Category Archives: Personal

More Honky than You

Having lived in Asia for about a dozen years, I returned to the USA to go back to school in North Carolina. My childhood hometown had been all white and the inner city where I worked for ten years in my youth was largely black. Thus I grew up really only knowing Black and White — I had never really met East Asians, until I lived amongst them in Asia.

On just arriving back in the States, I was invited to a party held by fellow students.  There I met an Asian woman — she was adopted from Korea by West Virginia parents. I was excited to meet an Asian living in my North Carolina world. A group of us were talking and I tried to share with her common thoughts about Asia. But she asked me to step outside and join her away from the crowd for a minute.  I thought we were going to share more stories.

But when she got me alone she said, “Look Sabio, I was adopted at one-year old. All my friends have been West Virginian whites. I don’t know or care anything about Korea. I am far more honky than you. So stop all the ‘Asian’ shit, will ya?”

She put me in my place.

This is a memory marker illustrating my continued stupidity through life.

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Evolution cost me my job

The following is one of my many biography posts. I am recording them in part for my kids in the distant future. But I try to make them relevant to my blog. This one discusses my commitment to the teaching of Evolution and how some aspects of religion have a stranglehold on America.

I am a huge, non-apologetic, evangelical evolutionist and have paid the price for my outspoken nature. I use to be a professor in a graduate school Physician Assistant program where evolution helped me loose my job.

One day I was called into the program director’s office. He said, “Sabio, we have some complaints about you teaching evolution.” “Wow,” I thought, “that was an abrupt opening. I wonder what he is talking about.” So I responded, “Sorry, who complained and what was their complaint?”

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Children of Heaven

My kids loved this award-winning 1997 Iranian film.  They were very hesitant to watch another sub-titled foreign film but I told them to try the first 10 minutes and then we can stop if they don’t like it.  My son is 11-years-old and my daughter is 9-years-old and the film’s stars are a young brother and sister.

You can read Wiki for the details.  Here is a quick bullet-list of the things my kids and I talked about during the film (pausing a few times).

  • Children around the world often work from a very young age
  • School is a privilege
  • The submissive role of women in Islamic nations
  • Their Government hates us but not all the people hate us
  • They have the same emotions as us but very different customs
  • Brother and sister caring for each other all over the world
  • Family needs to stick together
  • What is Islam
  • They believe just what their parents tell them
  • Father is strict but stressed and loving

My kids loved it and thought deeply.   It is one way for them to visit other countries and learn about other beliefs both critically and sympathetically.  The trick is, to make their journey fun.

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My Kids’ School becomes a Church

Our children’s school is being turned into a church.  The school district, in order to raise money, decided to rent our elementary school to a church group.  So, every Sunday the church will hold two services in the school.  The church’s first service will be Sept 26th.  Presently the contract is for two years.  They already anticipate parking issues.

The church is a large evangelical church whose business model is to rent spaces all over our metropolitan area and broadcast their flagship church’s main sermon to each peripheral church.  My children’s school is going to be a newly added satellite to their kingdom — it is already advertised on their website.  The church, already making themselves at home, have revamped the school’s sound system.  Apparently United States law presently holds that schools can rent out their facilities to religious organizations but they may not exclude some and allow others.  Yet government facilities and resources may not be used to aid a group which is pervasively religious in mission.

Irrespective of the law–for we all know that not all laws are good–my wife, several townspeople and I are trying to fight it.  The good news is that the borough who rents the land to the school has a contract saying the land may only be used for a school.  So a cease and desist suit has been filled against the district but the contract can be appealed and the school is appealing to a zoning committee.  So this looks like it will be a fight to see if we can get our community to see that keeping religion our of our schools, even on weekends, is a good thing.

Some atheist friends, who also have children in the school, said they didn’t care about the issue because it was good money.  I pointed out to these friends that if this were a large atheist group or a Muslim group, the town would immediately organize against the school being used by them.  My friends agreed and are hopefully re-thinking their positions.

What do you think?  I will be using your thoughts to help me organize my plan.  Bring them on!

