Saturday, August 20, 2011

Top 7 Lessons of the Summer

Top Seven lessons I learned or internalized over the summer:

1. Sometimes you have to make a conscious decision not to give up. Not giving up doesn't come naturally to all people. Not to me at least. When I have trouble with something right at the start, I usually quit right at the start. But I realized that's keeping me from doing things that are important to me. I quit my very first job, at McDonalds, and I didn't earn the money I could have, the money that would have made me more independent. I want to be indepenent. If I was working just to earn friends, it wouldn't be worth it, and I could quit because I don't truly want the everyday sort of friend. But I truly want to be independent. So when it comes to that, I have to say outloud that I won't give up. It worked with navigating the streets of town. I got better at it every time. It worked slightly with driving cars. I got minutely better at it every time. And these things will help me be independent. They're worth it.

2. I CAN keep myself from giving up if I make a conscious decision not to. I know now that I CAN keep myself from giving up on college. Before, it often seemed that giving up was just something that happened to me, but it's not. I can control it. Somewhat. I can also get better at controlling it. It worked on crossing the street and driving. It can work on college.

3. Everyone goes through what I go through at some point. If you start thinking you're abnormal, you'll make every twisted experience and emotion worse. And usually for no reason. When I worked at McDonalds, I stood on the other side of that terribly intimidating counter for the first time and saw how hard it was, but also saw that many people acted the same as I used to when I went to order at such a counter. Afraid of making a mistake, overwhelmed by the options, confused by the terminology, shy. (Fast food menus really are too complicated.) And I realized I wasn't weird, I realized it was okay to feel that way, and I realized that couldn't be the only area in which more than one person felt that way. Because I knew that, I could finally stop feeling that way. I could be more confident, just knowing other people do that too.

4. Be proud of your terror. This might seem a tad contradictory to the above lesson, but when I was learning to cross the city streets, I was terrified. I was extra terrified when I vaguely remembered that "scared to cross the street" is possibly some way to referring to a scaredy cat. I think. It's like "scared of her own shadow." I've never been scared of my shadow, and it's perfectly rational to be frightened to cross a street jammed with cars that could crush you in a single go. But it bugged me still, that I might be in the same category as Afraid of Own Shadow. But then I realized I was doing it anyway. I was terrified, and I was facing that terror. If I was extra terrified, I was also extra courageous, and I should be extra proud.

5. Move and talk slowly. I move and talk fast when I'm nervous, but if I control myself even then, I can eliminate many mistakes I'd otherwise make in a rush, and I can actually calm myself.

6. People will like you for being yourself, and even when they don't, you won't care. When you're being yourself, it's like you're standing on solid ground -- if you'll please forgive the cliche on the basis that I should already be in bed. If you're fake to please others, you set yourself on a cardboard sheet between skyscrapers. But if you're you, you're powerful. Even if people hate you, they can't topple you. It just is.

7. You can turn loneliness into empowerment. Like many people, I've wished for someone to help me through everything I've been through, and all I will be through. Whether it came to emotional turmoil in the safety of my home or that that came with walking alone around town, past cars and scary-looking people and non-scary-looking people who can be just as dangerous (hey, I'm scared of people, I admit it). Like many people, I had no one. Just me. But then, sometimes as I thought of this, I'd recognize a strange feeling. I'd think, "Hey, no one else got me through my pain. Maybe no one else could. But I did. I'd think now and then that, if anyone helped me out, they'd be like Superman to me, but I just kept going, and now I'm out of those places I wanted Superman to help me out of." I think of this, and for a little while, I feel like Superman. It makes you realize that you don't need anything you might lose, only the one thing you can't lose: you. This is more complicated that it sounds. According to my religion, I didn't really get myself out of anything, because I'm powerless without God. I do believe that, in the end, it was all Him, but that's not how I feel. And I'm not saying it's best to be lonely. If I had my way, everyone would have their One True Friend to help them out their whole lives. I'm just saying there is a bright side to being alone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Final Edition of Summer 2011 To-Do

Greetings. I hail from my college dorm room. Where I am terrified. I wish I'd been able to post this yesterday or the day before, so that it could have the light-hearted tone I wanted it to. I was busy packing and trying to fix my very troublesome computer and saying goodbye to family. All preparation for today, my first day at college. Anyway, it will still be mostly light-hearted. Forward ho! I'm continuing my Summer To-Do Lists. Coming after the first, and the second, this is the third part. . . Is that obvious?

