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The Universe

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The universe is approximately 14 billion years old, give or take a couple of hundred thousand.  The Earth is estimated at 4.5 billion years old.  Man or a man-like creature is reckoned to be between 2.4 and 7 million years old and homo sapiens, from whom we’re descended (correct me if I’m wrong) have been around for about 200,000 years.  Not very long at all when measured against the age of the universe and according to physics, everything that is in the universe existed the moment it began.  So, we were at some point in the life of the universe, stardust.  Wonderful! 

‘Good morning starshine, the earth says hello’.  Pardon me, just having a little hippie moment there. 

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched way back in 1977 and it has taken the best part of 40 years to reach the edge of our planetary system and now they are zooming along somewhere in interstellar space at an impressive rate of 37,000 mph.  Even at that incredible speed, it is still going to take them 40,000 years to reach the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.  The vastness of the universe is beyond our comprehension and some planetary facts can be mind-blowing.  For instance, it takes Neptune 165 years to complete one orbit of the sun, amazing! But even more amazing is that even if Voyager reaches our nearest star, it would take it, (and this is incredible) 400,000,000 years to reach the other side of the Milky Way.  That is a distance beyond comprehension....and that is just one small galaxy in a universe of millions?????

 In 1990, when Voyager 1 was leaving our planetary system and heading into interstellar space, a distance of 3.7 billion miles, Nasa, on a suggestion from the writer Carl Sagan, turned Voyager around and took a picture of earth; ‘a pale blue dot’ Sagan called it. 

Carl Sagan wrote the great story, Contact, which was later made into a film with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaghey.  It is one of my favourites and I strongly recommend it, especially if you like sci-fi or even if you just like a good movie.

So, back to us - the life of a human being is averaged at 3 score and ten, 70 years,  if you’re lucky, and many never even come close to this life span.   When that is measured against the age of the universe, it really doesn’t amount to very much at all, a mere speck of dust, a fraction of a blink of an eye in the vastness of the cosmos. 

So, here we are with our paltry 70 years, on this tiny blue dot rolling around the sun and what do we do with it?  In this eye blink of a life, we waste so much of it.  We waste it fighting in wars, over land, religion, money, power; making ourselves and everybody else miserable and afraid; scrabbling around like rats trying to ‘make a living’ instead of actually living; bitching and whining about petty stupidities, like what other people have, what we don’t have, how someone looks, how someone lives...

 We sacrifice the only life we have (I think) obsessing on nonsense and tying ourselves down to the slavery of capitalism; wasting precious time appeasing the forces of society, family and our own misguided expectations.

We allow others to dictate how the world should be and let them do our thinking for us.  The two most destructive concepts man has created, money and religion, have systematically robbed us of the experience of joy in this short life of ours and have created the greatest miseries ever inflicted, not just the human race but on all other life forms on this ‘tiny blue dot’. 

Is this really the best we can do with our precious time?


Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Monday, 13 Mar 2017, 20:22)
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Weddin

Christian?

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 11 Oct 2020, 09:30

A little quiz question for today, what do the Pope, the Queen, David Cameron and Bono have in common?  

Well, if you said the Pope is head of the Catholic Church, the Queen is the head of State for Britain and the Church of England, David Cameron is the head of the present Government, and Bono has a big head, then head would be the connection and you might be right, and actually that is a right answer too, when you think about it. 

But that’s not the answer we’re looking for today, so, sorry if you said that but good thinking just the same. 

The answer we’re looking for today is this one, and this might surprise some people, but the correct answer is, they all say or think they are Christians but in reality none of them are, which might surprise some people since two of them are heads of Christian Churches , and at least one of them thinks they are God. 

So, how is that the right answer, I hear you say?  Well, I was at mass a couple of weeks ago and the priest was talking about the reading that day, which was the one about how it would be ‘easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it would be for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God ’ (or heaven, anyway, same thing).  And he went on about wealth and poverty, and I was sitting there thinking ‘well what about the Vatican ?’  I almost got up and said it, and if it had been another priest I might have, but this priest is old and retired and then I thought, ‘well he’s not Rome so why harass him about it’.  And then yesterday we were back on the money question with the story of the widow's mite.  Now, I go to mass, I consider myself Catholic, definitely not a Roman Catholic but Catholic in the original sense of the word, which comes from the Greek and means ‘universal’, and that is how I consider myself.  I am a member of the ‘universal church of humanity’. 

I was in Rome a couple of years ago and while there was a lot to see, from an historical perspective, I didn’t particularly like the place and I certainly didn’t feel too inspired by the ‘Christianity’ of the Vatican, and wouldn’t be in a hurry to go back any time soon.  When I was there, I was hoping for some profound spiritual experience, and the nearest I got to encountering anything like that, was looking at Michaelangelo’s Pieta, which is in St Peters , and is a stunningly beautiful piece of sculpture.  If you ever go to Rome, I couldn’t recommend this highly enough. 

