Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thank you, Hitch

This is my woefully inadequate tribute to Christopher Hitchens.  If you don't know the name then google him right away, you've missed you.  He was one of the most eloquent and prolific writers I've ever had the privilege to read and I truly hope that someday the rest of the world may come to recognize him as the great philosopher that he was.

I can't express my beliefs as perfectly as he did and I just want to thank him for his work by posting this quote that so succinctly encapsulates my position on religion.  Thank you, Hitch.  You will be missed.
"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more." 
- Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I just had to put this on.

It was too hilarious and too absolutely true to ignore.  The health care debate is one of the many things that just irks me lately and Colbert pretty much sums it up:)  Enjoy!
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Death Panels
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In Response to Anonymous Commenter

Allow me to elaborate on my fascination of the human body and brain, and science in general.

Scientists are seriously discussing the possibility that we will be able to create an artificial and functional brain within the next 10 years. AI technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. So much so that conversations about ethics and the possibilities of "robot uprising" in the future are becoming serious.

We can create religious experience in the brain with electrical and/or narcotic stimulation.
There are bacteria that have been found that can be manipulated and used to produce endless supplies of blood. This is still in the testing phase but is astounding nonetheless.

Science has created computers that can be controlled with the mind. Imagine the implications for people with disabilities! Imagine the doors of communication and growth that could be opened for them with this technology.

These are just a few things in the world of science that amaze me. We are advancing every day. The reason the body and brain are so fascinating to me is because of the things that science is teaching us about them. I am learning more now than I ever did when I simply believed that "god did it."

I compare the advances of science to what I've seen of religion. The fact that the catholic church spreads disinformation about the effectiveness of condoms against HIV in countries like Africa because they don't want people having premarital sex.

The fact that the LDS church relies on flimsy and outright discredited "evidence" to support the history of the Book of Mormon time and time again.

The fact that many religions are spreading disinformation about vaccinating your children. There IS no link between vaccination and autism and it has been proven again and again. And yet children are DYING because of the scare tactics that are being used against vaccination.

To me it speaks volumes. I have repeatedly found that for me, religion has shown it's tendency to be dishonest in order to push it's own agenda. Religion has already reached it's conclusions on truth. Science is always searching, and always willing to admit when it is wrong. It doesn't have an agenda. The path that rings true to me is science.

Anyway, thank you for your comment. I have been wanting to incite conversation on here for quite some time so thank you for doing so. Until next time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Everybody Gets One.

This is my angry ranting post. As the title suggests, everybody gets at least one. I've been trying really hard over the last few months to stay positive about all the changes in my life, and about everyone else's reaction to them. But there are a few things that really piss me off and it's one of those things that you just have to get out of your system one way or another or they'll eat you up. Writing has always been a great outlet for me so I thought why not put it on your blog.  So for those of you still reading, welcome to the inner depths. I've spent far too much time keeping my thoughts to myself, and I'm exhausted and utterly through with being timid.

There were a few people very close to me who I really wanted to read this blog. I'm about 99.9% sure that they aren't anymore. Which doesn't really make me angry, it is just hurtful to me. I am attempting to bare my soul in this blog. I'm going to talk about extremely personal and painful experiences and those closest to me are turning away and refusing to get to know the person I've become. They want to remain on the comfortable "common ground" we've been standing on for years. What common ground? The fact that we've been friends for years but have never had a serious conversation because it made one of us uncomfortable? The fact that we're family? I'm sorry, and maybe I'm asking too much, but that isn't enough for me. I refuse to maintain superficial, safe, comfortable relationships and take no steps to strengthen or grow. That isn't what this life is for. This life is far too short to be content with the easy road.

And that's another thing. How dare anyone say that an atheist is taking the "easy way out." You don't know how hard it is to come to terms with your own mortality and push on. You don't know the pain that comes with realizing that this life is all you have and to look back on how much you've wasted when you could've been living. You don't understand how much it hurts to lose someone when there is no god to comfort you. No afterlife to imagine them in. No "better place." Life was a lot easier for me when I was religious. I could try to hand it all off to god, surrender everything up to a power greater than myself. I don't have that anymore. I have to rely on whatever strength I have within myself, and sometimes, it's not much at all. And that's just the way it is. Life beats you down but you take it in stride and go on. Learning and growing and appreciating life more with every blow.

