Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Sassy Gay Penguins!!!"

Ok, so finally I am getting around to representing the rights of our neighbors and distant cousins, the gay penguins. However, first, I have a disclaimer:

For anyone who listens to Irreligiosophy they talk about the gay penguins several times, and most of these stories are the same ones they talk about. But we have to support the gay penguins and spread the message. They are just too damn cute to do otherwise!

So my first introduction to this obscene crime against animals was the cute couple from Polar Land in the city of Harbin in ''northern'' China. Since it's in the north it must be cold enough for them. And this is all besides the fact that they are probably from Antarctica and have been relocated due to the melting ice shelves. So this beautiful couple hooks up and sooner or later finds out they can't make babies. Very depressing for them. In fact, the zoo keepers were given some refugees from North Korea to do some tests in relation to solving the depression in gay penguins. This, of course, was all thanks to Kim John-Il and his love for the gays.

However, an interesting turn of events took place. The penguins, like about a third of depressed Americans just happened to pop out of their lowly downs and took action to make themselves happy. And they did this in the most cunning way possible.

With no means of fertilizing an egg and growing baby penguins in a test tube, they decided to steal the eggs of other couples! And to make sure no one would notice, they replaced the eggs with rocks! Pure genius! Unfortunately, the zookeepers and parent penguins did notice and then the penguins were harassed by their own clan, so much so, that the zookeepers had to segregate the gay couple from the rest of their kind. Think Japanese in America during WWII.

The only benefit from the separate but equal clause put in place in the zoo was that, in Chuck's own words from Irreligiosophy, the white picket fence used to separate them was damn fine. It seemed that the couple was doomed to die in seclusion with a white picket fence as their Berlin Wall ... with no children!

But the Humans For the Rights and Equality of Gay Penguins came to the rescue! The leader announced, 'It wasn't fair to stop them becoming parents and keep them apart from all the other birds just because of the way nature has made them." The leader, a large red-headed woman from Vermont just happened to be visiting China to help reverse the amount of gay sex pandas have been having which has almost led to their extinction since the males no longer have a drive to mate with females.

The Chinese zoo eventually gave eggs to the gay couple from a couple which was contemplating abortion. The zoo keeper, Ching Ton, said, "They've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo!" And it just so happened that the gay couple has been awarded the Best Parent Award for the whole eastern hemisphere. The runner-up couple was an Indian couple near the Ganges but when the award presenters tried to locate them they found 6,745 other couples with the exact same names and decided to not waste time trying to find them.

In other regions of the world gay penguin equality is under attack! These gay penguins are at the Bremerhaven Zoo, in Germany, also in the 'northern' part, which is good cause if the Gulf Stream stops then Germany will freeze over allowing these penguins to roam free. A hetero couple attempted to throw away their baby so zoo keepers gave the egg to the gay couple who raised it as their own, also proving how wonderful gay parents are. Once hatched homophobic zoo keepers tried to steal the baby to give to a Mormon couple in another zoo! But the fathers took turns guarding their child day and night at the entrance to their cave-home.

Also in Germany, Nazi-sympathizing zoo keepers contacted the Swedish Penguin Alliance and paid for several beautiful, sexy, escort Swedish penguins to be flown in and seduce the gay ones! However, all 6 gay penguins remained loyal to their lovers and not one gave in to the lushy-eyed vixens from Sweden. It seems that men are not as likely to cheat as all feminists believe.

In America a couple was outed after being together for 8 years and no one knew they were both male. This happened in a New York zoo, showing that the zoo keepers here are most likely not molesting the animals. However the homophobia in America is still present and a children's book about gay penguins and adoption and family love and acceptance is being labeled as Satan's work, heretical, and some Christian sects have put it on their 'burn list' when it comes time to copy the art of book burning like Hitler's Germany. The gay penguin book shared the list of burn books with works that include sodomy of 12-y-o boys, racism and lynching, sex before marriage, a book explaining the female orgasm, and Lolita which many older men consider to be a work of art.

Our poor gay friends are under attack! Please help support Gay Penguin Equality and may all our dead gods bless you. Bippity boppity boo.

Gay Penguins Steal Eggs!

Gay Penguins Sequestered!

Gay Penguins Protect Young!