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Reincarnation, Heaven & the Bogeyman

BogeymanLast night my kids wanted to talk about death. Both of them consider themselves atheists. But my son has been hinting over the last several months that he wants to keep an open mind about “God”. [I always remind them that I do not care what they believe and that I expect them to keep changing their minds for many, many years while I just keep on loving them].

My son (10 years-old) wanted to talk about heaven. He said:

Sometimes I like to think there is a heaven because it means I don’t  have to worry so much about dying, or about you and Mommy.  I know I am just using heaven to help myself  but I think that is OK. [*I nodded in strong agreement].

But my daughter (8 years-old) jumped right in and told us her view of death:

“Well, I believe when people die they just become someone else — they go into a new baby”.

We had never discussed reincarnation, though it wouldn’t be surprising that she has seen the idea in some Japanese anime we have watched.  She then continued to describe reincarnation perfectly, though she did not know the word. And she was insistent that she did not like my son’s model but preferred her own view.

I then said,

“We all know there are no such things as monsters or the bogeyman, right? [*heads hesitantly nodded]  But sometimes we feel if we keep the lights on it can keep them away. [*heads enthusiastically nod]  So, true or not, if heaven and reincarnation can help you keep away fear of death, keep you happy and help you love each other more, they can be just like popping on a light to keep the bogeyman away even if you don’t believe in him. And that is OK !” [*Big smiles, nods and laughs followed!]

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Endurance Prayer

I successfully completed my first triathlon on Sunday.  Yeah!  It was actually a short “Adventure Race”: Kayak 2 miles, Bike 20K and Run 5K.  My only real goal for this race was to just complete the race without walking.  I did much better than that, but I did worry about pacing myself and enduring the entire race.  When I ended, I had lots of energy left — darn, I should have pushed harder.   🙂

Below is an example how I might have prayed to God for endurance during such an event in my Christian days.  The diagram illustrates one of the many images I had of my relation to the Divine — remember, I have always been a very visual person.  In this image, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit helping us communicate .  This Session of Christ Model is one of the many models I saw during my Divine communications.  I recall often wondering how I was suppose to visualize the communication.  In my post Guidance Prayer, I show how our prayers are simply talking to ourselves — literally, to our many selves.  But in the diagram I made there, I left out The Holy Spirit — ooops.  Sometimes you can’t remember all the correct theology in a prayer.  In fact in my post called  forgetting about Jesus I tell about realizing that leaving “Jesus” out of my prayers can not be as bad as I imagine.  That insight about proper prayer then dramatically accelerated my downward spiritual spiral.

Anyway, without further ado, in this post I am again illustrating this simple phenomena:   the actual mechanics of a Christian endurance prayer.  Let’s start with how a Christian may view his prayer to God to get endurance during a bike race:

Below is a naturalist’s model of what may actually be happening in a person praying for endurance — various sides of the racer push him to do better.  A Christian may hear these voices as being the loving supportive voice of their god.

Hearing God’s voice is easy — especially when you really want to.  I am sure there were several Christians in my race who were being encouraged on by their Lord Jesus.  Similarly, Lord Krishna may have cheered on some Hindu racers.  But for all of us, no matter how we interpreted the voices in our heads, the race was fun and I look forward to another race in four weeks.  Hopefully in this next race I won’t daydream about such silly images and instead, run a little harder.

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Contra Kilts

Dancing in a Kilt

Dancing in a Kilt

On Father’s Day, my family took me out Contra Dancing (a type of folk dance).  We went with another family and had a great time.  Some of the men there were dressed in kilts.  After the dance my friends commented on how strange and silly the men in skirts were.  On the contrary, I thought their attire was awesome and said to myself, “Gee, if I came dancing enough, it would be fun to wear a kilt also.”

Funny how all of us have different intellectual and emotional constitutions.  I am naturally drawn to the unusual.  It is no more my virtue than it is the vice of my friends to find the unusual unappealing.  I have been that way since I was young and so have they.  They have disciplined themselves to accept (albeit with effort) others while I have disciplined myself not to jump into every odd thing.

