Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Moving coming up...

For the two or three people who may actually notice, I will be between ISPs for a few days due to a home move. I am picking up the family and relocating us about 45 miles down the road, closer to the cultural pulse of Ohio (yes, there is one).

The whole ordeal is a story in itself, and something I wrote about before I started this blog. It was my first attempt at having a work enter the public domain. Regardless, time is short so I must wrap up before Time Warner rings my doorbell and takes my modem.

Hopefully I will be back to pissing away my time soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Great article in The Economist

Check out this article. It makes a good argument for choosing our battles, and also shows what kind of strength we could have if we were able to unify in our disassociation from religion and superstition.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Enjoy the fight...

As I was posting on vjack's site a few minutes ago, I realized something about what made me determine myself to be an atheist and what makes it all so fun to me. It is the fight... the thrill of the hunt.

In high school, I realized how much I did not think like everyone else. Some of it was upbringing, but I know a lot of it was genetics. Regardless of why, I enjoyed being witty, smart, funny, and weird. The first time I was caught drawing symbols of heavy metal bands on my Trapper Keeper by some female friends, their response was priceless. They were honestly concerned that I may have problems and that I may worship the devil. Needless to say, I let them run with that. It was too good to be true, they actually felt sorry for me!

Without going on and on, it basically took off from there. I would regularly engage people in conversation playing only devil's advocate, while taking comfort in my own spin on Christian belief. Over time, I read more and more about the foundations of religion and ancient religions. Then came my infatuation with the cosmos and quantum physics (among other basic space and sub-atomic physics).

That finally did it. God flew out the window quicker than the Tooth Fairy after giving a kid a nickel for a molar. Luckily for me, some of my friends came to this conclusion around the same time as I did. Our new past time was out loud public blasphemy. At first it was for shock value, to see how far we could push it. Then it was uncontrollable, like we could not help blurting out exactly what we had to say. Finally, it was irrelevant. It barely ever got a reaction any more. Were people afraid of saying anything? We certainly gave them every reason to.

Now, I hold my opinions like a sword inside of a cane. I don't stick out, but I instill doubt. I am a voice of skepticism and reason, playing devil's advocate and not believing in him. This is what makes it all fun. The game is afoot...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Finally, my title has a relevant post.

Discovery magazine had an interesting edition that I read, in it's entirety on my flight from DFW to CMH. One of which was the 6 most important experiments of the year.

Xenon is a project being done by Rice University to actually discover dark matter.

As the article says far more eloquently than I could, this could prove just one more thing about the beautiful insignificance of humanity in the scheme of the cosmos... we are not even made of the stuff that composes most of the universe.

Really, that should tell us even more how improbable and incredible life as we know it is. Truly, that is much more inspirational than a giant wizard in the clouds controlling our destiny. I serve no master. I just spin on a tiny rock on the outside of a giant pinwheel of galactic dust, hurling through space at thousands of miles per second. Cool.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FSM in the news

Nice write up about the FSM movement....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ohio: No Strippers Allowed!

This is one that has been on my back burner for some time. For those of us who choose to willingly live in Ohio, despite its right-leaning ways and infirmed job market, we also recently were introduced to a law allowing concealed weapons, and now the new law banning lap dances. Yes, LAP DANCES. Not only that, but if you can't be within 6 feet of a dancer or touch them in any way. This could land both of you in jail.

Be assured, my strip club visiting days are pretty much over. I'm happily married with kids, so I am lucky to go to an R rated movie. Regardless, once again we are policing fucking morality and personal pleasure. Strip clubs are FUN. So is drinking beer, watching sports, getting laid, smoking a cigarette, hitting a bong, and punching random people in the face.

Okay, you get the picture. Drinking beer is super risky, but legal. Getting laid, super risky, legal. Smoking a cigarette, legal and deadly... just getting expensive. Hitting a bong, illegal and mostly harmless. Punching random people in the face, that one makes sense... illegal and hurts others. Getting a lap dance... HARMLESS. No pregnancy, no disease, supports young women (or men for that matter).

Regardless of the arguments of objectifying of women or potential crime influences, stripping (like prostitution or marijuana use) is a personal pleasure. Period, end of fucking story. Coming soon to Ohio... women can not cut men's hair. Young women should not be shampooing men's hair, it is too personal and requires gently caressing their scalps... after which the man pays the woman!

Ridiculous, but the best analogy I had at this time of night. I usually do better. It will be okay... see you strippers at the grocery when your bagging my groceries!

Go to this site: http://votenoonissue1.com/

Monday, November 19, 2007

Secular Scholarships and Grants

One of my brilliant ideas that I will work towards some day, is to create a good resource for secular students to receive college funds. Here is a good resource for anyone looking.

This is the kind of effort that needs more attention. Whenever I hear about Christian colleges it makes me cringe that a liberal education will be laced with references to mythical creatures.

So anyway, I will also include the link in my permanent link list.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

God's Customer Complaint Center

Click here to address all deity related issues.

Be Blessed

The long open aisles of Wal-Mart are a good place to find yourself crawling around on a shiny cement floor. A good place to be on your back, struggling to reach the giant pink pacifier that your 20 month old daughter has violently hurled in anger. And it is then, in your moment of weakness, that you find yourself "blessed".

The guy obviously had some kind of righteous, good intentions. He made a joke under the assumption that the baby was angry because mommy had walked away, and not because she did not like me taking her new booster seat away to run a price scan (under orders). So that was fine. He couldn't have known.

A few minutes later, taking the turn around the vegetable aisle, I am caught off guard by the same voice jesting in our direction.

"Hey, she must have got what she needed (mom)! Stay strong... be blessed!"

I really don't want to be blessed. He said it almost as if it were a command. I wondered if maybe he was a pastor, and it was some pro bono work he was doing while shopping. Why should I be blessed? Because my daughter was being a fussy brat? Because he thought I needed it? It really makes you open your eyes when you decide that your are sure enough in your beliefs that you are an atheist. You start to hear things differently...
  • bless you
  • be blessed
  • via con dios
  • god dammit
  • Jesus!
  • jumping Jesus Christ on a pogo stick!
Well, you get the idea. It all makes the assumption that we live in a Christian nation, and we all subscribe to those beliefs and worship those gods. I didn't want anyone to fucking bless me today. It really just comes across as pretentious and self-righteous. It pains me to hear those things. It is something I will live with, and allow others to exercise their first amendment rights. I just hope they remember those rights when I slip up and tell one of them to stuff their blessing up their ass.

I know this reads as hateful, but sometimes that is how it feels. Sometimes I think, "Wow! Thanks dude! You just blessed me for nothing! I can do anything I want!" But mostly, I just think, "shut up."

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Yes... I am a Buckeye fan. I am an alum of The Ohio State University. I am one of those guys. I received my liberal arts degree in psychology from one of the best public universities in the world. I am proud of that and our bad-ass football team. I used to look down on die hard fans, but I have given in. It's fun, and we have the best rivalry in the land with Michigan.

OSU: 14 UM: 3

So what if Illinois stomped us last week... Big Ten Champions. Rose Bowl bound.

Oh... and I hate Jesus. Hah! Just kidding. I have nothing against that guy. He was a real subversive revolutionary. Probably gay, or at least didn't much care for women. Hung out with dudes judging everybody. Wore sandals and robes all day long. Not a bad guy really. Probably a bit of a con artist, what with all his "magic".

I just hate that people follow blindly... anyone or anything. Question authority, help society evolve. That's all for now!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nova's Great ID v Evolution Special

I have nothing more to say now other than how amazing last night's Nova was. Please click on the link, and please watch the show.

If you do not know what this is, it is the story of the trial in Dover, Pennsylvania a few years back when the Dover school board required students be told that evolution is "only a theory". The show does a beautiful job of telling a fair account of both sides (yes, BOTH sides), and really exposes the relentless efforts of creationists to put religion back in school.

The website is full of great links and even contains the entire court transcript for the trial. This is a very important documentary. It should be shown in schools. It needs a bigger audience than the already science savvy Nova crowd. Spread the word. Probably the best introduction to modern evolutionary theory and findings anyone could ask for.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Peel back the onion

So, I finally started to reveal some indication of who I am, and what I look like. So my profile shows one of the more sober pictures of me from a Halloween party doing my best Hunter S. Thompson. The party was a furious drunken blast... and I remember large parts of it, which is sometimes a good thing. My wife was looking evil as some kind of zombie red-riding hood (packaged and sold as "Little Dead Riding Hood", available at your local Wal-Mart). We had a real good time, and a fair number of people actually knew who I was trying to be, thanks Johnny Depp. Other popular guesses:
  • DeNiro from Cape Fear
  • Panama Jack
  • Some tourist
  • Johnny Depp from "Blow" (some credit for being confused but close)
  • Some asshole
I polished off a fifth of Gentleman Jack within my first hour or so there, on the rocks. Great way to start a great evening. And yes, my friend's house has a stripper pole. Guaranteed to attract drunks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reactionary Rant...

What can we do, right now? How can I get people to realize the complications of the wars we are fighting? How can I get them to see that bombs and bullets don't solve what true diplomacy should be handling? We can not beat the religion, belief, culture, and history out of millions of people. I also do not know how to get people to stop denying global warming... and furthermore, science.

Why is it that I must defend SCIENCE? I understand someone choosing to defend religion takes on a monumental task. They must take a stand on a position that is neither provable nor deniable. To be fair, they have safety in numbers. I mean, thousands of Elvis fans can't be wrong... thousands that for years believed that he really could not possibly be dead. If a shitload of people believe in something, then people feel more comfortable in believing. Sorry, not going to reference any journal to support this. It doesn't matter.

So, I have to take a stand and say:

Global Warming is real and a probable result of human consumption of fossil fuels. Why? Because the overwhelming majority of SCIENTIFIC research tells me so.

Darwinian Evolution is a theory that strongly supports the idea that we humans have evolved over millions of years of random mutation and natural selection from simple origins of life. Why, because the overwhelming majority of SCIENTIFIC research tells me so.

Testable hypotheses. Repeatable processes. Multiple studies. Volumes of data. Oh, so you have all this for Noah's boat? No.... What about a virgin birth, a resurrection, walking on water. No.

I can come closer to proving time travel, than anyone can proving one single component to the teachings of the bible. Is it really just about the message? Then fine, get everyone together and agree to that. Just decide what the message is... the bible does not seem to be sure itself.

So, we are all going to die. What is it all about? Nothing in particular. We all seem to be wired relatively the same, so the same basic stuff makes most of us happy. Sometimes there are fundamental differences in what makes us happy, but we all need basics. Oxygen, food, water, human companionship, stimulation, sex, and so on up Maslow's Hierarchy.

This really does not have a direction. As usual, it is me rushing to get my thoughts out with limited time, limited energy, and limited patience. More excuses, more piled up stories for another day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Many things...

The great thing about doing this blog is that I have far too much material, and far too little time. So be it, that this will be another rambling and less of a relevant posting. I have been catching up on the videos posted on Richard Dawkins' website, watching some great shows (Nova for one), and actually doing some reading for pleasure. I have also spent the last 2 weeks traveling, which builds up more material and takes away more time.

I also want to take some time to do some upgrades to the layout of the site. The template from blogger is nice, but I want to tweak it a bit for my subject matter. Well, no time to get into anything now... have to wake the baby up!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Part 1 of My Path to Enlightenment: The Drill Sergeant

One of the reasons for this online forum is to find release for certain things that happened in my life. I will foremost try to be topical, as I want to be relevant and part of the movement to open a few eyes. Secondly, I want to tell my story... much as we all do.

This posting is a rare moment where I can relay a short anecdote and still be somewhat relevant.

1993: The First Time Religion Really Pissed Me Off

The US Army's basic training program is a lot of things. It instills discipline, hones the body and mind, and prepares the novice soldier for the future in the world's most advanced army. I expected all that when I was barely old enough to shave, and signed up for 3 years plus training to be an Airborn Ranger. I also expected to get kicked, punched, or smacked around if it came to that, just like in the movies.

I went to infantry basic training in Fort Benning, GA, which was often referred to as the "old Army". Although they had formally stopped hitting the trainees, they still had a good amount of vicious techniques that caused great mental and physical torment. This was before the official bans on hazing was enforced, which was well after my second year in the service.

What I did NOT expect was an evangelical blindsiding, a religious shovel upside the head. It took me some time to realize the impact of what happened that evening in the barracks, but looking back I realize how completely inappropriate and outrageous the whole thing was.

For those who never were in the military, imagine combining the authority of the police, your parents, your teachers, priests, or any other authority figure. Push those into one person, and you have a Drill Sergeant. I am sure many have seen the movie's take this on, and some do a very good job. The key point is to realize how unquestioning you become of them, how you hang on their every word. Then factor in the reality that 90% of what they say is negative and insulting. That 10% of positive is really powerful. If you get praise from a drill sergeant, your chest swells with pride and accomplishment. If you are the fastest at field stripping an M-16 (or M4 now a days), then the drill sergeant may hold you up as a model for the rest of the platoon. If you max the running score in a PT test, you are held in high regard for others to rise to.

