Armchair Explorer

don’t like change, at least not if it’s out of my control. Intellectually speaking, I like changes in moderation. I can’t narrow down my interests, and I want new things to discover. I’m not much of a traveler, though; more of an armchair explorer, unless the exploring takes place locally.

If I could choose, I would live life like Linnaeus. He had a large mansion where he conducted research, classified his collections and wrote new books, while he sent his students around the world looking for new things to bring home to him. It’s not that I don’t like to travel (I love vacations abroad), but there’s no place on earth like home. I’m a bit of a recluse, I guess. I have nothing against strangers, but I enjoy being by myself or with my closest family in an environment I feel attached to. Besides, I have everything I need right here — no need to search for utopia if you’ve already found it.

Religious Symbols

Is it OK to wear a religious symbol (e.g., a cross necklace or Thor’s hammer) in a secular, western society? I guess most people, including myself) would answer yes to that question.

The reason I ask is that I’m curious to know why the same people are having vague feelings regarding Muslims wearing veils? One answer would be because a veil is not a religious symbol per se, but rather a cultural one. Then again, we allow a lot of weird stuff in public based on cultural identity, i.e., Mohawk haircuts, army clothes, and saggy pants.

A follow-up question to the one above would be: Do you consider our inclusive, secular (and to a considerable extent culturally Christian) countries to be better than the theocratic ones? My answer comes without a doubt: Yes! Some cultures are better than others. Our societies allow us to debate these cultural and religious questions without threats of oppression. Let’s keep it that way. I guess my question delves deep into the core of our freedom. Do I want to know how much we can tolerate until we threaten the foundations for our democracy? Is it OK to condone homophobia, racism, jihadism or other fundamentalists who want less open, less inclusive and less free nations? Some may claim that if you don’t threaten other people’s lives and liberties, you’re allowed to believe and do whatever you’d like. That is a reasonable assumption, even though it leaves a lot of ethical dilemmas unanswered, for how can you tolerate intolerance?

I think we can live peacefully together in secular nations. However, secularism is to a considerable extent a result of Christianity, and some even argue that Christianity was – and still is – a prerequisite for the separation of the two entities religion and state.

The Age of Enlightenment has not yet occurred in Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, but I think they too will follow the same path. (Judaism has a long history of internal criticism when it comes to matters of faith. Being a Jew is, in fact, more about cultural identity than religious belief, even though Judaism also has a small minority of ultra-orthodox followers.)

Making Islam more secular will take time, but it’s already happening to some degree to Muslims living in Western nations. They too evolve and adjust their faith.

To give you an example: Muslim Feminist movements have started to pop up in several countries, fighting for gender equality and women’s rights. They’re far behind us, but my point (if there even is one) is that it’s impossible to live in a different majority culture without being influenced by it.

Some try hard to avoid being integrated, but sooner or later things will change for all living in the diaspora. If not now, then their children or grandchildren will live different lives (culturally and religiously) compared to their parents and grandparents.

Whether we like it or not, we live in global communities with multiculturalism and diverse religious practices. We must be decisive about how we approach our cultural differences when it comes to legislation etc. We legislate by the rule of the majority, but does that also include the right to criminalize certain minority customs? We raise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and no one finds that discriminatory. Would banning certain religious traditions be any different?

Violence and Religion

Historically speaking religion has always (wrongly) been used to supporting the war. I can’t for the life of me understand how giving blessings to soldiers on their way to war can ever be Christ’s wish. The primary objective of war is to kill your fellow man.

As a Christian, I believe in the New Covenant, but the Old Covenant was more ambiguous concerning war. They condemned murder but not killing for a just cause.

Jesus Christ never used violence, and I think we should follow in his footsteps. However, ethical dilemmas can – and do – arise. The use of force is never condemned entirely, even though I think that the term “war” in the Scriptures often alludes to a Spiritual War. In such a war, all the guns in the world would be of no help.

Skin Color Is Not A Merit

Individual men and women in politics scare me. Haven’t we learned anything from decades of fascism, national socialism, terrorism, and communism? Haven’t we learned anything from the millions sent to death camps and gulags? We want our countries to prosper, yes, but electing monsters for office is not the way to go.

