Thursday, March 29, 2012

Swamped!

I don't know that I've ever had such a good time on a trip where I wasn't on vacation.  Having attended the Reason Rally for a few hours and subsequently attending my first American Atheist Convention, I felt like I could listen to these people for an entire week and still not get enough.  Not to mention that now I have so many topics that I cannot wait to add to my blog, I simply can't make up my mind where I should start.

But of course, as my luck would have it, my workdays have been so frantic that I haven't had a moment to settle down since returning from Washington D.C. Tuesday evening.  Alas, I haven't even had the energy over the past two evenings to transfer the pictures I took from my phone to my computer, much less commit to writing a proper post.

Don't judge...  Because I'm not being lazy, I'm just being sleepy.

Anyway, I wanted to say that since my time at the Atheist Convention, I have been inspired much more than I ever would have imagined.  And I'm not just talking about getting overwhelmed with awe as I watched presentations from some of the most prolific atheist activists, either.  I'm talking about moments where it took everything I had to hold back the tears.  The convention was that good.

I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say I've been introduced to something that I think is going to change our movement forever.  And who else would have thought of it, but Dr. Richard Dawkins?  Which, by the way, I finally was able to get Dr. Dawkins to sign my copy of, "The God Delusion".  That's right.  Choke on that for a while...

In the meantime, I suggest looking into another organization with which I'll be getting myself more involved.  Recovering From Religion aims to help those that have abandoned religion, but find that they still suffer from the pressures that religion can leave behind.  It seems like a very good fit for me, and I'll have more updates on how I'm hoping to help bring this organization to the DFW area in subsequent posts.  And just so you know, Jerry DeWitt, the Executive Director of RR, is the definition of utter awesomeness.  Seriously.

Oh, and did I mention that I finally fulfilled one of my life's ambitions - to get Richard Dawkins signed my copy of, "The God Delusion"???

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Richard Dawkins, Inspired!

Dr. Richard Dawkins claims that he is inspired by the sheer number of us that have braved the weather to stand up against religion.  I can't speak for everyone, but his whole career inspires me.

Cheers!

Here's a great question.  Dawkins asks, "How could anyone rally against reason?"  Exactly!  It is inconceivable for those of us that long for a secular society, that there are those that fight against it!  It's surreal...

He goes on to talk about those that accuse him of despising religious people - but it's not the people he despises, it's the religions he despises.  Truer words could not have been spoken.  This, more than anything, happens to all who fight against the religious institution.

He also tells us to ask the religious, "What do you REALLY believe?  Do you honestly believe that a wafer turns into the body of Christ?  Do you really believe that wine turns into blood?!?!  Confront them... Ridicule them..."

That's a perfect ending.


Brilliant!

Religion as a mechanism for, "intellectual inbreeding," from Nate Phelps, the son Pastor Fred Phelps.  Brilliant, sir.  Brilliant.

And get involved!


At the Rally

I finally made it, and already I've seen Raptor Jesus from the Discovery Institute!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jesus Sports a New Look!

Yesterday the Orlando local CBS affiliate - WKMG TV - had a story on their website where a woman claimed to see the baby Jesus on an abandoned power meter.  That's correct, the almighty himself chose to project his image upon the glass cover of an abandoned power meter using what looks like dust and filth built up over months, if not years, of neglect.  That is one powerful god that Christians have on their hands, no?

Okay, here's a picture of the power meter in question.  What do you see?


I like to go into these things with an open mind, so here's what my brain "saw" in the dirt and grime covered power meter.  Frank Zappa!!!


If that is supposed to be Jesus, he sure has modernized his look with a thick, burly mustache and accompanying soul patch.  Not to mention I think I see Jesus sporting a nice, distinctive handlebar under his nose, too!  (And c'mon you good Christian girls, you know that soul patch is way hotter than  Jesus's old, Grizzly Adams trim.)

I don't think people should be worshiping Jesus, I think people should be asking how the hell Zappa's spirit was able to project his likeness upon that glass...