It was well into the whole 17 week process of infantry basic and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Infantry trainess do not stop and graduate from basic before going to AIT They take a weekend off then keep going, same cadre, same platoon, same everything. On a hot and slimy Georgia evening, one particular drill sergeant softly and politely called a platoon meeting on his evening shift.

The whole platoon gathered around as he started appealing to our basic need for approval. He very carefully navigated through our insecurities, our fear, and our collective need for kindness. At this point in my life I had become fairly agnostic, but was still entertaining the thought of a god and often praying in private when I felt the need for meditation. When the drill sergeant began asking if we wanted our eternal souls to be guaranteed a place in heaven, I kind of looked around and thought, "well yeah, of course. That would be sweet".

At this point my best friend in basic training at that point turned around abruptly and said "man, I can't listen to this" and walked away. I could not believe he had the audacity to walk away from the drill when he was talking to us. I continued to agree with all of the wonderfull things the drill said about our heavenly salvation. I admire his boldness to this day.

Finally, at some point, we all said "yeah sure", or some such affirmation, to his final question. It was then that he announced that we were all officially born again.

My chest filled with the distinct heat of burning rage. Had this guy honestly just swindled me into stating my acceptance of his religious beliefs? Had he actually used his authority to get my attention to hear his speil? Yes, yes, yes he had.

I have always been pretty good about sniffing out a con, but this really caught me off guard. Like the choir boy about to be molested by his priest, I accepted the whole thing on blind trust and faith in his position. Now that said, I was not physically violated. Someone tried to take something that did not belong to them. They told me, "hey, you have an eternal soul that's up for grabs. It's not yours, because either God gets it or the Devil gets it. If you say these words, then God gets it, and you're good. If not, then your screwed and your fingernails will be pulled out slowly and regrow in a vicious eternal cycle of unbearable searing pain. But hey! It's your call dude!"

Again, it took some time to realize the importance of this event in the movement away from faith. I understood more about the tactics and techniques of the relgious movements. I am sure there were Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and other non-Christians that all had to hear that asshole's speach. I can't imagine how many times this has happened, and no one said a word. I could have really been ahead of the times if I would have said something back then. I was just afraid of getting smoked (hazed), and not getting my chance to jump out of airplanes and shoot bad guys.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Widget for Blogger?

Oooh, that was cheap! Now that you're here, you can take some time to read one man's views, insights, and musings based on years of hard earned experience. Then, after you've read all my links, you may even read my postings.

You see, it took me years to come to certain conclusions... as we all do growing up. Some go to a further horizon than others. Some do not like what they see, and turn back. And some just don't bother looking at all. Regardless of where you fall... relax, take a look around, and let me know what you think. I am open to positive and negative feedback, so have fun.

As for the title, apparently that link is a Technorati Top 100 and gets a lot of hits... yeah, that was my cheap attempt at getting you here. Now if I only had some good content. Oh well, I'm new to this.

Look forward to future installments of (adult content warning) "crazy things my wife and I do with our friends." You wouldn't believe the pictures my wife's friend has been sending her... it's good to live like a heathen.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Megaphone Around the Corner

How does one make a bunch of noise, make a difference, change the world, all while remaining anonymous? How can you really do something with passion, and half-ass it at the same time? The logic seems fatally flawed, right from the outset.

My wife coined the metaphor. I was trying to justify why I wish to do this online forum, in all of it's pointless preaching. I was explaining, like I always do, that it is really about intelligent discussion. It is really about participating in a free-thinking community and spreading a positive message about the benefits of ditching superstition, for the betterment of humanity. But, I need to be careful, because:

I do this blog to get discussion started on a global scale
The discussion I wish to start is about religion
Religion is a very touchy subject taken very seriously by some very powerful/crazy/intelligent/passionate (pick your adjective) people.
These people may become my enemies due to my words
If my blog is "successful" then I will get a lot of attention
My enemies will know who I am
They may try and hurt/impair/hinder/harass (pick your negative verb) me

So, should I not stay anonymous to protect my family and my career?

I always wanted to be the guy whispering in the ear of the guy with the microphone and the cameras pointed at him. I wanted to be the power, but not the face. However, I wanted the informed people to KNOW that I was the man. In my ultimate career fantasy, I am the architect, the puppet-master, the Karl Rove to the George Dubba-Ya., the Emperor to the Darth Vader... and so on.

My wife, looked at me and said I wanted to hide around the corner, and yell into a megaphone. I thought, "well yeah, I don't want the bullets to hit me while I yell."

