Monday, October 4, 2010

Sometimes TV shows get cancelled after 2 episodes.

I've recently decided that I'd like to visit worship services for religions that I've never belonged to. At first, I just wanted to visit a mosque. The reason is this: I've read the Bible, and I've read some of the Qu'ran, and as far as I'm concerned, they're both terrible and beautiful fairy tales. Most of the people I love in this world are Christians and try to be reasonable, loving, logical people. They can be that way because, despite what they say, they don't actually take the Bible that seriously. They're "moderates." But every time an Islamic terrorist blows something up, every lovably PC liberal in the country insists that most Muslims are equally "moderate." I'm in no position to argue either way, really. I don't really know any Muslims. Not well, anyway. So I thought it would be nice to check out an Islamic service for myself and see if the teachings therein feel safe and moderate. To be honest, their book reads slightly bloodier than the Bible, and that is saying something. But if anyone can recommend a popular, hip, moderate mosque service in the Austin area, hit me up.

Then I thought that I shouldn't stop there. I'd like to see how things are outside of Abraham's shadow. There happens to be a beautiful Hindu temple here in Austin, and frankly, I can't wait to go check it out. From their website, the Hindu religion looks like a fucking ton of fun, full of parties and crazy stories, chanting and meditation. I don't know when I'm going to go, but if anyone wants to go with, let me know. I must admit, after seeing the Hindu temple, I feel like I wasted 20+ years in a boring religion, while I could've been wasting it in a much prettier one. I wonder if they let people film in there.

Since I last wrote here several things have happened. The highlights are that Quiet Company had almost all of our guitars and several other things stolen out of our trailer and then 3 days later we had to leave for tour. All of my electric guitars are gone, which sucks asshole, but thankfully I can file it on my home owner's insurance. So hopefully, I'll have new guitars soon. Don't worry, though. Amazingly, our community and our friends and fans came through in a big way and we all had great guitars to play on tour. Then my amp stopped working on the first night and a million other things went wrong and we realized that the thieves stole more than we thought and yada yada yada money money money... It could've been better and more beneficial but hey, it was what it was, and we did have a good time and have, at least, a handful of good shows.

This weekend, Leah had a couple of shoots and other things to handle, so it was Harper and I most of the time. The weather was amazing though (and continues to be) so I don't regret that it feels like I spent all weekend in the park. I'm planning on doing some more of the same shortly after 5 o'clock today.


  1. i swear to goodness that i have dreamt of that hindu place before.. wow, that is so freaky. especially seeing as how i haven't ever seen that place before, don't live in austin, and am not hindu. :-o i donated $1, that's all i could afford at the time, times are tough! glad to hear that it all worked out though :)

  2. I'd be totally down for checking out random religious things around town. I've always wanted to sit in on other religions and learn about them, but I've never had the guts to just.. go bug them about it.

  3. Hey Jess, we really appreciate your $1.
    Green, I'll let you know when I'm going down there.

  4. You should go visit the temples. I really enjoyed reading through Eastern Philosophy back in undergrad, including Hinduism. A lot of the foolishness said about religion these days could probably be avoided if people were more theologically literate.

    Is it really fair to say that the only way a professing Christian can be reasonable, loving, and logical is by not really taking Christianity seriously? Being a Christian myself maybe I'm a poor judge of these things, but Anselm, Aquinas, Augustin, Boethious, Calvin, Luther, Descartes, Pascal, Newton, Anscombe, Plantinga.... et cetera... They all seem pretty smart. Could lukewarm Christianity (or Judaism) inspire the establishment of nearly all the first hospitals and charitable organizations in this country? Or Princeton, Harvard, and Yale...?
    I don't know, I just don't think this whole "moderate" vs "extremist" distinction you've inherited from Sam Harris serves you very well.
    Sorry to hear about the stolen stuff.

  5. First, I didn't say they didn't take their faith seriously, I said they don't take the Bible that seriously. When I say that they don't really take the bible seriously, I mean that they're not really living in accordance to the Law of the book. I'm sure that you don't stone homosexuals, witches, or those guilty of adultry. I HOPE you don't honestly think that a guy put 2 of every animal on the planet on a boat. And you probably don't lose much sleep worrying about whether or not your clothes are made from mixed fibers, etc. Of course, all my friends (and undoubtably all the people who've built religious hospitals) take very seriously the parts about loving one another and mercy and forgiveness and whatnot. But if you think those are the only things that the scriptures demand, then you're being naive. If you're going to claim a book is perfect, then you can't separate yourself from the crazy shit in its pages or pretend it's not there, or that it doesn't mean what it says. I'm not saying anyone is stupid, you're trying to put those words in my mouth.

    Your comment about the distinction I inherited from Sam Harris really rubs me the wrong way. I wasn't aware that Sam Harris had coined those particular terms, as I've been hearing them my whole life and only read Harris in recent years. What terms should we use the next time an abortion clinic gets blown up, or someone tries to set off a bomb in Time Square? True, "Moderates" are defined by "Extremists," as we need one to create the other, but to act like these terms are too over-simplified to be useful doesn't do anyone any good.
    For my money, the distinction is this: If the doctrine is more important to you than the physical or psychological wellbeing of human beings (ANY human beings) then you are an extremist. If not, I guess you're a moderate by default.

  6. I just saw Sam Harris give a talk in PDX and he recounted a debate that he had with a woman who had been invited to speak at the 2010 TED Conference. He describes the woman before recounting the conversation:

    She is "very well positioned to reason effectively about the implications of science for our understanding of morality. She holds a degree in genetics from Dartmouth, a masters in biology from Harvard, and a law degree, another masters, and a Ph.D. in the philosophy of biology from Duke. This scholar is now a recognized authority on the intersection between criminal law, genetics, neuroscience and philosophy"

    And this is their convo:

    She: What makes you think that science will ever be able to say that forcing women to wear burqas is wrong?

    Me: Because I think that right and wrong are a matter of increasing or decreasing well-being--and it is obvious that forcing half the population to live in cloth bags, and beating or killing them if they refuse, is not a good strategy for maximizing human well-being.

    She: But that's only your opinion.

    Me: Okay... Let's make it even simpler. What if we found a culture that ritually blinded every third child by literally plucking out his or her eyes at birth, would you then agree that we had found a culture that was needlessly diminishing human well-being?

    She: It would depend on why they were doing it.

    Me (slowly returning my eyebrows from the back of my head): Let's say they were doing it on the basis of religious superstition. In their scripture, God says, "Every third must walk in darkness."

    She: Then you could never say that they were wrong.


    Yeah, just like you said: If the doctrine is more important to you than the physical or psychological wellbeing of human beings (ANY human beings) then you are an extremist.

    I miss your posts!

  7. Thanks Lindsey. Sometimes I think I should blog more again, but then I sit down to write and stare at the screen for several minutes before giving up. The proverbial barrel has, quite possibly, run dry.

    I love Sam Harris in debates. He argues the way I like to think that I would which is why I think I connect with him way more than the other authors writing on the same subject. Gets a little wishy-washy on the subject of torture but no one's claiming his reasoning is perfect.