Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Slideshow in Calgary Thursday night, Religion

I'm doing a show Thursday (tomorow night) in Calgary as a benefit for the Canadian World Championship Paragliding Team. It's turned into a really well-organized event, 20 foot screen etc., fired up to see many friends there and meet some new people too! Some beer will be consumed, it's at Shanks in the Northwest (link to map).

Religion/faith: I've had a bunch of great email responses in response to the recent fatalities in climbing, thanks, these responses mean a lot to me. Several of them have been from various Christian viewpoints; I'm all for anyone practicing any sort of religion that doesn't damage other people. Several of my friends are fairly devout, which makes long drives more fun as we always have a "default" conversation topic that can eat up the road. I'm pretty sure most religions are fabricated without divine intervention, while most of those who believe seem positive that God had a role. I find this somewhat humorous, as the followers of each sect are all certain that the others, along with me, are doomed. From this alone I've come to the conclusion that faith is something I have little faith in. Maybe I'm just a heartless skeptic, but I have the same problem with a lot of "new age" stuff (Iridology, homeopathy, aura adjustment, there's a long list of stuff people have faith in without much in the way of evidence). I do think a more wholistic viewpoint toward physical and mental health is called for (fighting heart disease in its latter stages misses the point of why we get heart disease in the first place for example), but that's a relatively simple cause and effect relationship (whether genes or McDonalds). Anyhow, I found a great collection of quotes about religion and faith on a Craigslist site, pasted 'em here for your amusement. As always, I welcome any conversation pro or con about life, the most interesting sport of all.

"It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science." [Darwin]

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." [Voltaire]

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism." [Einstein]

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

"I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul.... No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living … our dread of coming to an end." [Edison]

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." [Lincoln]

"Religion is a byproduct of fear. For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn't killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?" [Arthur C. Clarke]

"Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies." [Thomas Jefferson]

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." [Kurt Vonnegut]

"Religion is based . . . mainly on fear . . . fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. . . . My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race." [Bertrand Russell]


Darren said...

Whenever I read quotes like these about God or religion I think of this quote. "I'd rather be in the mountains thinking about God than in church thinking about the mountains."

Andy Aakhus-Witt said...

Two great essays:
Pulvis et Umbra by R.L. Stevenson

There Is No God by Penn Jillette

Kim said...

My favorite:

"Any god you can talk about is too small a god for me."


Will Gadd said...

Cool essays and thoughts, thanks. I try to worship regularly in the mountains also, yeah!

Cheryle said...

I am of the opinion that everyone can believe in whatever they want to (or need to), as long as they don't try to force it on other people. Sometimes I think religion is a bit of crutch - to help people through tough times and to explain events, tragic and otherwise, which on the surface seem to make no sense whatsoever. The most unfortunate part as I see it, is that 1000's of people around the world die every year as a direct result of religion (ie wars in the middle east, etc.). The most profound quote I've ever read to describe religion is this: It's really all just a huge, ongoing fight over who has the best imaginary friend!

Anyway, I don't believe an any higher power or anything like that. It is all far too intangible for me. I believe in living life to the fullest, being grateful for all the great things that are in my life, and being the best, kindest, honorable, most accepting person I can be.


Machavok said...

Hey there Will, this is Gordon McArthur (havok magazine, i was just on your blog...reading some of the religious comments/entries.

I'm curious to know what your take is on christianity. Three years ago i became a christian and it has made a monster difference in my life, especially in the adventure sports world. I find myself (these days) relying on God for his direction and guidance.

Just this weekend past some friend of mine and I did a trip up to Jumbo Cabin (sick skiing). Anyways, with any trip there usually lays an epic. OF course we had a few. But within those times of desperosity, a few of us found ourselves praying to God that he would have mercy on us, in essence, guide us out of trouble. Sure enough, at the last our whitts end he came through for us.

The interesting thing is that, more often than not, even those who care not to admit, find themselves asking for Gods help when the rubber hits the road. But you ask that person when things are calm and collective "where is God now", so many times i've heard "oh i don't believe in God".

I guess it's just interesting where peoples' hearts are really at when it really counts.

I have to apologize but reading your blog i just found out about Harry. My heart goes out to his family, and i'm sure the climbers around the kootenay area will be praying for them (his family and friends).

God has a purpose. Sometimes, well actually most times we have no idea what his plan is. Most times, not knowing, a huge ammount of frustration drives us batty, but i know that's where faith comes. "We are to have faith in the things that we can't see, not the things in which we can see" - Jesus.

Faith is so hard to grasp when we don't understand, but i suppose the peace i receive just knowing that God is in control, is enough to understand that his plan is Perfect. And that with anything, good or bad, he will use it for amazing things.

"We should be so one with God that we don't need to ask continually for guidance, that we wont' have to ask why."
-Oswald Chambers

I know this is a bunch of ranting, but for some reason i felt i should write this.

Look forward to any reply.


Gordon McArthur