So here's the big question: "Who fucking cares?"
If its no one, then great. My family and I are safe, and nothing happens. But then, nothing happens. The only benefit I get is a medium for my creative urges, and to get my thoughts published in the vast expanses of the internet cosmos.

If someone does care, then maybe something does happen. Maybe you inspire the right woman who becomes president, or the man who creates a belief structure that allows for all beliefs and everyone buys into... right. Keep your goals small. Just be glad to have a reason to write.

I was considering creating a myspace/facebook page. That goes greatly against my character... I guess. I will send you freaks a message when I get my pages set up...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Atheist Sell Out

I just turned on AdSense... this should be interesting. I am really trying to do two things, make a difference in free-thinking and liberation from religion, and see what kind of money doing that would make me. I have a good job, and enjoy what I do, but if I save some huge client $1 million bucks, the world is not a better place. If I make a few smart people question the superstition of their ancestors and challenge the world around them, then I can say I did something worthwhile in life. Furthermore, if I can support my family doing what I love (and keep my wife happy about me sitting on the computer every night), then even better!

Soap Box Time:
Research your religion, challenge what you were born into, confront superstition, escape intellectual restrictions. Religion is thought-control. That is how it has been used for thousands of years, and we should all be ashamed that we have not discarded it's archaic hold on our minds.

Look into the universe, look into the sub-atomic world, marvel at what you find. There is nothing more magical and fascinating than the realities of science, especially the dogma of ancient superstition. Look into it, for yourself, your children, and the future of humanity.
End Soap Box.

Administrative Issues:

I am trying to reach out and support outspoken atheists. I have somewhat tried to find the myspace page for Jeremy Hall, the Army Spec 4 who was threatened for being an atheist. I am also trying to reach out to Pete Stark, the California Senator who finally admitted to his atheism. His site only allows contact from constituents, which is understandable. If anyone has some ideas to support these free-thinkers on the front lines, please let me know.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Athest Blog Roll... Hell Yes.

I wanted to publicly thank Mojoey for including me in the Atheist Blogroll. To help the cause, bring publicity to the list, and fight the ole' interweb fight, here is the entire list as of today:

Join the best atheist themed blogroll!
Technorati Profile

Monday, October 1, 2007

Win Ben Stein's Religious Endorsement

I know I'm late on this.... but...What the hell? Should I be surprised that sort-of media star, former Nixon speech writer, and pop culture icon Ben Stein is supporting Intelligent Design?! Why Ben, why? I guess my disappointment is the way he is supporting the cause, by starring as the main interviewer/narrator of the new documentary of ID called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This is the one that rounded up some great atheist spokesmen and biologists and interviewed them under false pretenses, after which they "quote-mined" the interviews for anything that could be used against them. Some articles have stated this was a Michael Moore-style documentary, in the way it spins interviews of the opposition into the message of the movie. Michael Moore, for all his spinning and shortcomings as a fact finder, does not try to convince the world that there are alternative theories to gravity, or another viable option to mathematics.

This movie, in short, is unbelievable bullshit. In all attempt to not rant and rave, how can rational people sponsor such pseudo-science and mysticism? The Atheist Ethicist does a very well done letter to Ben Stein here, that says it better than I can.

The sad fact is that intelligent design will be the embarrassment of our generation. Future generations will look back at this backlash to the increasing understanding of scientific principles and theories, and feel sympathy for our poor, back water intellects. Intellects of a large number of people who were unable to accept that their 2000 year old book may not be 100% accurate.

I fear the future for our children, for a great number of reasons. If we can tell them that evolution is flawed and there are viable alternatives within the realm of superstition, then we can also tell them that the ice caps are not really melting, their just migrating south for the winter. We can tell them that oil comes from an infinite well at the core of the planet. We can tell them that solar energy is too expensive and not-feasible. Yes, we are already telling them most of this stuff. Sad.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

God of the Gaps

God's gap is getting increasingly smaller. Thanks to the advances of science and technology the domain of superstition, mysticism, and religious dogma has become much, much smaller. It is because of this that a person of average intelligence and curiosity for the world around them can so easily realize the truth. Let's try and look at it in a very simple way:
  • I am typing on a computer, connected to a world wide network of computers.
  • Computers are possible because of advances in science, technology, and overall enlightenment and education of the general public
  • Science, through its proven and repeatable methods, have given us a range of theories
  • Among these theories are the theory of relativity, string theory, the Big Bang theory, and evolution
  • All of these theories are directly contradictory to many of the key theories put in place by religion and superstitions, which also attempt to explain the world, life, death, and the beginning of human existence.
  • Christians and Muslims, who do not allow for the fact that their scriptures may not be totally true, are forced to condemn the findings of science.
  • Those who do accept some of the science, but refuse to give up religion, are forced to dwell in the gaps.
With that, I present The Anointed-One's argument against atheism. Thanks to a poster on the Atheist Revolution website for pointing this out. This is a very well thought out attempt at marrying science and superstition. I give this credit for now, I have not had the time to really dig into the details. I will be interested to hear other's thoughts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Raising Free Thinking Children: Part 1

