Atheism & Other Faiths

Posted August 27th, 2012 (2:50 am) || 1 Comment

A friend of mine recently quoted a passage from David G. McAfee‘s new book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming out as a Non-Believer. The passage reads, “…Religion is a learned behavior, unlike non-belief; all people are born not believing in a God or gods, and only come to believe in such entities once they’ve been taught the idea by others – so atheism is the ‘default’ position.”

While I don’t believe in God, at least not as the majority of western religion portrays such a being, I don’t believe disbelief, a.k.a. atheism, is the default. In fact, I firmly believe the “default” if there is any, is one of curiosity. I also believe that atheism itself a religion (at least along the line is explicit atheism).

I decided to state my opinion in response to my friend’s quote.

I’ll freely admit I was baiting him. I’ve had experience with atheists and I wanted to know if my friend would respond with an open minded debate the subject, or simply reply with a closed minded restatement of the original quote or otherwise take an “I’m just right” stance. Almost invariably atheists reply with the later, sticking to their beliefs with a faith as strong a any right-wing Christian. Seeing as this was my friend, I was hoping for the former.

I got the later. In general that atheism is not a religion, that children are unable to believe in the supernatural unless taught to by others, and that atheism is backed by science which is based in 100% provable facts. (I paraphrase here.)

As it turns out, I can’t stand arguments based on false statements. I’m also a very bad person. Or at best a mean friend. Atheists have a bible. Yes, a bible. Not a “let’s call it a bible because bibles are important” bible, but an actual “this is our scripture but we’re not calling it scripture because we’re atheists” bible. Atheism is a solid belief system, and thus a religion. It may not be a religion that believes in the supernatural, but not all do. I’ve also done research into studies which demonstrate children have an inherent belief of the supernatural. But it’s the comment about science that really bothered me. Almost all of modern science, at least in the realm of explaining the fundamentals of how the universe works, is theoretical. So, we don’t know. Not knowing is less that 100% provable.

I decided to state my opinion in response to my friend’s reply.

I received an insult in reply and was told I am no longer friends with my friend.

As much a I’d like to console myself that all I’ve lost is a radical religious fanatic (or if one prefers, a closed-minded fanatic rather than religious), it seems I have precious few friends still in town and I’m finding the loss of another over something so trivial a bit stressful.

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A Bedtime Story for Parents

Posted July 2nd, 2011 (3:58 am) || Comments Off

“Go the Fuck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach (illustrated by Ricardo Cortés) is a parody of children’s bedtime story. It is a humorous and exaggerated example of the frustration any parent feels when their little one won’t fall asleep. I recently came across an article on cnn.com regarding the book and some of what I read disturbed me.

The full article can be found here: (http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/27/zacharias.kid.book/)

The general gist of the article seems to be along the lines of demonstrating the book isn’t funny because in the real world there are neglected children and parents use the word “fuck” a lot. I’m sure I’m not giving the author (Karen Spears Zacharias, author of “The Shelter of Mockingbirds: The Murder of 3-Year-Old Karly Sheehan.”) proper credit, but at least I’m presenting her writing for what it is.

Zacharias, in my humble opinion, doesn’t seem to understand the point of humor, and may not have a properly developed sense of what is funny. She quotes an expert on child development (Dr. David Arredondo, founder of The Children’s Program in the San Francisco metropolitan area) as saying “Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos.” You know something? I can’t imagine it.

Can you imagine anything you’d reasonably expect or desire a Jew, black person, Muslim or Latino to do because they were Jewish, black, Muslim or Latino? Well, can you imagine it without being racist? I can’t. How is expecting your child to go to sleep, and being frustrated he won’t, akin to racism?

Zacharias goes on to say Mansbach’s book “accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up.” What? Show me such an environment. The problem here is there is no such environment to be founds within reality. An episode of The Family Guy more accurately portrays an environment (hostile or otherwise) in which children grow up.

Okay, so “far too many” parents say “fuck” and “bullshit” and other such obscenities. I’d question that. I’ve looked into this and I have not found a single American family that did not use such language. Sure, there are some that don’t use those words specifically, but they have words which mean the same thing and they use them.

I’d agree the book “Go the Fuck to Sleep” is not intended for children and it would be bad parenting to use as an actual bedtime story. Not because of the “message” it may send, but because as a society we have deemed the language used without to be inappropriate. But is it demeaning to children? Not at all.

I do think Zacharias sums up her article quite well by implying parents should be more like the parents in “all those beautifully illustrated storybooks.” Sure thing, let’s all get right on that. I’m sure we’ll all be ideal parents by modeling our behavior after the parents of Rapunzel and Cinderella.

And we lived happily ever after.

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My Phone Is Gay

Posted June 25th, 2011 (7:09 am) || 2 Comments

Welp… it’s been a more or less fucked up month.

My cousin, Mark, moved up from Yuma. We’re giving him a play to crash while he looks for work and then saves up enough cash to get his own place. I haven’t seen Mark in… maybe 10ish years. Maybe more like 15. My only solid memories of him are from our grandparents house at Christmas, which was nearly 20 years ago. Funny thing is it turns out that’s his most solid memory of me too. I’m sure having the whole week on film (and recently put on a DVD) has nothing to do with it. Upon getting to know him, I’ve found Mark to be a great guy… meaning he’s an introverted gamer like the rest of us. He’s also motivated and hard working, or at least I get that impression as he got a job within a week of moving in and has already secured his own transportation to and from work.

After Mark had time to settle in (more or less), in came the visiting relatives. Aunt Jill (Marks’ mother) and my godmother, Sherry, came to visit for a few days. Well, Sherry for a few days, with Jill coming up for a few hours. I never really got to know Sherry. She’s my godmother, which in my family means Mom really liked her around the time I was born. Seems she really likes her now too, and the two had a blast playing Scrabble and other games old people play and I’m no good at.

Father’s Day came and went, though Jacob had to be reminded it was here. He’s me son and I love him, but I have to wonder sometimes.

The car’s front brakes went out, but fortunately a friend of ours was kind enough to assist in fixing them (thanks Shane!). Unfortunately when the back brakes went out a week later, we would find our friend missing some necessary tools. I’m not sure what we’re gonna do on such short notice, but hopefully they’ll last long enough to figure out how much it will cost to get them professionally done.

I washed DeAnna’s phone with the laundry. Turns out cell phones don’t take well to water… Who knew? The good news was that one of our phones was due for one of those free upgrades T-Mobile offers its customers periodically. The bad news was T-Mobile changed it’s policy a few months ago and there is no such offer anymore. The best they could due was sell us their cheapest phone for around $60. That sent us into a spin of frustrating, leading to checking out the options for changing carriers, which also lead to us finding out T-Mobile wanted to charge us up to $200 per line to break our contract. That wasn’t going to happen, so we started to look for used phones on Craigslist and eBay. As it turns out, the friend of ours that can fix front brakes had some trouble with his old phone (from T-Mobile) and was happy enough to pass it along to us. Now we’re back to three working phones, with one of them being a smartphone!

Oh yeah, and NY passed it’s Okay to be Gay thing. I’m pretty sure it’s not called that, but apparently it’s now not illegal for a dude to marry a dude there. According to the fine print it also looks like it might not be legal yet either, but it’s a step in the right (or left) direction. In either case, I’m putting up a happy rainbow desktop image on my new phone to celebrate gayness. I suppose I should find an Adam Lambert ring tone or something too…

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Probably

Posted October 15th, 2010 (10:05 pm) || Comments Off

I’m confused about the new Valvoline commercials. Where is this probably coming from? Maybe it probably lubricates my car’s engine? Maybe other motor oils occasionally do something other than lubricate engines. I’m not sure what it is they might do. All I do know is that if I really want my engine lubricated I’m probably not going to use a parachute.

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A is for Amazon

Posted July 8th, 2010 (6:12 am) || 3 Comments

The Alphabet of the Internet… or rather Google… for your amusement:

A is for Amazon
B is for Bank of America
C is for Craigslist
D is for Dictionary
E is for eBay
F is for Facebook
G is for Gmail
H is for Hotmail
I is for iTunes
J is for Justin Bieber
K is for Kohls
L is for Lowes
M is for Myspace
N is for Netflix
O is for Overstock
P is for Pandora
Q is for Quotes
R is for Realtor
S is for Southwest Airlines
T is for Target
U is for US Airways
V is for Verizon Wireless
W is for Walmart
X is for XM Radio
Y is for Youtube
Z is for Zillow

Each of these are the first auto-complete results for typing in a single letter on Google. T kinda threw me, as until I looked today, it was Twitter. I also found it interesting that Justin Bieber beat out Jobing.com, as not only is the Canadian pop singer not a website/business, but he’s not likely to help anyone get a job. In our time of economic decline and abundance of unemployment, people still think entertainment is more important than finding a job to pay for said entertainment.

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