Tuesday, May 19, 2009

breaking down in 5 minutes or less

My life might not end up looking the way I had planned.

You see, I am a perfectionist that can't quite get anything right. I am a hard
worker with passion, dedication and a huge lazy streak. I am loving and compassionate, yet
filled with anger, hate a rage. I am independent and lonely. Even though I am against most
built in traditions, I find myself craving the things that the people celebrating those
traditions have.

Things are not always black and white. There is not always an exact right or an exact wrong answer. Sometimes the
answer is just an answer. It is just the best solution to a particular problem that you
could think up at that moment. So you went with it and now things just are the way that they are.

I once thought that love was enough but falling in love only decreases your value....... unless you have a system. You might ask "well what type of system does he have?" The truth is it wouldn't work for most people anyways. Regardless, that is another blog all together.

No one ever really seems to be honest with each other and it all seems
harmless until someone loses an eye or worse........ has their heart broken! Then one day you wake up and realize that life isn't that way for everyone else.

Then again it could be just as easy to sit on the sofa and drink whiskey. That's the problem with free time. You never know how to spend it. You can't always be wasted because at some point you might need your head. Sometimes you have to feel the pain before you can figure out how to make it go away.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wells Fargo Clown School!

Never has anyone been more discontented or sick to their stomach than I have been over the last few days. Unfortunately I really have no one to blame for this situation but myself. After litigating away millions of dollars after my accident in order to settle for a measly $115,000 I instantly decide to reward myself with a brand new car. The way I figured it I had been to death and back and I deserved it.

My accident caused my house to be foreclosed on and as a result my credit was destroyed.

My current situation leaves only myself to blame though. Had I just been content with my current situation I would have been able to purchase my condo with cash. Not getting the banks involved would have been huge! Instead I spent $30,000 on a car. I never thought that I was going to own property again. I didn’t care about my fucked credit because I had the cash to get by until it was restored. An opportunity to nearly own a place to live in at the tender age of 30 could not be passed up though.

I initially tried to take a secured loan against the title on my car. Most banks will offer 150% of the value of your car. I thought with 80% equity in the house and a secured loan against my vehicle that this would not be a big deal. It turns out that I was sorely mistaken.

Next I contacted a loan agent that thought he might be able to figure out a work around. Of course being a loan agent (That is one step above a criminal defense lawyer on the ethics scale) he decided that he had good grounds to take advantage of me. He wanted to charge 2 points ($2000) to underwrite the loan and a 10% interest rate. I may be desperate but I am not an idiot.

All of this took place before I had even found a property. Then it happened. I found the perfect property. I submitted an offer and it was accepted. The amount agreed on was a strange number indeed. It was the exact number that I would have had, had I just sat on my money. But Nooooooo! I had to have a new car. My jeep ran just fine and it was a lot of fun. It even had A/C. I loved that jeep. But I was going through a difficult time and I just felt that I needed to spoil myself with a new car.

I found a real estate agent and submitted to him a list of properties that I wanted to look at. Five days later he had still not taken action to get me out looking at any properties. This is a turning point in the housing market and it is a time when action is necessary to take advantage of the immense amount of bargains in the market. I promptly fired this agent and hired a new one.

A week later Wells Fargo bank called and said that the power of the loan was offset. The problem that this presented is that anytime you transfer an amount of money over $20,000 the government imposes a gift tax. That means that at the end of the year I would be forced to pay a tax on an additional $60,000 over my current income level.

After getting the bank to agree that the money could pre-emptively be placed in an escrow account without filtering it I thought we were good to go. Then the bank came back and said that due to new regulations that my name could not be on the loan or the title at all. This was a pain but a work around was easy. After the close of escrow it would cost $50 to go down to the recording office and have my name added back onto the title. Once again Wells Fargo claimed to be O.K. with this.

Next Wells Fargo said that they wanted us to purchase a flood insurance policy. So we did. This wasn’t enough for them though. After further review they came back and said that the HOA needed to purchase a stronger flood policy for the exterior flood insurance. The thing about flood insurance is that it is federally regulated. The irony here is that a bank (Wells Fargo) is telling the holder of a federally mandated policy that the policy is not sufficient enough for them to carry the loan. Furthermore getting an HOA to do anything is generally equivalent to hitting your head against a brick wall.

After much deliberation Wells Fargo has claimed that they could move forward with the loan if the insurance company can break down their blanket policy for the entire complex to show how much of the insurance is covering the individual building in which the unit that I wish to purchase resides. The problem is that the insurance company only writes the policy the way that it is already written. In the event of a catastrophic event, anything with letterhead that they had sent to the bank promising coverage would be legally binding. It could send both companies into years of litigation. What has ensued is a good old fashion Mexican standoff between the bank and the HOAs insurance company that has trapped my money in the middle, ultimately holding all of us hostage.

I was scheduled to move out of my apartment the day after closing so as of right now my girlfriend and I are squatting. Being as the day of closing was the Friday before a three day weekend there can be no resolution until the end of next week. Everything is up in the air. In the meantime our utilities are powered off, and we have no internet connection. I have to go down to the corner coffee shop by my apartment just so I can use the Wi-Fi to do my work. Thankfully I have an iphone, so I can still check my email!

The agents at Wells Fargo have been absolute clowns and the insurance agents could care less. I have exhausted every option to take Wells Fargo out of the equation. If nothing else they have certainly lost my business for the rest of my life. Had it not been for my amazing real estate agent I think I would have clearly lost my mind by now.

As it stands, everything is up in the air. I am technically the only homeless guy in the state with 80k in the bank. I am living out of a box and I am traveling for work on the weekdays which further ties my hands. My next step is to start over with a new loan agent or hire a real estate lawyer to litigate against any parties that have held up the process through their negligence. Unfortunately all of the above options do nothing but add more stress than I can handle to an already delicate situation.

I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On God and Gasoline!

I am not shocked at high gas prices but I am delighted. Finally for the first time in over 30 years, the price that our nation is paying for gas is more on par with the rest of the world. Energy cost and especially gas prices have intentionally been kept low by our government. If you look at the economies of other countries you will see that the high price for fuel has fostered an economy where people use more public transportation and seek work closer to where they live. The increased traffic on public transportation creates more money and need for public transportation. This results in more need to build and more jobs in the construction sector.

Oil production is estimated to peak in 2020. As oil production follows the path of a bell curve, this would under normal circumstances allow us roughly 150+ years of oil after this date. Unfortunately with the increased population and heavily increased demand, scientist estimate that after our peak we will roughly have 60 years before our world oil supply is completely depleted. This means that if we keep going at our current rate that the worlds supply of oil will be gone around 2080. Link

Countries that have maintained high energy prices have helped to curb consumption. Let’s face it, the only way to get people to conserve anything is to slap them in the pocket book. If something starts costing someone so much that they actually make life changes regarding its usage then you have made a measurable change in behavior. Link

All of the doomsday theorist, claim that high oil prices will send our economy into a downward spiral. While there will be some “restructuring” in our society and while some people will get “lost” in the mix, (mainly those not crafty enough to make the appropriate changes to their lifestyle) high energy cost will have the incredibly long term benefit of world energy conservation. High energy cost would also foster research for alternative energy sources. You would see more people on foot, bicycles, public transportation, or in energy efficient vehicles. Less expendable income would mean less traffic on our roadways and less leisure time for those that cannot readjust to the changing economic environment. This translates into a cleaner and less crowded social environment, open roadways, less waste on gas guzzling vehicles and even has implications for population control.

I realize that there are downsides to these ideas. As with any social restructuring, people will get lost in the fray. I understand that many people view it as unfair that these oil tycoons are making such massive amounts of money at your expense but there is one thing that needs to be understood. They made a decision to go into a difficult business with a high demand. They are reaping the benefits of their decision. You made a decision to buy a house with a 70 mile commute to work and buy a gas guzzling S.U.V. that gets 10 miles per gallon. You are reaping the benefits of your decision.

I am ready for gas to hit $8 a gallon. At the current price there has been little change in driving habits. Mostly we have just seen a lot of complaining about the pricing structure. I see lots of complaining but no habit changes. This is pretty typical of our American culture. This is a remnant of religious indoctrination in our culture and I am laughing now because it is slapping you. I will not be happy until I see prices that force a change in behavior. I will not be happy until Americans realize the need for change!



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Living on a prayer

I was thinking a while back about how the integration of religious beliefs tend to create a sense of complacency in our population. It sets up an ideal of how one should act and what one should believe in our society in order to be deemed a normal person. An ex of mine used to drone on and on about women’s rights. Now before I go on, let me just say that I am for equal human rights. Not just women, but all people. So needless to say I supported her 100%. She would make statements though about how a man being the financial income earner and supporting the woman was an oppressive role.

