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Everything posted by Dianna

  1. Thank you very much for your responses, cuchulain, BrDevon and Pete! I have a tremendous amount of respect for both you, BrDevon and Pete, and if there was a sense I was trying to attack beliefs on a personal level, I assure you, it wasn’t intentional. Maybe it’s just my own mind trying to wrap around huge concepts, and as I read what I wrote over again, I don’t even know if it’s about God, maybe more about what mankind has done with the understanding of God. No one knows what really happened “in the beginning”. The people who passed down oral history and wrote it down later weren’t there. Every culture, every religion has its own belief of “in the beginning” including those who believe humans were “planted” here by extraterrestrials and our whole concept of gods came from those beings we couldn’t understand. I can deal with all of those theories, to me it’s man trying to explain answers to things we can’t know. I think what I was wrestling with was the concept of what was called sin. To be given all paradise and a rational mind, free will, and then be punished (not just you or your grandkids) but everyone, everywhere. Forever. This was thousands of years before the Ten Commandments were even given. I believe man of every race and culture has moral laws, things we all know to be right and inherently wrong, with some cultural differences. We screw up. We learn and adapt. Hopefully we learn from mistakes. If every religion believed in eternal damnation and hellfire, I might consider it, but to me, Christianity is just “a way”, just as Islam (which didn’t even exist until way after Christianity) is “a way”. I’m using those two religions as examples only because they are the only two I know of that marched forward in a militaristic manor in “holy wars” and killed thousands who didn’t believe as they did. I can't help but follow the trail of thought that, this concept of original sin whose only resolution was believed in and eventually provided by the death of Jesus, in whose Name was used so that countries and indigenous peoples and their riches could be run over with the idea of manifest destiny of the church and god’s kingdom on earth by greedy profiteering men who tried to sell the idea they were doing those people good, cleansing their souls even if it meant torturing them. When I look at all the great thinkers and inventors we do know of, it boggles my mind and I hate to imagine all the other potentially great people and minds (ideas/art/inventions) destroyed before they could make their mark, by power/riches/property hungry warriors “in Jesus’ name” This wasn't just a one-time thing, this was on continental scale levels - Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East ... all of this, because of the actions of two individuals. Again, I apologize if I’ve offended. It’s not meant to be a personal attack, just my attempt to understand better.
  2. I've been trying to come here more often and I enjoy reading the different posts and points of view. As I've said before, I truly value being able to question something that seems illogical (especially when I realize I'm not the only one) in order to get feedback and input from people from all walks, without being branded as threatening or insightful. As I was reading Dan's post about who controls the weather, and one of Fawzo's responses, it mirrored something I'd written down in a super-rough draft just days ago while reading something in preparation for a funeral. I could have responded to Fawzo on Dan's thread, but out of respect, I really don't want to take things off-topic, so as a refresher: This was something I wrote just days ago, in response to what I'd wanted to say to some Christians who had ticked me off, but I knew it'd turn into an argument, and as long as what they believe doesn't interfere with what I do, I stay out of other people's beliefs. Although I make a living doing public speaking and teaching Rational Hedonism, this isn't even well thought out and sloppily written. So, I'm apologizing in advance, it was really just the way my mind was trying to work out the things they had said and never was meant to be seen unless it had been worked out better. Anyway, after my super long intro, this was what I wrote before the topic was raised here and I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble with it. I’m having trouble with sin. Even the Bible says, after god created the world and all that was in it, it was good. When he finished creating man, he said it was very good. He was happy with it. Even with man and woman. So just because he said, all this I give you, but whatever you do, don’t eat from that pomegranate tree. And the bottom line was, they did. Not sure if the whole sin was because they’d used their free, independent nature he’d given them to do something he said not to, or that they’d eaten to have their eyes opened and become like him. So he curses them – not only just them, that did the “bad thing”, not just their children and grandchildren. Everybody. Forever. Why didn’t he just squash the two of them like bugs right then and start over? There is also the story that Adam had another woman before Eve, and she hadn’t worked out, so if that was true, he didn’t have trouble reworking things. Squash them like bus and start over. Why punish their descendants thousands of years later? It’s not like it’s a punishment anymore – we’re too far removed, and many don’t even connect with an Adam and Eve story anyway. And then, he “floods the earth” and kills everyone (supposedly), including all of the animals that weren’t on his ship – which was a good 99.99% of them – because the people had gotten so bad, so wicked that … he kills them. Now why didn’t he do that when they first screwed up? Why wait until so many years later when kids’ kids have great grandkids? If you know the future, know Adam and Eve messed it up, that you were going to have to destroy the world with a flood, and now, kill thousands and more instead of just two? All of that, based on the “sin” of two people. People who’d just been popped into existence, and easy to unpop. Just next time when you put Adam to sleep, instead of removing a rib, keep him asleep. It wouldn’t have had to be painful. So if there hadn’t been that sin, if there WAS that sin, there’d be no need for a Savior, a Redeemer from sins and the never-ending punishment no one even remembers from what. What if Jesus had come with all his wisdom and heavenly understanding and kindness, and not had the expectation of a Messiah, had not become the whole sun/son which all the religions that followed orbited, had not been the reason for conquering in his name and the name of his church, had not seen thousands martyred or slaughtered in holy wars, pogroms, holocausts, Inquisitions because of his name. What if he’d just been a nice guy like Buddha or Baha’i, Gandhi or the Dalai Lama? Think of all the dead who’d never been killed, their descendants who lived. The Peace.
