lord of the Rings soundtrack, Postal Service, and Paper Route, may I add).  I liked looking up the trees and sky while praying or just thinking, and, as I finished a prayer, the second I said “amen” in my head, a piece of sleet fell harshly into my left pupil, blinding me for a few minutes.  Then, a bubble (yes, a bubble) floated over to me.  I don’t know where it could have come from since no one else was out and it was dark.  I can only imagine that it had to travel at least a few blocks.  But, with all of that in just a few seconds, I was a little curious as to what God was up to.  Maybe I’m still curious.

And maybe it was nothing at all.

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I’m fairly certain that God was making tapioca pudding last night.  He mixed the ingredients well, cooked it up, then placed in a large glass bowl and into the refrigerator so it could cool.  Unfortunately, God hasn’t updated his kitchen in a while (after all of the years, who can keep track of the last remodelling, anyway?), and it seems the back of his fridge must have fallen off recently.  You can tell because all of the tapioca pudding in the pretty glass dish has crashed upon Kirksville.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of thunder and Nickel Creek, a surprising combination.  Minutes after, I was reawakened by the sound of sharp rain.  Loud rain.  Only after I got out of my lofted bed did I realise that it was sleet and freezing rain.  So when I finally walked to class at 8.30, I became suddenly aware of what must have happened to God’s pudding.

All around was the ice.  Plastered to trees, railings, and the ground.  That must have been that pretty glass bowl.  And mixed in was the tapioca.  Thick like fish eggs all over the ground, giving your morning walk to class a gushy and otherwise slippery sensation.

Poor God, I suppose he’ll have to make some more pudding for lunch.  Luckily, it shouldn’t take too long.  And maybe He’ll find that it’s time to renovate the kitchen.

A small example of this tapioca pudding sleet.

With every step, you could hear the trees creak and moan.  The weight of the ice has probably caused some limb damage around Kirksville.

My bike has seen quite a beating over the past few months.  Poor thing.  I’ll have to take it home, refill the empty tire, and scrub off the rust.  What a shame that it was so expensive and now so useless.

Seriously!  This rust is ridiculous.  My poor, poor bike!

I couldn’t even turn the handlebars because of the layer of ice.

This is what Mo hall looks like in front of my window.  My room is on the first level, behind this lovely tree so full of ice.

Missouri knows how to turn ice storms into something beautiful, that’s for sure.

(In all seriousness, there was a bit of freezing rain last night that turned into a hefty amount of sleet.  It’s slick and mushy out there, so be cautious and wear boots!  Also, avoid driving and standing under trees; they’re really quacking with the weight of the ice.  The temperature is dropping steadily, so patches of rain will turn into sleet/snow again, and water on the sidewalks will refreeze tonight and tomorrow morning.  Be wary if the salt trucks have not swung by.)

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This is a letter that I sent to a man claiming that taking prayer out of school and teaching evolution directly lead to all teenage suicide. His findings were completely false, so I couldn’t help but write this one. It’s three pages when hand written, but it looks a lot less epic when typed. Oh well.

If you’d like to see his blasphemy for yourself, go to http://www.trashevolution.com.
You’ll either laugh or cry.

Dear Sir,

I came across your site called “Trash Evolution”, and there was something bothering me about the teenage suicide section. your model basically proposes that all suicides result in not believing in God and thus having no hope, but psychiatric disorders actually contribute to 90% of all US suicides. A psychiatric disorder is not caused by hopelessness because of a lack in belief of God. It is caused by the lack or over-production of certain chemicals in the brain–usually the lack of endorphins (causing depression) or the over-production of dopamine (a cause of schizophrenia). These chemical imbalances are caused by poor diet, prenatal infection, and heredity. a lack of heavenly belief does not cause chemical imbalances (and thus depression), as depression is a clinical illness. These psychiatric disorders cannot be cured by simply shoving evolution aside and believing in God, but are cured through medication, counselling, and general support. Many depressed teenagers to go religious support-groups, and yes–that helps. But it is not a full cure, especially when the people running these clinics are not trained professionals.

Furthermore, your correlation between taking prayer out of schools/teaching evolution in schools and increased suicide rates is completely unfounded. The past fifty years have seen a dramatic rise in teenage stress caused by a higher emphasis of getting into university, increased social pressure, and poor health habits. These poor health habits (often a lack of organic foods or increase in toxic farming chemicals) can lead to many psychological disorders, because chemicals can act as agonists and antagonists in the brain (similar to opiate effects on the production of endorphins). People with these disorders are more likely to fall under societal stresses, hopelessness, and anger because they cannot physically produce the chemicals needed to keep their brains stable. A strong belief that you son’t matter (because of no faith in God) may lead to increased hopelessness for these people, but it in no way leads to depression. So, your model of lack of faith leading to depression leading to suicide is incorrect. For a small portion of suicides (where belief [or lack thereof] in god is essential to the suicide), the model would be: depression leads to increased stress (fed by lack of faith) leads to suicide. Still, the majority of suicides are not caused by thinking they don’t matter, but by other stressors linked to chemical depression.

Please, base your findings in fact rather than speculation and false correlations. Just because I could say that there are less fish in the oceans because more protestants have decided to eat fish on Fridays (as more protestant Christians have begun to follow Lent), does not mean that it’s the direct reason why. Most Americans know that the main reasons for a lack of fish are caused by an increase in global population and over-fishing by many Asian countries (specifically Japan and China for tuna). Your model was as incorrect as my analogy above–or, rather, as unfounded in actual fact. Just because two things rise as the same time does not prove a positive correlation between the two–that’s elementary statistics. So, please, fix your model.

It’s sites and Christians like you who feed atheistic thought. They believe that all Christians are mentally stuck in the 1100s because of the lack of acceptance of fact and progress in Christian societies, and then they figure, “Why bother?” And it’s not even about evolution, but about not being willing to accept or be open-minded to view points not matching precisely with the Bible. Many parts of the Bible have been changed by the church and have been used only as a tool to explain natural phenomena. Many of these phenomena have been fully explained using modern, technological advances, and the changes (some occurring even in the last few centuries) prove that the Bible is not the direct word of God, but the humanised version of His teachings.

If you want to appeal to those atheists you are trying to reach, I recommend using fact instead of your own unfounded ideas and speculations. May you find the true light of God instead of being stuck in your narrow-minded ways.

Sincerely,

Melissa Stone
Truman State University
(I also included my mailing address.)

PS: Your email wouldn’t work, which is why I resorted to actual mail.

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Note: This is a long one and more of a look inward than that of a page ripped from a diary.  No need to read unless you want a lot of background on me and some philosophy.

Lately, I’ve wondered about how much consistency there is in my life.  I’m naturally a creature of habit, stuck in her old ways: I sit in the same seat each day for my classes even though I’m allowed to sit where ever I wish (and I always sit in the middle front for each class, too), I awake the same way each morning, listen to the same music repeatedly, and I refuse to change around the furniture in my room (I’ve had the same set up in my  bedroom since I was six).  Yet, I’m also changing quite a bit and in ways that I didn’t recently realise.

(more…)

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