The problem here was that I was the only income earner in the relationship and was supporting her financially while she went through college. So while I was busting my ass to make sure she had the small things like a place to live, food and clothing, she was busy looking at me as if though I were a slave owner. I can only imagine though that if these things really mattered to her, the way that she verbally stated that they mattered to her, then she would have situated her life in such a way that she would never have to be financially dependent on another human being. Now that might mean putting in grueling long days because you have to go to school for 8 hours then work for 8 hours, but that is the sacrifice that you must make if that is the life that you really want. If school was just as important as financial independence to her then she should have been willing to work for it.

Of course it is always much easier to complain that to stand up and take action.

This is why Christians pray!

Prayer is a way to take responsibility off of one’s self. Instead of taking the steps to restructure your life and make necessary changes, one can simply say “well, I have been praying about it and I am waiting on god for an answer.”

It is because of all of the restrictions in our society that people have become out of touch with what they are or really want to be. Let’s take for example smoking. Very recently in our society smoking has been deemed to be a very bad thing. I think the research has been conclusive that as far as your health is concerned that this is very true. Each person of course has the right to decide still whether or not they want to put this unhealthy thing in their bodies. It has gotten to the point now, were if you are a smoker people start to look at you as if though you are a really bad person. The result is a large group of people that are “trying to quit.” Many of these people actually have no intention of quitting. They feel the societal pressure, that quitting is the right thing to do. It becomes impossible just to own up to the fact that they enjoy smoking and do not want to quit.

The fact is that from aside from a physiological addiction quitting a habit is as simple as ceasing the behavior. The ability to do this is one of the main things that set us apart from the other creatures that inhabit our planet. Our society and our religions wants to take that responsibility away from us. They want to tell us that we are weak and powerless. This is another system of built in control. They want us to believe that we can’t stop doing what we don’t want to do without their help and their products.

Of course the only way that we can change our behavior is through a simple two step process

#1 You have to really want to change the behavior
#2 You have stop doing the behavior

Does this mean that you won’t have impulses? Of course not but you won’t have the behavior because you won’t take action on it.

I have used this method several times in my own life with great success. I wanted to quit eating high sugar foods. I stopped buying high sugar foods and put myself in a minimal amount of situations where I would be tempted to do so. When I was in a situation like this I would make a conscious effort to not partake. If I did partake it was because I decided that I wanted to, not because I slipped up. Got it? Do you understand what I am getting at?

We are not powerless! We do not have to rely on the government, religion, god, or Jenny Craig to help us with our maladies. All it takes is a little bit of self awareness and a little bit of self control. Most importantly it takes an honest decision from yourself that you would like to be different than you are now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

All Apologies

My life has just been so crazy lately that I have not been able to find to post. I have some topics in the works and plan to be a regular at blogspot once again. Thanks to everyone who has stuck by me and supported my efforts over the last two years. I will be reconnecting with all of you very soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We are all special?

I was thinking about the utter contempt for others that I had and the sense of arrogance and self righteousness that was ingrained in me during the days of my indoctrination into the Christian religion. I believe that this sense of being “special,” taken to the extreme can be a truly devastating thing. Then I realized that my gut instinct was backed by history.

I just finished watching a 6 hour documentary on the Nazis and how they were allowed to come to power and rule. They convinced an entire population of people to accept horrible atrocities not only by claiming that their enemies were sub-human but also by suggestion to the Germans that the German race was super-human, or in other terms special. Now I am not here to break out the Hitler argument as it is most often a fallacy. There is something to this though.

Christians are taught they are special. Christians are taught that they are better than non-Christians and that they have more benefits than non-Christians. The major benefit in their mind is that they believe that when they die they will go to an eternal paradise while non-believers will burn in hell. On the surface it would seem that this belief would encourage them to kindly convert non-believers and in general this is what they appear to attempt to do. It is, of course, only a matter of time before human nature takes over and the feeling of superiority kicks in. If “Christians are special” then why shouldn’t they deserve better than others?

We have seen this throughout history with all different sorts of ideologies that teach a particular group that they are better than another group. This way of thinking certainly serves its purpose in a society. Yet it is another inconsistency in the Christian ideology that for some reason Christians do not seem to be able to see. This is why Christians love to teach the virtues of “Blind Faith. “ Not only is blind faith an effective method for keeping a population in an un-questioning state of mind, but it is much easier for a population to grasp and manage, as opposed to doing their own research and making up their own minds.

The fact of the matter is that none of us are special. If we are, it is a relative issue. I am generally not one to take the stance of moral relativism but playing the devil’s advocate in this situation is hard to do. One of the most popular arguments against a moral relativist is to show him a picture of his family and say that you are going to kill them. Then when the relativist objects you make the argument that he can’t say whether or not it is an evil thing because it is relative. The problem with this argument is that it is evil to him. He believes his family to be special even if no one else in the world does. He believes that it is evil to kill them. So he will have to act to protect them. Show him a picture of a different family and he may not care at all. So this argument seems to support relativism not argue it.

Just think about this for a second. You are driving down the highway and you hit a traffic jam. For whatever reason you believe yourself to be special. For whatever reason you believe yourself to be above all of these other losers on the road. You should not have to sit in this traffic jam. There should be a special lane for you. Why are all of these people so stupid? You have it all figured out. If everyone would just "go" then you wouldn’t have to sit here. You are important! You have things to do. You are getting angry, impatient, flustered.

But what if you were in the same situation and you were not special. Now you are simply stuck in a situation that has no real meaning. You are in the company of hundreds of other people, just like you, stuck in the same situation as you. You might as well relax and wait for things to open up. It is no big deal. There is no entitlement. When you look at the world around you, you realize that you are no better than anyone else. You are just living your life the best you know how and you will eventually cease to be, just like everyone else.

I suppose what I am trying to get across here is that the feeling of superiority, while not found only in religion, is something that does, in fact, make religious organizations dangerous. Of course it is only one of many things.

Treat each other well!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Sage advice!

Every morning when I wake up I am amazed. I am amazed that I have once again woke up! I almost can’t believe it. Every night when I feel tired, I assume that it is the end, that the day I just lived through was my last. Then I wake up and I am shocked all over again! How did this happen?

I had an experience about 18 months ago that I should not have lived through. I did live through it though. I progressed and I got better. When the perpetrator of this violent crime was sentenced, the judge gave him a verbal lashing about the horrible thing that he had done. One of the things that the judge said was that this criminal may have shortened my life expectancy. Initially I just thought that this was something that the judge was saying to express the seriousness of the crime. I had never even thought that this might actually be true!

You read crazy stories everyday though. A man that smokes a pack of cigarettes a day lives to be 92 years old, while a 17 year old healthy student just suddenly drops dead while jogging. You could die while riding in a plane or while simply visiting the zoo. I think that it is not unreasonable to think that my injuries could have left me with some sort of ticking time bomb in my head or heart that could go off at anytime.

I am in a lot of pain and I generally ignore it. But pain is that body’s way of telling you that things are wrong. Ignoring it doesn’t make things not wrong. They are still there…….. lurking……..waiting!

So I try to live each day as if though it was my last, but knowing that it may very well not be this becomes quite a feat. You have to work, pay bills, take care of responsibilities……. maybe a car breaks down, or a friend needs a favor, or an ear to talk to. You can’t just up and do what you want because while you may die tomorrow, you may very well live another 60 years. Then what? If you are stupid now, then you will be fucked then!

The ultimate message here is that there has to be a balance. The reason that this balance is hard to find is that it is dynamic. It is different from day to day. It is with this knowledge that you can start to understand how the mass institutionalization of our societal structure, being static, works against a healthy lifestyle, on a mental, emotional and physical level.

Live for today, but live for tomorrow too. Remember that there is not much on this earth that matters. When it comes down to it, all we have is each other. Treat people good, make healthy decisions, be kind, and be compassionate. Don’t take shit from anyone though. If someone is unhealthy for you and beyond your scope of ability to help, cut them out of your life. You only get one go at this so your lessons have to be learned quickly. Please remember to give yourself credit when you do something great. I assure you that Jesus had nothing to do with it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Violence begats violence

It is really hard for me to know exactly where to start on this topic. I am so disgusted at what took place in Colorado over this weekend. It was senseless and ridiculous and had the potential to directly affect some people that I love.

As many of my readers may know, I spent the last 3 years living in Colorado. (Although the last year was spent commuting back and forth between Denver and Las Vegas) Last night I was reading through CNN and saw this front page headline. This gunman walked into a ministry center that trains young missionaries in Arvada and opened fire after being refused a place to sleep. I recognized it immediately. It is the center that one of my best friends since 5th grade works at with his wife. My friend was not there but his sister was. She was one room above the area where it happened. I frantically tried to get him on the phone last night and had a tough time sleeping as I could not get through to him.

Someone was asking why they just didn’t let him sleep there. Like that would have avoided this issue. The fact is that these institutions are businesses. Don’t be fooled by the religious status. As a business they have rules and regulations that they needed to follow and I think that the decision not to let this guy in for the evening was probably a very good one. Apparently he was planting explosives around the building, had grenades and guns.

