Tag Archives: Religion

Heaven is Virtual Reality. Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

Imagine this:

Sometime in the future, everyone on the planet decides to live in a utopian virtual world [think Second Life 100 years from now], however they don’t access that world via a computer screen and keyboard.

The physical body would be stored away on life-support. Everyone would be tube fed the perfect amount of energy, fat, vitamins and minerals; delivered in a constant stream throughout the day.

We would have electronic messages sent right into our brain so our eyes wouldn’t have to be open. Smells, tastes and touch would all be created in our brain or spinal cord.┬áThe mind would be free to escape the physical disabilities of real life; the paralyzed would be able to walk, no one would have AIDS or bird flu. We could all choose to live our lives however we chose, free from the constraints of real-life.

In a utopian virtual world, where resources are unlimited, would we have to buy products and services, would we have to work to earn currency, and how would goods and services be priced?

Some other questions:

  • In the absence of work, what would we do all day?
  • What would we talk to our friends about?
  • Would we be immortal?
  • What value would life have if we were immortal?
  • Would there be a government; someone to make decision about the world?
  • How would that government be chosen?

How would heaven be different to this utopian virtual life?

If every ‘good’ person goes to heaven for eternity, there must be quite a few people up there. Just like in a virtual world, they won’t need physical things like food, water, medicine, money, and they won’t need to go to work to buy things.

  • What would these people do and what would be their purpose?
  • How would they feel fulfilled?
  • What would their dreams and aspirations be?
  • What would they talk about with their friend and family?
  • Maybe they will decide to learn and gain knowledge and wisdom. But, for what purpose?
  • Maybe they will decide to play sport or compete against each other. But how will teams be chosen?
  • Will there be rules and regulations for competitors? Who will make these rules?
  • Would they compete for a prize? What could the prize be?
  • What if I am really passionate about my team and someone says they’re rubbish? Could I dislike them?
  • Would there be arguments? How could arguments be resolved?
  • Would music, art, movies, entertainment or literature exist in heaven?
  • If I was passionate about writing theatre, film, music or poetry, could I continue with that in heaven? Could I share my work with an audience, maybe in a theatre? Who would perform my work? How would they be chosen over the many others who wanted to perform? Who built the theatre?
  • How would someone passionate about food or wine get on?
  • What if my whole family was here except my very lively and entertaining gay sister and her caring partner? Their two adopted children are here though, forever without their parents.

Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

A non-post

I haven’t blogged for over four weeks!

I just don’t feel like I have anything to say at the moment.

It is interesting how for the first six-months of this year I was really interested and willing to give some of my time to write on this blog, and then I just stopped. It is like something happens and you don’t have the same motivation to write about current issues and events. I mean I still think about the things I blogged about like religion, advertising, politics and media but I just don’t have the same drive to spend time writing my thoughts and opinions down.

Interesting phenomenon. It probably has a name like ‘blogging fatigue’, or something and has been studied down the minute detail.

Maybe I think my opinions don’t matter. If my blog is for me, and not for a wider audience, why should I publish my ideas rather than just think about them? Or, if my blog is for a wider audience, why write down my thoughts if I don’t know who is reading them and what they think about them? I have had only a few comments on my blog this year, is it really worth the effort for one comment. Where is the conversation, the dialogue?

Who really cares; I stopped blogging. One day I will start again.

Andrew Denton’s “God on my Side”

There are going to be a lot of very disappointed dead people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I am super knowledgeable and know that heaven doesn’t exist. But there are an awful lot of people on the Earth who believe that their special brand of religion is correct and that everyone who doesn’t believe, will not be going to heaven. Some of these people have got to be wrong. (The atheists are doomed; they’re not going no matter who turns about to be correct > although I suppose that is a realisation they have already accepted.)

So why do the people in this documentary believe that their religion is correct and all others are ‘the work of the devil’? Maybe they were born in a certain country with a certain religious heritage, or maybe they happened to be brought up by parents who believed a certain belief, or maybe they simply found a God that made sense to them. Think about this: If the devout Christians featured in “God on my Side” had been born into a different country with a different dominant religion, had been born into a family with different religious beliefs or had found a different religion that seemed to solve their problems, would they believe in that other religion with the same enthusiasm.

So if everyone on planet believes that only the people who believe what they believe, will live for eternity in heaven, there are going to be a great number of people who end up feeling very disappointed.

Wouldn’t it suck if you thought that you were definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, going to rise up into heaven, and then you turned out to be wrong and the Hindus were the ones who were actually correct, or the Egyptians, or the Greeks, or the Muslims or whoever. You were wrong, and well, you are going to hell. Too bad that you were an outstanding individual who cared for your family, always followed the law, were totally ethical, cared about the wider community, gave your entire estate to the poor, helped save the endangered tree frog…

TOO BAD! Your goin’ to hell, because you were wrong dude. You were a Muslim, but actually the Catholics had it right.

I’m an atheist, I’m a kind, generous, thoughtful person, but I’m wrong and I’m going to hell anyway. Fair is fair.

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World Swimming Championships – Uh oh

SMH: Tribal Mind reports:

They were breaking records and faces at the World Swimming Championships last night, but most Australian viewers didn’t want to know. Channel Nine’s devotion to the water was able to earn it only 23.3 per cent of the prime time audience, putting Nine in an unprecedented third place behind Ten on 23.5 per cent and Seven on 36.3 (ABC 12.0, SBS 4.9). Thorpie is sadly missed.