*** EDIT ***

I had another thought...  How about this?



I know Inigo Montoya doesn't have a soul patch, but work with me.  You can see it, right?  RIGHT???

Monday, March 19, 2012

McCain: The Voice of Reason?

The first time I read this article about a proposed Arizona House Bill 2625, I thought it was a joke.  Then I saw another, and another; and needless to say I'm sure as hell glad I don't live in that state anymore.  Plus, if this isn't a direct call for the younger voters of this country to get themselves involved, I don't know what is.

But then, thankfully, John McCain has started to bring some reason back to the state of Arizona by saying that the proposed law should be vetoed.  Here's a snippet of what McCain said:

"I am confident that that legislation will not reach the governor's desk, and if it did it would be vetoed.  It certainly doesn't reflect, in my view, the majority view of the people of Arizona."

Well no lie!  But the majority view of the people of Arizona has curiously been silent when it counts.  The problem here is obvious - older voters (45+) flock to the voting booth in droves.  And it is this voting block where Rick Santorum's campaign makes their livelihood, and thus far the the possibility of Santorum winning the nomination is not out of the question.  Get the picture?

So for McCain to come out directly against the ultra white, ultra religious, 45+ year old  freight train riding the wave of Santorum, means that perhaps he sees that his party has finally reached the limits of the public's tolerance for utter lunacy.  If only he would have gone a step further and reminded that older, self-righteous voting block how they really lived when they were 20 to 30 years-old, then he might have made some friends with the younger voters.  Oh well, maybe next time.

As I said before, my family and I moved away from Arizona just before "the crazy" set in.  While I was there, I never really liked McCain because he certainly wasn't the headstrong politician that I had heard about.   I found him lost, out of touch, and very wishy-washy.  But this was the first time I actually found myself agreeing with McCain.  Given enough time, I suppose anything is possible.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Reason Rally is a Week Away

In just seven days, my flight will be landing at Reagan National Airport for my very first visit to the Nation's Capitol.  When I bought my flight, I chose a very early time because I fully intended to make it to the Reason Rally.  Then my tendency for bad luck struck again when I received an email that my connecting flight was rescheduled to a much later time.  Figures, right?  Oh well, I found that pouting for a few hours helped me cope.

But now, as luck would have it, the schedule for the Reason Rally has also been extended from 10am to 6pm.  I should be able to get from the airport to the National Mall to cover at least a few hours of the rally on my blog!

Oh happy day!

Also, next Sunday and Monday look for coverage on my blog from the American Atheist National Convention in Bethesda, MD.  I'll be spending both days covering lectures by David Silverman, Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Jerry DeWitt, and of course, the keynote speech given by Dr. Richard Dawkins.



Now I just have to figure out how to get through a week of work...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Evil is Not a Good Enough Word

I frequently hear from several male politicians and many of my religious friends alike, that abortion should be against the law in all situations.  A woman's body is not her own as soon as a clump of cells finishes its migration to the uterus and embeds itself in the uterine tissue.  Some even believe that a woman's body is not her own as soon as two gametes fuse together.

If you're a woman and you think this way, read this.

Inhuman, barbaric, savage, cruel...  Evil.  None of these words do justice to that poor woman's suffering.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Friendship, Family and Gloating

During a somewhat quiet day at work, one of my coworkers made it a point to bring up a topic in which I found myself eating crow.  He politely reminded me that I had completely sworn off Facebook more than a year ago.  (Yes, he was correct.)  He then reminded me that he attempted - unsuccessfully I might add - to wager how long I would last away from it.  It took him a couple of months to notice, but there I was, back in his friends list.  Needless to say, I'm glad I didn't make that bet.

I furiously explained to him that as most connected people nowadays, much of my family frequently uses that website to keep in relatively close touch with one another (pardon the pun).  I felt like I needed to get back there to stay in the familial loop.  No dice.  He wasn't buying my excuses.