Then there was the shooting at New Life in Colorado Springs. This is the same church that Ted Haggard was ousted from a little over a year ago. As of right now they believe that this was the same guy at both locations. My Ex wife’s sister had just left the worship service moments before the gunman entered and opened fire. Can you imagine that I could have lost this many people that I care about in one swoop. My hat is off to the armed security guard at the Colorado Springs church that heard the gunfire and rushed towards the scene and took down the gunman. I am glad to see that she didn’t kneel down and pray and ask god for help. She took action and put a bullet in him. As he layed on the ground wounded he started to reach for something, so she fired the second and fatal shot.

This woman is a hero. She saved many lives. I am glad that this man was killed and does not get the opportunity to go through our circus of a court system. We need to start dealing with things like this more viciously in society. If someone takes a gun out in public, do not negotiate. Shoot them in the head. If someone takes a hostage, they should die instantly. These senseless acts need to stop happening. What can we do to stop these things? Do we have any power left at all? I know these things happen all over the world, but how come they are so frequent in Colorado? I am having a hard time gathering my thoughts on this one. Maybe someone can help me see more clearly.

Here is a copy of the email I received from my friends wife

many of you have probably seen the news or heard of the shootings that took place in Arvada CO late Saturday night. The shootings happened at Youth With a Mission Denver which is where ****** and I work. First off, we are safe. We are in Washington on a sabbatical. We return to Denver the 20th of December. ****** and I know the two people who were killed. The girl who was killed was a good friend of mine. We talked on the phone hours before she as shot. One of the others who was wounded went with us to Bosnia. We are in shock. This happened a block from our home, at a place where we are every day. We don't know what to ask for other then prayers, and encouraging words for us and the families and friends of those who were in this tragedy. Thank you for being there for us. Watch the news for any other details. We only know as much as the news people know.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A new year’s resolution

What are you going to do for the New Years? Get Drunk? No, I mean to better yourself. New Years is the time in the year when everyone decides what they are going to do different for the rest of the year. It is the time of the year when people will make a decision to give up vices, stop drinking, stop sleeping around so much, workout more, eat healthier. The problem is that there is three more weeks until New Years day is here and there is a lot of damage to be had by your body in the meantime.

I don’t know if it is just me but the whole concept of waiting until a certain day to accomplish an objective such as this seems a little archaic. Something so silly can only be rooted in the deep traditional values that religion tends to instill into human societies.

I mean seriously, why do I have to wait until Valentine’s Day to give my lover some chocolates and tell her that I love her and was thinking about her? Why does our whole country have one day every year where we feel compelled to eat tons of turkey? Why do we all wait until December to rush off and buy gifts for our loved ones that show them how much we care. Why do we wait until Veterans Day to honor war heroes and mother’s day to honor our mothers? Why don’t we just consistently love, honor and think of these people every day? Are we really this mindless?

I say let’s eat turkey in February. Let’s tell our lovers that we love them every day. Let’s always honor our war heroes. Let’s pretend like every day is Christmas and treat people with the respect we bring out in the holidays the whole year! I say if we are going to make healthy decisions, start making them right now! Don’t wait for new years. Don’t allow your life to be run by a corporate clock. Let’s take back control. Let’s run our lives the way we want to. Is anybody with me? Will any one stand up and cease to be slaves to tradition with me?

Monday, November 12, 2007

God is on trial

I am really surprised that I have not seen that many people discuss this yet. Republican Senator Charles Grassley began an investigation aimed at six televangelist, in regards to the way that they are obtaining and spending their income and looking into their tax exempt status. The way that most of these “ministries” structure their organizations are in control of one person or one family. As we all have suspected all along these organizations are using their tax exempt status in order to collect money from their unquestioning patrons. This is a 100% profit margin and it goes right into their pocket books.

One of my biggest complaints with these televangelist organizations is not that they are able to extract money from everyday suckers who believe in “faith healing and divine intervention” but rather that they are nothing more than a business promising services that do not have to pay taxes like the rest of us for the income that they obtain. In my mind they are no different than psychics. Regardless of your ability to prove that what they are doing is legitimate or not, if people are dumb enough to pay for a prayer or a healing then they really got what they deserved.

The televangelist that are being investigated are

Paula White-Log into her homepage and the first thing you will see is multiple links for you to send her money. “Click here to give a special Thanksgiving offering” or “Donate now Sow a seed with your online gift!” Paula does claim that 81% of the donations to her organization went into “soul winning ministries” and “outreaches.” To me this seems vague enough language to say that “we did whatever the fuck we wanted to” with it. Considering $39million in revenue the additional 19% adds up to around a measly $7.4million in her pocket. Not a bad salary for a years worth of lying.

Joyce Meyer-Go to her homepage and not only will you be bombarded with ads asking for donations but you will also be prompted to purchase her books “Battlefield of the mind, The confident woman, How to hear God, and I dare you.” Click on the financial disclosure statement and you have to browse through 67 pages of fluff before you find out that Joyce was valued at $33million and spends 82% on her ministries. (A 1% improvement) This leaves her just a bit short of $6million left over. How can anyone be expected to live on that?

Creflo Dollar-Not only is Creflo asking for donations (Shocking!) and peddling books (So original) but unlike the previous two, he does not have his financial disclosure statements readily available. Dollar is not shy about what he wants out of life though. Consider this quote from an interview on TBN on April 1st 2004. “Some people get mad when I talk about money, they say, 'Whenever I see Dollar he's talking about money!' That's because you ain't got none! I ain't talking to you!" Dollar is flashy and preaches a message of pulling yourself out of poverty. The irony is that poverty stricken people give their money to him in droves in hopes that they will see a return from the almighty. Dollars net worth is in excess of $70million currently and he is not shy about flashing it about. He owns two Roll-Royces and a Gulf Stream 3 private jet.

Eddie Long-Big Shocker here, Eddie wants your money! The interesting thing about Eddie is that he seems to be the only one of these six that has even really commented publicly on the Senate investigation into their financial and tax exempt status. Eddie believes that an investigation into financial corruption in the church is equivalent to religious persecution. “Long called the request by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) "unjust," "intrusive," and "an attack on our religious freedom and privacy rights," during a brief address to the congregation during a morning service.” I suppose Long thinks that just because they are a church that they should be off limits to investigations. What do you think?

Kenneth Copeland-Kenneth has all of the same drabble on his page as all of the others. What sets him apart is that even though he has a Cessna 550 Bravo ($3.4million), a Grumman Gulfstream II ($4.5million), a Cessna Golden Eagle, a Beech E-55 and his own airport, he still convinced his church to fork out money to help him buy a custom brand new $20million dollar state of the art custom jet. He uses this to fly to Bethlehem and get water from the well that Jesus went to. He in turn sells this “special water” in 34oz bottles for $8. This water is supposed to help you be prosperous and he has many people attesting to how they received money out of the blue after blessing themselves with his water.

Benny Hinn-This guy is probably the biggest wack job out of this group. He is known for fantastical display of faith healings and for putting his hand on the camera while asking you to touch his hand through the T.V. in order to be healed. Benny addresses the Senate's inquiry on his homepage. He pleads for separation of church and state, saying that the government should not be involved in the churches affairs by any means. I found it interesting that he is taking this route. It seems that when it comes to the topic of church and state that Christians only want the state out of the church but not the church out of the state.

These institutions are businesses. They are selling products and ideas and they are tax exempt. Why are they tax exempt? What sets them apart from a palm reader? What gives them any special rights? Why can’t any other business just adopt a faith based business culture and become tax exempt to? Who thinks the Senate inquiry is fair? Who thinks it is an infringement of their rights? I am interested to hear some different ideas on this topic. I think you all know where I stand.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who are these people?

“People are smart!” That is what the commercial says. The audience in question watches the T.V. and says “yea, people are smart, I’m a person, and I’m smart!” The inference is that you are smart if you use the product that is being sold by this particular commercial. Of course I am reminded daily not only of how people really are not smart but also of how I fall into that category with everyone else.

Take religion for example. At some point in history there was someone who was born, as many are, except this man/woman was born smart. By smart I mean that they were a genius, had special talents, or the ability to see the world in different ways. In some way they came up with some sort of knowledge about life or how to live better. Being that they had a love or some compassion for their fellow human beings they wanted to share it with them and help enrich everybody’s life.

The problem here is that people are not smart. People internalized the new information, took it literally, and made it apply to their lives on a personal level. Passed it down as tradition. Eventually it became ingrained into the human psyche. We are so dumb that we don’t comprehend that there are those among us that are not like us. We figure that their knowledge must have come from a supernatural or alien force. Suddenly we are worshipping things we can’t see and killing others who don’t worship the same way.

We miss the point so often and it is sad. We shun those that don’t think like us. We don’t help those that don’t worship like us. We are less likely to see evil in someone who goes to the same church as us. Our judgment becomes clouded. There will always be smart people and there will always be stupid people. It will take religion to make the smart people do stupid things though.

