Monthly Archives: April 2013

Poor Logic

When it comes to figuring out the logic of some believers, do you ever feel like you’re watching a dog chasing its tail?

In my city, we get these magazines called “Living” in our mailboxes every month. It doesn’t matter if you call and ask them not to waste paper and postage, the company continues to send them regardless. I’ve given up and just resigned myself to flipping through the “magazine” (it’s rather more of a mailbox infomercial) to get an idea of what this publisher thinks people in their target market are like.

Every month, without fail, they have a piece on god, usually written by one of the editors. April’s magazine talked about the miniseries “The Bible.” The author, Michelle Wallace, writes this:

Now a word to the skeptics of God’s story. You say, “Parting of seas, men swallowed by a giant fish who lived to tell about it. And the craziest of all, God becoming a man, dying and defeating death so that I could live forever in a place where no sin or suffering will be allowed!” Through the years I’ve tried to logically reason it out, but it always comes down to faith, and honestly, I can’t think of a better plan. I’m a sinner, in need of a savior. And, God doesn’t override my will; He gives me the freedom to choose.

Here’s the thing, if your god is unable to bring the literal parting of the Red Sea. If this doesn’t fit into a logical and reasonable realm of possibility, so you dismiss it offhand, then your god is too small. He’s not the God of the Bible. And, the god who can be contained within my limited and reasonable capacity, is not a god big enough for me.

Let me recap what the author said in the first paragraph: I’ve tried to understand these outrageous Bible stories. Gee, I just can’t–they don’t really make sense. But I believe anyway!!! I’m a naughty, sinful girl, and I need someone to save me.

And her “plan” to reason things out is faith. Faith is not a plan. Faith means you close your eyes and jump. There is no plan to it. She tried to understand, but couldn’t, so what the hell, she’s a believer! Now I know why people make stupid investment choices. I know why they give their money to shysters who call over the phone promising huge returns. I know why they buy swampland.

Remember the writer is supposed to be swaying doubters. In the second paragraph, she says that she doesn’t want a God she can understand.  (Huh?) “And, the god who can be contained within my limited and reasonable capacity, is not a god big enough for me.”  These two paragraphs are full of contradictions. If your god is so complex that you can’t figure out how he parted the seas, if you cannot, by your own admission, understand him, how can you know the mind of god? How do you know he’s giving you the freedom to choose? How do you know he’s not “overriding your will?” Maybe I’m missing something: how can some folks speak on god’s behalf and claim to know his will, when they also say he is too complex to understand?

This is all terrible logic. The only thing I hear besides me, me, me is dumb and dumber. Can you imagine turning in a paper to your science professor that says, “I don’t understand how the human heart works, but I’m a believer that it works!” Give me an A and send me on to the next class!

Seems to me that what this author really wants is a fantasy. A fairy-tale. A complex, super-human version of man and a happy ending. Some one to save her from herself. May I suggest she start with Fifty Shades of Gray?

I’m sure glad this writer is not teaching my kids or making my laws. But you and I know that she is teaching her kids and she is voting in our leaders, and for every one of her, there are 10 more teaching in the schools or making our laws. These folks are either limited in their reasoning abilities or just flat-out crazy. I think it’s the former.

That’s why I sometimes feel as if we’re watching dogs chase their tails.

Good Deeds & etc.

So many things to write about, so little time. Here’s just a few. Please feel free to contribute to any of it….

First, for my friends who like John Fugelsang, check out this great piece here called, “God is the least pro-life character in the Bible.”

Second, I was at Jimmy John’s about two weeks ago, and they had $1 sandwich day, which meant the line was long and the sandwiches were skimpy. I’m not sure why people feel the need to stand in line just to save a few bucks, but nonetheless, I was standing in line trying to save a few bucks. The line moved fast, and after I had placed my order and turned around, there was a young woman standing beside me, and she had $8 in her hand. She said she wanted to pay for my lunch. She was younger than me, and I have this rule about taking money from a younger person, who I know needs it way more than I do. So I said, “That’s so kind of you, but I’ve already paid. Perhaps you can give it to someone else.” She was insistent that I take the money–maybe I should have dressed up a little more. I truly felt bad, but I took her money anyway, and after thanking her from the bottom of my heart for such a sweet deed, she said to me, “God Bless” and smiled.  After she walked out the door, I passed out the money to several people behind me and told them this nice young lady, whom I didn’t know, wanted to buy me lunch, and now I want to buy all of their sandwiches. They were all very kind, of course, and I was just thinking that it makes no difference whether you do it in God’s name or just do it (thanks, Nike), the effect is the same. Most of us are just trying to make the world a better place.

