Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Apathy

 I confess that I never owned a Wham! album or cassette tape. I confess that I never bought a George Michael CD. I did(and still do), however, have an appreciation for George Michael's voice, which I consider to be strong and soulful. I especially like the Queen covers George Michael did..e.g.."Somebody to Love", since Queen is an all time favorite band of mine. And let's face it, not just anybody can jump into Freddy Mercury's shoes. George Michael could. Goosebumps every time.

With the recent publicized death of George Michael, my Facebook feed was blowing up. But not all feedback was positive. One *Facebook friend asked,

Is anyone really sad that George Michael died?

*Disclaimer: by "Facebook friend", I just mean someone who happens to be on my friends list. Often times people friend-request me based on being fans of my music. Many if not most of my Facebook friends I've never met nor will I ever meet.

I don't know what would possess someone to make such an insensitive remark, except maybe to seek attention. But in this particular case, it's fine by me if I never meet such an individual, as I don't want to be associated with anyone who is apathetic about people dying.

But to actually answer their question, yes, I'm sure George Michael's family members and friends are sadden by his passing, not to mention the millions of fans who loved his music. Could it be that this person is just jealous? Hard to say, but one observation I'd like to make is that he was a Trump supporter. Now, is this to say that all Trump supporters are insensitive jerks? No, of course not. But it is rather telling that most of the insensitive jerks I see posting their insensitive opinions are by and large Trump advocates.

I've said it before, and it's worth repeating: Apathy, racism, bigotry, elitism, are nothing new. What's new is that it's apparently trendy to be apathetic, racist, bigoted, and elitist. Someone has made this "en vogue".

BTW, the following was included in the deleted friend's profile pictures:


    

Very profound, isn't it?

Saturday, December 24, 2016



As mentioned on other occasions, I still celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday. Thus, I am not the least bit offended if someone says "Merry Christmas". For those who opt for "Happy Holidays", I feel that these people are just trying to include people of all faiths, and/or, religious persuasions; I don't feel that they are trying to strip anyone of their right to celebrate Christmas or whatever else one chooses to celebrate. The common denominator is that we are all human beings.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Festive Feet


This is something that I can not only enjoy for the holidays here in the South, but year round. Every day is flip flop weather in Florida! Oh, and by "holidays", I mean including Christmas. Yes, I've posted it before, but it's still a nice change from looking at decorated palm trees and houses.

Friday, November 25, 2016

In the End


I've often said in the past that if I could get just one religious person to put fear aside and to really examine the belief-system that they've likely been handed(just as it was handed to me), then it would all be worth it in the end. But who am I fooling? Come on....... really? Do I really believe that deep down?

I'm starting to wonder. I mean, is it really worth leaving the impression with the people I encounter online that I'm "difficult", trying to "one-up" everyone, and overall, just a big meanie because they are the ones who can't see that being an atheist blogger doesn't define me? Is it really worth the thousands of hours of blogging/discussing/debating, and yes, sometimes arguing, just to have most people write-off what I have to say with the wave of a hand, simply because they've been indoctrinated to do just that? Is it really worth putting aside the things in life that bring joy, as opposed to conflict and derision, just so someone can tell me with straight face that I'm "blinded by Satan"?......::sigh::

There's only one thing worse than having an invisible friend, and that's having an invisible enemy.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Church Marquees Continued...





The words of wisdom for today are:




Feed your faith.......

......starve your doubts.

 I suppose that there could be worse advice than this, but I can't think of any at this present moment. Of course, this is straight off the church marquee I saw just a few hours ago, so it's fresh in my mind. Then again, viewed from within the Christian bubble it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Yes. If a thought that conflicts with your Christian worldview attempts to enter your mind, DON'T let it in! Thought be gone!...vamos! This is the devil tempting you!.......::sigh::


But today, being on the outside of the Christian bubble, there stands a herd of elephants in the living room. When it comes to religion, "doubt" is bad thing. Amen. Yet, interestingly, doubt and skepticism, which go hand in hand, are tools that we use in our everyday lives that keep us from being duped, and at times, doubt and skepticism keep us from being physically and/or emotionally harmed, and in some cases even killed.

I've said it before and it's worth repeating: Being skeptical weeds out error. Doubting the used car salesman whose sales-pitch seems too good to be true might very well save you from investing your hard-earned money in a hunk of junk or a lemon that might break once you drive it off the lot, and if not then, a week later.

See, in no other facet of life but religion (or "spirituality") do we cast skepticism aside and just believe, unquestionably. It's almost as if the redactors of the Bible knew damned-well that what they were selling was outrageous and unbelievable - mind you, this is coming from people who didn't even know where the sun went at night - so they needed to include a clause or two that admonished the reader to NOT allow doubt into their minds.

The red flag unfurls.

Monday, October 24, 2016

'Merica





Welp, you know what they say: nothing divides people like politics, which of course runs a close second place to religion.