1. Finish Skulduggery reviews and ask Derek to read them

I surely did. Definitely one of the high points of my summer.

2. Find another fantastic series to read (it's excruciatingly hard to find fantastic fantasy books)

I half succeeded. I found The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which isn't exactly a series, and I found the Theodosia series by R. L. LaFevers, which I don't precisely love, but it's enjoyable enough.

3. Read, read, read (Just relax and read. I haven't done so in many summers.)

Not so much. When I did read a lot, near the start of summer, I was also working on my tan so I wasn't really relaxing. And then I read less and less as the summer went on.

4. Write at least 13 short stories

Sigh. Sadly, no. But I started one I like.

5. Finish any other stories


6. Watch, watch, watch (I love movies. So many movies, so little time.)

I watched a reasonable number of movies. I think I watched all the new releases I wanted to see.

7. Blog, blog, blog (So many ideas, so little time!)

I'm pretty disappointed in how little I blogged.

8. The stuff I SHOULD do (reading physics, reviewing chemistry, preparing for college)

I'm not as disappointed in how little I did this, but I still didn't do it much.

9. Try to meditate (see, 'cause I'm not even sure what that entails)

I finally did the day before yesterday, using this article. It was fun.

10. Try to make habit of drinking hot beverages every morning (to avoid colds like I have now)

I made a habit of doing it sporadically. I really have to start working on it, though, if I want to stay healthy through the school year.

11. Do new stuff, it's fun (Doesn't have to be "exciting," as long as it's new.)

I think I did a good amount of this, and that's partly why I didn't do a lot of the other stuff. I think I really meant, "Do SPONTANEOUS stuff," stuff I never really thought about doing but did when it presented itself. I think I did well. I went on a couple trips with my mom to historic and/or scenic locations, went to several movies in theaters, got my first pedicure, stayed at a distant friend's house for two nights, walked around town by myself and got much better with the crossing of streets and such, got a comment from Derek, planted tomatoes, went wading when our roads flooded, went bowling, water-baloon fighting. looking at tiny baby frogs at the pond, and lots of other little activities where I just went with the flow.

I learned a good deal. I changed a good deal. Overall, this summer was a good deal. I'll have to post more about it later, but I'm tired now, and being tired isn't helping me feel better after five minutes of an overly depressing Personal Safety talk that was part of my first day. I'll have to post about that too. Geez, so much to post about, so little time, and seriously, so little time. I can't gaurantee how often I'll post once school starts on Monday, or even before then, but I hope to post enough to help me get through it all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Agnostics, Atheists, and Scientific Christianity

I understand the Doubting Thomases of the world, the agnostics who don't believe one way or another, because they need a reason to. I understand needing proof, logic, reason, not just blind acceptance. I staunchly support needing reason. Many people -- really stupid people -- just believe whatever their parents, teachers, peers, and governments tell them, and the world would improve infinitely if those people would be Doubting Toms. If they were smart enough, they'd find a lot of so-called "truth" has no logical basis. If they were smart enough, they'd find the truth that does. If they were smart enough, they'd question something -- anything -- in the first place.

Nonetheless, generation on generation has just accepted what the previous generations have told it. With this approach, they've accumulated a heap of invalid beliefs. This is why abused children often grow up to be child abusers, terrorists' children to be terrorists, over-spenders' children to be over-spenders, polygamists' children to be polygamists, etc. They don't stop to think: Were their parents and religions right, really? We face quite a task in discerning what's true and what isn't. So the best, safest, smartest policy is to Question Everything. That's my motto. With it, I can tear down lies and reinforce truth. (Of course, I can't question everything, but I TRY.) Do you know how annoying it is when someone believes something stupid, and you ask them why, and they either have stupid reasons or no reasons at all? Even more annoying, they usually won't budge from those beliefs, because "my daddy told me so," or whatever. Some might say that's what leaders are for. But everyone's wrong on at least SOME points, because they can't know everything. Therefore, leaders compound their invalid beliefs on their followers. It would be best if everyone was her own leader, influencing and allowing influence from others. Influence. Not dictation. Question everything and let others influence you with true ideas they too have come by through questioning everything.

You may have noticed that "Everything" includes God and Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ as God. Doubting Thomases make such inquiries.

The problem is "Doubting Thomas" is usually considered a negative mark, as Jesus said people are blessed if they believe without seeing or feeling, even though the proof IS there to see and feel. It always is when something is true.

