Musings, Philosophy

Inspiration

There is a very nice lady who regularly visits me at my home and graciously offers me brochures explaining her religious beliefs and an open invitation to attend a service at her church.  Sometimes she brings her beautiful daughter or a friend with her, but she is never without her Bible.  As I am cursed with a healthy curiosity about many things, I will sometimes invite this particular Jehovah’s Witness into my home for coffee and conversation.

On the most recent occasion, we talked about her religion and how she strives to live her life according to the teachings of the Bible.  But problems arose when I retrieved my own Bible, which once belonged to my parents, and discovered that that words, phrases and sometimes whole verses are different or even missing from my version or hers.  In light of these discrepancies, she could not convince me that the original message, the divine inspiration, had not been diluted, altered or morphed by translation and other forms of human intervention throughout the centuries like a children’s game of “telephone.”  Following this encounter, she has yet to visit me and I presume she has written off my eternal soul as a loss.

The diversity of religious beliefs held by human beings is truly astounding.  And yet, the similarities are even more interesting.  It seems that we have a deep seated longing for our existence to have a purpose and meaning, even if that purpose must remain a mystery which can never be revealed to us in it’s entirety.  To have faith that our brief, meager lives play a role in an infinitely intricate cosmic ballet choreographed by an all-powerful, all-knowing entity is an intrinsic part of a majority of religions.  And regardless of our particular form of worship, divine inspiration is sought by all.

But how is this inspiration revealed to us?  A feeling?  A voice in our head?  A burning bush?  A turn of events?  A dream?  Would we even recognize it?

I believe we receive inspiration, divine or otherwise, all the time.  It’s a glint of sunlight from broken glass swept into a storm drain.  It’s a precious moment spent observing our children as they sleep.  It’s a fleeting memory of disappointment, pain or fear that highlights the wonder of the gift love.  It is a painting, a book, a breath.  Anything and everything can provide inspiration if we are observant enough to recognize it and brave enough to use it to learn and grow and change into something more than we were before.

You never know, a cup of coffee with a stranger may be all the inspiration you need.

 

 

News, Pet Peeves, Philosophy

I didn’t want to have to do this

The recent breaking story of the reorder of the astrological signs has apparently caused a serious rift in our collective personalities.  I now feel the need to offer some insight that may help to soothe our fractured psyches.  Astrology and astronomy are not the same.

TheFreeDictionary.com defines astronomy as: “The scientific study of matter in outer space, especially the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial bodies and phenomena.”  Astronomers are scientists.  If anyone would know whether the stars are now in different positions in the heavens from our viewpoint than they were 3,000 years ago, it would be them.  Precession is a scientific fact.  When admiring the Great Pyramids of Giza and gazing reflectively at the stars, you are most definitely not seeing the same sky as the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

Astrology, on the other hand, is defined by the same source as: “The study of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs” (the emphasis is mine).  Astrology is, for all practical purposes, a kind of religion.  And as such, there are several different types of astrological mores such as Western, Chinese, Indian, Hellenistic, Celtic, the list goes on.  The “new” 13th sign, Ophiuchus, is actually currently in use in some forms of astrology.  And because it is a belief system, science does not affect it.  They are mutually exclusive in the same way that evolution and creationism are completely different “truths.”  One is based on science and the other is based on religious beliefs.

So, both the astronomers and the astrologers are correct.  The precession of the Earth has indeed caused the relative positions of the stars to be different from our viewpoint now than they were 3,000 years ago.  And your astronomical sign has not changed because of it.  And if you are a fellow Scorpio, please forgive me for having to blog about this and try to cut the people born under another sign a little bit of slack.  Patience is a virtue.

Musings, Philosophy

“Tron: Legacy” and Religion

This weekend, we celebrated my husband’s birthday by foisting the children off on my parents, getting all gussied up and going out for a romantic dinner and a movie.  Dinner was delicious, and was only slightly marred by my husband’s deep disappointment that this particular restaurant didn’t offer bread either as an appetizer or a compliment to the meal.  The movie we chose was Tron: Legacy in 3D at the IMAX theater and I was thoroughly entertained.  I was also intrigued by the almost overwhelming religious undertones.

The first religious anecdote I detected woven into the storyline was that of the Fall of Lucifer, which describes the relationship between Kevin Flynn and Clu.  When Kevin Flynn created Clu, he boldly declared that, together, they would create the perfect world for programs and users to interact in peace and harmony.  But as Clu innocently reveled in Kevin’s excitement and enthusiasm, he found himself suddenly replaced in Kevin’s heart by the newly discovered Isos.  Kevin was just as enamored with the Isos as Lucifer believed God was with humanity.  And like Lucifer, Clu’s pain and jealousy morphed into rage and a profound hatred of both the Isos and his creator.  Unable or unwilling to vent his anger on Kevin physically, he reaped his vengeance in the form of a crusade of destruction against the Isos.  However, even this massacre did not fully satisfy his rage.  He then plotted an initiative designed to use the creator’s own son to gain freedom from the Grid and access into Kevin’s world, just as Lucifer seeks to regain Heaven.

This leads to a second Biblical account incorporated into the storyline, the coming of Jesus Christ.  Kevin’s son, Sam, is lured into the Grid by Clu, who wants to seize Kevin’s memory disk and use it and the portal opened by Sam’s arrival to escape the Grid.  Sam manages to find his father, who has been in hiding to protect the last Iso, Quorra, from Clu.  However, by doing so, he unintentionally provides the opportunity which allows Clu to obtain Kevin’s disk, which they then must retrieve to escape the Grid themselves.  Ultimately, Kevin sacrifices himself to help Sam defeat Clu and escape through the portal with Quorra, just as Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross allowed him to defeat Satan and become the savior of humanity and open the gateway to Heaven.

And finally, I also noticed a hint of the story of Dismas, one of the criminals who was crucified with Jesus.  Unlike Kevin, Clu cannot create life, but he can re-purpose programs in the Grid.  This is what he does to Kevin’s paladin, Tron, twisting him into a dark, faceless, unstoppable instrument of Clu’s relentless fury.  But enough of Tron’s essential nature remained after Clu’s misuse that he was able to find salvation and cry “I fight for the USER!” before betraying Clu and perishing himself.  Similarly, Dismas rebuked the other criminal’s insults and jeers toward Jesus and found redemption.

All in all, Tron: Legacy was a highly entertaining sojourn into science fiction.  Not only did inspire me to think about such deep subject matter, but I also loved the stunning visual effects and fantastic Techno music.  Additionally, my husband very much appreciated the lingering camera shot of Beau Garrett’s phenomenally outfitted and shapely behind commenting, “This may be a Disney movie, but THAT shot was for the adults.”

Happy birthday, honey.