My son and I had about an hour conversation the other day. It started by watching Ken Burns' new documentary, The War. He professed, that at 11 and in the public school system, he did not know which war was which, so we started talking. Speaking of the second world war, topics turned to kamikaze pilots, the terrorist suicide bombers, then, naturally, religious zealots.

For ease, here are the bullets of our conversation:

  • Some religious fundamentalists feel the need to kill for their religion.
  • Some of these people kill other believers, for not believing the "correct way".
  • The differences between Catholics and Christians.
  • Who wrote the bible, where they lived, how they lived, and what their situation entailed.
  • How the bible has been passed down, translated, re-worked for political reasons (The King James Bible, for example).
    • As an analogy, I told my son to imagine that I wrote a story about how great my grandfather was. That he lived to be 80, and was a great blacksmith who could make anything with metal. Now imagine that this story was translated into multiple languages, passed down over the ages, and the grapevine effect kicked in. Finally, in the future, my grandfather is revered for living to be 800 years old, and could magically create metal objects with his bare hands.
  • Multiple religions and multiple gods, different people and different cultures, and so on.
Many children go through playing the grapevine game. They learn how a simple message, over a short amount of time can mutate and take on a whole new meaning. Sometimes, you can identify the one person, who with a slight misunderstanding, identifies a pattern and a meaning that has some significance to them, and changes the entire message.

Some parents these days believe in telling their kids everything, and not hiding anything. I made the decision, years ago, that I would not systematically brainwash my son into believing anything. I question how he feels about religion, or if his classmates question his beliefs (we do live in a very conservative small town), or if he feels uncomfortable about faith. He usually says there is no problem, and shrugs it off. I have played out telling him exactly how I feel and why in my mind's eye, many times.

My parents took me to church occasionally at a very young age. My father was raised Irish-Catholic, my mother Presbyterian. I assumed their general, modern, and somewhat liberal views in God. I believed, and took it for granted that I would earn my way to heaven at some point. However, they never pushed me into a belief, and never silenced me on my questions and disbelief on certain stories of the bible. I attribute my ability to question authority and think freely to my parents, despite a loosely Christian upbringing.

My son, laying on the floor, looks up at me and says, "what is it called when you don't believe in any of that stuff?"
"What stuff, you mean religion and gods?"
"Yeah. Like if you don't think any of that stuff is real."
I trembled, composed myself, then spoke.
"That's called atheism."
He questioned the word, and I explained how theists believe in some religion, atheists believe in none.
"I don't believe in any of that stuff" he said.
"I will not ever try and influence your beliefs, and I am okay with whatever choice you make", I say, trying to not do the exact opposite of what I was saying.
I continue, "I spent most of my life believing in basic Christian concepts, but challenged them and researched them. I finally made up my own mind. I hope you make up yours in a similar way."
"How do you know so much about this stuff Dad?"

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Best Reasons to Give Up Religion

I plan on making this a permanent fixture on my site, and I hope that it will evolve into a solid list that people will refer to, quote, ridicule, or at least think about.

So far, it's a list of 8 items... a nice 10 will be settled upon in the long run.

8. Enjoying Personal Pleasures

Ultimately, this one is something that religious and the non-religious do alike. However, non-religious may not be as devastated by guilt and fear of eternal hell-fire for enjoying private pleasures. I will touch on this subject in the other bullets, without getting into too many details (I don't want to give away all my secrets, but let's just say I am VERY happily married, and won't go to hell for anything I've done....). Remember what is truly ethical, right for society, and legal (as legal as possible), and you will feel complete without feeling empty.

7. Thinking Outside of the Box.

Yeah, I said that annoying business axiom. However, how much more outside the box can you get? The phrase asks us to question what's accepted, challenge the status quo, and get away from the beaten path. If religion were obscure, rare, and limited in scope, then this would not apply. Religion is none of this, it is everywhere. It dominates rational thought across the world, and it keeps critical and free thought in check, as it has for many thousands of years for many millions of people.

