The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I hope you aren't offended

Halloween is coming. Do you believe in ghosts? Goblins? Demons? Just curious.

Someone asked me today what I thought about religion. I assumed he meant as a concept but perhaps he was asking about what I believed. I answered the latter and the former as best I could in a short space. Religion is a very complex subject and quite volatile. At least today I do not have to worry about Inquisitions or heresy charges.

I stepped outside the religion debates many decades ago. The subject came up recently in a Dexter episode (the season opener) when Dexter is at an interview at a preschool for his son Harrison. It's a Catholic preschool and Dexter is confronted with images and icons of Jesus. The nun doing the interview (after the interview) asks him about his religious affiliation after he tells her he's not Catholic. Dexter was faced (seemingly for the first time in his life) with other people's assumptions about religious beliefs.

You see, we tend to think that everyone believes in one religious form or another. I admit, I do that also for the most part. I rarely run into actual atheists or ones that will admit it. I ran into this myself when I was 13. I wrote about it in "The Outing" where I was asked about my religious affiliation in school.

I made one of my doctors a bit nervous when I asked him if he was a Muslim. I was merely curious, he was from Pakistan. He evaded answering and I didn't push it. He could have been evading it for any number of reasons and I could see the question bothered him.

A few are very religious Christians. I do not push my atheism on them nor do I denigrate their belief. In fact, I admire it. Most of the people I know are agnostic. A few of them know I am atheist and seem unwilling to accept it, they seem to think I really meant to say "agnostic". It's rather easy to be agnostic, I think. No commitment needed. It's a bit like being a political Independent, I guess. A moderate about God.

Personally, I think human beings (in general) need religion. We are uncomfortable with the unanswered questions.


Joe Saling said...

One of the things I like about being a UU is that it doesn't matter (well for the most part) what you are in terms of religious belief. It's the only church I've attended where in "tallk back" sessions with the minister at the end of service, some people routinely begin their question or comment with "I'm glad I'm an aetheist" and no one gasps. It's just one of the many traditions that are accepted s part of the congregation.

I live in the south where "Where do you church?" is a stanrard question when yopu are introduced or meet someone new. I know one UU who said she joined the Unitarian Universalists because she got tired of telling people she home-churched her kids.

Douglas4517 said...

I didn't run into that little problem until I moved to Virginia and then to Jacksonville in Florida. I had not run into it before even though I grew up in Dade County (Florida). But it wasn't much of a problem even then."Home-churched"... I like that.

The Chubby Chatterbox said...

Although I was raised as a Catholic, I believe Voltaire: when he said,"God is a comedian playing in front of an audience afraid to laugh." A fabulous movie was made based on this in '77: "Oh God," with George Burns. I must confess that , while most religions make no sense to me, I haven't yet summoned the tremendous courage necessary to face existence as an atheist.

Douglas4517 said...

I would say courage is not needed, unless you are talking about social courage. Facing existence is the easy part.I am a bit fascinated by religion in all its manifestations.

The Chubby Chatterbox said...

My brother is a partner for a major Wall Street investment firm (I better not say which one, but the initials are MS). He earns from three to five million dollars a year.  I earn about forty thousand a year yet I pay more in taxes than he does. It's the loopholes that are the problem. Maybe Steve Forbes is right: eliminate all loopholes and tax exemptions, and have individuals and corporations simply mail in fifteen percent of all earnings. Of course for this to work we first have to do what Shakespeare suggested: Kill all the lawyers!

The Chubby Chatterbox said...

Sorry, my latest comments should have been posted  with your October 8th post, not this one.

Douglas4517 said...

Forbes favors a flat rate tax (as do many others) with a fair exemption before it kicks in (something like $46000 for a family of 4) and then taxes at a 17% rate.  I would guess that your brother pays more than you do if he actually makes that income. If he is telling you otherwise, he might be fibbing. He may be getting a lower rate than you if his earnings are all (like Buffett)  long term capital gains but I doubt it. He loses virtually all deductions when his income exceeds about $250k. Sorry, my wife is a tax person and has IRS Enrolled Agent status... she knows this stuff. Ask him to list these alleged loopholes.

Douglas4517 said...

Unfortunately, I have no way to move the comments (wish I did). You could copy and paste the other comment to the desired post and then I could delete these.