Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Wish List for 2008

When New Year’s Day has come and gone I wonder how many resolutions will have already been broken. It’s one reason I don’t like making resolutions. It’s for the same reason I rarely make promises. Despite one’s best intentions, sometimes the saying is far easier than the doing.

But that doesn’t stop me from creating a wish list for the coming year. I did that last year, and as stated in my last column, very few of my wishes for 2007 were granted. Still, there was some progress on a couple. So I’ve decided to keep wishing for what I listed last year and add a few new wishes for 2008.

These, of course, represent things that I wish would come to pass. Others’ opinions will vary. Opinions are like, well, bowel movements. Everybody has them.

My first, but not necessarily most important wish for the coming year is for everyone to stop writing checks at the checkout stand. It’s woefully annoying to those standing in line behind the offender.

Don’t people understand that debit cards can be used exactly like checks, but they are much faster and easier? While waiting in line a Wal-Mart yesterday, I found myself in the express lane behind a middle-aged woman who was writing a check and conversing with the cashier at the same time. After writing in the name of the store, the amount, the date, and signing her name, she had to wait while the clerk ran it through the printer and then check her identification.

When it was my turn, I swiped my debit card while the clerk scanned my items. When she was finished, I was finished. All she had to do was give me my receipt. For those who like recording their transactions in a check registry, you can still do that. Just drop the stupid checks, please.

My second wish for 2008 is for people who haven’t mastered the nuances of driving to just stay off the road. I get tired of waiting behind people turning left at one of those traffic signals that have a left-turn arrow, but no red light for the turn. The rule of thumb is, if you don’t see a red light, you can go ahead and turn if there is no oncoming traffic. You don’t have to sit there and wait for the next green arrow.

Next on my list of wishes is one for education. I wish religious groups would stop trying to infiltrate public schools with their dogma.

There is nothing they won’t try. One evangelical organization has even built a fine museum in Kentucky. Its exhibits look as though they are based on real scientific principles. But nothing could be further from the truth. Everything in the museum, no matter how scientific it looks, is based on Scripture, which has no corroborating evidence other than itself.

If conservatives want to build shrines to their religion, that’s fine. Just label them as religious institutions so that children and naïve adults won’t get confused.

That brings me to my last wish for the coming year, one that admittedly is a pipe dream more than a bona fide wish. But I’ll wish it anyway.

I wish that all fundamentalists, whether Christian, Muslim, or some other belief system based on the supernatural that also has a fundamentalist element would simply admit that everything they preach is nothing more than what I’m writing here, an opinion.

People ask me why I’m against religion so much. I tell them that I have no problem with people believing in whatever supernatural force they wish. It’s America and we have the freedom to believe in anything, or not.

My problem is that, although none of these fundamentalists have a problem saying their belief system is based on faith, they still insist that it is absolute truth. It’s fine to believe something to be true without evidence; it’s quite another thing, however, to call it factual.

Faith is what you believe without facts or evidence. You just choose to believe it, for whatever reason. Almost by definition, then, faith is opinion, because it is not support by facts or evidence.

I wouldn’t have nearly as much of a problem with churches and their museums if they all exhibited clear signs at the door saying that what is espoused therein is opinion, based on nothing but antiquated belief systems and not supported in any way by empirical data or facts.

I told you it was a pipe dream.

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