I think God put the proof there, in the physical world where it still remains, specifically FOR the Doubting Toms. Just like the original Thomas, if they doubt, they can find proof. I think the Toms are also blessed, as is anyone who believes in the truth, and Jesus Christ is the truth (the way and the life too). People are probably MORE blessed if they never question Jesus' divinity, but I feel like they're just blessed in different ways. I don't think Jesus blessed those who believe anything without question, even if they happen to believe in Jesus as well. Those people probably don't believe in Him any more strongly than all the other blahblah they believe in. I think Jesus blessed the people who just know the truth from birth. At least the truth about Jesus. Maybe they still have to question most things, like the Toms do, but they instinctively know the one truth that is Jesus. Of course they're better off for it, but the way I see it, they were just born that way. (Please don't think Lady Gaga right now, I'm not talking about the kind of stuff she is.) They were born believing, not because they were told about Jesus, but because they felt Jesus in their hearts. The way I see it, can you really blame people for NOT being born that way? Well, Jesus seems able to blame them, but that's how I feel about it. Anyway, Jesus didn't exactly condemn Thomas by blessing someone else. Thomas was blessed too. So, if you ask me, one should not be ashamed of being a Doubting Thomas. The world would improve massively if everyone was. Not only would they avoid countless errors, but just like the founder of this prestigious title, they'd eventually believe the truth. Sure, the world would be BEST if everyone believed without question, in Jesus Christ, but that would be perfect, which we all know isn't in the budget.

Hence, I get Doubting Thomases, but I don't get atheists who attack believers when they have no more proof that God doesn't exist than we have that God does. In fact, they have less.

Reasonable Faith: The Scientific Case for Christianity by Jay L. Wile.

From extensive examination of the title, our forensic experts have determined that this book endeavors to present scientific evidence in support of Christianity. Ah, forensic experts know such wonders. Anyway, probably many books attempt to do the same, but I've only read this one. Perhaps I should have been more interested in learning such defenses, but I never doubted God back then and wasn't interested. I'm still not, in spite of doubts I have now, which I'll get into later. If I remember correctly, this book presents evidence against evolution and FOR the Bible's validity. For instance, spontaneous processes would need to overcome odds of about a million to one (can't remember the exact numbers) to put together the sequence of amino acids needed to form even the simplest protein, let alone all the proteins needed for life. Yes, other people have claimed to be God, but only Jesus made so very many people believe. He did die on the cross because both blood and water flowed from the spear wound, which is medical proof of death. He did resurrect because a great number of witnesses saw Him. Also, compared against every other book of its time, the Bible contains the fewest internal and external contradictions. Don't be intimidated by the science. It's well-written and easy to understand. I read it when I was maybe thirteen, with no problem. If this book isn't enough for you, I recommend you find more of its sort. See if they make a difference.

So there's the science. Now for the more instinctual proof, emotions, confessions, and personal doctrines.

Without God, we have no reason to protest wrongs done unto us. Without God, we simply have no way of knowing right from wrong, or that right and wrong even exist. Without God, we have no absolute -- no consistent and unchanging grounds for doing anything. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but it rings ever true. Suppose one person decides it's okay to murder another, but the other begs to differ. He doesn't want to die. Who's to say which is right if no God exists? Some say the government decides right and wrong. But that's no reliable absolute. Suppose you murder someone and the cops think you were wrong, so they take you to jail. You happen, however, to be very rich, so the judge decides that, as long as you pay her, you were right to murder someone. See? If atheists cry for justice, how can they claim they don't believe in a Divine Decider of right and wrong?

To be honest, I understand some atheists. I don't understand those who mock believers for defending God, a God we believe loves us so much He died for us. He has feelings too. How would you like it if someone treated you like you didn't exist? Especially after you died for them? I don't understand the mean, immoral atheists who seem to be atheists only so they don't have to live righteously and kindly. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to be good and kind. I don't understand the people who are atheists because they need proof to virtually pounce at them without effort on their part, or because they were raised that way, or because they consider it "modern thinking." I DO understand the ones who see an evil, cruel world and think, if there is a God, He must be evil and cruel. They don't want to believe in an evil, cruel God, so they believe in no god. I think I thoroughly understand that.

