is the most logical model of human behavior. I've always found it fascinating that you find some variation of the Golden Rule in virtually every religion and creed known to man. Here are just a few:
Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18
Christianity: "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31
Confucianism: "Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
Hinduism: "One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself." Mencius Vii.A.4
Islam: "None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."
Judaism: "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Leviticus 19:18
Wicca: "An it harm no one, do what thou wilt"
Native American Spirituality: "Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself." Pima proverb.
And for the non-religious among us, such as myself, the same theme can be found in the words of the great philosophers, such as Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."
And there are countless other examples here (and a very insightful essay on reciprocity as well): http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc...
As I said, I'm not religious...I walk a hazy line between agnosticism and atheism. I base my beliefs on a rational survey of the world around me. But I cannot help noticing the recurrance of this theme, in religions and cultures throughout the world, separated by time and distance that renders the historical spread of this idea through human means impossible. How could this concept of reciprocity as a moral foundation spring up separately in the minds of so many? I believe that if we look hard enough, there is a clear logic, even a biologically adaptive advantage to such a line of thinking. This is at odds with conventional wisdom that putting the needs of others ahead of our own, while perhaps a morally superior behavior, puts us at a distinct disadvantage, in terms of securing resources necessary for our own survival; but bear with me.
Imagine being part of a hypothetical world where everyone follows the Golden Rule--including you. This means that you put the well-being of every other human being ahead of your own--but it also means that every other human being on Earth puts your welfare ahead of their own. In effect, you never have to worry about yourself, because everyone else is doing that for you. Instead, you can worry about how best to contribute to their welfare. The result of this kind of conscientious existence is an equitable, sustainable, just world. This system works much better than the dog-eat-dog, each-of-us-for-ourselves world we inhabit now. That's why I believe the human capacity for reciprocity is an evolutionary adaptation, albeit one that hasn't totally taken root yet (I could go into a long, crazy, scientifically unsound biological theory of mine, but this is already gonna be too long to interest anyone, so I'll refrain).
Of course the reality is that we do inhabit a dog-eat-dog world, and everyone isn't going to follow the Golden Rule, rendering the above example invalid (at least for the forseeable future). But the possibilities the Golden Rule opens up still make it the most rational, sensible model of human behavior. So we each have a choice:
1. Live according to the illogical dictates of this world, ensuring our own survival, but upholding a cruel and often deadly status quo; or
2. Live according to the logical Golden Rule, imperiling our own ability to survive, but acting as what I call a "place-holder" for a better world.
The trouble with the first choice is that, in exchange for material security, you become culpable in the savage injustices of this world--e.g. war, starvation, and wage slavery. Thus, if it should be your misfortune to experience any of those injustices firsthand, you have no right to complain. That, among other reasons, is why I believe the second to be the superior choice.
...Poetry by people who explain that it's just one of their "various different ways of expressing my mind's expression." Poetry with clumsy rhythms, and rhyme schemes that require so little effort you have to ask what the hell the point was? Poetry with words and images so garishly hackneyed you'd think all these people just copied and pasted the same damned shitty poem, barely bothering to change the order of the stanzas. Poetry that I could have written at about eight, and might have even been proud of THEN; but would have hidden or destroyed by the time I hit eleven. And the worst part is that they don't even know they suck...they think they're really good, creative poets, just destined to be the next Shakespeare or something...geez.
I'm not a great poet, but at least I know what great poetry is! It's not four flowery quatrains with an ABAB scheme and a however-many-words-you-have-to-fit-to-make-this-crappy-rhyme-work meter, about the darling dead lover with blue eyes that you made up so you could feel like Poe. Good poetry is coy...a clever mix of the personal and the universal, with subtly placed thematic elements that are as initially pleasing as they are welcoming to a variety of deeper interpretations. It has poetic devices that are unique and fitting to the piece and give it a sense of unity. A strict meter or rhyme scheme isn't absolutely necessary, but there is at least a natural rhythm and flow to the words and accents. In my humble opinion, the primary genius of a good poem is its ambiguity...the suggestion of an emotion or an image, rather than the insistance on it, darting around like a sunfish in and out of the reader's consciousness rather than beating her over the head.
