December 10, 2004

Christmas thoughts

"Ask Umbra" recently tackled the age old question, "Which is better for the environment? a once-live tree or a reusable plastic one?"

Personally, I'm hoping to find a way to make a larger than usual nativity set that we can place our gifts around and just skip the tree altogether. It seems a little crazy to me to celebrate the birth of God incarnate by killing a tree.

Do you feel like you're already drowning under a sea of STUFF? Are you worried that for Christmas you'll end up with a bunch more STUFF that you don't need or want? Why don't you suggest to your friends and fam. that they give donations in your name this year -- Gift ideas that may just make a difference .


  1. Over 100,000 once-live trees are shipped to Hawaii every Christmas season in refrigerated containers, mostly from Oregon. A once-live tree can be mulched, of course, and in many areas, that's encouraged.

    Personally, I prefer still-live trees. At least a couple times during my youth, my parents bought trees that were bagged or potted, and planted them after the holidays. One such tree grew for many years outside my bedroom window, and was decorated with outdoor lights every year.

    Last year, we bought a locally grown Norfolk Island Pine (one of two pine-like trees, along with the Cook Island Pine, if I'm not botching the name of that one too badly, that grows on islands in the South Pacific), live, in a pot. It spent the holidays indoors, then I planted it in the backyard, where it's been growing happily. It's clearly visible from my daughter's bedroom window, and will be getting decorated with outdoor lights... :)

    I don't know whether we'll get another tree for indoors this year. I'd kind of like to just have the one in the yard. But if we do get another indoor tree, it'll be another Norfolk Island Pine, potted, and it too will get planted after the holidays.

  2. It really depends. I have got a cut tree every year. I dont feel that bad really (shocked?). If I still lived in South Dakota and cut a live Black Hills Spruce then I would feel bad because theyre becoming endangered due to Ponderosa Pine squeezing them out. I buy Noble Fir here from the same farm every year. Some places depend solely on their Christmas trees for a living thus I am supporting their agriculture (and thus them and their family). These are not wild trees. These are seedlings that they raised into sale maturity. Plus I always chip my trees in the chipper so it all goes back nice and tidy.

    Im not sure how large scale commercial farms handle international sales. My concern with that would be if they are stripping the land and not managing it in a healthy manner. It is extremely easy to leach the land (soil) when done in a wholesale scale. And that is not cool to do at all.

  3. well, as umbra pointed out, farmed christmas trees are just like farmed anything else. the real concern then is whether they're using pesticides and shipping them huge distances (like to hawaii from oregon ;-) ). i've done the potted tree thing, but you can't leave them in the house too long or they start to think it's spring, so the ones we got spent most of their time on the front porch (and we didn't really get to enjoy them). we also don't have enough yard space to plant any more trees and if we DO squeeze another tree in, it'll be an apple tree, not an evergreen. so not only do i not want to pay three times as much for a live tree, but i don't want to have to find a new home for the tree either.

    i think i just feel like this is one of those things that society forces on us (like television) that you're just expected to do. when you tell someone that you don't do it, their jaw drops and they start to wonder if you're a communist. though i do watch television on occasion (trek) i don't feel like i need to buy into the whole tree thing. it has nothing to do with the christian christmas (then again, christmas itself was rather made up since we have no clue when jesus was born, nor were christians ever directed to celebrate christ's birth as they were his death and resurrection).

    and the whole gift giving thing drives me nuts. i don't realy NEED anything, nor do most of the people i give to. but people feel compelled to give. i think, in general, we like to give, to let people know we're thinking of them or care about them. but we can do that any time of the year. at christmas time, there's definitely more of a sense that it's a requirement. so this year, i think i'm going to do the World Vision gift thing as well as donate to an orphanage in ukraine in other people's names.

  4. I've been looking for a nice renewable true, because I feel terrible about all the cut trees. I got one last year, though, for the first time in a while, because I was feeling a bit nostalgic for the traditional tree w/ lights, etc.

    The cats like the real tree, which makes it almost acceptable. Plus, it smells nice. I wish I could get a nice potted tree with the smell, but all I've found are weird little fern-like trees that are more bush than tree.

    Maybe plastic + tree scent would work. Those plastic trees are surprisingly expensive.