I don't want to paint atheism as this abysmal portrait with nothing to hold on to or look up to. The beauty of nature and science are so much more beautiful to me now. To look at the human body and mind and understand how we evolved and grew and adapted over time is amazing to me. To look at any flower or tree and realize what it has had to fight against to go on astounds me. This world, our very existence has been the underdog in a battle against time and the forces of nature and we have survived. Everything that exists today has competed against some other force and won. Nothing is more inspiring to me than that. It is exhilarating to learn about new sciences and technologies that are emerging every day. Things that have been discovered, nurtured, and brought to maturity by the power and ingenuity of the human brain. And there is nowhere I would rather be than right here, this moment in time, being true to myself and living my life to the fullest.

I am tired of being dismissed as a "good person" simply because I declare myself an atheist. I know that most people in my life disagree and probably absolutely abhor how I've chosen to identify myself. They don't understand and the thing that really gets me is that they have absolutely no desire to understand. It's like every decent, human quality I've ever had vanished the moment I uttered the words, "I don't believe in god." I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. I wasn't tricked, or lied to, or decieved. I chose this. And it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But being true to yourself can sometimes be painful. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

I came to a point in my life where I felt I had to choose between my own happiness and well-being, and the happiness of those closest to me. I knew that someone was going to be hurt. For many many years it was me. I wouldn't trade my journey for anything in the world. Maybe I'm being selfish, expecting people to hear me out. Maybe I'm misguided in my attempts to find deeper and more meaningful bonds in my relationships. Shawn Colvin said it best in her song Trouble, "It's really hard to make your peace. So give me some credit for the hell I've paid. This world's a blessing and a beast every day."

I just feel like I want to be heard and understood as cliche as that sounds. And those who I thought would support me and love me no matter what have shown me exactly how conditional their love really is. They would rather sweep it under the rug and pretend nothing significant has happened. Nobody wants to talk about anything real or meaningful. And I don't understand it.

Enough woe is me rambling on. Goodnight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Methods to My Madness

Hello again.

In this post I would like to discuss a term referred to as skeptical inquiry. As I have already stated in this blog, I am an atheist. I am also a skeptic. I want to draw a line right here and right now between the ideas of skeptical inquiry and debunking or doubting.

To be a skeptic doesn't mean you automatically dismiss anything and everything that doesn't fit with your paradigms of how the world should work. It means that you follow the evidence. It also means that if you had a certain position on something and the next day new evidence was found to contradict your position, you would re-evaluate and re-establish your position. Debunking, on the other hand is coming in with a preconceived notion of how you think things should be, and cherry picking evidence to support that view.

I didn't realize I was a skeptic until far after I left the mormon church, and I have to say that it plays a huge role in decisions I've made and continue to make in my life. I want you all to understand not only what conclusions I've made, but how I've come to make them.

It has always seemed completely logical and necessary for me to want to question things. It's simply second nature. If you claim a certain belief, not only claim it but dedicate your entire life to it and believe it with all your heart, mind, and strength, it seems to me that you should investigate and question it to every limit. How can you possibly say you believe something that intensely without taking the time to learn it's history, it's background, it's roots? After all, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

This brings me to the topic of what those of the LDS faith refer to as "Anti-Mormon Literature." I have during my personal journey for truth read many articles, books, sermons, and documents that I'm sure would be very easily classified as Anti-Mormon. The surprising thing is that a lot of these documents are contained within books and talks sanctioned, sold, and in some cases even canonized by the LDS church itself. So what does this term "Anti-Mormon Literature" really mean?

I recall many an Ensign article or conference talk referring to this term. In most cases it was used as the primary factor leading to an otherwise faithful member's utter demise and loss of testimony. Sounds like pretty serious business. Let's see what the church has to say about it.

I scoured the lds.org website in search of a simple definition of Anti-Mormon Literature. I couldn't find one. To take it very literally I would define it as anything that says something negative about the church, or attempts to cast a less than favorable light upon them. That is certainly what I understood it to be in my earlier years.