A wise French initiative once stated that “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” Let’s continue that proud tradition instead of elected officials who only consider the color of a man’s skin merit.

Ecological Awareness

The state of the world is not as sad as you might expect. Sure, we have a long way before we can live a sustainable and peaceful life on this planet, but the fact is we live in the best of times despite the terror, wars and climate change. That being said, I’m acutely aware of all the challenges ahead. We live on a precious planet, surrounded by an infinite universe. As far as we know, we’re still alone in this vastness. We live here on planet Earth by God’s grace alone, and we better start taking better care of our home.

We need to put our petty differences aside and deal with the pressing issues at hand. We need a tolerant, united world to deal with the challenges ahead.

Is national or religious pride worth more than the planet we all come home? I’m not saying cultural pride is wrong; I’m just saying that we need to put the welfare of humanity and our precious planet first.

It makes no difference whether you’re an Atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim. It makes no difference whether the color of your skin is black, red, white or yellow. We have one planet. It’s time to grow up and start acting as we care. If not for ourselves, then in honor of our ancestor’s history on this planet, and for the future of our children and grandchildren.

By these ideas, I will now promote a new vision for the Kingdom of Unixploria. It will be based on ecological awareness and the common good of planet Earth. My vision entails small (micro) and large (macro) nations all working together to solve our problems in a mutual understanding of prioritizing global challenges instead of just looking within our boarders for answers.

The Kingdom of Unixploria is up for the challenge. Are you?

The World Can’t Handle Absolutes

Why do some people insist on using harsh, hateful comments, thus attacking the Christian faith? The bottom line is they hate because the world can’t handle absolutes. There are such things as right and wrong, but it takes too much effort to do the right thing for people. It is far easier to do things you feel like doing, regardless of whether they’re right or not in the eyes of God. Also, to all the atheists: if there is no purpose, not ethical guidelines to live by, then why even strive to better this world?

Thankful For Being A Christian

Today we celebrate the joyous event that took place after Christ’s resurrection. The disciples met Christ and gained renewed strength through that meeting, as well as through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Looking back historically, I find myself being part of a long line of Christians. I cannot tell for sure when the first of my ancestors left the pagan Norse faith of Ásatrú for a life in Christ.

I do know that some of them must have clung to the old ways well into the Middle Ages, perhaps even longer. I also know that they too celebrated on this very day, but for varied reasons. Our Easter Monday was Spring Blút in the times of my Viking ancestors. They made offerings on this day, giving food, mead and material objects to oblige their pagan gods. I don’t have to offer my God anything but my sincere will to believe in my Savior’s unconditional love. That love changes me. One small step at a time I’m becoming a new man, a born-again Christian.

I’m thankful for being a Christian, but I also feel thankfulness to that very first ancestor of mine who (hopefully out of own free will) got baptized and followed the Christian faith. It’s because of him or her I wear a cross around my neck instead of Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer).

May God bless you, dear ancestor, for taking the path of light in which I now humbly try to follow.

Elections in Turkey

The election in Turkey is a sad event for all thinking people. Erdogan’s dictatorship will lead Turkey further into Medieval times (religiously and culturally speaking). The intellectuals that are not already in exile are packing their bags as we speak. If the upcoming election in France follows the same fascist pattern, then we’re all in trouble.

Love Is Kind

A powerful message was delivered from a Coptic priest who just witnessed his congregation being massacred. It proves that hate will never be an option for a Christian. God bless the Coptic Church of Egypt, and God bless all the prosecuted Christians all over the world.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but does not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.” Corinthians 13: 1-7

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23: 34

Scottish Independence

So, it begins. The request to have another referendum for Scottish independence just passed the parliament in Edinburgh. Will Prime minister May and the Queen’s parliament in London grant Sturgeon’s request?

Most Europeans will welcome Scotland into the European Union with open arms! Perhaps it will even boost the Scottish economy, with several new companies setting up offices and factories inside a country in the British Isles that is a member of the single market?

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