Thursday, September 10, 2009

Opinionated and Judgmental

I am opinionated and judgmental. That is typically what people who don't take the time to truly understand the meaning of what I (or others) say sometimes actually is. I can often be brash and if a given statement is taken even partly out of context, that meaning of the statement in question can be completely mis-taken and thus misunderstood.

I think many people feel exactly this way. I think many people overlook the subtleties in communication. I think so often when someone says, "now you're just arguing semantics" that it's because "the argument is the semantics". Few seem to ever identify that as the point of contention.

So, am I opinionated because I have opinions that I occasionally share? Am I opinionated just because I have opinions? Despite the actual definition of the word "opinionated", I have acquired the connotation of the word "opinionated" and integrating it as a negative word to with a definition which would better be defined by the word "over-opinionated". I embrace the fact that I have opinions and I will occasionally share them, especially when I have actually given some thought to the opinions that I have really earned, rather than just having opinions that I've heard others say that on the surface I might think I agree with.

Now, am I judgmental? Occasionally, yes. Is it wrong to be judgemental? I'm not so sure... However, I also think there is a difference between making a judgment and being judgmental. Again, the argument is the semantics. I believe we are served by making informed judgments related to our part in things. We make judgments about whether to make one decision or another. Being judgmental is, I think, more of a generalized sweeping judgment that would border on a pre-judgment or being prejudiced (being essentially the correct word that is used to represent the concept I'm illustrating). The point I am getting at is lacking one more angle though, unlike the previous example. Is being judgmental also necessarily judging? I don't think so. I think it's the subtle understanding of the wording of the not so subtle concepts that surround making a judgment about how to judiciously excercise or not excercise the concepts presented here.

I think from a strictly practical view it is important to not be a judging individual where as I think it might be alright occasionally to be judgmental about certain things. The thing that I think is important to maintain when being judgmental is an attitude of understanding, tolerance and acceptance that the actions of others or the situation you are being judgmental about may not be anything you actually have any right to have a judgment about, as it may not involve you at all. If that is the case than you have an opinion and if you express that opinion you may be called, "opinionated and judgmental".

So, I guess this was a shorter post but I believe it is an important one.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The grounds for dignity...

There are some people in The United States Of America who irresponsibly vote, ignoring all the platforms of individual, save for one. These 'one issue voters' seem to most often be the anti-abortionists. However, there are other 'one issue voters' that only vote based on a candidates position on euthanasia or death-penalty. The three issues I'm going to focus on in this observation are primarily the three mentioned already. These issues are abortion, euthanasia and death-penalty.

The contradiction that I often find insulting is that there are those who will vote on all three of these issues and argue that they are taking the position becuase of their religious beliefs. It is usually insulting because these same people often tend to argue that they are against abortion but then do little if anything to aid someone who needs help with raising a child. These people argue against end of life decisions for others but then never take steps themselves to aid these elderly people in any way.

I have found that often the same people who argue 'right to life' are the same people who are 'pro-death penalty'. The hypocrisy is astounding really. The argument against my opinion usually comes from an angle of 'the person who deserves the death-penalty made a choice where as the unwanted unborn child that was the result of what these people judge to be immoral acts of fornication should have the right to life'. However the argument falls short because you really can't make that logic in that argument work for end of life rights. To be clear, there is a difference between 'end of life decisions and rights' and 'euthanasia'. Though you may debate the semantics, the two terms for the purposes of this commentary are to be deemed choice and no choice, respectively. In such a case I would be against euthanasia because there is no choice by the individual, which would mean that I would support the rights of individuals who want to make end of life decisions.

The argument so often laid out by those who support capital punishment by death is partly that it serves society not to allow that person convicted of a capital offense to be a financial drain on society.

I believe that the grounds for dignity are far more compelling in any debate where one would argue 'right to life'. I currently view 'right to dignity' as a better stance than 'right to life' or 'right to choice'. The idea of dignity means to me that if a child is unwanted and would struggle through his/her formative years as a child, with the proverbial 'deck stacked against' him or her, then why subject that child to a life that starts in such an undignified way.

The fact is that when it comes to party platforms, the republican party typically stands in opposition to 'right to dignity' because they not only oppose abortion rights but also end of life rights but then they also oppose social programs that would be necessary. I never hear much about the 'christian left', only the 'christian right'. I know there is a 'christian left' because I've known many people who are democrats who also profess a christian faith. But the example here is that the same people who are claiming to be 'christian right' are the same people who would rather impose through governmental regulations ideas that they claim are backed by their beliefs but then refuse to allow those that would be affected by the imposed regulations the understanding and compassion they deserve as humans.

Have you ever seen a die-hard 'christian' who grew up in the church and has lived an extremely sheltered life react to someone else saying they are going through a divorce? The look of complete disgust and judgment that crosses their face is sickening. You may think this is unfounded judgment on my part but I stand by it because I used to be like that.

I was taught to value and respect life. I was also taught to think though and that is right to question and be curious. In respecting life, I learned it was important to live life in an experiential way. I have made mistakes and I have learned from mistakes. I am accountable for my mistakes and have claimed responsibility for my actions so that I won't repeat those mistakes which I've learned from.

What is dignity to you? Do you think dignity is a right? To me, I see that a right to dignity is as much of a right as it is to have rights at all.

I feel I've not been completely clear however, I feel I've been clear enough for you to understand the point actually embraces right to life when that life will be dignified or will continue to be dignified.

