Been studying a lot lately on world catastrophe. This morning I did a lot of reading on the earthquake in Haiti and the aftermath to the current, as well as watched a short vid on the Srebrenica massacre.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Today I went out to lunch with my mom. She successfully steered the conversation to "I think you need to go to church." I was able to bullshit my way through pretty well, but I still lied and told her that I pray.
I am so empowered to be myself when I am not around my family. But once I am in their presence, I am a coward. Soon, very soon, I'll come clean.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
I read a blog post today by a Christian dissing the "tax the rich" policies on the grounds that is equates to immoral "stealing."
It is difficult for me to see this argument as valid because I feel it is ignoring one of the biggest immoralities that exists in our world - and that is that our prosperity in the Western world is FOUNDED upon the stealing, raping and pillaging of the rest of the world. We do not have the money we do simply out of untarnished hard work, we have it as a result of being privy to conditions that are conducive to us making more and more money that were set up in prior generations through abuse, genocide and colonialism.
The contention that "taxing the rich" is an immoral act, to me, is absurdly vile and ignorant.
here is the post
Sunday, November 15, 2009
“If I cave in, if I fold up because of the emotional obstacles that are in front of me, I'm useless. There is no point in me being there in the first place. And I think if you go to places where people are experiencing these kinds of tragedies with a camera, you have a responsibility. The value of it is to make an appeal to the rest of the world, to create an impetus where change is possible through public opinion. Public opinion is created through awareness. My job is to help create the awareness.”
- James Nachtwey at an orphanage for 'The Incurables' in Romania
James Nachtwey (born 1948)
Most of James Nachtwey’s photography has a sort of “shock” value and his work in Romania is no different.
This haunting image bears witness to an atrocity so great that words alone could never do it justice. Much like Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream (1893), Romania 1990 pulls you in and has you asking why.
In 1965, Nicolae Ceausescu declared abortion illegal for any woman under 45 who had not yet produced four children. Tens of thousands of infants were abandoned and left in the care of the state after Ceausescu’s reign ended and were either placed in orphanages, psychiatric hospitals, or, for the ones who were disabled, in “institutions for the irrecoverable.” The conditions were deplorable; the children were malnourished, forced to share cribs and baths, and if they became agitated, they were tethered to their cribs (Hunt, 1 1990).
Time Magazine released Nachtwey’s photo essay “Romania’s Lost Children,” which included Romania, 1990, six months after Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule over Communist Romania ended.
Romania, 1990 captures a glimpse of the unthinkable horror in which the children who inhabited these “institutions” lived. The viewer is instantly jolted into a starling new reality. Whether we like it or not, Nachtwey makes us feel intimately involved with the subject and is able to shock or shame us into action.
It's really remarkable how much life can change. I havent posted much on here in a long time because it's been over a year since I had reliable internet, and I just wasn't interested.
My present-day brain is just really amazed I ever struggled with de-conversion so much. The way I think and believe (or don't believe) is so matter-of-fact and comfortable to me. I don't believe in God. I don't believe in Heaven or Hell. We will die and rot and the...end. That's what I believe and there is no fear when I say it.
I still have to hide it from my immediate family though. Just to be respectful I think. It's kind of astounding how I could live before under the guise of a Christian, but still not actually live the Christian lifestyle - and I was waaaay more accepted. when I was in college, I still was "christian" but not a Christian in my day-to-day life. Yet, I felt accepted with other Christians because they never cared to really find out about me beyond that "hey did you like the worship? Are you coming with us to Denny's?" type shit
And now that I am a non-believer, it's like Christians don't know what to do with me - can they talk to me like normal? If they don't try to address my nonbelief on a regular basis are they ignoring possible opportunities from God to live their faith? Who the fuck knows.
I love this - found here
God…what if I need my sleep?
I’m outside Christianity; but I still have numerous Christian acquaintances who post situations and stories on their blogs, facebook, e-mails, etc. At times, the innate desire to give God credit is puzzling.
One friend noted she was having trouble sleeping, woke up in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep—prayed for her son in the military. He contacted her later and mentioned he was involved in an undisclosed incident earlier that day.
Other Christians chimed in how it was God working—how it was God who woke her up so she could pray for her son. How neat and wonderful it was…and…
I’m thinking, “What the heck? God woke you up so you could ask God a favor, so God could do it? Why didn’t God just do it? Why did He have to wake you up first?”
To them—a miracle; to me—inanity.
"If you don’t know enough about your God-concept to explain why such a God wouldn’t cure cancer in a five-year-old, don’t tell me how it writes books, or provides you a parking space, or gave your child the winning shot in the J.V. basketball game."
- from post here
Saturday, August 15, 2009
HAHAHAHAHA I found this on de-conversion.com
Jesus loves you. But he has a messiah complex.
Jesus loves you. But then again he is under contract.
Jesus loves you! But he is high maintenance.
Jesus loves you! But it’s complicated.
Jesus loves you! Apparently it runs in the family.
Jesus loves you! But he seriously needs to update his status.
Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s polyamorous.
Jesus Loves You! But does he LIKE you???
Jesus Loves You! But he ADORES Madonna!!
Jesus Loves You! But his handlers can be quite difficult.
Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s clingy.
Jesus Loves You! But he may be missing a Y chromosome
Jesus Loves You! But I hear he is sick and in prison.
Jesus Loves You! And with your tax-deductible seed gift…
Jesus Loves You! But for a limited time only; while supplies last.
Jesus Loves You! But I’ve heard rumors…
Jesus Loves You! Or it might just be gas.
Jesus Loves You! He doesn’t mind the scars one bit.
Jesus Loves You! But he was caught up in that whole prisoner abuse scandal.
Jesus Loves You! He’s the Real Thing Now w/ convenient eco-friendly Emergent Church® twist-off cap.
Jesus Loves You! But he may be a little too old for you.
Jesus Loves You! For the Bible tells him to.
Jesus Loves You! But he does play favorites.
Jesus Loves You! Act now & we will automatically enroll you in Spiritual Fruit of the Month Club. Collect them all! Operators standing by.
Jesus Loves You! Shocking new book for children, banned in 12 states — “Jesus has Two Daddies, One mommy and an Invisible Friend!”
Jesus Loves You! Now Healthy Choice Jesus–sugar-free, low-carb, and no trans-fats. New formula–same savior taste!
Jesus Loves You! But now what???
Jesus Loves You***
(***some restrictions apply)
Jesus loves you! But he’s been dead for over 2,000 years, and that is really gross.
Jesus loves you. But he wants to you be his bride…. even if you’re male.
Jesus loves you! But His standards are ridiculously low.
Jesus loves you, no matter what! Which is why you need to do what I tell you.
Jesus loves you! And is watching you in the shower.
Jesus loves you! But (spoiler alert!) he dies in the end.
Jesus loves you. But if you don’t love him back, to hell with you.
Jesus loves you! Hopefully, you’re into sado-masochism.
Okay so here is the deal with my family.
My sister was married for 9 years and divorced a couple years ago (brought shame to my parents I am sure)
and she has found love again and just got engaged last week! I'm so happy for her!
But here's the nut:
My parents found out that she is having pre-marital sex with her fiance and so they are threatening not to attend her upcoming wedding. It is tearing my family apart and I am so sick of it. They repeatedly tell her "it's not the sin that is making us angry, it's your inability to repent." So until she repents, they will not be going to her wedding.
THE THING IS though, that I know they will end up going to the wedding in the end. WHY? Because they do not want our other relatives and my sister's friends to look at them badly for not attending their own daughter's wedding. It's all about them. Why do so many Christians seem to be under the delusion that other people care so much about how they live?? No one really cares.
My sister said she talked on the phone with my parents and her fiance the other night about it and all she could say was "Mom is evil. She said the most evil and awful things about/to me, in front of my fiance."
My good Christian parents do not care about being hurtful, rude, damaging, controlling - but their having a fuckfit over my 32 year old sister making the choice to have sex with a man she loves. It's stupid as shit.
I'll update you guys on what happens.
FINALLY AFTER OVER A YEAR WITHOUT INTERNET...I HAVE INTERNET!!! I can't promise for sure that I will post a lot, but at least I can read the blogs again!
UPDATE on me:
I still have my same job
I now live in San Francisco and love it
I am not a Christian
Sunday, May 10, 2009
God is punishing me? I fucking hate you, God. Greedy bastard ruin the lives of us who turn away from your fucked up ass. That's how I feel.
-- Post From My iPhone
Monday, April 27, 2009
I'm back! I am finding it is getting more difficult to be "under the radar" lately regarding my unbelief. I live about 30 minutes away from my über Christian parents and brother and see them often and it is growing increasingly difficult for me to keep up this facade. They know I don't go to church, but every time they see me, my mom says I need fellowship and all that bullshit...and my brother wants me to go to his church and I just can't find an excuse not to go.
I feel like I am trying to protect them by keeping my deconversion a secret, but I think I am moreso trying to protect myself. I deconverted 2 years ago and still I am struggling to keep all this a secret. I don't know what the final solution will be...I don't know if I will have to keep pretending until they all die, or if a month from now I will just explode and come clean.
Another hard thing is that I am trying to keep my deconversion a secret from a friend who recently came back into my life. She had a very sordid past (drug addiction, stripping, acting in porn, abuse, etc) and she recently turned her life completely around when she got pregnant, and now her faith is what is keeping her from returning to her dangerous and abusive past. She is in a fragile time right now and I worry that news of my unbelief could rattle her because I am someone she relies on.
It's kind of a helpless feeling. I cannot and will not lie to myself and say that I believe in order to make relations with my family and friends easier, but it is so hard to know that my secret would devastate them and most likely wedge a huge wall between us. I'd like to think that more time and planning would help me have the courage to be honest with them, but I'm pretty confident that that will not happen. So I guess I will just have to wait and see if this will be something I hold in until my parents die, or if I will snap tomorrow and just show everyone who the real me is.
--posted from my iPhone
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I am moving over for a moment into politics. I am now getting truly afraid of McCain/Palin being elected. The Vice Presidential debate helped cement my suspicions of Palin as an idiotic, unstable, shell of a human who is willing to undertake any actions (however risky) in order to perpetuate her own megalomanical self-conscious. I believe that she believes in herself. She believes in the image she thinks she is perpetuating, and she will not rule out any actions in order to preserve this image. She panders to any group who puts her on the podium, and she doesn't ever see that she comes across as an idiot and that she conspiculously ignores the obvious needs of her family in order to keep her frame in the spotlight. I think she is dangerous.
I really wonder - what if we find ourselves in another political situation so fragile as the Cuban Missle crisis? Would McCain (or Palin,) be able to so delicately negotiate their way around a dictator like Khrushchev? Especially when impending nuclear doom is on the line? Or would they decide to maintain this "Maverick" identity by not negotiating, and just using military might? It has been shown that if we had attacked Cuba, we would have most likely provoked nuclear war.
Palin is a JOKE. She was chosen in order to throw a wrench into the machine of political assumptions and mesmerize republican men into taking their hard-ons to the voting booth.
I am all for female politicians. I believe a woman can be a politician and feminine. But I am appalled and offended at a woman who is obviously underqualified, under-savvy, and so blantantly wags her sexiness around in order to "get through" the election season and into the White House. She could look the same, have the same accent but be smart, innovative, compassionate, clever and strong.
People keep saying "She's not running for President though, it's not about her" Well, she is running for Vice President, which is not a figurehead. The Bush Administration is an example of the power and influence a Vice President can have. Presiding over the Senate is not a benign position either.
All in all, I hope America isn't duped by this obvious ploy to trick us into voting for mcCain. I don't find that much comfort in Obama himself, but I do trust his judgement a little more in who he will choose for his Cabinet and advisors. But all in all, between the two wars and this economic bailout, we are trillions of dollars in debt - and I doubt that much of anything will change, because there is no money to pay for it.
Also - here is another critique of the McCain/Palin concept of the War on Terror (in which their solution is simply to 'defeat it')
From "Daily Dish":
The comedian Gary Shandling, of all people, synthesized the connection between our current economic crisis and 9/11 and the Iraq War in a way I have not heard:
On 9/11, Al Qaeda had no expectation of a traditional military victory against the United States. The point of the attack was economic -- to draw the U.S. into expensive and protracted foreign wars that would deplete our resources and destabilize our government. By invading Iraq, George Bush became the happy idiot to assist Al Qaeda in this goal. Now, Sarah Palin and John McCain take the leaders of Al Qaeda at their word when they say Iraq is the major front in the war on terror.
Neither consider the possibility that Al Qaeda wants Iraq to be the major front because it furthers their goal of weakening the U.S. while inflicting minimal damage on their operations.
Seven years after 9/11, we are seeing Al Qaeda's long-term goal being realized: the destabilization and economic collapse of the United States. Even as it's happening, the people who supported it all along want to continue facilitating our own long-term disintegration by clinging to simplistic concepts of traditional military victory and defeat. In this sense, they are possibly the most myopic, least strategic thinkers in the history of this nation.
As Gary Shandling said, with this approach, our only hope of killing Osama Bin Laden is that he'll laugh himself to death.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I saw Religulous last night - I really liked it! And the theater was packed! (surprisingly) There was nothing new (information-wise) for me to learn, but it was interesting to see someone really confront religious people with the ridiculousness of their beliefs. It was hilarious too! Also, at the end, there is this colossal, loud, thundering, terroristic image-laced montage where Bill declares his conclusion and calls for all the de-converted, or non-religious to come out and be heard. In some weird way, it was probably the first time I've really felt pride in my non-belief. I felt empowered, as opposed to shunned. I actually got chills :)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
RELIGULOUS COMES OUT TOMORROW!!!!!!
I am going to go see it at 7pm. I'm not expecting to really learn anything new or be exposed to anything I haven't encountered in the de-conversion process, but I think it will be hilarious! Bill Maher and Larry Charles (director of Curb Your Enthusiasm) are sure to have made a good film
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It's so funny how people will think images of witches and ghouls are evil, yet they'll not bat an eye to a bloody Civil War in the Congo.
It reminds me of when I was in high school and my mom found some stickers I had with skulls on them. "Skeletons are an invitation for the Devil to work!" She told me. Then she made the throw them away.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I can't wait to see it! It should be released (probably fairly limited) on October 3
Kudos to Lions Gate for allowing this movie to be released - maybe they are banking on a lot of religious ppl to watch it out of curiosity and to get pissed off.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Here is an article I just read by Dawkins - I hadn't read it before - it's a great read with a nice, concise deconstruction of why Evolution is believable. Please read!
The Improbability of God
by Richard Dawkins
Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow each other up in his name. Arabs blow themselves up in his name. Imams and ayatollahs oppress women in his name. Celibate popes and priests mess up people's sex lives in his name. Jewish shohets cut live animals' throats in his name. The achievements of religion in past history -- bloody crusades, torturing inquisitions, mass-murdering conquistadors, culture-destroying missionaries, legally enforced resistance to each new piece of scientific truth until the last possible moment -- are even more impressive. And what has it all been in aid of? I believe it is becoming increasingly clear that the answer is absolutely nothing at all. There is no reason for believing that any sort of gods exist and quite good reason for believing that they do not exist and never have. It has all been a gigantic waste of time and a waste of life. It would be a joke of cosmic proportions if it weren't so tragic.
Why do people believe in God? For most people the answer is still some version of the ancient Argument from Design. We look about us at the beauty and intricacy of the world -- at the aerodynamic sweep of a swallow's wing, at the delicacy of flowers and of the butterflies that fertilize them, through a microscope at the teeming life in every drop of pond water, through a telescope at the crown of a giant redwood tree. We reflect on the electronic complexity and optical perfection of our own eyes that do the looking. If we have any imagination, these things drive us to a sense of awe and reverence. Moreover, we cannot fail to be struck by the obvious resemblance of living organs to the carefully planned designs of human engineers. The argument was most famously expressed in the watchmaker analogy of the eighteenth-century priest William Paley. Even if you didn't know what a watch was, the obviously designed character of its cogs and springs and of how they mesh together for a purpose would force you to conclude "that the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use." If this is true of a comparatively simple watch, how much the more so is it true of the eye, ear, kidney, elbow joint, brain? These beautiful, complex, intricate, and obviously purpose-built structures must have had their own designer, their own watchmaker -- God.
So ran Paley's argument, and it is an argument that nearly all thoughtful and sensitive people discover for themselves at some stage in their childhood. Throughout most of history it must have seemed utterly convincing, self-evidently true. And yet, as the result of one of the most astonishing intellectual revolutions in history, we now know that it is wrong, or at least superfluous. We now know that the order and apparent purposefulness of the living world has come about through an entirely different process, a process that works without the need for any designer and one that is a consequence of basically very simple laws of physics. This is the process of evolution by natural selection, discovered by Charles Darwin and, independently, by Alfred Russel Wallace.
What do all objects that look as if they must have had a designer have in common? The answer is statistical improbability. If we find a transparent pebble washed into the shape of a crude lens by the sea, we do not conclude that it must have been designed by an optician: the unaided laws of physics are capable of achieving this result; it is not too improbable to have just "happened." But if we find an elaborate compound lens, carefully corrected against spherical and chromatic aberration, coated against glare, and with "Carl Zeiss" engraved on the rim, we know that it could not have just happened by chance. If you take all the atoms of such a compound lens and throw them together at random under the jostling influence of the ordinary laws of physics in nature, it is theoretically possible that, by sheer luck, the atoms would just happen to fall into the pattern of a Zeiss compound lens, and even that the atoms round the rim should happen to fall in such a way that the name Carl Zeiss is etched out. But the number of other ways in which the atoms could, with equal likelihood, have fallen, is so hugely, vastly, immeasurably greater that we can completely discount the chance hypothesis. Chance is out of the question as an explanation.
This is not a circular argument, by the way. It might seem to be circular because, it could be said, any particular arrangement of atoms is, with hindsight, very improbable. As has been said before, when a ball lands on a particular blade of grass on the golf course, it would be foolish to excl.. "Out of all the billions of blades of grass that it could have fallen on, the ball actually fell on this one. How amazingly, miraculously improbable!" The fallacy here, of course, is that the ball had to land somewhere. We can only stand amazed at the improbability of the actual event if we specify it a priori: for example, if a blindfolded man spins himself round on the tee, hits the ball at random, and achieves a hole in one. That would be truly amazing, because the target destination of the ball is specified in advance.
Of all the trillions of different ways of putting together the atoms of a telescope, only a minority would actually work in some useful way. Only a tiny minority would have Carl Zeiss engraved on them, or, indeed, any recognizable words of any human language. The same goes for the parts of a watch: of all the billions of possible ways of putting them together, only a tiny minority will tell the time or do anything useful. And of course the same goes, a fortiori, for the parts of a living body. Of all the trillions of trillions of ways of putting together the parts of a body, only an infinitesimal minority would live, seek food, eat, and reproduce.True, there are many different ways of being alive -- at least ten million different ways if we count the number of distinct species alive today -- but, however many ways there may be of being alive, it is certain that there are vastly more ways of being dead!
We can safely conclude that living bodies are billions of times too complicated -- too statistically improbable -- to have come into being by sheer chance. How, then, did they come into being? The answer is that chance enters into the story, but not a single, monolithic act of chance. Instead, a whole series of tiny chance steps, each one small enough to be a believable product of its predecessor, occurred one after the other in sequence. These small steps of chance are caused by genetic mutations, random changes -- mistakes really -- in the genetic material. They give rise to changes in the existing bodily structure. Most of these changes are deleterious and lead to death. A minority of them turn out to be slight improvements, leading to increased survival and reproduction. By this process of natural selection, those random changes that turn out to be beneficial eventually spread through the species and become the norm. The stage is now set for the next small change in the evolutionary process. After, say, a thousand of these small changes in series, each change providing the basis for the next, the end result has become, by a process of accumulation, far too complex to have come about in a single act of chance.
For instance, it is theoretically possible for an eye to spring into being, in a single lucky step, from nothing: from bare skin, let's say. It is theoretically possible in the sense that a recipe could be written out in the form of a large number of mutations. If all these mutations happened simultaneously, a complete eye could, indeed, spring from nothing. But although it is theoretically possible, it is in practice inconceivable. The quantity of luck involved is much too large. The "correct" recipe involves changes in a huge number of genes simultaneously. The correct recipe is one particular combination of changes out of trillions of equally probable combinations of chances. We can certainly rule out such a miraculous coincidence. But it is perfectly plausible that the modern eye could have sprung from something almost the same as the modern eye but not quite: a very slightly less elaborate eye. By the same argument, this slightly less elaborate eye sprang from a slightly less elaborate eye still, and so on. If you assume a sufficiently large number of sufficiently small differences between each evolutionary stage and its predecessor, you are bound to be able to derive a full, complex, working eye from bare skin. How many intermediate stages are we allowed to postulate? That depends on how much time we have to play with.Has there been enough time for eyes to evolve by little steps from nothing?
The fossils tell us that life has been evolving on Earth for more than 3,000 million years. It is almost impossible for the human mind to grasp such an immensity of time. We, naturally and mercifully, tend to see our own expected lifetime as a fairly long time, but we can't expect to live even one century. It is 2,000 years since Jesus lived, a time span long enough to blur the distinction between history and myth. Can you imagine a million such periods laid end to end? Suppose we wanted to write the whole history on a single long scroll. If we crammed all of Common Era history into one metre of scroll, how long would the pre-Common Era part of the scroll, back to the start of evolution, be? The answer is that the pre-Common Era part of the scroll would stretch from Milan to Moscow. Think of the implications of this for the quantity of evolutionary change that can be accommodated. All the domestic breeds of dogs -- Pekingeses, poodles, spaniels, Saint Bernards, and Chihuahuas -- have come from wolves in a time span measured in hundreds or at the most thousands of years: no more than two meters along the road from Milan to Moscow. Think of the quantity of change involved in going from a wolf to a Pekingese; now multiply that quantity of change by a million. When you look at it like that, it becomes easy to believe that an eye could have evolved from no eye by small degrees.
It remains necessary to satisfy ourselves that every one of the intermediates on the evolutionary route, say from bare skin to a modern eye, would have been favored by natural selection; would have been an improvement over its predecessor in the sequence or at least would have survived. It is no good proving to ourselves that there is theoretically a chain of almost perceptibly different intermediates leading to an eye if many of those intermediates would have died. It is sometimes argued that the parts of an eye have to be all there together or the eye won't work at all. Half an eye, the argument runs, is no better than no eye at all. You can't fly with half a wing; you can't hear with half an ear. Therefore there can't have been a series of step-by-step intermediates leading up to a modern eye, wing, or ear.
This type of argument is so naive that one can only wonder at the subconscious motives for wanting to believe it. It is obviously not true that half an eye is useless. Cataract sufferers who have had their lenses surgically removed cannot see very well without glasses, but they are still much better off than people with no eyes at all. Without a lens you can't focus a detailed image, but you can avoid bumping into obstacles and you could detect the looming shadow of a predator.
As for the argument that you can't fly with only half a wing, it is disproved by large numbers of very successful gliding animals, including mammals of many different kinds, lizards, frogs, snakes, and squids. Many different kinds of tree-dwelling animals have flaps of skin between their joints that really are fractional wings. If you fall out of a tree, any skin flap or flattening of the body that increases your surface area can save your life. And, however small or large your flaps may be, there must always be a critical height such that, if you fall from a tree of that height, your life would have been saved by just a little bit more surface area. Then, when your descendants have evolved that extra surface area, their lives would be saved by just a bit more still if they fell from trees of a slightly greater height. And so on by insensibly graded steps until, hundreds of generations later, we arrive at full wings.
Eyes and wings cannot spring into existence in a single step. That would be like having the almost infinite luck to hit upon the combination number that opens a large bank vault. But if you spun the dials of the lock at random, and every time you got a little bit closer to the lucky number the vault door creaked open another chink, you would soon have the door open! Essentially, that is the secret of how evolution by natural selection achieves what once seemed impossible. Things that cannot plausibly be derived from very different predecessors can plausibly be derived from only slightly different predecessors. Provided only that there is a sufficiently long series of such slightly different predecessors, you can derive anything from anything else.
Evolution, then, is theoretically capable of doing the job that, once upon a time, seemed to be the prerogative of God. But is there any evidence that evolution actually has happened? The answer is yes; the evidence is overwhelming. Millions of fossils are found in exactly the places and at exactly the depths that we should expect if evolution had happened. Not a single fossil has ever been found in any place where the evolution theory would not have expected it, although this could very easily have happened: a fossil mammal in rocks so old that fishes have not yet arrived, for instance, would be enough to disprove the evolution theory.
