Tagged: belief Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 6:50 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, blasphemy, Chosen People, Christianity, , , Good Friday, peace, , , ,   


    I was going to title this awkward post GOOD FRIDAY FARE, but thought better of it (a little too light to fill the bill). Or I could have titled it REALLY?. Really? I may be an ex-Catholic, but I still respect the meaning of Good Friday for the hundreds of millions who take the premise of this day at faith value. My breach of faith is not with the faithful, but with the premise of their faith — as explained in the poem which follows this paragraph of Christian apologia:

    What’s So Good about Good Friday? asks Episcopal priest Justin Holcomb in a recent article. The origin of the term, he says, is debatable, but “Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins….all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures.” We can all agree, can we not, with the gross understatement that people have been sinning since time immemorial? But….


    One of the earliest questions which presented itself to my youthful mind was that of election: Why had God chosen the Jewish people as the sole recipients of  His divine revelation and of the messianic promise? By what creative caprice had he excluded all others? –Morris West, Catholic novelist & playwright (1916-99)

    After the Lord God said Let there be light, there was no one
    to share the scene. God looked down and beheld a creation
    too wondrous to keep to Himself. Flesh forward.
    Adam, meet Eve.
    But, inevitably, Adam and Eve stray.
    They have a bad day.
    ‘Twas the serpent, they say.

    Boys and girls, welcome to hard times
    where life becomes a chance bet
    begetters scatter and beget
    until they forget
    without regret
    where they came from and divine not
    what they’re about

    until at last there emerges a Chosen People on
    whom it never dawns that revelation comes with
    implications: were untold others not equally in need
    of deliverance from their benighted nature? If
    what you don’t know can’t hurt you, why now the
    Voice in the wilderness….and if it can hurt you,
    how was silence justified? You see we still live
    in the shadows of tribal primitives, still die in
    the wake of unasked questions….save for He who
    would die to save us from our sins, without asking
    if the creator was in need of saving from His own?

    Did my poem blaspheme, or did it pose a serious question (or did it blaspheme in posing a serious question)? Does your answer depend on whether you believe in an ALL-PERFECT, ALL-LOVING GOD, a MIGHT-MAKES-RIGHT GOD, or NO GOD at all? How far would you go to try to convince or force (as if belief can be forced) others to believe as you do? Isn’t it sad enough when members of one family can’t agree to disagree, much less the human family writ large? How much longer would you and your god have the world pay the price of religion’s aggressive side?

    Peace, however awkward, be with you on this Good Friday.




    • carmen 7:13 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Of course, the answer to your question, “Did my poem blaspheme, or did it pose a serious question (or did it blaspheme in posing a serious question)?” would be a resounding “YES!” to many people . . . those who believe in the myth will be insulted that you would even ask such a thing.
      But for me (having decided a few years ago that the whole thing is nothing more than a comforting ‘tale’ to many) it is a very insightful suggestion to all who read – please do consider the negativity associated with people’s religious beliefs.

      Let’s hope we all don’t get sucked into the great fight over whose invisible (and – I think – imaginary) god is the mightiest. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline 8:07 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen makes a good point in saying our God may be is an invisible God. The ancient Jews rolled up their tents and gathered their other things, put it all on donkeys and headed out for the next oasis. No temples and no statues for them. Just 10 rules to live by and that was it in the beginning. God the Creator is more to my liking as he will not interfere in my life decisions. If I do wrong, there is Yom Kipper to make it right once a year. I live with the knowledge that I have a creative, intelligent mind and I let common sense be my guide .I was a serious Catholic like mistermuse and it was a fairly good experience until my ex divorced me.

        I did not know how vicious gossip among the church going ladies could make my Mother feel so bad. Then I researched many religions and found I liked Reform Judaism the best. It is a fact many millions of people fought and died in religious wars..Maybe that is why my husband and his three brothers are all atheists after being raised as Conservative Jews.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:26 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your thoughts, Carmen. It seems we both have no problem with religious beliefs per se – but when believing is held to be the same as knowing, each differing belief becomes an absolute, and when absolutes are pitted against each other – well, human nature being what it is, bad things happen, and agreeing to disagree is out of the question (because questioning is anathema to absolutes).


