So... I've been selected for Staff Sergeant, and I'm PCS'ing to Brooklyn for I&I duty. Life is interesting.
6 years agoDevilNuts
As defined by an online source:
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
My personal definition is nearly identical: "Belief in something despite a lack of supporting evidence."
I've been engaged recently, and over the years, in a multitude of theological debates, arguments and discussions of diverse dispositions, and I am realizing that I do not fully understand one of the things I have been arguing against: Faith.
I understand Faith as a concept, but in practice I always see it falling short of what I perceive the definition to be. In other words, when I hear people speak of their Faith I oftentimes automatically label them as full of shit, whether they realize it or not. I understand how terribly condescending that is, which is where my problem lies...
To me, Faith by its very nature is absolute; Either you have Faith, or you don't. It isn't a sliding scale like "hot" and "cold," but rather a binary question.
"Do you have legs?"
"Do you have Faith?"
The answer must either be yes or no; there can be no in-between. If your Faith is not absolute, then it is something other than Faith. And if your Faith is absolute, then it can allow for no new evidence. Once a person of "Faith" begins either 1) searching for proof, or 2) collecting proof, then Presto! Suddenly that "faith" has unwittingly become a hypothesis, and the Faithful is now inadvertently utilizing the scientific method, which largely precludes Faith.
How much "wiggle room" should be allowed before Faith changes into something less absolute? I hate seeing myself as a militant atheist, and I go to great lengths to avoid giving off that impression for the sake of maintaining civility throughout my relationships, but this position is one that frequently seems to get me in trouble.
My wife is a follower of the Asatru faith (I guess you could call it Germanic Neo-Paganism). But she was not always this way; A few years ago I beheld the curious spectacle of watching my significant other "go shopping" for a new religion. She read up on several similar denominations of Paganism and Norse Mythology, and when it was all over she settled on this particular brand of... whatever it is. Now she has several books about the religion, wears Mjolnir around her neck and leaves offerings outside to appease the Wights.
To this day, I am still uncertain as to her level of Faith in all of this, and not due to her apathy in attempting to explain it to me. We have had countless exasperating discussions on the subject, and it always ends the same: In my mind she is full of shit (although I present my position in a much kinder light), because it is absurd to just pick a religion and actually, humanly have the ability to faithfully believe in it almost overnight. The debate usually ends with her being annoyed, and me being overly condescending and unmoving as to the nature of her Faith as compared with my definition of it. She insists there are varying degrees of Faith.
Am I taking this too literally? Obviously I understand that I should not be trying to win every argument on the subject, but the fact remains that I am presently unable to even consider the possibility that anyone has the type of Faith described in the definition. From where I stand, you either Know something, or you Don't.
You either Know there is a God, or you Don't -- there is no Faith involved here. Even if your only evidence is anecdotal (holy text, oral tradition, spiritual experience, etc.) you are still using it as evidence, thus removing blind faith from the equation.
My problem is that I often press too strongly on this one point, and I come across as obstinate and condescending. But am I wrong? Am I interpreting Faith incorrectly? Or do I have it right, and I am just being a dick by rubbing it in? How many people think their Faith is strong when in fact it is not Faith at all?
These are impossible for me to answer, because I do not have Faith in anything. The closest I can ever recall being to Faith has been a semi-educated guess, supported by even the most marginal of probability analysis. I often try to imagine what it must be like to fully accept and believe something with zero evidence, nor the desire to seek it out. The feeling eludes me...
I'd like to hear from both those whose Faith is present and strong (I'll try to be as open as possible to your explanations), and also those like myself who cannot seem to qualify literal Faith as anything more than theoretical.
10 years agoDevilNuts
....So this morning after pulling an all-nighter I finally sent my wife off to Nevada, along with the dog. I will not see the wife again until September, and the dog when we return from Okinawa.
I still have a week and change here in PA before shoving off for the schoolhouse. Oh, found out I will not be headed for division or wing as previously anticipated, but instead back to 3rd MLG, where I cut my teeth to begin with. Cool.
