As young adults, there is so much expected of us. There are days where you have to multi-task things that really shouldn't be done at the same time; Like filing your nails while driving. I'm a believer in enjoying everything you do and never doing anything simply because you think you "should." But this doesn't apply if you're a slacker. Being lazy is lame.

30 September 2008

"Questions to Ponder"

Bill Maher's Questions to Ponder. This is a slogan used for a new mockumentary called "Religulous". On a "pass along card" to advertise the movie are the following questions. The bulleted text is my reply.

  1. Why do all-powerful gods speak through prophets instead of just telling their important messages to all of us directly.
  2. When a plane goes down, was it God's will for everyone on board to die that day? And if so, how did he book them all on the same flight?
  3. Adam and Eve had two sons. Who did they marry and have children with?
  4. Why is suffering so random? One guy living on a landfill, and then there's Rod Stewart.
  5. In Christianity, the devil is a fallen angel who plotted against and betrayed God, who is omniscient. So why didn't He see it coming?
  6. What if God is busy and your prayers are being answered by some guy in Bombay?
  7. In the most recent survey, 44% of Americans have switched religions in their lifetime - is this at odds with something that's supposed to be eternal and cast in stone? Also have you considered Satan? No salesman will call.
People's perspectives baffle me. I understand that these questions are posed to be humerous, but I also gather that the questions are real. We cannot blame someone for their ignorance if they have not had the opportunity to hear truth. The following are my responses to the questions. They are brief and concise so you're not reading for hours. I invite any to add their knowledge and testimonies.

  1. God does in fact give individual revelation. The living prophet is to give us direction, which we hear, personally pray about, then act. There is a standard of living that applies to everyone, specific commandments we all must live. The personal revelation is for individual circumstance.
  2. God is aware of single person's breath as if He were watching them alone. His realm of being an action transcends time, and His influence on people, if they allow Him. Much of the time people are unaware of what the influence is.
  3. They had daughters as well. Yes, they married and had children. There weren't any other options.
  4. Suffering is a matter of opinion. One can live a happy life and also have financial struggles. Our trials are according to our weaknesses to help us grow and learn. Those with financial wealth have trials as well. Money is not the key to happiness.
  5. Of course God was aware. All people have their agency, something God will never take away. Agency is not free, so we suffer the consequences of our choices. Lucifer made his choice.
  6. This is a ludicrous question.
  7. You're judged on your actions. There are certain ordinances that are necessary salvation, which are only offered by the ordained Priesthood. Religion is a way to live your life. If you just live it on your Sabbath, what good will it do you? It's a constant way of being. Satan made his choice, and continually rebels.
I'm trying to figure out what "No salesman will call" is referring to. Feel free to enlighten me.

Engrish - Part 2

26 September 2008

Competing Films

In observation of the film world, I am sure you have noticed that studios are in fierce competition to produce the most popular movie. Of course their object is to make money, but lately the feud has become more obvious. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince release was postponed until summer 2009 because of the release of Twilight. Even more so apparent than this competition is the release of two films incredibly similar. One by Disney "Bedtime Stories" and the other by Warner Brothers, "Inkheart." The first is about a man who tells his nephews a bedtime story, and whatever they add to the story will happen the next day. Inkheart is the story of a man who can bring to life whatever he reads aloud from a book. From watching the trailers I recommend the second, Inkheart. It is better cast, and has a more original plot line. Bedtime stories stars Adam Sandler, who has his place...but not Disney. I visualized several actors that would have been better in his place. Inkheart stars Brendan Fraser, who is not my favorite, but his casting is made up for by Andy Serkis and Helen Mirren.

The film industry is complecated yet very simple. At least in Hollywood standards, the goal is to make people happy and suck money from their pockets. When one film flourishes, other studios jump on the bandwagon. For example the reemergance of superheroes. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Hulk, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. After Lord of the Rings, several "epic" stories were released, like Troy and the beginning of the Harry Potter series.

There are a few movies that seem fresh and new; "Australia" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Unlike the films mentioned first, these are "adult" films, meaning I don't know if I will be going to either of them when they are released. Their plots are original, ones I defer you to watch their trailers on your own so you can be your own judge.

Originallity is not always the best seller in the entertainment world. Lord of the Rings is an old story, yet sold fantastically well. Pirates of the Caribean, though based on a ride from Disneyland, was the first big-production pirate movie for a decade.

Inkheart and Bedtime Stories are two films I don't expect will get a whole lot of attention. Nice try though. Having some "control" over what happens in the universe would be cool, but I have a feeling the moral to those stories will be that you can't really control what "fate" will place in your lap, so don't try and meddle with things bigger than yourself; Humans don't really know what is best for them in the end anyway.

Hollywood. They win some, and loose most. But every once-in-awhile...pure genius.

Die Laughing

Today has been a good day for laughing. I will share of bit of it with you here. Enjoy. *grin*

25 September 2008

Words Out of Our Own Mouths

Language is not something clean cut with specific rules that apply in all instances of grammar. Even though we have such incredible variation within the English language, it seems we aren't satisfied with the "normal irregularities." Most of the time we are on autopilot, and the words just flow however they want. Here is a short list of things I have picked up lately, either that I say, or have heard others say. Feel free to add.

"It's a whole nuther...."

"Do what?" - Completely out of context, a filler for a misunderstanding. Example, -"That concert was amazing..." -"Do what?"

Inappropriate 'you too' Example, to a girl leaving for a vacation in France. She said to me: "Have a good semester!" Me: "You too! ...oh wait..."

Auto-pilot of 'how are you?' Example, Her: "Hi Erin!" Me: "Good, how are you?!"

