Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Odd Coupling

For me, embracing atheism has been rather recent for me.

I considered theism in a generic sense. Paganism became particularly attractive for a short while. Yet, I couldn't summon the drive to worship God in any sense.

I just slid into a posture of atheism.

Since then, I never really gave the philosophy of atheism serious thought until lately.

Upon doing so, I noticed something odd . . .

The coupling of omniscience and omnipotence as qualities of God become quite problematic.

With omniscience, God knows everything. He knows all of history. He also knows all future events. He knows which door we choose to open and which path we take throughout our lives.

Omniscience suggests that God's knowledge transcends ours. Yet we tend to desire the kind of rationality that makes sense only to us rather than to God. Besides -- if God made us, we are that way because of it. So, either God built into us a drive for inquiry, or our powers of rationality and intellect was honed by evolution.

Regardless, we humans are a curious bunch. Thus, I cannot resist asking some hard question about God.

If God knows everything, at what point do I truly chose my own path in life? If God knows everything but cannot do anything about our choices, then he is not omnipotent. But if he is omnipotent . . . why does he allow certain evils in the world?

What does God understand that I don't about allowing people to starve to death?

Every single day?

What greater good does God see in things like that? I would like to know.

Free will doesn't convince me. If someone attempts to commit suicide, people who care will violate that person's free will to save his or her life. A person who is suffering in the final stages of a terminal illness cannot seem to easily exercise his or her free will to perform euthanasia; people won't readily allow it. We breach the free will of others all the time for what we think is the greater good. Why doesn't God? Why does he get an excuse?

Why do doctors have to study stem cells and learn how to grow new organs for people when God can effortlessly heal everyone?

Why do people try to thwart evil in the world, yet God sees all things and seems to do nothing about it -- so far as I can tell?

When we say that God knows all things and can do anything . . . God's goodness and purity turns into a philosophical quagmire.

Examine the idea of God creating a person, yet he knows that person will die and go to hell.

For what? Why? I'd rather have not existed, than to be born only to spend eternity in hell.
My life span next to eternity? Can you even imagine how lopsided that is?

And when a person gets to heaven, what will make him or her different from today? How can humans who are prone to sin really be different in heaven? After all, Lucifer (Satan) is said to have lived in heaven as an angel. He was sinless and holy at first -- until he fell.

What will keep people from that same danger, even in heaven? Will God? Why will he do this for us, yet punish Lucifer for eternity?

And remember that mankind ultimately fell, too. What will keep him from falling again? Will God finally lock down our free will when we get to heaven to keep us sinless?

What about the Pharaoh in Exodus? God hardened his heart to receive glory for himself. What if Pharaoh's heart had not been tampered with by God? Was Pharaoh doomed to be swallowed by God's wrath no matter what?

Isn't that rather harsh for an omnipotent God to pick on a measly human?

I know many of the typical answers Christian apologists would give to my questions.

And when I believed in the Bible, such answers would easily dismiss such questions from my mind. But when I lost faith in the Bible, these questions resurfaced. And this time, my mind could not ignore them any longer.

For me, the omniscience and omnipotence of God is an odd coupling indeed. I am now baffled by this strange union of self-opposing attributes.

My musings leave me to think that should God exist, he (or she) is confided by a series of laws from nature, just as we.

Either that, or God is a tyrannical, illogical despot.

Then there is this last alternative . . .

Perhaps God doesn't truly exist.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Gossip Game

I love my son, but sometimes I just don't believe a word he says.

He comes home from school and tells me that kids are selling cocaine on his bus!

Yeah, cocaine.

While that is possible these days . . . keep in mind that my son is in second grade (at the time of this post).

Second grade.


C'mon now

In a town that has virtually no major crime reported.

In the second grade!

C'mon, now.