  5. unfortunately, those plastic trees are made out of PVC's.

    from greenpeace -- "From its manufacture to its disposal, PVC emits toxic compounds. During the manufacture of the building block ingredients of PVC (such as vinyl chloride monomer) dioxin and other persistent pollutants are emitted into the air, water and land, which present both acute and chronic health hazards. During use, PVC products can leach toxic additives, for example flooring can release softeners called phthalates. When PVC reaches the end of its useful life, it can be either landfilled, where it leaches toxic additives or incinerated, again emitting dioxin and heavy metals. When PVC burns in accidental fires, hydrogen chloride gas and dioxin are formed."

    from what i've heard, of all the plastics, PVC is the absolute worst.

    umbra did find one tree that wasn't made out of PVC's, but it was also more expensive.

    my mom's tree is a hunk of tree trunk (real wood) with plastic branches sticking straight out of it. when not in use, you fold the branches down. it's not as big as as the usual christmas tree, but it works.

    (for you wikifans, here's a wiki link to their PVC article)

  6. I dont think the lady I buy from uses pesticides. The only big issue here is borers (that I know of, Im not big on conifers) getting into the central leader and killing off the dominance of that leader.

    But it did get me to think about the amount of tree accessories that are fake and can be harmful.

    If you want to get into some really nasty chemical upkeep of plants then I suggest looking into how they grow poinsettia and mums. Those suckers require a ton of growth hormone to get into that "prim and proper store bought shape." Otherwise they look like a ratty messy.

  7. Hm. I have to admit I don't know what mine's made of, as it's a hand-me-down.

  8. Isn't a once-live tree fine as long as:

    (a) it's from somewhere that didn't used to be a rainforest, or otherwise well-established ecosystem
    (b) it's from somewhere nearby
    (c) it's replaced by a new tree

    I seem to remember that trees do most of their work during the early years, so in some respects it's better to keep growing new trees than maintaining old ones, or maybe that's not true for christmas tree varieties.

  9. your a, b, and c are all pretty much what umbra said. basically you should think of christmas trees as you would with any other farmed produce.

    i've heard opinions that go both ways on the "young trees are better" theory. i should look into that. (... some day...)

  10. EDIT: Weird. Editing a partial quote seems to replace the quoted subsection with a quote of the full post...?

    It seems a little crazy to me to celebrate the birth of God incarnate by killing a tree.
    I don't know. It seems a bit crazy to me to celebrate the birth of Jesus by honoring capitalism (ie the "greed is good" philosophy) in a country-wide (world-wide?) frenzy of needless, rampant consumerism, even if it is supposedly for friends and family and not yourself and what not. If people are going to do that anyways, they might as well kill a tree in the process. Surely a whole bunch more die in the avalanche of holiday greeting cards and gift wrapping paper anyways.

    I don't think I've had a Christmas tree ever since I moved out of my parents' place. They have a fake tree that's probably older than I am. Now that's recycling. As for once-live trees, even leaving the environment aside, I don't see how people can stand to have something that's already killed and slowly decaying in their home like that. I wouldn't want a once-live tree in my home just on grounds of cleanliness -- it used to live outside with who knows what germs and bugs and dirt, and now it's dead, and people want to take them home!? It just seems very depressing and gruesome to me -- so many people gleefully spending money to bring death inside their homes, as a celebration of peace no less. I think that'd make a great horror film: Christmas trees bringing their homes the same kind of peace the trees themselves were given. ;-)

    Then again, I feel the same way about cut flowers too. Using a bouquet of dying vegetable matter as a symbol of love or friendship seems to me to be very seriously twisted. We have such strange social customs.

  11. don't know. It seems a bit crazy to me to celebrate the birth of Jesus by honoring capitalism (ie the "greed is good" philosophy) in a country-wide (world-wide?) frenzy of needless, rampant consumerism, even if it is supposedly for friends and family and not yourself and what not.i completely agree on this as well. that's why my christmas "gift" of choice this year is either a donation to help a girl rescued from the sex trade or a donation of a pair of shoes for an orphan in ukraine. (link forthcoming)

    i also don't do the christmas card thing. i send out newsletters to my friends all year long. i don't see any need to add some silly card to that when i send something near december.

