1. Do you believe that everything in the universe has a rational explanation?
2. Give some examples of your ethical values put to practice? Are there any ethical values that you think are important but that you find difficult to follow?
3. How closely related are cultural practices and religious practices? What is an example of a cultural practice of the ancient Hellenics that you don't think should be followed today? (If possible, give references in mythology that indicate they followed the cultural practice and keep in mind that the Hellenic world covered more than just Greece.)
4. How strong are your religious beliefs? How much punishment would you withstand before you would publicly denounce your beliefs? Are you currently afraid to acknowledge your religious beliefs?
1) That is a very tough question actually, because first you have to define “rational”. If you mean do I think that everything in the universe has an empirical explanation and can be explained using the scientific method I’d have to give a definite and certain no. There are things which, I suspect, will always transcend even our most rigorous methods of study. I may very well be wrong in this instance, but that ambiguity of certainty does not make me uncomfortable in the least.
2) Well, my belief that we should mentor the younger folks is expressed by my being involved in my Unitarian Universalist Church’s Coming of Age program. I have other values that are also expressed, such as charity and compassion and kindness, but I don’t want to give specific instances of it. Giving specific instances to say “look how kind and compassionate I am” grinds against the grain too much for me. I do things that make people apply the word to me sometimes, so that’s enough for me
3) Cultural practices and religious practices are often related to a certain degree. For example, xenia is a cultural and religious practice. Arete is cultural and religious, they inevitably influence one another, however the Ancient Greeks also have a few practices that were distinctly cultural yet not inherently religious. Things such as slavery, not allowing women to really leave the house, the very submissive role of women, not recognizing gay marriages, the stifling of free-speech in some instances, and pederasty are all things which should not be revitalized in a modern setting for certain.
4) My religious beliefs are quite strong in terms of theological stances, sometimes I get lonely though and struggle with being a reconstructionist and ponder if I should seek out other modes of worship, but I’ve (obviously) pushed through these instances. My faith in my practice being doable gets shaky sometimes, but my faith in the Gods, in prayer, in sacrifice, in worship, and in divination are all quite strong. As for the punishment, I can’t honestly say. I would like to say that I would suffer quite a lot for my beliefs, but I really just don’t know until I’m in that situation. I publically and readily and openly acknowledge and express my beliefs and have no fears about expressing them.