So, naturally, I start asking questions.
  • me: How do you know they were selling cocaine, son? (keeping a straight face)
  • son: The bus driver said it. (remember that statement . . .)
  • me: The bus driver?
  • son: Yeah, the bus driver wrote them up and then suspended them from school.
  • me: That's an extraordinary claim, son. Do you know what I mean when I say this?
  • son: No . . . . . *shakes his head*
  • me: What if I told you I saw a purple dog flying through the sky while wearing a cape? Would you believe me -- even if I really sounded serious about it?
  • son: No . . .
  • me: That's what I mean by an extraordinary claim, son. So, tell me what happened. Start from the beginning.
  • son: Well, K stood up on the bus and shouted.
  • me: Uh-huh . . . so, what did he say?
  • son: K was talking loud about J. and said that J's name sounded like a girl's name -- but J. is a boy. The whole bus heard and everybody started laughing.
  • me: OK. What next?
  • son: J got mad at K.
  • me: Why was K bothering J?
  • son: K was just being mean. Making fun . . .
  • me: So . . . . what next?
  • son: The bus driver stopped the bus and went to the back. Then J got written up. I think he got suspended.
  • me: Why did J get into trouble? He was being picked on . . .
  • son: He put up his middle finger to K.
  • me: Oh, I see . . . J threw the bird atK. (sounds like K asked for it . . .)
  • son: Yeah . . .
  • me: So, did K get into trouble?
  • son: No.
  • me: No? Hmmm . . . that's sounds unfair. OK, well . . . what next?
  • son: The bus driver got back into his seat and started driving again . . .
  • me: OK, then what?
  • son: That's it.
  • me: *incredulous silence*
  • me, again: Where does cocaine fit into all of this?
  • son: L said that they were selling something in the back of the bus.
  • me: Was this during all the commotion between J and K?
  • son: No . . . but a few days ago our bus driver said we shouldn't sell things to each other on the bus.
  • me: I don't care about a few days ago. I mean, I'm not disputing that you shouldn't sell things. I'm not disputing what your bus drive said. But, I want to know about today and you're claim that someone sold cocaine.
  • me, again: Did you even see anyone sell anything?
  • son: No . . . I was sitting in the front of the bus.
  • me: Son, do you even know what cocaine looks like?
  • son: It looks like cigarettes.
  • me: How do you know?
  • son: Well . . . that's just my opinion.

Yeah, my son and I have had the "fact and opinion" talk.
He's slowly learning to call things his opinion if he knows he doesn't have any facts to back up what he's saying.

I guess he's still learning this lesson, huh?

  • me: So far, only J is in trouble. Did anyone else get into trouble? Did anything else go on?
  • son: K got in trouble for selling.
  • me: You know this because?
  • son: L said they were selling stuff.
  • me: Who is L?
  • son: The girl that was sitting with me on the bus. We were sitting up front together.
  • me: How did L see what was going on and you couldn't? You were both in the front of the bus.
  • me: Anyhow, did you stop to think that K got in trouble for taunting J, while J got in trouble for throwing the bird. After all, you said that K shouted loudly. The whole bus heard him. He didn't go unnoticed by the bus driver. It makes sense that they would both get into trouble. Wouldn't you agree?
  • son: Yeah, I guess he would have gotten in trouble, too. They were both really mad at each other and causing a ruckus.
  • me: So, where does the cocaine fit in all of this? Is this something you only heard from L? You said that the bus driver said this, too. Is that really true?
  • son: The bus driver was really mad and told everybody on the bus to shut up because we were so loud.
  • me: Are you trying to say that because he was so mad, they were selling cocaine?? Did youpersonally hear the bus drive say anything about cocaine?
  • son: No . . .
  • me: Son, I have one more question . . . why should you believe what L has to say? I didn't believe you because you gave sketchy information. If I L were here to make the same claims you originally made, I'd ask her the same sort of questions I just asked you. I wouldn't believe her, either -- especially if she gave me the same kind of answers you gave. So, why should you believe what she has to say about this?
  • son: *sits quietly* (Imagine that!)
  • me: I'm not fussing at you, son. I'm not even accusing you of lying. I just want you to think more about what people tell you, before you go spreading around potentially harmful rumors to everyone else. OK?
  • son: Okay . . .

