This is a thread for UD commenters to speak their mind. Please keep it civil.
Off topic #1
If I could be a ballet dancer, I’d be this man:
Off topic #2
It’s no secret I’m rather chummy with agnostics, atheists, free-thinkers and academics, and even some of the less reputable elements of society (professional gamblers). My love of the arts and drama often touches on realms the church sometimes frowns on. The irony is I’m a right wing conservative young earth creationist. Why is this so?
First I wasn’t always a YEC. I was raised in a Roman Catholic home, my lifestyle was worldly and I found church often boring and suffocating, and this persisted to some extent even after I became a Protestant.
I found more solace in music, the performing arts, drama and science than I did from the majority of sermons (often more like nagging and bullying sessions). There are very few pastors I can say that I look forward to listening to on Sunday morning…
Many of my mentors were Darwinists (the physicists, engineers, mathematicians, chemists) in academia and to this day I look at their intellectual accomplishments with awe.
For a season in my life, the home TV would be tuned into a mix of NFL Football, figure skating and classical music concerts. More recently, I’ve watched the history channel and all the retelling of great battles of the past.
I used to enjoy the thrill of flying airplanes. Flying upside down and going weightless and then getting squashed into my seat in a high G maneuver. I loved hang gliding until I broke my arm in a crash in Carolina and was hauled off in an ambulance. But even then, to me, that was living life….and I often confess these things were often more enjoyable than much of the church service experience.
Added to that, I’ve often been utterly disappointed in behavior of the clergy and laity. I’ve endured seeing pastor after pastor fall from grace — adulterous affairs, theft and abuse of donations, lies, family abuse, outright charlatanry, etc.
Some years ago Bill Gothard used to be widely praised in evangelical circles. I always suspected he was a rat. Now it turns out, he used to send his young staff to his brother Steve at an expensive resort built on charitable donations. The resort had an airport and was used for a Leer jet paid by for by charitable donations as well. Steve Gothard basically made sex slaves of the girls that his brother Bill sent his way. Bill didn’t stop the abuse of women despite knowing about it, and by all measures looked like a willing accomplice. Bill was noted for promoting the notion of obedience to leaders. He and brother Steve obviously used their teachings for their own ends. See what has been swept under the carpet by the Evangelical Community:
Gotherd 1980’s Scandal
I’ve hung around atheist circles because vicariously they express my frustrations with my own church family — the bad behavior, lack of critical thinking, often blind uninformed obedience…
What has kept me believing, and why have I stayed in the church? 2 reasons. Number 1: atheism and agnosticism offers no genuine hope of eternal life or an eternally better world. My favorite Agnostic/Atheist Bertrand Russell ironically gave me reason to search for answers outside of agnosticism and atheism:
Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.
No matter how much science and technology there is, it will be destroyed as the universe dies out….
Sometimes in the midst of anxiety over the world’s troubles, I find it natural to call out for God’s help in prayer, and when there are moments that I feel I’ve caught a break in life I didn’t deserve, I can’t help but offer thanks. I think I have indeed seen miracles.
Number 2, the circumstantial evidence points to the historical claims of the Bible as more authentic than it is given credit for — the major points: creation of life, Noah’s flood, resurrection of Jesus. And if these things are historically true, it is reasonable they are also theologically true.
For sure, there are formal uncertainties in the proof of beliefs we hold dear. Could there be no God and is the multiverse the answer to problem of OOL? My reply — is it rational to wager one’s soul on the idea of multiverse? In light of what little evidences we have in hand for certain beliefs but in view of the potential payoffs, Pascal was most certainly right in his wager.
Despite my frustration with the church and despite my obviously being enamored with the compelling beauty and drama in a world that is passing away, it seems obvious there is design in the universe by some Intelligence far beyond human comprehension, and Intelligence capable of observing and knowing details of every molecule in the universe….
I’ve embraced Christianity reluctantly after nearly leaving it many years ago. Darwinists have actually strengthened my convictions after many years of debating them. In a strange sort of way, I thank God for them because they have helped me critically examine the case for ID and creation, and as a result, I’m more convinced now of God’s design and miraculous work than ever.
I still have attachment to the material world and all its passing beauty and drama and the illusion that all is well and will evolve to a better state. I’ve always been tempted to leave the church and just try to live it up, but I know utopia cannot be found in this life, and the longing to return to the Garden of Eden through human means cannot be met…
The evil in the world is sobering, but ID has been a source of hope that the can be ultimate meaning after all.
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Off Topic #3
Cyd Charisse is a miracle. She was crippled by polio when young, but you can see for yourself how she turned out. As far as I can tell, relative to Hollywood culture, she lived a clean life and was a life-long practicing Methodist (she probably couldn’t have been a Baptist given the prohibitions against dancing). She is a work of art!
Off topic #4
I normally don’t like Tango music, but here is the best Tango, “Tango Tzigane” aka “Tango Jealousy”. It is an incredible mix of Argentine Tango form composed by Danish violinist Jacob Gade during the roaring 1920’s for virtuoso classical violin. The composition conveys so well the mood of the roaring 20’s almost utopian view of the world. He became rich on that one composition and retired.
Off Topic #5 rated PG-13, maybe R.
The winner of supposedly family friendly “Ukraine’s got talent” was pole dancer Anastasia Sokolova. 😯 You can google here “Ukraine’s got talent” performance. I found Sokolova’s performance while googling “acrobatic dance”.
Pole dancing is generally lewd, Jenyne Butterfly (who performed on the Ellen DeGeneres show) and Anastasia Sokolova (performed on “Ukraine’s got talent”) added some class to this dance form (still a tad lewd, but wow,the athletic ability of Sokolova and Butterfly is incredible). Most of the screaming cheers for Jenyne Buttefly were coming from women! Jenyne almost defies gravity!
I won’t link to their performances (it’s probably PG-13 or R rated), but I will link to this acrobatic dance routine from “Ukraine’s got Talent”:
Off Topic #6
And not to be out done, the 5 most shocking from Britain’s Got Talent: