I commented in weaselmom's LJ, and she selected the following for me to explain:
I was raised Lutheran in a particularly (in my opinion) non-Jesusian sect where babies who had never learned of Jesus and hadn't been baptized went to Hell. Nonsense, I thought, and challenged the Confirmation teacher (the pastor's wife) about it. I wouldn't answer certain questions that required I state things that were clearly inconsistent with my understanding of Jesus' message, and almost wasn't confirmed. Soon after, I began researching what else was out there, other ways to understand God, the Universe, and Everything. I studied many religions - and of course science-fictional treatments of this theme - and began to sense an underlying foundation beneath them all. Somewhere in there, I gave up on all this Christian stuff, though I still think Jesus had some very important things to say about what it means to be a good human being. If only we could distill that from all the nonsense that people have injected into religions over the centuries, perhaps we could come to truly understand the numinous and use it in our daily lives.
For me, alternative religions can include things that aren't religions at all because, well, if it's your religion, it's not very alternate is it? Perspective is all. Ways I practice my "alternative religion" include sky-gazing and otherwise interacting with the grandeur of nature. For example, once I was hiking through the Hell Creek formation Badlands, nothing alive except the random dry brush or cactus, and a single deer that sort of followed me all day. It was true badlands, crumbling stone cathedrals tiled with dinosaur fossils. Absolutely silent except for the wind breathing through the stone and the occasional sound of pebbles rolling down the buttes. Beautiful and holy to the eye of someone who finds the numinous mostly in nature.
every kind of brilliance
I am so drawn to brilliant things, brilliant people, blinding insights, exploration of the unknown - every kind of brilliance in all things. People who are emotionally brilliant, brilliant creations (films, songs, fiction, yes even tech writing); basically anything that gives my brain that zing which only comes with moments of eureka!, anything that makes me more deeply understand what it means to be human, anything that helps me see deeper into the universe around us. Heck, I guess this is an important part in my first answer *g*
lil' vehicle of danger
Over the past couple of years, I've been collecting bits and pieces to build my own little sports-racer. So far I have the engine/transmission unit (Honda 954 motorcycle), coil-over shocks (also Honda 954), electronics (again Honda motorcycle), brakes (Kawasaki Ninja), and much more. I also have a welder for putting together the frame. It'll be street-legal, cheap, fun, economical to drive, and legal for racing in the SCCA D Sports Racer class. Here's my page about it.
Gene Wolfe's New Sun series is a great example of this. For me, it's Arthur C. Clarke's famous statement personified: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A story that feels like fantasy might actually be science fiction if the "magic" is created by advanced technology or futuristic science; similarly, a story that looks like SF might use technologies so advanced that no one is aware of the equipment that creates what might as well be magic in their lives (nanotech stories often feel like fantasy). Some science-fantasy works are filled with magic... but someone in that world knows that it's actually just technology - or the reader might be the only person in-the-know. Though I love my hard SF and don't like much fantasy, I'm very much a fan of this genre.
Well, duh - who doesn't love squirrels! They are cute, they are fun, and in a neighborhood like mine, they're like yard pets. I must have 20 or so squirrels living in the trees around my house, and I get to know them individually pretty well. Stubby is the little guy with the severed tail; Hoover is the silly guy who eats seeds from the ground without using her clever paws. They leap from tree to tree, play with bunnies, entertain Tatsuko, and much more. Here is the link to my "Urban Wildlife tags, filled with squirrel stories.
It's science made WOW! and fun! It's dramatic! It's super! Also, Super Science Stories was an SF mag back in the early 1940s, edited by Frederik Pohl (he was 21 when he started), and Astounding magazine had the subtitle, "Stories of Super-Science."
strindberg and helium
If you haven't watched these wonderful and absurd videos, go now! All I have to say is, "Heeeeeeelium!"
Well, there you go. Who's next?