    • Michaeline 8:18 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I like being a Reform Judaic Jewess. Became one after my studies with the rabbi. No one has all the answers about whether there is a God or not. My husband and his brothers were brought up as sons of a Conservative Jew. Once they grew up, attended college and worked diligently for a living, they became atheists. I like a religion where I can exercise my creative intelligence. I do not think mistermuse is guilty of blasphemy. He is sharing his thoughts and a very well written poem with us, Thank you, mistermuse

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:32 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your thoughts as well, Michaeline. What I said about respecting the Catholic faithful goes for the Jewish falthful as well, despite my profound differences with their faiths.


    • Don Frankel 8:35 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Following up on what I was saying about screaming or praying, add writing.

      People are constantly manipulating people. For the greater good, of course. They use religion, politics, pills, potions and whatever they have because of course they are orchestrating the greater good. What is the greater good? That depends on each manipulator’s perception of it.

      As to what is truth? Your guess is as good as mine and anybody else’s. The brain like all the other organs in the body has it’s limitations. It can only do what it does. I don’t think its omniscient although some people think their’s is.

      Like I mentioned to you in the past I was brought up in an atheist household. My wife was a Catholic and because of that I read the Gospels and more than once. If you listen to the things Jesus says, actually says and not the centuries of other people’s interpretations of them, you can’t really go wrong in this life. Which is kind of amazing if you stop to think about it as it’s been a little shy of two thousand years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carmen 8:42 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree to that last bit, Don (and who knows whether Jesus was divine or an apocalyptic preacher of his time?). Unfortunately, the imposter Paul got hold of the ‘gospel’.


    • Cynthia Jobin 10:33 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      When you know, you do not have to believe. Because you know. You believe things that you do not actually know….you believe the authority, the expert, your own wish for how you want the world to be. In Belief are the seeds of violence. You find yourself needing to defend your belief against the unbelief of others. Other beliefs are an affront to the validity of your belief. You want others to lend greater credence to your belief by believing it along with you. Others may not want to share your belief, they may feel imposed- upon by your belief….this is the rising of conflict. Actuality is all that we know….the rest is silence. And belief.

      I remember–having been raised a Catholic—how we used to keep silent between noon and 3 o’clock on Good Friday. I don’t practice that religion anymore, but I put no label on myself in terms of belief or disbelief. As I accept the impossibility of absolute abstract answers, the same old questions seem to grow dimmer and dimmer and fade into the silence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:05 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well put, as always, Cynthia. The problem seems to be that, for too many people, there is no difference between believing and knowing….which, ironically, I believe qualifies as ignorance.

        It’s interesting to me that, as I get to know more of my readers better, I’m finding that more of them were once practicing Catholics. I guess, depending on the eye of the beholder, that makes us serious thinkers, or heretics, or feckless, or confused, or lost souls (whatever connotation the beholder puts on “lost soul”). I prefer to think that we’re multi-dimensional. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:38 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perceptive words, Don. I would only add, “Amen.”


    • arekhill1 11:15 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Anything that ever happened to anybody else can happen to you. That’s the only thing that’s certain here, God, Jesus and Jews notwithstanding. Have a Good Friday every Friday is my motto, and my wishes for you, Sr. Muse and friends.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:35 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Since I retired from gainful employment, Friday is just like every other day — the same with Good Friday since I retired from Catholicism. So I thank you and wish you a good everyday today and every day, Ricardo.


    • arekhill1 1:37 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Saw on SWI that your sister passed, Sr. Muse. My sympathies.


    • carmen 3:09 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, Mister Muse – I am sorry to hear of her passing. 😦


    • mistermuse 7:41 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you both. She was 7+ years younger than I, and my only sibling. In this life, it seems that, sooner or later, time makes visitors of us all.