I really struggle with this, especially these past months. Now, I almost blurt out these words: "You may want to avoid the Old Testament, especially if you're just beginning to believe. It could, as they say, shake the very foundations of your faith." I can't say that though. Ignorance isn't true bliss. I hate when people turn a blind eye to the facts, and I insist on turning a seeing eye to them. I need to know truth. Besides, if you read the Old Testament, you might be the one to explain it adequately at last and finally set my mind at ease. That will never happen if I keep you from reading it. Still, be aware it holds some absolutely abhorrent ideas. I mean, divorce, polygamy, slavery, prejudice against illegitimate children and emasculated men, the whole doctrine of an eye for an eye, just to name a few. It's all bad, but what hits me worst is the cruelty to women. I used to think it was bad the way the New Testament (the letters from the apostles) talked about women and expected them to be treated and behave. At one point, I thought I couldn't be a Christian if I was supposed to do all that. But the Old Testament -- Well, it's a thousand times worse, and it's like God ENCOURAGED cruelty to women. God allowed it and commanded certain things. It's terrible. What kind of God does that?

Sure, later on, Jesus repealed all that. He repealed divorce and taking an eye for an eye specifically, and He repealed all other wrongs with Love Your Neighbor As Yourself and Do Unto Others As You'd Have Them Do Unto You. Concerning divorce, He said, "Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard." Presumably, He allowed everything else because the Israelites' hearts were hard. But what kind of God does THAT? However, He did say Moses did this, which puzzles me, but also kind of confirms my theory that people like Moses and the disciples often gave commands based not on what they heard straight from God but on what they thought would go over best. Anyway, the fact remains, God let Moses do that.

He allowed such cruelty and evil in the Bible, I think. But then I think, He allows such cruelty and evil in present day. At the core, He's taken the same action. God has the power to stop evil and command good every day, just as He had the power to do when the Bible was written. But He didn't and He doesn't. Because I know this, I understand how people can look at the world and decide God is evil. (Still, personally, I take the Old Testament harder because the Bible seems a more official statement than the everyday world is.)

I always think how stupid ancient civilizations were to follow such evil gods. They only had to see that evil and choose to leave it. Hence, I look at my God in light of the world's evil, and I almost wonder if I'm a hypocrite. Almost. But not really. I don't follow an evil God. Jesus Christ never commanded evil, He commanded good, and I follow Him, a good God. Still, my stomach literally aches when I think of the ancient peoples' cruelty to women. That's always been bad enough to make me feel like I have the flu, but when I have to wonder if God -- MY God -- supported it? My stomach aches like an eternal paper cut. I can't believe in a God like that. I'm still figuring it out, the Old Testament. Jesus didn't specifically repeal every old law, so how do I know what the God of the Bible really thinks? I've based my morals on Jesus' words, which are words of the Bible, but if they contradict, how am I to know?

Of course I know cruelty is wrong. Jesus DID repeal cruelty with Love and Do Unto. Nonetheless, more and more these past years, I've needed proof. I can't operate on what I feel alone. I know and feel with all my heart that all cruelty is wrong, but I once felt that people could rightly kill in war and/or in defense of other people. I found that somewhat in accordance with Love and Do because you're loving the people you protect. I knew it wasn't completely in accordance though, because you're not loving the people you kill. (Actually, back then, Love was a more secondary reason. I mostly thought of the commandment not to murder, and the fact that the ends don't justify the means.) Though it pained me, I concluded that it's wrong to help anyone by hurting someone else. I AM immensely grateful to soldiers and everyone else who protects people like me, but that's another post. Right now, I'm pointing out that the truth is often more complicated than it feels, and I can't just act on my feelings. Now, of course -- OF COURSE -- I will never believe in cruelty to women or children. I will die first. Regardless, I'll always need proof, if only so I can defend my opinions to others, and especially so I know the truth about the God of the Bible.

This might seem like a tangent, but it concerns how I view God in the Old Testament. To me, it feels like everything you've done still represents you, as does everything you will do. Every action remains frozen in time and stretches parallel to all other actions. Once you do something, you can never undo it. It stands there forever. The same goes for everything you will do. You will do stuff, and it will be whatever stuff do. Though you always have a choice, you will choose whatever you choose, and there's no escaping that. Mere mortals such as I can't predict anything more specific, but no matter what you do, you can never undo it, so it might as well be happening now. It's complicated, but I just feel that your whole life represents you, no matter where you start or where you end. I realize that's, well, wrong because Jesus does erase your sins. I feel this way nonetheless, especially about God since it's actually true of Him. Supposedly, He never changes. He's as much today who He was in the Old Testament.

