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Left Turn Only

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Member since: Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:45 PM
Number of posts: 74

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Notes from Above Ground

To those of us who seem to hold the word faith to a much more stringent definition, there is a tendency to stay away from the anesthetizing effect of any concretely designed religion. But, just as there seem to be certain individuals that are more prone to become drug addicts, some people have to have religion to stave off the umbrage of mortality. Believing in everlasting life and the idea that there is a centralized form of celestial government within or without the myriad universes can be a comforting thought (as long as you lead a circumspect life and remain politically correct); however, it appears that people either have this "gift" of faith or they don't.

It's obvious that I am not one of the faithful. I have this stubborn tendency to require, at least, some very strong circumstantial evidence before I can believe in something. Now, I realize that the devout feel the evidence supporting their beliefs is strong, so it would seem that the difference between believers and their counterparts must lie in their respective perceptions of what constitutes evidence -- something that will not be easily changed in an individual.

Actually, I have the utmost respect for truly religious people when they're not trying to effect government, which correspondingly effects all of us. The self-sacrifice, control, and inner peace of true believers is most admirable. On the other hand, when people in this country proclaim to be Christians, while knowing little about the religion, I cannot help but view these "faithful" with derision. The fact is most people would not want to live in a Christian society, so let's cut the pretense. We are not "one country under God." In fact, if there is a god, I seriously doubt that He/She (or whatever) would care about a political entity like a country. When Romney lost the election, did that mean that God supported the political ideologies of Obama, including drone strikes that accidentally kill innocent civilians (oops!)? Or better yet, did God support Romney, but He just wasn't strong enough to beat Obama? Face it: there is no deity involved with countries; they are created and destroyed by human hands.

And what about on a personal level? Women's rights, religious freedom, and sex before marriage are all things that are not in tune with Christianity. How about the great American institution of divorce? The next time someone you know marries someone who is divorced, be aware that both people are adulterers under Christian values. When people begin to pick and choose what they want to believe in a religion, they can no longer say that they truly believe in that faith and have, in reality, created a new one.

To people like myself, faith is a word that should be used sparingly. I am not an atheist because it would be just as large a leap of faith to believe that there is no god as to believe there is one -- both require evidence that I am not capable of acquiring. Religion, if accepted at all, is a personal experience, and that is the way it should remain. We must maintain the wall of separation between church and state that Thomas Jefferson spoke of, and it should never be brought up in an election or influence the laws of our country.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:36 AM (5 replies)

It's What You Value

With the season of "good will toward men" (women are included by association) still relatively fresh in our memories, maybe it's a good time to talk about something basic to a caring and civilized society: taking care of the sick. Why, then, does it seem so impossible for a country with one of the highest standards of living to provide high quality health care to all its citizens?

Now, keeping in mind all those religious and altruistic thoughts of just a few weeks ago, rationalize why we as a people cannot afford to give quality health care to any citizen who is in need of it. I would expect that those who suffered a deficiency in those previously mentioned warm holiday feelings to be the first to charge me with promoting socialized medicine. I stand accused -- so what?

The socialization of some institutions does not make us less democratic; in fact, the socialization of certain basic needs can often strengthen a democracy. Social security, unemployment insurance, subsidized housing for the elderly, and many other programs are socialistic and have only enhanced our freedom to live dignified lives in the face of a private sector, which, by its very nature, is forced to ignore human feelings in favor of a bottom line.

It must be remembered that in a capitalistic society it is not only government that needs to be kept in check, but also the very real power that businesses have over all of us. By transforming economic powers like health care from corporations to our government, we at least have some say as to how those powers are used, and, in this way, we increase the power of the people and strengthen the democracy that we are a part of.

Universal health care would cost an enormous amount of money, but when the money we are spending on health care from our pay checks and from employers' contributions are added up, would it cost any more to have a government-run system where people never have to worry about selling their houses to pay hospital bills? And if the cost would be a bit more, couldn't that money come from some of the enormous costs of being the world's police and maintaining bases all around the world?

All worthwhile endeavors have costs; it all depends on what a person's values are that determines whether or not a cost is considered valid or not. It is amusing when people complain about how taxes are so high in a country where there are so many $30,000 cars and trucks on the road, and so many people are able to buy the most frivolous of luxuries. Maybe when we are proud to flaunt our humanity instead of our wealth, something like true universal health care will become a reality.

Posted by Left Turn Only | Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:49 PM (0 replies)
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