  12. "No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need even of God--for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God." -- Oscar Romero

  13. Interesting choice of a quote, considering that INTJs are generally supposed to believe in self-sufficiency. For the quote to hold, the blessed cannot celebrate a genuine Christmas. Cute, coming from a bishop of God. For the hard workers who don't look down on others, I suppose such mostly but not-entirely self-sufficient people who still need God anyways would end up celebrating non-genuine Christmases?

    I wish you and everybody a very fake Christmas then. I wish upon everyone at least an abundance of spirit and hope during the holidays and always. If I were to assume that God is and that God is Good, then I would think it to make sense that His Manifestation would be strength of spirit, not poverty of it.

  14. I'm with Betty on this one.

    Implications of the "created in his image"-theory aside, it's a poor religion that can only thrive amidst misery and pain. Also, I don't see how self-sufficience is a bad thing. Sounds like a preacher afraid to lose power over his flock. Bit of a medieval touch there.

  15. That's assuming that such poverty of spirit brings on pain and misery.

    Isn't what Romero said just a paraphrase of "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" ?

    I think it is generally true that our spirits *are* poor. However it's possible to use ones wealth of intellect or money to mask spiritual need.

    "Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. " 2 Cor 12:10

    (4 minutes to Christmas here )

  16. yeah, romero dealt mainly with the poor, so i think he was speaking more to encourage them than to slam others (though i'm suspect he wouldn't mind if the arrogant rich read a slam into what he said).

    even though i'm an INTJ and by nature assume that i can do it on my own (or that i'd rather die trying than to rely upon others) i've also recognized the strength of being an active member of a community, one component of which is to rely upon others just as i should let them rely upon me (not in areas of weakness, but in strength. my strength should be their strength and my weakness should be hidden in their strength).

    i also think that romero is saying that if you don't need Jesus to come and be born in this world as your savior, then why the heck are you celebrating the holiday. granted, there's the issue of the fact that christmas has a multiple personality disorder. there's the christmas of christ's birth. (christ the messiah, that is.) there's the christmas of a little jesus ('cause he was such a nice guy after all) and lots of nice feelings towards others. there's the christmas of consumption. and there's the christmas of massive expectations and hype. but if you're saying that you're celebrating that first kind of christmas (which many christians, in fact, DO say they're celebrating, though they in truth celebrate one of the other christmas's instead -- i find i do) and you don't care that Jesus is the messiah then what are you celebrating after all?

    (of 'course, the CEO's of Toys R Us, Hasbro, etc. would all say that the "genuine christmas" is the one of giving, giving, giving. who am i to say they're wrong? once a word has started to change in it's meaning, who can really pin it down any more? this is what i hate about staunch grammarians. language is in flux. it helps if we can agree on what a term means, but it's not always possible. so what Does christmas mean?)

  17. I believe the name of that condition might be "sadomasochism". ;-)

  18. Maybe humans can recognize and want good even if we don't need it for ourselves. I personally don't need a cure for juvenile diabetes, but I would still rejoice if a permanent cure were found. Why would we be unable to genuinely celebrate good if it doesn't benefit us directly? We would be definitely poor in spirit if we were unable to recognize and celebrate what is good just because we personally don't require the benefit of it.

  19. the pleasure is not that someone is weak or that someone is injured or that someone is in need or that someone is in distress. the pleasure is that God responds to these very weaknesses, injuiries, needs and distresses. he provides the strength, the healing, the required and the settling.

    it's the difference between having a perfect child who is never in need and therefore never needs you as a parent, and the child who occasionally gets hurt (not because the parent wills the child to get hurt) who runs into her mother's arms looking for comfort and the mother gives the comfort. the pleasure is that comfort was required AND comfort was given. the pleasure is not at all because there was an injury.

  20. But if this is referring to Christmas, then what you are celebrating is that a good man was born, not that God became incarnate. It's fine to celebrate that a good man was born. Celebrate away. However, Romero is celebrating that God took on flesh and walked among us.

  21. Are you worried that for Christmas you'll end up with a bunch more STUFF that you don't need or want? --barefootmegI find the perfect solution to that problem is to simply not have friends--no friends equals no STUFF to deal with at Christmas. ^_^;;

  22. Ehm. Christianity purposely hijacked Midwinterfest.... The tree with the lights stems from this pagan affair. I think a lot of people nowadays celebrate The Holiday that Brings Light in the Darkest Days.

