Politics and Prose: Dr. Eric Motley- Interviewing Elaine Pagels: ‘Why Religion’

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Source:Politics and Prose– Dr. Eric Motley, interviewing author Elaine Pagels at Politics and Prose in Washington 

Source:The Daily Review

As someone who is Agnostic and proud of it who believes in reason, science, facts, and only has faith in people, things, institutions that I trust based on the evidence that I’ve seen from being around them and talking to them, I can actually see why people would be attracted in religion. As someone who believes in the First Amendment which includes the Freedom of Religion in America, ( sorry Hippies, I’m not spiritualist and I’m not a Communist either ) I can see why people would want religion, be involved in America, and even need it. I guess the difference between an Agnostic and an Atheist, especially a fundamentalist Atheist ( and yes, there is such a thing ) like a Communist to use as an example.

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Source:Good Reads– From author Elaine Pagels 

This is not an official definition, but that might only be because there isn’t any official definition of religion, but my personal definition of religion is basically basic set of moral values that people believe and follow, as well as the belief in God. Now, depending on what religion you are a member of determines what moral values that you believe in and follow that helps you in your life. I can easily see how people can get positive benefits from being a part of a religion and get positive benefits from attending church and listening to their religious leader every week give a sermon, especially when they’re going through rough times and need help getting through those tough times. Even though religion is not for me and I prefer to use evidence and reason to get through those tough times in our lives.

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Source:C-SPAN– Author Elaine Pagels, on C-SPAN 

Elaine Pagels, lost both her son and husband in the span of a year back in 1987-88, apparently wasn’t very religious before those tragedies in her life, but found religion after that and I can understand someone who goes through those tragedies especially in such a short period of time would feel the need to get help from religion and learn about that and try to figure out for themselves why they’re being put through those tragedies one following by another. Religion, has been used by alcoholics to get over their alcoholism. It’s been used to help career criminals who are doing long-term prison sentences get their life going on a positive track so once they’re finally out of prison they can become positive members of their community once they’re free. As much as I might hate religious fundamentalism in all forms, ( and trust me, I do ) people should also understand and beware of the positive aspects of religious life as well.

Politics and Prose: Dr. Eric Motley- Interviewing Elaine Pagels: ‘Why Religion’

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Graham Brown: Life Is About Choices- We Are What We Choose To Be

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Source:Success Magazine– Great Graham Brown quote 

Source:The Daily Review

Anyone who says that they have no regrets or have never made any mistakes, either is bullshitting you to your face and perhaps thinks you’re an idiot as well, or perhaps hasn’t really lived at all. Perhaps spent their entire life in an institution where everything was done for them and was always told what to do. Maybe they spend their entire time in their house and don’t even ever cross the street for fear of falling or getting hit by a car. For someone like this they have to be so cautious and so conservative in the sense that they never take any risks, because they’re always afraid of making mistakes and screwing up.

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Source:Brainy Quote– Great Steve Jobs quote 

As Graham Brown says here, “life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt forever. The message: we are what we choose to be.” Being human is about making choices and then living with the consequences of them for good and bad. Enjoying the rewards from the good decisions that we make, but dealing with the consequences for our bad choices. Anyone says they’ve never made a mistake in life and has no regrets, is either bullshitting you and thinks you’re an idiot, or hasn’t lived a life outside of an institution where they’re always told what to do and everything is done for them. Perhaps spent their entire life in a coma. Which is I guess one way to honestly live without regrets. But who the hell wants to live in a coma simply to avoid having regrets and making mistakes?

It’s not about whether we make mistakes in life and life with regrets, but the question is what do we do about it. Do we bitch about life being unfair and too hard, we can’t go on and simply give up not just on life, but ourselves as well, or do we use our regrets and mistakes as learning opportunities. And look at them as opportunities to improve ourselves and look at where we failed and how not to do what we were trying to do there and learn how to do it right the next time so we don’t make the same mistakes again. We all screw up, we’re all wronged at some point in our lives, many times life is unfair and hits us si hard that it almost knocks us out. But as long as we’re alive we’re never knocked out and always have the wheels and power to move forward and to get better. As Graham Brown said we are what we choose to be base on the decisions that we make in life for good and bad.

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Source:The Atlantic: The Ingenious Botanist in The Mountains of Tajikistan– The Botanist 

National Review: Opinion- Victor Davis Hanson: ‘Did 1968 Win The Cultural War?’