God is a concept, an idea. The reason that there is no proof for him is because there is no substance for him. He does exist though. He exists in the thoughts and minds of millions of human beings. When they talk to him, he talks back. When they tell their friends what He said, they validate each other. Nothing can shake their faith now because they have had a “true” experience, a “real” encounter with god. The problem is that the same stupid people are controlling both sides of the conversation, so who knows what will be said.

At some point, no matter what the original intentions were, the egotistical maniacal, side of the human emotional roller coaster is going to convert to its childlike state and start demanding a list of services. The ones that are granted will be attributed to god and the ones that are not will be excused as not being in gods will. When all is said and done, the world will unfold in the same manner that it was originally going to anyways. With that being said, even if you do believe in god, you are on the same playing field as the rest of us. So please try to keep the damage to a minimum. If there were a god, I am sure he would want the same thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ready Freddy

Have you ever been so intensely convinced that you had something real because the people around you were such good liars? Or maybe because you didn’t want to actually know the truth. Have you ever felt like you were just floating through life?

Everywhere you look it is like a fog hanging on everything. Your motivation is gone. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong and you certainly are not suicidal but you can’t help but hope that you will die soon because you are so bored.

Maybe if only your previous request to die had been honored then you would not be here. There are certain advantages that come with wishing you were dead and not wanting to kill yourself. You can go out with crazy people to dangerous places, have a great time and not be scared. You can look evil straight in the eye and not even care.

It feels like the whole world is crumbling down around you yet it also feels like this giant weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. You are no longer responsible to save the world, or the girl, or even yourself. You don’t clean, and your personal possessions fall into peril.

You start to realize that this wasn’t a sudden shift but a long, drawn out and tediously planned attack. You aren’t upset. You actually look at the whole situation with admiration and wish that you were capable of pulling it off. You regret being good. You regret being faithful. The pendulum swings once again.

Your eyes grow sad and weary. You find it hard to get out of bed. You drink yourself to sleep every night. You begin to understand those people that snap. You realize that all that is good, bad, scary and amazing in the world is nothing more than electronic impulses traveling across synaptic receptors and suddenly you realize why so many people believe in god.

It makes all of this so much easier. It gives it all meaning. It gives us a purpose. It makes you feel good and warm and confident. Suddenly you find yourself wishing that you were capable of believing, but such nonsense could never be completely grasped without some sort of self denial.

So you relish in the pain. You enjoy the agony. You wait for your next opportunity to do battle. You wait patiently for the end to come.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to become a psycho Christian parent (By Aaron Kendall)

I found this on SavetheHumans.com

Thought is was funny and thought you would too.


Being from the Deep South and having been in the presence of children who had insane psycho-Christian parents, I have often been asked "How exactly does one go about becoming a psycho-Christian parent?"

Well, it's actually much easier than you would suspect, and can be accomplished in just seven easy steps...

1. The first part is the hardest part: getting a kid. Of course, you could get married to someone who will accept your self-inflicted sexual repression, actually perform that naughty act of sex, and then have a child...but that's a lot of work. If you can, steal one from a woman in the park who leaves her stroller unattended for a few minutes. Trust me, she won't miss the little bastard.

2. During the initial phase of the child's upbringing, you can't really work in explicit comments since the child isn't even really aware of its environment. So, for now, you'll have to rely on subliminal material. For example, instead of the regular trinkets hung over the child's crib like crescent moons and smiling faces, you should hang crucifixes with a blood-soaked Jesus and various pictures of God's wrath. That should burn a few images which will haunt the child for the rest of his or her life.

3. As the child becomes older, you will need to teach him or her the appropriate use of the English language. For example, the child should refrain from using the Lord's name in vain. In order to have the child become completely paralyzed at the thought of even using the word, severe punishments for blasphemy should include such acts as whipping the child with a set of Rosemary beads, or washing the child's mouth out with the lubricant used by your local priest when he sodomizes altar boys.

4. When the child is old enough to attend church, you should use more enhanced methods for brainwashing the child. Coordinate an attempt with the other parents to dress two actors, one as Christ and one as Satan, and have those actors perform for the children. Direct "Christ" to give out candy at the performance and direct "Satan" to take all of their candy away, with "Satan" crowning the scene by branding one of the children with a hot pitchfork. This performance should really throw some fear into the little suckers.

5. As the child becomes an adolescent, you should establish the basis of the relationship between the two of you by becoming completely evasive in regard to the child's problems. Remember, it's important to walk away from the conversation upon hearing the child's problems and run straight for the Church, praying there until the child finally falls asleep at home after crying alone for several hours.

6. When the child is old enough to attend college and has a thicker skin, you should begin using more colorful nicknames for the child, in order to provide the child with some sense of identity. Nicknames should follow examples like "ball and chain", "accident", "weight on my shoulders", "ungrateful bastard child", and "worthless, pagan fuck".

7. Once the child leaves home, you won't have many chances to continue squashing the child's self-esteem. However, in death, you can leave a small ball-buster by including a note in the will that reads "Go ahead, take the sofa. And thanks for ruining my life, Spawn of Satan. I'll work with Christ to make sure that you get a nice room in Hades."

Follow these simple seven steps, and you'll live forever in the nightmares of your children!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Silly little hate crime

I would like to start a discussion regarding hate crimes. I think that my position on this might be a little bit of a shock to some people but it is not a topic that I have researched thoroughly. I definitely would value any intelligent discourse that could be offered on this topic.

I realize that the reason people are trying to push hate crime legislation is so that particular groups will not be targeted for violence. For example, If someone knew that they would get a more severe sentence for beating someone up because they were gay rather than beating someone up just because they don’t like them, then maybe this will result in less beatings of gay people.

Maybe this type of thought process works. It is definitely a good thing to discourage acts of violence against someone based on a genetic orientation, life choice or really for any reason at all. My initial reaction to this is that it offers protection to one class of people while denying it to all others. As an Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinker, this is exactly the type of mindset that we are trying to avoid. We do not want groups to have special consideration one way or another. We should all be equal, right?

So let’s say that I see a man walking down the street and I have a problem with him because he is gay, or black, or Christian. So I get in my car and drive by him clocking him in the neck with a baseball bat. The man falls to the ground and dies. Now I am looking at a life sentence or the death penalty because my crime was motivated by this man’s lifestyle.

Now let’s say that I committed the same crime but I simply did it because I am a mean person. Well since it is not a hate crime now I am only looking at 25 years. Maybe less if I can plead down to a manslaughter charge. This is the same crime but the motivation is different. The victim is still dead and his family and friends are destitute. I have changed a group of people’s life and altered the course of one man’s life forever. Why should the punishment change based upon my motivation.

I believe that there should be one punishment to fit one crime and motivation should be a non issue. If you kill someone on purpose then it makes no difference if you are mean, a bigot or a psychopathic killer. Once you have shown that you are capable of taking a life with forethought, you should be locked away like the animal you are. The race, lifestyle, or religion of the person that you harmed should have nothing to do with it.

I believe hate crime legislation is just another step in the progression of a police state, to justify giving more time to those who the government picks and chooses, should have more time. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Another Blog Meme

Mister Jeb’s blog has tagged me with a meme to discuss the evolution of my blog. This particular meme seems to be spreading like wildfire so, while I am going to participate, I am not going to bother anyone else by tagging them. Besides I think everyone I know has been tagged already anyways.

1. I started blogging on MySpace as a way to release my anger after a 41 year old drunk named Mark Nigon hit my vehicle head on and nearly killed me. The majority of my early blogs where written under heavy influence of morphine, oxycontin and percoset.

2. As A became more lucid I started focusing more on religion. I found that the blogger communities where a good place to find community among free thinkers, humanist and non-believers. This is important because Atheism is not something that tends to lend itself to community and community is something that we desire as human beings.

3. I eventually deleted many of my early drug induced blogs, cancelled my MySpace account and moved to BlogSpot to start over. My religion blog Angels Depart went from a site to debate with Christians to a commentary on the irrationality of belief in the matter of about one year.

4. I also began a site to write about things that were important to me even though they had nothing to do with religion or idiot drunks. This site is The Real JFK

5. Just recently I have added the intelligent and scholarly works of Telos to my blog. While she only has posted a few times so far she adds quite a bit of depth to the blog.

Well, I hope I did it right

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Standing Trial

My apologies to everyone for a lengthy absence from the blogosphere. Between an extremely hectic work schedule, court proceedings and a little tiff with some acquaintances from my past I have not had much time to get on here. I promise to catch up on everyone’s blogs this week. There was something that caught my eye a few weeks ago though.

Senator Ernie Chambers sues God!

As soon as I saw this article I knew that the Christian sites were going to go crazy over it. Although it is fairly clear that Senator Chambers main objective is not to slam god I knew that the Christians would internalize it and take it that way. Of course the purpose of the lawsuit is to point out the ease of filing frivolous lawsuits. I kind of wish that this was actually about religion though because Senator Chambers makes some really good points regarding “god.”

