Sorry about delayed response! It's the Ahmaddiya sect which is a branch of Shia...the motto is 'Love for All Hatred for None' so you can see how they'd be more peaceful :P They don't condone any sort of violence and seem to have a really good relationship with the British government...
That's a very different impression of organised religion than the one I'm used to, if you don't object to the use of that term. It really does sound fascinating. What does it mean to be an ordained member of the UU clergy?
As far as I know, the idea is original to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone else had thought of it first.
The Unitarian Church sounds very interesting--it keeps coming up in my English Literature and Feminisms course at the moment--but I've never heard of a Unitarian Universalist. What exactly does that entail, if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks for your comment Martin - and you're right, I'm awful when it comes to commenting on other's walls...
Oh, I don't like football (or soccer as you might know it as), I'm a rugby fan - it's Bath rugby on my page! Not in the best mood tonight as both Bath and England lost today. Oh well, you can't win them all, right?
Regarding your question about the book, I believe it was Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. I have not finished it. I was mostly referencing in respect to another book. Eventually, I will get back to it. Trying to get down all the essentials.
Thanks for the greeting.
It's very nice to meet you too! I consider myself to be a UU as well, so it's nice to see that I'm not alone in this regard. As for paleontologists, most of us have a decent sense of humor because, frankly, there's nobody in our field who isn't slightly (or in my case, vehemently) eccentric.
Martin, thanks for the message. I've been busy the past week so I haven't been able to get onto the Nexus as much as I would have liked to. Cajun cooking is great! I really don't like too much spicy food, though, and I turned vegetarian a couple of years ago, so I've had to augment my palate somewhat. I do a mean cajun spaghetti, and dig into some seafood (I still eat sea critters) gumbo.
Actually, John R. was ecumenical, but came out of a Congregational Christian Church theological background. He was well educated but could not imagine a life philosophy that did not include the notion of a deity. We were old friends - he had been the young pastor at my teenage church and was aware of my quest, which started seriously about that time. I ran into him by happenstance years later in another city and was invited to his home for dinner. The after-dinner conversation turned to religion and got very intense. I don't remember much of it, except some surprise that I could answer all of his questions, but he couldn't answer all of mine. Later, he wrote my mother, also a long-time friend of his, described the dialog, and said that he felt that my faith was much stronger than his, which had surprised him because he didn't associate strong faith with atheism. Of course, as I mentioned, he confused faith with confidence, and never came to understand the difference. I lost touch with him again decades ago, but the experience served to strongly reinforce my own sense that I was on the right philosophical track.
Indeed, sadly many Muslim apostates suffer a great deal. Luckily I will not be threatened by violence or aggression by my family, friends and even the sect of Islam my parents belong to - because they are particularly pacifist.
However, it does make it equally as difficult to admit my beliefs (or lack of them) to my family whom I adore so much that it would break their hearts. Soon...all in good time, I suppose.
re: lasagna & meat & pastafarians - great question :-) I don't think worshipers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have any rules on lasagna. But I'm not an authority on this at all. I can't wait to die and go to heaven or hell - they both have beer volcano's and stripper factories. In hell the beer is flat and the strippers have vd.
I appreciate your interest in Mark Twain's writing. I was more or less unimpressed as a child by "Huckleberry Finn", but then I read "Letters from the Earth" and in my second college career, I ran across an old copy of "1601", variously subtitled as "Conversation as it was by the social fireside in the time of the Tudors." As something of an English history buff even back then, I absorbed the tiny book with much delight, and eventually read everything of Twain's that I could get my hands on.
If you haven't, read Ayn Rand. She wrote many more non-fiction pieces than she did fiction, but is mainly remembered for her novels. If you start with that get a copy of We the Living. After you finish it read The Fountainhead. You will then be ready for Atlas Shrugged. In 1998, I think, the Library of Congress and the Book of the month Club conducted a survey as to the most influential books for Americans. Number 1 was The Bible, and number 2 was Atlas.
Please excuse if you read her, as there may be others who haven't. Rand was a much nicer atheist than I. She even believed in a soul, which I do not believe in. My own book that you can get on Amazon, The Parallel Progression, is very hard on religion and believing in fairy tales. But trust me on Rand. Do not under any circumstances, begin with Atlas. Enjoy.