    • restlessjo 1:27 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s good to think and question. I don’t do enough of either, being more of a head in the sand lady, but you raise some good points. 🙂 Hope Easter was peaceful for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:55 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. Perhaps it is just as well not to think and question too much, as we can tie ourselves into knots trying to find answers which are beyond our capacity to find. On the other hand, a guy or gal has to go where a guy or gal has to go, even if we end up back where we started! 🙂


  • mistermuse 12:43 am on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, , , , proverb,   


    Man is learning all his life and yet he dies in ignorance. –Yugoslav proverb

    Most of us never get it.
    It’s not as if we run out of time.
    Had Methuselah lived a thousand nine hundred sixty nine years,
    could he have handled more than he feared not to believe?
    If what you want to see is what you “get” — if you don’t
    know what you don’t know — what is there to be learned?
    The answer, my friend, is growin’ in the womb….
    the surreal promise of perpetuity born in real time.


    • arekhill1 10:31 am on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      All I’ve learned for sure in my years, Sr. Muse, is that anything that ever happened to anybody else can happen to you. If that’s not it, I admit I don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 12:57 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Each generation does seem to get better!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:01 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Let’s just say that the poem is my take on the Yugoslav proverb which preceded it….but sometimes things get lost in translation. In a certain sense, my philosophical/observations-on-life poems are like my humor/jokes: if they have to be explained, they leave one scratching one’s head (not unlike the effect on me of the ways of thinking/believing that I observe and write about).


    • Osyth 1:07 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not scratching my head … I love this. Wisdom, wit and cynisism combine to make a wholly truthful poem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:07 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well BroadBlogs, I’d just say that if that’s true, a substantial portion of each succeeding generation hasn’t gotten the word!


    • mistermuse 1:11 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Osyth. I cheerfully admit to being a cynic, and will take your word for the wisdom and wit parts.


      • Osyth 1:18 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Wit and wisdom are purely in the eyes and ears of the receiver. Those that believe they are wise are generally deluded 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 3:54 am on September 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      We think we learn so much. We even build great structures to show how much but in the end it really isn’t much at all.

      Perhaps we’re at our best when questioning or as Shakespeare put “in apprehension how like a God.”


    • mistermuse 6:58 am on September 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You got that right, Don. We ARE at our best when questioning. Unfortunately, many politicians seem to think they’re at their best when absolutely certain, when steam-rolling anyone and anything that gets in their way, and when shooting down reasonable questioning of their uncompromising assertions instead of working to find solutions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • natuurfreak 3:51 pm on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for visiting my blog.I find here wise words to think over.


    • mistermuse 4:12 pm on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You are very welcome….and thank you in return for your comment.


  • mistermuse 10:57 am on September 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, , , , T-shirts   

    TO DEist OR NOT TO DEist 

    ….that is the question. And the only reason I ask it is because I came across this believable deist T-shirt website (notice I didn’t say unbelievable, because deists do believe in a creator of the universe — they just don’t believe he has been seen since setting it in motion….or Day One, if you prefer).

    Now, whatever hidden agenda the creator may have, I have none here. Far deist from me to try to convert anyone. If you got religion, God bless you, and happy praying (you can even include me in your prayers if you think it enhances your and/or my chances of eternal bliss or whatever, but I don’t buy it).

    What I do buy — or rather, being a cheapskate, what I’ll ask someone else to buy me for a Deistmas present — is one of these:


    My problem is choosing one from among these three favorites:

    FEEL the PAINE
    You Say “Heretic” Like It Was a BAD Thing

    What do you think? (Deists do believe in thinking before deciding.)


    • mistermuse 5:59 am on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s a quizzical/political P.S. to my post: What’s the difference between deists and Barack Obama?
      A deist believes in thinking before deciding. Obama believes in over-thinking before deciding.

      Sorry about that.


    • arekhill1 11:52 am on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      When is Deist Day?

      My favorite T-shirt is “God is just like Santa Claus, except your parents eventually told you there was no Santa Claus.”


