I’m not really anti-gun. I’m certainly not pro-gun. One thing is for sure with me, though, I do NOT get this country’s love-affair with the all-mighty gun. I just don’t get it. But it’s become obvious to me that SOMETHING has to change. There have been far too many mass-shootings and horrible gun-related tragedies in our country lately for us to just turn a blind eye to the issue. And it sure seems like we can’t even come together and have a discussion about it.
I don’t know what the answer is. I’m just some middle-aged guy in an average city just trying to do what I do to survive in this world and take care of my family. I don’t have any kind of deep insight as to what the answer is. All I know is that there are statistics to be had that do not lie. Compared to other affluent countries on this planet we are leading the race in gun violence. Frankly a race I would be happy to finish last in. And what is different about those countries? MUCH stricter gun laws.
A Recent announcement by the NRA advocates putting even MORE weapons out there. I tend to think this is a bad idea. We want LESS bullets flying around our society, not more. And if the advocates think that more guns in the hands of the general populous is a good idea, I really have to disagree. “People” aren’t able to drive their cars properly. How are we to expect “people” to handle a gun properly in an intense situation like we’ve had lately. It’s my belief that there would have been MORE casualties as a result.
Look, I don’t propose a ban by any stretch. But I also don’t think that regular civilians have any reason to have high-capacity, rapid shooting assault rifles either. I also think that psychiatric screenings would be a VERY good idea before one can get a weapon.
Do I think those things will prevent the awful events we’ve seen lately? Not really. I try to be realistic in these situations. A deranged person is most likely going to find a way to do the evil he or she’s been contemplating. However, I really think we need to have serious discussions on how to start moving in the right direction. Right now each side is just digging their heals in deeper, and as always, we will get nowhere.
Can we at least talk about it? Probably not, but it was a nice thought anyway.
People stop it! Just….stop it!
Images like this one just make you look stupid. Do you really believe this? Really? If so, and for a minute or two, let’s assume you do. The following questions (among many others) are raised:
1) Is God not allowed in Malls? Click here
2) Is God not allowed in Movie Theaters? Click Here
4) Is God picky about how he’s worshiped? Click Here
That list isn’t even close to comprehensive, but it goes to show that this mindset is idiotic! Either that or this god that you give your allegiance to is as spoiled and rotten as a misbehaving child. Any deity that would allow 20 innocent children to be massacred because he’s upset about being ‘not allowed in schools’ is a monster and not worthy of anyone’s adoration. Not to mention the idiocy of an all-powerful god being pushed around by us peons. If you believe this crap, you can consider yourself to rank with the Westboro Baptist douchebags!
And besides all of that, the statement is just false. Yeah, teachers and schools can’t LEAD or DIRECT prayers, but kids are allowed to pray, carry bibles/korans, etc, and even can have prayer groups that can meet on school grounds/classrooms. So, stop it with this god isn’t allowed in schools BS. It’s just that. BS!
And then there’s this:
What a disgusting point of view. There is no positive spin that can be put on this horror. My heart breaks for these parents. I can’t even imagine the pain they are going through right now. Stuff like this is horrible! No amount of mental gymnastics can take away that horror! I’m just so pissed off about this right now that I find it hard to relay my feelings! I really don’t care who I piss off with this either. This is the problem with the religious. Things like this devalue human lives. Believing that we go somewhere after death removes the preciousness that is life!
JUST. STOP. IT.
The world is a slightly darker place this morning. We’ve lost a maverick, a pioneer, a visionary. Often controversial. Often combative. Always brilliant! A literary mastermind was Hitchens. He could turn a phrase like none other. His mind seemed to be a Rolodex of information and life-experience that he had the ability to sift through and access any bit of information at any time and bring it to us in fabulous poetic prose.
As a part of the free-thinking, anti-religious movement he was invaluable. Loud and boisterous and yet always eloquent. He was a bright light of reason in an often dark ignorant populous. This is where I believe he will be missed the most.
I wish I could say I knew him personally, but through his writing I feel I had the privilege to get a peek into the machinery that was his thought process. I’m sure that his close friends and family are feeling this loss deeply and my thoughts are with them.
This evening I will raise my glass (several of them most likely) to the man who helped me on my personal journey from delusion to enlightenment.
To Hitch! You will live forever in the words that you’ve left behind!
I’ve recently asked a few members of my family a religious/philosophical question that they have not been able to give me an answer to. I feel that it’s a legitimate question, and I really would love to know how they are able to reconcile this. Though, ultimately, I believe it to be irreconcilable under their current belief system. I will post the question below (as was presented to them) and then their initial responses and some of my replies.
Here’s the question:
“You and I are riding in a car and have a horrific accident. We both die instantly. We come to find out that it WAS, in fact, true that there is a god and it’s YOUR god. So, you get to spend eternity in heaven and I, obviously get to spend it tortured in hell. Now, you’re my mother/brother/sister/etc, so please explain to me how heaven is going to be a wonderful place for you to be knowing that I (and probably many MANY other people that you’ve known and loved in life) am being burned and tortured in hell?”
I realize this is a rather harsh concept, but I feel it addresses a rather important issue for believers. They claim that their goal is to get to heaven and spend eternity in God’s presence, but I don’t think any of them have contemplated what it would mean to have their loved ones not there, and according to the doctrine they believe, they are in hell.
This is the response my mother gave:
“One thing i know, God is the only one that can judge your heart and mine. I know his word well enough to know he loves us both. I know you want an answer about how I could enjoy heaven at that thought. I couldn’t. Not the way I am now. How could I. But all of his promises and assurances from the time I gave him my heart to him, tells me I can trust him with all that I have all now, and what I will experieced in the future. He hasn’t failed me. He’s my father. My papa. He brought me through so much pain and gave me peace. He is a loving God and knows the heart.