SOOO many loose ends to tie up. Gotta TMO my shit into storage (Wednesday thank goodness), get the wife her passport, sell my car, blahblahblah, etc.
The folks we have been staying with have been absolutely awesome. These guys have let us stay in their house, taking up space since March and never asked for rent or anything. They bend over backwards any time we need something. To thank them, we got them a nice knife set, with an engraved plate on it. I wish we could do more. I feel bad because the husband is deploying about a month after I leave, so after having a full house, the poor wife is going to be alone once we are all gone.
I feel so cracked out right now, barely any sleep and all of this stress is eating away at my stomach lining. I think I need to get nice and shitfaced tonight so I can reset myself. I see the light at the end of the tunnel - let's hope it's not a train.
10 years agoDevilNuts
....Well, not officially. But my monitor called me yesterday (that's right, HE called ME on the cellie) and gave me the four one one:
* I am leaving mid-May for the SCHOOLHOUSE in 29 Palms for a 2 month CCNA certification class, followed by a one month Data Network Supervisor's course. Needless to say, both of these things will look fucking fantastic on my resume.
* I will execute orders to Okinawa (either wing or division) sometime in early September.
This gives me plenty of time to get my shit sorted out before hopping on a plane to the edge of the earth. Plus, the wife gets to visit with her family while I'm off playing student for three months. Everybody wins.
10 years agoDevilNuts
I am currently working as a recruiters assistant at a recruiting station in PA, awaiting orders to okinawa.
Yesterday, we are sitting around bullshitting during one of the slower periods of the day when an older gentleman comes into the office, wearing a beat up old navy dress cover. The recruiter tells him "I'm busy right now, come back later," and the old man walks out again.
I knew something was odd because we were not busy, and recruiters never behave that way to people. He must have noticed the funny look I gave him, so he turned around and explained, "Oh, that's just Teddy..."
Teddy is an older gentleman, approximately in his 50s. When he was seven years old, poor teddy was hit by a car and had his eggs scrambled pretty good. Now it seems he is permanently stuck at seven, in a perpetual state of playing pretend -- that is to say that every time Old Teddy visits the office, he thinks he is someone else.
Today he was obviously a Senior Chief in the Navy. Last time it was a Navy SEAL. Time before that, Indiana Jones.
Gunny calls him a "High Functioning Retard." Supposedly he has no job, can't drive, and his poor old mother (who must be a thousand) takes care of him, leaving him to wander main street all day, regaling every cashier and shopkeeper with tales of his adventures. Being totally harmless and quite amusing, the town helps look after Teddy and keeps him out of trouble as he makes his rounds each day.
Gunny tells me he came in one day pointing to the collector's edition USMC WWII plates, asking him to write down the names of the battles so he could tell people he was in them.
"So he knows he's full of shit?" I asked.
"No," says gunny," that's just how his mind works. you tell him the name of a place, and he was there -- in his mind he was at that place."
Cool, right? Gunny continues....
"Right around the time that crystal skull movie came out, Teddy stopped by with an Indiana Jones hat on and his leather jacket, and showed me a photo in his wallet of Harrisson Ford from Star Wars... you know, Han solo. He points to the picture and says ," See that? That's me. I'm Indiana Jones. Now you can tell people you met a famous person.""
The recruiters have been dealing with this guy for years, so to them he is a mild annoyance. But I'm only here for a few weeks, so I think next time Old Teddy comes around, I'm gonna have a little chat with the guy.
You know, it really wouldn't be all that bad to be stuck at seven years old forever. I hope the guy comes back in soon.
10 years agoDevilNuts
I still don't get paid until the 15th, but Navy Marine Corps Relief Society came through and paid my bills for me.
Funny, I never imagined myself needing to make use of the organization, even though I have given to them in the past. I guess that's what it's there for. Nice people.
10 years agoDevilNuts
Just talked to the monitor yesterday....
Looks like they want me for Okinawa.... again. Ugh I have to get my dog so many shots.
If anyone has experience PCS'ing to Okinawa *with* a family (wife/pets) please give me some words of wisdom, I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing.
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