  3. I think I dream primarily in English but I can speak and understand Hebrew and English about the same, it's just a shifting of gears. I know people in my dreams often speak and argue in Hebrew, but I think I speak in English because in the U.S. it's become my only spoken language, so I know the two flip-flop back and forth when I'm sleeping. I know the Israeli's who never spoke English, don't speak English in my dreams, but Americans are suddenly bilingual - speaking a mixture of English and Hebrew in my dreams, even though they've never spoken a word of Hebrew in real life. I think I prefer dreaming in Hebrew because the less I do, the more I feel like I'm losing my connection with my kids and country, and there are concepts, experiences and things that don't have an English word or take a sentence or two to try to explain. It's also a more specific language. I feel sorry for the translators. But I do feel like when I deal with subconscious issues in my dreams, there's more clarity in Hebrew, then as I wake up, I find myself quickly trying to switch over what I learned and took with me before I forget.
  4. 1. Why are we actually here and what is it exactly apart from the biochemical and other components that we are? We are all here because we were meant to be, our ancestors survived famine, plague, wars, even childbirth. If your biological parents had not met, or if they decided to get "frisky" any day other than that particular one, you wouldn't be you. 2. What is the point and purpose of existence? --this is for all believers, and non-believers inclusive? What a shame it'd be to have the most beautiful and geographically diverse planet within millions of miles and no one to experience and appreciate it! Life is about having joy in the pleasures of the world, discovering and doing what you love and finding others who enjoy the same, developing a good work ethic and being responsible. Learning the things that interest you and from your mistakes, growing in wisdom, realizing your actions have consequences, and striving to continue growing to be the best “you”. 3. If we presume --as some, that there is no afterlife, then why are we (most) clinging to life? If we go with that theory is it not easier and better to end it sooner or later? Absolutely not! Life has the value and meaning you place on it. Every day is another day to embrace, talk and laugh with family and friends, another day with children or grandchildren. There is always something to learn, to experience, to taste for the first time. You try to eat right, keep in shape, monitor your health and do the best you can to extend your life, buy another day of seeing a beautiful sunrise/sunset, listen to the thunder and rain or birdsong. As long as you live you have second chances. 4. Why have children--simply to perpetuate the cycle of suffering?? No, we have children because we have perpetual hope. We have children … because of all the physical and emotional pleasure in the act of “getting” children. Not too far back, the more children you had increased your chances of survival when living off the land. (Nowadays some people hope today’s children will pay for their Social Security). Some people want children so they will have someone who loves and depends on them. Others genuinely want to create the wonder of a new life from a combination of two people and share that life, excited to see what talents and surprises this new being will bring. 5. Why are we killing each other, the planet and all of creation deliberately? People have always killed each other for expansion and greed and the belief of entitlement. People destroy the earth because they believe they have been given the earth and all therein to subjugate and use, such as the wood in the rainforest, not caring what they leave for their descendants, or if their grandchildren will ever be able to enjoy seeing exotic animals or butterflies as they did. (And on a strictly personal note, I also kinda blame men for the massive wars and planetary destruction. I think women would have talked more, been more willing to not send their grown children into battle to kill someone else’s children. I also don’t believe women would have said, dump that toxic stuff into the drinking water).