The other big attraction was the Sistine Chapel, and honestly, I felt a bit let down by it.  Firstly, it’s not really a chapel, as you would imagine, it’s just another room in the Vatican, and by the time you get to it, you have passed through so many rooms painted from floor to ceiling with angels and the like, that your eye is a bit tired of it all.  

I had the same thing in the Rennaissance section of the Louvre, I remember coming out and thinking, ‘If I see one more picture of the dead Christ…..!’  And for the record, the painting of God and man touching, which I had always imagined was this huge painting across a domed ceiling is in fact a small panel in the centre of the ceiling about 5ft by 3ft.  (it probably is bigger than that, but perspectively, that is how it appeared). 

Anyway, what got me about it, was the wealth of art in the Vatican museum and also the fact that the Pope lives like an earthly king.  He lives in a palace, is surrounded by lackeys and riches, he is dressed in expensive robes, waited on hand and foot and is separated from the people.  He is supposed to be Jesus’ representative on earth, how is that anything like Jesus?  And here’s another thing, he is supposed to be infallible, says who?  I would like to know, where that idea came from?  He can’t be infallible, he is a human being, it isn’t possible, all humans are flawed and imperfect, it’s the most interesting thing about us.  Just think how boring it would be, if we were all perfect and flawless?  

When you look at it, everything about the Pope, goes against everything Jesus preached about.  And the same goes for the Queen, it is a complete hypocrisy to have a Queen as head of any Christian church, and the same applies to David Cameron and Bono, you cannot be that rich and be a Christian, it just isn’t possible, you may perform Christian acts now and again, but as long as you are sitting with all those millions (and avoiding paying tax) you are not, and never can be, a Christian, in the truest and only sense of the word. 

And since we’re on the subject of Churches and religion, any religion that differentiates between men and women is wrong, especially if the Bible is a big part of the religion, because one of the first statements in the Book of Genesis says, that God made them, male and female, both equal.  That’s it, equal, no more, no less, equal.  Not the Animal Farm kind of equal, where ‘everyone is equal, only some are more equal than others’, no not that one. There was no qualification to it, all equal, no argument. 

And if you really believed in the God of the Bible, you couldn’t regard any human being as not being your equal, (or as discussed in previous blogs, of equal value), because if you believe God made everything, then to say that a woman is something less than a man, is to insult God.  If God made them equal then who is any human being to say that Her/His/ It’s creation, woman, is something less, when they are both human.  The value for what He/She/It has created, then extends to everything, because if you truly believed that, then you have to consider that every thing that God has created, is of value to God, otherwise it would not exist.  

Which makes it very arrogant and insulting to go traipsing around claiming dominion over other lands and other human beings, and treating them badly, or as your own personal property.  Because if everything is God’s creation, then maybe it’s time we started to really think about that and consider how we are living and how we treat other people and the planet.  Maybe it’s time we cleaned up our act and started taking care of what we have been given because whether there is or isn’t a God, and whether you believe or don’t believe in a God, we only have a short time here so why don’t we do our best to live well and respectfully, and try and make life better for everyone.  

I mean, does the Queen, and David, and Bono, and all those other millionaires and billionaires really need all that money.  They can’t spend it in a lifetime and it won’t buy them another life, and they can’t take it with them, so what do they need it for, to feed their egos and make them feel like they are successful, that they are better human beings than the rest of us?  

Sorry, but the bad news about that is, if you can sit with millions or billions in a bank while on this planet another human being is dying for the want of something as basic as food, then you have failed in the most important area of life, you have failed as a human being and you have certainly failed as a Christian. 

I mean, what are we here for if not to live, life is supposed to be lived is it not?  Why does it always feel that life is something to be endured or survived, why can we not just live it and live it well?  We speculate and ponder the meaning of life and maybe it is something as simple as that, to live it and live it well. 

Comments as usual, are always welcome.

 

 

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Julie Inan, Wednesday, 14 Nov 2012, 11:29)
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Weddin

Final Assignment

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I have just submitted my final assignment, YEEEEEHAAAAA! 

Good luck to everyone with their work and I look forward to next year and another seven months of stress, doubt, worry and then triumph and relief.  When that last assignment has been submitted and you thank God ,you stuck it out and have notched up another year, and are another step closer to your goal!!!

Looking forward to Power, Equality and Dissent already.  The OU is a bit like labour.  You think you're never going to get through it, and then five minutes after it's over, the stress didn't seem so bad after all, and you look forward to doing it all again!!!

Ah life, what a wonderful pleasure, pain ,up and downy great experience it is, ENJOY!!!!

 

Permalink 5 comments (latest comment by Stephen, Thursday, 7 Jun 2012, 11:41)
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