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Showing posts from March, 2009

God of the Outcasts, Savior of the Untouchables

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In Living World Religions class, we just finished the section on Hinduism. I must admit that going into this class, I was almost completely ignorant about Eastern religions, especially Hinduism. I still am not as familiar with the religion as I would like, but I learned some interesting things about their worldview. One of the more outlandish claims (to my Western, egalitarian eyes) is that of the Caste System. There are four main Castes, in a hierarchical system, with sub-castes in each of the four. But then there are the Outcasts, or the "Untouchables." These are people who are "reincarnated" with some sort of defect, disease, or simply born into poverty. Essentially, their plight is their own fault - a result of some great failure in past lives. They are not allowed to associate with people in the other castes, they are given the lowest of the lowest jobs, and are given little more than table scraps to eat. They can't live in the city; they must live outsid…

"Illusion of Truth"

The other day, I was reading in one of my Psychology books about an effect of memory called"Illusion of Truth." Research has shown that there is an unconscious tendency to give credibility to statements we have heard in the past. We may not remember the instance of hearing the statement, but if we hear it again, it will seem "familiar." We could have even been told that the statement is false, but we will still give credibility to it if it sounds familiar. Automatically, two applications come to mind. First, news headlines, once they are published or reported live, stick with people. Even if the headline proves to be false later, the damage is done. People will still think of the headline as true when brought up in later conversations, etc. This is, unfortunately, more true of negative headlines. Second, think about what this says concerning human nature. This is an unconscious effect. What comes more "natural" than unconscious behaviors? Thus, it can b…

Eden - Permanent Paradise or Temporary Training?

Here's something I've been wrestling with over the past few weeks, and I wanted to share it with you (and get it in some form of writing for my own sake). I've always grown up with the impression that the Garden of Eden was the perfect world as God intended it to be, where man could walk and talk with his Creator, where man and woman would live immortal lives, where all was as it was originally planned. That is, until everything went horribly wrong: Satan (the figure we know from the NT, disguised as a serpent because serpents are evil) lied to the woman about this one Tree in the Garden that God had planted. The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was put there simply so God could say, "I created humans to have free will. They can choose to disobey me whenever they want!" The woman took to "apple;" ate it; went and found Adam who was completely clueless; he ate it; they realized they were naked; and hid from God because they were guilty for what th…