      • Outlier Babe 11:41 am on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        What I think about that shirt and the “I’m too old for imaginary friends” is that it is exactly the same as a double-digit-aged person not having learned any better manners than a single-digit-aged child–

        – one who would go up to a younger child and purposely make them cry by telling them there’s no Santa

        – one who would make fun of Moslems to their faces for kneeling on prayer rugs, and would jeer at people visiting cemetaries

        I feel about those shirts the way I feel about the Christian-bigoted walking-fish car magnets that purposely miscast all Christians as anti-Science mon-believers in evolution.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 5:59 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink

          I don’t know any deists who do those things, and though many atheists do, I don’t hold with them, just as I don’t hold with religious fundamentalists….and for the same reason – both camps are absolutists. As I’ve said in several other posts/comments, people can believe what they want – just don’t equate your belief with knowledge/fact. Your belief is YOUR truth, not necessarily THE truth – and I try to hold myself to the same standard (but that doesn’t mean humor and/or satire about it are out of bounds, and I hope that’s how my readers take my posts that are thus tagged).

          Liked by 1 person

        • Outlier Babe 7:15 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink

          It sounds like we may agree on behavior, even if for different reasons. I laugh and enjoy humor that some–possibly many–would find disrespectful and offensive. But pulling one’s pants down in a church or museum is not humor–in my opinion, it’s attention-seeking, or an attempt at shaming or bullying.

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:21 pm on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m tempted to say Deist Day (D-Day) is June 6, but that would be in bad taste, so let’s just say that Deist Day is up in the air – sort of like the Creator, coming at a time we know not.

      That T-shirt works for atheists, Ricardo, but Deists still believe in Santa – they just think he’s been snowed in for millions of years.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 9:47 pm on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Who is Paine? Was that a reference to Thomas Paine from the 1700’s? Anyway I like the deist shirt that says “Feel the Paine.” It is ambiguous and should not hurt anyone’s feelings. If it were me I would order that one but stay away from anything that has the word HERETIC in it. There still maybe folks who like to stake and fry those heretical people…who knows? I would hate to see you become a crispy critter, a mere shell of your former Kingliness.


    • mistermuse 10:10 pm on September 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, that’s the 1700s Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers who was a Deist, and a man of many quotes, which I may devote a future post to. But I doubt most people know who he was, so in that sense, “Feel the Paine” would probably be more meaningless than ambiguous, and I’m leaning toward one of the other two, though I appreciate your “Heretic” concern.


    • Don Frankel 2:01 am on September 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I lean towards Paine but then I couldn’t help but come up with my own. Cease Religion and Deist.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:22 am on September 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I like that one, Don. If you go into the T-shirt business, you can count on me to buy at le-ast the Deist shirt.


  • mistermuse 10:45 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, , , , J. K. Rowling, ,   



    Who knows why?

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


    When one’s faith is fetter
    And hope faces test,
    Faith knows no better
    Than hope for the best.

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The above pretty much encapsulates religion for me as a natural antiphon to the question of human existence. It is only logical to assume that there is not only a reason for life, but a creator of it. From those conclusions, lacking direct knowledge — possibilities become suppositions, suppositions become mantras, mantras become answers, answers become beliefs, and beliefs become truth: religions, collectively speaking.

    I mean, you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist.  –J. K. Rowling

    Well, life does exist….unless you and I and J. K. Rowling and billions  of other passers-through are figments of some creator’s imagination — which, I suppose, is a possibility. As for the rest, revelations are a dime a dozen, and, bargains though they be, I’m buying none of them.

    And that, my friends, is why I’m a deist (just in case anyone’s curious).

    • Michaeline Montezinos 11:07 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Your post about religion is fascinating, mistermuse. Now I know you are a deist; you present a good argument through your writing.


    • mistermuse 1:32 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Michaeline. I might add that I’m a deist, not by birth or proselytization, but by “virtue” of the process of elimination. If one reasons that creation requires a creator, but that so-called revelations come to no more than human longing for knowledge-denied, what’s left but the “religion” that’s not a religion.

      Much more could be said, of course, but far be it from me to try to convert anyone to my way of thinking (as many religions do).