That discourse got me to thinking: Is fundamental Christianity a harmful rumor that everyone keeps spreading? Is Evangelical Christianity really the Gospel, or just a huge Gossip Game? Why believe the sketchy information of the Bible and the extraordinary claims of 2000 year old stories without at least some question?

If you do believe the stories, that's certainly your prerogative. But at the very least, check up on your facts from history, first. Otherwise, you're only playing the Gossip Game.

And remember . . . rumors can produce a lot of hurt.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Foul Statements Deserve Foul Language

I don't usually talk like this, but I can't help it this time. Here it goes . . .

I ran across this e-mail message that said something like:

I'm confused. If two million black people can show up at Washington D.C. for an Inauguration, how come all those black people got stuck in New Orleans?

Whoa! What kind of ass-wipe would say something like that?

Can you smell the stink of racism coming from this dip shit? Only an ass hole can emit this type of excrement.

I won't even begin to go into why the above statement was foul. But anyone can tell that this statement is racist and insensitive to all people of any race who had their lives destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

There. I'm finished. But ranting like this doesn't seem to help.

Boy, what a dumb fuck that person was to forward an e-mail like that!

Not Fair; You're Cheating!

When I was little, my big brother started teaching me how to play chess. I learned the moves, but my brother always stomped me when we played.

Big brother used a chess board to beat up on his poor little brother.

How shameful!

He left me wondering why I could never win. Why could he always make certain moves whenever he wanted, but I couldn't. The rules always seemed to work for him, but never for me.

I felt like he was always cheating.

But as I got older, I improved enough to see that my brother was simply a better chess player. After all, he was much older. He understood the game and knew how to use strategy within the rules and crush me. He know how to limit my movement on the chess board until he trapped my king -- which is the ultimate prize in chess.

I slowly learned to hold my own against him in chess. He remained the better player, but I could get him now and then.

However, when I tried to match wits against my big brother in religious discussions (back when I was a Christian), I would get that same felling I had when he was teaching me chess. I felt like the rules always worked in his favor -- hardly ever in mine.

"Not fair", I'd say to myself. "He's cheating".

Today, I know better. My brother was never cheating at all. He simply knew something that I didn't.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Church Tradition

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition . . . Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Mark 7:9 and 7:13

I've realized over these past few years that a disconnect exists between religious beliefs and actual written scripture. I've come to realize that churches simply pass down their religious doctrine to the next generation and mainly study from the passages that reinforce their traditions.

Ironic that Jesus himself makes this same complaint against Jewish leaders within the New Testament text. Yet, generally, Christians do not heed this warning.

If they did, they'd be in for a treat . . . or a shock.

Here are some common misconceptions that I grew up with due to Church tradition, but are not compatible with scripture:

Sunday is the Sabbath day for Christians

Tithing is required from the Church (Keeping parts of the Law)

Marriage to a new spouse is acceptable among Christians after divorcing the original Christan spouse

Nothing is wrong with Christians taking other Christians to court to settle a legal dispute

Woman are equal to Men in Church (Most don't want to own up to this sexism. But if you take many passages that speak of women being subject to men literally, can you really make an exception?)

The Lord's Supper consisted of crackers and grape juice

The Bible was a complete unit during the early Christians lives (I never would have admitted this verbally, but time had to go by before I could grasp the fact that scripture went through a canonization process where both Jewish and Christian leaders argued over which books would be included. This process happened for Judaism around 3 or 4 B.C. by many sources. For Christians, this happened around the 2nd century or so. That's 200 years after Jesus was crucified!)