I'm sure everyone can imagine the scene, as he enjoyed several minutes of gloating and teasing me with one, "I told you so," after another.  I could take it because first, I knew I was caught.  Second, I knew I deserved it.  And yet, after putting up with all of his good-natured harassment, he did pose one question that I never expected.

"Hows your family handling your announcement?"

"Announcement?" I asked.

His face wore his frustration.  "C'mon man," he said, "The atheism thing."

Right...  That.

I have been openly atheist to most of my closest friends and some of my coworkers for years now, but for some reason I've always held back when it comes to my family.  And before anyone condemns me, you should know that I'm just not the type to seek out family drama.  I really don't think that it's constructive at all, and I certainly don't like making a scene at parties or reunions.  Sure, I'll speak my mind when asked, but when dealing with family, I like to keep the conversation light.  Plus, I would submit that most of my family simply assumed I was one of the fold, save for those that are truly close to me.

That is, until a couple of weeks ago.  I decided to push back against some rather pointed advice, where I was told that I should keep my atheism hidden from some of my family members.  Anyone that knows me realizes that advice like this never sits right with me at all, so I decided it was in my best interest to introduce my blog to everyone, including unsuspecting family, by submitting this post to my entire Facebook network.  I then braced myself for a bit of a backlash.  But the funny thing is... It never happened.  I've not had anyone in my family approach me directly demanding that I explain myself.  Okay, that's not completely accurate.  I have had one person ask my wife if I was an atheist.  My poor wife...  Does anyone feel sorry for her yet?

Anyway, I suppose that by their silence, I can only assume that most of my family members suspected as much from me, and were not at all surprised by my post.  Well, kudos to all of you for your understanding!

So here it is, thanks to anyone in my family that is consistently reading my blog.  If you're out there and want to talk, just remember that I'm only a phone call away!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The GOP Bubble of Belief (and Faith)

I'm at the end of my feminist rope with this baloney...

Yesterday in the Dallas Morning News, Steve Blow wrote a very enlightening article where he explained that Governor Rick Perry, along with the GOP dominated Texas State Legislature, have devoted themselves to closing women's health clinics across the state.  Blow explains:
"Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature would reject $35 million in federal money and close women’s health clinics across the state rather than see Planned Parenthood get a dime."
Blind party allegiance has finally trickled into the outright absurd.  Since I've been paying attention to politics, I don't believe that I've ever seen this kind of unchecked disinformation drive a political party.  Seriously, it doesn't matter if what a given Republican says is true; it only matters that other Republicans repeat it.

Mr. Blow even takes the professional and responsible approach, and a great portion of his article, to remind his readers that the federal money was NEVER used for abortions, that Planned Parenthood operates 51 different clinics within the state - none of which perform abortions, and that these clinics serve over 130,000 Texas women enrolled in the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.  He even suggests that the Texas Legislature has completely lost compassion and financial sanity.

I think he's just being polite.

Over the past two years, a renewed effort has been made by the contemporary members of the GOP to declare an outright war against women's rights.  And yes, one of those rights is abortion.  But refusing $35 million dollars in federal aid has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion!  I'd say this tactic by the Texas GOP is nothing more than a pathetic, juvenile means of punishing any women's clinic associated with Planned Parenthood.  But I'm not nearly as polite as Mr. Blow.

The current fools of the Texas GOP won't even bother to truly inform their constituents either, since most of the staunchly Republican voters will believe just about anything that cycles through the right-wing echo chamber.  If Shawn Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh each say the moon is made of cream cheese, then you can bet your ass that 95% of the Republican voters will soon be making mindless, depraved jokes about moon-rock Democrats and Liberals.

Honestly, the current political environment of the right-wing has slipped from the position of governing into the realm of the staunchly religious.  This party has adapted their politics to model the institution that, to this day, continues to profit on the biggest lie ever sold.  The church.  It's a devilishly perfect fit.  The GOP has successfully convinced people to live in a bubble of faith and belief.  What better way to keep people voting against their own best interests?

