1 pointForty some years ago, when I was in my 20’s I was more certain of my ideas and held more traditional and conservative beliefs. For example, the belief I held about human sexuality was clearly traditional & conservative. In my 30’s I began to question many of my beliefs, the questions tended to rise out of my experiences with people, organizations and empirical evidence. Around the year 2000 I was working as a subcontractor for a general management consultant. Our team was conducting a review of a regional health authority. The team was to review both governance and operational issues. My role on the team was to provide the financial, statistical and demographic analysis. In the process of my research I bumped into some statistics on Intersex, this topic had nothing to do with the information or statistics that I was trying to find. However, I was intrigued, I read the article and spent a small amount of time researching the topic a bit more. This research caused me to rethink my conservative beliefs. I asked myself “if nature causes physical variations of this sort, can it also cause psychological variations?” When I was graduating from high school, over 40 years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Twenty years later I had the opportunity to take the test again; the results were the same. Six years ago, I again had the opportunity to take the test, I thought it might have changed noticeably given how I believe I have changed over the years, yet it was the same result. The test tells me that my psychological preferences in how I perceive the world around me and make decisions has not changed. On the topic of personality disorders, I am sure most (or all) of us know of someone in our circle of friends, immediate or extended family that has a difficult personality. Their personality can be disruptive and offensive. They tend to cause difficulties in relationships, particularly if they are a member of the family. We might find ourselves saying “s/he has always been this way.” Over time we learn to deal with them. Like my Myers-Briggs results, personalities don’t seem to change. I know that I have general tendencies that seem to be at the core of my personality; some are good tendencies, some are bad. When I look at my children, I see tendencies that they seem to have learned or inherited, tendencies they have now we saw when they were 8 to 10 years old. Over the past several years I have become interested in behavioural genetics, which is a science of the role of genes in behaviour. Some philosophers and scientists suspect that under genetic influence, free will is constrained or eliminated. Two individuals that I have read or watched on YouTube are the geneticist Robert Plomin, and the neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky. I also found this documentary very interesting; Three Identical Strangers; Youtube Preview, the full documentary is on Cineplexstore My question is, when are our choices voluntary and free? When are our choices not determined by nature and nurture?
1 pointI’m retire now. I was born into a traditional conservative mainstream Christian denomination. Several clergymen in the family, including my father. I first stated to question the idea that only Christian’s go to heaven when I was a 19’ish. I remember looking at a map in a Sunday school class that identified areas of the world by when Christianity reached them; I remember thinking to myself “so before 300 AD they all went to hell?” This did not make sense to me. Since then I finished two degrees in university (math & economics), got a job, got married, had two children and have continued to attend church regularly since then; I have only discussed these questions with my wife. Over the past two decades, after the kids moved out, I began to read books. The first two books that I read in the 1990’s were The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav and Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. More recently I have read books by James Tabor, Karen Armstrong, John Esposito, Lesley Hazelton, Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman and others. Over the past couple of years, I’ve really enjoyed reading and listening to John Dominic Crossan & Marcus Borg. My favorite philosopher is Immanuel Kant, I read his work for the first time in my university days. My favorite quote is “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” This has been credited to a number of people over the centuries, including Immanuel Kant, the oldest reference being Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani in the 3rd century CE. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/03/09/as-we-are/ My pet peeve is when I hear someone describe theism, agnosticism and atheism as having a linear relationship; i.e. theism and atheism on opposite ends with agnosticism in the middle. I think these three concepts are categorically/nominally related. (note: Lesley Hazelton’s book Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto is a very good read) Having said all that, particularly over the past several years, I am not sure where I fit on the political or spiritual spectrum. I am interested in discussing these issues in one of these forums. Any suggestions which forums I should look at?
1 pointAs a retired pastor, I got to select the praise choruses for our first contemporary service and the more traditional hymns and choruses for our 2nd service which featured blended worship. I like one pastor's definition of "blended worship:" "something for everyone to be unhappy about." Anyway, I thought I'd post videos of my favorite songs for congregational singing. Let me know what you think of them and feel free to post videos of songs you like to sing or hear sung in church. I will post a video a day for your consideration and entertainment and will do so by category, the first of which will be a series of "contemporary praise choruses." (1) "Better than a Hallelujah:" I love the earthy lyrics of his unique but simple chorus: https://www.bing.com/search?q=better+than+a+hallelujah+youtube&form=EDGNB1&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&plvar=0&refig=3ed2b7da756f4255b1a74ca603c14cb4&sp=1&qs=HS&pq=better+than+a+hallelujah+youtube&sc=2-32&cvid=3ed2b7da756f4255b1a74ca603c14cb4&cc=US&setlang=en-US