Monday, October 1, 2007

open forum 6

September was infinitely better than August, but how could it not be? October looks to be a great month including some fabulous fall weather.

It has now become a tradition here on my blog that on the first of each month I put up an open forum.

There have been times when visiting other blogs that I wanted to ask the blog owner a question off topic, but never really knew where to put it. I didn't want to be just bust into an on-going comment-conversation.

So- This post is the opportunity for any of my readers to broach a subject, ask a personal question, bring up a topic, talk about whatever is on your mind...

It is after all an open forum, the mic is yours ask away!

35 comments:

Pink said...

New reader here by way of WellHellMichelle. **waves** Hello!

Do you believe in the concept(s) of karma and/or luck?

Poodles said...

Do you ever wish for smeloblog? You know, a blog that could emit an offensive odor to fundies that troll around?

Fiery said...

Hello Pink, welcome to my blog, *waves back*

Your profile is brand new to the whole blogger world.

I am not familiar with wellhellmichelle, though I see that she likes Hip Suburban White Guy, Joe's Big Blog and Smells Like Bullshit, all of which I read regularly.

You asked about karma and luck.

Karma- The total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of his existence. Or Fate, destiny.

In either of these usages, no dear, I do not believe in Karma. As an atheist, I do not believe in any supernatural beings, powers, successive phases of existence, or destiny. I have noticed, though, the word Karma has started being used to mean “what goes around comes around” or “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, and even “if you can’t take it, don’t dish it.”

Those phrases I have found to be true. Living things, plants, animals and humans respond to how you treat them. If you give them what they need to grow and prosper they in turn will give their best for you.

Plants- when provided with the right soil, water, and sunlight and protected from pests and weeds will grow beautifully enriching your life with their greenery, blossoms, edible parts, etc…

Animals- when provided with food, water, shelter, medical care, and with some, companionship, can bring joy to your life, or provide high quality meat for your table, or provide hours of entertainment watching them just being themselves at a zoo or in the wild. But if you treat the animal badly, it will fail to thrive, and some will lash out and attack you or others.

Humans- after the basic needs are fulfilled also respond to how they are treated. Treat someone rudely and they lash out at you. Sometimes the response is immediate in name calling or more subtle with undermining and bad mouthing. But if you treat a person respectfully, even when you disagree with them you get to know a whole new aspect of them as a person.

So in that sense, karma being a reaction by others to how they are treated, yes, I think what goes around comes around. Like attracts like. But I do not believe there is a mystical force behind it all calling the shots, it’s just the way the world works.

As for luck… I do not think luck is something that can be controlled with charms or manipulated mystically. I think in their life people can create their own luck by working hard for what they want and steadily improving themselves. But those that just sit and wish there luck was better, will never see their luck change.

I equate luck with a pendulum. I remember this especially with playing a simple childish card game called Skip-bo. Skip-bo is the type of game that if you can count to 12 you can play it. After a very little skill is mastered it really is all about luck, the luck of the draw, and the luck of the other players. Sometimes I can have a horrid streak of luck, losing game after game for no reason that I can detect. But, the pendulum always swings, soon I will be winning again, maybe not every game, but several in a row here or there. I’ll bet if I bothered to keep track, the percentage would be about 50/50.

Thank you for stopping by Pink!

Fiery said...

Poodles- the smeloblog is a funny idea, maybe it could even come with varying degrees of rankness!

Oh, and instead of banning the truly hopeless fundies, I would like to add a BEZAP feature so that when they click on the “leave comment” button their computer would give them a huge, knock them on their fundy butts, BEZAP! That would rock! :-D

Poodles said...

BEZAP would be great!

Rachel said...

I'm looking for a home school group or co-op in central MN. Husband is athiest. I'm somewhat spiritual, but non-religious. Know of any?

Fiery said...

Rachel

If you are in reach of the twin cities there are so many fantastic resources down there.

I recommendd you start with these two yahoo groups, both very active and full of very friendly, knowledgeable people...
ECHO-MN and Secular Homeschoolers

You should be able to find a number of families to fulfill any and all meet-up/support/field trip opportunities that you may have.

I live on the far edge of Minnesota and am too far away to take advantage of their fantastic groups they have down there.

