Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Join a Church, Point of Inquiry

"Join a church"  

This is the thought I had regarding how my close friend could best gain needed support.  Join a church.  I listened to "Religiosophy."  When I see Robert Price is a guest on a podcast, I listen.  Yet, my knee jerk thought to help my friend was for him to join a church.

You see my long term close friend (I’ll call him Elroy) has recently entered into what can euphemistically be deemed a bad spell.  His time working at his dream job is coming to a close, while at the same time a stormy relationship he was hoping to keep together has come to its end.  He is depressed.  He needs support.  He lives a couple hours away from his support group of friends and family, and he is support-less where he current lives.

Our mutual friend, and is a person of some religious faith, shared that he thought Elroy's best bet was to see a psychiatrist or some manner of therapist.  I thought he should join a church.  This works for Elroy as he is a man of faith.  He belonged to a main stream white bread protestant church back home, but currently is an irregular attendant when home and never bothered to join one where he currently lives. None of this I find unusual, many folks believe, but don't really congregate.   

As the reader should be able to tell from my blog, I am not a person of faith.  I enjoy podcasts that challenge religion and faith.  Yet, as much as I disagree with many religious tenets, and I find the paranormal aspects of religion unconvincing.  As much as I tend to agree with much of the content of many of the religiously skeptical podcast I enjoy, I always have a hard time considering religion a scourge that must be blotted out.  I disagree with much of what a lot of religions give cover for people to do to each other, but there are just some things organized religions do really damn well.  I sure as hell am not the first person to have this thought.  There are times when the handy side of religion becomes more apparent.  This is one of them.  It just appears to me that a nice* church could give Elroy a close support structure and activity to his life, and I help him through his current tough times.  I cannot think of any secular entity that could possibly be of assistance.  Perhaps there ought to be, but there is not one I can recall.  

To be clear, professional medical interventions might be called for to assist my friend, and no organized faith group can give such care.  I am do not think a church can replace much of what the secular world has to offer, but organized religions still has a leg up with basic social support.   

It still bogles my mind that my initial thought was for him to join a church.  (On the other hand, I doubt if I ever found myself wifeless, out of a job, and pet-less that joining a church would be of little aid or comfort for me.)

*Joining a scientology lair, or Mel Gibson’s brand of the Catholic Church is not what I have in mind.  

A Penny

Neil deGrass Tyson was a recent guest on “Point of Inquiry” pitching his new book Space Chronicles: Facing the Final Frontier.  Dr. Tyson discussed his opinion on how and why N.A.S.A. could be resurrected from it’s current moribund state, and transform from tarnished government agency to the engine to power the U.S.A. back into technological and economic greatness.  Dr. Tyson takes a rather pragmatic view on how N.A.S.A. can be pitched to the taxpayer, since the science and wonder did not drive N.A.S.A. during its Apollo heyday (it was the cold war) it can't be expected to seal the deal today.  Dr. Tyson makes a compelling case that if just one penny from every tax dollar went to fund N.A.S.A. we could get some pretty interesting stuff accomplished in space, and drive a generation of American school kids to devote themselves to studying science, engineering, and pushing the technological envelope.  Dr. Tyson's communication skills are like butter.  There were parts during the interview I wanted to go and cheer.  He is that good, and I will say it:  He might be a superior communicator than his mentor the late great Carl Sagan.  

Enough of these, and I we'll be on Mars 

Dr. Tyson also gives an update where things are in the production of the new version of "Cosmos" to air on the Fox Networks in a year or so.  A better person to pick up the Cosmos mantle than Dr. Tyson I cannot fathom.