    I wouldn't have a tree if I didn't have kids. I do like the lights in the streets and shops in these dark days. We as a family don't do the Consumptionfest, nor the religious celebration. We chase the darkness.

  23. yeah, the fact that most "christian" celebrations are really someone else's thing is pretty gross. i wish there'd be some "council of world-wide christians" that would convene and pick through the holidays and other added traditions and just remove all the stuff that has been added in over the past 2000 years. the problem is that, whether it's christian or not, it's what people have grown up with and what they want to do/how they want to celebrate. i'm sure this is part of the motivation for the Regulative Worship people to eliminate Christmas from their repertoire of official holidays.

    but until something like that happens, most "christians" will continue to call this that and the other thing christian when really it's no such thing.

    "We chase the darkness."

    at least you're honest, cindy. in the states, many people call themselves christians when they really have no clue what that means. they haven't read the bible. they're not members of a church. they basically have no ties to christianity whatsoever besides some deep rooted belief that america is a christian nation and therefore they are christians.

  24. I'm treading on quicksand here, as this is a topic which to me is of merely theoretical interest.

    To me as an outsider it seems irrelevant what tokens people use to celebrate. Can't a 'true' (whatever that may be) christian celebration be combined with merely festive/cultural/etc elements? As long as the essence of the christian faith is preserved in the celebration, isn't rejoicing in all things Good - well - a good thing? (It would seem that gluttony, greed and idolatry would be contrary to the essence of christian faith, yes).

  25. Isn't Christianity simply the belief that Jesus died for everybody's sins, that He came back to life, and that belief in Him will save people's souls (or something like that)? I didn't get the impression that Christianity encourages people to read at all and that it's the Jews who put a priority on reading the Holy Book for themselves. I got the impression that Jesus started Christianity by preaching parables in the open outdoors and what not. I thought Jesus grew upset with the church of His time because it was capitalistic and corrupt. Historically, Christians throughout time have repeatedly rebelled against their own existing churches, formed new branches of their religion, and reinterpretted God's wishes in different ways from the existing or prevailing churches.

  26. yes, exactly. i think that's what Oscar Romero was trying to say.

    i think the problem in the merging of celebrations is that it's very easy to go with what is flamboyant and to give up on what is meaningful. gluttony, greed and idolatry are a lot more fun than quiet, meditative reflection. but that reflection is important. though i'd like to still have a loud family gathering with lots of food, good wine (although this year i added some mead to the drink list) and fun, it would be nice if it didn't coincide with a time that should rightly be thoughtful and reflective.

  27. Jesus was definitely upset about the corruption (as was Romero). He told parables but he also quoted the Old Testament, which is still just as important to Christians today (well, not the air-headed people who call themselves christians but who never read the bible) as it was to the Jews in Jesus day.

    One of the first verses I ever memorized is from the book of Joshua -- "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it."

    Actually, I should amend that. During the so called Middle Ages, it was illegal to translate the Bible into the common tongue. So most people didn't read it. Part of the foundation of the Reformation was that Luther and Zwingli translated the Bible into the vernacular (and by doing so Luther apparently standardized much of German apparently). The Reformation engendered an attitude of individual study and individual understanding (outside of the pervue of Rome) which, in turn, eventually led to the enlightenment.

    The upshot being that Protestants tend to be far more concerned with the reading and study of the Bible than most Catholics, though there is slacking within the Protestant churches and quickening within the Catholic.

    I've also met few Jews who studied the Old Testament. I knew one who read it in synagogue several times, but I don't know that she ever sat and studied it per se. Yentl' was into Scripture study, but most American Jews are about as nominal as most American Christians. (in my experience, at least)

  28. I know many Jews who are apparently Jewish in the same way that I'm Asian. My genetic makeup is Asian, and my parents did the "Asian culture" stuff, so I might've picked up some Asian-culture artifacts from them, but I don't do any of that Asian culture stuff myself. Likewise, I've run into several Jews whose nature and/or nurture is Jewish, but they don't do any of the religious stuff.

    Along those lines, I really don't think that the non-practicing Christians mean any harm or are any discredit to Christianity as a whole. I tend to think they're basically lost children, the way I am with my Asianness. I look genetically Asian. I grew up in a household where my parents are "practicing" Asians. I would definitely confuse and possibly insult a lot of people if I stopped figuratively checking the "Asian" box. I still insult some people by calling myself Asian, being US-born and non-practicing, but those people are irrelevant anyways. ;-) Overall, in this country, it's expedient to call myself Asian.

