Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dance Like No One is Watching

This post is a little off topic from my normal thoughts.

Today, I'm celebrating twelve years of marriage.

My wife and I went to a fine dining Italian restaurant and splurged. We had antipasti, Veal Parmesan, and grilled salmon-- all made to perfection. We had cappuccino brownies and white chocolate covered pound cake for dessert.

We were going to hit the movies, but all the movies we wanted to see started at 9:45 or 10:00 PM. We didn't want to keep our baby sitter captive all night, so we looked for some other activity that would be fun, but not as time consuming as a two and a half hour movie (that we may not even like).

Then my big mouth got me into trouble. I was only joking, but my wife took my joke seriously. I joked that we needed to hit the dance floor at a club.

But . . . I never dance.


Never ever.

Not ever.

So, my wife knew my comment was only a joke.

But she became so excited and started calling people, asking for a cool place to go and dance.


But since it is our anniversary, I figured I should try.

We went to the club and found that nobody was dancing at all. People were just sitting around, looking sort of bored and vacant.

And while the music sounded really good, I figured I could by a bottle of beer, turn up my radio really loudly and create the same atmosphere at my kitchen table.


But my wife was still so excited. She was like a little kid. So, I tried to get into the scene.

Finally, a couple got out onto the dance floor. To me, the most unlikely couple.

The lady looked almost seven feet tall and the guy she danced with was just at five feet!

What a pair!

But they were having fun in spite of what anyone else thought.

I envied them.

Then a few more people eventually trickled onto the floor as the songs played on. Soon my wife asked me to dance with her.

With all the courage I could muster, I went out on the floor with her.

That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But, it was worth it.

Something happened to me-- I think to both of us-- in that moment. We stepped out of our comfort zone together. And we found that it wasn't so bad to dance in front of others.

We ended up dancing to several songs throughout our stay at the club. Each time we danced became easier than the last.

Soon, I didn't care who was watching. No, I didn't get footloose or anything. But at least I got out there on the dance floor.

And something else happened. I was also reminded of why I married my wife.

After twelve years of marriage, times have come where my wife and I have said to each other that we only felt like we were roommates. Times have come where I felt like she may have regreted getting married to me. In those moments, I feel ashamed and wornder if I'm a sub par man. Times have come in our marriage where we become distant and perhaps I complain about things more than I should.

Funny that with marriage, you make an oath to stay with your spouse for life without ever realizing the challenges that will test the mettle of your union.

But dancing with my wife tonight allowed me to slow down and look her in the eyes and see that thing that captivated me. I remembered why I had fallen in love with her and why I aim to stay by her side through thick and thin.

I also realized that I allowed so many opportunities to enjoy myself slip away simply because of self consciousness. If I hadn't taken a chance, I might not have felt the renewed sense of commitment I feel towards my marriage, and to making myself a better person.

I don't want to live another day where I am ashamed of branching out.

I want to grow to the place where I dance like no one is watching. But not just at a club. I want this ideal to become a metaphor for all things in my life.

And as far as my closet atheism goes. I still don't want to tell my mother. But, I may start telling others who (think they) know me. I'm taking that idea more seriously now.

But, I'm going to sleep on it some. For now, I'm just going to concentrate on learning some new moves for when I go out again with my wife next weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Of Leprechauns, Flying Reindeer, UFOs, Invisible Dragons, and Such

My daughter came home totally convinced that leprechauns are real.

I mean, totally.

She came home bubbling over with excitement, telling us of how the leprechauns came and stole their cookies and ice cream while they were out to play. Apparently he came back in the room and ran around some. But nobody actually saw him do this.

My daughter explained that leprechauns move far to fast to see them.

But, the little green man did happen to leave his hat behind as he rushed away.

I found her excitement adorable on the surface. But deep down, I worried that my daughter being indoctrinated with credulity.

For what observable phenomena of nature proves the leprechaun to be real? How am I to distinguish the invisible dragon which leaves no trace from a non-existent dragon? What difference do UFOs and space aliens make if only a select few ever get to see them while the rest of our world moves along, unfazed?

We demand observable proof for many of the important things in our lives. We want to see the person at the cash register give us our change. If a utility bill appears to over charge us, many of us will investigate. Should we hear surprising news, we may double check the information by checking out more than one (reliable) source.

Why not do this for leprechauns, flying reindeer, UFOs, invisible dragons, and such?

Besides, credulity can be quite harmful. Confidence jobs thrive off of credulity as well as superstitions of a harmful nature (think: inquisitions and witch burnings). Vicious rumors can easily spread simply because people have a tendency to believe first and ask questions later (if at all).

But to challenge the validity of an idea is the heart of skepticism (and in a sense, freedom, too). Challenge the claimant of any idea for supporting, observable phenomena.

This is also the heart of science. Before accepting an idea, treat that idea as false until observable phenomena can distinguish it as true.

So again-- what is the difference between an invisible leprechaun that leaves no trace and a non-existent one? What is the difference between an invisible dragon and a non-existent one? What of flying reindeer and UFOs? What is the difference between their undetectable nature and their non-existent counterparts? (Can a sentence like that be proper? Non-existent counterparts??)

I'll dare say that an atheist has only gone one step further with this thinking. Rather than only applying this thinking to leprechauns and invisible (and non-detectable) dragons, this challenge is aimed at God and religion, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Snowed Under

Lots of work to do at work.

I get paid to work, not to blog. So, I work too much and not blog quite as much.

But, I have a job at least. So, I shouldn't complain about being snowed under in this current economy.

Thankfully, I've caught up a good bit at work. Now I hope to catch up on visiting and reading my favorite blogs. Then, I hope to start posting again on my own blog really soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

Obama gave an address to school children on September 8th. I didn't watch it. I didn't really need to watch it. But, I might catch it later on-line or something. We'll see.

However, I did watch parents on local area news stations say that schools should not show Obama's speech because they do not want their children politically indoctrinated by that liberal, closet Muslim snake our President.

And schools in my community (from what I hear) refused to show his address.

I admit to making an assumption here. I assume that most people who did not support Obama, do not want his address to be shown in public schools. Yet, many of these same people would still argue that prayer and religious indoctrination should remain in schools.

Ah! But now, they finally get it!!

No more excuses. In order to protest against Obama's address, one has to also grasp the reasons why the courts keep religious indoctrination out of public schools.

Well at least, such people should finally understand.

Because-- when they concluded that they didn't want Obama to brainwash address their children, they inadvertently and inescapably admitted that any sort of indoctrination of our children by the State is problematic. The State should not even have leverage to indoctrinate our children with "wholesome" activities such as cooperate prayer during school hours or Intelligent Design (so that our kids won't grow up thinking they're monkeys).

And to be honest-- was Obama really trying to indoctrinate our children with anything more than the "stay in school" mantra we constantly hear as children?

I'm not sayin' . . . but, I'm just sayin' . . .

Sorry, Obama-speech haters-- you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Personal Problem with Pascal's Wager

I'm willing to bet that many tomes have been written on subject of Pascal's Wager.

Therefore, I am NOT going to try and reinvent the wheel. I'm just sharing my personal feelings about Pascal's Wager. No formal, scholarly arguments here.

In a nutshell, Pascal's Wager suggests that due to the uncertainty in all things, deciding God's existence comes down to a coin toss. If that is the case, one would be safest to err on the side of caution and believe in God.

Sounds good and reasonable.

But taking his approach can quickly get complicated and defeat the purpose of taking a "safe bet".

Pascal's Wager, to me, is recursive to the point that our uncertainty can never be banished. So-- unless you simply choose a belief system or tailor your own, you will always be plagued by the problem of Pascal's Wager.

If I did decide to believe in God again based upon Pascal's Wager, in what manner shall I believe?

If I begin to worship God as Ganesha, a Muslim can easily come along and propose Pascal's Wager to me with his or her specifications. Should I err on the side of caution and become Muslim now because Allah will punish me for remaining an infidel?

And when I convert to Islam, what do I do when a Christian comes along and presents a Christianized version of Pascal's Wager? Do I then convert to Christianity and risk the ire of my former Muslim brethren?

And when I then become a Christian, what do I do when a Pentecostal comes along and gives me the Pentecostal version of Pascal's Wager? And what do I do when I get the Pentecostal Apostolic Faith version? And what do I do when the Church of God version tells me not to accept the Apostolic Faith wager?

And the rabbit hole goes even deeper. But, I'll stop there.

With that perspective, my "soul" is no more at risk with me being an atheist than being a theist.

Anyway, maybe I'm off base. Regardless, that's my personal problem with Pascal's Wager.