Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Worldview


Picture at Steveston Wharf Canada Day 2008 Beth and I.


I just got home from my 25th radiation treatment - sort of makes you think about things.




Iwrote this a few months back - have been debating with myself if I should publish it in my blog. Then I decided a blog is to tell people not only what you are doing along the road of life - but maybe also just what you believe this road is all about - so here it is. It is me.  




Feb 15 2008
A Personal World View

This will be sort of a general statement of my philosophy of life, Religion, and God (not the same thing).
Or what I believe.


At any particular moment in time what we believe, what we are, indeed what we are to become, is dependent in part from where we come from. This includes what religion our parents and Grandparents practiced (or did not practice); the social strata they came from, and of course their ethnic background.

I have always thought of myself as a rather logical person. I have tried to use what intelligence I possess to come to some logical explanation of where we come from, where the earth came from, and indeed where the cosmos came from. I realize this is quite a tall order for little old me. Regardless of that, what follows will be what I have come up with, I’m not sure if we can call it a belief.
So – getting down to ‘BELIEF’ a rather small word. However I would wager pound for pound it has caused more sorrow, pain, consternation, anticipation, disillusionment, tears, anger, hate and various other strong emotions than any other word in the dictionary.


Speaking of dictionary:


From: Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
Belief - The feeling of certainty that something exists or is true:
When I refer to the word belief from now on it is to be associated with either the word God, Religion, Natural selection, atheism, or Cosmos. Or in other words where we come from.
It seems to me every thinking person on this earth when giving any thought to how he got here, believes in something. What I think stymies those who give it the most thought is that the two most common answers are God, and Natural selection/Atheism.
To the thinking person both are totally illogical.

However there appears to be one undeniable fact. WE ARE HERE.
Lets take the Big Bang Theory.
There are many scientists and laymen that do not consider this a theory at all. It is a fact. Or is it a belief?
These are some of the things I have great trouble imagining.
(a) A relatively small, extremely dense, glob of something about 13 billion years ago exploding/expanding all of a sudden into a couple of trillion stars/suns planets/ separated by distances measured in hundreds of light years.
(b) 13 Billion years.
(c) Trillions of stars/suns.
(d) Hundreds of light years.
(e) All of this expanding for 13 billion years and continuing today at this rate. I’m not saying it didn’t happen this way, but it is totally beyond my comprehension. Just read in the Scientific American, that they now believe the Cosmos is traveling away at a speed greater than the speed of light – in ‘X’ years there will be no heavens/Stars to see – interesting, but we will have to be around at least a billion years to see if this guess is true.


I have read, and to a large extent agree (I’m sure that would impress them) with the basic conclusions of such ‘great’ minds as;
Richard Dawkins - (The God Delusion)
Sam Harris - (Letter to a Christian Nation) Very interesting.
Christopher Hitchens - (God is not Great)
When I say ‘agree with’ I am refering specifically to their general oppinion of religion, not their ideas pertaining to Darwinism, natural selection, etc.
I believe all Atheists have a rather low opinion of Religion, if the don’t they are not worth their salt – must look up where this saying came from. They are all good writers and make excellent points, but what none of them actually address in any meaningful way is how we began. I mean really began, ie the beginning, how life actually progressed from nothing to a beautiful Robin and a great Elephant. I mean step by step how long the first vestiges of life (call them what you want) lived long enough to develop into humans. There are two fundamental answers – Lightening Bolts – and Time – not seconds, or months, or thousands of years, no but measured in millions and Billions of years. Of course all the while this little initial spark(s) of life was able to sit around existing. I must admit I do find it rather difficult to imagine this original spark of life existing in this nothingness without any form of sustenance for a day or so, (let alone trillions of days) waiting for a lightening bolt to zap it, or a neighbor piece of nothing, so they can get together on their relentless march to the Nobel prize. I have read Darwin extensively, biographies, etc. Darwin does not address the above.

God
I also have great trouble imagining God.
Is he a He?
Is he a She?
Is he an It?
Where is He/She/It?
Does He/She/It control the universe, the Galaxy, the Cosmos?
Does He/She/It care about children?
Does He/She/It intervene?
The amount of hate, atrocities, slaughter, sorrow, and butchery the human race has perpetuated upon one another in our little speck within the Cosmos is more than obscene. That this has been the norm from the time of the Old Testament to the present is truly beyond rational comprehension. Those perpetuating these horrors, in the main, have been strong believers in one religion or another.
It has often popped into my little brain that if there are extra terrestrials flitting around the universes, and assuming they have maps, these maps probably have a large red ring around our beautiful planet earth. In large print a note with something like this stamped over the image.

“Beware contaminated – Boil of the universe.”