The patterns of distribution of living animals and plants on the continents and islands of the world is exactly what would be expected if they had evolved from common ancestors by slow, gradual degrees. The patterns of resemblance among animals and plants is exactly what we should expect if some were close cousins, and others more distant cousins to each other. The fact that the genetic code is the same in all living creatures overwhelmingly suggests that all are descended from one single ancestor. The evidence for evolution is so compelling that the only way to save the creation theory is to assume that God deliberately planted enormous quantities of evidence to make it look as if evolution had happened. In other words, the fossils, the geographical distribution of animals, and so on, are all one gigantic confidence trick. Does anybody want to worship a God capable of such trickery? It is surely far more reverent, as well as more scientifically sensible, to take the evidence at face value. All living creatures are cousins of one another, descended from one remote ancestor that lived more than 3,000 million years ago.
The Argument from Design, then, has been destroyed as a reason for believing in a God. Are there any other arguments? Some people believe in God because of what appears to them to be an inner revelation. Such revelations are not always edifying but they undoubtedly feel real to the individual concerned. Many inhabitants of lunatic asylums have an unshakable inner faith that they are Napoleon or, indeed, God himself. There is no doubting the power of such convictions for those that have them, but this is no reason for the rest of us to believe them. Indeed, since such beliefs are mutually contradictory, we can't believe them all.
There is a little more that needs to be said. Evolution by natural selection explains a lot, but it couldn't start from nothing. It couldn't have started until there was some kind of rudimentary reproduction and heredity. Modern heredity is based on the DNA code, which is itself too complicated to have sprung spontaneously into being by a single act of chance. This seems to mean that there must have been some earlier hereditary system, now disappeared, which was simple enough to have arisen by chance and the laws of chemistry and which provided the medium in which a primitive form of cumulative natural selection could get started. DNA was a later product of this earlier cumulative selection. Before this original kind of natural selection, there was a period when complex chemical compounds were built up from simpler ones and before that a period when the chemical elements were built up from simpler elements, following the well-understood laws of physics. Before that, everything was ultimately built up from pure hydrogen in the immediate aftermath of the big bang, which initiated the universe.
There is a temptation to argue that, although God may not be needed to explain the evolution of complex order once the universe, with its fundamental laws of physics, had begun, we do need a God to explain the origin of all things. This idea doesn't leave God with very much to do: just set off the big bang, then sit back and wait for everything to happen. The physical chemist Peter Atkins, in his beautifully written book The Creation, postulates a lazy God who strove to do as little as possible in order to initiate everything. Atkins explains how each step in the history of the universe followed, by simple physical law, from its predecessor.He thus pares down the amount of work that the lazy creator would need to do and eventually concludes that he would in fact have needed to do nothing at all!
The details of the early phase of the universe belong to the realm of physics, whereas I am a biologist, more concerned with the later phases of the evolution of complexity. For me, the important point is that, even if the physicist needs to postulate an irreducible minimum that had to be present in the beginning, in order for the universe to get started, that irreducible minimum is certainly extremely simple. By definition, explanations that build on simple premises are more plausible and more satisfying than explanations that have to postulate complex and statistically improbable beginnings.And you can't get much more complex than an Almighty God!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
What am I chasing? Could a step ahead be a cold step away from my true desires? Do share with me where the heart pulsates for! I cannot continue in this soft sand, glancing in all directions seeking my bliss that is as fleeting as a hummingbird. Is this current state of solid mass worth the eventual reward? Or will the reward never be known? Am I doomed to repeat this daily toil of sole activity in the sunny patio-less world of 9-5 brain absorption with no purpose? Or is this the ultimate purpose: to be a open petrie-dish of fungus, absorbing the opinions and outlook of those more accomplished than me? Those who could free themselves of comfort, guidance by elders and sense? Perhaps that is the existence I am doomed to fulfill. The tree fell in the forest and I was the only one to hear it, but my voice is silenced by timidity and apathy - therefore that tree, my ambition, never existed.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Today I got an email that an article I wrote about my deconversion was published on de-conversion.com! So go take a read if you want :)
go to it here. It's called "The Question of Suffering and My De-Conversion"
Reading that website again got me thinking I might get back to posting here, it is fun, and I really am craving some more intellectual/philosophical exploration
Monday, July 21, 2008
I have not posted in sooo long.
I got a comment to an old post about McLean Bible Church and I should post it. I had bad experiences at that church, but here is someone with a positive experience there. I have to let everyone have their say - that's only fair. I deleted the old post because I was really harsh and I'll probably repost it in a more respectful tone sometime in the future.
i think your wrong. mclean bible church may be big, and it may have alot of money but once you get into the service its like nothing else matters, the messages are dead on the songs have meaning, and the worship makes you want to fall down on your knees and worship GOd.Mclean bible lead me to christ with its powerful messages.ive been there for a little over 3 years and i have met some great people there, all of my best friends are there.. and when your relationship is based on jesus, you never get into fights, ive known my best friend for abotu a year now, and we have never been in one fight ever, because of mclean bible church and its leaders helping us out. i love my mclean bible church family and the only reasony you are saying this is because you have never gotten the fulll on MBC experience.im a christian and i love jesus. and i have never stayed at one church as long as i have stayed at mclean, and i plan on staying there until i die.
Friday, February 1, 2008
I am at work, supposed to be updating our corporate blog. Let me tell you, wordpress is SO confusing when you have to create a streamlined, professional blog!
Here is an update on me - if you are still coming here, please comment me with an update on you!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am working full time now as a Sales Support/Audio Engineer/Client Relations/Blog updater specialist. It's sooooooo glamorous. I live with amazing friends - one is a Christian youth pastor girl and the other is my best amazing friend! We still live in the Suburbs of San Fran, but are moving to the city in a few months...If you are in SF you might see me at Zeitgeist, Geshtalt, The Attic, 500 Club, Elixir or other sweet hangout spots.
As far as religion goes, I am just taking it easy. Still reading up on philosophy of religion, atheism, church history, etc. but in a more relaxed fashion. I dont go to church all that much anymore, but if I do I find I can pay more attention or tolerate it if I am tipsy (probably bad I know). Life is chill right now.
On the political front, I am finding myself liking Hillary Clinton (which I would have not predicted)
um, what else is new....eh, probably nothing that interesting anyway
but please update me on you guys, or at least update yourself on your blogs so I can see how everyone is!
okay time to work
peace out for now!!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I havent been on here in a while. I don't know why I've stayed away. I cant type much now because my roomate is watching a quiet movie and my typing is loud.
i'm still not christian, and havent really thought about it much lately.
this may sound weird but i am interested in hypnotherapy so i have been reading about that a lot.
more to come soon
Monday, November 26, 2007
I really don't know or foresee myself being christian again, but i am starting to really think that I am less likely to convert the more i talk to christians. I am just sick of them. I have talked to a lot of my christian friends or acquaintances about my lack of faith and I can't help but just feel how much they assume that I need to be a Christian--like they try to talk to me nicely and understanding about it--but there is an underlying assumption still that they are "good" because they are christian and I am "bad" because I am not. Everyone has a remedy for me--"go to my church," "start praying again," "read this book," blah blah. I can't helped but feel judged by christians. I guess I feel so much more free around non-christians because they dont have a built-in framework to everything they do and think that assumes non christians are bad. I really don't feel like Christians are loving now that I am on the other side. Some of them are--but I dont really attribute that to their religious ties.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
i havent posted in several days. the place i work is trying hard to stay in business so i have been swamped trying to work on that and in my free time all i have wanted to do is drink beer and read. but the holidays are coming!!!--and that means a lot more reflection on religion...and more time spent in the midst of my hardcore evangelical family. i foresee a lot of commentary to come.
i miss everyone in my blog sphere of influence!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I know that probably a lot or most of you don't share my political leanings, but I have to say, that since I de-converted I have begun to sway very strongly towards Socialist political ideologies. I was thinking about this today, and I think it deduces to a very simple reason.
As a Christian, I essentially believed that eventually a just end would come. If there was injustice presently, there would be pure justice later. Those who suffer now would spend eternity in comfort. Those who experienced hardship in this life, would be cradled by the ultimate father for eternity. So in essence, issues of justice were important, but if not solved now, that would be okay.
But since de-converting, my entire world paradigm has changed. Now, those who suffer only get one chance at life--and theirs is ruined. Our exploitation will only serve to destroy the one life of its victims--not just be a current imposition on those who will soon have eternal bliss. Suffering becomes the totality of life, not just the short-term "strengthening of the will."
In that, I have only found mild solace in political ideologies that detest exploitation and value the human life over profit, and alleviation of suffering over the comfort (and ignorance) of the more well-off masses. I understand that socialism in practice has been destructive, but to me, the theory of it is much of what I desire.
I don't want to be comfortable while others arent. I dont want to be rich while others arent. I dont want to be healthy when others arent. I would sacrifice my current "perks" of being a White westerner in order for others to be helped. The problem in America, it seems, is that we want to help those who suffer AND still maintain our priveledged conditions.
The other day I was rushing into safeway to get a hair tie I needed for my crossing guard job and I had about 3 minutes to get one. I ran into some Christian friends in the store(one of whom is trying hard to re-convert me--we'll call him Sam) and I was able to borrow one of their hair ties and get to work on time. Sam then repeated twice to me, "this isn't an accident that you ran into us"--presuming that God arranged it for me to see them so I wouldn't have to buy a hair tie and could get to work on time. Well, maybe so, maybe it was God--and if it was God, why would he waste his power on helping me make up for my bad daily preparation and not save those who really suffer? Was not my forgetting a hair tie just as much a negative product of free will, as someone being shot by a mistaken soldier, or raped by a sexual predator? (negative not in measure of consequence, but negative as in free-will causing some sort of negative situation)
I don't know. I've said it before, but I would give up all these little "god helps" in order for others to not suffer. I don't care if I find a nice pair of shoes, or get a good parking spot, or whatever--people are dying and miserable as a result of our indirect exploitation and profit. And I have found others like me at socialist gatherings and by reading liberal papers.
It is so odd when you start naturally becoming the type of person you were once taught to fear and distrust.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I just started the book Jesus:Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium and it is so interesting.
What is also interesting to me is the following. I have read the entire Bible, almost a dozen theology and philosophy of religion books, engaged in religious philosophical debates, and read hundreds of religious articles in my search for truth (and prayed consistently though the first five months of a total (roughly) eight month de-conversion process)....
And ended up de-converting.
Meanwhile, a lot of the Christians around me have maybe read 1/20th of the Bible and--I would venture to say-- 0 philosophical or biblical history books that are not from the viewpoint of a Christian. Yet they still believe and try to bring me back into the fold with reason.
I really, honestly am not saying I am better, but it is just interesting to me. I wonder what they would think if they travel through the minds and experiences of us de-converted.
If you don't remember, I put up a few blogs on my myspace profile (I am 23 it is okay for me to have one, jk :) where most of my Christian friends will read them. I posted because I wanted to see what kind of responses I would get. I probably should put what I posted, but you probably get the idea from reading these replies. I think it is interesting to see into the world of some of today's young christians. These are the people around me. Well, Here are some of the responses i have gotten...
My question is how do you know that these things are so bad? What is telling us that killing is something so horrible?
I'm guessing who ever reads this is like -"WTF of course the rape and killing of innocents is bad.. it just is!"
The truth is that it hurts our hearts when we see suffering. We ache so much we don't want to live. But in a world where there was no God, why would it hurt so bad. If the creator of life was not good how would we even know that these malicious acts are so evil? That is the foundational question. Not why is there evil, but Why do we care.
I guess I have two points:
1. Why do we care about pain and suffering? Pain and suffering should just be seen as another part of life like breathing and pooping. Why is it in all of us we have this tremendous desire to stop suffering if there is no good reason to our existence?
2. Maybe its because God cares. And somewhere inside of us is His compassion. But we NEVER act on it. Most of us just complain about how God never does anything. The truth is God didn't kill 6 million Jews, people did. God never blew up a school bus, people did. I guess it goes back to the idea that it's our choice. The burden and the blood are on us and the decisions we make, not God. Why do we demand something of God when we are not willing to do anything?
from another person:
In the Bible, God never said there wouldn't be pain, and suffering, and trouble and horrible things. God doesn't promise us perfect lives, and pure happiness. This person is upset because life isn't perfect. That there is pain and suffering. Well, why does god get the blame for the pain and suffering? What about the enemy? That's another part of the father of lies, which is what satan is. Instead of being mad at how satan has corrupted someone to kill or molest a child, this person is mad at God for not stopping it. Well, God never said that there wouldn't be suffering. He said take your eyes off this world. Don't be caught up in your life on earth. The good stuff is the stuff after death. That's the fun stuff, that's the party!!!!! If the bible said, "Oh life will be great, just love me and I'll make everything perfect for you" and then it wasn't then this person has an argument. But being mad at God cause the world is corrupted by satan doesn't make much sense. I never feel that these arguments are very strong or that they are deep or haven't been said before. Basically, the bible says that life is a test. That's all it is. In a world, that has ugliness and corruptness but that has taught you right from wrong. Which will you choose? The right or the wrong? The path that an invisible god promises will reward you? Or the path that says there is no invisible god, there is nothing, there is no point. Without god there is no hope, no point, no purpose. That's atleast the way I see it. Life would suck if there was no hope and no party to look forward too. That murderers, rapists, thieves, and suffering ruins lives but there is no good ever to come. That is what this world has to offer. God doesn't do that. He offers help, he offers justice, and he offers hope.
I dunno if this is gonna make any sense and I hope you don't think I'm being intrusive. But you need to ask yourself how you are going to look at the issue of free will? And also how are you going to look at the issue of Hell, and the Church. I for one have almost lost complete trust in the Church, but being a Christian is really about having a personal relationship with God. So what the Church says shouldn't be taken on face value just cause the Church does.Also I have always thought that free will wasn't a way to being more glory to God, it was a way to show that God actually loves us. Would it be love if you were in a relationship and you made the other person into someone they aren't? You only allowed them to do things that pleased you and didn't give them any free will to make their own choices? The very nature of free will is the fact that if God didn't love us he could make us into robots that served him blindly and had no choice.. Which I think would actually be selfish. Instead we have a choice in the matter, which I am grateful for. Also, The only people who actually think hell is spitfire and gnashing of teeth are the overly religious. There is a lot of biblical reference to support the fact that Hell isn't torture for eternity for not following God. Hell is just separation from God after you die. You make the choice where you wanna go when you are alive, and if you choose that you do not want to be with God, then he won't make you. Theoretically after you die you go somewhere else with all the other people who do not want a relationship with God for the rest of eternity and you will stay there being without a connection with God while the ones who chose him get to be close to him... It is not everlasting torture as punishment for picking the wrong religion, that is just Church hocus pocus used for thousands of years to scare little kids. But the Church is not the true nature of God always.
There ARE plenty of places in our world to find love. BUT, there is no picture of love as grand or blunt as the picture of Jesus. This idea of a the ultimate superhero. You could believe in Mickey Mouse but he’s a cartoon and never claimed to be your creator, willing to cross any bridge and give up anything for you. That picture of love CAN NOT be found in any religion, cartoon, or elitists thoughts on life. Don’t miss the point that this is not about whether or not he existed, why you can’t see him the way you think you are entitled to, or why he doesn’t seem to show himself the way you think he should. This point is that there is absolutely, positively without a doubt no picture of love as grand as Jesus Christ.
After that in you brought up a few things… You said we are more or less trapped here with no choice to believe or we will go to hell. I believe that’s incorrect. I remember watching at KP Yohonnan video with you a few years ago at Devin’s house and he was talking about how all the unbelievers of the third world are going to hell. I’ve come to strongly disagree with that belief. This is always a point of major contention with non-believers. I believe if there is a God as described by the story of Jesus then he is not bound by our religious institution and its rules. I’m going to use “ancient disputed books” for a sec, please be gracious with me. One verse says that God’s love is evident in all creation and another that eternity is set in the hearts of men meaning that belief in the divine and our relationship to it is not limited whether or not we knew we were for or against him the way our church teaches. When I read both of these I think of some kid in India or something. I picture him with the ability to know God without the formulas of my Christianity. My point is that I believe you don’t have to come to terms with the Jesus of the west to believe and know the story of Gods grace. I think the story of Jesus transcends language, culture, and anything else.
As for belief. If we are honest with ourselves we all have to believe in something as cliché as that sounds. The problem is that we may never know how we got here and how life started and why we are here. People chose all sorts of explanations. But if we actually look at the complexities of life it is a completely logical explanation to think that something intelligent put us here. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. My point here is that I just don’t think that anyone possesses tangible evidence, the way you want it, on an any belief. We all have two options. Believe life is a chance, random accident. Or believe some invisible entity put us here. From that point there is no explanation as poetic and beautiful as the one in those “ancient disputed books”.
And those books…. Are written by man, used for self gain, potentially distorted, full of contradictions, and guilty of way more inconsistencies. BUT, the underlining theme and story that I keep talking about is still apparent even amidst all of it’s “disputed” characteristics. Over the last few years I’ve had so many qualms with the Bible. Probably more than you. The amazing thing is, the Jesus story shines through. I don’t think the point of the Bible is to learn rules, describe history, or give scientific backing on our impossible belief. The point of it, to me at least, is to portray God’s heart for us.
To respond to Evan, I have never been guilted, scarred, or forced to believe in Jesus. I chose to believe in him because the type of love I found in him was resonated strongly in my heart. You can keep using those excuses for people to believe in God but the truth is that there is something real as to why so many of us gravitate towards a belief in the divine.
Sin is just an explanation of why when we do stupid things it hurts us. If some one along your life made you feel bad for sinning they missed the point. Sorry you had to feel bad. Sin works like this. If you kill some one its bad. If you steal from your friend its bad. I’m glad you feel free of “sin”.
Don’t be so ignorant to not put science, atheism, materialism, and others in your list of gods. You like me serve something and believe in something. Also don’t be so ignorant to miss the point of most religions. They explain why, not how. The how we got here is for science. The why we are here science will never fathom. You CANNOT base any explanation of WHY we are here or what we are doing in life on fact. The fact is that we should celebrate when a crippled person dies because it is better for our survival. But we don’t. For some reason we all believe that human suffering is bad. Science never explains WHY. Only HOW. Jesus never tried to explain HOW only WHY.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
i am at work. i have been in a bad mood for the past 24 hours, but it seems to be passing now. i don't really know why. About two years ago, if my mood suddenly turned good like this, I would probably get chills and smile and thank God. Now, I just think that I am happy.
Even if God is real and does give us those little happy times, I would WAY rather give those up so he could have time to save humans from suffering and eternal damnation. I will gladly give up close parking spots, finding money on the ground, and all other little "God sightings" so that one less kid dies of AIDS today. That doesnt make me a saint or anything, I just feel that way.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Drat! I am at work, but I found something that I want to read and you might want to as well.
Comcast.net asked people to weigh in on this question:
Do you believe in life after death? Have you ever been visited by the spirit of a dead relative or friend? Do such visions or visitations have any theological meaning?
a lot of people have answered thus far...here is the link
Also, there is a piece written by a well-known deconvert from Islam author who seems interesting. Her name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The link is here.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I decided to join the Peace Corps! I am applying for an October 2008 departure.
I told my parents last night, and they are surprisingly excited. My mom took a while to soften to it because she didn't understand why I wouldnt just go on a short-term evangelist mission instead (serious), but my dad is stoked! He is already talking about visiting me wherever I end up! Well, I have to get accepted to the program first.
but yeah, are there any former Peace Corps volunteers who have come to this site? If so, how was it?
I thought about doing this when I graduated college, but now I am sure I am ready for the 27 month committment. Anyhow, i wont bore you any longer.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Have you guys ever read any Sebastien Faure? I picked up his pamphlet entitled, "Does God Exist? 12 Proofs of the Nonexistence of God" at an anarchist bookstore (good place for religious philosophy resources--the place is called "an anarchist bookstore") a while back and I just recently gave it a second read. There are a couple things that struck me about his writings, and about he himself. I would like to know what your opinions are of him as well.
Anyhow, in the first section of the text there is an "About the Author" section where it describes how Faure grew up in the Catholic church and schooling, and then he became atheist and and Anarchist later in life. One of the most interesting parts for me was the following excerpt: "The religion of God was soon superceded in his heart by a deep-rooted devotion to the welfare of mankind." This is something I have been thinking about lately. It seems to me that a lot of de-converts, and never-converts reject christianity because they reject the conflict between a "good god" and an unjust world, or rather, they cannot get over the Problem of Evil. I really, really had no clue about this until i became a de-convert myself. I really did think that non-believers were chasing sin or were hard hearted or selfish and that christians were really the purest caring people in the world (of course I must qualify that by saying there ARE a lot of purely caring christians in the world). This was all I was ever taught. Honest, it is embarassing now to admit I used to think that. I don't really have much else to say about this point, other than the fact that is has astounded me how many of us de-converts have a deep set need to fight injustice--or at least have a deep set distaste for it.
Another part of the pamphlet I found interesting is under Faure's proof called, "God could not have created without a motive: It is impossible to discern one." In that section he writes, "Let us examine God before Creation. God is alone, self-sufficient and perfectly wise, happy and powerful. Nothing can improve His wisdom; nothing can increase His happiness; nothing can strengthen His power. Such a god cannot experience any desire because His happiness is infinite; He cannot look toward any aim because nothing is lacking in his perfection; he cannot formulate any plans because nothing can increase His power; He cannot be determined to want anything because He has no need for anything."
Come to think of it, I cannot even really pull out why exactly I believed God created us when I was a christian. I might just be drawing a blank, but I am trying to remember why. Something about Satan detracting from the other angels or something. Or God created us for his glory. Or I dont know.someone please help me with this--I am probably forgetting a lot of places in the Bible where it talks about this. This is sad. I was an on-fire christian for the first 22 years of my life, and I can't remember this stuff? It is sad to me that I cannot answer this question, but somehow I was qualified enough to go on a half-dozen mission trips and save human souls from eternal damnation? I digress.
But faure's proof kind of makes sense to me. How could a perfect God create something imperfect, or even conceive that imperfection could exist? If everything we have comes from God, where did evil come from? Is God not the only creator then? so many questions!
I have a feeling that with this question, as with many we ask, my christian friends will reply with something along the lines of "we are mere humans, how can we know?" I will quote Faure once again to give a more comprehensive picture.
"They (christians) say: 'You have no right to talk about God the way you do. you present us with a God-caricature systematically reduced to the proportion which your comprehension is only capable of according. The God which you present is not ours. Our God you cannot conceive because He overtakes you; he escapes your comprehension. Knoweth ye! that whatever in the way of might, wisdom and knowledge might appear fantastic and immense even for the most pwerful man is only child's play to our God. Do not forget that Humanity could not move on the same level with Divinity. remember that it is impossible for man to comprehend God's ways as it is impossible for minerals to imagine the ways of vegetables, for vegetables to conceive of the ways of animals and for animals to conceive of the ways of men."
To that, Faure responds, "Are you (christians) not men, as I? does not God overtake you as He does me? Does not God escape your comprehension as much as He does mine? Or have you the pretense of moving on the same level as Divinity? Have you the affrontery of thinking and the foolishness of stating that with a simple flap of a wing, you have reached those summits occupied by God? Are you so presumptuous as to affirm that your finite mind has embraced the Infinite?... If the fact that I cannot conceive and explain God does not give me the right to deny Him, the very same fact, which also holds true for you, does not give you the right to affirm Him!"
Friday, October 5, 2007
here are some of the replies from my christian friends to my myspace blog post
marie, i value your opinion and i think you are a very intelligent, caring, loving person. that's why i am responding to this.
i don't think following Christ is a comfy blanket in any sense of the term.
Alot of the time, I'm not even happy with my life. But the joy that I have knowing that the creator of the universe loves me unconditionally is more than I need to wake up the next day. Yeah the world sucks but how did it get that way? God didn't do it. We did.
But there are so many beautiful things in this world that I believe can be explained by no other way than that it is a creation of the Lord.
I have questions too. but beliving is not seeing or hearing or feeling. it is just believing. and I totally understand how hard that is. Because I didnt believe. but now i do. because the Lord showed me His unending love and there was no other explanation for what it was.
but keep asking questions.
i love you!!!
I dunno if this is gonna make any sense and I hope you don't think I'm being intrusive. But you need to ask yourself how you are going to look at the issue of free will? And also how are you going to look at the issue of Hell, and the Church.
I for one have almost lost complete trust in the Church, but being a Christian is really about having a personal relationship with God. So what the Church says shouldn't be taken on face value just cause the Church does.
Also I have always thought that free will wasn't a way to being more glory to God, it was a way to show that God actually loves us. Would it be love if you were in a relationship and you made the other person into someone they aren't? You only allowed them to do things that pleased you and didn't give them any free will to make their own choices? The very nature of free will is the fact that if God didn't love us he could make us into robots that served him blindly and had no choice.. Which I think would actually be selfish. Instead we have a choice in the matter, which I am grateful for.
Also, The only people who actually think hell is spitfire and gnashing of teeth are the overly religious. There is a lot of biblical reference to support the fact that Hell isn't torture for eternity for not following God. Hell is just separation from God after you die.
You make the choice where you wanna go when you are alive, and if you choose that you do not want to be with God, then he won't make you. Theoretically after you die you go somewhere else with all the other people who do not want a relationship with God for the rest of eternity and you will stay there being without a connection with God while the ones who chose him get to be close to him... It is not everlasting torture as punishment for picking the wrong religion, that is just Church hocus pocus used for thousands of years to scare little kids. But the Church is not the true nature of God always.
I dunno, I hope over the years you have seen that I have actually thought out what I believe intelligently, cause I really respect you a lot and I hope you don't think i'm some christian sheep or religious nazi.
Here is what I posted on my myspace blog. it's not profound, but i am curious about peoples' reactions.
I am having trouble seeing the christian God as anything other than totally narcissistic and self-centered. Here is a quick outline of why.
FREE WILL is the cause of all suffering(bad people do bad things to other people because they have free will to do what they want). God gave us free will. God created the idea of free will--therefore God created (or more lightly, "allows") suffering.
God knew about free will before it existed. God knew about suffering before it existed. (Because he is omniscient)
God knew free will would cause suffering. God still CHOSE free will.
God values free will over the alleviation of suffering.
The purpose of free will is to allow us to more purely seek God, and not be robots in our worship of Him. Ultimately it is so God gets the most honest glory and honor.
God chose free will to get the most glory and honor for himself.
God values his own glory and honor over the well-being of humans (because if there was no free will to worship him, there would be no suffering).
God chooses himself over people for his own benefit. God is selfish.
Why do we have to be forgiven to be saved and break the original sin of Adam and Eve? God made up everything, therefore he made up the fact that Jesus had to die and we have to ask forgiveness for sins. If God is all-powerful, he is not bound by the Devil's power, and he can choose to save everyone on earth from eternity in Hell. Yet christians believe that unbelievers go to hell. This says that God can save everyone, yet he chooses not to.
The church tells people that unbelievers dont believe the Truth, because they have a lust for sin. This is not true. A lot of us don't believe, because it just doesnt make sense.
People have believed in gods and afterlives long before christianity existed. I need help seeing why Christianity is the Truth, and not just some other comfy blanket for humans to keep warm with in this terrible world.
As you guys may have heard--Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones totally admitted to using steriods for 2 years before she kicked ass at the Olympics. I am pissed. I hate these athletes that do this. I was a track and field athlete for years and I did look up to these women who could perform amazingly, and now I am let down and mad that it was all a farce. Jackie Joyner-Kersee should smack Jones.
I feel like sports are not designed to be a gateway for these "athletes" to get their much sought after limelight. I think of sports as a historic pasttime and human activity to quench our need for competition and pleasure. (I also lean a bit like Chomsky in thinking sports can be a way for the government and corpoations to keep people distracted from knowing what really goes on in the world--but I still watch football on the weekends :) ) Therefore when these athletes just use drugs, it is like they are playing a video game rather than using their own human abilities to particpate in human events.
I dont care if Marion Jones is a woman and has 2 kids. She knows EXACLTY what she did and I hope she is rightly punished. We need to keep steroids OUT OF sports.
Good Morning self, and anyone else reading this!
I am sitting at a table with endless wi-fi, a steaming cup of coffee (refills are only 25 cents here!) and a big blueberry muffin (sorry Sara, if you are craving muffins and cant find a good one in Goa). Anyhow, I am here. and I am excited to get back into the blog thing. Not like to really post in that I think I have valid things to say, but I just like the intellectual stimulation I get from reading arguments and interacting with other peoples' cool thoughts and such.
Aw, I see a lady at this coffee shop quite often, and it appears she broke her arm (she just walked by me). She is an older woman who has a cane, and she always has her nose in one of those romance novels that costs like $2. Her cast is neon orange. Go Girl!
To tell the truth, I haven't been thinking about religion much lately. I think that is a result of working 10 hours/day, taking my dog to the dog park way too much, and watching Rock Of Love on VH1. haha. but yeah, for some reason I took a break. But now the weather is getting colder, I should be getting internet at my apartment soon, and I just put a cozy hanging lamp above my desk (which sits in my closet) that I can't wait to sit under.
I think this muffin I am eating is made from angel food cake. I also think there is a men's bible study in session a few tables behind me.
Oh--well, I went to a christian discussion group the other night. My friend who goes to it TOTALLY made me go. She knows I am not christian and she wanted me to come and give my perspective and I did not want to go. But she made me. so as a compromise, she let me drink some beer before I went, haha. I guess to christians, she did a good job of being persistent in getting a non-believer to go to bible study!
Anyway, it was kind of a bust. First of all, there was a tacit implication (does that make sense?) that everyone was Christian. so that was odd.
And the first question was, what do you struggle with? Is it with bitterness? Gossip? laziness? difficult life circumstances? trouble with the truth?
So I spoke, and I asked for the pastor to clarify what "trouble with the truth" was, because I thought that it might be like, having a hard time believing in The Truth. And he just goes, "like, if you have trouble with lying." haha! So anyway, I just twisted that and said that I have trouble even believing in God and that I don't believe. And maybe I am overemphasizing it, but it seemed that everyone was like, "uh-oh" in a way. And then the floodgates opened--or rather the Red Sea unparted, and everyone just talked about why they believed and why they do not struggle with the Truth, and they were all looking at me the whole time they were talking and being like, "does that make sense?" to me and stuff. And in my brain I was like "Hell No," but I nodded anyway. haha. so yeah that was a bit awkward. People basically said that I grew up with religion as a formality and i am having difficulty adjusting to making my faith my own. But that is not true. I do not believe! Is that so hard to swallow? And they dont even know me to know that I was a hardcore christian for years when I was a relatively free-thinking adult. So yeah, kind of a bust.
And then I got the group to talk about suffering. And NOT EXAGGERATING, people totally said things like, "suffering, I mean suffering is like totally crappy, but you have to overcome it. God made suffering for us to overcome it." and another (one of the worship leaders) said, "suffering is not God's fault, it is just a result of free-will. People hurt people, not God." and another girl TOTALLY said this, "I think suffering can be God's punishment on people." yeah, she went Falwell on us. So I just kept my mouth shut for a bit, and muttered that i dont understand why a good God would value free-will over the alleviation of human suffering, and how do people overcome suffering who DIE in the middle of it? and I got really mad that people were saying "suffering is crappy." It's like, "Sorry 8 year old girl who was gang raped by 20 men and now you are lying mutilated and barely breathing by the side of the road, left to die and rot--your life is crappy, but if you overcome your suffering, you will be stronger and see God's love!"
Anyway, I didnt like the group (i like the people but not the discussions). They kept saying "This is Great! We are really questioning things! We are admitting we dont have the answers!" but really they are questioning nothing and just coming up with any answer to suffice so that God wont smite them for being ambivalent.
OH--and we ended early, which was JUST in time for that Heroes TV show to start. Which I find curious, because a lot of the people in that group are obsessed with it. haha I am terrible.
but anyway, that was that. I MAY go again, just to get some fodder for discussion.
when I was a christian, I did what they do--I made up answers to tough questions so I didnt have to really think about them. If someone asked me a "tough" question, I wouldn't sit and THINK about it, rather I would like survey my brain for an answer and give it. I totally used to do what everyone in that group was doing so I can't act like I am better or different. It is just interesting to see that kind of talk and behavior from the other side. The DARK SIDE! JK
WHEW! that was a lot of typing. If you read to this point, i am WoWed!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
my internet sucks fat and i have been reading comments and all but i cant easily post back or devote the time i would like to it. I think tomorrow I am going to camp out in wi-fi land at a coffee shop and spend some good time blogging and commenting on your guys' blogs and such. i really appreciate the comments and i enjoy them immensely
i went to a christian discussion group the other night. it bombed haha. i kept my mouth shut mostly, but got a few good conversations in. i will post about it later. Also, i posted a blog on myspace (hey, i'm 23, i can have a myspace! haha) about some christian questions and i am thinking a lot of my christian friends will comment, and i will post those answers here.
how is everyone? with the weather cooling down, i think i will spend more time nestled up in my "home office" (a.k.a. my desk in the closet) and blog and read blogs and get back into the swing of things. some of the blogs might be kind of weird because I get really into Oktoberfest beers and winter beers and i might drunkpost! jk, well, maybe.