What if that fact forced me to believe the God of the Bible is cruel and evil? With no good and true God, human beings have literally no reason to live. Or die. Or do anything. If I ever believed He was evil, I'd probably lie in bed and starve myself. However, in that case, I think I'd eventually realize I simply don't believe in the God of the Bible. I do believe in a good and kind God and always will. Always believe in goodness and kindness. That belief resides in -- no -- that belief IS the very core of me. Of course, if I decided I didn't believe in the God of the Bible, I'd still be silly. The good and kind God is Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible. Jesus is the one person in history to do nothing wrong and everything righteous, the only good being, goodness incarnate. I will never stop believing in goodness, I will never stop believing in Jesus. Jesus instilled morals in me which I could only believe because I had faith in them, faith Jesus gave me. He's corrected my beliefs because I believed His principles. It's a confusing circle of belief, and both my brain and my instincts play parts. (I've never been the person who only wanted the truth to validate what she FELT. I've always toiled to find the objective truth and deal with it, even if I don't feel that way. Looking through this post, I think you can see that. Just before this post, I decided I simply wouldn't believe in the God of the Bible if I decided He was as He seemed in the Old Testament. It put my mind out of the confusion I'd felt before, stuck between the rock and the hard place I hadn't consciously acknowledged. Either I had to admit the Old Testament morals were true and good and therefore worth following or I had to admit my God was evil. If my heart won't allow either, what can I do? Maybe this is one of those times people talk about, a time I have to let faith lead me.) For the record, I'm not terribly close to believing the God of the Bible was ever evil. I know how the Old Testament looks, but as I said, I'm working on understanding it. Right now, I know only that the Old Testament is the same paradox that is the whole world, in which a good God holds all power but allows evil anyway. It doesn't make sense, but it doesn't mean God is evil.

I have to believe some good exists somewhere. Even if you believe all people are somewhat good -- a controversial idea, but I believe it -- you must admit all people are somewhat bad. If they are both, they are not good. It's like when you mix spring water with dirt. You get mud. And mud is not spring water. It's the same with people. They have good in them, but they are not good. They are mud, and mud is mostly bad. (By the way, it's not exactly Christian to call people mud, like they're worthless or something. Jesus specifically said we are worth more than many sparrows -- a casual way of saying we're worth His life, death, resurrection, and whole existence.) I think this is why many atheistic religions are full of unhappy people. How could you be happy, how could you even live, unless you believed some good existed somewhere?

Concerning different religions -- from Mormon to Buddhist -- I don't hold anything against them. I do if they teach cruelty, but at the moment, I can't think of any that do. Islam maybe, but I've heard conflicting reports on it, and since I haven't studied it myself, I can't really say. Most religions, though, don't exactly aim for cruelty, and if they promote love, they're on the right track. I think Buddhism is, as is any religion that centers on Jesus' teachings. If a person believes in love, that's all that really matters. (You understand I have not been talking about romantic love all this time, right?) Even those persons that don't follow a specific religion -- if they believe in love, they believe in the true God (whom I call Jesus, but what's in a name?).

I cannot say who is going to Heaven. No one but God can. You can't judge a person on the details that separate religions (protestant from catholic and so on). Protestants and Catholics both believe in Jesus, and personally, I never felt the other points mattered much. Other religions believe in love, and that's the same Most Important Belief. If someone worships a good God, it must be my God. There's only one, after all. You can't even tell from the way someone acts whether they're going to Heaven. Well, of course, you can. Sort of. But it's complicated.

You can't always -- or even often -- tell, because, for instance, a horrible person could very well change before they die. A good person might be good for the wrong reasons, and they might change before they die. If you believe in love, you will be a good person, but people have lapses and what about the people who are good most of life, and at the very end, lapse? I believe that any loving person will go to Heaven, but consider the definition of love. It's Love Your Neighbor As Yourself and Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. That seems simple, and it is, but it can get complicated when you think of how some people WANT to die, or get hurt, etc. Because they want that, perhaps they feel justified in killing of others. (They're not. After all, there's still Do Not Murder and Do Not Steal, which Jesus gave us to guide us along the broader concept of Do Unto.) Most people love themselves pretty well and desire pretty decent kindness from others. But what about the freakish few who are trying to love in the wrong ways?