6. No Masters.
This is similar to number 5, however more literal. I will officially state order of importance as to who your masters really are:
  • Family
  • Society
  • Humanity
  • Nature
I add nature only to specify that we owe our environment special care. That said, humanity, family, and society are dependent on our ability to take care of the environment. Why serve a thankless God, who at best knows what bad things you've done and keeps an eye on billions of lifeforms (let alone the billions of already deceased souls)? Why be a number to God, when you can be the center of the universe to your loved ones? Many will argue you can do both, but I won't put anyone above family, which is more than a lot of followers can say.

5.No Thought Police.
I think bad things... sometimes a lot of bad things. We all do. We are animals, barely civilized in a few thousand years time. In fact, listen to the news and decide for yourself how civil we actually are today. I have vividly thought of violence against people. I have had reprehensible sexual fantasies. I delight in doing harm in the privacy of my own mind, however, I am in control of myself. I love my life, family, wife and children, and I believe in the general well being of others. It saddens me that some people need a supernatural mega-being to keep them in line. My obligation to family, society, and humanity are my regulators. It is healthy and natural to have immoral thoughts, it is not either to pray for forgiveness from a jealous and vengeful God.

4. No Invisible Overseers.
One of the best things I ever did was to decide that no one was actually watching me every minute of the day. Whether a god, an angel, a dead relative, or even a dead pet following me around, I just never liked the idea of being watched by an unseen being. Especially when I was 14, and thought the door would fly open at any minute because my dead grandmother had tipped off my mom about my appointment with a Playboy magazine.

3. No hell.
No brainer. See "No heaven" for much of the argument. The human sensory system can only accept so much input, before it overloads. To keep it simple, it sure is nice not having to worry that you picked the wrong god, didn't do enough Hail Marys, or masturbated too much when you were 14 (or last week).

2. No Heaven.
This one may seem unusual, as you may be thinking that is the best thing about faith (although the bible itself is pretty sketchy on the afterlife. As with many of the stereotypes we maintain of religion, it has mostly been made up along the way). Here are some issues with heaven, for starters:
  • Sanity. How can the human mind go on forever? Too much of anything would become a hell. If I think of my 30 best days, I know I couldn't tolerate them for eternity.
  • Relative pleasure: what is everyone's heaven? Will my Aunt Marsha be in my heaven, as it would likely conflict with her perception of heaven? I would love to see all my dead relatives and friends again, but it does not stand to reason that we would all share a personal paradise.
  • Morality: What if, as a perfect Christian, you lived a life burying your homosexual impulses? That is who you are, and it partly defines you. How then, can you be happy in a heaven forbidding such desire? Are you waging that you will be rewarded with fulfilling those needs? What about other fetishes? Does heaven remove them entirely? I don't know that I would ever want to stop fantasizing and subsequently having sex (as long as I'm conscious).

1. You won't have to defend ancient dogma and superstitions to atheists!

Trust me on this one. Atheists tend to really do their research and can be quite articulate. Their arguments are usually logic based, and it can be really frustrating trying to convince them that faith is an answer to anything. I am fortunate that I have never had to do this, but I seen a few people squirm, question, and paint themselves into corners. I didn't envy them.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

God, the Pretentious Ass.

So, apparently the courts don't have jurisdiction over otherworldly beings. This is according to the mysterious legal document from God, that appeared in response to the law suit being filed by Ernie Chambers. And, we have now learned more about God's personality, he's an asshole. He makes a pretty clear threat to have the Senator removed from office, due to his refusal to believe in invisible magical beings.

More realistically, this is a look into the less attractive traits of humans. Vindictive, angry, jealous, spiteful, mean, and so on. Zeus and the ancient Greek gods are perfect examples of this. Their emotions ran wild, the soap opera of their lives was the stuff of legends, and made for good drama. It makes for this good drama because it reflects human feelings on an epic scale. My personal enjoyment of superheroes is barely different, except I don't ever for a second consider that Superman or the Incredible Hulk is real. For all of known history, there have been tales of great human-like beings who were somehow beyond and better. The Christian sky god is the answer to that, as decided over 2000 years ago in the deserts of Mesopotamia.

Robert Alter was recently on NPR explaining his new translation of the Book of Psalms.
Among many things, the idea of the soul was a later veneer applied to the original works, making it more in tune with the ideas of Christians that have evolved over time. He also translated verses that depict God as presiding over a sort of board of other gods, where he berates them for their treatment of humans. Apparently God eventually demotes these other gods, as punishment for their actions. This gave the early followers a feeling of superiority over the other gods of the time. So, did a Christian of the early AD years feel that he was worshiping the best option among many various gods? As opposed to now, where religious followers tend to believe that the other ones don't exist, only their own.