Best of luck!
Fiery

Pink said...

Thank you for the explanation. Much appreciated! I'll be back to participate more as I love your attitude and blog. Thanks again.

Fiery said...

Pink- YAY!!! A new face and the possibility of a new friend! Welcome aboard! :-D

Tommy said...

I'm pretty liberal on my blog. You can ask me a question in any thread. It just has to be a sensible comment or question.

Reg Golb said...

Here is an open forum question.

How does your atheism affect your politics?

Hound Doggy said...

I'm a little late to the forum but I was wondering what you thought about the whole Warren Jeffs thing?

Fiery said...

Hound Doggy! Hey mate, long time no woof!

Warren Jeffs- after a quick wikipedia search looks like the leader of the LDS church is wanted for performing extralegal "marriages" between his adult male followers and underage girls, eight additional counts—including sexual conduct with minors and incest—in two separate cases and apparently rape.

Sounds like a bastard to me- incest, rape, marrying underage girls. Even accused of having 70 wives. As he is in a position of GREAT authority in the LDS church, he can't even claim that the marriages were really consensual since he can threaten them with eternal damnation.

*shudders*


As I'm not from Utah and I don't tend to follow Mormon news very closely, I don't know anything about this but what a quick glance at wikipedia showed me.

Is there something in particular about this case that stood out for you?

Poodles said...

Fiery,
Actually he was found and was just recently convicted of his crimes, now they are going after the girl's "husband" for rape. Sad part is Jeffs has probably already been replaced by some other cult leader.

Tommy said...

That's an easy one Reg. We don't decide on an issue based on what "the Holy Babble says".

Richard said...

Hey Tommy,
Great answer! Succinct too.

On this blog I've commented that being against something (a deity) is not a position for something.

If anyone cares, I stumbled onto an example of an atheist blogger that is against gods and the church without being for anything. If you read this post by Nicholas you can really sense the moral and intellectual vacuum.

Nicholas is no better than Reg. Both ask nifty questions, but neither has a clue about truly thinking through issues for themselves. E.g. Reg does not process the answers to his questions; he just carries on as if the answers were irrelevant to his position which they therefore are. On the other hand Nicholas is an unknown and might be able to process such answers and get somewhere.

I'd like to point out that one of the good things about Fiery's blog is several of the regulars clearly think through their responses and make interesting contributions.

One is born an individual, so why die a copy (Reg)? In the same vein, why visit a blog, or read a book, if you are the same person afterwards?

Tommy said...

Thanks Richard!

Totally agree. That's why I hate it when theists claim that atheists believe in "nothing." Bullshit! We believe in lots of things.

I believe in having a clean environment, reducing our dependency on imported oil that fuels the coffers of Muslim fundamentalists, I believe in equality, fairness, and justice. There are lots of things to believe in that do not require belief in a creator.

Reg Golb said...

Don't you believe that we "Created" and unclean environment?

Hound Doggy said...

Sorry it has taken me so long to follow up. I had a garage sale this week-end. Arrrgggg.

The thing that I found interesting was that he was convicted as an accomplice to rape but it was not proven before that there was even a rape. In this case the girl involved was 14. That is the legal age of consent in Utah. So, no law was broken there. She married her cousin. Everyone in the media and such got all excited about that but there is no law against it. Even within the marriage there was not forcible rape. From what her husband said there was no fighting or dominate control about the issue.
Her husband was a little older but he seemed……ummmm…. Let’s say less sophisticated than most 19yr olds that you would run into. (actually, I think he was 19 at the time so somewhat older now).
I had not caught up that the law was now going after him for rape.

I am generally sympathetic to the FLDS “cause” lifestyle. (Not that I would want to do it).
This group has chosen to live out in the middle of nowhere and have a very different cultural lifestyle than the rest of the U.S. People complain about the girls being 14 or so when they get married and start a family but look back in U.S. history. It was certainly not uncommon for girls of that age to be married. And look around the world.
Again, in the media they were complaining about the conservative way the women dress. WHO CARES?

As long as no laws are being broken and the adults aren’t being forced into this lifestyle, I see no problem.