Anti-Hate Books in America!

Something Random!

North Korea!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Atheist Underground

(courtesy of a friend and referred to later)
So today was monumental for me and the postmo/atheist community. First my gf invited me to a group she got invited to which has tons of people continuously talking about postmo stuff, and is very open to talking about the church, god, religion, atheism, and most importantly sex. And the main gathering point is being postmo so people are of all beliefs. Makes for some good and fun discussions going on, though I had 67 FB notifications after an hour ....

From this I invited a guy from BYU who I swear I've met somewhere. And then I was hoping a couple people would come who had emailed me at my jdog email. One such person has a quite hilarious blog. Luckily he came and I hope he enjoyed himself. Then some random guy showed up who found the group thanks to SLC atheists, one wonderful lady in particular, I guess, and it was nice having a 'walk-in.' Then the guy I invited showed up and recognized two girls in a booth. Who then joined our group cause they view themselves as agnostic. Then another girl, from USGA recognized a couple people and came inside. Our LessActive atheist crowd even showed up and we ended up having roughly 25-30+ today. We've been a slight annoyance before, even though most of us buy something, but tonight was probably too much, lol. I think it's time we look for a different venue. I was thinking the Provo library may be a good bet, but I'm unsure. And meeting on campus actually is surprisingly safe, but strange and inconvenient for some people.

And now we may be getting some representatives from BYU-I and Hawaii in our group online, and one girl has offered to post things from SHIFT on our page so people can see things going on up in SLC. Our group is actually growing rather quickly and reaching out. I'm beginning to fear for our secrecy, but I had the thought and one very adult guy mentioned it, that our numbers are growing so large that BYU probably wouldn't be able to do anything to us. He mentioned that we need more numbers, and I agree, but I'd say about 40 people are in the group who are currently involved with BYU and a good portion are following the Honor Code except for coffee maybe, some 100%. Succinctly, he said that if we got founded out, or tried to change BYU policy by becoming public, they would have three options:
1 - change, which is unlikely.
2 - expel us, which expelling 70+ kids (once we get there) would be horrible PR for BYU and I think we would find a few 1000 students in our support.
3 - do nothing.

Which the do nothing seems most likely. For the Honor Code we signed the waiver, or wtv, so there's no getting around that. But for people living up to the standards, or darn close, I can't see BYU expelling that amount. Which, beforehand it would be a good idea for people to get a copy of their transcripts though, lol. In all cases though, it would give us publicity, which could force BYU to be more accepting (and we could even give a plug for the LGBT movement and the church's bigotry) and with publicity we would be reaching out to anyone in the area who is just miserable, lonely, or depressed thinking that they are somehow bad for not believing anymore.

Long way to go, but it's becoming a possibility that things may start happening. And honestly I am all for it. I would like to see change, this same guy is setting up a case to bring to BYU in hopes of changing their rules on postmo students. See, if you become LDS you get benefits. If you come to campus as a non-member that's fine, they'll baptize you sooner or later. But if you leave the church, you're out.

Think I'm kidding? Think this is angry postmo propaganda? Just look at this.

Now, it is my belief that if you can find a school with a similarly good department for your major, or that you haven't invested too much in BYU, then you should get out. But for some people leaving BYU because you stopped believing is near too much of a sacrifice. For me it will have cost me roughly 2 semesters and over $4500 to leave due to religious credits and some classes which won't transfer within my major. I wish to get out, but it is a sacrifice.

In a way, I'm a little sad at all the hearts that could be 'hurt' knowing there's so many college-age kids leaving the faith. But in the end, I think some pain is needed to reach a higher level of happiness.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Something That Kept Me in the LDS Church

First, some updates. I've gotten some great Patriarchal Blessings from people, thank you so much. I'll do a post sometime soon, it's in the works. As I said, there may not be anything too interesting, but I'll try to make it so, lol. A friend is in trouble with the honor code office and his atheism has been brought up, though not discussed. So I've asked him if he'll be willing to write a little about his experience. We'll see where that goes. I will get Collision in the mail anytime now, and Nature of Existence from Netflix, so I'll review those a little after I see them a couple times.

