Saturday, August 21, 2010


Hello and Happy Saturday!

First up I wish to thank Tirzah Roxie for her very interesting and unique post last week. Thanks for sharing with us Tirzah!

This week we have a new participant- please welcome Jason.
Jason is an Objectivist and I know you're going to enjoy his post as well.

Here Is Jason's Introduction:

My name is Jason- I’m 33, married, and father to 3 girls.

1) What religion do you practice?
I try not to practice at all. To practice implies that, somehow, my thoughts, actions, and beliefs are somehow unnatural and require constant attention and correction. (That isn't to say that beliefs are not an ever-evolving thing, or that such beliefs are not occasionally challenged.) This is not the case. I am, quite simply, an objectivist. If you don't know what it is, you can look it up. I'll even help:

This isn't a religion, nor is it a path to one. It's simply reality, viewed through one's faculty of reason. That which exists, exists. That which is, is. The truth speaks for itself. Objectivists do NOT pray. We work hard. We prepare. We use our faculty of reason to know the world We, as much as is possible use knowledge to achieve our goals. If we spend 3 years saving to buy a car, we applaud our careful planning and execution in finally achieving our goal. We do NOT thank god for helping us save, providing a dealership, and designing the car. It was the mind of man who created the car, the mind of man who build the dealership, and the belief in value-for-value which helped us save the money.

I was once in a very bad place and someone helped me. I don't know where I might be were it not for that person. God did not send that person. The very thought so totally diminishes the caring and effort and character of that person that it would sicken me. That person was raised well, made choices, and lived her life her way. It is because she chose to be who she is, suffered and enjoyed the results of those choices to the fullest, and lived her own life that she is who she is, which helped me to best be who I am.
Sorry for the ramble- you can't condense this method of thought easily.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I have always believed the way I do. Someone just came along and gave it a name that mostly fits. Only things you need to be an objectivist is a brain, common sense, and reason.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
I believe what I believe. I feel no need to place myself in a group of like-minded individuals in order to somehow justify my beliefs, feel that I fit in, or conform.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
The events and circumstances of my life and choices I have made have dictated my beliefs. It's our choices, our circumstances, our lives which shape our beliefs. I believe human beings, by and large, just need to feel as though they belong to some group- some pack of like-minded individuals, in order that they are freed from the effort of thinking for themselves. It's hard to make a choice yourself. It's much easier to hold a belief that the people you surround yourself with endorse. As a culture, we should be celebrating our diversity, not our commonality.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
See above.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Every religion has a version of heaven/paradise, and most religions have this heaven/paradise described quite clearly in their predominant holy book. The believers of those religions obviously endorse those descriptions and would give a similar answer. On the other hand, by framing this question in a personal framework, you are implying that heaven/paradise is a personal and subjective creation.
I live my life- if I live it well, then it is its own reward. It shouldn't take some mystical promise of eternal bliss to make me choose to make the right choices in my life. I do the right thing because it's the right thing.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
You're asking me to pass judgement on the rest of the people in the world. Sorry, I'm not qualified.

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
What I believe fits me because I'm the one doing the believing. My beliefs are my own- as such they could never NOT be a good fit.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
You either live your life by following your beliefs, or you don't. The celebration of life should be expressed in how you choose to live it, each minute of each day. If you only do that on specially reserved days, then you're shortchanging yourself.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Wanna know a secret? I don't know the faith or religion of about 95% of the people I know. And I don't care. They are my friends because they are people I find of good moral character, based on their actions in their day-to-day lives. If they choose to align themselves with a particular group, and as long as they don't try to give me their spiel, why would I care either way? I'm friends with people, not with their religious, political, or socio-economic alignments.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
There's almost no way to fully quantify the possible circumstances which would allow me to answer that hypothetically. I'll just say I'd take it on a case-by-case basis.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
My thoughts are precisely the same as my thoughts on any religious texts, laws, and iconography. Every person chooses their path, and the way they live their life.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
If the women don't have a problem with it, why should I? If, on the other hand, the women did have a problem, then they'd do something about it, now wouldn't they?

