Thursday, September 30, 2010


Hmmmmm... Something I found very interesting, although not very surprising, was an article about how little Americans (and most likely Canadians) know about world religions. I took the survey and, despite taking religious studies for 3 years at university, only got a 70%. It was humbling for sure, and made me realize how much I DON'T know about the beliefs of my friends and neighbours. However, I do not believe ignorance such as mine is an excuse for the hatred and intolerance

It drives me crazy when people with a lot of influence, like that imbecilic and ignorant pastor in Florida who threatened to burn the Koran, encourage racism and hatred. The inability to live with others in such a way, and encouraging others to be intolerant of the beliefs of others is EXACTLY the same attitude as those who burn American flags and cursing Western society. We have a word for that attitude: hypocrite.

For those who may be interested, here it is, along with a few comments from me.


Analysis by Benjamin Radford Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:02 AM E

Earlier this month Florida pastor Terry Jones caused an international uproar when he threatened to burn copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book, despite the fact that he'd never read the book and doesn't know what it says.

It's one thing to not fully understand the basic tenets of a different religion. But recent research from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that Americans are often woefully ignorant not only of other religions, but of their own faith.

The researchers polled nearly 3,500 Americans and asked them 32 basic questions about world religions, their texts, main figures, and tenets. Most respondents got about half the questions wrong. For example, 45% of Catholics polled did not know that the Catholic church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are said to actually and literally become the body and blood of Christ. About as many Americans did not know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist.

In fact the poll found that atheists and agnostics knew more about religion than religious people. Among religious groups, Jews and Mormons scored highest.

That Americans don't know much about their own faith is hardly news. In one widely-seen video clip, comedian Stephen Colbert interviewed Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who co-sponsored a bill to require display of the Ten Commandments in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Colbert asked Westmoreland to name the Ten Commandments.

The Congressman, who wanted to make sure that everyone sees and remembers most famous "top ten" list in the world, struggled to name them: "Um... Don't murder... don't lie....don't steal...." After some awkward silence, having named fewer than one-third of God's commandments, Westmoreland gave up: "Um... I can't name them all." Westmoreland is not alone.

According to a March 2007, USA Today survey revealed that 60 percent of Americans can't name the Ten Commandments.

Another measure of American misunderstanding of religion is how often one hears the phrase, "We should all just get along, all religions basically say the same thing."

Actually, they do not: the world's major religions hold very different -- and often fundamentally incompatible -- beliefs. Anyone who thinks that Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism reflect essentially identical teachings is demonstrating a profound ignorance of those faiths.

Even the wildly popular "Coexist" bumper sticker, the one that incorporates religious symbols from many religions, runs into a contradiction when applied to the many faiths that proselytize. Peaceful coexistence is unlikely if a devout follower believes both that his is the only true faith and that it is his solemn duty to convert others to that one true faith.

Though many people claim to be religious and have religious faith, it's not clear what, exactly, that means in real-world terms. If a person calls himself or herself a Christian, but does not follow (nor even understand) basic principles of Christianity, what's the point? Anyone can claim to be of any faith they choose, but unless that religion meaningfully informs and influences that person's life, it's hard to see the value in claiming to follow that faith.

Sociologists have long known that religious people are no more honest or trustworthy than the non-religious, and the new poll suggests that atheists and other non-believers are actually better informed about the religious world than the faithful themselves.

I will be doing more research now...

Friday, April 23, 2010


I love reading the blogs of my friends; one person in particular, Ashley Burtch, always manages to express my feelings and thoughts with far more articulation than I have ever managed. This is an exerpt from her post Journey Mystery Community:
Community is never perfect. And I wouldn’t want to hang out with perfect people. I wouldn’t belong there. It’s good that sometimes I don’t like the things you say or do, because it means its okay when you don’t like the things I say or do. I still want my roots to become entangled with yours. And maybe if I listen more and judge less, I will learn something from your story. I might discover that you and I are not so different.
So true. Thanks Ash.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

looking forward

I think I've realized something. Today, I have no regrets. I am looking forward to the future. I now rarely look to the past. This is good. I like my life now. Most of the time, I might even be happy.


Friday, March 5, 2010


Being broken does not necessarily make you stronger. Breaking your arm makes the bone less flexible. Without flexibility it is more likely to break again. Essentially, it is weaker. Appropriate analogy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Walking Song

♪ ...Home is behind
The world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadow
To the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight
Mist and shadow
Cloud and shade
All shall fade
All shall...
Fade. ♪

This is a beautiful song concerning life and death; hope and despair. It is written by Billy Boyd, and is based in a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has been in my head for days, and perfectly expresses my mood...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

it just keeps getting worse...

It just keeps getting worse and worse in Somalia. Now, according to the
BBC, there looks to be a showdown, between the government troops and rebels, in the near future. Residents who had not yet left Mogadishu (the capitol) are being killed by both sides. It has been nearly twenty years since Somalia had a stable, functioning government (although even then...), and things just seem to be getting from bad, to worse, to terrible, to a descent into hell. It may not be a natural disaster like Haiti, but Somalia has been a human-fueled nightmare for so long...

What can be done? Believe me, doing nothing doesn't seem to be working

links: click BBC, bad, worse, terrible, hell.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

the shepherd

Listening to The Shepherd, by Frederick Forsyth and read by CBC's Alan Maitland was a family tradition every Christmas Eve when I was young. Every time I listen to it my heart is glows, and my throat gets tight at certain parts. I hear the story in his voice, and it is familiar, like that of an old friend. Mr. Maitland died many years ago, but CBC still plays The Shepherd, by Alan Maitland, every Christmas Eve, and I hope one day if I have children I can carry on the tradition my parents started.

Even if not, I want to share this warm and love-filled memory with you.

Here you go: The Shepherd

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010: A new start.

2010: A new start. So, I'm not really one to have regrets, but I have a pile of them from 2009. So, I've decided to start the next few years with a few goals, and I'm going to share them with you all! Aren't you lucky...

1. finish school with good grades. This is a major one. I know I can graduate, I just need to prove to myself that I can work hard and get great grades.

2. pay for school. That one's pretty obvious.

3. do fun and adventurous things every 3-4 months. In the spring I'm planning to go zip lining. If you have any ideas for other fun and adventurous things for later months, list them in the comments.

4. build a community. This one may take a long time, but I'm starting now.

5. be happy. I have always had the ability to be content with whatever and wherever I am. I think this can be a good thing, but it also means I rarely fight for what I want. Well, I'm going to choose my battles (obviously), but I'm also going to start doing the things I want to do. Like zip lining and ... stuff

6. refuse regret. This doesn't mean I won't learn from my mistakes. However, if there is nothing I can do to change/resolve the situation, I will move on. I have already started this one.

7. find old friends and spent time with them. Introduce them to new friends.

8. party more! 'nuff said.

9. be vulnerable. REALLY vulnerable. With someone who can handle it.

10. relax! enjoy the year; enjoy life, and all the twists and turns that come with it.

There we go peeps. a few goals for me!