I say all this cause I only have 5 posts for this month. I am sorry. Far too few posts for the New Year. Not that I'm not thinking about being entertaining or have any thoughts, but I just haven't had too much to post on, and when I do, I end up writing it all at once in long posts. So I need to go back to spreading out topics. That and then nobody comments on my long posts and I feel sad :(

So I went to SHIFT with a couple friends today and it was a really good discussion today, or at least I thought my comments were really good, lol. And something was brought up about Mormonism that wasn't exactly correct and made me think about an issue that comes from the outside.

I understand Mormonism far better now than before, but only because I had been in it to begin with. People who are never in it or never spend time truly delving into it, which would be volumes of books and teachings (1 or 2 books is NOT teaching you about Mormonism very well), these people sometimes try to fight against it without really understanding their enemy, and then say stupid things that any TMB knows is not true.

And that keeps them in their faith. It did for me.

And this can be said of any cult-like atmosphere, religion, or dogmatic society. They are entrenched in the culture and saturated with the doctrine and most know a thing or two about their own beliefs. So when an 'anti' comes along spouting off some anti-Mormon material that is either fabricated, untrue, or exaggerated, the common member will know it is and just think that the anti person is another tool of Satan. My favorite example is one from Rough Stone Rolling in which Oliver Cowdery was supposed to have said that he never truly believed Mormonism and it's false. Some anti-Mormon organizations still use this supposed newspaper clipping or whatever. The problem? The newspaper never existed. In fact, the town didn't exist till the 1900s, lol.

How are lies supposed to help? Regardless, a lot of this propaganda can be attributed to the liars for Jesus, other-wise known as evangelical Christians, who then wonder why so many postmos become atheists. You know why now? We see you lying to us all the time! Sorry, I spent my mission in the south and very few things thrown at me ended up being true in any way.

I bring this up cause I'm about truth, and even if I don't like something I think trying to tear it down through lies or half-truths is worst then allowing it to continue. These things only strengthened my resolve to remain in the church, they did not help. So, like today, I always try to correct misinformation, even if it holds religion or the church in a better light. I think demonizing a faith or helping to progress a lie, even if unintentionally (which is often the case), is harmful. I know plenty of people will or do agree with me on this, and I personally know plenty of return missionaries who think exactly like I do, some of which who use it as their testimony to Mormonism. So in that sense, don't lie in front of me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thoughts and Thermodynamics

(Warning: long post about thermodynamics and theists using it against me!!!)
Sometimes I just feel an urge to make a post of talk about atheism or something similar. I've kind of been out of the 'atheist' mood for 3 months, but now I'm getting back into it.

Watched Collision, and I enjoyed it. Nice collage of Hitchen's things said with a preacher who had a couple interesting points. About to watch The Nature of Existence. Also finished reading God and His Demons by Parenti, which I'll talk about once I finish The End of Faith and whatever third atheist book before making another book post. But I have to say the book was good, Parenti basically makes his points by listing off dozen after dozen after dozens of examples from history of how religion or the idea of God is bad and used for bad things. He isn't an anti-theist; he, like me, supports moderate religion where it's good, but for him there is still not enough moderate religion and far too much fundamentalism in the world. Good read.

For anyone who believes in the Bible I don't think they have any right in trying to compare me to Hitler or Stalin or Mao. Jeremy from Reasonable Doubts in a debate humorously brought this point up and made me laugh, for someone who believes in a book and God who routinely asks for genocide, murder, and in the off-chance of not wanting annihilation, rape, to condemn atheism based on genocide is hypocrisy at its best. Second since when should atheism be compared to religion in the first place? And for new atheists isn't science and inquiry and freethought a major part of who we are, atheism being another facet of that? Another component? Why should we care about Stalin or Mao who obviously raised societies as dogmatic and close-minded as any theocracy?

And Hitler is out, at least Christian till 1939, anti-atheist till he died, was into all kinds of crazy things, both sides should give up on him, all he proves is how you can use religion to continue genocide and dogmatism.

I've been reading up on Science! and I'm enjoying it. I've been studying thermodynamics, though it wasn't my intention when I went out. I have actually had the argument of the second law of thermo. thrown at me, by my home-teachers last summer, or June, right before, or right after, the bishop came by. The argument goes something like this:

Do you understand the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (or Law of Entropy) that states: an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system. This is thanks to Wikipedia.