Bill Maher put it best - you simply can't get through the religious conservative bubble because, "...at least half the country doesn't believe in reality."


I'm just hoping the next generation of women begin the next movement for sanity in politics - because it's high time your voices weren't drowned out by screaming old white men.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Swear Off Porn if You're GOP

It seems that the good people of the Laurens County Republican Party in South Carolina are making candidates sign a multifarious and elaborate pledge before they are allowed on the ballot.  I think I'm starting to see a trend, because for some reason religious conservatives just love the idea of signing meaningless, unverifiable pledges.  And the creepy part of these pledges is that religious conservatives always seem to go out of their way to include tidbits about everyone's naughty bits.  Before we go straight to the sex, let's have some good, old fashioned Republican foreplay:
"You must uphold the right to have guns, all kinds of guns."
GUNS!  'MERICA!  HELL YEAH!  Wow!  Was there ever a better way to start a pledge?  If I was a Southern GOP candidate, boy would I be stoked; pumped; fired up!  And am I glad they included the gun rights issue right from the beginning, because 'MERICANS don't have near enough guns!

Is your conservative disposition fully engorged?  Let's get to it, then:
"You must favor, and live up to, abstinence before marriage.
You must be faithful to your spouse. Your spouse cannot be a person of the same gender, and you are not allowed to favor any government action that would allow for civil unions of people of the same sex.
You cannot now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at pornography."
Well. . .  phooey.  No sex outside of marriage, no gay sex, and no self-sex.  Got it?  That's a lot to live up to.  (I'm looking at you, Gingrich.)

Unbelievable!  When these new age inquisitors sat down to draw up a pledge for the GOP candidates, these were the most important issues that they could come up with?  And what is it with these crazed people and controlling what other people do with their bodies?  Give me a break...  Plus, my bet is that, most, if not all, of these disturbed individuals will fail on point one.  And given enough time, they'll surely fail on point two.  If we are to judge by some studies on extramarital sex and pornography use, I'd say I'm making a safe bet.

If you took the time to follow some of the other links in the article above, you might notice that the Laurens County GOP resolution also contains even more interesting little nuggets that will likely raise a proverbial red flag.  I know it did for me.  Think about it, doesn't this pledge sound a bit like a modern version of the standard Southern Baptist Deacon pledge?  Honestly, modernize 1 Timothy 3, and I don't think it's much of a stretch to think that this GOP pledge would fit right in.

The chilling thought for me is, if this is a sign of how far the GOP is willing to be overwhelmed by the Christian right, how far will they be able to push their theology into the politics of the United States?

My religious conspiracy theories aside, Mr. Dick Harpootlian, the South Carolina Democratic Party Chariman, released a statement that not only qualifies as a slap in the face of the South Carolina GOP, but also borders on political perfection.  He wrote:
"The Laurens County Republican Party is requiring a written pledge by all candidates for state and local office swearing off porn and sex. This requirement is being endorsed by Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly explaining they were all 'wearing the same uniform.' 
Since it is apparent porn and sex must be a big enough problem in the Republican Party to warrant a written pledge to avoid them, I would be very cautious about getting into a small space like a bathroom or a voting booth with a Republican.
With this state facing huge economic, employment and educational issues the state Republican Party is following the lead of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and are more worried about what goes on in the bedroom than the classroom."
Nice.  As good as this statement was, I have but one thing to add.  Being that this is the GOP we're talking about here, there's something that Mr. Harpootlian desperately needs to clarify with his statement.  Is he warning the women of the United States about the predominately white, male members of the Republican Party... or the men?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Scavenging the Dead

