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Web Coding

Created on Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:20 pm with 20 blog posts
I am looking for help on Web coding as a hobby. It seems like most people are either not interested or interested all the way, as in making money out of it. Anyway, it's free, so why not.

Buddhism and Christianity in Jesus Christ Revisited with 6 comments on Tue May 16, 2017 4:24 am
Although Buddhism is seen to be a very different religion from Christianity, I think the differences are human constructs, put in place to somehow differentiate ourselves from others rather than speaking to the underlying truth of the world we live in. It seems that this view is shared by some prominent Buddhists. For example, there's this post about the Dalai Lama who, when asked which is the best religion said, “The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.” http://inthefootstepsofthebuddha.com/your-religion-is-not-important/

Is this not also, love God, and love one another? Why did the Dalai Lama talk at all about God? Why not just say, the one that makes you a better person? The thing is, the energy to love with compassion and forgiveness comes only when we can draw upon the well, the source of goodness, within us.

And then, there this post as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-richmond/do-buddhists-believe-in-g_b_859658.html

It seems to me that when you search deep enough for the meaning in life, you will come to this simple answer, Love God, and love one another. In Buddhism, and now in modern psychology, through the practice of mindfulness, we have discovered that we cannot be kind to one another if we are not in touch with our deeper selves and draw our energy from that. Now, you may think, at first, that this energy comes from within you but there will come a time when you see this energy in the world and the universe and wonder, is there God.
Reading the Bible with fresh eyes in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:31 am
If, as a Christian, we accept that God is not just God of believers but God of the universe and everything and everyone in it, and that, following from that, the expectation that God has of us is the same since the first humans were created and applies whether or not we are Christians, then I suggest that the best expression of this expectation from God, of telling us what life is all about, comes from Jesus: love God and love one another.

The command is self-evident, although we don't acknowledge it that deeply. The premise that Jesus puts to us is that we cannot do this (love one another) in its truest sense unless we acknowledge God's love for us and dwell in His love.

If this is the case, that God is greater than Christianity, then how are we to read the Bible? Bearing in mind the frustration that Jesus has with religion, even with the churches he spoke to in Revelations, and bearing in mind that Jesus didn't leave behind any writing of his own nor commissioned anyone to write down his words and teach them, and bearing in mind that Jesus did not commission the Bible nor ask that it be written, and looking at the way he lived and preached in the time he was here, then I suggest that the Bible is no more and no less a Holy Book than any other (the Quran, Tripitaka, the Tao Te Ching, etc).

It is when we approach it as such, with no divine expectations of it, and reading it in context (considering the time it was written, the people who wrote it, and the audience it was intended for), that much of the magic of the Bible manifests itself. It is when we allow that it can be flawed, that our reading of it can be mistaken, that looking at it in context will take us closer to the truth, that the real meanings in the Bible are revealed.

For example, to take the Bible's account of the Beginning, with God creating the universe and the people in it as a literal account, we get into all kinds of difficulties with the actual process and the number of days vs years vs millenia and wonder if the Bible is true at all. But, if we reflect on the fact that the Biblical account was written (and before that, shared orally) more than 5, maybe even 10, thousand years ago, the correlation between the Biblical account and the current scientific account of the Big Bang becomes amazing. It is when we compare the Biblical account with all the other accounts available at that time (see for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creation_myths), that we can really appreciate how distinctive and unexpected the Biblical account is.

I read it again, and it still takes my breath away. How was it possible for anyone several millenia ago, to come up with anything that even remotely resemble the Big Bang, even down to the sequence of creation, that fishes came first before the birds and land animals, and then us?

To then pick on little details like how much time it took, seems to me to be pedantic and pointless. We have better ways than the Bible to get at the truth of these matters and we should rely on the evidence before us and conclude on what we can believe and what we should not.

It is pedantic and pointless both for the critics of the Bible and for the believers (who seem bent to prove that the Bible is literally true). Why? It seems to me dangerous to do so. And we have, historically and even today, seen how literal readings of Holy Books can lead us to much grief.