  5. I have problems with Paul on many levels. When he didn't do well preaching to the Jews, he was asked by Barnabas to go to Antioch and began concentrating on the god-fearers (Gentiles on the fringes of Judaism but didnt formally accept the Law or circumcision). It was here I think he started changing things to reach out to these people. Most Jews accepted there was a place for righteous Gentiles in Gods kingdom (Is. 2:2) but Paul began developing a theology that, instead of a study of Jesus's life and teachings (which Jews may have related to and not others); through a focus of faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the barrier between Gentile and Jew would be broken down, the Law was superseded and rituals like circumcision and the dietary restrictions would no longer be important. Until then, this new movement had still been Jewishly rooted (Jesus and the Apostles had never stopped being practicing Jews), but since he hadnt had success trying to reach the Greek-speaking Jews in Jerusalem, he discovered this untapped new audience and gradually defined a role for himself as exclusively committed to the conversion of the non-Jews. In fact, in Romans 11:11-14 it seems he started the beginning of the rift between separating this new religion from its Jewish roots by suggesting that non-Jews (Gentiles) were now God's preferred people. As ReverendV mentioned, Paul never knew Jesus and he seemed to distance himself from learning about him from the Apostles who had. Instead, he distanced himself from the men who'd learned from Jesus. Gal. 1:11 says the Good News he preached wasnt a human message from [mere] men, but instead a revelation from Jesus Himself. In fact, he made a point of stressing that faith in Jesus didnt involve any kind of identification with Jesus life on earth, but the main thing was his death and resurrection. That bypassed the debates of Jewish practices for non-Jewish believers and brought both groups to a point they could agree about as a Jew himself yet preaching this new belief, Paul seems to switch back and forth on his views of the Law. Despite what the Apostles may have been preaching, Paul seems to have been trying to separate his teachings from theirs Gal. 1:8 I also believe he encouraged (if not introduced himself) that Jewish Law had been replaced by the coming of Jesus, and that sexuality was evil, a turn-around of the surrounding culture and religions. In that world of Greek intellectual thought, he encouraged blind faith over rational argument which, as time went on, we see the later Church (now composed of non-Jews) stifling the Greek intellectual tradition. I also dont believe that all of the letters attributed to him, were written by him. These are of course, just my opinions. Other than that, Im sure he was a good man and never realized how much his teachings would affect the future direction of the Church. I think he really believed the Kingdom of God was at hand, and he sincerely was trying to find a way to merge Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds into a common belief.
  6. Thanks, I appreciate any help right now! I agree that LegalZoom is probably good for basics, the complaints I was seeing concerned trademarks, I'm still going to check them out for things like copyrights. And yes, non-profit is fine, we just aren't going to pursue tax-exemption. I'm going call the lawyer today to see if I can get some specific advice and feel him out to see if I want to trust him with money.
  7. Imagine the comic routine where the Sargent yells out that he wants a volunteer to step forward and everyone takes a huge step back except for one. That's kinda how I got to be the one who “volunteered” for this project . My group has given me a reasonable chunk of money to get some legal work done, but the more online research I did, the more confusing it got. What I’ve decided after days of web surfing is: File for a trademark for our religious organization’s name (because I don’t know if just using the name as a religious organization is enough).File for a separate trademark for the name under which any business transactions (or online store) of the organization take place.Apply through the ULC as a religious organization.Personally go to the office of the Secretary of State in my district/state and apply/file as a religious organization. (I’m going through my state because they (Tennessee) don’t recognize the ULC as a religious organization for officiating weddings etc. For weddings I may have to become a notary and that's a whole 'nuther story). I won’t be applying for tax-exempt status, as we don’t agree with it. In fact, that’s when it all started getting complicated by considering just filing as a small business such as an LLC instead of a non-profit religious group. Imagine my surprise when I found out that you can totally lose your LLC status in Tennessee by not paying an ANNUAL $300 - $3000 fee! I wasn’t going to risk that. After that, it was back to the religious filing. Since we don’t live around a big city and there’s no or few/far away trademark/business lawyers, I was originally going to go with LegalZoom. I wanted to trust and believe them, I really did, and I read people’s experiences here on the ULC forum and no one seemed to have a problem. But the more I researched LegalZoom complaints online, about them not being able to give legal advice, sneaking in extra fees, not letting customers know of legalproblems with what they wish to trademark (just file the paperwork for you and,“oh well” if it is denied). I think I’m going to go with a trademark lawyer, MorrisTurek at YourTrademarkAttorney.com for the religious name trademark. Yes, he’s more expensive, but I’m acting on behalf of others and using their money, and I don’t want to screw this up. I like that you can call him and ask him questions for free. I have lots of questions lol. And, he’ll tell you how to change the wording so you won’t be denied (something I don’t think LegalZoom does). Since he’s so much more expensive, on our limited budget, for the second business trademark I’m thinking of going with The Trademark Company. I checked them out under “complaints” and didn’t find any. I’m not promoting either of these; I just discovered them because I began doubting LegalZoom as to what I need. I’m open to hearing anyone’s stories of how LegalZoom worked well for them, or anything negative about these other two. At this point I'm tired of researching and spinning my wheels and just want to get things started and enter the next stage of the process; payment, paperwork and waiting; but I’m willing to listen to the advice of anyone who’s been here, done it and how it worked out for you. Thanks!