As I read more news about the horrible tornadoes that ravaged eleven different states last week, I decided to try to visualize what it must be like to be a religious leader reading the same news.  I suppose that my first pastoral thoughts would be the same as the common man.  I would, of course, mourn the tragic and indiscriminate loss of life, then weep for the hordes of unfortunate victims that have lost everything.  I then realized that I would likely begin to pray, though I must admit that I giggled a bit to myself as I realized that I simply do not have the creativity nor the training to concoct the proper prayer that one would extend to the almighty after a natural disaster.  Be that as it may, I'm quite sure I would tidy up my heartfelt prayer by following modern devotional etiquette: offering my thanks in Jesus' name and whatnot, finish with a righteous amen, and then get myself back to doing the Lord's work.  I suppose I might even wonder to myself how God could allow such a terrible event; and maybe even ask myself, why didn't God step in and protect those that could not protect themselves?

I mean, surely Pastors and Priests consider these kinds of questions...

But then it stung me like a stiff, pitiless riding crop.  Religious leaders don't think like the rest of humanity.  They believe that they must shoulder the extraordinary burden of being ever mindful of the enormity of eternity, and likewise the possibility of eternal damnation.  Remember, if we're projecting ourselves into the mind of a religious leader, we have to be mindful of the call.  As sick and as twisted as this thought process is, you'l have to convince yourself that you are working for the greater good and more importantly, there are souls to be saved!  Think about it.  What better way to save all these lost souls than to point at the recently deceased as a reminder that the rest of humanity faces certain doom as the almighty passes his judgment upon us?  And as luck would have it, the Lord frequently provides plenty of his divine judgment, just so long as you're resourceful enough to wait for it, and then pounce.

Take John Piper, for example.  He knows EXACTLY why his God decided it was time to flex his muscle a bit and exert some divine influence on his sinful creation by killing at least 39 human beings:


"This is a word to those of us who sit safely in Minneapolis or Hollywood and survey the desolation of Maryville and Henryville. 'Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.' 
Every deadly wind in any town is a divine warning to every town."

Surprising?  No.

Piper is just the first, relatively high profile minister to further his religious agenda by exploiting the 2012 March tornado outbreak.  Granted, Pat Robertson weighed in on the tornado outbreak, but his pronouncement was strangely at odds with Piper's.  As it turns out, Robertson  is on record as saying that his God does not create or send tornadoes.  Nope.  You see, while creating the atmosphere of the Earth, his God had to devise a way to distribute warm and cold air.  That's right folks, he (God) does not create tornadoes, since he (God) is just distributing the Earth's atmospheric temperature...  Is your head spinning yet?

Anyway, Robertson then goes on to explain that one of the consequences of his (God's) Earthly atmospheric creation is that when warm air mixes with cold air, it sometimes causes vortexes.  In turn, these vortexes sometimes manifest themselves as tornadoes.  Thus, tornadoes are not the problem;  people are the problem.  While he (God) is busy maintaining the Earth's atmospheric temperature for all of his divine creation, he (God) cannot be held responsible for the idiotic human beings that chose to build houses in areas that tornadoes form.  Duh.

Okay, so my point in all of this is simple.  If religion is supposed to give you wings and set you free, then it follows that religious leaders are the almighty's vultures.  Let's be honest:  in the current religious culture of the United States, this is the social niche that just about every religious leader has ultimately decided to place himself.  They even spend years of their lives being instructed at the university level on the subtle nuances of effectively and profitably exploiting the deaths of other, unfortunate human beings.  I would argue that most religious leaders are so perverse in their craft, that they wait patiently for the next natural disaster just so they can exploit the tragic deaths of more mothers, more fathers, more daughters, and more sons.

Any rational human being would recognize the Earth as the perfect killer; but it takes the mind of a scavenger to thrive on it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend Weather with Pat Robertson

Brian Tashman with the Right Wing Watch website discovered a very recent episode of the 700 Club where Pat Robertson gave us some very interesting insights into the thoughts and intentions of the baby Jesus.  It never ceases to amaze me that he has such an intimate connection with his Lord and Savior.  Anyway, this time Robertson addresses a question posed to him by a viewer regarding the horrible outbreak of tornadoes that occurred on May 2nd and 3rd over 11 different states.  After watching it, I'm left speechless.