I suggest we read the Bible with fresh eyes, not expecting of it what it is not meant to provide, testing what we learn with what we experience in our lives, and finding our way through our lives (this gift we have) as best we can. And I think we will find, as I do, fresh encouragement from it and much unexpected wisdom.
The other side of the coin in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:21 am
I have argued that the path to living a fulfilling life lies in taking up the challenge that Jesus has given us, to love God and to love one another. I've said that this is true whether or not you believe in God. And finally, I've suggested that we can find comfort in God through meditative prayer. I believe all this because (a) having searched into all kinds of religion, and living for a large part of my life an atheist, (b) attended counseling and reading up on counseling practices and their related theories in psychology, and (c) listened to how other people, Christians and non-Christians, live their lives, this is my best summary of what I've learnt.

Nevertheless, there are atheists who are living perfectly good lives (as far as I can tell, and whom I admire): http://www.deseretnews.com/top/2793/2/Jodie-Foster-12-non-believers-who-have-kind-words-for-the-religious-.htm.

And arguments against God which I can sympathize with: http://www.twainquotes.com/God.htm.

While I disagree with them (obviously), it seems to me kinder not to argue with them and to hold on to my belief that God is kind and loving, and that He, as any loving father would, understand their struggles and love them, as we do. I will even argue that they, in living their lives well, in accepting all religions, and even in rejecting Christianity because they see what is wrong with it, might be closer to God than many who believe. The only regret is that they do not have access to the loving God that believers have. One of the wonders of this life is that there are two sides to the coin.
Love, Jesus' way. in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:38 am
I've said that the command, articulated by Jesus but asked of us by God, from all time and of all people, is to love God and love one another. At face value, it seems straightforward enough and many of us think we do so. But, actually, it goes much further. We are to do this in everything we do.

Like the son who gave up his ambitions to earn money to support his siblings because his parents are too poor, the wife who gave up her career to stay home, the father who work two shifts to provide the best he can for the family, we are asked to use our abilities and talents to benefit others. And through that, we are fulfilled. If the question ever arises that we need to choose between our benefit and someone else's, we are to chose the other's.

This is really hard to do. And yet, it is those who made the choice and did so willingly, who are truly happy. As long as we cling to what we want, or need, to what we think will make us happy, we will never be truly happy. Even when we get it, the happiness is fleeting and empty. We need more.

That's why Christians talk about God's will, not ours. You don't go out looking for this. I mean, why would you? But you will be asked to do so. Maybe just the one time, but from personal experience, more than once. Depending on how you look at it, there will be more, or less.

Therein lies the difference between Christianity and Buddhism. Both ask that we turn from selfishness. But Buddhism ask for us to be detached, while Christianity ask for us to give. Furthermore, and that's the other side of the coin, Christianity encourages is to enjoy and celebrate those moments when we can be selfish and when we are the recipient rather than the giver. In Buddhism, you give up that as well.

This then is the challenge: Love God and love one another. Do it in every part of your life and you will find true happiness. Don't, and your life will be empty and no matter how content, you will not be truly happy. It doesn't matter if you are Christian or not.

PS: Obviously, this is not a scientific statement. It is self referential - if you are happy without living your life this way, I can claim it is not true happiness. There are so many ways to counter any argument against it, it becomes a statement that cannot be proven false. The only way to judge if this statement is true is through your own life. If it is true for you, it is true. Just because it cannot be proven scientifically doesn't mean it's not true. For example, Richard Branson admits to not believing in God but he seems to be happy living his life his way. It can be argued that he is just chasing one adventure after another and hasn't found true happiness, but I would rather he go on living his life his way than to convince him otherwise. It is very possible that he is right and I am wrong.
A confession in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:27 am
In case anyone mistakes the position from which I speak, let me say that I am struggling with Jesus' command. It is difficult to feel the presence of God and as much as I am making a convincing argument, I am trying to convince myself as much as anybody else.

This is a journey I am taking. Like many people, I seek fulfilment while trying to live up to the ideal of Christian love. I have sacrificed, and felt abused. I have sought my own goals, and found frustration and obstacles. Not unlike the Teacher in Ecclesiastes, I have found everything to be meaningless.

So, to those who have found my writing helpful, I am grateful that it has been so. But don't think I have the answers. My answers, as I write them, are what I am finding along the way. To those who have not, and who found my arguments faulty, know that I too have doubts about what I am saying. Yet, this is the journey I am taking. And I somehow need to give voice to it - I don't know why.

It's good to hear from my readers - whether they agree or not. Their voices help me to understand my journey more clearly. Those who agree have made the journey less lonely. And those who don't have made me stop and think more carefully.

Thank you all.
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