The United States is a Christian Nation (First, the Bible doesn't even mention the United States! Next, the Constitution Separates Church and State. Before you disagree with me, read the First Amendment and Article Six of the Constitution. Many Christians want the United States to be a Christian nation because Israel is known as a Jewish nation and God did such a good job of protecting them because of it -- Israel being conquered by the Babylonians, the Romans, the Jews suffering during the Holocaust and the present day military conflicts make great examples of God's wonderful protection! The United States needs God's protection, too! So lets be a Christian nation just like Israel is a Jewish nation! Please!)

I could think of other examples, but I'll stop here. These traditions contradict scripture, but Christians do not want to surrender these ideas for various reasons.

Well, I only have one computer but my immediate family and extended family is waiting in line to use the PC.

I need my own laptop!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

History Lesson

My most boring moments in school usually involved history class. I generally hated history.

I would perk up during the chapter about the American Revolution, though. I always thought it was awesome how those guys came together and formed a government that has lasted until today.

Out of all my life, I had only two high school history teachers who kept my attention. Otherwise, history was a drag from grade school through college.

B O R I N G.

Then, September 11th came. Current events suddenly became very important to me.

Then, the Shock and Awe came. Immediately, my mind went back to Desert Storm.

Seeing many of the same faces in G.W. Bush's administration that were in G.H. Bush's administration was suspicious in my opinion. Oh well . . .

But that's when I realized history was very important, yet I hardly knew any of it.

Then, I realized that I knew even less history when I started to explore my faith.

I've learned a lot of history since my deconversion. I share the new things that I've learned with other people. And generally, they never knew such events happened.

I was like that, too. But once you learn about an actual historic event, you cannot unlearn it.

If history is boring for you, it is not because history sucks. You're bored only because the thread of life has not woven your personal present into important past events. A good history teacher tries to do this for you. A poor history teacher only feeds you dates.

Think about it. Challenge your preconceived notions.

Know your history.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On the Evolution of Evolution

Wow -- I've taken some time to really soak in the significance of the theory of evolution.

Here are some things I've come across lately which I think are note worthy.

The 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth is in this February (2009). His book, On the Origin of Species will also make it's 150th anniversary this year. This is significant because the overall theory that Darwin proposed concerning natural selection is still sound and only gathers more evidence after 150 years of scrutiny. Other facets of biology expand because of evolution -- and in turn, other facets of biology improve upon Darwin's original theory.

The scientific community at large is gearing up to pay tribute to Darwin. His findings are considered to be in rank with Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, and Einstein, according to many scientists.

The magazine Scientific American has dedicated the January issue to the evolution of the evolution theory. This issue is full of fascinating articles to read which really give light to the full implication of evolution's theories and clears up many misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Genetics is seriously tied to evolution -- as I've said recently in another post. Genes control all sorts of things such as the level of lactose tolerance one has, to heart issues, and mental health. The passing on of genes plays a large role in how a species evolves and buds off to new classes of life.
Also, lately I wonder how much of the information from genetics and evolution can help us with our heath -- in practical every day situations such as diet, exercise, and achieving ideal weight. Maybe going back to our ancestry will provide understanding of what we need to eat. The NY Times article alludes to this. Maybe the obesity explosion we see has little to do with laziness, slothfulness, or lack of self control. Maybe our "modern" processed foods are not suited to our genetic makeup. Couple that problem with sitting at a desk all day and wham o! -- you're over weight.

Well, I can't even do justice to all that I've read recently . . . so here are some sources that can better say what I ever could:

The Evolutionary Search for our Perfect Past : This article doesn't seem to mention it, but it is a great overall synopsis of the articles found in the January issue of Scientific American. If you can't devote the time to the Scientific American issue, this NY Times article will provide some worthy highlights.

Key Gene Linked to Blood Pressure Identified : Just in case you thought genetics was a joke.

Scientific American Magazine : January 2009 Issue
: If you have any questions or doubts about evolution, skim through this magazine. Maybe all your questions won't get answered, but you'll be hard pressed to maintain your doubts.

