This post started out as a comment on Meg's post about homeschooling, but it got long enough that I decided to make it its own post. Here it is.

This is something I think about a lot. I certainly see where Meg's coming from with a lot of the problems with schools. Things like age-segregation, rote learning, being forced to learn at the pace of, and in the style of, what suits the majority are very real problems, not to mention the social difficulties like bullying, clique mentalities, and unenlightened self-interest that kids either learn or are victims of or both. I can't speak to Meg's religious objections, but I agree that there are plenty of objections to be made without bringing religion into the picture. I'm just not yet convinced that homeschooling is the best solution. Not that I'm questioning anyone's decision, I'm just trying to work it out for myself. I mean, yes, there are huge problems with the school systems, but are we doing better to remove our children from this system, rather than try to fix the system? What of the majority of children whose parents simply don't have the resources to homeschool? Or to be activists to fix the schools? Should those who do have those resources focus them entirely inward? Do we have a responsibility to those other children to try to make the public school system something that really makes it possible for all children to succeed, or does our responsibility end with our own children?

I believe it is more socially responsible to devote our energies to fighting for educational reform that would allow for more mixing of ages, smaller class-sizes (which would in turn allow for more individual attention and more personalized lesson plans), more time outside of the classroom, better facilities, etc. Not to mention a paradigm shift in career and work expectations that would make it easier for parents to have successful careers, or even just make ends meet, and still be very involved in their children's educations. But if I had children, would I be willing to sacrifice their education and happiness on the altar of social responsibility?

It's not an easy question.


The Evil of Calvinism: Predestination

I'm not going to pretend that the doctrine of predestination is the only evil thing about Calvinism, but I'm willing to entertain the notion that it is the most evil.

Let's look at it honestly, shall we?

God: Omnipotent, omniscient. Knows before the beginning of the world everything that will happen up to the very end. Creates a system whereby people will be sinful, and may or may not be saved, depending on His divine whim. Knows who will be saved and who will not, and that the vast majority of humanity will be tormented for eternity. Creates people anyway! Offers salvation to a select few (the elect) and lets the rest burn for the heinous crime of being exactly as they were created.

Can we please talk about this? This is NOT loving. This is NOT grace. This is evil, plain and simple. This is a sick, psychopathic God that we are describing here. One who ENJOYS watching its creation suffer. The Calvinist god had every choice in the world and could have set up a different system, whereby people would not have to suffer for all eternity, BUT HE DIDN'T.

I have a question for the Calvinists out there:
Even if you can't help but believe that the Calvinist god exists, how can you bring yourself to worship him? How does this not make you sick? I mean even if you could show me absolute proof that such a deity existed, I could NEVER worship it. How can you live with yourselves, knowing that you've dedicated your hearts and souls to the above-described pure, unadulterated evil?

This shit is FUCKED UP.


Don't Make Me Come Back Up There!

It seems my city is going a little crazy without me. First there was another attack on a Jewish school, and a homeless man stabbing someone to death not two blocks from my old office, then, a week later, a plane makes an emergency landing on Parc avenue*. And now Dawson College has just had a Columbine-style shooting. What the fuck is going on? This is Montreal, people, not fucking Pennsylvania or New Jersey. I think everyone just needs to CHILL OUT. The city's got enough problems with protection rackets and gangs without the rest of its citizens just killing each other for the fun of it. Just stop.

*Since no one got hurt, this one is actually kind of cool. I mean how often to over a thousand people get to watch a plane land less than 200 metres away?


Commenting Reminder

Because several people have made this mistake recently, I thought I'd just do a little post to remind people that the comments thread associated with a particular post can be found at the bottom of that post. If you're at the top of a post and you want to comment, you've got to scroll down to the bottom. If you post in the comments thread linked above a post you a) confuse the hell out of me when I look at the comments through Haloscan instead of on the blog, and b) leave the top post without a comments thread.

Just sayin'.


Further blog neglect

Moving cities has been keeping me busy the past couple weeks, and unpacking and working two jobs will continue to keep me busy probably until the end of next week.

For those who are interested, however, I've been uploading pictures from my trip to Vienna onto my Flickr page.

So far they're not titled or captioned, because I don't have much time for that sort of thing, but I'll try to get that done asap.