According to this article, a recent study published in the Journal of Religion and Society found a correlation between religiousity and anti-social behaviour. Colour me shocked.
I've been on a bit of an anti-religious crusade for a few posts now so I should probably clarify somthing. I don't personally think that religion is an entirely bad thing. It does have some good moments. Take for example the Anglican church's new position on causing environmental damage. It's a sin! Apparently that whole thing where we're all "stewards of the earth" was meant more as "Yo, take care of this shit" than "Yo, you own this now so do whatever shit you feel like to it". I only have one problem with this. Anglicans who decide after this to do a better job at not raping the planet are only doing it because their church tells them to. Why couldn't these people come to the realization that they shouldn't shit where they live earlier, on their own? Don't take me wrong, I am very, very happy to see the Anglican church taking this stance. However, my fear is that someday some church leader will change his (or her... snicker) mind and decide that Christians are masters of the world again and can shit to their hearts content. Instead of blindly following whatever moral guidelines are being handed out, I'd be much happier if everyone, religious and not-religious alike, would just stop and consider what we personally feel is right and wrong. Once we've got things sorted into two groups, we should look at each thing and ask: why is it in this column? Can I really back this up on my own, or is "Because it is" the best I can come up with? If it is, maybe it's in the wrong column. Then again, if we all did this nothing would get done for weeks. Even worse, we might end up with a severe shortage of flip charts and magic markers. (That would go in Column B.)
"An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now - here on earth - for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter. He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now."
It's prediction time again! Today I'm forcasting that sometime in the next few decades, Canada's unwieldy, half-hearted confederation will collapse and a handful of new countries will be built on its ruins. I'm not sure when this will happen, but I do think it's more or less unavoidable. This isn't something that necessarily makes me happy. Canada's been good to me and I like it enough, but I still doubt that it will last much longer. So the question now has to be, how will we put this part of N. America back together again? Will it be only two countries, Quebec and the remains of Canada? I doubt it very much, but it's a possibility. I think it's much more likely that when Canada falls off the wall we'll end up with a bunch of new, much smaller independent nations. I've been thinking about this since I read an article the other day about how many times in the past 50 years we've seen breakup of large countries into smaller ones. (eg: British Empire, Yugoslavia, Czecholovakia, USSR, Somalia unofficially, etc.) The point the writer was trying to make was that smaller countries are more economically viable (think Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Taxhavenia, etc.), and are often more democratic (assuming it's easier to have your voice heard when there are less people shouting). I'm not sure if I agree with his premise, but if/when Canada has a great fall I'm willing to put his theories to the test. That said, how do you think Canada should be divided up? Here's how I'd like to see it, please leave your own ideas in the comments. 1. Atlantic Canada, although preferably with a better name. We'd have to be sure that we kept Labrador out of Quebec's clutches, but Newfies are tough bastards so it shouldn't be too hard. 2. Quebec. Honestly, I'd probably still want to live in Montreal even if Quebec becomes a separate country. 3. Ontario, although I'm sure they'd still call themselves Canada and probably wouldn't even notice that anything had changed. 4. Manitoba and Saskatchewan. I'm not sure why, but I think a country made up out of these two provinces would be one of the coolest possible results. I don't know enough about Manitoban and Saskatchewanian (wow, is that even right? Christ.) culture to know if they'd be compatible or not, but I'd totally visit this country. Only in fall though. 5. Alberta. See above comments about Manisaskoba and change them to the exact opposite. This country would be full of rich, self-important conservatives. So really, no change here. Maybe they'd call themselves Ontario? 6. BC and Yukon. I'm okay with BC, despite all the hippies, and the Yukon is everybody's favourite little territory. Put them together and you'd have a place I'd be happy to visit. Don't know if I'd live there though. One's too cold and the other's too full of dread locks and granola. 7. Nunavut and the NWT. Give this country back to the Inuit and I bet they'd make it a smash hit in a decade. I have absolutely no facts to back this assertion up with, but I bet this country would have a coolness factor that would rival Mexico's. Which would be great, as we'd then have both ends of the continent cooled-up. Now if only we could rid the middle part of it's excessive blandness. Honourable Mention: Atlantic Canada should totally get Maine. Really, what does America need with Maine? Stephen King? He's done so many drugs that he's practically an honourary Canadian already. Go look at a map and check out Maine. It just sticks up there next to southern Quebec, totally out of place. It's already leaning this way. Make the jump Maine, you know you want to.
Every few months I take this quiz on Beliefnet to find out what religion I should be. I'm now so out of touch I am with my Protestant upbringing that I'm willing to rely on an internet quiz for spiritual direction. Or at least I was, however recently I've been getting in touch with my inner Vulcan and am currently choosing logic over religion. (If any of you disagree with my assertion that logic and organized religion are polar opposites, please don't bother getting offended. Trust me, there's much worse in this blog's archives. Go ahead, read on! Then you can get offended to your heart's content.) Confindent in my newfound pointy-earedness, I took the quiz this time expecting a top ranking of Secular Humanist. Thish would place me in the ranks of Kurt Vonnegut, Karl Marx, and Gene Roddenberry, which would be heaven for me, if I were into that sort of thing about now. Instead, Sec. Hum. came in a close second behind Universalist Unitarian. Which frankly, I'm really pissed off about. I hate UUism. According to the tiny amount of knowledge I've collected on the UUs, they believe in pretty much everything. Oh and also nothing. And they have no idea what's going on, spiritually speaking. And they're fine with that. Some of them. And some of them aren't. Whatever. Universalist-Unitarians, you are the absolute WORST of all fence-sitters. Sure it's nice to keep an open mind, but for god's sake (sorry Spock) have an opinion on something! Anything! Trust me, it's very refreshing. Needless to say I'm rejecting this latest quiz result. Any test that would lump a rabidly opinionated person like myself in with the Cosmic Fence-Sitters Club is clearly flawed beyond belief(net). Anyway, if you'd still like to take the quiz, please leave your results/reactions (appalled or otherwise) in the comments.
In today's Globe and Mail poll, readers are asked whether or not Canada should accept immigrants who are HIV positive. The result: over 70% of respondents voted no. This is truly sick. In many cases, people with HIV are seeking to immigrate to a country like Canada because here they can receive the medical treatment they need, treatement which may not be available in their home countries. I can guess at the reasoning behind the no-voters: HIV positive immigrants are a drain on the health system, and they could potentially spread the disease to HIV negative Canadians. These are both valid concerns, but not, in my opinion, valid reasons to bar these people from coming to Canada. Any strain these immigrants would put on the health system would no doubt be offset by the contributions they would make to the economy. As well, some of these immigrants, or their family members, would likely end up working in the health industry. As for spreading HIV, of course there is a risk. There is always a risk whenever anyone has sex/exchanges needles/etc with anybody, immigrant or not. Perhaps more importantly, these immigrants are already aware that they are HIV positive, and are aware of the precautions they have to take. Contrast this with the estimated 60,000 HIV positive Canadians, 30% of whom are unaware of their infections, and therefore unaware of the increased risk that they pose to their fellow Canadians. All of this is, or at least should be secondary to one simple fact: these people did not ask to be infected with a deadly virus. They cannot be punished for simply having contracted a disease. By refusing HIV positive immigrants entry into Canada we would be treating them the same as we would dangerous criminals, and that is truly sick.