The Conquered Dilemma

A hypothetical dilemma...

The City held out as long as it could. The citizens endured unspeakable privations and pushed themselves to startling extremes. Yet, in the end, the beleaguered City fell to the pressure of the conqueror.

After the surrender, the great conquering general led a procession of fierce and victorious soldiers through the city directly to the now-vacant throne. One of the general's first supplicants was the City's high priest. The priest had come to beg that the City's temple be spared, so the rituals and customs might continue uninterrupted under the new regime.

'Tell me of your religion, priest.' ordered the general.

So, the priest told the conqueror about the faith of the City. He spoke about the importance of prayer, worship, and the great teachings of their holy scriptures. The priest described the hope people found in their faith, and he extolled the benefits the faith brought to the people and the City.

The general pondered the priest's request for several long minutes.

'I have no use for religion, oh priest. I believe in the law and order,' the general finally responded. 'But, I am no monster.'

'Of course not, General' agreed the priest.

'Though I care for the plight of your people,' said the General, 'I cannot ignore the fact that your religion sustained the rebellion for too long. Only a fool would ignore a smoldering fire.'

'Can we not have both at once, my Lord.'

'No.' Then, the general offered a proposal to the priest. 'You must consider, priest, whether your religion is more concerned with the good of your people or with the worship of your god. Now, you must choose. If you choose to relinquish your religion, I will use my Empire's vast resources and guarantee that the hungry will be fed, the naked will be clothed, and justice for all will wash over the City. However, if you choose to retain your religion, I will enslave every citizen to the service of the Empire. You can have your religion, but you will worship as oppressed slaves that survive on the crumbs and scraps of the imperial table. Many of the City's children will starve and the people will constantly know the constant feel of my boot on their throat.'

The priest considered his options, staring at the ground between his feet.

'What say you, priest?' demanded the General,    

The priest wet his lips, looked up, and staring directly into the conquerors eyes he expressed his decision.


How did the priest answer? How would you answer? What is or should be a religion's central concern? The social good? Religious tradition? Theology?

Join us this Wednesday at Short's Brewing Company, 7pm. We will discuss the religious dilemma.


Matchmaker God

Internet dating has blown up the past several years and is now one of the most popular ways to find a date (and possibly a mate). Among the websites that offer to help in the matchmaking process are religious themed sites like Christian Mingle (http://www.christianmingle.com/) that advertises as a means of finding 'God's match for you.'

You can read more about matchmaking and faith on CNN's Belief Blog here.

Tonight, we're going to explore this topic. Is there such a thing as a soul mate? Does God have a perfect match for you? How exactly would a person determine the soul mate status of a potential partner?

Love, dating, and faith - all this week at unTapped.

See you at 7pm at Short's Brewing Company in downtown Bellaire, MI.


Time Machine

It has been a favorite subject for hundreds of years among wacky fiction writers and equally wacky philosophers - time travel. Nobody is sure how to time travel, but most cosmologists are sure that it is possible.

Einstein figured out how to travel forward in time - go really fast. But, going backwards is a different ballgame all together. The late Carl Sagan explained some of the issues in a PBS interview. From reading Sagan's interview, it is easy to see that time travel has all sorts of boring philosophical and scientific issues connected to it and it is nowhere near as fun as the fictional versions we are accustomed to. In books like H.G. Wells' Time Machine, Michael Crichton's Timeline, or even Sagan's own Contact, the characters all have to navigate difficult scientific terrain, but it all comes together in an entertaining way. Sometimes, fictional time machines create humorous ethical dilemmas. In the film Back to the Future Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally attracts the romantic intentions of his own mother (yikes).

Whether or not time travel will be possible one day is a fun conversation, but generally irrelevant to most of our daily lives. The notion of time travel does bring up a personal challenge: if you could travel backwards in time, what is one thing that you would change? Why would you change that particular incident? If you indeed did change the incident how would that affect your present self? Would you be a better or worse person?

This also conjures a spiritual challenge for us to consider: was that one event supposed to occur as it occurred and when it occurred? Is our time line set in stone by God or the universe? When we wish to change the past are we wishing to change something that was placed in our lives intentionally and for a purpose?

Join us this Wednesday at Short's Brewing Company as we play time machine! We'll grab a pint and climb into our Delorean. Wheels up  at 7pm! 


Perfect Children?

With the advances in technology that has happened over the last 20, 10, 5 or even last year, parents are able to find out so much about their children before they are even born.  Within a few years it seems that it is going to be possible to be able to genetically engineer a baby.  Scientist are saying that they will be able to determine all sorts of traits. (Listen to a NPR report here.)

What do you think about designing your child or grandchild?  What ethical concerns do you have genetically engineering a baby?  How would it affect humanity if we could eliminate handicapped babies from being born?  How does your spirituality affect the way that you view this issue?

image source: Google image search


In order to live man must believe in that for which he lives.
- Huston Smith
unTapped is a conversation about faith and spirituality. There are many people frustrated by being forced to think of faith in the same old patterns, and would prefer to explore spirituality in different ways.

Anything goes here. No matter where you are or who you are, we want to hear from you. Feel free to join in the conversation!

You can also join us in person, every Thursday night at Short's Brewing Company in Downtown Bellaire, MI.