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Archive for May 2009

Regrowing a Rainforest

Willie Smits shows what it takes to regrow a clearcut rainforest, restoring economic prosperity in the process.

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Sea of Plastic

Capt. Charles Moore offers a disturbing look at what happens to our throw away plastic once it makes it to the ocean. Yes, we’re talking about more than six-pack rings and sea turtles.

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The Subtlety of the Truth

In my considerable experience, those who express the most certainty on a subject, those who speak about it in clearcut terms, probably know the least.

Either that, or they actually do know their shit, but in their estimation, I’m too ignorant to handle the subtlety of their world.

Anyway, the truth has always proven more nuanced than its presentation in school, at church, and on PBS.


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Mormon Me vs. The Infidel

[This is a comment that I made at Songs from the Wood that I think worth preserving for posterity.]

I almost want to say something similar, that I have never believed in God. I suspect that to say “I was always an atheist” is too reductive though.

For me, it feels more accurate to say that an unbelieving part of me has always struggled against the Mormon part of me. I always doubted, and as you say, never fully internalized all Mormon beliefs. The Mormon part tried to strangle the nonbeliever, but could never fully succeed. During the decades that the Mormon held sway, the infidel stealthily gathered strength. There came a day when the infidel rose up and sucker punched the Mormon, and the struggle ended.

I have peace of mind now because two parts of me no longer battle for supremacy. The Mormon believer no longer exists in any meaningful way inside me.

Looking back, I am tempted to project my single-mindedness backward in time and claim that the single-minded infidel was the authentic me. I hesitate because I suspect that I had an authentic experience as a Mormon, that many people who call themselves Mormon are having the same kind of experience.

By some particular definition of the word, I was Mormon for a while.

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Five Things

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.—Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Before I get down to the usual business, I want to respond to this idea because I’ve heard it several times in various places. I feel and express gratitude all the time. Since losing my belief in God, I haven’t been at a loss for people to thank.

I’m thankful to my parents for giving me life (and to their parents who gave them life, and so on).

I’m grateful for my wife who threw her lot in with me and risked her life to bear and raise children with me.

I’m grateful for all the innovators in science, technology, and the arts who have made my modern life of relative health, comfort, and ease possible.

I’m grateful for the groundskeepers who provide the uplifting environs where I work.

Even when I can’t find a person to thank for something (e.g. the warming light of the sun or the naked fact of our existence), I don’t miss being able to thank someone. I feel grateful—and incredibly fortunate—just the same.

This sense of gratitude without someone to thank may represent an improvement: I no longer suffer the temptation to imagine that I deserve the good things I enjoy by being faithful to God. And if I don’t deserve what I have, then all the more reason to share it with those who deserve it just as much as I.

With all due respect to Mr. Rossetti, he should have avoided offering witticisms about something that he apparently lacks experience of.

Oh, and by my count, that’s five things plus one.

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