Which brings me to my third and last point. I stepped out of my comfort zone to be a witness in a court case. I’m an introvert (I swear), so it’s not exactly fun for me to get up in front of people and talk about my experiences. I’ve worked in a courtroom before, and I know what the attorneys and judges and bailiffs say after witnesses leave. But, as I was being sworn in, after the judge uttered “so help you God,” I was so damned tempted to ask the judge, so help me who? But, I’m pretty sure, had I done that, no one in the courtroom would have believed–or heard–a word I said. A lot of people just don’t get it–you don’t need to swear to “God” or some other invisible person. How the heck does that guarantee honesty at all? If people are going to lie, they’re going to do it regardless. And if they feel bad about lying, well, they’ll just ask for God’s forgiveness later. IMHO taking an oath means nothing. You should already be your word. 24/7/365

Everyone Needs an Enemy

Everyone needs an enemy. That’s what we saw last night when the second suspect was caught in the Boston Marathon Bombing. It took the “other” to bring us all together, to unite everyone in a common cause. The night was reminiscent of the comradery we felt after 9/11. Too bad it takes a tragedy.

But as a parent, especially one like me with teenagers, it’s especially troubling to know the suspect was a teen, one who was considered a good kid, a kid who played sports and hung out with his friends just like your kid and mine. He was some woman’s baby, some teacher’s second-grade student. Where did we go wrong, I’m wondering. And how can we keep our kids tight to us, as parents and as a society, so they don’t wander off and become criminals? (I would not call these brothers terrorists, though they did terrorize a city.)  Say what we want, but that younger suspect, Dzhokar Tsamaev, who was well-adjusted and liked by so many of his peers, must have taken some serious influencing by his brother to turn him against the friends and neighbors of his city. As he lay on the ground, handcuffed, his shirt exposed a skinny, smooth belly that still belonged to a boy.

The parents said their children were good kids; they were in disbelief that their sons could have committed such crimes. That would be my reaction, too. My next reaction would be, where did I go wrong? I would be so angry with myself for letting loose into the world children who could cause so much harm and suffering for others.

A recent Unicef report said that we’ve created a violent society for our kids: we have the 3rd high homicide rate among developed nations. Parents fear for their kids’ safety, even at school, which is supposed to be a safe haven for our children. But it’s kids who are killing us, children as well as adults. This recent tragedy– and it’s 19-year-old suspect. In Newtown, Adam Lanza was 20. In Colorado, James Holmes was a 25-year-old grad student, with a nurse for a mother and a father who is a mathematician a PhD. These are pretty typical young Americans who are terrorizing us. Maybe we need to stop worrying about our kids as victims and start worrying about our kids turning into killing machines.

The CNN headline this morning reads “The Terror is Over.” Until the next time, that is. I know that a bombing is not an every-day occurrence here in America, fortunately, but violence against others is. Whether a person kills one or many, it makes no difference. We need to understand what is making our young Americans so angry and disenfranchised that they feel the only way to get our attention, to speak to us, is through horrific acts of violence.

Holy Communion!

One more thing today….It’s a little strange that some Catholics believe that, “Catholics who promote gay marriage should not try to receive holy Communion.”

…the archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, said Sunday that Catholics who receive Communion while advocating gay marriage would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.

Let’s get this straight. The church is riddled with priests who either participated or covered up pedophilia, and they can take communion and give it, too? Then there are the annulments granted (for a price, of course), birth control, and the usual sins (some of them deadly) pardoned over and over and over again. Whether you’re a priest leading mass or you’re a parishioner sitting in the pews, isn’t everyone rejecting what the church teaches on a daily basis? I mean, Jeez. They’re making my head spin with the hypocrisy here.

It seems to me embracing two people who love each other–and who are harming no one with their love–should not be considered sinful. But who am I to say? I’m just a lowly woman who wouldn’t be allowed to offer up my voice even if I did believe.