I love you.
This is an overwhelming thought and I’m praying for a clearer answer.”
I replied to her that I was looking forward to a further response on the question, but one never came. We did talk about it over the phone briefly once, and her thoughts came down to the idea that those memories would be gone. So, she figures she’d have no memories of her lost family members. How is that concept of heaven something desirable? My family, wife, and daughter are the most important things to me. If there was a heaven, I would want nothing to do with it if those things weren’t part of it. Not to meantion that it certainly seems like you would have to be fundamentally changed from who you were in life in order to be that way in heaven.
I posed the same question to my brother (who actively serves in the ‘ministry’). Got the following response…
“I will respond in time, i appreciate your patience…”
That was two months ago. Nothing else has been forthcoming.
The lack of valid responses to the question leaves me to believe that there is no good response. I think it leaves them feeling very uncomfortable because it truly does cause problems with their beliefs. I know I couldn’t resolve this in my own head. I’m open to honest responses from believers. I really am. I’d love to hear from people who can try to explain how they would resolve this. I’ve considered this for quite some time, and for now, I find it to be the ‘irresolvable problem’.
I don’t often blog more than once a day. Hell! I don’t often blog more than once a week or month anymore. But today, I feel it’s necessary.
The religious folks I have on my Facebook page are blowing it up with posts calling for prayers regarding the Tsunami/Earthquake which happened near Japan overnight. One of the more recent ones was from a friend sending out his prayers for families he knows in Japan and California. He ended his post with “God is with you”.
It took a lot of my will-power to let it go, but inside my head I’m screaming “WHY THE FUCK WASN’T GOD WITH THE ONES THAT DIED?!?!? THAT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE AT ALL!!!”. I just do NOT get that mentality. If you believe that God is sparing the ones you know/love from being effected or killed by such a tragedy, what about your plea to him works for those folks, but not for the ones that ARE effected? The answer really IS quite simple: There is no god answering or even listening to those prayers. And, as sad and tragic as it is, this is the result of natural forces and those forces have NO opinions on what their effect is going to be on human society. I really have a hard time getting what is so hard to understand about that? Isn’t it so much harder to rationalize in your head that a mystical being in the sky is picking and choosing who gets to live and who gets to die than it is to acknowledge that nature is a powerful, blind, non-biased force and sometimes human kind gets in the way of it?
That said, my heart and thoughts go out to the folks effected by this tragedy. I wish there was more that I could do. It’s incredibly sad!
Pascal’s Wager is probably the most popular tool that believers use to try to use to get non-believers to reconsider their positions. It’s also one of the easiest to refute. So, I’m not going to go into the arguments in either direction, as there are literally gazillions (I love hyperbole) of articles out on the web that do just that. Go look them up if you’re curious.
What I would like to do in this post, however, is discuss the hypothetical situation where I find out that I’m wrong. First though, here’s a definition of Pascal’s Wager for those that don’t actually know what it is:
An argument according to which belief in God is rational whether or not God exists, since falsely believing that God exists leads to no harm whereas falsely believing that God does not exist may lead to eternal damnation.
Look, if I end up being wrong, and there IS a god that I have to meet after I die, I would expect that he’s probably a reasonable guy (wouldn’t you expect that the creator of all that is would be?). I hope that he examines me honestly and understands that I went out of my way in life trying to learn the things that I needed to learn to believe that he existed. It wasn’t like I just turned my back and said ‘screw you’. I know myself, and I know that I’ve examined the possibility honestly and with massive amounts of thought and research. If that isn’t enough to convince him to spare me of some eternal torture based on rules that he put into a book several thousand years ago, then there’s not much I can do about that. I can’t force myself to believe something when all of the logical and rational processes of my mind tell me it’s untrue. But before he damned me to eternal hellfire, I would hope I could at least ask him a few questions. Questions like:
“What was with all the hiding?”
“Where’s the evidence?”
“What’s your hangup with foreskins?”
“Slavery? Slavery is ACTUALLY ok in your view? please explain!”
“You created women, and immediately turned around and wrote a book that demeans them in every possible way. What’s up with that?”
“Thou shalt not kill, but wiping out entire civilizations is ok as long as YOU command it?”
“If your book is divinely inspired, why are there so many inconsistencies and contradictions?”
Seriously, though, Pascals Wager is so tired that I can’t believe it’s even used anymore. But, alas, I hear it all the time.
In some ways it’s not surprising. In others it’s just downright baffling.
Recently, my great-aunt passed away. We weren’t particularly close and she lived a good, long life that should be celebrated. Of course, any death is a sad time, it’s also an inevitability for all of us. So, if that person has lived 70, 80, 90 or more years, when that time comes, grief (at least for me) tends to be quickly replaced with awe and respect for a long life, well lived.
That said, here is a run-down of something I read when my mom posted about her aunt’s death on her Facebook status. The response from one of my mom’s friends (who I’ve talked about here before) was this:
my condolences. I wish I was going with her
This just left me scratching my head. But only momentarily. As I said at the top of this post “In some ways it’s not surprising”, and definitely NOT the first time I’ve heard something like this. So, to understand the mentality of this fundamentalist belief is to understand that this life, in their view, is very temporary, and almost an inconvenience. They want nothing more than to get on to eternity in heaven. So, instead of embracing life and living it to the fullest and enjoying it, they seem to hate this life and wish it away. They seem to view it as a separation from their god. What’s sad is that none of them have a single drop of evidence to support the idea that ANYTHING happens after they die. Let alone their particular brand of afterlife. So, to squander this one and only life by wishing for it to end creates in me a sadness for them that I can’t even begin to conceptualize. I just wish they would have a wake up call and realize what they are doing.