Religion

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I am happy — really happy — with something the state of California has done.  It is a very, very good thing.  They have become the first state in the nation to ban therapy that tries to turn gay teens straight. I am armed with subjective histories.  My heart, if not my brain, goes to them first. My first private office in California was in San Diego and just happened to be near the center of the alternative lifestyle community of that fine burg.  I heard tear-stained stories from gay guys whose parents had “suggested” therapy of this sort.  One man, who saw me for treatment of a physical pain syndrome, told me how his parents wanted and believed in a heterosexual son.  He cried as he told me about their “Christianity” and their desire for him to father a family.  They would even try to encourage him on dates with girls when he felt “less than nothing.”  Curiously enough, I remember him as being part of one of the most highly committed and long lasting dyadic relationships I have ever known.  He had a loving male partner who brought him to every appointment and waited in the waiting room. When I approach a situation, I do not start with subjective data, however emotional.  I look farther.

I know that the searchers of the human genome for markers for homosexuality have come up empty.  This seems to mean that homosexuality is probably not genetic.  It does not mean it is not biological.  Last time I tuned in, people seemed to believe that homosexuality — at least in males — seemed related to stress during pregnancy.  I was still back in Europe when I read that the largest number of gay males ever born in a similar set of circumstances were the male children born to women who had been incarcerated in concentration camps. Read more on Good for California! “Straightening Out” Gays Is Now Illegal…

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Maybe the folks who continue to argue against stem cell research are just afraid their own stem cells could beat them at a game of checkers.

Listen, I want to live forever.  Not like in the song “Fame,” but like in the way that most of us would do anything to live.  Or like the guy who had to leave the country to get life-saving treatment for cancer of the trachea.  Now he is alive when everyone thought he wouldn’t be. It’s a treatment he couldn’t get in the States.  In the States, stem cell benefits are masked by misinformation and fear.

Okay, so I had a metabolic disease that threw me into a coma and nearly killed me a few times.  But here I am to talk about it.  I think about it every blessed day and I find myself grateful to this universal intelligence.  Yes, I am a theist. But I still live in a personal world where I would do anything to live. Read more on Stem Cell Benefits Masked By Fear and Misinformation…

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I have no use for “science vs. religion” debates.  They are artificially created to get people angry at each other, when there is absolutely no reason.

Whatever divine entity you believe in — whatever “universal intelligence” — is not a stupid being.  Any Deity would simply reveal to people what they can understand.

Such a Deity has given humans a marvelous mind that can question and search for the truth.  Much has been learned — and many miracles are possible — because of the hard work of people who advance science and technology. Read more on Want To Waste Time? Argue Science VS Religion…

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The car was parked but the engine was running.  Just like me – My body was idle but my brain was running.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love to accompany my husband to various stores, but prefer to let him run in to pick up whatever we need while I wait in the car.  I have another companion while he is gone – Public Radio.

I have a friend who is a talented stand-up comic.  She’s not in the “big time” but plays the circuit of comedy clubs across the country. One of her routines is about the time she and her then-husband (you’ll see why they divorced in a few moments) stopped at a convenience store for gas during a cross-country trip.

While husband was inside paying for the gas, my friend decided to go inside for a cold drink or a candy bar.  She wasn’t dressed formally, by any means – her hair was up in rollers to prepare for the evening’s performance, and she was wearing sweats. Read more on Funding Science Should Be A Priority…

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I remember vividly and will never forget when a home-made bomb blasted the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was April 19, 1995, and I was in the midst of morning rounds at a major hospital’s inpatient psychiatry unit.

A lot of people were “decompensating” — going psychotic, had beliefs the world was coming to an end and needed extra medicine.

They called it the worst homegrown terrorist attack on U.S. soil up to that time in our country’s history.

I thank the basis of my personal belief system that I was not closer to the explosion at that time, and that I was not personally involved in the later and more catastrophic attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 2001. Read more on Which Should You Choose — Therapists Or Friends?…

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While taking my psychiatric training at the University of Kansas, Wichita – the so-called “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” I often saw patients who told me freely they did not think I could help them because I was of Jewish origin.

Most could deduce because of my name, and most were not shy about asking point-blank.  I had nothing to hide and was not ashamed. 

They would quiz me about my belief in Christ, and despite my protestations that a prescription pad looked pretty much non-sectarian to me, some would request/demand to see someone who was at least marginally a Christian. Read more on What About The Brain Of The Born-Again?…

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“Nations make their histories to fit their illusions” — Walter Lippmann (twice Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper columnist).

I remember years ago taking care of a Vietnam war veteran who told me, “what everybody says is wrong.  There ARE atheists in foxholes and they is me.”

To be a member of the wrong religion is a very dangerous condition, as many Muslim-Americans have found out in this new millennium. Read more on Thank God I’m Not An Atheist…

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I am old enough to remember having briefly met then-senator from Massachusetts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, at a synagogue breakfast in my hometown – a suburb of Boston.  He had donned a skull cap, and shook hands with my parents as well as with me.  I talked little in those days, which is a testament to how young I was. I could stand unaided, and the senator shook hands with me.

Pres. Clinton wears a yarmulke

Bill Clinton courts the Jewish vote

Years later, his was one of the first presidential elections I tried to follow.  People were very worried that he was Catholic.  In our neighborhood, anybody I knew who was not Jewish seemed to be Catholic.  It had never bothered me. I remember seeing on television some news-reporting-human asked him about his need to be obedient on the Pope, being a Catholic and all, and how that could limit his ability to serve. He gave what I thought then was a good answer, about not being obliged to do anything the Pope happened to say, but saying his service to the people of the United States came first. I had thought that a good answer at the time.

My parents had all kinds of concerns, as did many Jews of their generation, even though they habitually voted Democrat. Read more on Whose Beliefs Do You Follow? Your Own!…

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I do remember when I was a university student seeing the glassy-eyed young students selling second rate (a bit dry or petals missing) flowers on the major thoroughfares of Boston. I remember reading all the newspaper accounts and finding out these people were somehow part of a “cult,” before I understood what that meant.

I learned about Sun Myung Moon, now in his 90th year and somewhere in South Korea, who some may have thought was the Messiah of the second coming.

There are all manner of myths and confusions and business about the “moonies.” Let us say, there are at the very least serious questions raised and I would not counsel going near this group. A cult is simply an organization where those who are at a point of great transition in life, and thus prone to a great insecurity, find themselves seduced into a group membership. This is not a difficult thing to do. Read more on Being A Quitter Isn’t Always Bad — With Cults…

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I guess people have to worship something.

I certainly have seen people idolize people before.  Sometimes, to my amazement, when my parents managed to get me in the newspaper as a child for some alleged academic achievement, it was even me. Religion is something I generally avoid with patients.  I sometimes will admit that I say things like “God love you.”  As a matter of fact, I remember that my mother-in-law, Carolyn of blessed memory, said that sometimes, and I liked the feeling, and I suspect that is when I integrated it into my conversation, at least with patients who had limited time with me and wanted to discuss religion.

Read more on Celebrity Worship — The New Religion?…

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