And for all of the people who might say “but the children don’t have any say in being brought up this way”…..Yup..that’s right… Just like the Baptists or the Catholics or anyone else that you would care to name.


The reason I asked you about this is that it was a pretty well covered situation and trial. I thought you might have kept up with it because of the general interesting religious aspects. I also agree with nearly everything that you say…….(You too, Poodles) and I knew I had a very differing opinion on this and was wondering what you thought?

Yeah, Open Forum ;)

Fiery said...

Hound Doggy,
Hmmmmmm, I had no idea that Utah's age of consent was 14. That seems awfully young. Also- that is the age of consent for a SEXUAL relationship. But is that the age for the ability to enter into a contractual relatinship?

Most tattoo parlors won't tattoo anyone under 18 without parental consent. Marriage can be much more life changing than getting a butterfly tattooed on your ankle.

Societal norms have changed much since the era when people only lived to be 35 or so and thus women got married the moment they menstruated. Got to squeeze as many babies out of the breeding women as possible.

My daughter is 14. She is a wondeful, intelligent young woman. She is not ready for marriage and the responsibilities that come with that role. How can she begin an adult relationship when she is not finished growing up?

Also, when a person is the entire head of the church (like the pope) his word is law. People who disobey him get punished with an eternity in hell. Thus, the issue of "choice" becomes muddled. The same as holding a man responsible for breaking a window when the crook had a gun to his head and handed him the pipe saying "break it". Is the man with the pipe responsible for his actions when the alternative was death?

Hound Doggy said...

I think in our society/culture a 14 yr old certainly should not be married, married as we know it and live it.
But I think, living the lifestyle of an FLDS it probably doesn’t make much difference. The main focus is on the church and the family and you could certainly have that at 14.

Our societal norms have changed but I don’t believe theirs have that much. At least that is what they are trying to live.
And the question is should we not accept their lifestyle because it is “old fashioned” or we that really really don’t think that it is right.

What about the Amish? They don’t education their girls beyond a certain point, should we step in and tell them that they need to go to high school and college?
They would be at a huge disadvantage in our society but they will be fine in theirs.

In terms of the head of the religion muddling “choice”, I agree. But I don’t think this is any different than what happens every day in about every religion. Jeffs didn’t tell her to “go have sex with your husband, now” As in “old fashioned” times those things are not openly discussed.

Of course we can’t forget that there have been a number of people that have abandoned their religious teachings even though they may well burn in hell. (because we still don’t really really KNOW) :-)

There are also groups of people that have left the FLDS and they have formed groups to help the people who want to leave. The first of the sexual acts didn’t happen until at least two weeks after they were married. Maybe she could have sought these people out if she cared to. I also wonder why she didn’t talk to anyone else about the situation at the time. Like maybe her mother or someone. It doesn’t sound like she was isolated or captive or anything.

Poodles said...

Hound Doggy,
I think there are 2 different issues going on here. One, is the age of legal marriage. It should be changed everywhere from 14 (or whatever it is) to 18 in my opinion, if you can't get drafted you shouldn't be allowed to get married. I don't think there is a need for people to marry young anywhere, anymore in this country.

The second part is plural marriage. I think plural marriage should be legalized, I think it would help facilitate bringing it out of the shadows where it is necessary to intermarry and marry young. It would also make the person marrying more than one spouse responsible financially for all of their offspring, currently they are not in most cases.


The girl in this case could not have gone to her mother her mother put her in the situation she was in. As for help groups to get out of polygamy, the help is available if you have the means to find it. These groups (especially the females) are so isolated that she probably wasn't even aware that help was available, let alone had access to it. She did what her family told her to do.

The man she married is being prosecuted for rape, but I think this will be a tougher sell, because he was doing what he was told to do also. I don't think he knew it was wrong to have sex with a 14 year old.

Johnny said...

