Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Condescending phrases

It has been a very long time since I last posted, but I am back. This time with a little humor. This is a list of my favorite condescending phrases. I have used some before.

1. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
2. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
3. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
4. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
5. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.
6. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
7. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?
8. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
9. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
10. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
11. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
12. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
13. No, my powers can only be used for good.
14. How about never? Is never good for you?
15. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
16. You sound reasonable...Time to up my medication.
17. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
18. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...
19. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
20. Who me? I just wander from room to room.
21. My toys! My toys! I can't do this job without my toys!
22. It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.
23. At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.
24. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
25. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
26. Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ah Prejudice: You're not so cute.

Being what I am, a liberal minded religious person, I am right in the middle of moral debate. One of those debates is homosexuality. I realize I have written about this before, but as the ridiculous prejudices toward homosexuals keep rearing their ugly heads, so must I as a free-thinking religious person.

It seems though, that a vast majority of anti-homosexual sentiment is a result of Biblical hermeneutics, specifically the kind associated with conservative evangelical and fundamentalist Christians.

As a result of that I have gotten a compilation of every Bible verse that can somehow be associated with this anti-homosexuality feeling that pervades the conservative subculture. Here they are:

In the Old Testament, we start out with Genesis 19:1-11 with the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah. In this tale two angels are sent to Sodom and Gomorrah to find a righteous person. They stop at Lot's house. The citizens of the city show up knocking on the door and wanting to commit some act or another that would probably be seen as inappropriate. Generally translated though as the people wanted to have sex with or sodomize the two angels. Lot says no, and offers his daughters instead. The people still want the angels, and soon after God tells the angels to tell Lot to leave and destroys Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins.

Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination."

Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them."

Deuteronomy 22:5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God." Appears to be a reference to cross-dressing. Some interpret this as gender roles.

Deuteronomy 23:17 "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel."

Judges 19:22 "[Now] as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, [and] beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him."

Judges 19:23 "And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, [nay], I pray you, do not [so] wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly."

Judges 19:24 "Behold, [here is] my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing."

Judges 19:25 "But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go."

The previous verses bear a strong resemblance to the story of Lot as the citizens demanded the man be brought out to be taken advantage of, and the daughter is offered.

Roman 1:26 "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature"

Roman 1:27 "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

1Corinthians 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,"

1Corinthians 6:10 "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

1Timothy 1:9 "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,"

1Timothy 1:10 "For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;"

Jude 1:7 "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

Jud 1:4 "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

First off, not a single one of these quotes is from Jesus. He spent all of his time condemning hypocrites, liars, and people who were becoming rich by extorting others. (Which is the most common way to get rich.) He talked about not being angry with people. He talked about loving your neighbor. He never once talked about hating homosexuals. Not a single time. He did talk about making peace, giving to the poor, taking care of the oppressed and loving the sinner because none was good but God. But he never mentioned hating gays for being abnormal. He also said that all sins would be forgiven except for blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I am pretty sure homosexuality is not blasphemy. Jesus also said that to get into the Kingdom of Heaven we would have to do good to the even lowest of people as if they were him. And this is all in red letters. This isn't even getting into the scholarly debates that include one over whether the exact words that Paul wrote can really be translated as something similar to homosexuality or if they mean something else.
Or the deep theological issue of whether or not people are subject to the laws of the Old Testament. (Which if they were, Christians couldn't eat shrimp or wear 50/50 blend polyester and cotton, or touch a menstruating woman or be considered good for church if they happen to ejaculate.)People often make the claim that the Law of the Old Testament no longer applies because of Jesus' sacrifice. If this is the case then homosexuality is no less forgiven than any other thing covered by that Law. It is no more a sin than eating pork. I am simply saying this based on what looks a lot like hypocrisy. And the fact that Jesus seemed to be ambivalent on the matter.

So, I raise the question: If Jesus didn't emphasize it, then why is it a major theological hinge? Why does it matter so much to Christians now? I don't understand how something mentioned so few times in the Bible can really be considered such a major sin.

And to be honest, God may hate it. But I think that even if God does hate homosexuality, I think that pales in comparison to how much He loves. Why? Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. He sent a sacrifice, not just for the perfect religious people, (which He actually seemed to not find so perfect,) but for the prostitutes and tax collectors also. So maybe the people that are so busy completely hinging their faith on the hatred and oppression of a group of people should look at that. Maybe they should look at themselves in the mirror and try to take that massive plank out of their eye. Maybe they should pay attention to what the Bible actually says, and says a lot. Love.

