The Ultimate Question

  One question that has kept philosophers debating for centuried is: Why are we here? To get the smartass answer out of the way: Where else should we be, if not here? This response casts doubt on the validity of the question itself, which is fair. The “why are we here” question assumes a reason for our existence and even some sort of cosmic intent, when that reason and intent may be all in the beholder’s mind. Most Christians will claim that we are here to make god happy, because if we don’t he will throw us in Hell for all eternity. I am not a big fan of this answer. Seems kind of gloom-and-doom-esque. Anyway, all the stupid crap Christians have to do and believe, all the patently ridiculous nonsense, is anathema to my rational mind. To me, belief in gods is like believing in Santa Claus; if you need some authority figure watching your every move to be a good person, then you’re not a good person. We went into that in more depth in a previous sermon, so I am not going to go over i

The Jesus Mythos

  Topic: Christian Propaganda and the Jesus Mythos As always, there is no idea that is above rational dissection, and the Jesus character in the New Testament of the King James version of the bible is today’s topic. I am talking about the mythology surrounding the character as presented, not whatever historical figure that the myth itself is based on. (There are those, particularly Gnostic Christians, who have other ideas about who Jesus really was that may be more realistic.) We are also going to discuss the stated reason for the character’s eventual assassination and martyrdom. Most mainstream Christians believe that the Jesus character never actually wrote anything down. There are no writings attributed to him in either of the bibles I own. While I am sure there are people who claim otherwise, what disturbs me is that Christians will accept gospels written decades after the death of Jesus, by men who had a political axe to grind but never actually met the man they were writing a

No Time Like the Present. No Present Like the Time.

  Sometimes, I like to challenge myself to write about a specific topic. I was pondering the phrase “No time like the present” one morning, and started wondering if it could be applied to practicing the values of the Path. When I presented this idea to Courtney, she offered a slightly different wording: “No present like the time” and kind of blew my mind. I would like to examine both phrases and how they fit with the ideas found in Path doctrine. The phrase “No time like the present” comes from Proverbs Exemplified by John Trusler, a compiler of proverbs, who goes on to say: “…a thousand unforeseen circumstances may interrupt you at a future time.” I take it as an exercise in Mindfulness; of being here, now. When you have a task to complete or work to be done, best to begin as soon as you are ready, in case you run into obstacles you could not have predicted. If you procrastinate and do it at the last minute (which I confess to doing sometimes when writing sermons), all sorts of thin

Baby Gods: How Mormon Doctrine Leads to Abuse

I was raised in the Mormon church. I attended services weekly until I was fifteen. Generations of my family on both sides were LDS. So I know their rules and beliefs. Aside from Scientology, they are the most messed-up and dangerous mainstream cult in America. Probably the worst thing about it is the way in which it shapes young men into abusers, rapists, and child molesters, because it encourages treating people as things. Like all monotheistic religious traditions (particularly Catholicism and all of its bastard children), LDS doctrine is all about male exceptionalism; Mormon men are told that when they die, they will become gods. That is their destiny. Mormon women are told that their entire existence must revolve around giving her husband anything he wants and obeying his every command, and then bearing his “spirit children” for all eternity. (Why would any woman want to be a part of a church that relegates her to being a celestial brood mare for all eternity?) Young Mormon women

The War on Drugs

  Topic: The War on Drugs In America, the war on drugs was lost before it even began; they tried to keep people from drinking during Prohibition, which -as we all know- did not work. The simple fact is that people are going to get high, legal or otherwise. Also, most of the social harm done by illicit substances is because they are illegal, not because of the substances themselves. Used Mindfully, almost every street drug can be used for either medicinal or spiritual purposes. About the only exception is crystal meth. Most drugs are derived from plants. Cocaine comes from the coca plant, heroin and other opiates come from poppies, and of course mushrooms and cannabis are consumed in their raw, unprocessed state. LSD is actually made from a chemical derived from fungus that grows on rye bread. So most of these drugs are made using a plant that evolved alongside humanity. Cannabis is non-toxic because it is intended to be consumed. That is how it propagates: Seeds eaten by animals an

The Path Doesn't Care

 Here is a list of all the things that the Path does not care about: What you wear. The other consending adults you have sex with. How long your hair/beard is. If you get an abortion. Who or what you choose to worship, if at all. Who you pray to, or if you pray. How great you think it is.  Which bits of it you agree with. Here is a list of things that the Path does care about: How kind you are. If you are willing to grow and seek Enlightenment. Providing practical advice on how to be a better person. That's pretty much it. I feel like being kind is enough of an emotional burden (if you're doing it right), and seeking Enlightenment is a full-time job. As discussed before, your treatment of your  mortal vessel is of no consequence to the practice of the Path. There is a prayer, about being open to blessings with a grateful heart, but it is kind of addressed to the Universe rather than some creepy all-seeing father figure, and anyway it is more of an optional extra than a mandator

Sex (Core Tenet #5)

  Topic: Sex (Core Tenet #5) (Full disclosure: I have taken a vow of celibacy, for personal rather than spiritual reasons. I have not been in any kind of sexual relationship in five years, and the last one I was in was highly toxic.) Most monotheistic belief systems are obsessed with sex. Specifically, forbidding certain sexual acts. In some cases, everything but the missionary position (after dark, with the lights out and trying not to look at each other) is prohibited. Some religions don’t let you have sex until you’re married, at which point you’re expected to go at it like bunnies to breed up the next generation of obedient little sheep. According to Core Tenet #5, the Path teaches us that we are free to have sex with as many other people as we want. We don’t have to be married, our partners can be any sex or gender, and we aren’t limited to one at a time. This is because your body belongs to you, and the Path is more interested in the development and eventual Enlightenment o