The question continues with "if we closed off this room and came back a million years later, would it be more ordered or less ordered than how we left it?" When I received this question nearly a year and a half ago I was like, "oh, well gee, God makes more sense."

Buzz! Wrong. But still ....

You can also read up on the law here, at this amazing very non-Christian site. Oh wait, it sounds like the site is postulating a God theory! Good gravy, how do you refute this?! There must be a way!

The quick answer is that we're not in a closed system. But I'm all about length, so ...

This is almost like Joseph Smith and the BoA with him translating hieroglyphs wrong from step 1. First, this is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The first law is this: energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created nor destroyed. It is usually formulated by stating that the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of heat supplied to the system, minus the amount of work performed by the system on its surroundings. Also thanks to Wikipedia. What these are saying together is that you can't make a perpetual motion machine, and you can't get more energy out of what you put in. A standard car is only working at about 30% efficiency. Sad but true. Out of the 100% energy we put into our vehicles, only 30% is being properly used, a lot being expended on friction/heat with the tires, gasoline burning and engine mechanics, and air force.

Essentially = the universe is increasing in entropy and eventually will die.
Very bleak.

But it isn't talking about order and chaos. Or law and riot. It's talking about energy and heat. After the big bang everything was pretty hot, matter and energy were full of, well, energy. One thing to note is that matter and energy, as a property, are the same thing in different forms. And all kinds of forces are working with them, such as gravity, strong force, nuclear force, electromagnetic force, blablabla. And these forces work on each other, some 'stronger' than the rest. So, in the beginning protons and electrons and neutrons were moving around very quickly, and working very efficiently.

Once these particles slowed down in speed and cooled down in temperature could we finally have elements, from that large table in biology and physical science rooms. See before these particles were working to well and with too much energy, they needed to go down in their efficiency to form more complex, but less efficient, material. With noble gases coming into the fray we could then have stars. Now, my understanding is fuzzy here, but I am led to believe that the earliest stars didn't have planets and were usually very close to other stars. The way the universe was working then it allowed for elements to make stars in nebulae. And when stars died they would form new nebulae to make new stars, albeit less efficient ones.

Also, I should note, heat is being produced by all this and heat is one of the most least efficient forms of energy.

Once stars became the norm and space cooled down well below the freezing point we got that nice range for molecules to form which needed warmth but not extreme colds or hots. This allowed planets to form. I'll skip past how iron and nickle and such come out of this, or how life essentially can form in just about any system due to the prevalence of water in the universe (and how Venus and Mars probably had bacteria life in the least before their atmospheres messed up in simple but specific ways and worked in all other ways) but let's move on down the time-line.

Our sun will die and the planets will be torn apart, and in the result a new lesser star will form and new planets, with a decent degree of probability to support life, even if only for a short time. Repeat till we get dwarf suns and eventually die out in coldness.

Now, I use to think a big crunch was plausible for the universe, an infinite loop of big crunches followed by big bangs. However, the universe is spreading out rather than coming together. This is because gravitational pulls are not strong enough to beat the other forces in effect, and will eventually lead to our downfall.

And this is why:

Planets and suns, though complex, are more entropic than the particles after the big bang. They are less efficient. Heat does not last long. We had an abundance of heat for eons after the big bang, and it's been cooling ever since. This cooling allows for elements to form, suns, molecules, then planets. But it's always less efficient. Life is inefficient, it's always about obtaining enough energy to survive till the next time, and many species didn't make the cut. Complexity does not equal efficiency.

So for the question of the close room? First, they are applying the law to something it was never really talking about. And also, they are assuming that planets and stars are more ordered and efficient than what the universe had prior. In the sense of thermodynamics, no, planets are inefficient. Metals don't do much to keep energy going, they are more akin to a final cold product. Second, the room doesn't represent our solar system or galaxy or cluster. The sun feeds the earth, it isn't closed, the system is fed by other suns that have gone supernova, or matter floating around, allowing us to gather more resources. However, the universe seems to be a closed system and that's where it's true. If the room had a light in it, and we left it on it would be more correct to say we would come back into the room a million years later and find a much more complex space and light-bulb, but it just wouldn't be as bright.