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
Well, given that my life is my "place of worship" then I'd have to say, yes it segregates. Life isn't fair. You do what you can with your own life, but you can't control others. If people want to segregate away from me, then that's their choice. It serves not only them, but me as well, because most likely, if they're the type to segregate, they aren't the type of people I want in my life.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
Abortion: Your choice

Gay marriage: Your choice

My firm belief is that we don't have any business telling people what they can and cannot do within the context of their own lives, so long as it brings no harm to others.

Abortion is tricky- I'll grant you that. If you were raped, or as a medical necessity, then I agree with the concept. If you just weren't careful and didn't want a kid... well, that's fuzzier. As with all things, I believe the circumstances dictate the proper course. It isn't my place to judge. In my own life, I would only choose to do so for medical, safety, or humanitarian reasons. (ie. the child or mother would be irrevocably damaged by childbirth, or the child has a verified defect/disease that would result in a very poor quality of life.)

Gay marriage, on the other hand, is much easier, in my opinion. Why should I care? More's to the point, what gives me the right to care? I always consider the actions I take in the context of the golden rule: If I choose to tell someone who they can and cannot lay with in the privacy of their own bed, then I must be willing to accept that same judgement. In other words, if I tell a gay man he must not lay with another man, then I am accepting that anyone has the right to tell me with whom I may lay. I know I certainly wouldn't like that.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
They'll marry who they love. That's all there is to it. Jew, Christian, Muslim, black, white, chinese, boy, girl. Love is love- you can't stop it, you shouldn't stop it. Neither will I.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
I think by their own religions, most people will be going to hell, based solely on their own actions as applicable to their own faith. You have people gladly rewriting, reinterpreting, and outright ignoring large parts of their own holy books. Tell me, if myself and 10,000 people like me get together and ratify a law or reach a consensus, based on our religious beliefs, that says it's ok to kill people we don't like, or who don't agree with us, will that make it acceptable or moral? Probably not, so tell me why Christians, Jews, etc all reinterpret their laws and codices so frequently to allow for exceptions? Look at christians, for example. Exodus 20:4- “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Do you have ANY IDEA how many crosses, jesus fish, etc that I see on cars, on necklaces, etc, over the course of a single day?

What about Jews- they have a whole subset of workarounds classified under Rabbinical law. Elohim (God) says you cannot carry anything from place to place on the shabbat. This has got to be awfully inconvenient, so the rabbi's came up with a magic antenna wire called an eruv, under which you CAN carry things on the shabbat.

I could give you many more examples. The bottom line is that if there is a hell, people will go there based on their own actions, whether I think they will or not.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
As far as I know, nobody really fits the first part of this question. To the second part- I greatly admire the words of Terry Goodkind, who is also an objectivist.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
I'll actually use a Terry Goodkind quote about hate crime which I believe wholeheartedly.

"This muddled thinking leads to things like the dehumanizing concept of "hate crimes." What "hate crimes" do is to say that the real measure of the crime is in the mind of the murderer. What he was thinking qualified the crime -rather than that he took a human life. The very notion of "hate crime" is bigoted; it strips away the value of the victim's life and places the importance, instead, on their membership in a group. This is an attempt to wipe out the importance of the life of the human being who was murdered, and to establish instead that the "real" crime is that a member of a group, not a human being, was attacked.

These perverse notions leave in their wake young people who don't have any goals in life because life itself has been devalued for them. What society is telling them, is that human life isn't valuable -because it is the thoughts that make the crime serious. When you say that thoughts can make murder a more serious offense, you are devaluing human life.

When thoughts are the crime, then people always begin deciding what thoughts are "good" and what thoughts are "bad." It's only a matter of time until- since life isn't valuable, and thoughts are the test of value -that people by the millions are marched into gas chambers, or people by the millions are starved, because they don't have the right "thoughts." They have the wrong religion, or the wrong culture, so those members of a group with these wrong thoughts must die for these "crimes."

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
Not at all.

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
No, my life and the way I live it gives me peace of mind. I guess you could say they are one and the same.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
Our bodies are matter. Our thoughts are energy. As any schoolchild can tell you, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. That means it's all still out there, somewhere. Your mileage may vary.

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