Poetry is an ART, and if you aren't willing to put a little effort and individuality into your work, then you get my scorn. And just once...just ONCE...I'd like to find a poetry group, online or in-person, of people with whom I could share my work--and happily read theirs--who had a few standards and a little pride. This might be cold-hearted or elitist or whatever, but damn it, I always give positive, constructive feedback...always, even after I read something that is absolutely terrible, and I just need to vent for a moment.
P.S. And yes, I know there are people who write poetry because they've suffered the loss of a loved one, or they've fallen in love, or they're going through adolescence, and it's their way of dealing with all the emotional issues involved or whatever. I respect that, and I'm not talking about them. They can write whatever the hell they want. I'm talking about people who write for a hobby or with the hope of some recognition or whatever, who use this art that I cherish without giving it the respect and devotion that it deserves.
Posted by antigone382 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sun May 07th 2006, 07:33 PM
Why, just thinking of all the potential humans we've lost through menstruation and menopause horrifies me! Poor little snowflake baies--or, umm, half-snowflake babies, chromosomally speaking. In fact, if we really want to have a "culture of life," we ought to just extract all the eggs from every girl's ovaries as soon as she reaches sexual maturity, artificially fertilize them, and re-implant them.
What's that you say? There aren't enough women to bear all those little snowflake babies?? Nice try, ladies, but you can't fool me. I've seen all those primetime specials about women having sextuplets on Sixty Minutes and such...I'd say we can safely fit at least five fetuses in each uterus at a time. American women are tough, they can take it!
And don't let liberals trick you into thinking that we need social programs for all these joyous mothers-to-be and the little citizens in their wombs...no, no, we wouldn't want to coddle them into laziness, would we? That isn't the American way. Those women can just pick themselves up by their bootstraps (which will probably snap under the weight of a woman and five fetuses, but that's not the point), and work their way to the top! Or rather, their husbands should do it, since the ladies should of course be at home baking cookies and knitting jumpers for their precious darlings.
Ooh, and that's the best part, too. Since all these women are going to be constantly pregnant with multiple children, there's not a chance that their husbands will view them as "sexual objects constantly available for gratification." In fact, using the latest reproductive technologies to artificially impregnate them, there's no reason for anyone to have sex, ever! We'll all die virgins, and God will be so proud of us for keeping our temples pure!
If men are just naturally violent, maybe they should be the ones that have to pay for it, and not us.
Maybe MEN should be the ones who must stay home after dark, so that they don't have the opportunity to prowl around looking for victims...
Maybe MEN's sexual behavior should be restricted--no more porno's, strippers, or toys--so that they aren't tempted to rape...
Maybe MEN should have to forego partaking in alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering substances, so that they will have full control of body and mind and be less likely to let their libidos get the better of them...
Maybe MEN should be kept away from anyone who is physically weaker than them, be it women, children, the elderly, or the disabled, so that if they do lose their fragile sense of self-control, they won't be able to overpower those around them...
How about it? Let's turn the de facto restrictions on women into de jure restrictions on men--after all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? If men are the dangerous, out-of-control sex fiends that people like this lady claim they are, they really ought to be held to a more strict standard of behavior, right??? They should have to plan their lives around their own moral weakness, rather than women who aren't to blame.
Of course, anyone would admit that this is a patently unfair proposal...but if it's unfair to expect men to live in this way, why isn't it unfair to expect the same from women?
This is a copy of my psychology term paper, in which I use current research to argue that psychological sex differences are more than likely cultural in origin. I did months of research and read through dozens of books and articles in psychological journals to get my information, and unfortunately there were several important points that I wanted to address but didn't have time for, like historical bias against women in the field of psychology and in media portrayal of psychological studies, and flaws in brain studies that are used to make sweeping generalizations about the ways men and women's brains work. Most of the info here is really general...I highly recommend reading the articles referenced if you have time and access to them. But since it seems to be a common attitude that men and women are essentially different in the way they think, feel, and behave; and since that attitude is used to uphold the status quo and excuse several inequalities, I hope some of you will find this useful. As you can expect, it's written in APA format, rather than the standard MLA, which might seem a little awkward if you're not used to it.