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Related Posts of mine:

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God and I are Ignored Magicians

Sabio's Hitch across Eurasia

In my youth, I hitchhiked from Europe to India over a 1-year period with no money and went without food for days on end.  One of the things I learned in order to obtain food was to do magic tricks.  After two or three days of not eating, it became easy for me to beg for food after humoring people with my simple childhood slight of hand tricks.  Fortunately, some people, along with a piece of fruit or bread, also taught me one of their favorite tricks and thus both my show and my nutrition slowly improved.

When I do a slight-of-hand disappearing tricks, nobody actually believes they happen.  They all ask to see again so they can see what I really did.  But some of my tricks, if I set them up right for the right audience, get people so amazed that they think I am indeed special and have amazing yogic skills.  These tricks include mind-reading, moving objects from a distance and breaking objects with the slightest of touch.

But what really amazes me over the years, is that even though many people really believe I have these magical powers, they often question no further.  They ask for no teaching to bring them to such a high level of control over nature, they take it all in stride even though they are convinced I have super powers.  It is as if the supernatural bores them.

Likewise, it seems a similar thing that even though people say they really believe the Bible is God’s only true guidance in their lives — his special message to them, they still don’t study it or really read it.  They may read a little, but not as often or as diligently as one would imagine if you believed the Bible was a personal message to you from the creator of the world!

My explanation is that large parts of most believers really don’t believe the whole thing — not my tricks, nor God writing a book.  What do you think?

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Addendum
:
After discussion in the comments, I thought I’d add this short summary of what I believe in order to explain my above statement:

(1) We have many inconsistent beliefs (for example: Belief in God, doubt in God, no belief in God)
(2) The inconsistent beliefs present at different times depending on our social setting and events
(3) These amount to “Many Selves
(4) Lack of true wonder with Magic and God reveal these co-existing inconsistent beliefs
(5) They do not reveal “laziness”, “stupidity” …
(6) They reveal that we do not have ONE set of beliefs and that we are not who we think we are (and certainly not who we say we are).

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Health & Medicine

Last updated: Oct 2013

This is an index for posts on medicine and health.  I have practiced and studied medicine for decades– both “alternative” and “orthodox” (loaded terms, I know).  Jumping between various contradictory medical practices and philosophy has taught me much.  The comparative nature of my experiences have greatly influence my opinions about philosophy, religion and people in general. 

Sub-Indexes:

Alternative Medicine: General

On “Orthodox” Medicine

Nutrition:

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Atheist in Drug Rehab

Bottle of NarcoticsI was startled to learn that a close friend, also an Atheist, just entered drug rehab. He lives in another state and I only see him occasionally so it was easier for him to hide his addiction from me than from all those with whom lives and works.  But I was surprised when he sent me an e-mail telling me he was caught stealing and abusing narcotics for two years. I would have never guessed.

My friend was a successful professional, and is happily married with two young kids. His wife is an evangelical Christian.  He has always been very vocal about his Atheism and she married him understanding their differences.  They live near the wife’s very supportive Christian family in the heart of the Bible Belt. The wife takes the two kids to church but my buddy does not go and her church is aware that he is an atheist — her pastor has visited my friend and spoken politely to him a few times without obvious intent to convert.

My drug-addict buddy just started the 3-month rehab program — isolated from family and friends. He can only e-mail 20 minutes per day. He wrote me that his program uses a 12-step AA model.  Part of the program is that the addict is suppose to acknowledge and depend on a Higher Power.

As readers know, I am a sympathetic Atheist who feels that religion can offer many positive functions. To me, when I hear “Higher Power”, I often generously translate it to mean “Less of SELF” — which, in my Buddhist way, I can support. I also feel my buddy’s anti-social characteristics are counter productive for him.

So, when my friend wrote me from the rehab center and wondered what an atheist like him was to do with this “higher power” issue, I wrote him a reply which I consider consistent with the Buddhist notion of “skillful means“.   I essentially suggested he get religion.  Below is my letter suggesting one way to do it.   I’d love to hear your opinions.  BTW, my friend gave his excited permission for me to post his story and this e-mail.  Click “more” to read the e-mail (mildly edited):
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