By Josh Rubin, CNN
Austin, Texas (CNN)– As the Catholic world focuses on Rome and awaits a new pope, the secular world has turned its attention to Austin, Texas, for the annual pilgrimage of tech and music.
This weekend marks the start of the 20th annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival, an event with the goal of “fostering creative and professional growth.” For five days, some of the world’s brightest minds will commune, collaborate and experiment.
With its live music, free-flowing alcohol, and hook-up culture, SXSW has developed a reputation as being a spring break for nerds. There’s even an app by Qpid.me that lets attendees share medical records to prove their STD-free status.
But there is more to it than pure bacchanalia.
For Bijoy Goswami, this is a high holiday with as much virtue as vice. He sees SXSW as a secular celebration where people join together to take the tools of technology and transform them into world-shaking culture. It's no accident that Twitter was released at SXSW.
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At 39-years-old, Goswami is the quintessential Austenite with long hair, a casual style and a computer science degree. He has made a home and built a career around the Austin ethos. He's introspective, relaxed, hip and weird - in a good way.
Goswami describes Austin as a place of becoming: “I’m trying to figure out what to do in my various aspects of my life - spiritual, work, relational - things like that. Austin gave me the communities to work through those questions for myself,” he says.
Moving to Austin from Silicon Valley in the mid-'90s, Goswami started a software company before finding what he says is his true calling. Taking what he learned during his own self-discovery, he now makes his living helping other entrepreneurs find their own path.
Successful startups are often built by people who know who they are and what they want, said Goswami who tries to provide a platform for people to find those answers for themselves.
It’s that message of personal exploration and responsibility that local leaders like Heather McKissick find so appealing. “If there is a secular guru, it's Bijoy. His message is one of self-enlightenment through the hard work of bootstrapping and chopping wood.”
Through years of friendship, SXSW panels, and her work as president of the Austin Leadership council, McKissick has experienced all sides of a man she calls a brilliant secular humanist. “He has his disciples, but there is also a trusted inner circle that sees past the charisma and understands him as a brilliant, articulate and equally flawed human as the rest of us.”
Born in India to a Hindu father and Catholic mother, Goswami was a child of both Eastern and Western philosophy. “I always had exposure to Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. They were all in the water and air I was breathing. “
Goswami’s mother, however, wanted her children to be raised Catholic.
“My dad said, ‘Fine.’ So all the way through 18, Catholicism worked for me. I didn’t question it - I just liked it.”
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His father’s career moved the family from India to Taiwan and then to Hong Kong. Goswami’s mother began teaching at the American Hong Kong International School, allowing him and his brothers to attend for free. Goswami’s life in Hong Kong was a happy one - at home, school, and in church.
“I was an altar boy. I had no problems with priests. I read the Gospels. I was a student of the Bible. I believed I had a personal relationship with God … all of that stuff. “
But long before Pope Benedict resigned, Goswami had already fired him.
While attending Stanford University, Goswami began studying the history of the Catholic Church, and long held beliefs began to erode. “My mind's getting blown. Every single thing that I believed, like the sacraments, were just invented by various popes and people.”
Like many, after leaving home for college, Goswami had a crisis of faith. By the end of his sophomore year, he came to a realization “that not only were Christianity and Catholicism invented by people … but so was every other religion. Take the Catholic Church - it’s caught up in old conversations that aren’t relevant. They’re still fighting the battles of 50 years ago within themselves rather then helping people on their journey or path.”
For Goswami, not being a Catholic meant more than shrugging off the teachings of the church. It meant fundamentally changing his relationship with his mother. “That was a really hard moment for my mom and me. I went back to Hong Kong for summer break and I said, ‘Hey Mom, I’m not going to go to church with you.' ”
The beginning of Goswami’s story isn’t unique, but that didn’t make his religious disillusionment any easier. It hurt him to hurt his mother. “I was her blue-eyed altar boy who had done no wrong, who she thought would be a priest … and I am a priest, just differently,” he says.
As a secular priest of sorts, Goswami has officiated weddings and provided council for hundreds in the Austin startup community. He received his ordination online through the popular Universal Life Church, which according to its website ordains, "ministers, priests, rabbis and clergy worldwide who are totally non-religious or even anti-religious."
Bijoy Goswami preforms the wedding of Bruce Krysiak and Gigi De Leon in April 2012.
One such person counseled by Goswami is Josh Baer, manager of Austin’s Capital Factory incubator. Goswami was a crucial part of his development as an entrepreneur.
Goswami “has this Zen quality and personal confidence that makes people feel comfortable sharing their dreams and aspirations,” Baer says. “He guides others on their path.”
To Baer and hundreds like him, Goswami is like a high priest for Austin’s entrepreneurs, a role he built over the years by leaning on the lessons of the faith he left.
He created a congregation of like-minded entrepreneurs by founding bootstrap Austin, an informal group of founders coming together to share experiences. His message is that just because you’re going it alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone, and it permeates the Austin start-up scene.
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That deep understanding of the importance of community is one of the reasons he isn’t bitter towards Catholicism. “I’m grateful to religion. In the march of history, it has served a very important purpose,” he says, pausing and smiling slightly. “Now we start to take that back.”
Participating in the 10-day SXSW festival is part of what Goswami calls his self-curation. It’s one of the ways he has found meaning without God.
“We’ve recreated those structures, we need celebration, we need community, we need conversation about meaning and identity, all those things we need,” he says.
For Goswami, religion is of his past, and now it’s time for him to move on.
Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !
Where do morals come from?
By Kelly Murray, CNN
Gravity is not up for debate !
BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !
Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.
Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before
Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.
The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?
The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species
Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.
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Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young
And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !
From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life
the wrong path is Adam and Eve !
Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought
Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.
No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US
Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.
No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !
Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History
Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.
Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute
Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...
Good stuff !
The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !
Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle
Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.
For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !
Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.
Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’
Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
bears his name as the “God particle.”
Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \
Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...
April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET
The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
Make sure to read comments
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NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.
NASA: Mars could have supported life
Star Dust we are
Holy Hallucinations 35
The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !
Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.
BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus
BACKFILL on E =mc2.....
Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
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Cheech & Chong's History of 420
Cheech & Chong's History of 420 from CheechAndChong
All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................
The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.
Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.
Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.
Education works for children
Earth From Space
Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS
"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.
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We are convinced We have read this same form of declaration anywhere else, it must be gaining popularity with the public. combating cancer http://cancerwecan.com/
there is no such thing as a secular priest. equating atheism with religion is not keen
Bijoy Goswami can find the food for his soul without church, many do.
Thanks for this nice story
Love you Bijoy!
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.