Psychological Sex Differences: A Survey of Current Research
antigone382 and Dr. antigone's professor
Theories concerning innate cognitive and behavioral differences between women and men, once thought to be so obvious as to be unquestionable, have come under considerable scrutiny in the last century, particularly in the last fifty years. The “essentialist theory” of innate, evolutionary causes for observable behavioral and cognitive sex differences now competes with the “social constructional theory” of learned, culturally induced causes for these differences. Multiple methods are used to find evidence for these competing theories, including studies of aptitude tests, observational studies of behavior, and cross-cultural analyses. I examine each of these types of research to compare the two theories, and come to the conclusion that the social constructionist theory is the more likely of the two.
Psychological Sex Differences: A Survey of Current Research
There is an ongoing debate over whether observable differences in male and female behavior and cognition are the results of innate biological factors or learned cultural ones. Finding evidence for either stance is difficult, as the subject itself requires insight into not only the observable actions and mental capacities of men and women, but also their ultimate causes, or origins. Psychologists utilize a wide variety of methods to test these two theories, and research practices are constantly being refined to improve their accuracy. The methods I will address in this paper include aptitude tests; observational studies of infants, children, and adults; and cross-cultural analyses. Psychologists favoring both origin theories use all of these methods and more to find evidence supporting their hypotheses.
Defining the Two Theories
The “essentialist theory” favors an innate, biological origin for sex differences. Wood and Eagly (2002) define the essentialist theory in terms of evolutionary psychology, which contributes the best and most logical support for it. According to evolutionary psychologists, sex differences are the result of “genetically mediated adaptations to primeval conditions” (700). They theorize that in the past, men and women faced different challenges in their attempts to bear and raise offspring who would pass on their genetic legacy, and evolved different strategies as a result (Buss 1995, 2004). The “social constructionist theory,” on the other hand, states that sex differences are learned and cultural in origin (Wood & Eagly 2002). According to social psychologists, physical, not mental differences between men and women have resulted in a sexual division of labor, which requires that men and women develop different skills and interests in order to succeed. Thus, women and men adapt psychologically to fit into the roles that society expects them to fill (Eagly & Wood 1999).
This study of origins is in truth too complex to be encompassed by a simple explanation of two competing theories, with evolutionary psychologists supporting one and social psychologists supporting the other. However, for the sake of brevity I have chosen to represent this debate in the same terms used by the prominent psychologists who have devoted their time and knowledge to it. The theories I have chosen to highlight are the most popularly accepted ones, and as such are the subjects of the greatest amounts of research and review.
Cognitive Ability and Aptitude Tests
One area that origin theorists have researched extensively is cognitive ability. As we might expect, the conclusions of essentialists and social constructionists are very different. The general trend among essentialists is to ascribe mathematical skills to men, and verbal skills to women. Baron-Cohen (2003) points to scores on aptitude tests such as the SAT-M, where men score an average of fifty points higher than women, as evidence of men’s greater mathematical ability. Baron-Cohen theorizes that women have greater verbal ability based on their superior performance on verbal memory tests that are part of medical school entrance exams.
However, other research indicates that this evidence may not be as solid as it appears. A recent review of 46 meta-analyses regarding sex differences found that, in over 78% of reviewed studies, cognitive sex differences were either non-existent or so small as to be statistically insignificant (Hyde 2005). Furthermore, Spelke (2005) points out that more girls take the SAT-M, meaning that the sample of boys taking the test is more highly selective.