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Source:National Review– Grant Park in Chicago in 1968 

Source:The Daily Review

Not sure if 1968 won the Cultural War, simply because I don’t see how a year could win a war. Wars are won by groups of individuals generally countries through their militaries and their people that back them. I’m being a little coy here, but Victor Hanson’s basic point being that did the people from the 1960s especially the late 60s, the young people who were a big part of that era with all of those young Baby Boomers coming of age in the 1960s and graduating high school, starting college and even graduating college in that decade, did those people and the cultural and lifestyles, political views that they represented especially the Hippies, did they win the Cultural War? I believe the obvious answer to that question is yes.

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Source:Townhall Magazine– 1968 demonstrators 

As a Gen-Xer who was born in the mid 1970s and just one generation up from the Baby Boomers, I obviously don’t remember 1968, but that’s only because I wasn’t even born yet. If I were born even in the early 1960s perhaps I would have some memories of that time. So what I have to do to familiar myself with that decade is to listen to, read, and watch the people who were not only alive through that period, not only lived through that period, but were major part of it. The new cultural and lifestyle changes from that decade, all the personal freedom and individualism that came from that decade, the anti-warmovement, the women’s movement, the gay movement, civil rights movement, etc. One of the advantages of history is that you can’t forget it because people are always reporting on it as it happens, but then later on with books and documentaries.

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Source:American Greatness– 1968 demonstrators 

There two main factions in the 1960s cultural movement. One being perhaps the most famous the New-Left socialist revolutionary movement that not only wanted to get America out of the Vietnam War, wanted to fundamentally change how the American economy and government worked. Even in that movement you had at least two factions. The Socialist Revolutionaries lead by groups like The Weather Underground, Students For a Democratic Society and then later in the early and mid 1970s the Symbionese Liberation Army that’s famous for kidnapping San Francisco area heiress Patricia Hearst, who wanted to rob banks to take care of the poor. And then you had the peaceful demonstrators who were part of the anti-warmovement and were simply interested in getting America out of the Vietnam War, but not trying to overthrow the U.S. Government through violence.

The socialist revolutionary nonsense ( tis the season to be generous ) I don’t have much if any respect for as someone who believes in the rule of law and only believe in using violence in self-defense and to protect the innocent. But the Hippies who were growing up in the 1950s and remember that era well who wanted a new life that was different from their parents and grandparents, who wanted to make their own decisions, who loved their families, but didn’t want to be dominated by them and be able to live their own lives even if their parents disapprove of their lifestyles, as a Liberal myself who believes in individualism and free choice, personal freedom I have a lot of respect for that movement.

By not even 1968 but really 1965-66 and perhaps even 63-64, America was changing drastically culturally, racially, and ethnically. The Anglo-Saxon Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle from the 1950s was becoming a thing of the past at least in Real America even if Hollywood was still producing shows that looked like they were from 1955. Instead of the husband walking in the door every night and saying, “honey, I’m home!” with his devoted wife staying, “hi dear, how was your day?” having his paper and favorite drink ready for him, the woman in many cases was just getting home from work herself. Because you had these Baby Boom Hippies and lot of them women who didn’t want’t to be housewives and in some cases didn’t want to get married or even have kids. Who instead wanted to go to college, get a degree and start their own lives and be independent with the same freedom that the men have.

The so-called Cultural War from back then and today are fought by two factions. The Christian-Right, who believe the 1950s was the golden age for America and who’ve been trying to get every single American into some national time machine and take us all back to that 1950s Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle. And the New Americans ( let’s call them ) who believe that Americans should be free to be Americans, who are a very diverse people racially, ethnically, religiously, and culturally who believe Americans should be free to be Americans and make their own lifestyle and cultural decisions. Even if that offends people who are a lot more conservative religiously. And the New Americans having been winning this Cultural War really since the 1970s at least with all the personal freedom that Americans have today.

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Source:Black Pigeon Speaks: ‘The Left Won The Cultural War: Here’s Why’– The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren

The Atlantic: Opinion- Thomas P. McBee: ‘Men Are Socialized To Act Inhumanely’

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Source:The Atlantic– The American man 

Source:The Daily Review

From The Atlantic: Alia Wong- ‘The American Man in Crisis’

When I first saw the title of this video for this piece, I was expecting to hear some Far-Left radical feminist view about what’s wrong with men, especially straight men and even more so straight Caucasian men. What the Far-Left just calls White boys or White males. They don’t even have enough decency to refer to this group of Americans as men. But I was pleasantly surprise to hear Thomas McBee’s point and what he was arguing about really was the extremes of straight men in America regarding their behavior when it comes to female relations especially in the workplace.

