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.

Family-owned Arkansas Grocery Store Ad: “Heaven Has A Wall”

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ABC Affiliate reports:

CAMDEN, Ark. (KARK) –  A family-owned Christian grocery store with several locations in Southeast Arkansas is dealing with backlash as customers argue a weekly ad mailer included a controversial political message.

The ad book was sent to four Mac’s Cashsaver stores in Arkansas. According to the store, the mailer typically includes a religious or political message. The current mailer includes a message that references the U.S./Mexico border wall controversy. It reads, ‘Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy. Hell has open borders. Let that sink in.

Those words aren’t sitting well with some customers.

Wall or a gate or whatever. Keep those illegals out of heaven! Not one dirty human who commits a thought crime gets in! Send those humans, those nasty dirty assholes to the open borderland of HELL.

The bar is set so low. It makes more sense to step over.

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 …”

I arrived a little late for this party. VIDEO: “How to survive your liberal family member during the holidays”

Yesterday I saw that Donald Trump retweeted an op-ed from The Daily Caller, a website started by Tucker Carlson and known for its connection to white supremacy. It didn’t surprise me that Trump would associate himself with a shit site known for its allegiance to making America white again.

While on the site, I noticed a video posted that I simply had to watch. The video took dead aim at liberal stereotypes, and I assume it was an attempt at humor. The production value alone was atrocious. The sound quality sucked. Its attempt to characterize liberals fell into expected territory. It’s amazing how bad conservative “art” is and equally weird how low the bar is set for production value and attention to detail.

The article associated with the video explained:

Extremely progressive family members can be triggered easily by things like Christianity, traditional values and meat eating. The liberal family member can be a real spoiler for holiday traditions and good tidings.

A spit my coffee from my mouth reading “things like Christianity.”

All three of us in the office yesterday soaked every second of this train wreck. We learned from its poorness and its blatant missed targets. We even laughed, likely for all the wrong reasons. Enjoy it below!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I had no idea about the “Baby it’s cold outside” controversy until just before Christmas. A conservative friend of mine explained that liberals were up in arms over the lyrics. After a bit of digging, it appeared that the controversy was a manufactured issue originating from conservative websites, just like that nasty war on Christmas.

New tricks for old … Learning science at 70

It absolutely drives me nuts how much science that I did and did NOT learn as a young person at an evangelical school in the south. When I got to college, and properly learned about biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, et al, I was astonished at how poorly I was equipped with knowledge.

Worse, those around me still seem to lack any basic knowledge of science outside of their bias for “creationism.” It’s weird. Understandable, because the fog of faith is so thick down yonder. But the oppression of information is so bizarre to me.

This 70 year old former editor of the Economist sat down at 70 and learned what seems so basic, like that he’s a mammal. Check it out!

So far I have found physics relatively straightforward, because (at this level anyway) it has a lot of maths in it. Biology is not far behind, as it seems to be mainly about animals and plants. But chemistry, always mysterious to me, is pure revelation. It is making me look at so many everyday phenomena with far more interest and, yes, even understanding. A few weeks ago my tutor, John Harris, handed me a proper white overall and we spent a happy hour in his kitchen mixing acids and alkalis with the juice from a cooked red cabbage. Elementary stuff, but to me it felt like grown-up research.

Greta Thunberg, 15, Condemns the World’s Inaction on Climate Change

This is a deadpan, stunning performance from Fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. She addressed the U.N. plenary recently in Katowice, Poland, condemning global inaction in the face of catastrophic climate change.

Partial transcript:

But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.

But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.

The roof of my building is in disrepair. Literally. We share the building with five other units. I’ve shown pictures of the roof. I’ve taken people up there to look. It desperately needs upkeep and has for the past five years.

But it’s on the roof. It’s not seen every day. And no matter what proof I show my neighbors, and no matter how much I try to scare them with the facts that we could be adding so much more harm to our building, no body gives a rats’ ass.

This is the climate change argument in a microcosm. You can show literal facts to people. You can explain that warming waters cause fucked up weather. You can show photos and data that spans back years and years. But it doesn’t matter. If my politician told me, or my pastor, or the guy who read an article in my community fulfills my confirmation bias, by God … Climate Change is a hoax perpetuated by rich scientists who want to get richer off gullible idiots like you!

“Rich Scientists”

Oxy Moron.

Keep in mind that as I move closer to the holiday season, and we plan to spend a week or so with people adamantly opposed to Climate Change, because, well, politics … this is important to me.

Larger than that, the point isn’t entirely if the climate is or isn’t warming. Or cooling. Or not. I think it’s a goddamn shame that we pump so much shit into our atmosphere, dump chemicals into our landfills and sewers, and then think, “Nah, man, all this shit is fine. The planet is going to do what it wants, because there have always been ebbs and flows of temperatures.”

It’s a shame that we, especially Americans, live a such grandiose lives that we waste so much. We Costco. We unroll toilet paper like it’s a water fountain. We paper towel everything. We buy too much food and throw it away. We waste waste waste. And nobody does a good god damn thing about it.

It’s conspiratorial as saying scientists get rich, but damn, doesn’t it seem shitty that big fucking companies get bigger and richer and the owners and stockholders make sure that they’re politically supported. The disparity between rich and poor in this country is widening, and ignorance is the best weapon for keeping the environment un-sacred.

I mean, look at this shit that people post on their social media:

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I know that person. You know that person. It’s embarrassing.

I don’t even need to care that much. I don’t have kids. So there’s part of me that’s like, whatever fools. But then that’s irresponsible.

I guess whenever you have the hope of biblical apocalypse, you have no more room in your head for scientific apocalypse. No more room in the inn! Right? Right!

Right.

 

What my head is consuming

Just like my food diet, my media diet ebbs and flows from mental junk food to healthy and everything in between. The below list is just a swath of things I’ve consumed over the past two months or more.

French Classes. I take French classes at my local Alliance Francaise, and it’s one of the single best things I do for myself. We talk about art, religion, science, dreams, aspirations, artificial intelligence, world events and ideas. It exposes me to a variety of ideas and a variety of standpoints, all en Francais! (A+)

The Midnight Line, by Lee Child. Page turner and all around fun story exposing the difficulties of opioid addiction and the military. (A-)

Origin, by Dan Brown. Enjoyed this page turner. Dan Brown has a way of keeping me interested and jumping into the next chapter even though my eyes are heavy. The atheist in the book wasn’t too annoying. I was hoping for more symbology. But a fun book. (A).

Where Good Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson. Good ideas come from hard work and perseverance. Surprise! /s. The best thing I took from this book was that there is an Adjacent Possible, a doorway just to the left or right of a good idea that propels it into a GREAT idea. These ideas don’t happen easy or often. Enjoyed it, though. (B+)

True Detective, Season 2, HBO. Not a bad way to spend time. But I wasn’t in love with the series. Collin Farrell’s “southern accent” made me think of Sling Blade once or twice an episode. Vince Vaughn struggled with being a badass. Sometimes you just had to go with the flow. (B).

Jack Ryan (Amazon) Truly one of the worst shows ever. Started okay. But seven or eight episodes in, Tina and I turned it off. It was that bad. (F-)

Magic for Humans (Netflix). Fun show. Great for being dumbstruck to great magic. It constantly makes you wonder if there are camera tricks involved. It constantly pulls at your belief-o-meter. (A).

Lawrence of Arabia. One of my favorite movies of all time. Seriously. All must watch and adore. (A+).

Ready Player One. Not a bad way to be entertained. Great homage scene to The Shining. I didn’t hate the movie. But I didn’t love it. (B+).

Ocean’s 8. Yawn Town USA. I didn’t get into it. Not the characters, the story. Kinda fell asleep. C.

I feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. Dumb movie, but not the worst one in the world. The concept is great: average girl suddenly thinks she’s a 10 and acts like it. Funny parts. Entertaining. B-

Ozark, on Netflix. Simply the best show I’ve seen this year. Amazing writing. Great acting. Amazing twists. (A++)

The French Art of Not Giving a Shit by Fabrice Midal. Don’t be surprised if you get a copy of this from me for Christmas.  It’s a great peek into who I think I am and how I’m trying to go about life. It’s not a self help book. It’s a reminder to breathe. It’s a reminder to be yourself. It’s a reminder to not lock into one idea or faith or mindset or politic, because it’s excruciatingly painful for the people who love you. It reminds me of why I love the artistic, open minded fellowship that is around me. And why some people hurt us because they’re locked into bad ideas. (A).

 

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”

Thoughts on the Brett Kavanaugh hearing

I watched yesterday’s hearing. I hear a lot of people were glued to their TVs yesterday, too.

I rarely watch news and found it interesting to see what I usually only listen to on the radio. The nuances of seeing a hearing definitely made a big difference.

I welled up with tears several times watching and hearing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. It wrenched my heart in ways that I can only begin to imagine what pain she’s dealing with.

I’m not sure whether to believe her or not. But the testimony was compelling, and her sweetness and authenticity were remarkable.

Then Brett Kavanaugh entered and blasted off to the moon with his angry rant against a conspiratorial plot to ruin his life and family. He doesn’t believe he deserves this kind of treatment, and he’s up in arms that this is ruining his name.

I get it. But there’s one thing that is mind-boggling.  Continue reading “Thoughts on the Brett Kavanaugh hearing”

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”