For the first Thirty years or so of my life I was an Atheist. I then “progressed” to Agnostic.
I have been very involved in the Christian Church for over thirty years, and attended literally thousands of services of various denominations.
I still attend weekly with Beth.
My wife Beth is a devote Christian, in the true sense of the word. She is loving and honest and has an unwavering belief in Jesus as the Son of God.
I love Beth, admire her, and support her in her belief. It is hers.
I have met hundreds of good people within the Church; indeed probably most of my true friends come from within the Christian community.
I have however had grave reservations and have been very critical of virtually every denomination we visited.
I haven’t changed much.
I have seen people (who outside of their church appeared normal) writhing on the floor and making strange noises. I have heard many pastors saying the most outrageous things. There is one belief that virtually all the denominations of the Christian church spout when confronted with the following question. Why does the loving god allow (ie does not intervene) when innocent children are being raped, abused, bombed, or in other ways harmed?
The smug answer always is – God gave us free will. God did not make us robots.
It should be made very clear, the perpetuator of heinous crimes against the weak and helpless in our society may have free will – the little victims definitely do not.
It is abundantly obvious, if the clergy did not say this, the concept of a loving compassionate God looking after his flock and taking a direct interest in every living thing would dissolve into the ether like your breath on a cold day.
These same spokespersons for God are never reluctant to give God credit for any wondrous happening no matter how trivial. Most recently at a church we regularly attend the senior Pastor gave God credit for him getting his house sold. I guess although God gave us free will and does not go to all the trouble to intervene (to busy with important Cosmos matters) in a innocent child being killed, he/her/it/ can and will take time out to intervene into a house sale. Or a new carpet. Or a good deal on a car. I’m sure anyone who has attended church can add many more examples.
I believe this diminishes the message of Jesus.
Why can’t the Christian establishment just admit that they do not know the mind of their God? This would be relatively well received by the average Canadian rather than tying to bamboozle the “Flock” with this idiotic Free Will stuff.

Recently I have been reading a book by the brilliant Muslim Canadian author Irshad Manji, on the evils of her religion. It is amazing how often I noted the similarities with Christianity.
Of course to a great extent this is logical since both religions have their foundation in the Jewish Torah or Old Testament. Now granted the problems with her religion ‘appears’ to be worse than those of Christianity, but often the principles are virtually identical.
I believe it is logical (I know this is a strange word to use in this context) for individual humans (all other forms of life as well for all we know) to look to some supreme being for guidance and help.
We can call this prayer.
When things are at their darkest, life is hopeless, and there is no one to turn to, I believe virtually all humans plead and pray to some form of superior Being/God. One does not have to belong to, or indeed believe in, any particular religion to pray.
I know I have done this more than a few times.
Well this is where I am at this particular juncture of my life.

Larry Bennett
- PS I could write much more on subject - And I might

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Half Way

Well I didnt think it would ever happen but we are half way through the radiation treatments.

All in all these daily trips to the cancer clinic have gone reasonaly well. Beth insists on coming to all the treatments in case I get radiation poisoning or something and she will drive home. She is a very good driver, but not such a great passenger. She is always telling me to put the windows all the way up before I turn off the motor ( I like to leave them down a little so the car doesnt get to hot).
So the other day we park and beth gets out first, before I have turned off the engine.
" Dont forget to put the back window all the way up". she says.
So I dutifully press the button for the back window. Suddenly there is a blood curtling scream from outside the passenger side of the car.

Several heads seem to appear out nowhere all looking at me.

Beth shouts rather loudly.
" Put the window down, put the window down"
So being a very quick witted ex air traffic controller _(did I mention we were driving beths car?)
I instantly pressed the down button the way it worked on my car.
"No, no down not up." There might have been something about an idiot in there somewhere, but I'm not sure. Beth screemed so loud more people jumped out of cars to see what was wrong.
Anyway I eventually did it the proper way round and all ended well - except for the black fingernail that is about to fall off.
It seems when she yelled put the window up ,she was holding on to it as she reached into the car to get my bag. See our little daily trips aren't borring at all.

Actually the treatments dont bother me at all. Well that is not quite true - as this big scarry large round eye sort of sneeks up on me from out of eyesight under the table on my left side and (making all sorts of wirring and clicking sounds) slowly goes around my body before coming back and stopping over my lower bladder area where it stays for several seconds making louder and more ominous sounds it makes me imagine all sorts of things.

For instance just before they start the machine the two techs run like mad to the exit. Now its just me all alone with this large, extremely powerful, high voltage machine - run totally
BY A COMPUTER. Now I have nothing against a nice little computer. But I worked for several years with some excellent professional computer people, some engineers others programers.

One little tidbit I remember from somewhere, was ( I'm not saying it is true) that for every 500 lines of code written for a program there is probably one error. Now it may be just a teeny little bitty error and never show up for a thousand years - but on the otherhand I assume there are hundred's of thousands of lines of code in this machine. So while I lay there (with my eyes closed) I think of programers and the big eye spewing out a few zillion volts (or whatever) of gamma rays into my little body - I may not be able to feel them but they are doing something - as the rather long list of side effects attests. I dont like it.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

It started




Well every day I go in for the treatment the first thing the cheerful radiation tech ladies do is ask me if I,m doing ok - " no diarea?" I have always (except the time I took a mild laxitive - which is another story) said no.
Speaking of nice ladies this is a picture Beth took of two of the nicest - inside the zapping room - a few moments befor my treatment was to begin.
The large machine is just behind but I guess you annot realy see it.
However the past three days I have had it quite bad, and they say it will continue for the rest of the treatment - 26 days, but whose counting.
They gave me some medicine last week to help shrink the prostate - I had a reaction - first night one hand was itchy all night - no big deal - third day in the evening my feet swoll up- my lip also - but the worse thing was my chest began to get quite tight - needless to say I have quit the medicine. It seems I am rather alergic to almost any sort of medicine. The ladies at the clinic were very worried about me and got the doctor down right away. He gave me the older version of the same medicine to try - we will see.
I did go in to see my eye doctor yesterday about my Glucoma it is not getting worse - 14 in one eye 16 in the other - that is good news.