  8. I lived in Israel for over ten years and have dual citizenship. I was a single mother and took my two daughters and made aliya. What made me go there was an extremely strong desire to live in a country where the holidays and things important to you were part of daily life. It can be very difficult to be culturally and religously different in the U.S., and I wanted my to give my children an inheritence of culture and religous roots I don't have, and it worked, my two daughters still live there and are very happy. Israel is a beautiful place, and is very diverse ... there can be snow on Mt. Hermon, green and lush in the Galeel (Galilee area), and blazing hot and sandy in Beersheva. The people are from many countries, some from other middle eastern places, many from Europe, a huge influx from Russian territories, and the latest are Ethiopians. You hear a lot of languages, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English, French, Spanish and Yiddish. There are so many places tourists don't go and only allowed to see the country from the bus or assigned stops. Most tourists go to Beit Lechem (Bethleham) to see the cave of Yeshua's (Jesus) birth, but don't usually see Kever Rochel (Rachel's Tomb) who was buried along the road, or go to Machpelah in Hebron which has a recorded bill of sales documenting that land and cave belonged to Abraham and where he, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah and Leah are buried. The shuks are open markets that sell fresh bread and pita still warm from the oven, bags of nuts and spices, abounding tables of fruits and vegetables, still-flopping fish, and so much more. The air is filled with the shouts of competing vendors trying to attract your attention from other stalls. When the buses go beyond the "green line" to the towns where many Israeli commuters live, usually some woman or girl will hand out booklets, each one is a different chapter of Psalms, most people will take one or two of them, and for about 15-20 minutes, everyone is reading, the entire bus is covered with a blanket of blessings and protection. I think if you tried that in the U.S. on a public bus, some would be offended or complain their rights were being violated. I had friends visit Israel on church or Messianic tours, but they weren't allowed to let me take them places on their free days because the company's insurance didn't cover Israeli buses. During Chanuka every family has oil lights and candles in their windows, most people live in apartments so the effect in the city is very beautiful. During Sukkot every balcony and empty spots between buildings are crowded with the decorated booths topped with palm fronds, everyone eats outside and hangs out in them (think camping out), even sidewalk cafes and roadside stops provide them. On Remembrance Day when the sirens go off, no matter what anyone is doing anywhere, everyone, everyone, stops and stands, cars on the highway pull over and a busy highway is still as people get out and show their respects. On Friday mornings, most produce stores will put out their just-outdated fruits and vegetables for free, for anyone in need to have food for the Sabbath. Even the poorest can make soup for Shabbat. The people are diverse, strong-willed, and at first glance may seem dour, stony-faced, but in the next moment their face can break into a smile and invite you in for something to eat and drink. We lived there as Israeli's, which basically meant there wasn't enough money to see the tourist attractions, but I could go to the Kotel any time I wanted, and my bus to work drove by the Old City in Jerusalem every night - and we did vacations in Tzvat and Eilat - two very very beautiful places. I had to return to the U.S, after ten years, my father had lung cancer and I couldn't keep affording to fly back and forth. Since he is gone, I've felt I need to stay here for my elderly mother. I plan on going back for my younger daughter's wedding, and hope to move back there some day in the future. My children are there, my two grandchildren, and my heart. I am not a religously observent person, but Israel gets under your skin and deep into your heart