Religion has to do with the worship and devotion to God or some other supernatural entity. While Hinduism has no established beginning, it has been developing for four thousand years. Buddhism began in 600 B.C., while the concept of the other major religions sort of started a little more than two thousand years ago with Judaism. The numbers influenced by religions are growing because there are more and more people and both China and the Soviet Union, which discouraged such practices, have lost influence over what their population can do.
While China has the most number of atheists, a little more than one hundred million, that represents a tiny fraction of the population. There is a strong cultural belief system, as for example, in the Year 2007, the Year of the Pig, there was expected to be an increase of 3 million babies born that year, a 20% increase from the norm, because they wanted their children to be fat, happy and prosperous, like a pig. That is, an extra birth surplus of three times the total population of Hawaii, because of the symbolic value of a pig. On top of this, pigs are mostly eaten. Can’t imagine from where the prosperity part comes.
Christianity represents one third (2 billion) the religions of the world, with Islam (1.3 billion) at 21%, the second largest and fastest growing. Surprisingly, Hinduism, #3 with 900 million, shows the highest growth rate in the U.S. Approximately three quarters of humanity belongs to Christianity, Islam Hinduism, and Buddhism. Actually, non-believers occupy third place with about a billion. This means that 85% believe in some religion. Scientology is in 22nd place with half a million.
Can you reconcile religion and science? Isaac Newton believed God was responsible for gravity and some of the Hindu religion have used quantum physics to explain some basic theological concepts. William James’ pragmatism, perhaps, might be the grand compromise: science predicts in the physical world and religion helps people cope with emotional and moral decisions.
I spent the morning at the Red Rock Casino, lost a few bucks, went bowling for the first time in a decade or more and had lunch at Olive Garden with my brother Dan and his friends, Fred and the Hassey's (Gaby, Ryan and Joe).
For the record, Fred's serve did not dominate Dan today. Joe is a senior racquetball champ and goes next week to the National Masters Racquetball Championship in Tucson. Dan is also pretty famous in this sport. Incredibly, he has been in Las Vegas for 18 years now, and has not put a coin in any slot machine.
My brother Stan and Ann's backyard in Oxnard is incredible. They have now been here for about half a century, and every morning since they moved in they have been able to pick oranges, grapefruits and lemons. The trees never stop bearing. From the left: Anita and Warren Takahashi, Dan and Sharon Takahashi, with Ann in between. Stan, who was in his prime a leading marine structural engineer, unfortunately, is recovering in the hospital.
We had dinner at the Swan Korean BBQ.
The Dow Jones Industrials edged up 12 to 10,624 and world markets were mixed. The stock market is now at an 18 month high. Gold dropped $8/toz to $1102 and oil is at $81/barrel.
Those two storms in the West Pacific have strengthened, and will get very dangerous soon. Tropical Cyclone Tomas (also Thomas) is up to 65 MPH and is predicted to gain Category 3, if not 4, strength, and is careening towards Fiji:
Tropical Cyclone Ului is now at 55 MPH and could could become a Category 4 (131-155 MPH) storm. It is now leaving Vanuatu, after drenching that island, and is headed for the Solomons, then, Australia, maybe.