So, who doesn’t “double-deal”? I just don’t understand. Does accepting gay marriage somehow emasculate the church? Through communion, Catholics believe they are actually eating another man’s body. How gay is that?

E-mails

I really get irritated when an acquaintance forwards stupid emails. I don’t say that, of course. I just delete them. They won’t understand. That’s why I’m posting here with this community.
It’s frustrating to read that people think we need “GOD back in our lives and in school!” That’s why we have so much violence, so many problems. (Never mind the example we set as adults or how we’ve desensitized our kids to violence via movies, television and music.) We’ve “failed to understand” that we need God!  Not: We, as parents or as a society, failed to teach or reach our kids. Not: How can we fix this. Instead: Allow us to mindlessly chant and worship and impotent God. Can I say the f-word now?
Why can’t people connect the dots? If your God is so wonderful, why does he allow your kids to be killed? Why not just kill the nonbelievers or the people who have kicked God out of the classroom? God is in Christian schools and those kids are not exempt from heartbreak and tragedies. God is in your churches and bad things happen. Priests molest. Children get cancer. People steal. Couples cheat, even those who have been married in your churches. If God’s presence matters, shouldn’t we see some sort of correlation. Hello?
I’m not going to berate the people who send me “Wonderful and meaningful poem and understanding of what realy needs to be done, GOD back in our lives and in school!” (Their bad grammar, not mine.) They are obviously buried under years of bullshit. As long as we keep God out of schools (well, as best we can), I won’t begrudge people for wishing, for wanting less violence. But you’d think at some point, they’d go “hmmmmm.” This God thing isn’t working. What can we do?

 

Good games

Two things I wanted to share…What does it mean to be a nonbeliever? Not that we go out and try to convert others to think like us; just that we go out and try to be as kind as possible as often as possible. Right? Isn’t that the crux of it? (As saab93f says, we follow the Golden Rule.)

And I thought I’d share this with you if you don’t already know: http://www.kerbalspaceprogram.com. We learned about this program through my older kid’s AP Physics class, and my 14-year-old loves it, too. It’s a great investment, especially at $23. If your kids, no matter the age or gender, love video or computer games, this one is fun, educational and nonviolent. It’s a “physics-based flight simulation” that flies and crashes as it should (as it says on its site). Players can build a rocket and launch it into space. But let me tell you, it’s not easy. You have to build the thing correctly, so it will fly, and there’s always the chance that you might be able to launch it, but it won’t be able to orbit. This is not an advertisement; I know nothing save for what I’ve seen watching my kids use the program and from reading the info on their site. I’m just giving you my humble opinion because I think other parents want to provide as many positive learning opportunities as possible.

I rather teach kids how to think and to create things that help man rather than to destroy…

Nice Christians

This is why we have so much polarization between believers and nonbelievers. Not one person who comments regularly on this blog, believer or not, has used this kind of language. Britney, from Ashburn, Virginia, decided to insert herself into this conversation. She wants to show us how a true believer behaves. I could have deleted her comment and sent her a private email at her Hotmail address, but I thought her message to us is important.

It’s a shame that she gives her fellow Christians such a bad rap, but people like Britney need to coexist peacefully with those who don’t believe. She does not represent her fellow believers well.  I sure hope she isn’t passing along her intolerance to children….

She writes:

You ungrateful dog woman.How can you be so ungrateful to God who made you, although you are a disgusting and stupid creature, and speak against Him..at least be tankful for your existence!I’m sure you and your ugly repugnant brainless son will have a great godless future together..maybe when this idiot grows up you and him can fuck together behind your hubby’s back, you love him so much don’t you bitch, after all there is no God watching you..remember, it’s ok to curse a godless whore like you..hope you and your lover-son have a miserable life filled with terrible diseases and unimaginable suffering and that you die a nasty violent death…further that you two worms rot in HELL for eternity, bitch.May the wrath of the JUST God find you,slimy whore and remember don’t just support gay marriage, support incest too and show it by marrying & mating with your godless creature-son! And don’t forget to delete comments like these bitch, and put on only the idiotic ones…you are a nobody who deserves to die tonight! What makes you think the opinion of a nobody like you matters anyway, godless fool?