Interpersonal Sensitivity and Observational Studies
Baron-Cohen (2003) theorizes that women are better at “empathizing,” or understanding the emotions and moods of those around them, than men. He cites an experiment his research team conducted on newborn infants as evidence, in which an expressive person stood in view of the newborns, next to a similarly sized inanimate object. Boys tended to stare longer at the object, indicating that they were “systemizing,” while girls stared longer at the person, which indicated that they were empathizing. He also mentioned one test he devised in which respondents had to choose the emotion a person was exhibiting based on a section of a photograph containing only the area of the face around the eyes. Though both men and women performed well on this test, women were more accurate. He believes that women’s superior performance on tests such as this one indicate their innate ability to read the emotions of those around them. This is in keeping with the theories of multiple evolutionary psychologists, and with conventional wisdom concerning “women’s intuition.”
However, Spelke (2005) points out that no one has replicated Baron-Cohen’s experiment on infants, which goes against a larger and older body of research that found infant boys and girls to be equally interested in people and objects. Snodgrass (1992) found that an individual’s social role correlates to his or her interpersonal sensitivity (or empathy) much more strongly than gender. In her study, which used an equal number of men and women distributed equally in subordinate/leader roles, she found no significant sex differences in sensitivity. Rather, she found that those in the subordinate role were more sensitive to their leaders emotions and attitudes concerning them, while leaders were more sensitive to their subordinates emotions and attitudes concerning themselves. She theorizes that women’s apparent superiority in interpersonal sensitivity relates to their typically subordinate role in society, rather than to any innate ability.
Sex Differences in Mate Selection and Cross Cultural Analyses
Perhaps one of the most useful and informative methods of determining whether sex differences are social or biological in origin is the cross-cultural study. By comparing the extent of psychological sex differences in varied cultures, we can determine whether such differences are universal, which would contribute to the essentialist theory, or whether they vary according to women’s freedom and access to resources, which would provide even stronger evidence for the social constructional theory. After a study of differences in mate-selection in thirty-seven different cultures Buss (quoted in Eagly & Wood, 1999) came to the conclusion that sex differences in mate preference, such as men’s preference for attractive women with good domestic skills, as opposed to women’s preference for men who are either economically stable or good potential earners, are universally present, and thus are attributable to innate, evolutionary causes. However, when data from his study was juxtaposed against data from United Nations Indexes rating gender equality, it was found that differences in mate preference are strongest in cultures where women have more limited access to jobs, education, healthcare, and other resources (Eagly & Wood 1999). This indicates that sex differences in mate preference are due to social factors.
After reviewing a great deal of relevant research on the competing origin theories of sex differences, the best conclusion I can give is to proceed with caution. Based on current evidence, I cannot categorically rule out some evolutionary origin for observable psychological sex differences. However, the evidence indicates that if such an origin is present, its influence is likely very small, and greatly overshadowed by other factors, both genetic and cultural. Furthermore, while researchers should not limit their analysis of fact to suit convenient political beliefs, findings which validate the essentialist theory must be very carefully reviewed, and placed within the proper context, to avoid their being abused to justify sexual inequalities. As many of the examples cited have shown, studies which initially appeared to confirm the essentialist theory were weakened when information regarding sexual inequality or biased testing procedures was factored in. Ultimately, we cannot come to anything approaching a final answer to this question until the research methods used are better refined to weed out common flaws.
Baron-Cohen, S. (2003). The essential difference: the truth about the male and female brain. New York: Basic Books.
Buss, D. M. (2004). Psychological sex differences: origins through sexual selection. In The Gendered Society Reader (2nd Ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Eagly, A., & Wood, W. (June 1999). The origins of sex differences in human behavior: evolved dispositions versus social roles. American Psychologist 54 (6), 408-423. Retrieved March 25, 2006 from Proquest PsycARTICLES online database.
Hyde, J. S. (September 2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist 60 (6), 581-592. Retrieved March 25, 2006, from Proquest PsycARTICLES online database.
Snodgrass, S. E. (1992). Further effects of role versus gender on interpersonal sensitivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 62 (1), 154-158.
Spelke, E. S. (2005). Sex differences in intrinsic aptitude for mathematics and science? A critical review. American Psychologist 60 (9), 950-958.
Wood, W., & Eagly, A. (September 2002). A cross-cultural analysis of the behavior of women and men; implications for the origins of sex differences. Psychological Bulletin 128 (5), 699-727. Retrieved March 25, 2006, from Proquest PsycARTICLES online database.