Here's the video:


I take that back, I can't be speechless when Robertson is the subject.  

Did anyone else notice that?  Robertson actually started lecturing his audience with a bit of layman's meteorological science while he attempted to refute the claim that his god would send (or cause) tornadoes.  It's uncanny - Robertson actually used science!  Scandalous!  In an attempt to excuse his god from blame, Robertson retreated to a middle school student's knowledge of the physical sciences to absolve the almighty.  And it's not just that, while defending the innocence of the baby Jesus, Robertson essentially stripped his god of the power of weather and redirected that power to the chaos of seasonal weather patterns.  You see, Pat Robertson's god would never kill people by way of natural disasters, because that's just not his god's area of expertise...

Yes, he went on to blame people for having the gall to build a house where any natural disaster would occur.  And yes, if one were to try to find a spit of land where mother nature could NOT find a way to kill you and several people with you, you'd be hard pressed to locate anywhere above water.  (Even below water, mother nature is the definition of perfect when it comes to killing the living.)  Okay, sure, less than 100 years ago, we knew very little about the weather, much less what conditions lead to the formation of tornadoes.  And sure, Pat Robertson the 1920's "weatherman" would actually have been able to get away with saying that this outbreak of tornadoes was indeed an act of god.  Still, how could Robertson resort to using SCIENCE to defend the baby Jesus?  Has he lost his edge?

I won't even get into the secondary issue of how one human being can have such a clear interpretation of what his god does and does not do, or what his god is thinking or not thinking, because that's just too easy.  Plus, I'm quite sure someone else has covered that already.  

No, my question for Pat Robertson is simple.  As you explained to your audience the nature of, well... nature, you resorted to using all that sciencey crap they teach in public school.  Honestly, Pat.  How could you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Shouldn't Have to Hide

Sometimes circumstances in your life culminate in such a way that inspires you so much so, that you have to put it on record.  This happened to me roughly five minutes ago.

You see, I've been considering a blog post about a particularly sensitive topic for a few weeks, based mainly on a few conversations that I've had with a couple of family members over the past few months.  Suffice it to say, there are some things that loved ones say or do where you have to take a step back and let yourself process the entire situation.  Now that I have had a couple of months to think, I believe that tonight I finally found my focal point.  And if you haven't guessed by the title, it's high time that everyone, including my family, understands that I shouldn't have to hide my atheism.

All of this began when I told a few of my family members that I had been invited to be a blogger on the Atheism United website.  This was a proud moment for me for several reasons.  One, I've been searching for a way to start making a difference in my community.  Two, it gives me a chance to offer help to someone that might have been through some similar situations that I've experienced.  And three, I already love to write, so why not join other like-minded folks to further the cause?  So it should come as no surprise that after Brian Sapient (the overlord of the Rational Response Squad) invited me to become one of the bloggers, I ran around my house like a giddy teenage girl after her first kiss.  Seriously, I damn near wet myself.

Then there's the other "big" news for me.  In a few short weeks, I'll be attending the American Atheists National Convention in Bethesda, MD.  WOOT!!!  Just like the AU website, this convention has me as giddy as a school girl.  I'll finally get to sit down and listen to lectures from people like Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, and Greta Christina.  And on a bit of a self-serving note, I'm really hoping that the AU site will be available to the public by then.  The site is still in beta, and I know how difficult it is to get everything perfect before opening a site to the public, so I won't be holding my breath.  But if the site isn't up yet, don't despair, I'm taking my tablet PC and bluetooth keyboard so I can continue blogging furiously on the Rail Bender while I'm at the AA Convention.  It's going to be a fantastic trip!

Now, back to the subject at hand.  For those of you that think this is a recent thing for me, I'd like to try to change your mind by giving you a bit of my personal history.  I began questioning the existence of god while I was still in high school.  You see, I couldn't understand how all these horrible things could happen to perfectly innocent people, or to children, every single day around the globe.  Disease, dehydration, disasters, starvation, murder, rape...  I began to wonder how an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent "God" could allow such wretched things to happen to innocent people.  I mean, who better to protect the powerless than a supreme being, right?

