Tag Archives: religion

Tell Me Why, Amendment One

I normally don’t talk about politics. I think it ends up being a preaching to the choir situation, where your enjoyment of the entry comes from whether or not you agree with me already. I don’t think I’m going to change any minds and I think, at best, I can just get people to understand where my views are coming from. Which is fine. I think the country would be in a better position right now if people spent less time trying to force everyone to agree than if they just tried to spend five minutes trying to understand where someone is coming from.

So that’s what I’m going to try and do right now. I want to understand. I want you, the reader, if you disagree with me, to tell me where you’re coming from. I’m doing this, because I really do not understand. I am lost. I am incapable of empathizing.

Here’s the issue: In my old state (North Carolina), they’re going to vote on Amendment 1. It defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and they’re voting on this tomorrow.

And I want to know why, because this kind of thing makes me angry. In point of fact, I’m pretty fucking pissed off right now. I do not, cannot, comprehend the sheer amount of cussedness it takes for one human being to try and restrict another human being’s happiness when no-one is being hurt. These are consenting adults. These are individuals who have made a decision to legally bind themselves to one another. And you are saying no.

Why are you saying no?

That’s all I want to hear from you. I don’t want to change your mind. I don’t want to enter in a discussion with you. I have no ambitions or designs upon your opinions, even if those opinions are about to strip rights from your fellow citizens.

Is it for religious reasons? Have you read your Bible and you’ve read that bit about how God doesn’t want men to lay with men as they lay with a woman (Lev. 18:22)? If you’re religious, I can see how that might be a reason. These are the holy words of God. You don’t want to disobey them. That’s a sin. You’ll go straight to hell for ignoring His words.

Do you also make sure to keep your woman outside of the house during her menses? She’s unclean, you know. Needs to be purified. That’s Leviticus 12. Whole chapter on how filthy women are when they’re menstruating. I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of good, Christian women who obey any of those laws, even if they are the holy word of God.  Not a lot of Christians nowadays who pay attention to any of the old laws though. They ignore the dietary laws. They ignore the laws about the Sabbath. They ignore any laws about sacrifices or stoning. Not a lot of adulterers being stoned nowadays.

So why not ignore the whole bit about men laying with other men? You find it so easy to ignore everything that’s inconvenient for you or your family. You pick the one thing that’s so easy to do. All you have to do is hate someone that’s different. You ignore Jesus when he says “Sell all that you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.” (Mark 10:3). You ignore when Jesus says that the second most important thing (after loving God) is to love your neighbor (Matthew 22 36:40).

Do not hide behind your holy book when you deny your fellow man. Do not cower behind religion when you hate someone who is different from you. Have the decency and the backbone to acknowledge the fact that your hate, your contempt, your bigotry comes not from holy words or from saints or angels, but from yourself.

Are you trying to protect the sanctity of marriage? Do you think, for some reason, that marriage can be ruined by two people with the same genitals getting hitched? I think marriage can be ruined by spousal abuse and domesticate violence. I think a marriage can be ruined by alcoholism or drug addiction. I think a marriage can be ruined by two people who no longer love each other. I think a marriage can be ruined by infidelity or boredom or illness or bottled emotions or money problems.

But I don’t see YOUR marriage being ruined by Adam and Steve getting hitched, just like I don’t see your marriage getting ruined by Stephanie and Adam…ina. Marriage is not an institution, a grand old building that can be ruined by one thing. Marriage is a legal contract between two people. So explain to me how the sanctity of your marriage is being ruined by two dudes. Please. I want to know. Explain to me in excruciating detail why this is the case.

Because I…do…not…understand. And I’m furious. And I’m not a gay man trying to get married. So I can’t even imagine how anyone in that position must feel. Even if they don’t want to get married, I imagine they’re pretty pissed that someone is telling them that they can’t just for pure pissedness.

So tell me, in the comments below, why? That’s all I want. Tell me why you don’t think same-sex couples should enjoy the same legal benefits as different-sex couples.

I’m done yelling. I’m ready to listen.





Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think

The Illusion of No Free Will

The debate over our free will has been around for far longer than I care to research. As creatures who posses a fair abundance of intelligence, we would like to think that we are completely in control of what we do. Unlike the savage ape or hedgehog, we have the cognitive capacity to decide, to make choices, to determine our own fates.

However, there have been a large number of theories that either lessen or eradicate humanity’s ability to self-determinate. If you’re of a religious bent, you might argue that God has determined what you’re going to do long before you were even born. Or maybe there’s Fate and, once again, your destiny is writ in stone.

Science has its own theories for why humans are nothing more than biological computers that are incapable of true free will, but some of those make even less sense than the religious reasons. For example, there have been studies that show that the conscious brain rationalizes actions after it has made the decision to act.

Now, I have a big problem with this particular scientific explanation for the lack of free will. No matter how you cut it, your brain is making decisions, whether it’s subconscious or conscious. That unique, three-pound lump of tissue in your skull is calling the shots. Whereas the theologians and philosophers say that an independent third-party entity is dictating your actions (hence a complete lack of control), neurologists are saying that your own brain (gasp!) is in control. I fail to see how this constitutes a lack of free will.

An author talks about an experience where a neurologist controls his hand using electrical stimulus. He talks about the creepy feeling of an stranger moving his hand. To me, this experience shows pretty clearly that we’re in control of ourselves (for the most part) if it’s so obvious when we don’t have control.

Free will, as I define it, is the individual’s ability to determine his or her own fate. And, by that definition, neurologists have done nothing but map out just how our brains do just that.

Dylan Charles


Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think

Happy May 21st!

In light of the impending End of Days, I’ve decided to put together a little primer for all of my readers. Enjoy!

Hello and welcome to The Unbeliever’s Guide to the End of Days! Since you’re reading this, I can only assume that the Apocalypse is rapidly approaching and you’re feeling a bit unprepared for the End of All Things. It’s quite all right to feel nervous. Most people are feeling a little uncertain in these dark times and it’s quite natural to be apprehensive as the Day of Judgment looms ever closer.

Since it’s going to be a hectic time for all involved and the Lord of Hosts will be too busy to answer everyone’s questions about their fates, I have prepared this guide for all unbelievers so that they know what to expect once the skies begin to rain blood and the eternal fires of damnation come roaring up from Hell below.

Now, this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide and this will not fully prepare you for what is to come, but it will help ease you into this often chaotic and disturbing transitional period between Ages. I’ll answer such questions as:

  • “When does the End of the World start?”
  • “Should I convert to Christianity?”
  • “What are my chances of survival?”
  • “Will it hurt?”
    And of course,
  • “Will there be zombies?”

By the end of this pamphlet, you should have a better understanding of why the Christian God wants us all to burn for eternity and how best to ready yourself for The End of All that Is and Ever Was.

“When will the world end?”

It’s important to note that the Apocalypse is only starting on May 21st. After all, Rome didn’t fall in a day and neither will the world. We will experience a great deal of worldly torment before everything goes completely kablooey. The End will come on October 21st. May 21st is just the Beginning of the End. So, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to finish that book you just started reading and those socks you just started knitting.

May 21st is when the Rapture will take place, along with earthquakes and the like. It is merely the start of the horrors that will befall you and everyone else who was not Raptured away by God’s righteous hand

“What is the Rapture?”

Some Christians believe that when the End of the World takes place, God will whisk away all true believers before the truly awful stuff begins to happen. It’s their reward for…something. I’m not entirely sure who gets Raptured and who stays. Perhaps God works on a point system and Christians earn points throughout their lives (Prayers before Bedtime: 5 Points, Convert a Heathen: 500 Points). If a Christian earns enough points, Rapture; if not, Hellfire and Eternal Damnation.

The only clear thing is that YOU won’t be Raptured and you’ll be stuck cleaning up the mess that they leave when they’re summoned up to the Unending Glory of Heaven. They’ll be leaving behind their pants, dogs and houses filled with valuables. Make use of these resources! They won’t need them anymore and you’ll need creature comforts when the seas turn to blood.