Amount of times "love" and "hate" appear in the King James Version of the Bible:
Love appears in 281 verses, 124 in the Old Testament.
Hate appears in 85 verses, 69 of them in the Old Testament

Amount of times "love" and "hate" appear in the New International Version:
Hate appears in 73 verses in the Bible, 57 of which are in the Old Testament.
Love appears in 496 verses in the Bible, 298 of which are in the Old Testament.

Maybe we should look at the things that God talks about more.

Monday, March 2, 2009


This is a little memoir thing I wrote for class so I figured I would post it. Enjoy!

The neighborhood was an awesome place. Friends and their families and their houses and the park down the street. It was my world. Especially during the summers. Long hot days of nearly 0% humidity and thin mountain air spent doing the all the activities of a well spent youth in a summer that deserved the suffix “vacation.” The best part of it all though was the baseball.

I didn’t actually think that much about it until recently, but I realized I love baseball. I don’t really like to watch it unless I am at the game, but even watching it isn’t really what I love. Watching involves so many arguments about whether a person was safe sliding into second, the fans and spectators all getting angry and the team mates yelling from the dugout. I don’t really care for all the specific rules for certain situations. To me it is much less a love of the sport in general and much more a love of playing the sport. I love to play because it is something I did a long time ago in those endless summer days and nights; heat and wind, grass and dirt stains, and finally the satisfaction that even though this three hour game was over, with no one really sure about the score and even less certainty about the innings, batting line up or RBI’s, there would be another three hour game tomorrow. There were no player stats, only the value judgments of good or bad given to him or her by the other kids in the neighborhood. I loved those days. And I love those memories.

At the park that we played at there was a backstop. Only a backstop. Nothing else normally needed for the game. Even though I was normally one of the last to get picked I didn’t care. I just looked forward to playing. The few times I actually hit the ball and didn’t get an easy out I loved to run around the makeshift diamond making sure to hit all the bases made of trashcan lids, jackets, shirts, the other teams mitts, or any other random object that we could find. I loved every second of playing, even though most of us didn’t know the technical rules like someone couldn’t be gotten out by throwing the ball at them. I even loved playing in the field even though my short legs couldn’t carry me very fast after a ball hit by one of the older kids so doubles often became home runs. I looked forward to being picked to play on a team with some of the kids that played in school and looking with envy as they bombed the ball into the window of the house at the other end of the field. I would see someone throw all the way across the infield and think of how awesome it was. I loved every second of every game because it was fun. I loved it until the owner of the house across the field got so angry about broken windows that they had the city remove the backstop. And with the backstop went the game. Without it playing baseball just wasn’t as fun. I moved away soon afterwards. I loved every game. Now I just love the memories.

I don’t want this to sound melancholy, although it is going to have that edge regardless, because it is a little melancholy. I still have those memories and everything I learned playing baseball. The things I learned have been useful in life so that sadness at the loss of baseball is more bittersweet than anything. I learned to much to wish it never happened and can look back on it enough to know that those days are over. But I still have every memory and life lesson

I learned that teams don’t always stay the same. Every game we would re-pick teams and it was always a different combination of people. Endless combinations of kids. We had our Sandlot gang, complete with our Benny and everything. The teams though were always different because it didn’t matter so much who won the game as it did that we were playing the game. Sometimes I got a crappy team and we lost by way-too-much to way-too-little. Sometimes I got an incredible team with the Bennies and other baseball heroes and we would destroy the other team. Sometimes it was a struggle to win a game because teams were equally matched.

I learned that the heroes don’t always stay that way because they are real people too. The celebrities and power-house players were the first ones to get arrested. They were the people who we thought would surely make it in life and be everything that great is. But they had troubles, they had conflicts, and they had weaknesses. They were people too, and they were the first to prove it.

I learned that no matter how many times you get hit with a bat or a ball, when you play it is for the love of the game, it is for the love of your team and it is because eventually the pain will go away and when it does there is still a game to win.

Finally, I learned that good friends will come and go, but there will always be baseball.

I know that this was pretty much the same kind of sappy and preachy thing you would hear from a middle aged motivational speaker that thinks he is as funny as Chris Farley and definitely isn’t, but I don’t really care. I wrote this because I think that we all have a sport or game that we play or played that meant the world to us. I have moved on to another sport, one that is much heavier, much more complicated and much more difficult, but I still remember everything about baseball. I still don’t know all the rules of either game, nor do I really care. I don’t think that one has to know rules to play a game well. In fact I will say that it is the people that bend the rules, whether on purpose or because of ignorance, that are the best. I believe that it is not a person that plays to win that always will, but the person that plays for the love of the game. In the end, which one is happier? Which one is happy longer?

