… And, Lo, the gullible will drag everyone else down with them to their below ground level


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I’m more American than you


At some point, I don’t know exactly when, I decided that I would stop being upset by the news. Especially political news.

I decided to stop being upset about a lot of things.

It’s part giving up. It’s part exhaustion. It’s part for my health. It’s partly so I don’t get upset by other people’s so-called passions. It’s partly to let good enough alone.

The above clip is something that bothers me. And it should. The whole idea that there are some more patriotic than others. That there are some that are more in love with America. That some are more Christian. And some are more American. And others aren’t American, Christian, Patriotic enough … what the fuck is that?

I thought that we all were Americans with different perspectives who live together in unity.

E Pluribus Unum and shit.

But if you go to any news aggregate with a comment section, the comments are so spectacularly anti-the-other-side that any different perspective is considered a troll.

Division is this country’s middle name. It’s sad. It’s very, fucking sad.

And to have a president who promotes differences over similarities. Who refuses to share the umbrella of his views with those that do not think the same … that’s refusal to common decency.

I remember this complaint about Obama. And I guess if you squinted your eyes and tilt your head, you could assume that promoting different progressive ideas means someone feels slighted. Gosh, I would hate to have someone promote their personal agendas around me incessantly without any care for my feelings, beliefs or lack thereof.

Oh wait.

These last few months I’ve spent more time with my family in North Carolina since maybe college. I do not refuse their prayers before meals even at my own dinner table. I do not oppose them when they bring up Christian literature or movies or say they’re tired of the leftist conspiracies of evolution and other leftist ideologies. I don’t claim to be more American than they are, even though I do not remotely share their views of God, Jesus, religion, faith, or any of the 100s of billboards that I read driving between Illinois and North Carolina brazenly claiming hell is real and Jesus is real and “when you die, you WILL meet your maker.”

That Yeshua Fog is thick. It’s bold. It’s insecure. It’s constantly reminding, self assuring. It’s superfluous, but I get why it’s almost impossible to walk away from.

It’d be certainly refreshing if the conversation wasn’t so hoity toity, self righteous and dominant. The division muscle is a weird one. I wish it would atrophy and die.

 

Let’s celebrate another growth spurt


The 2018 GSS was just released and there’s some big news. Those of “no religion” (23.1%) are statistically the same size as evangelicals (22.8%). There was also a small resurgence of mainline Protestants, while Catholics are down 3% in the last four years.

I’ve been quiet-er lately because of a few things going on in my world. But I have been meaning to post this video as well. It’s from the Atheist Experience, a TV call-in show that I occasionally watch.

In this episode, a man’s sons get their dad to call in. The kids are fans of the show, and their dad has been growing away from his dogmatic past thanks to reading different books with different perspectives.

There’s a part where the dad sits down with one of his sons and admits he was wrong on so many aspects of faith. And like many people who grow up and out of faith, he’s now teetering on the idea that all faiths have merit. I remember being taught how evil that was, but it’s merely a stepping stone to the giant, not so giant leap to acknowledging that not believing in the Judeo-Christian God is as simple as not believing in any other god.

It’s a good episode.

Embrace the journey …


When I started this blog in 2010, I was riding a hell-bent train to discuss a certain level of self awareness that I was emboldened by — and insecure with — the label “atheist.” What ensued was a few years of what I felt was addressing a high level of antagonism against the church and my early education and my disappointment toward it for not being capable of an honest discussion of questions I asked of it.

We’ll call that time the anger years. Like attracted like, and this blog was a café for a lot of vocal non-theists, which also attracted some theists attempting to proselytize the so-called lost. Continue reading “Embrace the journey …”

moral corruption and ineptitude in politics


In light of this week’s events surrounding Brett Kavanaugh and the Republicans aiming to jam him through to the Supreme Court, I offer the following reminders.

The moral superiority of the right is well established now as the most moral in all the land. And anyone who is confused about how one can act, how men can act, in public or in private with women, need only to address the public record.

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Donald Trump, republican president of the United States quote: “I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” Continue reading “moral corruption and ineptitude in politics”

I’m an armchair Lollapalooza lover


I haven’t been to Lollapalooza in years. Last time I was there, I photographed it for TimeOut magazine. That was 2012.

That year, there were often way too many photographers in the pits (the space between the crowd and the stage), so the powers that be cut the numbers by 80% or more the following year.

I wasn’t upset, though. I loved the experience, but the pay was shit. The music industry is leading a sort of modern day slavery for artists. They figured out earlier than most that if you swing a cat, you’ll hit a “photographer.” So paying them became obsolete. While my pay covered my transportation, food and drinks for the day, I doubt most photographers were compensated at all.

If you’re a photographer, and you want to shoot music, get in and get back out. It’s a great way to learn camera settings quickly and to figure out how to nail focus. But you will get taken advantage of.  Continue reading “I’m an armchair Lollapalooza lover”

On my to-do list: re-listen to Terry Gross’ interview with Paul Schrader and Ethan Hawke about “First Reformed”


Probably a month ago, I heard bits and pieces of the NPR show Fresh Air. It was an interview with Filmmaker Paul Schrader and actor Ethan Hawke about a movie Schrader wrote and directed called “First Reformed.” You can listen to it here.

You’d know Schrader from the movies he wrote: “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.” He also wrote the script for “The Last Temptation of Christ,” one of my favorite books and movies.

Schrader has reached 70 years and decided that after a long career of purposefully staying away from the topic of religion, it was time to maybe pursue it.

Apparently Schrader and I share some similarities. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, deep in the heart of the Dutch Reformed Church. My dad is a Dutchman, immigrated to Grand Rapids as a teen and comes from the reformed tradition. My mom grew up in Grand Rapids as well.

We all had very religious upbringings.  Continue reading “On my to-do list: re-listen to Terry Gross’ interview with Paul Schrader and Ethan Hawke about “First Reformed””