Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I spent the weekend at a family reunion in a heavily Amish part of Southwestern Pennsylvania, but it was too depressing to discuss in detail.

My father thinks that God healed his kidneys, which allowed the chemotherapy to work. It seems to me that God is inefficient and more than a little miserly, but my relatives see it differently.

After listening to talk about religion and politics all weekend, I have regretfully come to the conclusion that the credulity and fatalism required to be a person of faith necessarily bleeds over into other areas. Apparently, when you accept that logic doesn't work in one area, it's a short hike to not bothering to apply it in other areas. And when you accept the authority of the divine, it's a short hike to believing what anyone with the same beliefs tells you.

Ignorance really is bliss, but by the time you figure that out, it's too late. I try to take some comfort in knowing that there are many areas in which I am still entirely ignorant. That must mean I have more bliss than I realize. In general, I'm a happy person, but not so much when I'm around the extended family. I guess a common ancestry is not enough to overcome divergent worldviews.

On the plus side, I was playing Scrabble, and I managed to clear my rack with "quietens" and score 84 points. Everyone else was playing for second. Sometimes knowledge has its rewards.

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