Atheism Explained : a book by David Ramsay Steele. I'm not completely finished reading it yet, but it has a very interesting chapter on evolution. While evolution doesn't disprove God in his view (and in mine, too), we can no longer hold to the traditional view of the classical Judeo-Christian model of God. For many believers, such a notion is blasphemous and atheist enough to disapprove vehemently of evolution -- in spite of the overwhelming evidence for it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change We Can Believe In

I would like to acknowledge how special and historic this day is today. The first minority U.S. president was officially sworn into office today. Most people found this day exciting and fulfilling. (At least, at the time of this post. Who knows what the future holds?)

I would be remiss to not mention the inauguration of Barack Obama today. However, I would be equally remiss to dwell upon it. After all, there are so many other superior sources over mine which can provide opinions and accounts of today's historic events.

Nonetheless, I am quite excited about the outcome of the election this past November and I'm anxious to see Obama in action now that he has full presidential authority.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Most Unfortunate Infidel

Reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali had a major impact on my outlook on religion's role in world affairs. Seeing her in a promotional interview for Infidel piqued my interest in atheism as well. Reading her book perhaps partially facilitated my gradual acceptance of an atheistic world view.

(I had just recently abandoned Christianity. I hadn't yet embraced atheism yet, however. Perhaps I was sort of in denial about all the changes I was going through).

Reading her book is well worth the time and will really bring into focus the present activities in Ethiopia and Somalia.

While I think that characterizing all of Islam as violent is a mistake, one must admit that horrible things happen when fundamentalist Islamic leaders take control. And to be fair, everyone is in some measure of danger when a religious zealot takes control -- regardless of the religion. Likewise, a non-religious zealot can be very dangerous; religion does not necessarily need to be involved.

But in this case, religion is very much involved. A man was shot dead in Somalia this week because he was accused of leaving his Islamic faith.

His real crime was taking sides with Ethiopia during this current political-theological conflict. Since this conflict is political and theological in nature, his assistance to the Ethiopian political cause is apostasy from Islam. These ideals are one and the same in the eyes of the extremists.

I'm sure there is more to this story. But at the end of the day, why is there so much turmoil between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish groups in the Eastern Hemisphere?

One can argue all they want that religion isn't the cause.

Well, I know one thing -- religion surely isn't the solution, either.
Not on that side of the world, at least.

Here are two news articles related to my post:

Somali Executed for 'Apostasy'

Ethiopia's Somalia Dilemma

The Unforgivable Sin

Growing up, I was one of those kids that not only behaved well in church -- I listened well, too.

And as a result, I listened to the preacher teach a lesson on blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.


From that night onward, I had compulsive thoughts run through my head about blasphemy. I couldn't control them. The more I tried, the worse it got. Blasphemous phrases ran through my head against the Holy Ghost.

That incident alone was reason enough to regret ever going to church!

I feared that I was damned -- and I was only 12 years old!

A 12 year old child shouldn't be worrying about whether or not he is damned eternally because he can't beat back compulsive blasphemous thoughts!

You can't ask for help. You're too ashamed. Besides, you think to yourself that seeking forgiveness is too late.

I wavered often, between whether god would forgive me and understand my circumstances, or whether my sin was permanently place upon my soul. Not even the blood of Jesus could wash away that stain.

Eventually, I just held firm that god would understand. I had no other choice. The only other alternative in my mind at that time was to accept damnation. But, that didn't make sense; I loved god and I wanted to be a Christian. I wanted to be filled with and guided by the Holy Ghost.

Jesus meant everything to me. How could he possibly condemn me for something I couldn't stop on my own.

I decided that my problem was sort of like a thorn in my flesh.

Those are difficult concepts for a 12 year old to deal with all alone.

In my high school years, I heard a preacher give an anecdote about a man who feared he committed blasphemy. The anxiety became so strong for this fellow that he went behind his house with a gun and prepared to shoot himself.

Yeah, it can get that bad worrying about your soul.

Are you worried about blasphemy?


Life is way too short for that sort of drama.