1. Senator Chambers has filed for an injunction against god to cease “harmful activities” and to stop “participating in terrorist threats.” This reminds me of my favorite “The Onion” article. It was right after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It showed a photo of downtown New Orleans in ruins and then it read “God outdoes terrorist yet again!”

2. Senator Chambers has tried on several occasions to serve god with the lawsuit unsuccessfully. He has noted that although the lawsuit has failed to be served, “god” definitely knows about it since he is omnipresent. He will be expected to stand trial whether or not he is officially served. Chambers says he has “tried to contact god numerous times.” Priceless.

3. The lawsuit seeks damages against god for causing "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects and the like." Christians love to argue about how god is not responsible for all of these horrible things that occur each day in our world. They are of course quick to praise god every time something good happens. This has always seemed peculiar to me. Even if “the devil” causes all of the bad things to happen god still “allows” him to operate, right?

4. This may be my favorite part of the suit. Chambers claims that god "has manifested neither compassion nor remorse, proclaiming that defendant will laugh when calamity comes.” In other words, if god is real, he is evil and not worthy of our worship.

5. Chambers has filed for a summary judgment and is pushing for a speedy trial to stop god from causing any more damage.

Well Senator Chambers has unfortunately committed political suicide by alienating the tabaccy chewing, nut scratching, right wing, red neck, conservative, Christian vote. I applaud him nonetheless. The more this thought process is shown to be ridiculous and insane, the less it will affect our lives………hopefully……..

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Morals, Ethics, and Law. (an exercise in judgment)




Here is an exercise for you. It contains a lesson that may very well be different for everyone. The story is original so please give credit if you would like to repost it. Good luck.

Jim is driving to work one morning when he hears a radio add from a local car dealership. The add states that the dealership is having a “crazy blow out sale.” It says that they have the guaranteed lowest prices on Corvettes and that if you find another price on a Corvette that “they can’t beat” then they will give you a Corvette for free. Jim knows very well that no one will ever get a Corvette for free. The lowest price that any dealership would be willing to give on a brand new Corvette is most likely to be just a few thousand dollars below retail value. If they are able to get you into their store instead then they can beat the price by $100 or so dollars and then obtain the sale.

Jim goes to the dealership after work and learns that the brand new Corvette convertible is $54,000. Suddenly an idea comes to him. What if Jim could find someone to sell him the car for much less than the car is worth thus forcing this dealership to beat the price or give him the car for free? Jim remembers that he has a friend, Jake, one city over who runs a car dealership. Jim drives to see Jake and explains his plan. Jim tells Jake that Jake could offer to sell Jim a Corvette for the current dealer wholesale price of $27,000. Jake could give Jim this offer in writing to take to the car dealership. They would be forced to sell Jim the car for this price or give him the car for free. Obviously they would sell for this price and then Jim would get the car and Jake would still have a Corvette to sell at the regular retail price.

To Jake the plan sounds fishy, plus he gets nothing out of it, so Jake comes up with a new idea. Jake will purchase the car for his inventory at the cost of $27,000 and offer to sell it to Jim for $2,500. The dealership would now be forced to either sell Jim the Corvette for $2,500 or to give it to him for free. Of course they would opt to sell and at least get some money. Now Jake would have two brand new Corvettes for $2,500 that are worth $54,000 each. Jake would then sell the Corvettes for at least $50,000 each. They would take the $100,000 for the two cars after they sold them, subtract the wholesale cost of $27,000 and the upfront cost of $2,500 and then split the remaining $70,500. They would pay taxes on the remaining money as if though it were income and then they could use the rest to buy a new car or whatever else they decided they wanted to spend the money on.

Is their plan Ethical?

Is their plan Moral?

Is their plan Legal?

The persecution of Christians pt 2

Continued from here. My voice is in bold.

Manly P. Hall once wrote, "They are the invisible powers behind the thrones of earth, and men are but marionettes, dancing while the invisible ones pull the strings."

Manly Hall is most well known for being a mystic. He regarded Christianity as mysticism. Of course this should not stop you from using his quotes. This should turn out well!

Satan's string pullers have patiently manipulated unregenerate architects of American society for over five decades, networking both visible and invisible principalities to discredit Christian causes. Indicators reveal the propaganda blame-game against western believers is working.

Satan’s string pullers? Oh my god, I could not stop laughing when I read this. Satan apparently has a legion of demons controlling the western public in a conspiracy against the Christian world. Nothing has yet to bring to light the reasons that Christians have for feeling persecuted, even as the majority, as much as this statement. If you believe that there is an invisible spiritual force working against your entire belief system then of course you are going to think that everything bad that happens to a believer is intentional in some way. Of course if your god cared about you and was all powerful then you wouldn’t have to worry about these “string pullers” in the first place!

Even a casual observance of the facts reveals growing isolation of Christians as a people group, especially school age believers.

While I am near certain here that your main gripe is that prayer is not a sanctioned group activity in school, you are making it seem as if though this is a form of persecution. Students are still allowed to pray though. In many cases they do so. The schools, being state sponsored cannot organize it though. It is interesting that when there are cases of school sponsored prayer and students opt out due to their lack of religious beliefs they are often outcast and persecuted far more severely than any of the Christians ever claim to be.

Faculty and peer efforts to convince public school children that America was not founded on Christian ideals, and that our forefathers actually wanted a secular society, permeates public school interaction. History revisionists labor to eliminate any and all contradictory historical evidence from public school curriculum, and mockingly stereotype Christians as unenlightened fringe.

O.K. first of all America was founded on freedom from religious persecution. The founding fathers were fleeing a country where you could be killed for not professing a belief in the “right religion. Now I will admit that we got off to a rocky start with the whole killing of witches issue. After all witches should have been free to practice their faith. The majority of people that came to this country chose to adopt or continue to follow Christianity. This included many of the founding fathers. The founding fathers, although deist, understood the inefficiency of a government built on a specific religion. The whole point of this new country was that people would have the ability to follow their own convictions. I recommend reading Thomas Paine’s “The age of reason.” This should give you a better understanding of religions role in our countries origins.

I assure you that there are not “history revisionist” involved in a vast conspiracy to eliminate god from the history books. As we gain more information about history we should be updating our books. If those bits of information replace previous religious dogma with new found historical facts then you are just going to have to suck it up and realize that we don’t need god to explain the things that we are capable of discovering on our own.

A few years ago, Dr. Paul Vitz, then professor of psychology at New York University, worked with a committee that examined sixty social studies and history textbooks used in public schools across the United States. The committee was amazed to find that almost every reference to the Christian influence of early America was systematically removed. Their conclusion: the writers of the commonly used textbooks exhibited paranoia of the Christian religion and intentionally censored Christianity's positive role in American history.

By positive influence do you mean raping, killing and pillaging native peoples on the new continent? Or perhaps you were talking about hunting down and killing witches. I know, maybe you were talking about the Catholic extermination camps in WW2. Maybe you were referring to the long list of religious wars that have taken place throughout our history. Interesting that these have been conveniently left out of the text books until recently. Tell me, why do you think that is?

Intolerant, Christ-hating censors of religious expression target the media and public school curriculum because this is the best place, outside of the churches and families, to indoctrinate children and thus manipulate the future political and cultural landscape.

I would expect no one other than a Christian to be the number one authority on where the best place is to indoctrinate and manipulate children into their future political landscape. Nice work!

If one succeeds in separating Godly principles from public education and the media, they deny citizens the knowledge of good and keep them from embracing the laws of God. To that extent, they are pawns of evil and subvert and destroy both the message and the messengers of righteousness.

We are back to the old “no morality without god” argument. Telos has already handled this quite well. Christians love to use this argument because if they can assume that this is true then non-believers have absolutely no grounds with which to argue from. The simple fact is that a world devoid of a god is not a world filled with evil. If anything it is a world where the potential for good has increased exponentially.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The face of evil!

Did you know that for only $1 you can purchase a mug shot of anyone currently incarcerated in your local county jail or prison. Check out the mug shot I purchased!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The persecution of Christians pt 1

I will be examining Thomas Horn’s essay on the Persecution of Christians in three parts. It has always been interesting to me that in the current day and age, that Christians consider themselves to be an endangered class. The oddity comes given their mass amount of numbers, increasing status, and tax exempt business opportunities. Yet somehow they are not happy that those that don’t agree with them are given equal opportunity to have their voice heard. My voice is in bold

More Christians died for their faith in the twentieth century than at any other time in history, says Christian Solidarity International. Global reports indicate that over 150,000 Christians were martyred last year, chiefly outside of the United States.

OK, let’s look at this statement a little closer. I do not intend to marginalize the death of anyone who was targeted for the way that they chose to live their lives. As a matter of fact, being from a country where persecution for beliefs is not sanctioned, I really have no personal perspective on it, except to say that the persecutions are wrong.