They say that if you take a break in between your education there's a likelihood that you'll never go back. However, I have several good reasons for thinking that a break may be the right thing for me, and I'd like to know what others think. Here's my situation:
I'm a sophomore at a two-year school. Last year I was going to get my A.S. in pre-vet medicine, then transfer to a school like CSU, major in Equine scientists, and go on to vet school. I planned to own my own clinic and have a neat little life. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't for me, so I switched my concentration to General Studies. I'm about to have all my core classes completed, and since I don't know what I want to major in, transferring to a more expensive four-year school might end up being a waste of time and money at this point.
I know that I want to be involved in making the world a better place. That might sound naive or altruistic, but I'm convinced I'll never be happy doing anything else. The trouble is that I'm not sure in precisely what aspect I want to do this; whether medical, educational, etc. I've spent a lot of time exploring the careers at websites that post non-profit job listings, but I'm still just not sure. So if I decide to take off time from school, I want to volunteer in places like the Gulf Coast, and possibly even join the Peace Corps (or a similar organization if they won't accept people with just an associate's degree), not just for the gratification that those things naturally offer, but also to figure out exactly what career options appeal to me, and what I need to do academically to qualify for them.
The truth is I'm really burnt out on school thing right now; for the last two years I've spent three hours in the car each day just getting to school, on top of having a job, a family farm to help support, and the most meager little hints of a social life--and all with virtually no money to spare. But that doesn't mean that I won't go back. My whole life I've placed a high value on getting that degree, and knowing my skills, interests, and goals, I'm confident I'll be highly motivated to complete my education sooner rather than later, hopefully with the resources to better ensure my success. But there's still a part of me that worries about the less ideal possibilities; what do DUers think?
Posted by antigone382 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Thu Apr 06th 2006, 10:42 PM
that is, the science I've been researching for the last year that indicates that what you're saying is inaccurate. Evolutionary psychology tends to favor bioligically based sex-differences...of course it does! Evolutionary psychology approaches the human mind from the framework of inherent biology and genetics in the first place, so it's only natural (no pun intended) that any human behavior being studied from that paradigm is likely to be interpreted as a hard-wired trait.
But evolutionary psychology does not have the last word--in fact the truth is that a lot of it uses circular reasoning; but I won't get into that now. Social psychologists approach human behavior from an entirely different angle, and naturally tend to favor the theory that sex-differences are based more on social pressures and cultural influences than biology. I would point you to research which has found that the "intuitive" qualities attributed to women are found in any person who plays the subordinate role in a relationship, whether it is a wife to her husband or an employee to his or her boss. I'd also point you to a study conducted on six-month-old infants which found that there was no sex-difference in their mathematical skills at that age (and yes, you can test the mathematical skills of a six-month-old).
And these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you'd like, I could point you to a dozen or more articles in accredited, peer-reviewed psychological journals that find the biologically-based differences between men and women are minimal at best--and that their importance is diminished even further when you consider that the differences within each gender are far greater than the differences between them.
Now, am I saying that biology has absolutely no effect on sex differences? No--to categorically deny that biology has any role whatsoever to play in this issue would be as erroneous as to categorically insist that it does. What I'm saying is that our society plays the biology card way too much when talking about gender. This is damaging to both sexes. In this case it is damaging to young boys who are molested by women who because of gender stereotypes aren't seen for the predators that they are. But generally, it is more damaging to women, as it tends to validate prejudices, double standards, and stereotypes that still exist in what we'd like to think of as our equitable society.
Posted by antigone382 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Thu Mar 30th 2006, 08:08 PM
He served in Afghanistan and Iraq, too. He's in college right now, majoring in religious studies (not just Christianity, either...right now he's taking a course on Buddhism and other Eastern religions). All he ever wanted to do was be a U.S. Army Ranger, and he made it, though he faced incredible obstacles that made it even harder for him to get into Ranger school than what the average joe faces--and once he got in, he managed to graduate from Ranger school as one of their top gunners, in spite of breaking his femur in a parajumping accident. But that guy is home now, and he'll never look back...see, your fabulous president lied to him and sent him to a war zone for no reason, where he spent a few months walking around with a broken metal pin in his leg, jabbing into his hip bone the whole time; he watched his friends get blown up and picked up the pieces to mail back to their families...he killed, and saw people killed, in incredibly brutal and unforgettable ways...and he was lucky enough to get the fuck out, though not lucky enough for the VA to properly take care of the leg they helped damage irreparably.