If you're worried about it, then you have not done it! Compulsive thoughts and ruminations are a sign of serious anxiety. If you stop worry about blasphemy, then blasphemy will stop haunting you.

And if you stop worrying about the object of your blasphemy, the fear of hell will stop haunting you, too.

I don't know why I'm even writing all of this. I guess I just had to get this off of my chest.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mars Passes Gas

What would be the implications of finding life on Mars?

I'm not talking about little green Martian men; just finding bacteria on Mars would be a huge discovery.

So, what would that mean?

Oooo, and what if some fossils were found one day!

Anyway, still no conclusive evidence or proof that life is on Mars. But, here's another clue that life might be there -- or perhaps was at one time. And this evidence gives good reason to keep searching for life on Mars -- even if that life turns out to be the tiniest of microorganisms.

You see, observers have witnessed that Mars has been farting.

Yes my friends -- Mars farts.

OK, Maybe fart is the wrong word. But, Mars has been passing gas.

Check out these findings at the link below:

Martian Methane Might Mean Life

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lazarus, Come Forth!

Back in May of 2008, a team of researchers at the University of Melbourne took a gene from the extinct Tasmanian tiger and applied it to a mouse embryo.

The gene expressed itself in the developing mouse; the gene worked.

Researchers insist that this study will not resurrect any extinct species in the near future, if ever. But, with the constant explosions in technology and the new ground breaking discoveries that keep happening in biology -- we all might be in for quite a surprise one day.

Check out the various news coverage concerning this research:

Thylacine Mouse

Extinct Gene Brought Back to Life

Tasmanian Tiger DNA Comes Alive in Mouse

Tasmanian Tiger Gene Fragment Resurrected

If you happened to stumble on this post, also check out my previous post concerning Genetics and Evolution.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

If You Don't Believe in Evolution, You Might As Well Reject Genetics, Too

People continue to decry the theory of Evolution (as I once did). But they fail to understand an important point. Their rejection of Evolution has nothing to do with science. Oh -- people may say that the science is faulty, but that isn't their real reason for rejecting Evolution.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true . . .

I can say this because evolution and genetics are tied together and the science is solid for both. So, if you don't believe evolution is sound science, you might as well reject genetics, too.

The following article is a great example of the relationship between these two studies : Genetic Secrets from Tassie Tiger

Monday, January 12, 2009

History Repeats Itself

Nicolaus Copernicus wrote a book entitled On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies which stated that the Earth revolved around the sun and was not the center of the universe.

His book was banned by the Catholic Church.

Galileo Galilei agreed with Copernicus and wrote a book entitled Dialogue Concerning Two Chief World Systems which compared old views of the cosmos versus the Copernicus view. This book advocated and supported the Copernicus model of the world.

Galileo was taken before an inquisition and placed on house arrest for the last years of his life. He was forced to renounce his scientific findings and was labeled a heretic by the Catholic Church.

Today, various states have legislators who are trying to draft and legalize disclaimers on the flaps of public school text books that mention the theory of Evolution.

Again, someone wants to keep scientific findings quiet.

Opponents of Evolution claim that the science is bad. That's not really why they oppose evolution though.

Opponents against Copernicus and Galileo made the same claims.

But again, that's not really why they opposed these two great astronomers of the past.

Copernicus and Galileo had sound scientific observation on their side.

Their opponents -- the Bible.

Guess who finally give in and change their minds.

Hopefully, everything will come full circle and history will again, repeat itself.

Why do I say this? Because, like Copernicus and Galileo -- Darwin has sound science on his side, too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our Cells, Pt. 2

In an earlier post about our cells, I went on and on about how our cells have these neat properties and make up who we are as humans; I learned of this through a documentary.

Here is a link to some recent research that is right up that vein:

Cancer Cells 'Cheat Suicide Call'

What if cancer is the evolutionary attempt at eternal life? What if one day, we get the break through we need and can suppress cancer while enhancing and prolonging the life of healthy cells?

