Monday, February 14, 2005

What do you think?

Here's how Webster's defines a blog:

Main Entry: blog
Function: noun
Definition: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log
Example: Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Etymology: shortened form of Weblog
Usage: blog, blogged, blogging v, blogger n

Source: Webster's New Millenniumâ„¢ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.5)
Copyright © 2003, 2004 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

Going by that definition my blog is not a blog at all. None of my posts to date really chronicle my thoughts on issues of any significance. My blog's really a random assortment of light-hearted commentaries. I guess it's easier to be frivolous than it is to be introspective. This post is an attempt to present my views on some subjects that all of us have opinions on...

The US presidential elections captured the imagination of the entire world for a variety of reasons. A very polarized electorate voted in these elections and surprisingly the issues at the heart of the polarization were not the Iraq war, the state of the US economy or global terrorism as one would have expected. The issues that literally split the country into two: The liberal West coast and North East Vs the conservative heartland states had more to do with religious and moral views than global or financial concerns. The issues: abortion, stem cell research and gay rights. And this was where Bush won the elections and Kerry lost. The significance of these issues led me to explore where I stood on them and here's what I found:

  • Abortion: Both Christianity and Hinduism regard the fetus as a human and unequivocally denounce abortion as a sin akin murder. And I firmly believe religion provides man a set of guidelines to live by. Having said that, I also believe that having been gifted with the ability to do so, man should exercise his own judgment on what he chooses to believe in.. his personal belief in what's right and wrong. He should not need a set of rules to define every facet of his life, personality and behavior. And finally we must remember, religion may be God's word (if you choose to look at it that way), but it is God's word as interpreted by man. My views on all the three issues stem from my personal beliefs and convictions. I'm no advocate for abortion, but I feel it is a better option than bringing a child into the world knowing fully well you cant provide for it. I believe every child deserves the right to a happy and carefree childhood, cared for by loving parents. I believe no child deserves to have to scavenge for food worrying where its next meal is going to come from or to be born into a foster home, uncared and unloved. A child shouldn't have to pay for it's parents' stupidity or callousness. And much as I detest the idea of abortion, I hate the prospect of injustice being inflicted upon a helpless soul even more...
  • Stem cell research: Or more specifically embryonic stem cell research. Stem cells can be gathered from a whole host of sources like the umbilical cord and the uterus, but scientists have discovered that stem cells gathered from the human embryos hold the greatest potential. The basic premise on which stem cell research is based is quite simple: stem cells have the potential to develop into other specialized cells that make us what we are and they have the ability to multiply almost limitlessly serving as a sort of repair mechanism for the human body. Stem cell research holds the potential to assist in the treatment in a myriad of diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal cord injury, types of cancers etc. My support for stem cell research stems directly from my guarded support of abortion. The pluripotent stem cells, which hold the greatest potential come from the human embryo and the fetus in early stages of its development. The embryo is much like a seed, that when provided the nourishment it requires, grows into a plant. Analogously, an aborted embryo or fetus is like a seed that will never grow to be a plant. As of now, most of the aborted fetuses are just destroyed when they could have played a significant part in research that has the potential to help millions suffering from debilitating and terminal ailments... diseases which traditional medicine has no cure for.
  • Homosexuality and same-sex marriages: It has always been human nature to fear what they don't understand. Most of us can't understand or even being to imagine how one person could be physically attracted to another person of the same sex. Christianity clearly says that homosexuality is a sin. I don't know where Hinduism stands on this, but my guess is that it's views are not very different. It's a well established fact that about 5% of the human population is homosexual. And being in a substantial minority, homosexuals have been feared and persecuted since the early days of humanity. I believe a person can choose his/her sexual orientation as much as he/she can choose their sex. And even if a person should choose to be a homosexual, it's a personal choice that the society ought to accept and respect. Why should homosexuals be denied the basic rights we afford ourselves, the right to society, spouse and family? Are they not human beings and are they that different from us? Do we condemn our brothers and sisters based on what a couple of books thousands of years old and probably meant for a different time and age say? I believe fear and detestation of homosexuals is not very different from xenophobia. We may not understand or approve of homosexuality, but as human beings capable of independent thought and reasoning, we owe it to ourselves to rise above our bias and prejudices and accommodate those whose views differ from our own. If we can't do that, we haven't progressed much since the days when man lived in caves and was busy trying to figure out how to make fire.
Well, the views presented above were just that... my views. Each one of us is bound to have our own distinct views on each of the three issues and that's what makes us human... the ability of each of us to see the same thing differently from the rest... What do you think? until later.. cheers..


At 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi just stumbled upon u'r blog as a link from Shilpa's.........was reading up on some old posts.very nice style, for this subject.......i think hinduism did recognise homosexuality as part of life......Khajuraho carvings include homosexuality,bestiality etc is what i have heard.....not seen.....this is pure hearsay:)

At 7:01 PM , Blogger Pushuka said...

Hey Anon. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. And, I must say I'm really surprised you managed to get to such an ancient post. I guess this is one of the very few posts I have on serious topics. And about Khajuraho, I was not aware of the hearsay you speak of... I guess India was way ahead of its time a long time back.. :)


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