What about the people who try to do right but have wrong ideas? Anyone who believes in cruelty is wrong, but I think Mormons still believe in polygamy, and that's wrong. Polygamy would be blatantly cruel to some people because they'd know they were hurt, but it may be more subtley cruel to others who don't mind, because they don't know any better. How do you know if polygamy's cruel enough to condemn a person? And the people who do evil even though they know it's evil? Certainly, they might change, and if they don't, they may merely sin in ways like gluttony. They may be chronic gluttons and still go to Heaven. It's easy to imagine since that's not such a bad sin, but all sins deserve condemnation, and Jesus never listed them in order from least to worst. How can we say a chronic murderer isn't going to Heaven too?

I can't truly believe that would happen, but technically . . . it's a possibility . . . right? Well, maybe not. Or maybe. No way. Could it be? . . . Seriously?! It's extremely confusing. Maybe I should have shut up about this till I knew better what I thought, because I really don't think a chronic murderer would go to heaven. One must believe in Jesus, and if they do, they'll be good and loving. Murder isn't. At the same time -- please, please don't hate me for this -- I think soldiers TECHNICALLY murder people for a living. I do NOT think soldiers are going to Hell, though, see? At least, not for being soldiers, because soldiers do what they do for good reasons, usually. I am not trying to hurt or offend soldiers or cops or anyone. I have several family members and a childhood friend in the army. I trust they're all going to Heaven, but see the double standard? I can see a soldier going to Heaven, but not a classic murderer, and basically, the two are different in their motivations. If good intentions mean you're going to Heaven, we must remember the suicidal killer mentioned above. He might think love motivates him. Will He get into Heaven? Murder is not loving. But neither is gluttony, or rudeness, or pride. What have I to prove gluttonous, rude, prideful people will go to heaven and not murderous people? I just don't know. Just take these last three paragraphs as a list of why we can't judge where a person's going when they die.

I'm not saying there isn't a definite right or wrong. There definitely is, some sins are definitely worse than others, and God frowns on them all. Everyone sins, though. They can't help it. They'll do it all their lives. But some of them are still going to Heaven. If some sinners are and some aren't, how can we say which? It's far too complex a calculation for human brains to perform. Bottom line, we don't know other peoples' hearts. We only know our own, and we can only have faith that our faith will last. We can also trust and hope for others, but I don't think we can KNOW.

We need not all have the same opinions to go to heaven. Of course not. For example, I mostly believe in the gospels. I've read them a few times each, and I base my morals on them. I've already stated why I don't base my morals on the Old Testament (except where it coincides with Jesus' words). Jesus repealed the Old. (By the way, it's obviously possible for the Bible to contradict itself when it comes to rules; however, I trust its accounts of basic history not to contradict, though it may have certain details wrong, such as the Sun orbitting the Earth.) Also, I trust the New Testament when it comes to basic prophesies, but I only trust its rules where they logically follow Jesus'. The New Testament often doesn't follow Jesus where it concerns slavery, capital punishment, and much about women. I haven't read the New Testament letters from the disciples very thoroughly, but I have read parts that didn't agree with Jesus' principles and parts that did. Here's what I think. With their letters, the disciples laid down rules to the best of their understanding, whereas with the gospels, they chronicled words straight from Jesus' mouth. They each saw events differently. I simply trust them to have gotten the basics right. Therefore, I look to the gospels for guidance, and the rest is take or leave. I've been regarded as a heathen for this view before. Other Christians quote "all scripture is inspired by God" at me repeatedly and usually exclusively of any other verses. (A movie can be inspired by a book and still send the exact opposite message -- The Neverending Story for example.) For ideas like mine, I'll probably be called a heathen again before my life ends, but if I'm wrong, God will forgive me, and that's all that matters.

Some Christians are just far too opinionated. I believe in a definite right and wrong, and I believe I know a little of it, but I also believe in listening to others to see how correct their logic is, to see if they can change my mind. Some Christians seem to believe in NOT doing that. Some Christians are obstinate, snobby, small-minded, monkey-see-monkey-do individuals (as are many non-Christians...and the whole world). They hate me for looking completely to the gospels, and they actually appear ignorant of the words of Christ, for whom they're named. I think that repels some people who are considering what religion to become. I get it. Even I see that and want to distance myself from those Christians any way possible. Nevermind, though. Don't let them keep you from becoming a Christian. If you become a Christian, do it because you believe in Jesus Christ. Forget about everything else.