18 September 2008

The Culmination of the Curse

The end of summer approaches. All tiny, creepy, many-legged creatures end their lives, or hide away until spring.

This poor creature was perched outside my front door, and quickly...lived no more.

A Remarkable Conversion

17 September 2008

Reasoning and Rational Decision Making

As part of an assignment for this philosophy class, we were to describe an irrational belief that is widespread in society. After we completed our assignment, we were to respond to another student's idea. Here is what another student wrote:

"One largely widespread belief in our culture that, looking from a logical point of view, is irrational is belief in God. Believing in an almighty power or deity does not fit the framework of rationality since it lacks solid evidence on which to base it. Never the less, billions of people choose to believe in a god of sorts, making a leap of faith rather than a rational decision. There is not a person today who knows what happens after we pass away, since no one has died and lived to tell about it. If everyone who believed in God required solid, rational evidence of his/hers/its existence, then no one would believe since there really is none."

Here is how I decided to respond:

Here is where we can debate on what is truly rational. Let's use an example of something that is not completely concrete, yet we know as human beings to be true. The emotion that we as humans deem "love." Is it true that we cannot see, touch, or smell love? We see the fruits thereof, actions that humans perform that we call love. If we consider love in the broadest sense, it is something real and concrete that all humans, and has been shown through studies that other creatures experience. If someone were to describe to you their feelings of love, they would provide you with a series of statements beginning with "It feels like..." or "I feel..." Since there is no concrete evidence to the existence of love, does that mean it is irrational to act on feelings of love? If love is something felt on a personal basis, does it become false?

The concept of faith is within the same category. Faith is an action in response to feeling. It is something that can be described, and acted upon, yet is felt on a personal basis. Just as you cannot force another to feel love, you cannot force the feeling of faith.

Just as any other rational or irrational belief, you must take into account a broad range of knowledge. Referring to examples from the assignment, someone who smokes cigarettes could tell you that smoking is a healthy and pleasant activity, but if their knowledge were expanded they would come to understand that smoking truly has ill effects on one's physical health. Their irrational decision is based either on ignorance or a choice to ignore truth. Truth is the way things are, whether each individual is aware or not.

A belief in God should not be counted as strictly irrational because those who do believe in such a Deity would describe to you plenty of evidence if you asked for it. In attempt to be brief, refer back to faith as personal, therefor not irrational as they count more than they can see, taste and hear to encompass their realm of knowledge and action."

12 September 2008

The Reality of the Living Gospel

Have you ever heard the phrase 'It's so nice to go into the temple, but I hate coming back into the real world'? Indeed, the temple is a wonderful sanctuary from the restless world. But I heard another person say that it is into the real world we enter in the temple, while the outside world is the illusion. In a book written by Clifton McIntosh called Reasoning and Rational Decision Making, he states the following." ...notice that what counts in determining the rationality of a choice or action is the way the chooser represents the choice and its background to himself or herself. In other words, what counts for the purposes of such an evaluation is not how reality is, but how the chooser believes it to be." So many people are worked into their personal beliefs within religion. Even here in a secular book is written:"Rational beliefs are not just any beliefs that comes to mind." It is not so much that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something that ~13 million people believe (including myself), but truth, the way things are. "Our beliefs, as I count them, constitute our picture of the world and the things and people in it." It does not matter that a person believes something to be true or not. There is a solid truth that cannot be changed by the hands of man. "The main problem here is that we are not told just one thing, not even by the same authority. We are awash in countless contrary claims." If people choose to ignore the truth, the truth still exists and that person chooses to live in darkness.

10 September 2008

It's all Greek to me!

Well, yes it is. The only difference is that I can read it! And yes, I have already heard this phrase said to me at least 4 times since I started Ancient Greek two weeks ago. The professor warned us of this happening and, sure enough... But on to the positive side:

Hard to believe it's only been two weeks, except for the fact my knowledge of the language remains minuscule in size. Amazingly, we are progressing through the language quite quickly, and I'm quite proud of my self thus far. New language is a challenge, especially when one doesn't have the chance to hear it spoken (I haven't met any dead Greek people, at least to my recollection). The best part of it all, is I enjoy every day of class. There are times I feel slightly overwhelmed with the task, but experience has brought patience. Having spent my entire education in places I didn't really care about, it is wonderful to think I can be in classes that I absolutely love and will use in a career. This brings me to the next point. When one says "I am an Engineering major", there is no question as to what their job options are. Same with "History Teaching." To ask "what are you going to do with that degree", is redundant. But when one says, "My major is Ancient Greek with a minor in Classical Civilization," after they get over the deer in headlights look, they inevitably say "What do you plan to do with that?" I usually say there are options in a museum, teaching, or for a University library. The truth is, I haven't a clue what I want to do with it. I've begun saying "I plan to get a degree with it." When it comes down to the absolute truth, I'm taking a leap of faith, going where the Lord would have me go. What's the point of faith if you don't act on it? My fascination with the language and culture is inexplicable. I just thank my Heavenly Father for leading me to something He knew I would love, and allowing me to partake of the knowledge. I haven't a clue what is at the end of the education pathway, but I'm going to love every moment. *singing* "I'll be what you want me to be."

05 September 2008

The Best in the World

The missionaries, the choir, but most of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ that inspires it all.

01 September 2008

The Final Decision

The hair cut poll results. Yes, I know you were all dying to know...but here they are, out of ten total votes:
  • Yes, It would look great - 40%
  • I think you should leave your hair long - 20%
  • Heck NO! - 30%
  • Think about other options - 10%

Well, I decided to go against the masses and leave it long. The end :)
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