One of the original reasons towards my revelation of atheism was my struggling with other religions. How egotistical of me to think that the religion I happen to be born into is the only "true" religion (oxymoron). What about the millions of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and otherwise? So they all go to hell apparently. This is a big joke among even the religious who have any intelligence and realize there is a world outside of their city, state, country, whatever. What about the factions within religion? The problem is endless, unresolvable, and pointless. Who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman? Its really up to the person who is asked, because it's purely hypothetical. At least with superheroes, you can have fun talking about it. I don't think I could have a jolly laugh with my Muslim friends about whether Allah would get his ass kicked by God.

So that's what I think today. Another ranting by a freed mind, having fun picking on religious belief.

Friday, September 21, 2007

More Rapist Preachers / Priests

Its old news, and we hear it everyday. Whether its a teacher, a cop, or a priest, the abuse of authority and the community's trust in them. Kenton, OH which is a very small town in north-central Ohio, is home to a preacher who raped one teenager girl, and tried to rape a second. These horrific acts of religious authorities have become status quo, and that is sick.

Some pscycho-analysis (of people like Senator Craig) will tell us that sometimes the most outspoken moralists and conservatives may in fact be redirecting hidden and shameful inner feelings. Too often religion is used as the means to bury these impulses, and it continues to fail. Science and psychology have not solved everything, but they have put much more methodology and reason into the potential cures. Religion, its dogma, its ancient traditions, and its superstitions do nothing other than put a lid on a pot that is about to boil over.

More on this tomorrow, and GOD's reply to Senator Ernie Chambers. I will start with this: what kind of pretentious, self-righteous, arrogant prick would actually have the nerve to pretend to be HIS OWN GOD and draw up some unbelievable shit like this? Unfortunately, this response is not at all surprising. I don't know much about the good senator from Nebraska, but good for him for making the statement.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Senator Suing God, Best news ever.

I will not be writing much about this amazing development, not tonight anyway. I had never heard of Ernie Chambers (at least I don't recall), but apparently he has been adamant about not praying during the morning prayer at the senate. I always admire someone who is taking a stand against the majority. I recall a girl who went to my high school who wouldn't stand and recite the pledge of allegiance due to her religion. At the time, she and her family received massive criticism for her stand. Looking back, even though I don't agree with her religion, I admire her resolve. For the record, I don't agree with really any religion, but that will come later.

Back to Ernie. He seems to only be having fun with actually suing God. It seems his main contention is the fact that there are so many frivolous law suits going on, so he's making his point. You can read more about it here http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jqCsP7OChy5Q8AFcTeiB58cfy6Uw

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A small start... tired and pointless ravings from central Ohio

Today, I was actually happy to hear a bit of news. After a lovely day of pretending to be a big important guy (meeting with a large client), I was giddy to hear that the Fed cut interest rates by half a percent. So new home buyers might actually be looking to enter the market. Yeah, don't try to sell your house now. Not a good idea. End of story.
Enough about that. Warren Jeffs, earlier this week, sat nearly emotionless as the now 21 year old women described how she was forced to marry her first cousin under the order of Jeffs. This was all done, of course, for Jesus. Well, the Mormon Jesus. He's the weird one. Not like the pleasant looking Anglo-Saxon gentlemen that is in all of the paintings. Larry Craig just went back to work today on Capitol Hill after playing tappy-tap in a bathroom stall at the Minneapolis airport.
Of course, he was a strong opponent of gay rights. This can be explained quite easily, he's not gay. That's the beautiful thing! He probably does not actually think he's gay!
This is the world we live in. George W. is still president. A large portion of U.S. citizens believe that there is a devil, heaven, and hell. A somewhat smaller portion believes the earth is on the magnitude of some 6000 years old (I can't wait to get started on the Creation Museum, it's as if God himself blessed me with the best thing ever to make fun of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_museum ).
I am a post Somalia and pre-9-11 veteran. I have a BA in psychology and an MBA. I am passionate about this country, education, and raising my kids. I hope to join a community who feels the way I do, or is at least willing to give reason a chance. Sorry if the name is misleading, I do enjoy all things related to the cosmos and quantum physics. I think there is far more fascinating and inspirational information coming from those two fields than I do from any 2000 year old book.
If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits? "....For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]"
OH, and OJ got arrested again!! Uh- oh!