Third, you could look at as a chart with x/y lines or coordinates. Entropy was somewhere near the bottom of y (being percentage) and order or efficiency was somewhere near the top. As the two lines go down x (time and space I guess) they head towards each other, eventually pass, and then replace each other on the other side of the graph.

Eventually all energy will be reduced to heat, spread out over the infinite wastes of space, and our universe will, theoretically, reach absolute zero. Cause heat is fickle and dissipates quickly. However, if we have the influence of other universes on any level, then we have a chance of surviving. Course, by 'we' I mean the universe, not the human race, cause I'm sure we'll wipe ourselves out much sooner than that.

All of this is more theoretical than proven. It may turn out that the universe is connected to other ones, or that some unknown force is acting and will lead the universe back into a big crunch. Think what you will, but know this - the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is no argument against atheism.

To quote Jim Jefferies, "And that's science!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mormonism Has Issues Part 4

Just a small little post before I go to bed. I'll be busy this weekend so I want to give you readers a little something. And little it will be.

Book of Abraham.

If I had known what I know now about the BoA back when I was a TBM it would have really shaken my faith. Wouldn't have pushed me over, but it would've been a big step in that direction, possibly could've been the initial step to the process. Alas, I didn't know much accept a few things about the papyrus supposedly being found, but there are parts missing so it's okay, and blablabla.

But it's a lot more than that. However, I have to be up in 7 hours, so as I said I am keeping this short, and it deserves more justice than this but I've been thinking about the BoA today, for no reasons really, and so ... why not post. So I'll list off a couple issues, and I may some time later, months and months, come back with some good source material.

The problems with the 'boa' starts long before the book itself. Firstly, Joseph Smith interpreted ancient hieroglyphs wrong. As was common for his age, and for the uneducated nowadays, he thought the symbols represented meanings, or words, or phrases. He believed this for the Book of Mormon. I believe in the Seasons and Times he even had the hieroglyphs from the 'boa' listed with his translations next to them for the populace to read. It is my understanding that the paper has pictures of some of the parts we have found and listed next to them is his 'translation.' Being that he thought they were words and phrases his translations often were much longer than the hieroglyph sections.

But Egyptian hieroglyphs, in particular, are not words and phrases, but phonetics. They represent sounds, forming words. Ever learn yourself any Latin? Some of the phrases are lengthy and only translate to maybe three words in English. The amount of letters used is often much more than used in English. This is a quick generalization, doesn't carry over all languages, but old languages generally took a lot of time cause they didn't have a 'tight' language to write. Egyptian hieroglyphs are an example of this. I have the Egyptian alphabet on papyrus framed on my wall. It's all sounds, and modern-day writings are much easier to accomplish than the small picture to make a 'ph' sound.

So first, Joseph Smith had the whole process wrong. Second, the scrolls were found later. Joseph Smith hadn't been interested in the mummies at first, possibly felt obligated to go see them, and then to find another ancient writing like so many before. He then took a long time to translate the 'boa' and never even got to the Book of Joseph of Egypt. It probably never even crossed his mind that those scrolls might actually be translated at some point.

But they were. Cause they eventually were found, and could be known to be found because not only could the hieroglyphs be put alongside examples written on paper or in the Seasons and Times, but the pictures were found. One favorite story I find is that scholars had said that the sacrificial picture was supposed to have a priest grabbing the dudes 'phallis' or dick, for whatever reason, and it was a burial writing, like a eulogy or something. Everyone who was cool was getting them back in Egypt. Even when I was young I had issues believing the pots under the table were gods when I knew that they potted organs and things for burial. It just looked like it was supposed to be a burial picture. Scholars also said that the heads were wrong.

Sure enough, pictures found, and there's holes in it. One on the head of the priest, and down to where he was giving the dead guy a hand. So Joseph filled in the pics with what was 'supposed' to be there. The same head as the other guy, and his hand, not around his shaft!, but around a knife trying to stab poor Abraham. Please tell me I'm wrong at any point, about any of this.

But some of the scrolls were missing, and it's my understanding it could be anywhere from 3 to 15 feet. So Joseph could have used those parts. ER! Wrong, he put some examples in the local paper. The scrolls were a catalyst for his revelations. Isn't this just a fancy, spiritually-supporting way of saying that the scrolls helped his creative juices in making it all up?