With the preaching over, the reflection not anywhere near complete, and this page coming to an end, what is left? To play the game. And do it because I love it. I apologize to everyone that thought this was a waste of their time. But I can’t really be that sorry because it wasn’t a waste of mine.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why Do People Think God Exists?

This a further bit of Q and A from Yahoo! Answers. The question is again unchanged from its original form, although for people to make the claim that it is stupid to believe in God, they should, at the least, think about doing it with better grammar and punctuation. But who am I to judge. Enjoy!

Q: i have such a hard time understanding how someone could blindly believe that a magical man with a long white beard lives in the cloud and grants us wishes. i feel like god is like the tooth fairy and santa and the easter bunny but instead of just kids believing in it adults are stupid enough to do so. it just doesnt make sense!! like, do we really need an imaginary friend to blame when things suck and praise when BY ABSOLUTE CHANCE something good happens?? please explain!

A: By your language in the question I don't think you really want to understand. It seems you have your mind made up about why people believe in God. Or something like it. But I will bite anyway.

People believe in God for any number of reasons. To give meaning to their life, to feel loved and accepted, to put a name on what they don't understand, to try to describe the transcendental, etc. Those are some the personal reasons, and then there are the reasons that unscrupulous types claim to believe in God for. Anyway, I don't believe in a magical man with a long white beard that lives in the clouds and grants our wishes. I believe in a something that gave rise to the universe. Believing in a magical man is kind of like believing in Santa, but you know, some people just like to believe in those sorts of things because it is comforting. And many people don't believe in God blindly. I am fully aware of the implications of my belief and fully prepared to accept responsibility for my own actions. I don't blame God for the bad, nor do I blame God for the good. I thank God for all of it because without it I don’t believe I would be here writing this answer. And are you sure it is absolute chance? I think a great deal in life is caused by planning, and every action has a reaction. I don't leave much to chance. It isn't stupid to believe in God. It is many times ignorant to believe in many things that people claim is/are God. It is rarely stupid. It is just putting a name to the things we don't understand, looking to something else to maybe give us a little wisdom and for a little guidence. What you describe as chance is something that everyone faces. But to the praying people it is their accepting that chance and saying "I don't like it, but if it has to be, let it be." I think we do need an imaginary friend. Many of the people that claim to be able to handle the pressures of life, without even the most fundamental belief that something is greater than our understanding in the universe, tend to self medicate so much they kill themselves off. Nihilism just isn't practical my friends. Atheism can be practical, and I do in fact have Atheist friends that live quite well. They do so on a very researched and founded lack of belief in God. However, militant atheism is no better than militant/fundamentalist anything. There are just as many stupid questions, and stupid, unfounded answers as any other fundamentalist group would give. Therefore, I urge you to find out what you truly believe and quit letting people on the internet tell you what is cool or not cool to believe. Because that is pretty much what it sounds like. If you had a basic grasp of the idea of God you wouldn’t fall into logical fallacies of vast oversimplifications and you would be able to discern the difference between God and the Easter bunny. But of course everybody is allowed to have an opinion, no matter how good or bad it might be.

So, even if you can't understand the human need to ponder why life exists, and to hope that it has a reason, that is alright. However, you will just have to accept that not everyone can be like you, and be thankful they aren't because your life would suck into oblivion.

Hope this helps.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Faith and Inaction

Q: How is "having faith" any different than not bothering to do anything?
Isn't it like saying "it's out of my hands... whatever will be, will be"?
How is "faith is accepting something in the absence of fact" any different than not doing anything, in fact. One is simply accepting fate, but using a different word for it. ?

A: Tough question. Having faith is different from not doing anything because by having faith you are doing something. You are believing that the universe is bigger than you, that there are things that you can't control. This is a pretty healthy belief as it tends to be true. If you can control the weather, by all means, give Cali some rain to stop the fires. It is partly a realization that humanity doesn't control everything. It is similar to believing in luck.

The people that use faith as an excuse not to do anything are doing exactly that. Excusing themselves from doing anything. In many religious faiths, God or gods can kill someone where they stand. They better believe and do whatever God commands them to do until that day. That is why religions have rules. Religious ceremony, quite often, is acting to appease or obey a god. It is doing something with faith. It is an attempt to find meaning and purpose in the seemingly random happenings in a person’s life. Fate, if you believe in it, is pretty much saying that something must happen no matter what you do. And that is partly true. People still die in car crashes despite being careful drivers and wearing seat belts. Their precautions did nothing to make them escape their “fate.” They acted and what they were attempting to prevent still happened. Would you have everyone stop driving because they might die? We have no real control. And that is where faith comes in. It gives meaning to the things we can’t control and tells us that they may not just happen for no reason. And even if there is nothing there to have faith in, it gives the person a chance to find the meaning themselves and they may act differently or change something strictly by that faith.
We can't tell everyone else what to do. We can't tell the world it should work this way or that. It just doesn't make sense and it doesn’t work. However, faith can either give us comfort and help us realize that though we aren't in control, somebody may be, or that we may petition a controller to give us a little control. No one likes absolute chaos. And if they say they do it is because they have no idea what that is.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A new series