So if a professor of his wanted to make a point, I'm pretty sure he's experienced enough pain and violence that he'd just sit back and let the guy, and maybe see if he couldn't learn something in the process.
And this isn't just some cute forward...this guy is my brother. So fuck you.
(edited to add that my "fuck you" is of course not directed at the OP, but at all the asinine, clueless people who forward pointless messages like this one)
Posted by antigone382 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Mar 14th 2006, 09:54 PM
...so what does it matter? Only Hitler himself ever knew the legitimacy of his faith, and he sure ain't tellin' now. At best, we must rely on his own words and the accounts of those who knew him to ascertain some picture of his motivations and inspiration; and considering the unparalleled talent he had for manipulating his own image, how accurate can we really expect either of those resources to be? Personally, I have my doubts as to Hitler's genuine belief in anything but Hitler. Like I said, though, there's no way to prove definitively what he did or didn't believe, so why even try?
Nevertheless, the fact is that his use of Christian imagery and expressions was embraced by millions of German Christians. They in turn viewed their brutal actions and/or lack of action during the Holocaust as the only legitimate expression of their faith. In this way you can argue that members of the Christian faith are responsible to some extent for allowing the Holocaust to occur; however, it must also be remembered that there were millions of Christians who were repulsed by what Hitler was preaching, and who viewed their resistance to such brutality, and the mortal peril which such resistance put them in, as the only legitimate expression of their faith as well.
(apologies to SammyBlue for using your story without your permission--it was sort of a spur of the moment thing...I also hope that you don't mind my describing you as a friend )
Has Everybody Gone Insane with this Christmas Thing?
So this guy I know was doing some shopping today, and when he came out there was a Salvation Army bell-ringer looking for donations. Being a nice, charitable guy, he threw five dollars in the bucket. The bell-ringer said "Merry Christmas." My friend is Jewish--he was wearing a Star of David cross at the time, making this obvious--so he naturally replied with "Happy Chanukah." Evidently, this upset the bell-ringer guy, who responded, "It's Christmas, you asshole, not whatever holiday YOU want to be celebrating!"
I see this angry, almost paranoid desire to defend Christmas from the insidious evil-doers all over, these days; on TV and the radio, in the newspapers...and these last couple of days, I log on here and all my friends are writing blogs about the evil political correctness police who are ruining Christmas for everybody. What the hell? Did I accidentally step across some vortex into an alternate "Christmas with the Kranks" reality where Bill O'Reilly (or should I say Dild O'Reilly?) is going to come stand on my lawn and scream at me unless I put up a wreath? What IS it with people getting so militant about a HOLIDAY? I mean, I'm sorry if you don't like it, but a lot of different religions have holidays at the end of the year, and you're just going to have to DEAL with it that they aren't all yours.
But hey, here's a bombshell for you all: I'll agree with you...maybe Christmas *is* under attack...but here's a little secret: it isn't the Jews or the Atheists or the Gays who are out to hijack it--it's the greedy. The weapons against Christmas are not words or phrases or pictures of Santa Claus; they're gas guzzling Lexuses in big red bows, they're that nice new $50 sweater made for fifteen cents an hour by some twelve-year-old girl living on rice and beans in Malaysia, they're the blood diamonds on your wife's pretty fingers that cost some African boy his hand.
