Credo, Part II: Why I’m not religious.

I believe in God the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth,
And in Jesus, his only son, born of the virgin birth.
I believe he was crucified and descended into Hell,
And on the third day Jesus rose again, He’s alive and all is well.

I can’t tell you how many times I heard, sang and whistled that song as a child. Sometimes it still reappears in my brain, and I’ll hum a few bars before I realize it. That doesn’t really bother me as much as it used to; the latent guilt is gone. Now I just feel a bit of cognitive dissonance over singing the creed of something I don’t believe.

My unbelief – my rejection of Christianity – seems to give people more pause than what I do believe now. I’m going to try to address my rejection of Christianity up front, in order to get that out of the way so that we can focus on what I do believe. Let’s start where I started, when I first gave this question consideration.

A while back I told a friend from my Christian College that I was an Agnostic, and that furthermore, I believed Evolution best explained the origins of life on earth. My friend’s immediate response was that I’d decided to believe in Evolution instead of Creation because I wanted to believe that it was OK to be gay. I responded defensively, assuring him that he was incorrect, but afterward I spent a great deal of time pondering why I’d become an Agnostic.

Continue reading “Credo, Part II: Why I’m not religious.”

Credo, Part I.

I was not offended by Nate’s message: I accept that he sent it because he cares about me. I wasn’t prepared to respond. In order to rectify that, I’m going to start the process of codifying what I believe.

Not too long ago, I received an email from my cousin Nate. A giant document was attached to the email, with a note asking me not to be offended at the contents. Basically, Nate spent almost 10 pages rebutting the argument that Christians can be gay, and arguing that homosexuality is simply another form of selfishness and self-worship. Of course, the ultimate message was the same one whose validity I rejected long ago: conform or burn.

I was not offended by Nate’s message: I accept that he sent it because he cares about me, and believes that I am damning myself by my actions. Frankly, if he didn’t take the time to send the message, he’d be a hypocrite. My hope is that, now that he’s sent the message and I have acknowledged it, we can carry on as friends regardless of our disagreement. I fully expect the occasional gentle reminder, but will be prepared with my response: I know that you ask because you care, but I don’t believe you are correct, and politely decline.

Now we get to the point of this post: the exchange with Nate has stalled because I wasn’t prepared to respond. I have a lot of very general ideas about what I believe, but since I’m not following a religion, not much of that is codified or delineated in a clear, communicable fashion. In order to rectify that, I’m going to start the process of codifying what I believe. I’m going to do it here, publicly (and probably slowly), because I appreciate feedback on what I believe.

I intend to codify my beliefs in a somewhat linear manner, beginning with the beginning (origins), moving on to human ethics and morality, and ending by topically addressing issues like gay marriage, government, abortion, the death penalty and so on. A fair warning: I reserve the right to retcon. If I discover inconsistencies, I may edit a previous post (I promise to use a change log, if I do so).

Nate, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to bear with me for some time before you really get my response. Hopefully, it’ll be enlightening & stimulating – or at least entertaining.

Degenerate A-holes

So here’s two stories that should just make you wanna puke. Out of New Jersey we have the National Enquirer, checking Brooke Shields’ mom out of her nursing home and trying to get stories out of her. Out of Florida, a bunch of prison guards use stun guns on 43 of their own children during “Take Our Children to Work Day.”

Brooke Shields and her Mom
Brooke Shields and her Mom
So here’s two stories that should just make you wanna puke. Out of New Jersey we have the National Enquirer, checking Brooke Shields’ mom out of her nursing home and trying to get stories out of her. Quoting Brooke in People Magazine.
 

My mother Teri Shields has been diagnosed with dementia. For her safety, she has temporarily been in a senior living facility, a very difficult decision for me. Late Thursday afternoon, I was alerted by Old Tappan Police that my mother had been signed out of the facility by two reporters of the National Enquirer … who falsely claimed they were friends of hers. They then drove my 75-year-old mother around looking for a tabloid story. As anyone knows who has a parent who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is one of the most difficult experiences you can go through as a son or daughter. The idea that the National Enquirer took advantage of her state is reprehensible and disgusting.

Stun Gun
Stun Gun
Out of Florida, a bunch of prison guards use stun guns on 43 of their own children during “Take Our Children to Work Day,” resulting in at least one hospitalization. Oh, they tear gassed some of them, too. From The Miami Herald, via the Raw Story.
 

One of the fired guards said the practice had occurred before, but so far prison officials have found no evidence that it has happened elsewhere. McNeil noted that the stun guns used differ from ‘Tasers,’ which shoot electrified wires at their targets and deliver a far more powerful dose of amperage.

Oh, don’t worry, they weren’t using Tasers, just stun guns. At least some heads rolled over this one… National Enquirer still has a lot to answer for on it’s end.

National Shame

AaronAkins.net: Thoughts From A Queer Techie Gamer Professional in the DC Metro Area.
National Shame
May 6th, 2009
by AaronAkins.
[Edit]

I know everyone in DC has heard this before, but I’m about to say it again, because someone has to keep it in the public eye. The state of the National Mall is a disgrace to our nation.

I know everyone in DC has heard this before, but I’m about to say it again, because someone has to keep it in the public eye. The state of the National Mall is a disgrace to our nation.

 
My father and I spent this last Sunday Morning in a cold rain walking The Mall under umbrellas. Dad hadn’t been to The Mall for 20 years. I got to show him the WW2 and Korean War memorials. We both spent minutes unable to speak without voices cracking after we passed a Vietnam Vet standing, unmoving and uncovered at The Wall, tears mixed with the cold rain running down his face. At the Lincoln memorial, we both went first to the Second Inaugural Address, then to the Gettysburg address. Dad showed me that you can walk all the way around the Lincoln Memorial and see the guardian statues on the bridges over the Potomac.

Unfortunately, a day that should have lingered in memory and inspired patriotism, hope and pride through the weeks to follow is completely marred by absolute disgust. The National Mall is as much of a mess as our National Economy. The whole mall looks like a giant footpath – grass barely holding on, mud all over the place, scattered gravel and mismatched pavement. The Reflecting Pool looks like a watering hole – a dirty, shallow pool surrounded by mud. The Constitution Gardens look and smell like a pig wallow. The Tidal Basin’s walls are cracking and falling into the river.

I was so ashamed when I realized that almost every foreign visitor to Washington, DC is going to see our National Monuments in these conditions. Mr. President, Representatives and Senators, get your acts together and get this fixed.