I think I am going to start a new series that will be of questions I have been asked and my answers to them. The questions are taken precisely as they were given to me as they were all asked online, so I ask you to please ignore spelling and grammar. Here is the first one though:

Q: If religions claim that God is good and just, why are all their books full of mass murders,holy wars andso called Divine laws(sharia,halakha,etc.)which impose death penalities for risible things and inhuman treatment in criminal "justice"such as stonings and hand choppings?Where is the goodness of God in all this?

A: You need to learn the difference between all religion and one religion. Religion is an umbrella term that encompasses Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. etc. etc. Not all religions believe in just one good god, or any good god at all. Not all religions have scripture.

As far as God being good, Laws were made:

In a different time and culture. Killing was often considered to be for the good of the tribe, etc. There was no modern medicine to protect against disease, or a common police force to protect against crimes or vengeance for those crimes. Therefore, it was left to the people to have a certain law, and be expected to uphold it. Also, as many were nomadic, prison was out of the question. (Specifically in Islam.) Killing was the best way to get rid of a criminal and make sure they didn't repeat the crime. To some extant we still believe in this kind of thing in some places with capitol punishment.

Not only as a law, but also as a means of self preservation for a certain group. Such as ancient Israelites. They were surrounded by people who would gladly take them over and assimilate them. They needed a law that separated them from those other people, and so the laws of the OT came into being. Babylonians, Greeks and many others liked pigs and ate them. Therefore, to keep Hebrew people as the Hebrew people they needed a way to keep separate. Food laws came into being.

The "goodness" of these laws isn't what we consider good. To these people, the ends justified the means. Now, that is not as acceptable, because there are usually other means to an end. We have the luxury of the time and resources to live by more "comfy" laws. They didn't. There was no Geneva Accord, and there wasn't much in the way of technology. Laws were as good as they could be. They were usually effective.

Hope this answers the question well enough.

Monday, January 26, 2009


This is a collection of thoughts that I have had over the past month. Of course they aren’t the only things I have thought, but a sampling of them that I decided to write down. Some of them are funny and probably look like lame copies of Mitch Hedburg or Jack Handy quotes. I assure you that they are pretty much original, although I owe the inspiration for some of them to friends and some were actually parts of conversations. The love seat one in particular was a conversation between me and two guys I work with. Some of them are depressing kind of things, some of them are random and others are just observations. I hope you enjoy them.

I wonder how many people in the crowd that trampled the store employee in New York on black Friday were pro-life.

Why do people always use the term “free thinking” for atheists, agnostics and secularists? They have just as much trouble thinking as everybody else. It has nothing to do with religious affiliation or lack thereof.

Why is it always funny when it happens to somebody else?

I think we should always be grateful that the term “mind blowing” is not literal in any way.

It is a good thing that a love seat is not specifically reserved for lovers. Maybe the name should be changed to friend seat. Or possibly-plutonic love seat. That would make it less discriminatory to two people who happen to sit on one and aren’t in love.

Many people are afraid of the dark. Not so many are afraid of the light. Sometimes though it is better when you don’t see what is coming at you…. Like a train. It would probably be better to be hit by a train in the dark when you don’t see it coming. Then it’s a surprise, and you won’t be responsible for soiling yourself from fear. Only from death.

It is very amazing the lengths people will go to discriminate. Even at the cost of their own money, safety and comfort.

Why is it that most people insist on having the strongest opinions about subjects they know the least about?

Why is it that with anything that has to do with art, crap sells? It doesn’t make sense. A funnel turned upside down on a cardboard box and painted black sells for $10,000. A wrinkled t-shirt put into a picture frame sells for $800. A truly amazing sculpture capturing the minute subtleties of nature doesn’t sell. Brittney Spears goes platinum. Jimi Hendrix is remembered more for being on novelty t-shirts than for his music. Crap sells. Why?

I wonder whether people care more that Obama is half black or that he is taking over and we finally got rid of Bush. I can only hope that he does a good job to go with his image.

It is scary how little most people know about religion. Especially their own.

People are often cynical but rarely are they cynics. I have run into a few people who know what a cynic is but never run into one.