It’s interesting to note that the Rapture is not mentioned in The Book of Revelation, at least, not in the same way that Christians talk about it. There IS talk of 144,000 descendants of the Tribes of Israel being marked with seals so they’re not harmed during the Apocalypse, but that doesn’t sound like what modern day Christians talk about when they mention the Rapture, which is handfuls of Christians being lifted bodily off the planet.

 “So why May 21st?”

For thousands of years, people have tried to determine when the End would arrive. Obviously the world was going to end, but it would be nice to know the exact date and time. Religious scholars pored over texts, trying to discern some hidden message behind the words that could let them know the day Judgment would come.

Time and again, they have claimed to hit upon the right combination of secret symbols, mysterious numbers and divine inspiration that lets them unlock the secrets of the Bible. They proudly released their works on the public and announced the time the End will come, right down to the minute. To date, they’ve been wrong every single time and the World has refused to submit to the brilliance of these scholars.

But then came along Harold Camping. He took up the gauntlet that so many others had fumbled in failure. He crunched the numbers and worked up his own formulas and determined the day the world would end: September 1994.

Undaunted, he began again and has come back with a new date: May 21st 2011 is the day that it will all start. The formula he used is a bit complicated and reciting it will put the layperson into a stupor from which they would never recover. Suffice it to say that real math was used and there is no doubt that he is correct this time. Sure, Apocalyptic scholars have gotten it wrong dozens, if not hundreds, of times before, but they were probably using the wrong Bible and bad math before. This time it’s for real.

“What can I expect during the Apocalypse?”

While there isn’t a specific time mentioned for when it will all begin, there will be a few key indicators that it’s about to get Biblical up in here. If you start to notice piles of clothes scattered around with nobody inside them you’re either the victim of a prank or God and His angels has scooped up all the Believers so that they’ll be safe from harm.

Then the moon will turn a blood-red color and the sun will become as black as sackcloth. So there will definitely be strong indicators that there is something afoot. However, a schizophrenic sky and empty clothes are not the worst thing you’ll encounter.

The Book of Revelation is fairly graphic about what is to come. There will be beasts running rampant, there will be angels pouring cups into oceans and seals will be broken. It’s important to remember to STAY CALM. Panicking will only make things worse for the rest of us. After all, the last thing we need is someone shrilly screaming because they saw the Beast with Seven Heads devouring up the oceans. Don’t be THAT person. Be the person who has quietly submitted to their fate in the corner, not bothering anyone.

For much of the End of Days, you’ll be tortured, burned, earthquaked, plagued and tortured some more. Revelation also states that though you’ll long for death, death will run away from you. But do not despair, for that’s only for five months.

Then comes Judgment Day and the zombies.

“Whoa, there’ll be zombies?”

Well, not zombies as you conceive of them. After all the earthquakes, plagues, and Satan, God wants to judge everyone to determine if they’re worthy for eternal life in Paradise. And He wants to judge EVERYONE, living and dead.

So after five months of torment on Earth (which will be October 21st), He’ll call everyone who has ever existed to be judged. While this might, at first, seem like the perfect recipe for the zombie-pocalypse, the dead have not been called to wreak havoc. Instead, everyone will gather into an orderly line and wait while an angel looks up your name in the Book of Life. Instead of a nightmarish landscape where you run around shooting zombies while just trying to survive, it’s a lot more like jury duty. Since there have been about 106 billion people since the beginning of history, it’s going to take a while to get to you. So bring something to read!

If it turns out you’re not in the Book of Life (which you won’t be or you wouldn’t be around to read this), God casts you into the Lake of Fire.

“That sounds like that would hurt. Is the lake of fire painful?”

Oh yes, but don’t worry; after you’re burned away, you’re gone for good, your consciousness eradicated. God is not such a fan of the appeals process. At which point, your part in the End of the World has come to its conclusion.

Thank you for reading this primer and I hope May 21st finds you Raptured. Otherwise, keep this close I guess.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think