Also, lastly, no one ever said that he translated it correctly. As to why the 'boa' isn't in the Articles of Faith, because as far as we can tell, it has NOT been translated correctly. The scholars said he didn't come anywhere close, and the church even tries to get their own scholars to say so, who also said that Joseph did not translate the scrolls, and if he thought he did then he was wrong.

So there you have it. 1 - Joseph Smith had an old-school idea of translating and was wrong. 2 - We have examples of his translations. 3 - We have the book and facsimiles, the end product. 4 - We find the scrolls to compare with modern knowledge of translation. 5 - Nothing lines up. 6 - BYU professors won't even try to line it up. 7 - Church essentially buries the whole thing.

As has been said before, within the church you never get to the meat, it's always the milk or honey. I love you all, goodnight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Planes, Protests, and People Who Walk While Texting

Okay, feeling the juices flowing out now, and I'm talking about the creative ones. Uh, the thoughtful creative ones, not the reproductive ones (this deserves to stay on here). First I'd like to put a plug out for a protest happening on BYU campus. We recently decided to have coffee night on Mondays for FHE but only 8 of us showed up so now we're wondering if we should go back Tuesdays. But, call it luck, chance, fate, or the Spirit, we happened to run into a bunch of liberal people who some of which happen to be atheists/agnostics/non-religious going to BYU. And they were meeting at the Coffee Pod to organize a protest against Condoleezza Rice for being a war criminal!

The link is here.

Now, I'm not one for protests, but I'll show my support for their cause by rushing out of class to take pictures of them, lol. The protest will be Thursday morning. It's a peaceful protest, with some LDS views being used in support of it. Show up at the parking lot by the Brick Oven or just be down by the south of campus and wait for the picketers. Most likely they will get thrown off, but I'm wondering how far they will get across campus, lol. Maybe some lurking BYU person on here will make it stop before it starts if they read this, but hopefully not. Free speech and beliefs right? Oh yeah, nvm, not at BYU.

So, go support this if you want.

On my last post I mentioned that there were some interesting people on the plane. On a short flight to my layover I happened to sit right in front of some tall guy about to go to Bangladesh on a mission for God. He had some old guy with him, who didn't talk at all. Not Mormon at all, though during the conversations I looked for similarities between the different people involved and Mormonism. There were quite a few, which still makes me believe that Mormonism is a part of Christianity, but definitely not mainstream ... whatever that is.

Well, the guy across from the tall guy happened to be some eastern religion nut. Not in a crazy sense or religious sense, but he was all into it and learning about it and looking for practical application. So Gigantor begins speaking with Buddha Lover about meditation and prayer, Jesus and spiritualism, medicine versus the sacred field of alternative medicine, and people being healed through miracles. Usually the later are famous evangelical preachers who had an experience no one knew about and then share it with everyone, making lots of money on the way. (Or, so Gigantor explained, though he didn't realize how ridiculous he sounded.)

They talked about how some person got cured from cancer because of a prayer, which probability and a skeptically raised eyebrow is all I need to doubt it had anything supernatural occurring or possibly wasn't even true. (Again, friend of a friend type thing.) Eventually the Buddha Lover went to his music and the guy BEHIND HIM began talking to Gigantor. This new third party was a Christian from another sect and began debating Bible scriptures, which Gigantor was as good as any Mormon missionary who has been out for a year (which I mean to say is that he was actually very good.) They went back and forth on whether Paul meant this or that, and eventually got to the faith versus works discussion, which Gigantor was all about faith and grace, works don't mean nuth'n! The new guy didn't agree but couldn't sway the big guy by any means.

Sitting in front of them and by the window I couldn't really contribute without turning awkwardly around and facing the whole plane while kneeling on my chair. I had really wanted to get in on it and start discussing the intense amount of logical fallacies they were drowning us listeners in. Especially all the pseudo-medicine talk. It was completely ridiculous. It came off as if Gigantor was completely adamantly sure he was right, and that Buddha Lover didn't know much but wasn't open-minded to anything except what he had recently been discovering. And from my point of view I just wanted to tell them everything they were saying was third-hand or further in distance, not supported by any evidence except that some person said so, who was momentarily benefiting from it, and that if alternative medicine worked then it would be proven to work! Medicine corporations are a business, and if something could be proven to work, cheap to make, and expensive to sell, they would. Oh wait, that's right, a lot of natural and alternative medicines are actually produced and sold by medicine companies!(no links, but do some research into this, it is a little surprising, except I just stole the punchline.) (And if you're too lazy then just look at bottles and who they are made by and connect the dots with some of these products.)