I'll weigh in briefly on what I see taking place here in America, take it, or leave it:

Okay, in one corner we have Donald Trump; in the other corner we have Hillary Clinton. From what I gather, most people at least agree that this race is a case of the lesser of two evils, or put another way... which dog has the least fleas.

For sake of discussion, I'm willing to concede that this is precisely the case. There is no doubt in my mind that there's shadiness on both sides. I would never deny that. Shadiness comes with the turf when it comes to politics.

Since I'm in the music business, I like to use the band manager analogy: If your manager isn't crafty enough and smart enough to rip you off, then you don't want them as a manager. This is the person, after all, who is going to bat for you. It's the person who, while they might be nickel and diming you here and there, they are the one dealing with other shady people in the business, people who would love nothing more than to rake a bunch of unsuspecting musicians over the coals. A fight fire with fire sort of thing. But I digress.

Shadiness in politics is a given. That being said, I would never, even on my stupidest day, equate the level of crazy going on here. Allow me to be blunt: if you put both candidates on equal ground when it comes to having a sound mind, or in this case, an unsound mind, then you leave me not much choice but to think you are one deluded individual, or at the very best, you compartmentalize. In other words, you use subjective validation and confirmation bias to assess the political situation we see going on today.

But before I get into that, here's a few utterances of what I mean by "crazy":

"Why can't we use nuclear weapons?"

Note, not "why can't we" as in what would prevent us from using them, but more like.. what's the problem with using them? What's the big deal, in other words.

Okay, whoever asks such a question, rhetorically, or not, SHOULD NOT BE IN CONTROL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

Should someone call out a candidate for asking such a ballsy, ignorant question, especially in earshot of other world leaders, imagine that candidate responding......

"Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?"

To answer that question, we make them as last resort, for starters. What comes to mind would be in the case that some OTHER BAT-SHIT CRAZY world leader might start running around saying things like... "Why have them[nukes] if I can't use them?"

Seriously, folks. These things should raise an eyebrow. But mysteriously, for many people it's just normal banter from a candidate for the presidency. Call it into question, and some folks would prefer to focus on the "criminal" activity of *deleting emails.

(*as if no one has ever died on a Republican's watch)

But now imagine if the same above-described candidate was a male and that he went around saying things like, "Grab them by the pussy!", of the women that he encounters, stipulating that the target must be a "10", of course.

'Sort of lewd, don't cha think? 'Sort of disrespectful isn't it?  Note, I'm not going to sit here and act holier than thou and say that I've never used the slang word for a woman's nether parts. But then again, I'm not running for POTUS, am I? No. And on top of that, I'm a rock musician whose heyday was in the 80s. In other words, any "gabbing" that happened on the road was consensual. If I did any grabbing at all, it was more often than not because it was being thrown in my face. I'll stop here and save the juicy details for my autobiography. It makes Penthouse forum sound like a PTA meeting. Until then, I don't believe that I've ever once used the "P" word on this blog. And yet, one candidate has seemingly made using it en vogue. Hmmm.

Bottom line, the level of crazy is NOT equivalent. Not by a long shot. In fact, if you boil it all down, the names,  labels, mascots, and colors all disappear and you're left with the principles being espoused.

Whether Trump, or whether Clinton - again, the names don't really matter- you're either pro equality for women, or you're not. You either want women and their doctors in charge of women's health and reproductive decisions, or you want some grimy old men in charge of it. You either want a church/state separation, or you don't. You either want some sort of control when it comes to guns, or you don't.

 Boiled down, it's the principles that remain. Yes, the character of those espousing the principles matters, too. But I must reiterate: not all shady people are insane. E.g., Martha Stewart is surely a convicted criminal. She surely exhibited some shady behavior. But, oh, look, Charles Manson is a convicted criminal, too! Ordering that a pregnant women be carved up by a kitchen knife surely falls under "shady" behavior, doesn't it? 'Think so. Now, if one of them had to watch your kid for you while you were in the voting both, wouldn't the choice be a no-brainer? I rest my case.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Virgin Run

Veering off the topic of religion/politics for a bit, my new band did its virgin run in front of 40 or 50 screaming metal-heads last Friday night, along with two bands from Atlanta. No bugs to work out in our set, really, well, except for our guitar player coming unplugged from his pedal board for about 15 seconds, which of course seemed like 15 minutes at the time. Whatever...bass and drum solo.

But anyway, the only real challenge now, is, a) finding places for us to play that welcome non-top 40 acts(acts that are all original), and b) finding places for us to play that will accommodate our drummer's monstrosity, albeit, badass, drum kit. The rest should fall into place, at least, according to the feedback from our local fan-base.

Here's a shot from Friday night.....







Notice bass drum heads illuminate our album artwork and logo. Ah, technology.





Here's our group photo taken from the back of our new EP entitled, "Encipher"....











If anyone's curious, yes, that's an inverted cross, but no, I/we don't worship "Satan" = )







The False Trilemma


Being bored while bouncing around the blogosphere, I begrudgingly decided to engage a theist that I encountered on the Patheos blog. This theist, a Christian theist, was refuting - or more accurately, they were attempting to refute - the "Problem of Evil".