With that being said let’s see if the persecution of Christians has increased as CSI is claiming. The current population of the earth is roughly 6,700,000,000. They are saying that 150,000 Christians were martyred. This is equivalent to a little less that 0.2%. In Jesus’ day there were roughly 231,000,000 people in existence. This means that for the numbers to be comparable as a percentage only 461 Christians would need to be martyred in a given year. The number of people that actually were martyred is surprisingly higher. This is compounded by the fact that this all happened in a small area of the earth, so we are being generous by even considering the global population.

However, statistics are changing: persecution of Christians is on the increase in the United States. What's happening to bring about this change?

It sure is changing. Conditions for Christians have done nothing but get better since the world has become more and more secularized. In the places where Christians are still facing persecution, it is typically at the hands of other religions.

According to some experts a pattern is emerging reminiscent of Jewish persecution in post war Germany. "Isolation of, and discrimination against Christians is growing almost geometrically" says Don McAlvany in The Midnight Herald. "This is the way it started in Germany against the Jews. As they became more isolated and marginalized by the Nazi propaganda machine, as popular hatred and prejudice against the Jews increased among the German people, wholesale persecution followed. Could this be where the growing anti-Christian consensus in America is taking us?"

You must be absolutely fucking kidding me. You think that there is a growing sentiment against Christianity today that parallels that of Nazi Germany? Leave it to Christians to break out the Hitler argument anytime they get a chance. So if Christians are becoming isolated and marginalized then explain to me why 77% of the U.S. population claim Christianity, and an additional 7% claim some other Christian oriented religion. Or explain to me why every single President of the United States of America with the exception of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson claimed some version of a Christian faith.

Tolerance of anti-Christian attitudes in the United States is escalating.

God forbid that people who don’t agree with Christianity be tolerated!

recently, a woman in Houston, Texas was ordered by local police to stop handing out gospel tracts to children who knocked on her door during Halloween. Officers informed her that such activity is illegal (not true), and that she would be arrested if she continued.

This is an obvious encroachment on this woman’s free speech. If this story is true then she has a very nice settlement on the way from the city. Of course a search of the news archive in Houston turns up no such story. There is a story out of Georgia though were a 67 year old man was arrested for handing out Bible tracts at a parade. He is suing and hopefully, he will win.

In Madison, Wisconsin, the Freedom from Religion Foundation distributes anti-Christian pamphlets to public school children entitled, "We Can Be Good Without God."

So your literature is O.K. to pass out to school children but opposing literature is not?

The entertainment industry and syndicated media increasingly vilify Christians as sewer rats, vultures, and simple-minded social ingrates.

Really? What show was that?

The FBI and the Clinton White House brand fundamentalist Christian groups as hate mongers and potential terrorists.

If this is true, what do you think the chances are that she was talking about the religious groups that "are" hate mongers and "potential terrorist." Take for example the Westboro Baptist church which pickets the funerals of dead soldiers with signs that read “God hates fags.”

The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago warns that plans by Southern Baptists to hold a convention in the Windy City next year might foment "hate crimes" against minorities, causing some Christians to fear that speaking openly about their religious beliefs will soon be considered a crime. All this, while Christianity itself is often a target of hate-crime violence. We remember the students at Columbine, and the United Methodist minister who was fatally beaten and burned in a remote part of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to name a few of the recent examples of interpersonal violence aimed at believers.

This is exactly the type of propaganda that I am talking about. If a religious event causes hate crimes then it should be monitored closely. Certainly Christians will be allowed to speak openly about their beliefs unless they are inciting people to riot. The part about the students at Columbine seems like an odd statement to me since the shooters were not targeting Christians specifically but were shooting the kids that they felt had treated them as outcast. Here is the story of the United Methodist minister in Tennessee. A quick read through it will show you that he was not killed for being a man of god, but that the whole situation was a robbery gone wrong. Interesting though that when these horrible things happen to any other person that they are just random horrible events. When they happen to a Christian all of the sudden they are immediately considered persecution.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Michael Vick’s apology

"For most of my life, I've been a football player, not a public speaker so, you know, I really don't know how to say what I really want to say.

I understand it's not important as far as what you say but how you say things so now I take this opportunity just to speak from the heart.

First, I want to apologize for all the things that I've done and that have allowed to happen. I want to personally apologize to Commissioner Goodell, Arthur Blank, of course Bobby Petrino, my Atlanta Falcons teammates, for our previous discussions that we had and I was not honest and forthright in our discussions and I was ashamed and totally disappointed in myself to say the least.

I want to apologize to all the young kids out there for my immature acts and you know what I did was very immature, so that means I need to grow up.

I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move forward to better Michael Vick the person, not the football player. I take full responsibility for my actions. Not for one second will I sit right here and point the finger and try to blame anyone else for my actions and what I have done. I'm totally responsible and those things just didn't have to happen.

I feel like we all make mistakes. It's I made a mistake in using bad judgments and making bad decisions and those things just can't happen. Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I did reject it. I'm upset with myself and through this situation I found Jesus and I asked him for forgiveness and I'd just turned my life over to God. I think that's the right thing to do as of right now.

Like I say, for this entire situation, I never pointed the finger at anybody else. I accepted responsibility for my actions and what I did and now I have to pay the consequences for it but since I think it will help me as a person I've got a lot to think about in the next year or so.

I offer my deepest apologies to everybody out there in the world who's affected by this whole situation. If I'm more disappointed in myself more than anything is because of all the young people, young kids that I've let down who look at Michael Vick as a role model. So I have to go through this and put myself in this situation, you know, I hope that every young kid out there in the world watching this interview who's been following the case use me as an example to using better judgments and making better decisions.

Once again, I offer my deepest apologies to everyone and I will redeem myself, I have to.

I got a lot of down time, a lot of time to think about my actions and what I've done and how to make Michael Vick a better person."

I believe that in this case, the punishment has fit the crime. What Vick did was disgusting but no people were injured, only animals. I am not saying that it is not wrong but it is not as serious as if he had done it to another person. The one thing that did stand out in this apology is the appeal to god and Christianity. It seems to me that whenever a celebrity gets into trouble and has to apologize publicly that this is the card they play. It only speaks to the stupidity of the American public that this is all it takes. The Christians are happy because they can claim that they have won another soul and the apologizer is happy because all will be forgotten by the public and they can get back to their normal lives. I hope Vicks apology was sincere. Somehow I think it is an act though. Either way I suppose it doesn’t really make any difference

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The one and only

I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. All of you atheist bloggers need to convert or you will go to hell. I saw the truth in a vision. Jesus revealed himself to me. I now believe in miracles, virgin births and global flooding. When I die I will go to heaven to live in paradise and scoff at all you idiot unbelievers. You cannot criticize me because my beliefs must be respected. Any proofs you offer as a counterpoint will be discounted and immediately considered wrong! I will start going to church and will dedicate large portions of my paycheck to ministries that the pastor deems appropriate. I will be a mindless slave and cease to think for myself. All doubters are ignorant. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Atheist Survey!

Why do you not believe in God?

To date I have not been shown sufficient evidence for the existence of god. I search all of the time. I am the Fox Mulder on Jesus and god, meaning “I want to believe. I am simply not willing to accept these ideas without any evidence. It would be wonderful if there was an afterlife and I was going to live forever in paradise with unlimited margaritas and a little stone mansion. This simply seems like a farfetched promise that no one will ever have to make good on. In the meantime I have to make good on subscribing to a system of mind control and indoctrination in order to be accepted into a community of people who believe that there is a man in the sky watching every move that we make.

Where do your morals come from?

This certainly seems to be the questions of the year with Christians doesn’t it? Christians have been force fed the idea that the only standard for morality can be their god. Not only does this philosophy have many weaknesses when held up to the countless recorded civilizations that had strict moral codes before Christianity but it is blown out of the water the moment that an atheist lives his/her life in a moral fashion. The fact is that morals have been developed as part of human evolution and have been essential in the survival of a species that has very few physical defenses and must rely on intelligence and community in order to survive on a daily basis.

What is the meaning of life?

Life only has meaning to the individual who is living it. Ultimately there is no purpose or goal to life. We were lucky enough to win an exclusive genetic lottery through some surprising odds. You do not get to choose what part of the world you were born to or whether or not you are born rich or poor. The decisions you get to make in your journey through life are what make life beautiful and purposeful. Meaning is therefore relative. Some people find meaning in being parents while others could only feel life had meaning if they were a high powered CEO of a large company. Others even still prefer to live life exploring the world in which they were born to. All of these choices imply that they are meaningful to the chooser.

Is atheism a religion?

Atheism is a lack of religious belief or dogma. More specifically atheism is a non-belief in deities. This is not specific to the Christian god although the Christians seem to take atheistic and agnostic belief systems as a personal attack. Dawkins says it best when he talks about everyone being an atheist in respects to ancient gods like Thor. Dawkins says that the difference between the atheist and the Christian is just that the atheist believes in one less god than the Christian does. I believe this statement to be a good representation of the atheistic viewpoint.

