Category Archives: Taoism

Secularism? There’s an app for that.

Image of iPod touch
My access to atheism on the go

Recently, the house that I moved to received the internet, which meant (amongst other things) this to me- that my iPod touch would once again me app-able. I was extremely excited about this, as I had heard about an anti-Creationism app and had been eager to try it, but it wasn’t available in the Android store.

And now I have one.

“Creationist Claims Index” is an iPod and iPhone app that takes every Creationist claim that certainly I can think of and refutes it with scientific evidence and lots of cited sources. My favorite thing to do since I’ve acquired it has been to ask freethinking friends of mine what their favorite Creationist claim is and then read with them the refutation. (My own personal favorite? That the Second Law of Thermodynamics refutes Evolution. I now understand why that isn’t true not only thanks to this app, but thanks to the genius brain of my physicist boyfriend and his friends.)

In similar news, I have also downloaded an app in which I can listen to relaxing music and create a Zen rock garden. Because I like being contrary like that.

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On allowing myself

The problem I have with many religions is being told directly what faith should be, which ends up as someone else’s version of faith. This, in turn, means people are left to break tenets of their religious background or belief system, in order to be themselves. This creates an internal battle between their nature and an imposed outside vision.

– Casey Komcher, A Personal Tao

Isn’t the point of Christianity that God made us imperfect and we need Him to be perfected?

And doesn’t this mean that, every time we are “imperfect,” we are left to feel guilt and shame? Is this guilt and shame justified? Is it there because we know that we are falling short of God’s principals that He has set up for our lives? Or is it there because we’re letting down our parents, our peers, ourselves?

As a child, there were strict restrictions that existed on what I was allowed to see and hear. I was heavily encouraged to go to AWANA and memorize Bible scriptures. It made my parents happy, and it made them speak highly of me to the other parents. Because of this, I decided to focus hard on being the best at AWANA so that I could make my parents very happy with me.

On the other hand, my parents would never let me watch much of the television or movies that my friends loved, nor could I listen to much of the music that my friends listened to. The Simpsons, South Park, and MTV were all things that were banned in our household until I was in high school, well beyond the years where my friends were exposed to these things. The only music that I listened to until I was in Jr. High was anything “oldies” or Radio Disney. Even in Jr. High, the bulk of the music I listened to was Christian music, because it was approved by my parents. The first time I said a curse word was an accident; I asked my friend what a particular word meant, and she started laughing and saying how funny it was that I was cussing. While my friends could all, at ten years old, make references to something Hannibal Lector did, I could only say for the hundredth time “I’m not allowed.”

And still, I’m not a very extreme case. I know many friends, one in particular, who, to this day, are still being held to a very extreme standard of behavior by their parents. As for myself, despite the fact that most of these things were forbidden, I would find ways in which to explore them anyway. I watched MTV when I was alone at my grandmother’s house; I peeped through my parents fingers when they would cover up sexual things on the television screen; and, like a normal pre-teen and teen, I grew to swear on a regular basis (something that I spoke about with a therapist, once, in tears, feeling so torn between what I wanted to do and what I was supposed to do; she was simply bemused).

And then there is me now. If I still identified as Christian, I would be labeled the worst Christian of all time- I love wine, Lady Gaga, the gays, and- heaven forbid!- rap music.

But at the same time, I love people, I love people with autism, I love music therapy, I love my dog, I love. While many would tell me that the aforementioned things are deadly to my soul, to me they are just being true to my soul, because they are all a part of loving myself.

Now, if only I can convince my parents of this.

The Way (But perhaps without “the truth” and “the light”)

I have been sitting here, trying to remember anything that I was taught about Taoism. All I can remember off the top of my head is that the first letter has been expressed as either an English “t” or a “d” in our translations. I remember that it is old, older than Christianity. I remember that it is a set of philosophies and not a religion.

So, not enough to make me stop and think about it seriously.

There is one reason why I stopped on a website about Taoism to read what it has to offer. And all I can say is: Taoism is simultaneously perfect and imperfect.

Science is fact

Religion is faith

Magic is perception

Know these boundaries to discover what lies beyond.

How genius is that?

I have been afraid to jump immediately into any Eastern religions, mostly because I know that they will attract me quickly. After all, how could I possibly keep from falling in love with a tradition that will openly admit its own fluidity and its personal nature? Growing up in a society that praises order and homogeneity can only make me yearn for its antithesis, naturally.

Not that the Tao is necessarily disorder or heterogeneity; the Tao seems to me to be a philosophy of living your life in the peace that comes from accepting yourself and life fully. And how isn’t that amazing? Taoism seems to be offering to me everything that I wanted out of Christianity but failed to find: peace. In Christianity, peace seems to come from giving up yourself, your actions and your life to a higher being. Taoism seems to be finding peace by taking control of yourself, your actions and your life in a responsible, calm manner. I would much prefer this, as it seems to be more mature.

I’m not sure if this is where I will end up, as a believer in “the way,” but it sure is interesting. I’ll definitely be doing research.