Based on this individual's responses to other posters, I had a feeling that I'd ultimately be wasting my time trying find common ground. But hey, if nothing else, it's target practice, right? Yes, the more adept that the rational among us become at blowing holes in superstition and the various apologetics that, in particular, the religious-superstitious proffer, the sooner we'll have peace on earth, which ironically, is what religion and its adherents claim to promote now.

Early on in the conversation, this theist, hereinafter referred to has just "EWT", provided a premise from which we can work. His statements will be in red:

He writes.....

God apparently wanted a world with freedom more than he wanted a world without evil.

Notice right away that we're assuming that there's a "God" actually there for sake of discussion. Yes, because in a world with no gods, we'd fully expect that world to look exactly like the world we see right now. And aside from natural calamities(natural "evil"), in that world we'd see human beings exercising their free will for sinister purposes...e.g...rapists freely choosing to rape, murderers freely choosing to murder, muggers freely choosing to mug, etc. In other words, we'd see human beings perpetrating evil, no "devils" required. But I digress...


If we go back to EWT's premise, the suggestion here is that there was only two choices in front of "God".

Only two choices? An "omniscient" being with only two options from which he/she must pick one? Anyone who's been around the block a time or two when it comes to debating knows a false dichotomy when they see one. Welp, this is precisely the case with EWT's argument. In an attempt to square-up why his presumably all-loving, all-powerful biblegod allows "evil", EWT has employed a fallacious argument, also called a false dilemma. 

False Dilemma: A situation in which two alternative points of view are presented as the only options, whereas other are available.

I quickly pointed out that in fact, no, those are not the only two options, and I proposed that he offered a "false dichotomy". In true theist fashion, he came back and accuse me of "ignoring" his point. If I ignored his point, it's strange then that I concluded it was fallacious "point". He seems to be suggesting that unless I accept his "point" that, oh, I'm ignoring his "point". But, hey, this is the kind of thing that I've come to expect from Christian apologists, sadly.

Anyway, here's a brief rundown of just two more options that I, a mere mortal with limited intellect, can conceive. And mind you, if I, a mere mortal, can conceive of these sorts of options, then surely a being who's presumably light years more intelligent than I am can conceive of the same... and more.

1) If we think back to the world that EWT's biblegod originally intended - and note, I'm talking about before Adam and Eve's "Fall from Grace" -  it should bring to mind an "Eden", sometimes referred to as a "Garden Paradise", a place in which "God" was to place man and his "help meet"(sorry ladies!) so they and all their offspring could dwell along side "God" for eternity. Note, it was clearly intended to be a "sinless" environment, a place where man could lovingly and peacefully fellowship with "God", without "evil" throwing a monkey wrench into things.

Now, if we go back to EWT's premise, we are reminded that "God" wanted a world with freedom more than he wanted a world without evil.

So, by extension, we are being reasonable to conclude that "God" wanted a world in which people are free to rape children, more than he wanted a world in which children are safe. Moreover, if "God" wanted the former world over the latter, then I am being reasonable to conclude that "God" preferred one world to the other. From there I am then being reasonable to conclude that "God" somehow sees more value in a rapist's freedom to rape children than he sees in children being safe from rapists.

Except when I connected the dots and offered this in my rebuttal, EWT deflected it

He equivocates....

 It's not about valuing one person's freedom over another.

Exactly when/how/why does a child exercise their "freedom" to be raped? Seems we've now got a strawman on our hands, among the other fallacious arguments.

But in EWT's defense, he later offers a third option, and that is that "God" could have chosen to not create at all.

Welp, I actually agree with that. However, it's now a trilemma, because once more, those are NOT the only three options available. In fact, my second example of how "free will" is compatible with an absence of "evil" deals with "God" choosing to not create.

But first, a definition:

Omniscient adj 1. having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things

So,  by definition, a "God" who is omniscient has absolute prescience of all future outcomes.

Thus, a "God" who is omniscient can look into the future before he creates, and this "God" can know, in advance, which of his creation will choose "good" over "evil", and vice versa.

Thus, a "God" who is both "omniscient" and "omnibenevolent" can simply elect to not create those whom he knows will choose to be "evil"..e.g...rapists, murderers, etc., and this doesn't preclude the balance of his creation having freedom(free will).

Problem solved. The creation's freedom is fully intact; the option to choose "evil" is present, but obsolete.

BTW, this also applies to "Heaven". Christian doctrine states that there can be no "evil" in "Heaven", and for that matter, no "evil" in presence of "God", period. Are we to believe that the occupants of "Heaven" will be robots? No, of course not. This is just one more in a long line of double standards found in Christianity.

Conclusion: The theist's false trilemma is soundly refuted using two different examples of other conceivable options. God, if such a being exists, could prevent "evil" and it would not subvert his creation's free will one flippin' iota. Thus, "God" either doesn't exist, or he wanted evil in "His Plan", and in which case, "God" is a monumental d**chebag not worthy of my worship.