I welcome your comments, as always.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jesus has returned but he's a communist!!!

I read a post on today. I think Fox News is anything but 'fair and balanced'. It's more like 'crooked and biased'. To be fair, I will retract that blanket statement because I'm sure there is an intern who works there who is still 'fair and balanced'. Forgive me, I'm a little irritated. Today is a good example why it's hard not to get sucked into this insanity.

I read an article, ironic as it is, about some 'controversy' over some comments made by Van Jones. I don't really care about the story itself other than it seems to detract from what that story really is about, at least as presented by I'll leave alone what the story really is though, to focus on the 'conspiratorial' actions taken by a lowly article comments moderator...

After reading part of the completely off base comments regarding the the relatively off base article, I decided to post a comment. I wrote the comment, hit the 'add comment' button and having had an issue with the website before, had made sure to copy my text before posting so I could repost if needed. Of course, I took note of the time and when that time passed in the comments cue and other people's comments started appearing that had been posted after mine, I reposted. And then needed to a third time. That's when I noticed the disclaimer below the 'fair and balanced' website comment box:

" Disclaimer: Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. "

Of course it was again, moderated out. I reposted in astonishment, reading the posts that were bluntly racist in some cases, as well as others that would clearly fall under the category of 'abusive'... Read for yourself:

After realizing that my posts were not appearing because the were being selectively moderated out, I reposted my comment with the additional comment directed to the moderator...

Unforgivable... You're seriously going to moderate that logical perspective that is completely relevant while allowing racial hate speech that is nothing but abusive...

I posted 4 comments and each one was 'moderated' because you chose to exclude me because I obviously do not fit your agenda... No matter, the truth will win.


I would be very interested to know how many of the people out there who profess to be Christian actually get that if they are waiting for Jesus to return to establish his kingdom on earth that it would likely be a socialist/communist society. I guess it's fine to pretend that is what you want on Sunday if you don't really believe it, so long as it makes you look good in front of others... Oh, and that whole love your neighbor thing, not to mention the 'green' co-exist in harmony with the planet so that we don't selfishly use it up or just ruin it for our children and their children... yah, that has nothing to do with capitalism. Capitalism, motivated by monetary gain, does nothing for society as a whole. Money doesn't even care about the individual. Capitalism reinforces greed and selfishness not caring and certainly not love.

Of course it was again not posted. I tried once more... nope. Denied 6 times, selective censorship of an opposing viewpoint.

Just to make sure it wasn't a technology issue, I tried to post just the original portion of the comment using an alternate browser... no dice. It was not posted.

As always, I invite comments. Oh, and by the way, I don't moderate them.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Moses walked through the desert, led only by God. Jesus did the same. I'm not going to put myself on their level, however, like Moses and Jesus, I've come to the beliefs I have by setting aside all of my religious notions to walk through the desert of the unknown, resting upon the assurance that "God Is" and that if I seek the truth, I shall find it.

John Lennon wrote a song called "Imagine" and so many people seem to not come close to seeing the vision that John was trying to relate. No country, no religion, no war... It's actually amazingly simple, in fact perhaps it's too simple for most people who expect that everything must be complex.

I have come to understand the role that historical events and figures have played in religion enough that I can now look upon the Bible with new eyes. I see the truth within the Bible yet can now also see how historical events, even just the passage of time, has brought us the book that Christians hold dear.

My journey through 'the desert of the unknown' has allowed me to lean upon 'God' without any need for defining what 'God' is other than trusting that whatever 'God' is, "God Is". In doing so I've been free to look into other beliefs and religions. It allowed me to give myself permission to question what I grew up believing and test it. I have found so far that my curiosity to understand the truth about God and spirituality and life in more practical ways has proven to be a grounding force in my life, so far. In attempting to live by the spiritual principles set forth in all religions, I have come to desire a greater understanding of other religions as well.

I was raised as a Catholic, with some Protestant Christians in my extended family. I don't think I could call myself 'Catholic' at this point, nor could I likely call myself 'Christian', though I think of myself as Thomas Jefferson did, who regarded the non-religious philosophies presented by Jesus in the Gospels to be of immense value and guidance. Jefferson said that he felt he could likely consider himself as much or more of a 'Christian' than those who merely claim to be 'Christian' due to Jefferson actually trying to act as Jesus instructed unlike those who were just posturing.

I have become more intrigued in learning about other religious faiths. I have begun reading an English translation of the Quran. I understand that Muslims expect a Muslim to read the Quran in Arabic as it has been for the past 1400+ years. Their reasoning as I understand it is that the Quran has remained the same for that entire period without revision and that the puntuation to stress the inflection of certain words is very important to understanding the meaning. Anyone who knows me and my love and respect of words will know I whole-heartedly respect that. That said, as much as I would like to begin learning Arabic, I feel my motivation for reading the Quran is not to become a Muslim but to draw upon the wisdom that would transcend the translation. I am seeking the truth and though I would like to one day learn not only Arabic but Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin and other more contemporary languages like Italian, French and German, I understand that I am mortal and have a limited time in which to do the things that I place value on.

My interest in the spiritual aspects of religions is first and foremost a personal interest. I am not one who believes in an 'all or nothing' approach. I am at this point interested in continuing to uncover the path that I'm discovering. I know I am not the first to discover it but as I believe I've stated in a previous blog entry, I am no longer interested in divisive beliefs but inclusive ones. Ideas that unite are of infinitely greater benefit than those that divide.