American boys regardless of their race or ethnicity, especially if they come from a straight two-parent family with a mother and father who are in love with each other, are raised to be men. Now, once a boy reaches puberty and starts thinking sexually it might turn out that boy is not straight and gay and there might be signs of that early on with the boy having a more feminine take on life and not interested in at least traditionally boy activities growing up like sports and other activities like that. But for most of us regardless of race or ethnicity especially if we come a starlight two-parent home we’re raised to be men, meaning straight men.

American males are expected to be manly. Meaning we’re expected to speak with strong voices, be sure about ourselves, at least look like we can handle ourselves physically and not to be picked on physically. Be able to handle criticism and humor about us because we’re not overly sensitive, ( not including the current President of the United States ) we’re expected to be into sports, interested and knowledgeable about cars, not just interested, or like women, but love women and think about them constantly and love talking to them and being around them, checking them out and everything else. We’re expected to be the man of the house and lay down and enforce the rules for how our kids are supposed to behave, as well as handle the security and the home improvements of the house.

Some might argue that I’m just throwing out a lot of stereotypes out there like QB throws out a lot of balls in a two-minute drill, ( another male stereotype being that men use a lot of sports references to make their points ) but the thing about stereotypes is that there’s always some truth in them or it wouldn’t become a stereotype that’s used over and over again by intelligent people even. As far as the gay movement has come now in America with gays even getting the right to marry each other in America, 90-95% of whether you just include outed gay men or closeted gay men, are not only straight, but we still tend to be masculine in America. There are gay men even who aren’t queens and you wouldn’t know right away after meeting them that they’re gay.

To Thomas McBee’s point about what it means to be a man and to be masculine, I agree with him. There’s nothing unmanly about guys who care about other people and not just people who are related to them or are their friends or associates. There’s nothing unmanly about guys hugging each other and I’m not just talking about hugging our father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, etc, but guys who hug their male friends, because they love their male friends. The strong handshake plus one-arm hug that’s popular now with straight men, I do that with my good buddies as well especially if I haven’t seem them in a while. I have two brothers who live on the West Coast and live 3000 miles from me. Every time we see each other which isn’t very often we give each other big hugs. Nothing unmanly about guys showing physical affection for each other.

At risk of sounding politically incorrect here, but I’ll qualify what I’m going to say here and not just because this will probably be politically incorrect and again as a Liberal who believes in free choice and personal freedom there’ nothing wrong with homosexuality and nothing immoral about it. I believe Americans have a right to be themselves and even a responsibility to be themselves regardless of who they are short of hurting innocent people with what they’re doing, but being unmanly is not manly. ( To state the obvious ) Again, all Americans should be exactly who they are, but men who speak with high voices and they tend to be gay, or feel the need to use their hands move their cheeks and eyes, necks when talking, talk like valley girls, but have feminine interests and mannerisms and I’m not talking about being interested in women, but interested in what women tend to be interested in, to me at least queens aren’t manly otherwise they wouldn’t be queens. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if that’s who you are. ( To use a Seinfeld line )

Again at risk of stating the obvious, you can be a straight man even and still be human. My only advice there would be to take things meaning life as they come and not to overact. Use proper analysis about what’s going on and how it affects you and not to overreact to. Don’t have a teen age girl moment ( again, to sound politically incorrect ) and act as if your life is over because you didn’t get the job that you wanted or someone said something awful about you. I hate the term man up, so I would say be a man about life and take it for what it is which comes with a lot of highs and lows. Enjoy the highs because those are the pleasures of life, but don’t view yourself as invulnerable because now you’re on top. And use your lows as learning experiences and opportunities to improve. Instead of thunking your life is now over screwed up and suffered some disappointment and you’ll get a lot more out of life and enjoy it a lot more. That to me is what being a man is about which is taking life for what it is and acting accordingly.

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Source:The Atlantic: Opinion- Thomas P. McBee: ‘Men Are Socialized To Act Inhumanely’– Thomas McBee’s take