So I had meant to listen to music but ended up eavesdropping and finding it fascinating how smart they sounded up front but how unscientific and unfounded and fallacious everything they were saying truly was. I mean, some preacher says his wife had some disease no doctor could help with and goes to Asia and was cured by a shaman? And now they make money off preaching new age stuff to people? Suspiciooouuus.

My row-mate had fallen asleep but woke up later. After Gigantor and the new guy had been going at it about the Bible we both chuckled and began discussing religion ourselves. He made the comment that they all think they're own version is right, and I said that the problem is that they think everyone else is wrong. After making some more comments I decided he was non-religious, but I wasn't sure if he was an atheist or not, and now I'm wishing I had probed some more. Regardless, it was fun to agree on some things, probably made him happy to see a young man like myself agreeing with him, and we had a pleasant exchange of farewells.

Of course I should've written about this sooner, would've helped my memory, but I think y'all get the picture.

Lastly, at campus today some girl (and it could've been a guy) was walking down a crosswalk while texting. Only she was doing the 'texting walk' like you'd see some young kid who doesn't know how to walk and chew gum without going real slow or stumble-walking. So she holds up traffic, gets to the other side, and the car waiting turns right just as she obliviously turns out into that crosswalk and continues to hold up vehicles now sitting in the intersection. What a dumb c***!!! Holy hell, I'm sure I've done something stupid while texting, but nothing like that. And she was oblivious! She was going to the sports building and may have been blond. I better stop before I roll out more stereotypes.

Oh, also, I have collected several patriarchal blessings, so probably in the next couple weeks I'll make an 'educational' post about them. Lol. Thank you for everyone who has sent them to me. This is nothing new, other people literally have gathered hundreds and found deeper template foundations for the blessings, I'm just doing mine for fun. Very second-rate. Like most of my blog ....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why I Don't Tell When I'm Home

I'm back! Sorry for the delay, but I need to get my juices flowing a little to write. Be in the mood, ya know. And one little push was all it took this morning.

So my memory is not horrible and I wish to talk about some of the joys of going home for X-mas, or the holidays, or Christmas and New Years. Honestly I don't care what you call it; I love the holiday. This post will mainly be about me, rather than some thoughts or interesting things I notice at BYU ... but it should still be entertaining.

So my parents still do not know. They know that a year and half ago I told them I thought I was becoming an atheist, and that I've always been a little liberal and rebellious and open-minded when it comes to religion, and that now I never seen that interested in talking about religion with them. So they may suspect it, but I probably am allowing them to enjoy some measure of peace and comfort by not being open with them. I do this for 2 basic reasons:

First, as some of you know, my dad has been diagnosed with dementia, and according to my brother, possibly Alzheimer's. He sometimes exaggerates things but my mom sometimes bends the truth, so either one is possible. In the end, I do not care. My dad is dieing and before he goes he's gonna continue to forget how to speak, where he puts things, how to do manual tasks, and eventually who people are. This is one thing in my life where it would be easier to believe in Mormonism. Just so readers know, this also had nothing to do with my atheism. It concretes me more into agnosticism, but he was never diagnosed with anything until after I stopped believing. Personally, seeing this and knowing how many older adults are like this, it would be something to make me hate God, if he existed. It's so pointless! You don't gain anything from it. I'll stop on this for now, I'm planning on writing about it more in my exit story.

Second, the church has been good for my family. And I've never doubted that. In some ways it hasn't been, but in some large and very important ways it has, and I feel like my parents would be justified in being depressed about me not believing anymore, at least from their point of view.

Third, I'm just chicken. 9 out of 10 times (random stat I know) if someone tells their family it is not a pleasant experience, and sometimes downright bad. A couple people have good stories to tell about 'coming out,' but I don't see that happening with my family. They'd love me, but they would be so sad.