      • Michaeline Montezinos 2:09 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Since you have had your life experience and knowledge gained, you are fine with me being a deist. Maybe someday I will be one ,too. Who knows ? Meanwhile I enjoy my religion as it is the basis for my hope for the future and helps me live my daily life. We Jews do not try to forcibly convert anyone to our faith also. You are welcom for my previous comment. I usually like everything you write.:-)


    • mistermuse 11:20 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I can understand enjoying one’s religion (though personally, religion is too serious a matter to espouse for enjoyment) – for example, I can think of few things more joyous than the “old time religion” of the black church when they pour their hearts and souls into singing those great old Negro spirituals. Now there’s a religion I can believe in every way but intellectually, praise the Lord!


    • Don Frankel 7:47 am on June 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You know Muse I have to thank you for this. Over the years we’ve explored this question in various articles and posts. I’ve never really been able to articulate an answer and I’ve realized that’s it.

      I mean God or Mother Nature or the Big Bang or whichever you prefer may well be the ultimate abstract concept in that you can see whatever you wish or are able to comprehend. Where everyone gets into trouble, including atheists is when trying to take an abstract concept and make it something concrete. The human mind is not capable of making an abstract concept into something concrete like a brick. It’s not whether there is a God or not? It’s what are we capable of understanding? It’s like trying to make the human mind do Alchemy or turn lead into gold or vice versa. We can’t do it. Or as one wise guy in my old neighborhood used to say. “Ya don’t know do ya?”


      • mistermuse 3:09 pm on June 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Well put, Don. That’s the biggest bummer of all, isn’t it? If there’s no “life after death,” there’s no answer – sort of like reading a great mystery novel, only to get to the end, find the last page missing, and never know how it turns out.


    • arekhill1 10:00 am on June 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a Dudeist. It’s only a few letters away from Deist.


  • mistermuse 11:06 pm on March 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , belief, Bernard Berenson, , Friedrich Nietzsche, , , Jerome K. Jerome, Lillian Hellman, Mahatma Gandhi., Pontius Pilate, , , , ,   


    That is the question: “What is truth?”, as Pontius Pilate asked. In what sense did he ask it? It seems that Pilate did not wait for Jesus to answer, so a good guess is that he asked it rhetorically….and why not? Better men than Pilate have concluded that the truth of a thing is nothing more than what each of us believes it to be — religious beliefs being the supreme example, and killing/persecuting over religious differences being the supreme irony….as if it is necessarily so that belief equals truth to demand surrender to. Like Ira Gershwin, “I takes dat gospel whenever it’s pos’ple– but wid a grain of salt!”

    Many wise things have been said concerning the concept of truth, but I believe we must look outside of religion for most of the wise men and women who have said those wise things, just as we look beyond politicians for the deeper concepts that govern us. Here are some of these “outsiders” and their sayings that ring true to me:

    Between truth and the search for truth, I choose the second. -Bernard Berenson

    Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods. -Albert Einstein

    Truth exists; only lies are invented. -Georges Braque

    There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth. – Samuel Butler

    Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. -Aldous Huxley

    Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth. -Lillian Hellman

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven’t got it. -George Bernard Shaw

    It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar. -Jerome K. Jerome

    We occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. -Winston Churchill

    All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. -Friedrich Nietzsche

    An error does not become truth by means of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. -Mahatma Gandhi

    Would you believe that this treatise was brought to you by the same libertine who brought you yesterday’s less high-minded, but perhaps more uplifting, post MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RAUNCH…. what can I say?

    • Don Frankel 8:44 am on March 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.” If you follow this rule you won’t Fucks Funny.


    • mistermuse 10:30 am on March 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Mel Blanc, of Bugs Bunny and “That’s all folks” fame, once needed “truth” to put one over on the Calif. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, which asked him if his license plate KMIT stood for a radio station (illegal in California). Blanc replied, “No, that’s actually an old Jewish expression, ‘know me in truth’.” What it really stood for was “kish mir im tuchis,” a Yiddish phrase meaning “Kiss my ass.”


  • mistermuse 5:31 pm on July 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , belief, , , , psychiatry,   


    Perhaps you saw the story, reported by Associated Press writer Michael Rubikam, on 07/06/10. The headline was an attention grabber: Widow lives with corpses of husband, twin. It was the kind of headline that, save for the limited attention-span generation, won’t let you not take time to read the story behind it.