If you don’t pray, what do you do during troubling times?

During troubling times I tend to problem solve and take actions that will improve and make my situation better. Even when I was a Christian I never put a ton of stock in prayer. I prayed daily but I always had the notion that god wanted me to be active in the problem solving process. It has always perplexed me that in the middle of a crisis a Christian will stop and pray when they could actually do something to help alleviate a particular situation.

Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?

I do not believe that it is anybody’s place to try to convince another human being to stop believing in a particular belief system unless that belief becomes dangerous to society or innocent individuals. With that being said, there are many situations were religion is somewhat good or helpful to people in their given situations. I believe that if anyone is going to have their mind converted it is going to be because they were seeking knowledge on their own. The atheist and the agnostic should simply be available to discuss the issues with the inquisitive mind. They of course have no obligation to do this if they do not wish to.

Weren’t some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists?

Weren’t they committed by Christians? Even the atrocities that were actually committed by secularist were often done for religious reasons. I have actually covered this topic in great detail here. Anyways atheism is not a unified dogma or belief system. It is rather the lack of a belief system. Atheist tend to be more diverse than snowflakes. Since what we consider to be evil exist in humanity, it tends to exist across the board. This means you can find evil in any thought process that is a human creation.

How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God?

How could 10s of millions of people have purchased Brittney Spears CDs? Humans have a blessing and a curse of having a highly overdeveloped frontal lobe that is capable of advanced thought processes and self realization. Having the knowledge that we will one day die it is no wonder that we began to ponder what happens after death. It is easy to see how these myths could easily be created, amended and passed on from generation to generation.

Why does the universe exist?

The universe exist because random matter progressively followed uniform and complex laws over billions of years to create strands of protein that overtime would develop into one of the many life forms that will eventually become extinct. The universe has no direction or purpose and therefore we should enjoy what we have every single day and count ourselves lucky that we had a chance to enjoy our experiences in this lifetime.

How did life originate?

Obviously this question is under investigation. As human beings living on an impressive planet in a small corner of the universe, we have taken it upon ourselves to study and understand the world that we live in. There are many questions that we have answered and many more answers that we are searching for. I would recommend “The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin as a springboard for the foundation of your understanding to this question.

Is all religion harmful?

It certainly seems like it can be in the wrong hands. I think that there are things about religion that make it exceptionally dangerous. One of those things is the idea of infallibility. If people are able to justify something in scripture then they cease to think for themselves about whether or not it might actually be wrong or harmful. It is an especially dangerous situation when these doctrines make it into the minds of someone who is mentally ill or unstable. We have very good documentation of tyrant leaders and religious wars that were led in the name of god. Countless people have been killed and put to death simply because they have not agreed with a specific version of religious thought or ideology. You would think that this type of behavior would be something of the past, but you would be wrong.

What’s so bad about religious moderates?

I don’t believe that there is anything sinister about religious moderates. The only thing that I consider to be bad about them is the way that they tend to vote.

Is there anything redeeming about religion?

I do believe that there is. I believe that there is a large portion of society that would not be capable of continuing life on a day to day basis without the thought that there might be a higher purpose or an afterlife. These people would become distraught and desperate without this belief system and the power that it harnesses. This would be a very scary situation because there is nothing more terrifying than desperate people.

What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?

I guess I will go to hell.

Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?

No, only actions should be respected. Beliefs make people do all sorts of silly things. Actions are really the only thing that we can judge people by.

Are atheists smarter than theists?

The issue with this question is causation. I think that across the board you will find the same degree of intelligence in most differing belief systems. Interestingly enough though the more education one receives the more likely they seem to be to embrace atheism.

How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?

I for one believe that Jesus was likely to have existed. I believe that he was a man and that the stories about him were exaggerated in order to establish an organization that could gain public trust and collect their money without an argument.

Would the world be better off without any religion?

I am not certain. As a system of control it seems to have some pleasant and unexpected benefits. Of course the flip side of that is that there are some horribly evil atrocities that can be attributed to it as well.

What happens when we die?

Your brain ceases to function and your body proceeds on a journey through several stages of decomposition. In most cultures you are placed in a coffin and buried 6 feet deep beneath the earth.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Reasonable Morality

Throughout the history of humanity, a society's moral codes were inexplicably tied to the local religion. Things have not changed in 2007. Many Christians believe that a belief in God is necessary for a person to live morally; atheists disagree. The atheist's argument revolves around the idea that natural law and civic virtue is available to people due to their ability to reason. The system of morality is established by natural law and civic virtue. Therefore, morality is a by-product of people's ability to reason.

A few terms must be defined before the discussion can begin. These definitions are taken from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Natural law "constitutes the basic principles of practical rationality for human beings, and has this status by nature which is universally binding and universally knowable." Civic virtue is "a willingness to do one's part in supporting the public good." Reason can be defined as "the general human capacity for resolving, through reflection, the question of what one is to do." Morality "is an informal public system applying to all rational persons, governing behavior that affects others, and has the lessening of evil or harm as its goal." Christians are men and women believing in the Judeo-Christian God, the deity of Jesus Christ, the infallibility of the Bible, and the existence of an afterlife. And atheists are men and women who believe that it is impossible to prove the existence of a divine being or an afterlife.

Many Christians believe that morality comes from God; an example of this is the Ten Commandments. For many believers, a life of sin and depravity is the only option for those who do not accept God. This is illogical, not only because it presents an either-or situation, but because it brings up questions of the source of goodness. Frank Zindler, a professor of biology and the editor of American Atheist Press, writes:

Plato showed long ago…that we cannot depend upon the moral fiats of a deity.
Plato asked if the commandments of a god were 'good' simply because a god had
commanded them or because the god recognized what was good and commanded the action accordingly. If something is good simply because a god has commanded it, anything could be considered good…On the other hand, if a god's commandments are based on a knowledge of the inherent goodness of an act, we are faced with the realization that there is a standard of goodness independent of god and we must admit that he cannot be the source of morality.

There is a standard of goodness independent of God and it is called natural law. This is the system that is at work in the natural world. From the beginning, survival of the species was, and still is, the overwhelming purpose of an organism. Certain behaviors benefit the group, while others hurt it. Generosity, loyalty, defending the group, etc, are behaviors that benefit the group. On the other hand, murder, stealing, selfishness, lying, etc, are behaviors that can damage the group's ability to survive. Throughout the evolution of humans, this behavior was analyzed as right or wrong based on the consequences of the action. Over time, this analysis would form the moral code that underlies ancient and current societies. In other words, "they are generalizations from experience…A moral law makes explicit in theory what is implicit in fact. The fact creates the rule; it is not the rule that creates the fact."

Even C.S. Lewis, one of Christian's favorite apologists, saw the foundation of morality as reason—"the fundamental maxims of civic morality are accessible to all human beings by virtue of their God-given reason. This natural moral code cannot be escaped, he said; it is the source from which all moral judgments spring." This reason is the key to morality, not religious dogma. It is the mind of humans that separates them from the animal world; reason is the best weapon with which to face everyday events. Too often, Christianity demands that reason and a questioning mind be shut down to give way for blind faith.

For two centuries, we have looked to the Christian God to provide us with morality and have not been satisfied. The issues that we face today are human problems and it is within our humanity that the answers will be found. This is the time for a return to reason, for a new focus on natural law as it applies to humanity, for civic virtue to once again gain prominence in our national discussion.

Civic Virtue. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/republicanism/, July 25, 2007.

Cohen, Chapman. "Morality Without God." American Atheists, Inc., http://www.atheists.org/Atheism/cohen.html

Morality. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition

Natural Law. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics/, July 25, 2007.

Practical Reason. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/practical-reason/, July 25, 2007.

West, John G., Jr. "Politics from the shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on earthly government." Policy Review (Spring 1994 n680: 68(3).

Zindler, Frank R. The Probing Mind, February 1985. http://www.atheists.org/ethics.html

Fallacies of Morality

Fallacies occur often in everyday speech, especially when one is caught off guard. "One of the first questions atheists are asked by true believers and doubters alike is, 'If you don't believe in God, there's nothing to prevent you from committing crimes. Without fear of hell-fire and eternal damnation, you can do anything you like.'" The obvious response is "Of course not," but the fear behind the question is quite real and deserves consideration.

In this essay, I will analyze the above statement and discuss the main fallacies of false alternative. I will offer an alternative argument that says belief in God is not necessary to live morally and, in fact, may undermine true morality. I will then discuss several examples that support my claim.

Explicit in this statement is a fallacy of false alternative. This statement offers an either-or proposition: Either a person believes in God and lives a moral life, or they do not believe in God and are not able of living a moral life. Limiting the possible outcomes that extend from a belief or non-belief in God is not logical.