What if evolution produces people whose good cells start to cheat suicide while the bad cells only die?

What if Heroes is becoming a reality?

Okay, I guess that's taking it too far, huh?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Salvation at a Discount

One aspect of Christianity that often bothered me was the attempt to reconcile contradictory concepts.

God is one -- but he's also Father, Son, and Spirit.

Jesus is God. Yet, Jesus is God's Son.

Salvation is by grace alone. Only the blood of Jesus can save you. Yet, if you don't live a holy life -- even as a spirit filled believer -- you might not make it to heaven.

So, even if I have faith in Jesus' sacrifice, I still need to live by a particular standard.

(void where prohibited, your denomination may vary)

Even though God forgave me through my faith in Jesus, I can still frustrate his grace.

So then, salvation isn't a free gift if I'm still required to follow a certain life style and maintain my salvation. Me and Jesus have to go dutch for my soul.

Yeah . . . I only get salvation at a discount. Salvation is not free.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Life in the Closet

Living in the closet isn't easy. People should never feel afraid of losing important relationships, gainful employment, or even life and limb simply because of a difference in belief. This problem should not exist in a free society.

I've learned of others who have lost their spouse, their kids, their family and friends because they have chosen to withdraw from religious faith. This problem is not limited to Christianity. Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives in constant danger because she left Islam and became atheist. Jews who have converted to Christianity have given accounts of undergoing persecution to the extent of physical harm.

And think of others who find that heterosexuality does not work for them. And those who feel out of place with the gender assignment that society imposes. These people must risk coming out of their closets or suffer oppression while hiding in their closet. Either way, freedom is suppressed.

We who do not conform to social mores such as belief in god, heterosexuality, or Judeo-Christian mindset are not the misfits of the United States of America.

Instead, the United States of America exists for people like us.

Never forget that.

For everyone who hides in a closet and for everyone that braves coming out -- you have my respect and admiration. My thoughts go out to you and I hope that you always stay encouraged while you walk through your life-journey.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Love and Marriage Pt. 2

In my previous post, I submitted the idea that marriage in the United States had nothing to do with god, from a legal perspective. Because of this, marriage doesn't make sexual activity moral in my opinion.

Legal -- yes. Moral -- not necessarily. A lot of unethical activities are "legal". And lot of illegal activities should be legal -- this is how the unethical suppression of civil rights is committed.

So then, if the the law only regards marriage as a contract between husband, wife, and the State -- how can the State ban homosexuals from marriage without being unconstitutional and discriminatory?

Remember that from the State's perspective, God has nothing to do with marriage. So, if religion cannot be the State's excuse for banning same-sex marriage --what excuse does the State have?

By the way, did you know that years ago interracial marriages were illegal?

Banning interracial marriage didn't have anything to do with God either.

Or did it?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Love and Marriage

Love and marriage, love and marriage | Its an institute you can't disparage
Ask the local gentry | And they will say its elementary

Song : Love and Marriage -- words by Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen

Girls who made abstinence pledges after participating in abstinence-only programs had premarital sex just as often as girls who did not make such pledges. And interestingly, contraception use and safe sex practices were lower among the group that broke their abstinence pledges when compared to the group that never made pledges.

The popular conclusion: abstinence-only programs don't work. But programs that couple abstinence awareness with contraception awareness work best.

Die hard supporters of abstinence-only programs argue that higher moral values due to religion and family upbringing caused the abstaining girls of both groups to practice their abstinence until marriage.

After mulling this study over, I started to wonder:

Does does marriage truly make sex moral?

Consider that marriage exists in two forms here in the United States.

Marriage is first and foremost a secular contract between the you, your spouse and the State. God is not a true part of the marriage equation according to the State.

Don't believe me? Ask your pastor to give you a divorce. Won't work. The State will still consider you married until you use legal measures to get a divorce.