And you want to know who the true victims of this "war on Christmas" are? They aren't fat white women driving SUV's full of meaningless plastic crap to stick under their pre-lit trees, who are upset because some Dodge commercial said "Happy Holidays." It's every dying baby in Memphis--and God knows how many other American cities with third-world infant mortality rates. It's every black kid whose dad is in prison for marijuana possession, instead of in college, because affirmitive action is "racist," but racial profiling is A-OK. It's every family from New Orleans who lost someone they loved in the week after Hurricane Katrina because Michael Brown was more concerned with making sure his outfits looked good on TV than he was with rescuing people from one of the most catastrophic disasters ever to hit American soil--someone who won't be with them for Christmas ever again, all because of laziness and greed.
You want to know who the true Christians are? They aren't Jerry Falwell or Bill O'Reilly or Tim LaHaye--fat white men who fatten their wallets by stoking the fires of hatred in Christ's name. The true Christians are people like Jimmy Carter, people like Martin Luther King, Jr.; people who remember that Jesus's friends were not the priests, the pharisees, or the politicians--but the whores, the lepers, and the tax-collectors; people who undestand that Christianity doesn't give you the right to be judgmental and self-righteous towards the downtrodden and oppressed, but rather the responsibility to be merciful and compassionate towards them; people who fight greed and brutality and inequality at every step, because they understand that you can't separate Jesus from social and economic justice. These are the truly persecuted and ridiculed ones, the Christians who are all too rare in modern America.
If you're concerned that Christmas is being hijacked and corrupted, do something about it. Go out and feed a homeless person, if you want to save Christmas. Go protest for all those families who will have an empty place at the fireside this year because their loved ones were lost in a pointless bloodbath overseas, if you want to save Christmas. Go demand fair wages for everyone, so that we can all actually have something to celebrate, and be able to afford it, if you want to save Christmas. After you do all those things and come face to face with what real injustice is, if you still feel like writing a letter to some corporation so that they'll use the proper holiday greeting, be my guest. But until then, you've got no room to complain in my book.
A lot of the families were very religious--my family was sort of liberal Christian at the time, though we're mostly atheists and agnostics now--but when my friends and I joined public school (around ninth grade in most cases), we were for the most part ahead of our peers. I won't say I didn't have some difficulty socially, because it was very rough for me for the first couple of years; but ultimately, I learned how to handle myself properly in social situations, and because I spent so much time learning on my own, independently, I've found that I have very good critical thinking skills, as well as a strong sense of my philosophical beliefs.
Now, I'm not trying to say that you can't get that from a public education--most of my college friends went to public school and they're perfectly capable of forming their own opinions, etc. However, this is a part of the country where public education is not as comprehensive as it should be; thus, I feel I'm better off with the education I received. Yes, there are bad home-schoolers out there, and I'm all for relatively strict regulations to make sure kids learn what they need to know to be comparable to their public school counterparts; but most of the home-schooled kids I have met are very intelligent, well-informed people, even if they are a little quirky.
Attending this thing, "Creation and DNA" or something like that, was three points extra credit on our last Chemistry exam...and I need all the help I can get in Chemistry. But I don't come to college to be preached to, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit there and listen to some buddy of Tim Lahaye's try to convince me that I'm an idiot if I don't believe that DNA is conclusive evidence of intelligent design. I don't care how many books the dude has written, what degrees he has, where he has taught or who he has debated.
I'm really dissapointed in some of the science teachers at my college, and I'm pissed that I would be pressured into attending this in order to maintain a grade in a difficult class...I better not lose those three points or I'm going to complain. What a crock.
...the new Woodstock is Bonnaroo. I've gone two years in a row (working at a pizza stand, and loving the experience), and the 60's spirit was still alive and well in the people that attended--and growing stronger, if you ask me. RWers like to brag about how they defeated the hippies and forced them to conform to their version of reality, but IMHO they didn't eradicate the concepts and the ideology of Hippie culture as much as they would like to think. (if a 21-year-old may have an opinion on such matters, since I wasn't actually there). Those dreams are still very much alive in the concerned youth of today, and we have learned from both the successes and the mistakes of those that went before. I may be in the minority, but I still have faith in the power of the hippie ideals. It is a cultural force that cannot be totally defeated.
On edit: I say: bring on the Tie-Dye! It's beautiful and it belongs to us.
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