Age of consent 14!!!! Is that only for the Morons or is it the law for the whole state? I know there are at least some non Moron's in Utah (I wanna play mah guitah in Utah-Aussie that's how we say guitar ask Fiery not many R's)*waves* hi Poodles oh and The Hulk.
Of course we can’t forget that there have been a number of people that have abandoned their religious teachings even though they may well burn in hell. (because we still don’t really really KNOW) :-)
Doggy please tell me you are being facetious here!
It is a good question though... Should alternative groups be scrutinised more? When can we step in and say you are so far out of step that what you are doing is wrong?
Maybe she could have sought these people out if she cared to. I also wonder why she didn’t talk to anyone else about the situation at the time. Like maybe her mother or someone. It doesn’t sound like she was isolated or captive or anything.
It's just not that easy Doggy, isolation or captivity don't necessarily have to be physical constraints...you can be isolated and held captive mentally. Just ask the abused spouse who doesn't speak up, a lot of times it is very hard psychologically for an individual to speak up for many reasons especially if you are a young girl and the "parent" and "adults" who know better are the ones perpetrating the abuse.

Johnny said...

Don't you believe that we "Created" and unclean environment?
What's your point glob?

Hound Doggy said...

I, too, agree that the age should be raised. I wonder why it has not been? I guess they are too busy making sure nobody can buy booze on Sundays. (that's the law where I live too.)

I also think that multi-marriage should be legal. I have always wondered about this too. You can only be legally married once so even if you go through some ceremony the second or third or whatever would not be legal so how is it that you could break the law?
How does one define wife? What are the criteria?

If a family can support itself without government help I don’t really care what they do. I am like this with most things. If you want to do something that doesn’t effect me or society (like murder or stealing or that kind of thing), go right ahead, have fun.

I’m not going to push the idea that she could have gotten help elsewhere. Sometimes resources are limited.

I don’t see that Jeffs did much wrong in terms of the law. If you treat him like any other religious leader, I don’t see why he is in jail. If people think that this will shut down the religion or the lifestyle they are crazy.

I also find it interesting that on “freethinking” blogs that there continue to be commentors that throw around insults and name-calling. Why can’t we at least tolerate others beliefs/lifesyles? There are many that give us a hard time and we don’t like it. Maybe it is just “kick the dog” syndrome. Right Johnny?

Fiery said...

Hound Doggy,

Tolerance for another's beliefs and lifestyles is a wonderful thing. Yay tolerance! I think I can tolerate anything consenting adults do with other consenting adults. Sometimes I would prefer it if they did it in the privacy of their own home. Sometimes I would prefer it if they would keep it to the privacy of their own blog.

But for another person to come into my home, or onto my blog, or into the PUBLIC arena and start spouting their beliefs, ramming them down my throat, making public policy based on morals THEY hold dear, then I've got a problem. Why should I be tolerant? Why should I stand meekly by and tolerate that which is detrimental to me and mine?

"Kick the dog" syndrome??? Isn't that where your boss picks on you at work and you can't yell at him so you go home and take it out on your dog?

I'm not sure that applies here. Unless this is a call back to Janice(who has departed)'s claim of "smeer the queer" with reg golb being the proverbial queer.

Poodles said...

The conviction of Jeffs was based on testimony of the girl (woman now) that she had told the man no that she didn't want to have sex, but that he forced her to. And because this "marriage" was arranged by Jeffs and coerced by Jeffs that is what made him an accessory to the rape. I think they need to also go after the parents of the girl who turned her over to her "husband".

I know it could be argued that the parents were only following Jeffs religious orders too, and maybe that is true, but being they were the adults in the situation then they need to be held responsible for their actions as well as Jeffs.

Reg Golb said...

Fiery

You seem confused. Tolerate doesn't mean what you have been convinced it means.

Go to a science book. Organism can tolerate substances, environmental factors, ect, but by the very nature of the substance or factor, it is not the organisms optimal situation. Hence the need to tolerate.

Fiery said...

golb
tolerate:
1 : to endure or resist the action of (as a drug or food) without serious side effects or discomfort : exhibit physiological tolerance for
This would be the scientific definition you are talking about.

2 a : to allow to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction
This would be the political definition I was using.

2 b : to put up with (learn to tolerate one another)
This would be a variation on the political definition that you are hinting at.

Hound Doggy said...