    Likewise, maybe a lot non-practicing self-termed Christians grew up in a practicing household, and certainly, many probably grew up in an environment in which their teachers, mentors, Girl Scout or Boy Scout leaders, etc. read them the Bible, lead them in prayer, or otherwise preached about Christianity. It doesn't seem polite for them to insult their parents, teachers, mentors, leaders by denying a religion that those authority figures tried so hard to instill in them. Or maybe they merely assume the camouflage of Christianity when practicing Christians ask to try to avoid being preached to. For the most part, I doubt such people care about religion themselves and only assume one when they're pressed to answer the question.

    And back to the poverty thing... The materialistically poor are probably expending their energy just trying to survive and might not have time to learn to read, much less study the Bible. So, the people who need Christ the most are probably the least equipped to be true Christians...?

    I guess I should come out and just say it. I find it a little sad that familarity does seem to breed a lot of contempt. I've seen strange attitudes from practicing "children of God" that seem to suggest that they'd hold "heathens" and "pagans" in higher regard than their brethren who happen to practice or believe just a little bit differently.

  29. Out of curiosity, how would a "good christian businessperson" act?

  30. once you get to know enough christians, you start realizing that all of the meg types are quite different from all of the walton types and that they are, in fact, not-lumpable in quite the same way that you might previously have lumped.
    I know many Christians of all types, and I know you're right that all the different forms of religions are often intolerably different and occasionally mutually exclusive from each other from many points of view. However, in my head, it's hard to avoid lumping Christians with Jews and Muslims, some Wiccans and some Buddhists, and atheists and agnostics while I'm at it.

    If the rest of the population were more informed or if the rest of the world were already decided in their own scientific beliefs, the deluded scientist wouldn't be doing any harm. And we don't know everything about science. That scientist whom we believe to be so deluded might turn out to be the next Galileo. I think he's entitled to present his points of views to everyone else as convincingly as he can, and I should hope that someone else will give us other opinions as well, but I think it's up to each and every one of us to decide for ourselves if he's deluded or not -- or whether his ideas even matter to us at all.

    Likewise, when people are so hurtful anyways, does it matter that they can't tell Chinese from Japanese? Even if the victim were actually Japanese, that Japanese victim would probably have been just as innocent as the Chinese victim, and it's not any more or less of a tragedy no matter the victim's actual genetic makeup. (Besides, it's most likely some white overlords at Ford who were really to blame for not being innovative enough to keep up with the competition. Or possibly some white union bosses who insisted on being paid far more than the workers of the competitors. Or white politicians in Washington DC who made our economy so out of balance with that of the rest of the world. Or maybe we ourselves are to blame for the economic imbalance. Or, most likely, it's a combination of all of the above.) People of a different set of ethnicities got hurt when some random planes were crashed into some tall buildings, and even a bunch of innocent whites got hurt during the Communism scare. People just need to be less hurtful in general. The difference between Chinese and Japanese has no relevance in that situation.

    I often have difficulties telling between many Asians and and many Hispanics myself. (Seriously. It's common around here for Mandarin-speaking people to hire Hispanic people in their Japanese restaurants, and I can't tell who's who until they start speaking a foreign language, and even then I'm seldom really sure if they're that ethnicity or simply speak that language very well. My brother speaks Mandarin and Spanish at about the same level, for example.) And, when people get to the stage of model-level appearance, I have difficulties telling the difference between whites, blacks, yellows, reds, whatever. So many of those beautiful magazine covers and hot actors could be many ethnicities. I believe that the media might be training us to find ethnically ambiguous people to be beautiful (whether intentionally or not -- it could be that such people suit our (or my) own visions of what the "ideal American" should look like, and therefore the media might be simply putting up what we want to see... or it could be a mix of both).

    We're all just human. We should treat everyone else as equally human, no matter their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. And, we also need to realize that humanity is something far beyond ourselves. Too many people have such a narrow definition of "human". I guess that brings up the question of what it is to be human then...

    well, let me add, before i "submit" that my kids love your new pic, betty. :-)
    Thanks to your kids for the compliment! :-)

  31. rob studied some company in florida that built boats in one of his economics classes here at CSU. (ok, i'm sure there's a grammatical way i could improve that sentence, but you can figure out what i mean.)

    i can't remember what all he said about it, but i think it was that they treated their employees well, they dealt fairly with customers and they focussed on the quality of their product.

    in comparison walton treated his employees like trash, he pulled bait and switch maneuvers on customers despite all his rhetoric about the customer being number one, and he didn't care about quality so much as quantity (and thereby, profit). he was a ferengi to the core.

