Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Choice

Prayer is neither peaceful nor sacred when someone is forced to participate in it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom of Religion

Some people have still yet to realize that in order to have freedom of religion, there must be freedom from it as well. These are two sides of the same coin.

For, how can you exclusively worship a god without excluding other gods in the process?

I submit that one cannot avoid this; for in excerising your own freedom of religion, you are inevitably excercising your freedom from someone else's faith.

So then . . . stop feeling entitled and accept that everyone has this right-- and not just you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sad News . . .

I' recently watched a news report about an infant who died due to being left in a car during the summer-like heat.

Annually, kids (and pets) seem to die needlessly because they were left in a parked car that became way too hot inside. People sometimes have a lapse of judgment and leave dependents in the car for an extended period of time. Perhaps they forget the baby was sleeping in the back seat. Maybe they don't think they will be gone too long and didn't think the heat would become deadly. Maybe they plan to come right back after running just for a second, but something distracts them. Perhaps they are did something outside of their routine. Maybe they were keeping someone else's child and they haven't quite adjusted to retrieving the child from the car after getting out. These may sound like lame excuses. Some of them probably are. But, some of them just happen because people are . . . well . . . human.

In this specific report, a married couple goes to church one Sunday morning. I don't know the details because I was not there. I can only imagine, though, that as they got out of the car their hands were full. Maybe they were running late and their absence was holding up service. I say this because the husband was the church musician. Whatever the case, the husband sees another church member who is heading towards the church building. The husband asks this fellow church member to bring his baby in for him. Maybe he yelled it across the parking lot. Maybe he just asked as he hurried past to get inside for service, not waiting for an answer.

Regardless, this church member claims that he did not hear the request to retrieve the baby from the car.

So, the couple goes inside and unwittingly leaves their baby out in the church parking lot closed up in the car. The temperature reached an unusual high that day, too.

I honestly don't believe this couple wanted their baby to die; I'm certain they are distraught about this. If they could turn back time, I'm sure they would have done things differently. I'm sure the couple would have ensured the safety of their child if they knew what was about to happen on that fateful day.

I'm so sorry to hear about their loss. Despite the fact that as parents they were totally responsible for their child, I cannot look down on them or pass judgment on them. This seems to happen every year to someone in the United States. New parents can go through a lot of stress which can cause a lapse in judgment sometimes. I have two kids. And while I've never left one of my kids in a car, I can see how some parents (and even grandparents) can make some poor parenting mistakes.

What adds more frustration to this sad news (in my opinion) is what some of the interviewees said. After calling this an awful tragedy (and I agree with that part), they say, "Well, God will work it out . . ."

I can't help it . . .

The poor baby died in a church parking lot; What is left for God to work out?!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Bull!

OK. So, nothing happened on May 21st. Now, Harold Camping suddenly realizes that the "Judgment Day" that he predicted was an "invisible" one-- meaning that the "Judgement" was "spiritual" and not literal.

But, now-- the October 21st date which he predicted as the conclusion of the May 21st prophesy is still scheduled to be the end of the world.

I guess that prophesy will turn out to be a non-literal, spiritual event, too.

But, you know what? Psychology can predict the future better than Harold Camping could.

Just read about what happens when prophecy fails.

Clearly cognitive dissonance is at play, here. Harold Camping's teachings has caused people to give their last for a fallacy. Those who still hang on to his teachings can't face their losses now. So, he and his followers dig an even deeper hole to avoid facing their disappointments and embarrassment.

What bull!

And all that energy-- wasted!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21st is Almost Gone!

Well, as we skeptics confidently suspected, nothing has happened today that remotely resembled the grand judgment of Jesus Christ and the rapturing of his Church.

At the time of this post, it's already May 22nd in New Zealand-- and it's pasted 7:00 AM there, too! Though it's still May 21st in Europe, it's passed 8:00 PM in Berlin, Germany. That's significant because "Judgment" was predicted to begin at 6:00 PM in every time zone.

I feel for those who gave all they had to promote this day. I can't imagine what is going on with them emotionally. My guess is that such people will dig down even more into their fallacies, or they'll be so ashamed, disgusted, and angry with themselves that they'll disappear into a shadow of bitterness.

The media gave Harold Camping and Family Radio (not American Family Radio) all the attention he could probably hope for. Now it's time to dismiss him as an attention-craving quack and totally ignore him should he crank out a third failed prediction.

I do realize that many Christians did not believe this prediction would mean anything. But, this is a good time to raise the question: Why hasn't Jesus come back, yet?

Another good question to raise is: Didn't he promise to already return before all the disciples died?

How long will Jesus have to delay before Christianity of the future becomes unrecognizable from the fundamental Christianity of modern day?

Oh well . . . enough of this. It's time for some caffeine.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 21st is Almost Here!

The time is fast approaching.

Are you ready?

May 21st, 2011 is the date where some people claim that they know for sure that Jesus will return for his church.

I wonder will their site stay up after the 21st, regardless of what happens.

They have another site they sponsor called: the-latter-rain.com


Check it out sometime in the link above. It's a hoot!

So . . . what will you be doing on May 21st, 2011?




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Choice Books

As I sat at my local pharmacy waiting on a perscription to be filled, I notice a stand with a sign above it labled "Choice Books, Reading to Enrich Your Life".

Here are some of the titles:

23 Minutes in Hell
Angels in the ER
Comfort Food Diet (to keep you encouraged until your prayers get an answer)
Transformimg Prayer
The New Bible Cure for Depression and Anxiety
Praise word Search Puzzles

You get the point by now.

And Jone Jet's "I love Rock 'n Roll" is crankin' on in the background.

Nice!

So, are bible based books the only choice reading around here?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Goodness (and Evilness) of God

I ended up having to work late hours one weeknight. As a result, I overslept and my children missed the school bus (again). So, I had to take them to school (again) myself and then head on to work.

As I was returning to my car from signing the "tardy" sheet for my kids, I see another parent ambling along with his child into the school building.

Well, at least I'm not the only parent oversleeping.

I found myself staring at this guy as he was making his way down the sidewalk. But, I didn't know why. I felt like I was being rude, but couldn't help myself. And even stranger, this guy was staring right back at me. But the more I stared, the more familiar he looked. Then, in the tone of a question, he called out my name.

Suddenly, I remember who he was and we both became so excited to see each other. I decided to hang around my car until he came back out. We talked for over an hour! We hadn't seen each other in probably twenty years! We tried to catch up up on each other's life-- which explains why we talked for so long.

This poor fellow seems to have had a lot of hardship in his travels. I am not envious of him at all.

We met in a Christian youth group when we were kids, so I had to sort of keep my guard up. He still used Christian "language"-- now and then he hinted that he was still trying to grow his relationship with God and such. But he openly admitted that the evangelical persona that he projected years ago wasn't really him.

He was also quick to admit that he was quite baffled at how a person can endure hardships and suffering still make sense of the Bible after actually reading through it.

He seems to be where I was a years ago just before I abandoned my faith. He's reading his Bible-- I mean, really reading it and paying attention to the words. And as a result, he's noticed that God doesn't shy away from taking credit for creating evil, and perhaps even causing it.

Not many Christians that I know of will even let their mouths form such words!

He cited how King Saul was vexed by a spirit that God sent. He talked about how God admits to even creating evil. He talked about how he doesn't see things any longer as "good" verses "evil" and God verses Satan. Rather, he simply sees God causing everything to happen for what ever reason that he sees fit. Sort of like the way God treated Job by openly allowing Satan give him one helluva time.

Then oddly, my old friend concede that God must know what he's doing.

But curiously, he would often hedge his praise towards God with the phrase, ". . . I guess" throughout our conversation. Such as-- "God must know what he's doing . . . I guess".

He seemed hesitant and doubtful about mainstream Christianity now with his newfound insight flooding in interesting implications.

But despite the vibe I was feeling from him, I wasn't sure if he was ready for me to be totally honest and open about my current atheistic perspective.

So, I played along for the moment.

We exchanged numbers. I think we'll talk again soon (if I can find the slip of paper. I'm an idiot! I should have put it in my phone on the spot).

The evolution of his religious beliefs will be interesting to observe should we keep in touch. And should I ever revel to him my current beliefs, his reaction would be quite interesting to witness as well.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Atheist Day!

Happy Atheist Day, everyone!

I think this is my third year posting a "holiday greeting" such as this.

Three years is a long time in "internet" years.

Anyhow, Happy Atheist Day!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Arms of Jesus

Both of my kids participate in the my local county soccer association. This results in my sometimes mingling with other soccer parents that I'd probably never meet otherwise.

One parent happened to be a semi-pro soccer player himself and (to me) seemed quite fit and active. His son looked like he may very well be on the same path to becoming quite adept with a soccer ball.

This gentleman that I just described recently experienced a serious heart condition that was obviously lurking for some time; however, it's manifestation was sudden and surprising. He ended up staying in the hospital for weeks.

I finally saw him at one of the games recently. I didn't recognize anything about him except his voice. He was frail and he couldn't walk due to atrophy, so he was going to watch the game from the passenger side of the parked, family van. He called my name as I was making my way out to the field to watch my son play; I was unwittingly passing by where he sat.

He talked about how he was totally caught off guard by his turn in health. He talked about all the tubes he endured-- even feeding tubes-- and all the lost weight. He talked about his sense of helplessness and his newfound dependency upon others for simple things such as getting a decent shave.

He strongly alluded to also having a near death experience. He described how he had a feeling that he was leaving this world when his heart condition finally came to the surface so suddenly.

He began to cry as he continued to describe how he thought he was going to die, but then he seemed to be in a warm place. He felt as though he was wrapped in an electric blanket. He became calm and felt safe.

He said that he didn't want to leave because he realized he was in the arms of Jesus.

I never had a near death experience, but I suspect that I'm slightly familiar with the feelings he described because of my exposure to Pentecostalism. I remember many such warm feelings during worship and praise. I have known moments of ecstasy where I totally lost my sense of where I was. I think I could identify with some of the feelings he described.

But, then he spoke of how he saw his wife and children. He thought of them and realized that he couldn't leave them. So, he chose to come back despite the beaconing warmth of Jesus' arms.

He was still crying as he talked. But, I became curious. Was he crying because he was so overjoyed to have felt the arms of Jesus, or was he crying because he almost died and could only barely hold on to life because he didn't want to abandon his family?

I wondered this because he spoke of the fear of never seeing his family again with a sense of agony. He talked about how his children have reacted to his being gone from home for so long. I do think he was very afraid-- but I cannot know his deepest thoughts.

He admonished me to trust in Jesus because now he's certain that he's real. He already assumes I'm a Christian-- and he already believed in Christ. But, he just couldn't help but be sure to mention how real Jesus has become to him now that he's had such an experience.

I was very much like that after I had spoken in tongues for the first time. I remember it quite well.

His appeal was emotional and certainly compelling. But, I also know that such feelings can come from totally within ourselves.

I didn't debate him. That was not the time for such a conversation. I'm just glad he survived his life-threatening aliments and remained in the land of the living.

But, I'm still not convinced his tears were of joy for being in the arms of Jesus. I believe he was simply afraid for it all to end so suddenly-- without any warning.

Again, I cannot know how he truly felt. I can only speculate and impose my own bias thinking upon his words.

Besides-- even if he did cry because of fear (and not joy), I certainly cannot say that I blame him for his tears. I'd probably cry just the same.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prayer Duds

Recently, my wife went to a series of group therapy sessions for people dealing with clinical depression. She's battled this for some time now. And boy, depression is a battle. Depression is a very serious disorder that should not be taken lightly at all.

In her group session, she mentioned how all the prayer in the world never helped. No matter how much she prayed, no matter how much others prayed for her, she never saw results with her depression-- apart from taking medication, attending therapy, and having a supportive social base.

The therapy session took place at a semi-religious institution. I mean-- I'm in Jesusland, for cryin' out loud! Where will we find a secular therapist?

And many of the people in her group were admitted Christians. But my wife says that everyone in her group emphatically nodded in agreement to her statement.

They all had that common experience that when it comes to depression-- prayer seems to only be a dud.

Why is that?

Maybe for the same reason that God doesn't heal amputees, perhaps.