We’ll Live and We’ll Die and We’re Born Again: Analyzing Issues of Religion, Soul, Reincarnation and The Search for True Spirituality (Part 1 of 3)

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

-Carl Sagan, acclaimed astrophysicist & father of modern skepticism, The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995)

A Question I’ve Long Pondered:

Why am I born who I am?

Come on, it’s not like I don’t know how babies are made, but I’m asking this from a deeper level—why am I born as a male human being, in this country, to these parents? Why not in Zimbabwe, or Syria, or even North Korea? Why not an elephant for that matter, a soaring blue jay, or an advanced alien race, at the other end of the Milky Way?

Who is the “I” in this case I treasure so deeply? Because to me, this identity has to be something more than simply the symbols that my parents assigned since arriving to this world.

In other words: why am I me and why are you you? 

And why are we both alive right now, as intelligent beings on a beautiful planet among billions of others in this galaxy?

earth
Who decides?

Unfortunately, we as a humanity are at the mercy of a paradoxical existence: As much as we come to know our bodies, identifying with it as we are told, we can never shift outside of ourselves, and look directly into our soul. As such, it wasn’t long before I was made to forget this question that others would consider so strange, knowing simply:

“My name is Mark. This is me! I come from a Roman Catholic family. And I am only seven years old.”

Oh but I hated Sunday school! And that’s putting it lightly. My twin and I would devise all sorts of ways to escape this religious instruction, and it is no wonder I was not prepared in the least for my first communion . . .

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Sex.

Somewhere in the world, there is a young girl
Poring over magazines, and hollow celebrities,
With a father, standing over shoulder,
Fearing (knowing) how men will meet her gaze
While growing older, into an object of culture
Captivated by perky breasts
And rock-hard phalluses,
Fueled by masculinity.

There is a young man, corrupted by pornography,
Ten thousand years of evolution—
Internet, radio, bringing the world together—
Only to bask in barbaric root:
The fleshly skin, the soaking genitals,
The moaning and screaming and heavy breathing (but no kissing),
The fake tits, and the oh so big, throbbing dicks;
He sleeps well, fooling his body
Into firm serenity.

And there are those who claim that money runs this world—
Greed, Fear, Power, Technology—
But no, it is only
Sex.

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For Life is But a Dream: Exploring Ideas of Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, Synchronicity, and the Essential Validity of Non-Physical Reality

“I went to Africa. You can go to Africa. You may have trouble arranging the time or the money, but everybody has trouble arranging something. I believe you can travel anywhere if you want to badly enough.

“And I believe the same is true of inner travel. You don’t have to take my word about chakras or healing energy or auras. You can find about them for yourself if you want to. Don’t take my word for it. Be as skeptical as you like.

“Find out for yourself.”

-Michael Crichton, Travels (1988)

It was the Summer of Inception-Mania:

Ke$ha was in the charts. Oil was in the ocean. Cleveland just lost half its economy. And the characters of Lost finally found themselves. But it was Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending film that captivated the nation, and if only for a short while, granted us a break from reality, thrown through a realm where the laws of physics don’t apply.

With a smart premise and a sexy cast, the movie was a hit, and the main question on everybody’s mind was if that little totem thing was still spinning at the end: Was it all a dream within a dream within a dream?!

Or, going further . . .

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Because They Matter Too: A Question on the Value of Animal Lives

“The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes.”

-Jeremy Bentham,  Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789)

An innocent gorilla was killed last Saturday. His name was Harambe.

By now you should have heard the news.

The incident was sparked when a 4-year-old boy managed to fall into the “Gorilla World” enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, only to have the enormous animal rush over to the child, drag him around like a toy, and proceed to stand guard over him for several minutes. All while onlookers gasped with fright, and parents pleaded for divine intervention.

Ruling out the use of tranquilizers, the zoo opted for the abhorrent—the unthinkable—and shot down the beautiful beast, depriving him of precious spirit, rendering his 450lb frame cold and lifeless. His family will likely grieve uncontrollably. The zoo will forever be marred with darkness. And all because some damn humans couldn’t keep an eye on their child!

This was nothing short of a tragedy.

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