  32. we need to respect others no matter their race, religion, etc. but i still think that it's important that we call things what they are. to avoid saying that a black person is black in an attempt to not be predjudiced is just silly.

    if a person is christian, then let's call them a christian. if theyr'e buddhist, let's call them buddhist. if their God is the almighty dollar but they claim to be christian, then i, for one, think it's fair to call their bluff.

  33. granted, there are interpretations involved, but my interpretations jive with most commonly accepted interpretations within christianity with some minor variations. (i emphasize environmental issues where someone else might emphasis worship style.) therefore i feel comfortable saying that i am a christian. i think i adequately conform to a standard form of christianity.

    You're touching upon one of the bigger questions in life (for me, atleast). Why is it important to conform to a standard form of a religion? I mean, the standard form of Christianity held that the earth was flat, underweight women were witches and Bruno was fit to burn.

    The reason I think the scientist-comparison is not valid, is that science is basically a rational system, based on documented and reconstructable - mostly empiric - proof. A claim has to be doumented and argued, so it can be proven or disproven again and again. This is not the case with religion: that is based on belief (or hope and fear, but that's my personal view of the matter). I don't see why an affair of - crudely put - the heart has to conform to rules. All these rules are man made. Doesn't Christianity hold that it is God who makes the rules and judges humans (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37 )?

  34. If a person has a big penis and uses it well, should I call them a "great fuck" if we're discussing what to have for dinner?

    ? Ehm? I'm lost...

    Edit: Btw, my eldest son seconds Meg's kids' motion: your new avatar is cool.

  35. *giggle*

    fuck, noun [1680]

    2) a sexual partner -- usually considered obscene

    I watched Disc 1 of Sex and the City Season 6 Part 2 last night, so it was the second (and third and fourth) thing that came to mind when I was trying to come up with situations in which stating the truth is not appropriate (the first being the job interview). I'm generally for the truth, so I was having major difficulties coming up with examples of when not to say it.

  36. hehe - me and my egg again ; )

    (Edit: I know what the verb means, but had no idea what dinner and the great partner had to do with eachother.)

  37. when not to tell the truth -- when it saves the life of another.

    when you have jews in your attic and the nazis are at the front door. classic example.

    however, when it comes to a discussion about beliefs, i think it's disingenuous to say (or even imply) that you believe one thing, when in fact you believe something quite different.

  38. When it comes to a discussion about beliefs, words often mean one thing to one person and a totally different thing to another person.

  39. "The way I see it, religions regularly go through NF / SJ cycles, and the infighting those cycles cause would be hilarious if they weren't so tragic. " -Betty

    I usually dodge religious or political threads but Im curious as to why you see this. The only thing I can tell you for 100% is that NFJ's are inately religious. Even as a young child I knew the difference between good and evil people. I knew when an adult was lying to me. I knew when I was lying and would immediately tell on myself.

    I was in several organized religions before I got exhausted. When I was 14 and the couple car-pooling (obviously I couldnt drive yet) were telling me a story of how the wife accidently ran over a squirrel that week and she was sad. I said, "Oh Im sorry, that sucks." They began scolding me for saying "sucks" and implied that I meant the sexual sense. I defended myself that it was just a common term that meant negative meaning. I never went back there. That was the last incident that I needed to be subjected to. I'd probably go to an organized place of religion again but Im afraid of being judged. I strongly feel, though, that anywhere can be religious. A place or object does not make something religious--people do. I think a lot of my friends and family as well as the people in my societies . I think that is what religion truely is.

  40. I forgot where I read this but someone believed Jesus to be an INFJ. I think it was something like, "If INTJ was God then INFJ is Jesus." lol not a direct quote but from memory somewhere. If anything, it was humorous but I wonder if some people would be offended for trying to type God or Jesus :P

    "But, the quoted passage above seems to confuse the two." - Betty

    I guess I would have to ask why the two are different. On an introspective level, I ask all those questions quite often.