What Australia watched, Tuesday
1. Dancing with the Stars Seven 1.856m
2. All Saints Seven 1.576
3. Seven News Seven 1.448
4. Today Tonight Seven 1.307
5. Nine News Nine 1.276
6. NCIS Ten 1.255
7. A Current Affair Nine 1.204
8. Home and Away Seven 1.167
9. The Biggest Loser Ten 1.162
10. The Simpsons – 7:30pm Ten 1.142
11. The Simpsons – 8:00pm Ten 1.100
12. ABC News ABC 1.007
13. World Swimming Championships Nine 0.976
14. Deal or No Deal Seven 0.883
15. Ten News Ten 0.878
(OzTAM preliminary estimates, mainland capitals)

Will Nine cancel its Swimming Championships coverage or push it back later in the night? Or will they continue to put a program on in prime time that attracts less people than the ABC news. Oh my god – what have they done? I wonder if it is doing this badly in Melbourne. Do they have to keep it on due to media sponsorships?

I am having a wonderful week watching Channel Nine do so badly. What a gift!

The rights of homosexual citizens…

Earlier this week the Prime Minister’s office revealed they were preparing a submission to review the rights of homosexual couples (ABC). Conveniently revealed during Syndey’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (the PM is a clever little fella), the laws would give citizens in same-sex relationships equal rights as people in heterosexual unions, in areas such as superannuation, tax and welfare.

However, the Prime Minister has twice rejected ACT legislation which would have recognised civil unions. This state legislation would have given homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual couples and would have recognised their relationship as a legal union (Your Guide: Canberra, IBN News). It seems the Prime Minister, while recognising that homosexuals shouldn’t be financial disadvantaged, doesn’t believe he has any obligation to correct social inequality.

In the Prime Ministers words:

Well I don’t criticise gay people for that lifestyle, that’s their choice. What I do say, and I don’t apologise for saying, is that there are certain benchmark institutions in our society that ought to be defended and promoted and marriage is one of them and the reason I don’t support gay marriage is that I think it in different ways reduces the status of marriage as so commonly understood in our society, that is partly influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition of our society, it’s also influenced by other things as well, it’s not only people of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which is obviously the dominant one in our country, who hold that view, others hold it as well, but there has to be a point at which you stand up for certain benchmark institutions. I don’t think that’s intolerant, I think it’s common sense because they contribute to the continuity and the stability of society. (emphasis added: Radio Interview: 891)

Lifestyle choice? Defend Marriage from what? Benchmark institutions? That gays would corrupt, corrode? Reduce the status of marriage?

The Prime Minister believes that the institution of marriage is far more important than the rights set out by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He thinks that because we are influenced by Judeo-Christian tradition, people are allowed to be discriminated against for the stability of society (which happens to be exactly the same argument Mr Bush uses).

Why does the Prime Minister believe that if 5-10% of the population married within their gender the whole institution of marriage and society at large would crumble to its knees? Heterosexuals have done a pretty good job of recking the institution of marriage on their own – Hollywood stars stay married for about the same time it takes to tie my shoelaces.

The Prime Minister’s reason for defending marriage is also a dangerous one. He cannot say that because our society was based on a religion which had certain values, that we can forsake the rights of citizens which don’t fit with that religion. The Christian religion didn’t value women, yet society hasn’t crumbled because women are allowed to vote or have the freedom to choose a career. Many Muslim countries restrict women’s rights. Does that mean because the Muslim religion allows this discrimination we shouldn’t be concerned?

Would society really crumble because gays and lesbians were allowed to marry?

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Read my essay on the rights of homosexuals in Australia.

Ideas Festival – Portrait of a Terrorist

This was a public lecture by: Joseph Pugliese, Helen Stacy, Richard Woolcott.

Issues that were discussed:

The speakers talked about the problems associated with describing potential terrorists as 'of middle eastern appearance' or as Muslim people. They described how this limits the public's ability to actually notice suspicious activity and therefore predict and stop terrorism because our definition of a potential terrorist is, well, wrong. It was also suggested that, unlike America and England, we live very close to countries which have predominantly Muslim populations and this is harmful to our international relations and future trade possibilities with these countries.

The speakers also discussed the importance of recognising that terrorists do not come from a specific country or religion, but that they have lived in particular circumstances where their opinions and concerns cannot be heard and they feel powerless to create change.

It was also pointed out that terrorists do value their lives and therefore must strongly believe in what they are dying for. This fact should really have made western countries try to uncover and understand these beliefs, rather than labelling all these people as extremists, and use it to create fear. Western countries have defined the terrorists' reasons for murder, as 'to threaten our way of life' (ie. our democracy and freedom) rather than listen to the real reasons, which probably would have been less about Americans living out their lives in America, and more about Americans influencing their lives.

And finally, it was pointed out (from a member of the audience), that we as democratic nations shouldn't resort to violence, torture and imprisonment to protect ourselves. As this may create a country of young people without respect for all human life, who place less value on freedom and don't appreciate the long road our countries have taken to be as lucky as we are.

The main idea I left with was that we should look at this not from our point of view (that is how to protect our borders etc.), but instead try to understand why terrorists do the things they do and how we can try to overcome this (ie. not try to change their ideas or perception of us, but actually change ourselves).