“He’s coming back, you know”


A little over a week ago, I drove back to Chicago alone to photograph a home so that Tina could stay in North Carolina to oversee the final renovations of our house we bought … here in the Yeshua Fog.

While I was gone, the painter who worked on the house stopped in to fix a window that broke while a contractor was scraping excess paint from around the glass. Continue reading ““He’s coming back, you know””

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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.

 

“I, Pastafari”, a Documentary Film About the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster


The letter that started a memetic and ideological revolution:

I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories.

Let’s raise some dead bodies! There are hoaxes a plenty.


The other day I posted about the rise in people claiming “no religion” in America. Reader perdebytjie commented about gullibility in South Africa and how pastors left and right are doing outrageous things to claim a magical superiority in order to gain followers. He  cited a few stories about pastors claiming to raise the dead, encouraging their congregations to eat grass to cure disease or to get closer to god, and even feeding them crazy things like dog meat and blood …

I think any religious person in America would agree that these pastors are grifters. They are false prophets. They are preying on the gullible, the weak, and the ignorant.

This is where talking about “those pastors” gets tricky. I remember these kinds of stories from as far back as I can remember. I remember being told that people who speak in tongues aren’t “real” believers. Or that TV pastors claiming to faith heal their congregants … those are false.

But that area is quickly grayed when believers of all ilk claim to have a direct line to the creator of the universe, who can somehow defy science and reality by issuing prayers in exchange for earlier healing, or respite from cancers or disease. I’ve been in many situations where someone asks to pray, calls out to God for early healing, and it’s viewed as completely fine. It’s not like those faith healers on TV. It’s different somehow. It’s “realer”. It’s more legit.

It can’t be questioned. It can’t be scrutinized. And if you doubt it, one would be asked to be quiet. Or expected to remain quiet.

I remember being told clearly that healing from God is not magic. Magic is reserved for trickery. Magic is reserved for something that’s not real. But what happens when a person is mysteriously cured of something, that’s providential. It’s supernatural. If it cannot be directly explained, it must be a power invisible to the natural world.

It’s like being told what’s written in a report without reading the actual report. It’s like thinking something is completely true, because, say, a book makes a claim that it was written by an eye witness, but you never met the eye witness or cannot verity the veracity of that claim … yet one would believe the eye witness claim without question.

These topics are difficult to approach. Because most people are skeptical enough of almost everything, except when it comes to their own deeply held beliefs. Then it’s full-on belief train and there’s no inkling of skeptical prowess.

Here are a few links to more of what perdebytjie is talking about: here. here. here.

Thanks for reading. I know there aren’t too many readers right now, but drop a link in the comments for your favorite hoax-y, miracle, bullshit-y articles … would love to read them.

 

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.

A journey of life recounted


I enjoyed this recounting of this guy’s path from evangelical Christianity to an atheist perspective. I felt like it mirrored my own journey at times. And I admired how this guy is able to communicate the journey.

I’ve found similar experiences especially when talking to people who are so far invested into belief that taking any other direction would uproot their lives, habits, ideas, etc, so far that it seems to heavy or difficult to walk away from faith.

I was speaking to my therapist yesterday on this topic, and we were discussing how the behaviors of achieving the impossibility of perfection, of overt modesty, of constant admission of sin or thinking that I lived in sin was a destructive way for me to live.

Come to think of it, every time my family prays before a meal, the person praying ends it with “forgive us our sins … in Jesus’ name … amen.” EVERY time.

Forgive us our sins. What sins? Who determined all these so-called sins? That blanket admission that we must have done something wrong, always doing something wrong, always fucking up, always disappointing the creator of the universe, always screwing up, and always apologizing for it, even the things we can’t think of … that shit was destroying me.

Phew. That took a turn.

The guy in the above video has given an excellent version of what it’s like to evolve, become better, become more complete and satisfied with life. I love it. I wish more people could at least consider what he’s saying with some iota of respect.

He admits to being a former southern baptist, which is in the news today for widespread sex abuse claims. That shit is NOT helping their cause to continue trying to convince the world that they have validity.

Here’s a description from the guy in the above video. Enjoy.

I think it’s finally time I tell the full story of how and why I became an atheist. I deconverted from Christian fundamentalism over 3 years ago now, and I’m glad I did. Issues like old earth vs young earth, evolution vs creationism, the Bible vs LGBT rights, got me thinking about the validity of faith, Christian apologetics, and personal religious experiences, and I eventually changed my perspective on all of those things. The strangest part of my story may be that Young Living Essential Oils played a roll in my becoming an atheist. Because I was without them for so long, I recognize the importance of critical thinking skills, healthy skepticism, and scientific literacy. I hope that this video will help those who feel isolated as an atheist or agnostic, or who are still in the atheist closet and are thinking of coming out. Share your story if you can, but always stay safe.