There are certain talks, and books that are sanctioned by church leadership that cast a negative light on the church. If the church sells it at deseret book, and publishes it on it's website, and discusses it in conference and church, how can it be anti-mormon literature?

My point is that I may occasionally bring up issues that I have with the mormon church (and other religions for that matter). I am not attempting to sway anyone's opinion or pollute your faith. I will never reference anything that has not been referenced by the church itself so don't be scared that I will fill this blog with hateful anti-mormon jibberish. That has never been my intention and though many people engage in that kind of behavior, I find it to be about the least constructive thing you can do. What I really want to do here is tell my story, and engage in some serious and open minded discussions about ourselves, what we believe, and why.

Finally, I simply want to state that I truly believe you should investigate everything to it's fullest extent. Never take anything for granted. If you don't understand it, don't simply dismiss it. Continue searching. Please, please, before you give your life away to something, understand it at it's core. To do anything else, in my opinion, is a horrible tragedy. And please, don't just take my word for it. Don't take anybody's word for it. Discover as much information as you can, and draw your own conclusion. This approach can be scary. It makes you vulnerable and uncertain at times. But in all honesty, you have both everything to lose and everything to gain. And that , my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Hello again.

First, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who are taking the time to read this. It really means a lot. I would really love to hear everyone's comments, and maybe get some followers going (not in a cult-ish way, but in a blogging way:) ) The feedback is great to have whether it is positive, negative, or ambivalent.

Anyway, this is just a quick post to say that it will probably be a little while until my next post. I underestimated the time it would take to really get my thoughts and information together to get this going. I want to be as accurate as possible.

So, I'll work hard and post again soon:) Until then I'll leave you with this.

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering, awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...”
-Annie Dillard

Sunday, May 24, 2009


There are certain things I feel I need to articulate. Whether it be for my own personal process of healing and moving on, or for some external reason I’m not sure. Probably a combination of both.

I’ve spent the better part of my life so far trying to come to terms with ideas I’ve had ever since I was about 14 years old. That’s when things started really changing for me. That’s when I started asking my own questions. That’s when I started really thinking for myself (although I admit it has taken years for me to really say with confidence that I am capable of that). That’s when I really started on the path that has led me to where I am today.

And where is that exactly? There is something that very few people know about me. Mostly because I haven’t made it my purpose to publicize it until now. I’ve never felt it was necessary. Maybe I was scared. I know I’ve been scared. It’s also partly because people around me continue to make assumptions about who I am. Something I have ignored for years. But not anymore.

For a long time I called myself an Agnostic. That doesn’t mean I was unsure about what I believe. It doesn’t mean I was lazy and taking the easy way out. Nothing is laid out for you in agnosticism. It is a constant battle to learn and grow and develop your beliefs. It’s about the journey, not the final destination. The best way I can describe it is to say that it’s about constantly getting closer and closer to the truth, all the while knowing that you’ll never quite get there. That may sound frustrating to some. But to me it’s the only thing that makes sense. I believe it was Socrates who said “Wisdom is knowing how little we know.”

The more and more I embraced agnosticism, the more and more I realized that I thought like an atheist. The more I learn about the world around me, the more it makes sense to me that god is an idea created by men to cope with the fear of their own mortality. I’m sure a lot of people think that it must be terrifying living in a world where you don’t know what your purpose in life is or what the “meaning of it all” could possibly be. To me it just means that it’s that much more important to make our time here the best that it can be.

I am tired of being timid. I am tired of being apologetic for who I am and the philosophies I’ve adopted into my life. I am sorry for feeling I need to hide my views and opinions on things so that I don’t offend anyone. I’m beginning to feel that perhaps it’s not my problem that people would feel offended by what I believe. Maybe that is entirely their problem. And maybe I just need to step up and accept it so that others can begin to do the same.

So here it is. I am an atheist. And I am ecstatic about it.

The rest of this blog will consist of what I consider my journey from point A to point B. But that will take a lot more thinking and reading and searching. For now, thanks for reading and I hope you'll come back for the next installment.

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -Carl Sagan