Still don't believe me? Ask your pastor to marry you and your mate. Either before or after the ceremony, he'll ask you for the marriage license. See what happens if you don't already have one.

Marriage as a religious union between God and a united couple has no legal weight.

A religious group can consider you married all day long . . . but you'd better not file your taxes together if you didn't get your marriage license signed.

Unless of course, you were married based on Common Law. But that's the "immoral" way to get married, right? That doesn't count before God. But Common Law matters to the State.

So again, what power does marriage have to make sex moral? Because, here in the United States, God has no real power over marriage.

If God does have power over marriage, then why does the State control marriage and divorce?

After considering this, my view is that consenting adults have committed no crime or immorality if they choose to have sex outside of marriage. Immorality begins when an adult takes advantage of an adolescent or another adult who is non-consenting.

And as for adolescents with adolescents . . . well, few parents want to condone this. But, this happens often. Some parents today may blush when they think back on their own teen years.

So then, be prepared for your adolescent to have premarital sex one day. Yes, teach him or her abstinence. But, also teach him or her to use a condom or birth control. Your teen just might yield to the temptation of premarital sex one day. In such a case, wouldn't you want your teen to practice safe sex?

Here are a few consider:

How Government Got Involved in Marriage

(This is a PDF file. But if you got this far, it's worth it!)

Husband and Wife

Family Law

Friday, January 2, 2009

What's in a Second?

Well, year 2008 has passed and now 2009 is here.

But did you know that 2008 was just a little bit longer 2007?

And 2008 will probably be a little bit longer than 2009?

Just by one second.

So what?

Well ask "why", before saying "so what"?

The earth's spin is slowing down. The tides, the pull of the moon, solar winds -- all of these things influence the earth's rotation. Ever so gradually, earth is slowing down. So over the years to come, a second will be added. A leap second. Some years have them, others don't.

Given enough time into the future, A day on earth could last 30 hours rather than 24 hours.

What does that imply?

Everything isn't an absolute constant in our solar system. The planets are slowing down. Their speed and distances from each other are changing in slight ways. Everything seems constant, yet everything is changing all the time.

Even time is changing.

A second used to be 1/60 of a minute. Now, a second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K (absolute zero)".

Say what?!

The fact that all these "constants" are constantly changing at minute (mi-nyut) levels decries the notion that our universe was set into place by absolutes. While this doesn't disprove god, this does tell me that what the bible says about creation is off base. I'll bet that all the creation stories from any given religion has our world etched into stone, so to speak.

I find all of this quite fascinating. I think I'll be chewing on this idea throughout the whole new year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Remember ever wondering if back in 1999 that Y2K was going to be the end?
Ever hear some of the preachers saying that the apocalypse was going to unfold in 2000?

Some preachers were even telling their members to buy property with water on it because everything was going back to the stone age -- the time of tribulation was at hand!

I was still a devout Christian back then. I went to church on New Years Eve of 2000 because I was convinced that church was the safest place to be just in case Y2K was the end.

Never mind that the other side of the planet had already celebrated Y2K many hours before we would here in the U.S. and nothing seemed to happened to them!

Anyway, our pastor always "prophesied" that things would only get worse and more people were going to die than the previous year. He seemed to do this on any New Years Eve church service. I guess he did it to calm down all the jubilation people expressed when the clock hit midnight. Yes, the church service would go way past midnight. We wanted to be in god's presence when the New Year began. Service wouldn't let out until 3:00 AM many times. They would even serve breakfast afterward -- not for free, though.

And particularly with Y2K, once we all breathed a sigh of relief that a mass computer crash didn't usher in Armageddon, people went into a celebratory frenzy -- Pentecostal style!

But our pastor still managed to work in his "prophesy" of the same bad news that he gave years before.

Wow! What a killjoy! What an awful way to bring in any new year!

But now I say, lets party like it's 1999 everybody! Especially since we've made it all the way to 2009!

Looks like Y2K didn't kill us after all, huh?

Whoot! Whoot!