When I was little, I asked my mom, "Why do we believe in God? So we can go to heaven?" She shrugged goodnaturedly and said, "Yeah." (I think she thought I was too young to have a more in depth discussion about it.) That never felt right, though. If I believe in someone just to get to paradise, I'm just using that someone, just doing something for Him so He'll do something for me. That's not why we believe in God. We believe because we are meant to believe, because belief is belonging and belonging is becoming one. We belong with God. Water is SUPPOSED to be wet. We are supposed to be with God. We are supposed to believe in Him/Her. (I do believe God "the Father" and the Holy Spirit don't have a gender, but I usually say "He" to save time.) By doing so, we're just setting the universe right, as it was always meant to be. It's hard to explain because it just IS.

You know, at a certain point, maybe you do just have to believe. Say Scientific Case for Christianity convinces you there IS a God, but you still have to decide whether He is a kind and good God or a cruel and evil God or a crazy and neutral God. You just have to make the choice to believe He is kind and good. Maybe that's the point where proof stops, and maybe that's why it's called faith.

For questioning everything up to that point, however, long live the Doubting Thomases. (I hope that's the correct plural form of Thomas. I may edit this more later, but I really needed to publish it already.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've Gone and Gotten Myself a Blog Award!

Well, Amyrose just GAVE me a blog award out of the goodness of her heart. I didn't do much for it (except be glorious, but still, it was mostly Amy's generousness). And now, I can do that thing people do where they put the awards they've won down the sides of their blogs. Heehee! It doesn't get any better than this. =D

Everyone say "Yay Minnie!" . . . Or don't, that's up to you, but now I think I have to post seven facts about myself and pass this award on.

1. I really like when I empty the garbage (not so much the emptying part, but the following part) and I put in new liner and it's all clean and empty and I throw in the inaugural garbage and it kind of disappears in the white slack of the new garbage bag. I just really like it.

2. I have brown hair and brown eyes, and I love both, though I recently got blue streaks put in my hair just for fun.

. . . Hmm. So many facts about me. It's hard to pick.

3. I always get inspired when I go to Barnes & Noble and browse, even quickly, over all the books, their pretty covers and imaginative premises.

4. Spiderman's my favorite superhero. I mean the Spiderman from the 1992 TV series, Spiderman. He's so snarky, punny, deep, persevering, heroic, handsome -- all tall and muscular, with those big, expressive spider-costume eyes -- and I relate to him a lot.

5. Hannah Montana was a terrible show, and High School Musical was a terrible movie, but I love their songs. Why are you looking at me like that? They're fun, they're upbeat, they're dance-worthy. . . I'm not weird.

6. I'm hungry. That's a weak excuse for a fact, though. I mean, how long will THAT last. Um, I once had braces. I was really excited for them beforehand, and I never really grew to hate them -- though relations with the teeth-correcting apparatus were difficult on days the orthodontist adjusted it. I mean, sometimes they were green, sometimes blue, sometimes glow-in-the-dark. What a way to express individuality.

7. I AM still hungry. But more importantly, my favorite color is purple. It's rich, deep, and regal, just like me. Well, I'm rich in spirit, and regal at certain intervals, but almost always deep.

Now to pass this on. I could pass it on to a few people, I suppose. But I don't actually talk to some of the bloggers whose blogs I read, and I'd feel weird giving them an award.

I know one for sure though! (Unless she already has this award?)

Eleanor Roscuro of Apostrophe

Yep, Eleanor's blog is probably the first one I really got into that wasn't by someone famous, and she opened my eyes to the fact that un-famous people can still punctuate a sentence and to the fact that someone else feels what I do. =) Thanks, Eleanor. (For the record, I don't care that much about punctuation or spelling, but when people don't punctuate or spell correctly, it often means they don't care about what they're writing.)

Now, I wasn't going to do this at first, but...why not, you know?

Derek Landy of Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress

Yay! He's not a follower of mine, and I'm not sure I'm allowed to pass this on to non-followers. I'm also not sure he'll bother with this whole award, seven facts, pass it on deal. But he's extremely nice, and I'm sure he'll appreciate it when I pop up on his blog and say, "I'm giving you the One Lovely Blog Award. It's a thing, really, and I'm giving it to you." =) Yep, yep.

I really regret not posting more this summer, but I have a new post coming very soon.