    It seems that a 91 year old widow in rural northern Pennsylvania, Jean Stevens, had the embalmed corpses of her late husband and twin sister dug up and placed in her garage and house, where she could look at and talk to them. After someone revealed this to authorities and had the bodies removed, the story reports that “She knows what people must think of her. But she had her reasons, and they are complicated, a bit sad, and in their own peculiar way, sweet.” They come across as the reasons of, not an unbalanced or pitifully ignorant person, but of a thinking, if somewhat eccentric, person.

    She kept her husband and sister well-dressed and seated on couches where she could see and touch them…even talk to them…because, “when you put them in the (ground), that’s goodbye, goodbye.” She worries that after death, there is nothing. But then, gazing at the stars in the skies and the deer in the fields, she thinks “There must be somebody who created this. It didn’t come up like mushrooms. I don’t always go to church, but I want to believe.”

    If anyone in this AP story strikes me as holier-than-thou and less than grounded, it’s Helen Lavretsky, a UCLA psychiatry professor, who is reported as declaring that

    …people who aren’t particularly spiritual or religious often have a difficult time with death because they fear that death is truly the end. For them, she said, “death doesn’t exist. They deny death.”

    In the first place, people can be spiritual without being religious, and in the second place, Stevens doesn’t deny death – she deals with it in her own way. Just because Mrs. Stevens’ way isn’t Dr. Lavretsky’s way is no reason to put down the former from on high.

    Somehow I can’t help but feel that I could have a much more engaging, thoughtful and human conversation with Mrs. Stevens than with Dr. Lavretsky. One thing I know for certain – I would much rather give a great big hug to Mrs. Stevens.

    • carmen 7:11 pm on December 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m with ya on that sentiment. Mrs. Stevens sounds like a lovely person. Dr. Lavretsky? Well, she sounds like a psychiatrist. . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:09 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You got that right! 🙂


  • mistermuse 5:41 pm on March 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, , , ,   


    Shortly after I became an ex-Catholic, my non-Catholic son-in-law asked why I’d remained in the Church so many years. Off the top of my head, I replied that I was brainwashed. I could’ve added that, possibly, that was the same reason he remained ideologically conservative all his life.

    Yet, I doubt that such an observation would have led him to consider re-examining his own thinking. In my experience, even very intelligent people like him seldom change their mindset – they’re so invested in what they’ve been and where they are. And, to be honest, maybe it’s just as well.

    We can theorize that self-questioning of entrenched views would lead automatically to a better place. Granted, it could lead you to a more open place, a wiser place, but a better place (if you equate better with more comfortable), probably not. There is nothing comfortable about realizing that everything you believed (or, at least, hoped) was gospel, is not. I would hate to think I caused someone I love to abandon their black & white comfort zone for a gray area they may not be equipped to face. An evangelizer, I am not. But if I were, I would challenge you to ask why you don’t challenge at least some of your own assertions.

    Even I’m not right 100% of the time.

  • mistermuse 9:57 pm on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, ,   


    As a follow-up to my review of DEADLY DECISIONS, I would like to commend two additional books to the attention of anyone interested in continuing their education in these matters.

    I am indebted for the first of these book proposals (as I haven’t yet read it myself) to blog reader tomgnh, who suggests checking out MARCH OF FOLLY by Barbara Tuchman. According to tomgnh, Tuchman “traces several truly stupid political decisions to try to understand the forces that led to them despite arguments to the contrary.”

    The second recommendation is WHAT’S SO WRONG WITH BEING ABSOLUTELY RIGHT (subtitled THE DANGEROUS NATURE OF DOGMATIC BELIEF) by Judy J. Johnson, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at a Canadian college. This book tackles similar subject matter from a more theoretical and clinical (as you might suspect from her profession), but nonetheless highly readable, standpoint. Quoting from the back cover blurb: “By focusing on how people believe, not what they believe, we can minimize dogmatism’s harmful effects in our personal lives as well as our educational, political and other social institutions.”


Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc