two women at a bus stop

A poem. By me.

“two women at a bus stop”

Strangers. One, to the other. 
“I love the guy who paid my debt.” 
“You wha?” 
“I love the guy who paid my debt.” 
“You love the guy who paid your debt?” 
“Yes?”
“Okay.” 
Cars whoosh. Tires tread. Engines combust. 
“I want to introduce you to the guy who paid my debt.” 
“You what?” 
“I want to introduce you go the guy who paid my debt.” 
“Okay.” 
“He’s right here.” 
The woman held out her open palm. 
The other looked at her empty hand.
“He lives here.” Her eyes pointing to her hand. “He’s my friend. I want him to be your friend.” 
“Um.” 
Cars whoosh. Tires tread. Engines Combust. 
“You have debt, too, you know?” 
“What?”
“You have debt, too. I have the bill right here.” 
In her other hand, she holds a line-itemed bill with a number in the billions. 
It’s addressed to “everyone, anywhere, at any time.” 
“I don’t owe anything.” 
“Yes you do.” 
“No I don’t.” 
“It says it right here.” 
“What is the bill for?” 
“Our ancestors ate a meal. They didn’t pay. With interest, inflation and tax, you must pay this bill.” 
“No. No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do. It says right here. You must pay, too.” 
“Who is billing for this debt?” 
“My friend who paid the debt.” 
Cars whoosh. Tires tread. Engines combust. 

Ex-Louisiana pastor hunkers down in the Yeshua Fog™ and rides the storm

From this Daily Beast article, “Atheist Ex-Pastor Jerry DeWitt’s Mission to Red America:”

But far away from the hype cycle of social media and the cultural freedom of metropolitan America, a former Louisiana pastor is struggling with a similar project deep in the small towns of the evangelical South. On June 23, Jerry DeWitt led the first service of the Community Mission Chapel in Lake Charles, Louisiana—a product of his own painful journey from beloved local pastor to abandoned outcast. His decision to stay in a hostile rural environment sets him apart from most other clergy members who embrace atheism—and from the burgeoning atheist church movement.

“Everyone else who did what I did left where they lived,” DeWitt said, referring to other Christian pastors he’s met who took public positions of atheism. “Someone had to stop that. Someone had to be the first not to move, so that the next person doesn’t have to move.”

Read on. 

 

Hemant Mehta, this is how you post stats

CNN published an editorial from Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta. Read it here. The topic is the growing downhill driving snowball that is non-belief in America, the world, and on the Internets.

I particularly liked his opening:

Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing “wrong.”

They’re anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don’t disagree with those critiques, but there’s another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

What works about Mehta’s editorial is that he’s referring to stats that you can look up. He’s included citations and references via clickable link. You know, things kids are taught in seventh grade.

You know, he quotes stats, then links to them.

Like these two paragraphs:

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

If you have a source, show it. When I was in seventh grade, I didn’t refer to facts that were written in a book that I swear existed, but I just couldn’t tell you what it was.

Not referring to sources is like saying you have a hot girlfriend whom you tell your friends they’ll never meet, but BELIEVE me she’s hot and sexy. Her schedule is tough so you’ll likely never meet her. BUT she’s the hottest thing in the sack. I swear.

There are other things — like gods — who get this kind of talk. You know, “Zoroaster … he’s the best god ever. He’ll do anything for you. He created everything … for you! Just believe me!”

If you can’t produce sources, the only citation I have is based on a belief that you’re not making that shit up.

I guess the other take away from the article is that the atheist movement is growing.

For another take on the topic, check out Naked Pastor’s response, with a cartoon that shows the inevitable: evangelical, door-to-door atheists.

Thoughts on assholery

There’s been something bothering me. Or maybe it’s some things.

Maybe it’s the Christmas season. Maybe it’s spending more time with friends and family.

Maybe it’s the idea that this economy is so tough, I have no idea if next week I’m going to have to find a job in the “real” world.

Last night I was listening to music that reminded me of an old girlfriend and I found myself a bit more emotional than usual. It wasn’t a longing for my ex-girlfriend. It was a return to emotions that I felt during our breakup.

But there are a zillion things are bringing the emotion right now. This blog for example.

I mean, Le Café represents ideologies that are completely contradictory to my upbringing. Some of the biggest readers of this blog are family, like my dad, my brother, my sister in law. I think my mom either reads it, or gets second hand info from my dad. But regardless, it’s understood that the universe-sized elephant in Chicago is the asshole who battles his former belief in Christianity via a public blog on the internet.

While I don’t sit here saying, “I’m going to hurt my family’s feelings today,” I can honestly say that my motivation is not to hurt them. I realize that it would be difficult to separate self from faith, as most people identify their person with faith.

My criticisms are surely offensive. (More below the fold).

Continue reading “Thoughts on assholery”

Vacation, all I ever wanted

In case you didn’t know, we’re on our annual Carbondale, IL vacation this week.

We drove down yesterday. It’s about a six-hour drive from Chicago.

We stay at my brother-in-law’s husband’s parents’ house. They might not be “married”, but they should be. They’ve been together as long as anybody.

And I mean anybody.

The house has a pool and about 4000 sq ft to run around in. It’s a very hospitable home.

While we’re here, Peeper Dee posts may be sporadic. I’m going to post 205 and 206 together in another post.

I’m trying to think of any awesome stories that’ve happened so far.

On the way down here, we heard two guys on the radio talking about how atheists from the Freedom From Religion Foundation are taking away religious freedoms in this country.

Did you know atheists are hellbent on taking away the religious freedoms that Christians enjoy every day. Things like, church, prayer, worshiping Jesus.

Oh wait, no they’re not. All atheists want is that you do those things on your time in the privacy of your churches. So whether you worship Satan or Yeshua, do what you want when you want. It’s just not something everyone wants to hear about all the damn time.

It’s not atheists who want this, it’s everyone who doesn’t align with your beliefs … whatever they are. This country is made on religious freedom. So be free … frolic in the fields hand-in-hand with your boyfriend Jesus or your girlfriend Mary, mother of Jesus. But since there is no hand on the other end of yours, it’s really not something we all need to know about.

There are churches everywhere down here. Seems like a lot of wasted moolah.

Here are some more pics you can click on.

Hope you’re having a brilliant week. I’ll post when I can this week.

Click any image to enlarge.

 

 

Atheist infighting is fun!

CAT FIGHT!!! 

Pop yourself some corn, because this one is going to get nasty.

In this corner, heavyweight atheist badass PZ Myers! And in the blue, dismally disappointing corner, John Loftus.

John Loftus, what a fucking whiny coward. The guy can’t catch a break in the atheist community, and when anyone — and I mean anyone — paints him or his associations in a bad light, he attacks the person as hard as he can instead of taking a long look at the whole picture.

In case you missed it. PZ Myers wrote that he was disappointed by the response from Cathy Cooper about the Colorado shooting published at Debunking Christianity.

Depending on how you want to do it, here’s Cathy’s original writing. Here’s PZ Myers’ response and here’s John Loftus’s lame, horse shit response to PZ Myers.

In a nutshell, Cathy Cooper wrote that being raised Presbyterian encouraged the Colorado shooter to violence. PZ Myers equated the response to just as ridiculous as any of the myriad of foul Christian responses we’ve all read and I’ve posted some here.

And then John Loftus, in near-cliché Loftus style, retaliated blaming PZ Myers for being “divisive, uncaring, and a power hungry greedy person.”

Loftus claims that Myers rakes in over $3000 a month with his Freethought Blog. Can anyone verify this?

I’m not going to completely side with PZ Myers. There are often times when I think he over-indulges on pushing an issue. That’s to say, when I read something as mediocre or somewhat boring, PZ tends to sensationalize information more.

When I write, I catch myself breaking into the sensational voice, and I try to back it up. Although I’m not always successful.

If you aren’t aware, John Loftus is the absurdly poor debater who blamed everyone else for his failure to even make dent in any argument by Dinesh D’Souza back in 2010. When the atheist community let him know, he was dumbfounded and blamed us for misunderstanding his lofty awesomeness. Read here. And more recently, he was hired by and then left hastily from Freethought Blogs, because he edited or deleted comments from those who criticized him (surprise!) and when called out, Loftus turns into a bumbling fool.

Who cares what PZ Myers thinks of John Loftus? I wouldn’t have cared, if it weren’t for Loftus’ response.

Loftus has the distinct talent of taking a situation and responding like a five-year old. Temper Tantrums and all.

How he has a readership is beyond me. But you could say the same thing about this blog.

PZ Myers is divisive. And so what if he likes drawing gigantic paychecks off his success in the atheist community?

If I could find a way to do it, hells bells I would.

I’m hoping for a PZ response today. How fun would that be!

Naked Pastor: Atheist *and* a Christian … there’s a grace for that

Naked Pastor David Hayward recently updated this to Facebook:

“Did you know you can be a christian and an atheist at the same time and be at peace? I’m living proof.”

If the conversation that followed is not available without friending or subscription at the above link, I recommend doing either.

I also recommend reading his followup blog post about it here.

I have a sensitive spot for the David Haywards and the Julie Ferwerda’s in the world. Those grownups who have figured out that the facts don’t align with the teachings, and that it’s okay to question, doubt aloud, and pursue “alternate” truths.

I certainly don’t agree that God is a necessary factor in the formula. But I feel like if I were to retain faith, Hayward’s version would be at the top of my list.

Truth is, we all know what it’s like to be an atheist. All of us. Every single Christian practices some sort of atheism toward a HUGE list of gods.

Hayward has figured out that he feels atheistic toward the god whom he finds the best one.

And that — at least to me — is honesty.

There are some mental gymnastics necessary to come to that conclusion, but hell, why not?

At least folks like Hayward have come to something closer to a logical conclusion than most.

And I appreciate that.

Where are the believers picketing porn shops and all-you-can-eats?

The cartoon above from the atheist pig is something that bothers my brain quite a bit.

It’s atheist pig in a bathtub wondering:

If Christians are so worried about everyone’s sin, why aren’t they picketing the gluttons stuffing their faces at all you can eat buffets?”

Surely the high-and-mighties are familiar with other sins other than homosexuality that contribute heavily to the decline of society!

Well, they should. And they should picket.

Wait a minute. I know why they don’t. Because they’d be picketing themselves.

Makes sense.

Via 

16. Angry comics aren’t funny or smart #SSAweek

Over at Facebook, there’s an angry comic named Andy Laurie who posted a rant-diatribe against current atheists.

I’m not sure if angry comics is the official term, but these are the comics like Lewis Black, who aren’t all that funny, but their “comedy” is an accepted form of the business.

The thread that Andy started evolved from “all atheists are idiots” to “some atheists are idiots.”

What a fucking douchebag. 

I’ll add a screencap below the fold, but the original post is this:

My logical problem with Atheism is that it requires the same arrogant hubris as all the organized religions. To think that you can understand ‘God’, what his name is and what HE wants is just as arrogant as saying “Nah, there isn’t one.”- These are beliefs that can’t be proven, and take considerable hubris to assume that we as mortal humans can figure it out. So, sorry Atheists- you’re just as annoying as Jehovah’s Witnesses or Extreme Muslims to me. Just because you have disdain for the organized religions of the world and/or the hypocrisy of saying “God spoke to OUR group only” gives you no mathematical proof that YOU are correct either. Smug dismissal of organized religions is merely that- it’s not proof of the absence of anything, so… stop being so smug and righteous. The irony is suffocating.

Among the scripty responses from atheists were the typical, “The burdon of proof is on the prover, not the disprover.”

We’ve all said it.

There are some reasonable parts of the thread. And Andy is right, some people are attaching themselves to atheism because it’s a sort of fad. And there are people who I can’t stand. I don’t want some people on “my team”.

I’m not sure I want myself on the team sometimes.

And just like there are blind followers of theism, there are blind followers of atheism. People who can’t criticize their beloved leadership, for example.

The climax of Andy’s dumbassery peaked at this line:

Sax- To which I would tell an atheist that the burden of proof lays on them. I can prove the existence of SOME higher power much more sophisticated than humans in ten seconds. I just can’t tell you what his/her/their name is, nor what they want from US.

I responded a little ways down the line:

I’m still waiting for that proof.

If you’re going to act smart, back it up with some kind of level of intelligence. Otherwise, you’re just another angry comic, and just like Lewis Black, you make me turn the channel.

Continue reading “16. Angry comics aren’t funny or smart #SSAweek”

11. Thursday Nooner: let’s shoot some sexy body forms

12:00 p.m. CST — This post was one I got ahead on, and should have posted at noon.

I’m a photographer.

That’s what people pay me to do anyway.

Right now I’m building the hell out of my portfolio. The above shot is a slightly-edited photo from last night. My partner Bill Whitmire and I shot an Mixed Martial Arts fighter.

I don’t relinquish the names of models I shoot on this site, because while I’m out as an atheist, I don’t want people who don’t wish to be associated with this site on this site. If they don’t want that association, I have found anonymity is the best way to go.

I work out, but I don’t care if I have a six pack unless it’s shared with good buddies over a well-cooked, well-imagined meal.

One of the things that contributed to my atheism is the Christian perception of art. I found that Christianity was restrictive of artistic expression, because what I felt and what I wanted to love was stymied by Christian-influenced guilt.

I love the human form, especially the female form. But I understand, or think I do, what is attractive on the male side as well. The guy above, he’s got a great form. I don’t find it steroid-y, but I could be wrong. The guy is really cool. He’s got a great personality.

I found myself wanting to ask him to punch me so I could feel what it must be to get knocked out by him.

Below is another model I shot earlier this year. Tina and I are going to shoot her again on Saturday morning on the beach, wearing bathing suits, with water splashing over her more-than-half naked body. It’s going to be a sunrise shoot, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Do you know how guilty I would feel if I were still a Christian with this shoot on the schedule? Seriously.

Human sexuality is a fact. And you, nor you, and definitely not you, would be here if it weren’t for sex.

The demonization of sex is pathetic. And it’s one of the biggest things that turned my stomach about Christianity. It still does.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t claim to be an atheist so I can avoid the “morality” of Christianity. I don’t find Christian morals very moral at all.

And frankly, shooting models has increased and intensified my sex life with my wife. It’s showed us just how imperfect the human form is. And regardless of what you find beautiful in magazines or on TV, no one is as “pretty” as you think they are. Or, another way to think about it is everyone is prettier than you thought.

I don’t want to be a Christian, because I want to be honest with what I think and feel about sex, life, love and living.

Redundant sentence, I know.

It’s a blogathon. You’re supposed to write stupid shit.

So whether you’re attracted to men or women, I hope that these images contribute in some way to your viewing pleasure.

……………………………

This is post 11 of 35 in the SSAweek Le Café Witteveen Blogathon. You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17. Spread it!