Thursday, October 25

My New Country Music Song

If I'd Shot You Sooner, I'd Be Out of Jail by Now.

Wednesday, October 24

The Dalai Lama Defines Buddhism

"Perhaps the chief difference between Buddhism and the world's other major faith traditions lies in its presentation of our core identity. The existence of the soul or self, which is affirmed in different ways by Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is not only firmly denied in Buddhism; belief in it is identified as the chief source of all our misery. The Buddhist path is fundamentally a process of learning to recognize this essential nonexistence of the self, while seeking to help other sentient beings to recognize it as well."

Tuesday, October 23

Meditations of the Buddha

The first meditation is the meditation of love, in which you so adjust your heart that you long for the weal and welfare of all beings, including the happiness of your enemies.

The second meditation is the meditation of pity, in which you think of all beings in distress, vividly representing in your imagination their sorrows and anxieties so as to arouse a deep compassion for them in your soul.

The third meditation is the meditation of joy, in which you think of the prosperity of others, and rejoice with their rejoicings.

The fourth meditation is the meditation of impurity, in which you consider the evil consequences of corruption, the effects of sin and diseases. How trivial often the pleasure of the moment, and how fatal its consequences.

The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity, in which you rise above love and hate, tyranny and oppression, wealth and want, and regard your own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquillity.

Monday, October 22

The Early Church a.d. 100 to Conversion of Constantine

The early church period is from A.D. 100 to 312 (the conversion of Constantine). The spread of the Gospel began in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and spread west. The Visigoths raided cities in Asia Minor (today Turkey)and took prisoners, many of whom were Christians. Christianity followed the Roman Empire and beyond, spreading the gospel to India and as far to Ethiopia in the south. Much of the missionary effort was done by Christians just living christian lives.

Early church leaders saw themselves as heirs to the apostles. The emphasis was on the office of bishop who was an overseer in the church. The leader of Christians in a city or region had oversight. As churches grew they needed more resources as there were more needs to meet. The problems of persecution and heresy made leadership more important.

This trend of leadership, strengthening the office of bishop, was recognized and encouraged by the church fathers. Some cities became more important and four rose to prominence: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, and Alexandria. Their bishops began to exercise authority as regional church governance was natural and the tendency to compete arose.

There was a controversy over when to celebrate Easter. Rome celebrated Easter on the first Sunday after the 14th of Nissan of the Jewish calendar. In Asia Minor Easter was always celebrated on the exact date that Jesus rose from the dead. The Bishop of Rome tried to command that Easter be celebrated on a Sunday. Agreement could not be reached and many church leaders objected to the arrogance of the Bishop of Rome.

Three major intellectual centers of Christianity showed the diversity of Christendom. Alexandria studied Christianity in the light of Greek philosophy. Antioch emphasized structure and order. Carthage in North Africa emphasized holiness.

The early church fathers taught the universality ("catholicity")of the faith. Like the apostles, the church fathers had a deep love for Jesus and a sense of self discipline. However, they had an unhealthy desire for maintaining order, and many emphasized works instead of grace. They tended to emphasize an allegorical interpretation of scripture.

The Apostle's Creed developed to teach new converts the elements of the faith. Remember that the Bible was not readily available. The books that formed the canon of the Bible were being gathered and collected. Before 140 we do not have a formal list.

In response to the Gnostic threat the books of the Bible that were accepted as authoritative were based on (1) Apostolic authorship (2) inherent character and worthiness and (3) general agreement among Christians.

The apologists of the early church tried to convince a hostile world that Christianity was a safe religion and there was nothing to fear. It was legitimate, safe, and true. They wrote to the emperor, pagans, and Jews that Jesus fulfilled Old testament prophecy. Christianity was rational and based on facts. Christianity contributed to the good of society.

The danger in the work of the apologists was that in trying show something was not new, they used Greek philosophy to make their arguments stronger. Pagan thought gained a bigger influence.

Gnosticism was a movement that offered secret knowledge to initiates. They said that Jesus was God, but one of many. The body of Jesus was an illusion. The Gnostic exalted the spiritual over the material and said that it didn't matter what you did with the body. Other Gnostics viewed the body as evil. The church response to the Gnostic heresies was to spell out doctrine and submit a list of books of the New Testament.

The Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson

"If the people let the government decide what foods they will eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls of those who live in tyranny.

I place economy among the first and most important republican virtues and public debt as the greatest danger to be feared.

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people under the pretense of caring for them they will be happy.

Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

Friday, October 19

Major Religions of the World

Christianity: 2.1 billion

Islam: 1.5 billion

Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion

Hinduism: 900 million

Chinese traditional religion: 394 million

Buddhism: 376 million

Primal-indigenous: 300 million

African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million

Sikhism: 23 million

Juche: 19 million

Spiritism: 15 million

Judaism: 14 million

Baha'i: 7 million

Jainism: 4.2 million

Shinto: 4 million

Cao Dai: 4 million

Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million

Tenrikyo: 2 million

Neo-Paganism: 1 million

Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand

Rastafarianism: 600 thousand

Scientology: 500 thousand


Tuesday, October 16

Discovery of New Planet


"Astronomers have found a planet whose skies are illuminated by four different suns - the first known of its type.

The distant world orbits one pair of stars which have a second stellar pair revolving around them.

The discovery was made by volunteers using the website along with a team from UK and US institutes; follow-up observations were made with the Keck Observatory.

A report on the Arxiv server has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal.

The planet, located just under 5,000 light-years away, has been named PH1 after the Planet Hunters site.

It is thought to be a "gas giant" slightly larger than Neptune - more than six times the radius of the Earth."

BBC News

Sunday, October 7

Actual Police Comments

"If you take your hands off the car, I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."

"If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."

"You don't know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?"

"Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."

"The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"

"Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster."

"How big were those "Just two beers' you said you had?"

"I'm glad to hear that the Chief of Police is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bond."