My longest kept memory regarding identity has been one fact: my maternal lineage is Puerto Rican. As a kid, the most I knew about Puerto Rico (PR) was that it made me latino. In short, darker skin and wavy/curly black hair.
My world at an early age was mostly white, with a spattering of black. People of color were relegated to certain areas of town, which we only drove through and looked out upon from the safety of our cars. The prevalence of Mexicans in our area wouldn’t really take hold until I was in my late teens.
While I was in North Carolina, I had a conversation with a musician. We’ll call him Alex.
Alex loves music and has played in bands up until he got married and had children. After that point the challenge of coordinating schedules to bang around in a basement with besties is tougher and tougher.
One of the best ways to fill that hole that playing music once had is to join a church band. If you’re in an evangelical protestant church in America, you must have a full on band: keys, base, drums, guitars and vocalists.
This New Yorker article is a good read. We all know people that we can show facts and certainties to, but they will inevitably hide behind, “Well, that means you want me to change my politics.”
Change your politics = altering a thought on a fact?
That’s just nuts.
The other day someone was bemoaning Joe Biden and that he’s destroying the economy. “Are you an economist?” I asked. Admittedly, he is not.
The article from the New Yorker talks about the success of human beings came from the success of the tribe. One person got good at making tools, so everyone didn’t have to become good at making tools.
Successful approaches to say, vaccination, are essential to our overall success as humans. What greater advancement than being able to nearly eradicate so many diseases.
Yet the tendency for humans to start siding with people in their groups who don’t know or aren’t experts becomes greater. If one person doesn’t know something, but pretends he does and convinces his friend. There are two ignorant people basing their ideas off one wrong guy. If they convince another, there are now three people who aren’t working off of facts.
Tina and I recently had a meeting with our investment adviser, and he’s forthright with us about the economy and how things are trending and moving. He also leans conservative. So when he makes comments about the facts of the economy and what to do with our hard-earned money, I take him at his word. Everything is a risk, but according to him, our investments are doing great. So well in fact, we will owe Uncle Sam a huge tax in 2022 on one of our investments because it’s doing much better than expected.
Recently, a fellow non-believing friend, who grew up steeped in church and finally walked away in her 20s and 30s, sent me a a text with this link from Reddit. The redditer wrote: “How did I end up in college in the 1990s still thinking the story about Eve being created from Adam’s rib is the reason men were missing one rib on their left side? Honestly, it’s something small and insignificant unless you sit back and wonder how much other falsehoods have been perpetrated in the name of religion and how much damage has that led to?”
My friend explained she was in nursing school before she realized men didn’t have one less rib like we were taught in Sunday school. She asked if I remembered when I dropped that fallacy.
I couldn’t place exactly when, but it sparked a memory that when I was 6 or 7, I would lie in bed and count my ribs to see which side was missing one. I just googled this question, and Answers in Genesis actually says that this popular myth was never true.
Of course they can come to that conclusion, but evolution is too far gone. I digress.
If I were a 46 year old man who staked claims that a man lived in a fish for three days (just like the time Jesus was in hell!), before getting spit out to fulfill God’s plan, all because I desperately want my dusty book to be right, I’d have to ask someone to hit me upside the head (as they say in the south).
I have no problem with people believing. But the way I was taught was that you seek excellence first. And excellence doesn’t look at a story about a man living in a fish for three days and living to tell about it and say, “Huzzah! It’s true cuz it’s in a book that says it’s true.”
All of that doesn’t have to be true to think that a deity exists and has a hand in one’s everyday affairs. But hey, who am I? Just a measly idiot.
I’ll sign off here. Just thought I would share that New Yorker article and a few thoughts about it. Oh, and I found this excellent video in the comments of the reddit thread (below). The best part is when the caller repeats Ray Comfort’s famous banana argument (“It fits perfectly in the palm of your hand! That’s GOD!”), Matt responds, “It also fits in your butt.”
That causation argument of, “Look at the trees! Look at the nature! It’s beautiful! And therefore something must be behind it.” That’s what gets me. Well, the causes of all these bad bad things is the opposite of God, so let’s give him a name … that’s satan. Yet, neither have the balls to show themselves. One accuses the other of arrogance so he kicks him out of heaven, but then creates all of the beautiful things in the world to worship him. Arrogance. Your name is Hypocrisy.
One that they got wrong is: “Stoves are always electric. No lighter needed.”
They aren’t always electric. But you don’t need a lighter on most gas stoves.
A couple highlights from the food section:
• Sugar here is powdered, it doesn’t come in tiny cubes like I’m used to. It’s very easy to confuse salt and sugar (as I have done) because they look exactly the same.
• I have to say this – for a country this obsessed with coffee, the cappuccinos really aren’t that good. In my opinion, if you want good coffee here, you have to have it black. (I love black coffee now.) Probably the one thing I miss the most from back home is Indian filter coffee.
• And speaking of coffee – Starbucks is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. There comes a point where you get sick of seeing the logo no matter where you are, and then you get over it.
My wife Tina’s hobby is surfing a circuit of thrift stores in North Carolina and in Chicago searching for purses to re-sell online. One of her favorite haunts is a Goodwill in Winston-Salem in which you pay for items by the pound. She’s found some diamonds in the rough there.
This book hid nothing from its readers about who this man is and what he thinks is truth.
I laughed out loud a few times, but the opening quote got me the best. A quote misattributed to 1800s French diplomat to the United States Alexis de Tocqueville reads, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there … in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there … in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there … in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
The only part he might have written is the last sentence. The rest is a lie. Which fits the part. This writer cannot be depended upon for accurate records for the rest of the 600 pages.
The first chapter opens with a bunch of stories mostly rip-offed from “News of the Weird” to illustrate how far America has distanced itself from God. All the bizarre stories of spouses killing each other over burnt toast or strangers killing each other over a misunderstanding = America needs GOD.
The writer then performs a series of mental gymnastics and conspiracy theory-riddled nonsense to claim the Bible talked about America in its pages.
When I got to the chapter damning the 14th Amendment to the constitution, it was already well established that Dr. William P Grady was a racist through and through and would likely fit right in with today’s Trumpism beset by open card carrying White Supremacists attempting to “purify” America from satanic multiculturalism.
Just before damning the whole of the then-popular “Promise Keepers” movement as one riddled with insanities and de-masculinating manure, he wraps up the book by telling everyone, presbyterian, methodist, catholic, non-denominational or non-believing … to get your butts in the pews at a hell-fire and damnation Baptist church.
This one way or the highway is why the church has been losing congregants for decades. This hellfire and damnation message is the second reason people are walking away. The message, without any form of proof, is taught as fact.
If you find this book in your hands, please read it with great voracity. Give it to a friend for them to read. This is the kind of entertainment we need to use to show just how silly these people really are.
This morning … this (un)happy daylight savings day morning … I set out to practice a little re-wilding my attention thanks to this post I found recently.
I completely agree with the idea that we get locked into toilet-y swirling mire of algorithmic echo chambers. The internets are intelligently tracking our behaviors and loves. They learn what you like and they start amplifying your politics and showing you all the same viral bullshit that everyone else is consuming. It’s as if you think you’re so special only to find out that everyone else is special, too.