In a letter to the Romans, the great Apostle Paul wrote about living a moral life. "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I do." He is referring to the sin nature that Christians believe to be born into all humans. It is this sin nature that causes them to sin and not to live morally.

In addition, the Bible has a story of a non-believer who acts in a moral way when the religious leaders have turned away from a fellow believer. Many people are familiar with this story as the parable of the Good Samaritan. Without the teachings of God and attending religious services, the Samaritan knew that the moral behavior was to help a man in need.

Belief in God is not necessary to live morally and, in fact, may undermine true morality. This is an incredibly bold statement that atheists are presenting and needs to be examined carefully. Not only have many Christians lived complete lives of depravity, but Christianity itself is based on immoral premises.

As to the first point, the Old Testament is full of stories of rape, genocide, child sacrifice, and war all done in the name of God. The New Testament does not fare much better with God striking down Ananias and Sapphira , and the constant threat of Hell. The Crusades have recently been examined in a different light, not as a great and holy movement, but an attack of fear and intolerance. Even in the present day, the Catholic Church is making reparations to the thousands of children molested by priests.

As to the second point, the immoral premises of Christianity follow:
• presenting a false picture of the world to the innocent and the credulous
• the doctrine of blood sacrifice
• the doctrine of atonement
• the doctrine of eternal reward and/or punishment
• the imposition of impossible tasks and rules

Christians are pushing their creation myth into schools under the guise of "Intelligent Design" while attacking evolution, which is more plausible based on scientific research to date. Refusing to let creationism be a rich myth, Christians are attempting to take the story literally, despite inconsistencies in the book of Genesis. The origin of humanity is important because it shapes our understanding of our place and purpose in this world. To twist that message for Christianity's gain is unethical.

The premise of blood sacrifice, whether it involves an animal, a man, a woman, or a child, is immoral. Life is sacred and should not be offered up to spirits in the sky. One of the most disturbing stories in the Bible describes the great patriarch Abraham tying his son Isaac up, placing him on an altar of wood, and raising a knife to kill his son according to the commandment from God. Luckily, an angel stops Abraham from going through with this act and commends him on his faith. This story is evidence of the sadistic mind behind the Christian's God.

Blood sacrifice is inextricably linked to atonement. The original sacrifice for the sins of the Jews is once and for all paid with Jesus Christ becoming the sacrifice for all humankind; he becomes the scapegoat for humanity. It is one thing to take the place of another in their punishment; this theme is common enough in literature, theater, ballet, and other dramas. It is quite another thing to absolve a person the responsibility of their actions. Without a sense of responsibility and consequence, chaos will reign unchecked.

As to the last two points, they are interrelated as well. At the end of time, God acts as Judge and rewards and/or punishes humanity based on their behavior and faith. This is a judgment that extends for eternity because Christians believe in the eternal soul. These rules and tasks that God demands of his followers are impossible to fulfill. It is not just actions that are considered sin, it is the thought behind the action that is punishable as though the actual sin were committed. "The essential principle of totalitarianism is to make laws that are impossible to obey. The resulting tyranny is even more impressive if it can be enforced by a privileged caste or party which is highly zealous in the detection of error."

Taken together, these premises create a totalitarian regime that seemingly establishes unattainable rules and tasks, then punishes its followers for not performing adequately. The guilt and the shame that go along with this kind of situation, along with the terrorism that is practiced in the name of God, makes the very premises of Christianity immoral.

Atheists do not need belief in the Christian God to know right from wrong. It is an utter fallacy to state that atheists must live immoral lives without Christian teaching. It is Christianity itself that is flawed, not atheism.

Acts 5:1-11. The Holy Bible. Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999.

Hitchens, Christopher. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Twelve, 2007.

Luke 10:25-37. The Holy Bible. Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999.

Morality. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/, 07/17/07

Romans 7:19. The Holy Bible. Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999

Zindler, Frank R. The Probing Mind, February 1985. http://www.atheists.org/Atheism/ethics.html

Morality: The Natural vs. The Supernatural

The central question of my essay is whether or not a system of morality can exist apart from religion; therefore, the definition of morality is pivotal to both sides of this argument. I am defining morality as a system of rules governing outward behavior; a line separating right and wrong; a set of guidelines benefiting not only the individual, but society as a whole. The Judeo-Christian faith believes that this system may only come from God, while atheists believe that morality is a natural system established by reason and logic.

From the beginning, it must be understood that I am considering only the Judeo-Christian faith in opposition to atheism for this essay. Time limits and other obligations keep me from attempting to take on all the religions of the world, past and present. Sam Harris, an atheist author, is fond of pointing out that "we are all atheists in regard to Zeus and the thousands of other dead gods whom now nobody worships." But for now, I will remain in the present and discuss modern Christianity and atheism.

Christians believe that God created the world and everything in it. They believe that He gave them the Holy Bible and that He is directly involved in their lives. For many Christians, religion is such a crucial aspect of their lives that they cannot comprehend a worldview without a belief in God. Their initial reaction is one of shock and horror. The Apostle Paul wrote that if the resurrection is a false hope than, "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." It is thought and preached that without religion as a compass, atheists surely must lead lives of depravity and meaninglessness. Jacques Abbadie, a French theologist from the 17th century, says:

An atheist cannot be virtuous: to him virtue is only a chimera; probity no more than a vain scruple; honesty nothing but foolishness;--he knows no other law than his interest: where this sentiment prevails, conscience is only a prejudice; natural law only an illusion; right no more than an illusion; right no more than an error; benevolence no longer has any foundation; the bonds of society are loosened; the ties of fidelity are removed; friend is ready to betray friend; the citizen to deliver up his country; the son to assassinate his father, in order to enjoy his inheritance, whenever they shall find occasion, and that authority or silence shall shield them from the arm of the secular power, which alone is to be feared. The most inviolable rights, and most sacred laws, must no longer be considered, except as dreams and visions.

Christians believe that God is the creator of all things; He is in all things and nothing can be separated from Him. Stephan Evans, based on the writings of Kierkegaard, said, "I shall treat the claim that God provides the foundation for morality as equivalent to the claim that it is because of God that there are such things as moral obligations, or that it is because of God that there are particular moral obligations." Because they believe this to be true, it naturally follows that the system of morality has its origin in and cannot be separated from Him.

Atheists recognize a type of morality in the natural world of animals. They also see evidence that morality exists in humanity as a result of evolution and the survival of our species. It must also be remembered that many civilizations existed with laws and rules of morality before Moses met God on Mt. Sinai and received the Ten Commandments.

Frank Zindler, biologist and editor of The American Atheist magazine, is of the opinion that "the behavior of atheists is subject to the same rules of sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology that govern the behavior of all members of our species, religionists included." Zindler also references the African apes and baboons that are genetically similar to humans and finds several interesting relations. These apes live in social groups similar to humans; they care for their children and live according to rules. If the group is attacked, the older male apes even show altruistic behavior by "linger(ing) at the rear of the escaping troop and engage(ing) the leopard in what often amounts to a suicidal fight. As the old male delays the leopard's pursuit by sacrificing his very life, the females and young escape and live to fulfill their several destinies."

If morality is not supernatural, it is natural. It is a man-made system to govern behavior so that the community can prosper and grow. Morality is based on the experiences of trial and error that took place during evolution. Many atheists believe that morality was clearly in place before anyone created a religion to regulate life. And it is because mankind lives in societies that morality necessarily evolved. From an evolutionary standpoint, the success of a species depended on their ability to pass on their genes. Morality is the system of rules that made this a possibility.

Those who believe that the Ten Commandments were the beginning of moral codes need look to India, Persia, and Egypt as societies that had systems of laws that predate Christianity. These laws dealt with murder, adultery, cheating, lying, property rights, and more. In An Infidel Manifesto, Gary Lenaire quotes the 19th century lawyer and orator Robert Ingersoll:

Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love. All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new are foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: 'Thou shalt not enslave thy fellowmen.' He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: 'The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband.' He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: 'Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defense.'

In this essay, I have looked at the definition of morality as a system of rules governing outward behavior; a line separating right and wrong; a set of guidelines benefiting not only the individual, but society as a whole. I have looked at the Christians belief that morality can only come from God and the atheists belief that morality comes from a variety of experiences that occurred in our distant past. In keeping morality grounded in religion, humankind is cheated from the rich and amazing social history that is theirs.

Burke, Thomas. The Christian Vision: Man and Morality. Michigan: Hillsdale College Press, 1986.

Evans, Stephan. Kierkegaard on Faith and the Self. Texas: Baylor University Press, 2006.

Lenaire, Gary. An Infidel Manifesto: Why Sincere Believers Lose Faith. Maryland: Publish America, 2006.

Meacham, Jon. "God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren." Newsweek. 9 April, 2007

The Holy Bible. New King James Version. Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999.

Zindler, Frank R. "Ethics Without God." The Probing Mind. February 2005. American Atheists. http://www.atheists.org/Atheism/ethics.html.