Sorry I started the whole tolerate thing. I was refering to Johnny using morons instead of Mormons. It just bugged me. I am not Mormon but I have a hard time bashing an entire group of people for....I don't know what???? I don't find it useful to bitch about people that have done nothing more than have different opinions than I do. Especially in such a jr. high sort of way.
Now, if there are specific things about a person or group of people that are bothersome....go right ahead and bitch. I'm not against bitching, this just sort of bothered me.
And the kick-the-dog thing was about the same thing. So, people say that we atheists kill and eat babies or whatever and we don't like it because we really don't do it that often so...we have to call Mormons morons because we can.

Hound Doggy said...

Let me also say that what I mean by tolorate is just a general "can't we all just get along" thing. I will not get bent out of shape by your lifesyle/behavior as long as it doesn't effect me.
I don't care if a gay couple lives next door to me because that does not effect me. It's not about the gayness (or whatever). I don't care if two old guys set up a moonshine operation on my block and sit around pickling themselves, it does not effect me.
I am happy for them to live their lives as they see fit. It may not be my thing but it doesn't bother me.

I am really not for the ramming down throat approach.
See, that does effect me.
And it makes me angry because they are not treating me as I would treat them.

Johnny said...

I was refering to Johnny using morons instead of Mormons. It just bugged me. I am not Mormon but I have a hard time bashing an entire group of people for....I don't know what???? I don't find it useful to bitch about people that have done nothing more than have different opinions than I do.
So, people say that we atheists kill and eat babies or whatever and we don't like it because we really don't do it that often so...we have to call Mormons morons because we can.

Moron-from the Greek word moros meaning "dull" (as opposed to sharp) and used to describe a person with a mental age between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale. Just because it is a derogatory word doesn't mean that it's use is not valid...lucky I didn't call them cunts hey!!

I think all people who believe in a god are a moron in the respect of that specific belief. I can't believe that you don't if you are an atheist!
I have no problem respecting the right for them to have those beliefs but doesn't mean that I have to respect the belief or the person who holds that belief.
It's people like you, hound doggy, who think it is just a matter of differing opinion (would that it were) who allow the religious to think that they might be right. As far as just believing in god I certainly think they are erroneous and so should you if you call yourself an atheist but I couldn't give a rats arse about it if they keep it to themselves they can believe whatever.
I don't find it useful to bitch about people that have done nothing more than have different opinions than I do. Naive
What I despise is religions capacity for intolerance ,bigotry and sexism if you don't think morons (and christians and muslims etc) aren't bigotted against homosexuals or sexist then you are ignorant. You made a comment about the amish stopping educating their women at a certain age, you know why you don't hear the women complain? Because they don't know any better!
Let me also say that what I mean by tolorate is just a general "can't we all just get along" thing. I will not get bent out of shape by your lifesyle/behavior as long as it doesn't effect me.
I am afraid seeing people persecuted for their lifestyle/behaviour that doesn't harm anyone affects me and I will speak out or bitch about it wherever I do see it. How hard do the religious lobby to prevent gay marriage?
People complain about the girls being 14 or so when they get married and start a family but look back in U.S. history. It was certainly not uncommon for girls of that age to be married.
If you look back at US history you will also find people owned slaves!!

Hound doggy I might kick a person but I would never kick a dog!

Fiery said...

Johnny, that was a fabulously articulate comment. Well said!

Sharon said...

Hi Fiery

I was just blog jumping and found you. I like this very much and will have a good snoop around!

I have kept a home-education blog for a while now, but just started a new blog about choosing atheism. I don't want to link the 2 separate entities just yet. I'm just not ready to have all the friends and family members I know read my HE blog, get such an insight into my throwing-off-the-faith stuff. I would have logged in here with that ID but it's not a blogger blog.
Anyway, I just wanted to say hello and good stuff!

Fiery said...

Well Sharon! Welcome to my blog and thank you so very much for leaving such a great comment! I hope you enjoy yor snoop around. *giggles excitedly*

Something rather thrilling about someone going through the old stuff, finding bits they enjoy. Comment on anything! :-D

I know what you mean about not being ready for family & friends to know. My Mum and Dad have no idea ..... well that's probably not entirely accurate... at the very most they have "concerns" that I might not be a believer anymore. I even talk about that in a few posts.

Anyway....thanks heaps for stoppin' in! Hope to see you around here again!
:-D