Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Saturday, July 24, 2004

On traditions

Tradition. What an interesting concept. In my Marine Corps days, tradition was everything. Many things are still done in my beloved Corps, simply because that's the tradition. When my Corps put name-tags on their uniforms, part of me felt like I had died. We were proud to not have lost-and-found tags. We didn't need them. Besides, it was Tradition. Our officers KNEW our names. They didn't need to be reminded. To this day, I still say "head", rather than "bathroom". Or "bulkhead", rather than "wall". Why? Tradition.

On the other hand, when I was a manager, I hated tradition. Our restaurant chain had always had a tradition of scheduling drivers from the store, and managers from the home office. I hated that tradition. But it was the Tradition of the company, started way back when, when the owner started the company. He got that idea from the company he had previously worked for. So, he continued it. Simply because it was tradition he was used to. Of course, the owner ran his company into the ground, after 30 years of successful business, so I may have been right on that one.

Why am I so concerned with tradition? Simple. Random Firings HAS no traditions. So, I'm going to start some. Sundays, henceforth, shall be forever (or at least until I get tired of it) be Christian Living discussion day. I know I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to set aside Sunday to talk about Christianity and what it means, but I hope that I am one of the only to do it without leaning on Bible quotations as a crutch. That's right. I will avoid any direct quotations of Scripture.

Why? Because I don't want anyone to take my word for it. I want them to look it up for themselves. One of the problems that Christianity has faced over the last 1900 years or so is the 'faithful' taking someone else's word for it, when it came to their salvation. This led to some rather egregious abuses by the Church. The Inquistion would be a rather obvious example. It was started to root out Jews who might not have truly converted to Catholicism when the King and Queen ordered them to. Why? Because King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had taken the Church's word for it that the Jews were responsible for the Crucifixion of Jesus. (If those names sound familiar, they should. Isabellla and Ferndinand financed Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the New World) So, because a King and Queen had taken a Church's word for it, several thousand people were tortured and killed. For no reason. The Jews who didn't convert fled to Almohad-held Spain, leaving all their possessions behind. (the choice they were given was "convert to Christianity, or leave and leave your possessions behind") The Muslim Almohads let the Jews practice their religion in peace, and Catholic Spain suffered one of the worst brain-drains a country has ever experienced. The Almohad Caliph (whose name escapes me at this time) said "I should thank the Spanish King and Queen. Their policies towards the Jews have enriched my country greatly." That may not be an exact quote, but it was close. So, because a King and Queen took a Church's word for it, they set themselves back, knowledge-wise, by at least 20 years. If not a century.

Although, because of the seizure of assets policies of the forced conversion AND the Inquisition, Catholic Spain did enlarge it's coffers greatly, allowing them to fund Mr. Columbus's voyage, and many others. It also allowed them to build a navy rivalling that of England. So, it wasn't a total loss for Spain. But look at where Spain is at, now. Might the results have been better if they hadn't taken the Church's word for it?

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country