And for all those things I just can't tell them. I've gotten mixed feelings from friends, some saying I should when I'm ready, others saying that it probably wouldn't help. Given all the circumstances, I just don't think I can. It would remove some stress, it would be more true to myself. But I, for once, don't see an injustice in lying to them. Some may disagree with this, but it's where I'm at right now. Also, I secretly hope BYU will find out who I am based on my family situations, that would make them out to be such douches, lol, but it won't happen ... probably.

Anyways, far longer intro than intended, I went home for xmas and eventually my gf came out, also a non-believing postmo. My poor mom kept trying to talk about church stuff. One time we were all in the TV room and she was attempting to talk about the Old Testament (she's a 2nd hour teacher and reads a ton) and we kept 'cleverly' trying to avoid the topic, to the point that she possibly noticed, lol. At other times she would ask my gf about her church callings and going to church, to which she had to confess she was in the middle of nowhere and had been going to church with her grandparents, lol. Ambiguous answer. Needless to say, I fear my mom's suspicions are raised.

Another FFRF billboard.
An interesting event occurred while I was home. We went to another city to walk around downtown and then had dinner with a cousin. Went to a pub where they throw peanuts on the floor, had good burgers. But during the conversation she asked my gf if she was Mormon, expecting an affirmative answer, but my gf was like, " ... uh, well," and in my head I was like, "EEEKKK!" NO ONE in my home area knows, and only a handful of high school buddies knows. And not a single person from my family knows. Eventually we both 'confessed' to being agnostic atheists about the whole thing, explained what that meant for us, and explained some things about being postmos and how we got to where we are. My cousin explained how she was beginning to grow more spiritual due to, you guessed it, a kid. It was an interesting discussion, especially since she didn't take us at our word on some atheistic views and disagreed on other things. Not that it made me change any opinions, but I like having people disagree with me so I can reevaluate some of my views and opinions. After two hours we were done and headed our separate ways. She promised not to tell anyone, and I have to send her some of the books I've read, so I'll probably email her mini synopses about some of them and let her pick the ones she wants.

It was nice having my gf with me, since we rarely get to see each other, but in her words I 'don't flourish at home,' and that whole circumstance worries/annoys me. But I love my family, and I wish I could be more open with them and everyone could be happy. I don't think that those two can coincide very well though. For New Years we hung out with a bunch of Mormons though, played Mormony games instead of Strip Twister, and watched the ball drop, having a 3 second make out to it. Everyone later told me she was a keeper, lol.

Nothing else, off the top of my head, happened regarding things that you would be expected to see on my blog. We watched Jim Jefferies 'I Swear to God' which is hilarious and raunchy, dirty, vulgar, and blasphemous. Panda's are such f****** picky eaters, lol. Me and the gf still need to watch Agora, and I'm getting The Nature of Existence from Netflix here soon. I'll tell everyone if it's any good.

One nice thing is that she flew up on a Sunday so I missed church. On one level it would've been fun to go, on another I'm glad I didn't have to. Yay. Oh, and I had to bless dinner once while she was there. My prayer went something like this:

"Dear God, thank you for this food that people prepared for us, please bless it even though we know it's not poisoned, in the name of Jesus, amen."

On my way home I did have an interesting experience on a plane with a future evangelical missionary and other people discussing religion. But I'll share that later as this post is already pretty lengthy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Not Dead Yet!

So I am terribly busy right now. Flew in late, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my busiest days, and I have an evening class on Wednesday. So I may still not be able to post much this week.

I never wrote my exit story, I have half an outline (that's 3 pages btw so don't think I'm not working on it) but the computer at home doesn't have word or anything and I had all my info on a flashdrive, so I didn't work on it. That and my gf came out so I was kind of distracted and busy.

Boy do I have stories to tell though. The whole home situation with the gf, coming out to a cousin, my parents, etc... Especially the religious discussion on the plane-ride back, which unfortunately I wasn't much of a part of.

I have also collected more Patriarchal blessings. The only trend so far is that older ones were shorter, and the blessings for people my age are long (2-3 pages is average now).

Coffee may be moved to Mondays. I may finally get up to Mestizos this semester, I want to go to USGA and SHIFT this week, and The Nature of Existence looks like an amazing documentary I want to see.

That's it for now, I have to run, busy little bee I am.