I decided then that the only place where I will find some answers would be the Bible.  So I took it upon myself to finally read it (KJV I believe.)  Remember that all of this happened while I was still in high school, which meant that when I began my journey, I knew nothing of the Bible beyond what had been spoon-fed to me in Southern Baptist Churches.  Needless to say, none of my questions could be answered from a supposed divinely inspired text.  As a matter of fact, reading it resulted in the exact opposite, and it was the first time I said to myself, "There is no god."

The end of my belief came while I was in college attending one of my absolute favorite courses: Zoology.  I was extremely lucky in that I had a fantastic instructor, Dr. Jimmy Throneberry, a now retired emeritus faculty at the University of Central Arkansas.  As we began to cover the Theory of Evolution, he said something to the class that has made a difference in my life ever since: "If you're going to be honest with yourselves, then you cannot mix science with faith.  Because science cannot consider the supernatural as a viable answer.  If you do, you're just being lazy."  That was the first time I had heard that type of reasoning, and boy, did it make perfect sense!  There's no way you can take what we know about the Earth, what we know about life on Earth, and conclude that some god created the Universe just to step aside to watch it evolve for billions of years.  Furthermore, just because science hasn't answered a particular question, doesn't mean that the religious get to fit a god into that gap.  Again, that's lazy.  All of this meant that if I was going to be a scientist and to finally be honest with myself, I had to stop clinging to naively convenient myths and face an uncomfortable reality.  There is no god.

I flirted here and there with trying to find my faith again, but I never could get past what I knew deep down to be the truth.  Several people will recall, especially my wife, that I honestly gave Christianity and church another shot right after she and I were married.  We even went so far as to join with a few other families to try to start another church in Benton, Arkansas.  I went through the whole process, including a relatively uncomfortable interview where I had to answer questions of faith posed to me from one of the local Evangelical Pastors available (we hadn't found our Pastor yet.)  Through all of this church founding business and the ensuing interviews, the truth still nagged at me: There is no god.

So, I finally reached a point in my life where my strength overcame my fear, where I could be confident that my beloved wife would love me no matter what, and where I could stop pretending that an all powerful being existed when I knew there was absolutely no evidence to suggest it did.

THERE IS NO GOD.

Like one of my personal heroes, Richard Dawkins, I too consider myself about a 6.9 on the spectrum of theistic probability.  Anyone paying attention might notice that I'm not a 7, which means I'm not willing to say for certain that there is no god.  Many would then proceed in labeling me as an agnostic, giving them some hope that I might change my mind some day in the future (you know, like my deathbed or some silly notion.)  Let me help you from wasting your time by reassuring you of one thing: given everything I've read and all the research I've done, there's absolutely nothing you can say to convince me to lean toward belief.

And don't make the mistake in thinking that this was an easy journey for me.  As I've mentioned here and previously, it took me years to finally be able to honestly say to myself and others, "There is no god."  In case you're wondering and you have time to read more, I've actually covered this topic in a previous blog post.

There will be others who will insist that I'm just angry, or selfish, or even militant, because I don't keep my decision to myself.  If you're one of these dear people in my life and feel the urge to come to me with any of these platitudes (or any variation thereof), I suggest you take a minute and read a relatively short article by David Niose titled, "The Myth of Militant Atheism".  Please, of all the links I provided in this blog, make sure you read that before coming to me.

Finally, let me make it very clear that I welcome anyone who wishes to talk to me, face to face or on the phone, about my decision to present this so publicly.  However, I simply will not have this conversation via texts, or email, or Facebook, or Twitter, or any other electronic communication.  I have been an atheist for a very long time now, and it has given me the wisdom to know that the only way that I can be honest with you, is to do it the old fashioned way.