    I also read somewhere that the author (might of been Isobel Meyers) thought that the 60s was "Very ENFP".

    I think too much NF time would result in a ton of puking lol. Too sappy and even sometimes I have to take a step back.

    BTW thanks for writing that all out. It was very long and this is a tricky subject.

    Splinters is humorous to me because I call all of the roadways "holes" when driving. This includes roads, highways, exits, off ramps, bridges, etc. I get so overloaded mentally while driving and hosting at the same time that all of this is just summarized as "holes" as if it was some rodent maze. Although if youve driven in Portland--ya it was built like a rodent maze. This reminded me of your splinters.

  41. Thanks for the supporting anecdotes!

    "I guess I would have to ask why the two [morality and religion] are different." -- jadae

    If you believe religion and morality to be the same thing, wouldn't you necessarily have to assume that all atheists are bad?

    I'm sure many religious people believe that their religions define morality. And I'm sure many of those believe that the lack of their particular religion would necessarily mean immorality. But, you don't have to read the Bible or attend church to be nice to your fellow humans. You don't have to reach Enlightenment to respect others. You can eat pork and still help those less fortunate than yourself.

    In fact, I believe that being unable to see a difference between "religious" and "moral" might be the seed of one of the factors that leads to "religious" not being "moral". I might strive to be nice to others, but I happen to eat pork. Because eating pork violates some religions, they will find me to be not of their religion. Therefore, since for them, religious = moral, I must be immoral. And, it's really hard to treat an immoral person with respect. So, they stop being respectful of people who eat pork. Since we're immoral people anyways, maybe some of them might start to believe that we don't deserve what we have and maybe others of them might not stop people who are stealing from us or overtaxing us just because we eat pork. Eating pork is just a ridiculous example -- you can substitute any religious ritual or religious belief in there.

    There can also be degenerate cases in which the gods are evil. If a god said that its followers needed to convert people at all costs and that it's better for people to be dead than heathen because that god would make non-believers into believers in the next life, then the religious people who believe in that god aren't going to be very moral. They might believe that it's religious to kill all non-believers because we would be saved in the next life, and they might believe that they're being good to us by killing us off, but I think the rest of us would say that it's still immoral.

    "I wonder if some people would be offended for trying to type God or Jesus :P" -- jadae

    Why wonder? Some people would be offended at typing anyone at all, let alone God and Jesus. That doesn't stop me from trying to type everyone and everything just for fun. ;-)

  42. Oh dear *breaks out in hives*...

    In this statement, good is religious, a contrario evil would be non-religious. Ouch, Michael!

    I could rant on about this, but I'll condense my indignation to "the Good Samaritan".

  43. I knew then (and know now) plenty of people I considered of poor intention to be highly religious (and vice versa, and vice versa that, too!). As Betty has suggested, my word usage may be off in comparison to what I mean/feel. Hyper-ethical is probably a more accurate term.

  44. BTW, what is (enter name of anyone here) personal definition of agnostic? I was reading a thread on another forum and they argued for a few days just on their *own* definition alone.

    The dictionary term is--

    One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
    One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
    One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.

  45. Agnostic literally means: not knowing.

    I am an agnostic atheist, meaning I don't know whether there is a god (I can't prove there is none, because it is impossible to prove a negative. You prove to me there are no pink leprichons) but I don't believe there is one for lack of proof. I am willing to change my mind if scientific proof is presented.

    The opposite agnostic type would be an agnostic deist: one who is not sure a god exists, but believes there is "something more" anyway.

  46. You went faster than the whole thread I was talking about. They had pages of arguing that single part. You went from A-Z lol.

    I would be closer to the second although I am still deciding. I believe that there is a higher power. I often think of various religions to be universal of explaining the same exact thing in different ways. Yet sometimes I think we are too mortal to be completely coherant of the issue.

    Sometimes, though, I think it is just nice to be with other people within something as a whole. I would have definately wanted to be a part of that aspect of life if I hadnt run into so many negative road blocks along the way. Maybe later in life I will try again but not yet.

