I am spending too long on Omninerd and it is a habit that is hard to kick. I am semi retired working from home as a consultant now and I have no jobs active at present.
I got drawn into that one about chaplains because Scott maintained that the padres were supplied by the army, and that upset one of them who was offedded that this denied his dedication and volunteerring.
I don’t feel strongly about it. In fact I think it is a good policy for the Army to provide them because it is likely to improve fighting efficiency (make them better killers). Troops who are at peace with their God may be more willing to take risks and so act offensively. Scott’s issues of separation of church and state, and of fairness in covering all religions, don’t matter much if the real aim is fighting efficiency rather than spiritual support. I am sure that our nerdy padre would not like that suggestion either, but he can take comfort from the fact that the spiritual support has to be in place before the military benefit appears.
The Mormon current thread is a curiosity for me. I think probably they were once a cult but now they are mainstream, and such nice educated decent people. But their faith is based on strange historical claims. It is fascinating watching them defend their beliefs.
Most honest Mormon’s won’t try to “convert” anyone, we know that it is impossible to convert someone. It is a personal and spiritual experience, even for those born into the religion.
I have seen their missions in Tonga and Samoa where they are a huge influence. These have long been the most Christian countries in the world but nevertheless attract missionaries like flies. In Tonga the population is more than 100 % Christian because some people claim several sects in the census. The country closes down on Sunday because no citizens are allowed to work and there are other ways in which imposed religious beliefs have restricted the rights of citizens in the manner that Scott worries about. Brand swapping seems to count just as much with Mormons as conversion from athiesm or paganism. I think their young “elders” on missions can be quite aggressive, in a nice way of course.
Scott can be very hard line about a lot of things. He tends to see things in absolute practical logical terms and most of us are not accustomed to thinking that way. We tend to accept a bit of BS as part of the mix and don’t throw the lot out because it is contaminated. Perhaps we should. I think it is right and brave to stand up and say that something does not make sense regardless of whether for the other person it is a deeply held personal religious belief. This is because religious people always seem to want us to see things their way and this does have major impacts on the society where we must all live.
I have had a few drunk experiences when I was in the navy but alcohol mostly only made me feel sick. I do remember once when my bunk was flying around the cabin with me on it, but stranger things happen at sea. I never tried LSD but I hear that the hallucinations can be very realistic. So I do believe that the human mind is capable of generating profound religious experiences.
I remember once reading how some of those Catholic, virgin, nun saints had dreams where they experienced an extasy that they were convinced was a visit from Mary, or an angel, or the Holy Ghost. It was probably just an orgasm stemming from frustrated hormones but how were they to know the difference.
The occasional padre can shut his or her yap as far as I’m concerned about chaplains, not all of them are perfect. I almost got a Lieutenant Colonel Chaplain court martialed back in 2005 because he was my mom’s high school sweetheart and he was calling her and having inappropriate conversations with my mom. I came home from Egypt on leave and got the post chaplain for Fort Bragg involved, since that LTC was also married, needless to say, it ended very quickly. My brother convinced me not to pursue UCMJ action against him to have him prosecuted, I wanted him to lose rank and retirement. Adultery is punishable by punitive action, though they never got person to person to commit it, UCMJ can still convict service members for their planned intent and still issue the maximum punishment and I had plenty of evidence.
I’ve been drunk, literally, man times. I don’t drink anymore. But even though drinking is a very simple way to describe a reaction within your body that’s hard to relate to without ever experiencing intoxication, it was the closest comparable sensation I could think of at the time.
The most interesting thing about Mormon doctrine is it’s either going to be mostly in harmony with what a person already believes or they will view it as a completely rational and things will just clique.
I’m LDS, a lot better now at following the teachings of my church than I was a few years ago. But frankly, I don’t want to beat my head against someone else’s wall about doctrine. So long as we all have our Constitutional freedoms to believe or not believe as we please and we do not impose adherence to one faith or another than I am completely comfortable with an atheist telling me I’m stupid because it doesn’t matter. I believe what I believe primarily because of personal experiences that unfortunately cannot be a source of “truth” to another person, but I’m okay with that, it makes me a better and happier person in the end.
As long as we don’t argue about gun control, I’m sure we’ll be fine and thanks for remembering my name ;^)
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