for any beer nerds out there...
can i just tell you that I love the Monty Python Holy Grail Ale? i also enjoyed a Duvel, a Drak, a Warsteiner, some Bitburger, and a Spaten. SOOOOO good!
today I bought a 4-pack of Tetley Pub Ale, a Samuel Smith's organic lager, a chimay white ale, a Paulaner Oktoberfest, and a 12-pack of Schlitz beer (only $5.99!) i might start rating beers on here just for fun. hey, better use my free-will for something, right?!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
the rude awakening that life sucks is just that, rude. i have been really really realizing that over the past few years. There are no good countries to live in, no good places to work, no religion worth a damn. just life and death.
you can do good and it wont matter, you can cheat people and you will win. I watched the movie Fast Food Nation and it taught a good lesson--the good people in life will lose while the bad people rule over everyone and make all the money. it is true. i used to be an idealistic save-the-world-er and i have to hold onto that because it is the least of the evils, but we cant save the world. aid organizations are corrupt and assholes work at them, the government is full of terrible human beings, and fighting back just gets you killed.
sure there is momentary happiness, and plenty of reasons for smiling in the day, but if i look at the big picture, at this entire world, there is no choice but to despair.
so what's the point of life? i am not sure. i guess i will just live out my days like any other animal--find food, shelter, companionship and then die.
sorry for the depressing, but everyone has to figure out this stuff out sooner or later. i will probably feel better in the morning.
Friday, September 21, 2007
A while back, I posted about a church I went to in Virginia when I was Christian and how I was disgusted by their extraordinarily exhorbitantly expensive video game rooms and such. The post can be found HERE.
Well, I just received an email from the Student Ministries there who found the post. I thought I would post his reply. I appreciate his respectful tone, although I maintain my disagreement with the church's expenditures and such. I think it is good for me to put it here because it isn't fair that I can just rant and not let people speak their opinion against mine.
Here is the pastor's email...
I ran across your blog about your experience @ our church. I'd love to speak with you about your experience and what we might learn to avoid others having similar experiences and to offer you a verbal, personal apology. The Bible says "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22)If you really would like to have a sincere dialogue, please call me as I would love the opportunity to speak with you, each of us having an open mind, as to what we might learn from one another.
I realize, as an atheist it appears, you clearly disagree with:
a) our beliefs - God, Jesus, The Bible
b) how you experienced (unfriendliness) and interpreted our means of sharing our faithand we are constantly reminded how we do not do justice to the God we serve, as sinful people (1 John 4:11 - "since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.")
But I can assure you that when it comes to our youth center our goal is to do the same as when:
a) I was a kid in youth group and board games were the means of building community amongst participants before and after service
b) our students served in Peru and Mexico for weeks this summer to impoverished children where balloons and puppets met the need for fostering social interaction) when Jesus himself walked the earth 2,000 ago, meeting people's physical and emotional needs in order to ultimately address their spiritual need for Him. (Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us)
So while I can see where you might disagree with what we believe, how we stumble in living it out as sinful people, and how we choose to do run our programs to further our faith and share our beliefs, I hope you can understand and even respect our desires.
Give me a call if you really would like to explain further your experience. Thanks again. I appreciate your honesty and candor.
That was pretty nice. I am going to reply to him thanking him for his respect and candor--although I think he slightly missed my point.
I was an honest, sincerely believing Christian when I went to his church and at the time I had no real problem with Christian beliefs or the proclaimed beliefs of his church
Also, my problem was necessarily that games were used to attract and distract children--but that seemingly tens of thousands of dollars were spent on video games. Also, he cites board games used at church when he was a kid--I think that is a good idea! Board games usually are cheaper and they involve a lot more interaction between kids--
And also, I think it is nice the kids go on mission trips, but I have to say personally, that I dont think Christian youth should be ministering to people in other countries. I support like eye-opening trips to the third world for kids to learn and absorb and do more relief work, but I disagree with having kids conduct VBS or other christian teaching or outreach. (I have been on over a 1/2 dozen of those things and so I am very familiar with what tends to go on at them)
On the whole, I am grateful for the church pastor's reply. I think it is really nice that he thought I was worth taking the little time to talk to, and his attitude is a lot more open and sincere than I expected.
I think I will change the title of my old post--not the post, but the title was pretty harsh.
see you later!!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Okay, for those of you who are unaware, I LOVE KATHY GRIFFIN. She is that red-headed comedienne who has a different face every time you see her because she has so much G.D. plastic surgery. Yeah, she is so funny. Anyway, I was reading today about all this outrage surrounding her Emmy Award acceptance speech. Apparently she said, "people usually thank Jesus for this, but Jesus had nothing to do with it, suck it Jesus!" or something like that. I mean, tasteless, but also harmless. But now people are SOOO up in arms about it, making it their mission to take her down and boycott her and stuff. I mean, cool, whatever.
It is sad to me that THIS is the mission of a lot of Christians. It is a mission that can be fulfilled sitting on their asses. They can make phone calls to the news complaining, while sitting on their ass. They can write stories for their website and boycott her program, while sitting on their ass. They can fight this epic battle against the devilish ginger kid (reference to south park) ALL while sitting--you guessed it--on their behinds. What a brave and noble fight. What about fighting real battles--like fighting for the rights of the poor and the tortured, fighting for starving kids to eat and drink safely, fighting to free enslaved human beings? Na, I'd rather sit and make up controversy while eating my Pringles. on my ass.
OH YEAH--and a Christian drama troupe spent over $90,000 on an ad in USA Today against Griffin and for Jesus. see HERE
oh and BTW, I have two friends who kick ass and are Christians and are working in India to help enslaved women and other needs--that is a real battle!
you can read their blogs here :
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I have been thinking about God a bit more lately. I can't say that I have come up with any amazing conclusions--or even observations for that matter. But Here are some questions I am pondering...
1. why does God have to be good?
Just because God is God--creator and all--why does that necessarily presume he is only god? Is it because as humans, we have evolved to desire those things we label "good" and to comfort ourselves in the knowledge of a God--he has to be the embodiment of those things?
Why is it supposed to be so obvious that a God would be good? And why is ONLY the Christian religion allowed to have a purely good God? Why can't Allah be good as well?
I don't know. I am kind of assuming that it reduces to power and human need. Power--because in order for the commodity of Christian faith to be marketable and profitable, it must be desirable. And the only thing more desirable than a pretty good god, is a totally good God. If our God is the only perfect one, then people will want him and all the other religions can suck it or something.
And humans have had need for supernatural gods seemingly since the beginning of human time. Deities have been in existence in the beliefs of humans for like all time--either they exist and are trut, or they are all the result of humans needing to believe and sustain a belief in a God.
2. If God is purely good, how could he have created, or allowed to be created, a world in which their is immense evil?
Aside from the discomfort in the conflict between a good god and evil, I wonder, how exactly could a good God allow evil if he is only Good? Is goodness like a chromosome? I guess since he is God, he can do anything he wants and all--but in that, why do we allow him to self-proclaim as wholly good when he most clearly does not stop all evil? Which presumably he is able to do?
This is a really odd, bad and underdeveloped analogy, but it just came to me
Let's just pretend that I am all about empty pools and that i am 100% committed to all pools being totally devoid of water. I have a staff of a million people, so I realistically can empty all pools and the capacity to get the job done is no problem.
So what if I ONLY emptied pools that had water in them? I never stopped anyone from filling their pools, I just waited until people filled their pools totally, and then I would go and drain the water in the dead of night--not telling them what I had done or why--so they have no idea that filling pools should not be done.
That would be stupid. My job would never be done, and no one would ever TRULY know what they should do or why with their pools?
That is a bad analogy, but I kind of think it is similar to the Christian God.
We have a God who is TOTALLY good. He proclaims all things good and has the capacity to turn everything to good and all that jazz. Well, he (let's assume) makes good things--he helps some people get healed from diseases (let's assume) and he gets people good parking spots at the mall, he comforts people, etc. BUT he doesn't do anything to STOP all evil. He doesnt soften people's hearts (it is assumed he can harden them) so that they choose peace instead of war, he doesnt use supernatural means to halt a hurricane, or blow it into the ocean...he doesnt put a sign in the sky to warn innocents of impending tsunami death, etc. He just lets it all go and cleans up later (kind of).
Wow, that is a great, good God. I dont believe so. I actually have to say I would rather trust my not-so-good, not-so-bad self in this life.