  47. would you? couldn't you alternatively conclude that atheism is it's own form of religion (a religion based on anti-religion, you could say) and that atheists, therefore, have their own moral code specific to their personal denomination within atheism?

    i'd say that many people do see atheist's as immoral, and they've used the same logic you use. but that doesn't mean there isn't another logical outcome, one that would maintain the religion/morality relationship, which i think is worth keeping because the two are often very closely tied (though often not in the way that people think it is-at least in christianity).

    as far as the SJ/NF discussion which has already blown past -- i think i've seen a similar cycle only i've generally put it in these terms:

    a belief (of anything, in God, in the Atkins diet, whatever) starts out as a grassroots movement (well, grassroots might not be the right word, but something along the lines of personal, common, small, organic).

    as the belief gains adherents those who crave ___ (whatever the belief is offering: salvation, belonging, a smaller pants size) pour in along with those who crave power and see opportunity to lead (or abuse, as the case may be -- corporations, btw, can be the ones moving in here, not just individuals). whatever the organic original movement had started becomes codified as membership grows and that code is enforced by those in power.

    eventually some of those among the membership realize that the organic, dynamic, "real" nature of the movement has been lost and they split off to regain that "new" feeling (or to return to fundamentals).

    in the end you have people who are following the atkins diet correctly (those that broke off from the growing movement and returned to the basics) and those who "say" they're following the atkins diet, but they're eating so much of the low-carb crap that the food industry has churned out that their over all caloric intake has doubled or tripled.

    the problem, in my mind, is not the people breaking off from the larger movement to get back to basics, but those that remain behind calling themselves dieters but who eat so much food (and end up gaining so much weight) that they give the diet a bad name.

    btw, i've never been on a diet in my life, but i personally can't stand the atkins diet in any of it's forms after having seen many a person gain weight in the long run from it.

  48. OK... So how about agnostics?

    Besides, I think we're now getting into non-useful definitions "religion" in which we're simply making up beliefs for moral people that neither they themselves nor the population at large would agree qualify as "religions".

    the problem, in my mind, is not the people breaking off from the larger movement to get back to basics
    I also don't see either the NF/grassroots or the SJ/propagation side of the cycle as a problem per se -- I see both as simply the way things are and as being necessary for the survival of the movement. I see the problem coming in when both sides hate each other and hurt each other, and in those cases, I think both sides are equally likely to be at fault.

    Why do we necessarily have to even think or care about a higher calling or entity to make the "right" choices?

    Is there necessarily something about a higher calling or entity that necessarily makes people "good". What about the ancient Greeks who worshipped chaotic gods based on nature? How likely is the morality of people who worship a god of war to match what's logically "good"? And what about the South American natives who worshipped gods that apparently demanded human sacrifice? I would say that the ancient Greeks and Aztecs were probably very highly religious but not necessarily at all moral.

  49. well, it's all in how you define moral, i suppose. for the aztecs, the moral thing to do was to offer a sacrifice.

    i'd say agnostics have their own "religion" as well (based on which kind of agnostics (which denomination) they are). i don't use the word religion that often (in fact, pretty rarely) so i don't know that i have a very solid idea in my head about what i mean by the word. i suppose i'd define it as a person's belief system with the assumption that all rites and practices that flow out of that could also be included in the word.

    agnostic deist: belief = i don't know but there's most likely something out there of a higher power. rites and practices = ignore "god" for the most part but pray when in a bind. ;-)

  50. I wish I could answer your question, Betty, but I cant. I could think of a ton of possibilities but I doubt that is what you are looking for. After conversing with you guys it struck me that I really dont use defintions for this subject. It hit me when I remembered that my best friend is an atheist. I never really cared or had given it thought. I rarely ever intrude on my friends with this subject except for my ISTJ pal because he is 1/8 native american and his (and his fathers) stories of the sweet spirit fascinate me. Being a difficult subject, I tend not to vocalize it but it also feels very foreign to speak about it in definition. This (giving structure to this subject) has definitely been challenging for me.

  51. I thought this riff on apatheists was hilarious (and i decided to stick a link to it here because in it's own way it agrees with me that people could call it like it is). ;-)

  52. I love it!! Thanks for posting the link!

  53. I've found my church! thanks meg! :D

  54. I got a flier in the mail the other day for a "Life Church" that accepts all sorts. I thought about it then (since today is Sunday) I contemplated even I'd even go on a weekend morning. After yesterdays work and fun I was exhausted when I woke up today and thought I'd be lazy since tomorrow will be busy. Could I give up that option? lol thats sounds so selfish.


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