February 15, 2011

“My Love is Truer and Greater than Yours!”

Posted in art, atheism, fatherhood, holidays, love, psychology, religion at 10:19 am by Jerry

I’m not sure how I should respond to this pro-atheism picture.

Numerous times, I’ve heard Christians (mostly leaders in churches and bible schools) directly or indirectly quote to me 1 John 4:7-8, pompously communicating to me that God has a monopoly on love, and whoever knows God knows what true love is like.

Of course, my internal response is, “How dare you presume such elitist, exclusionary and condescending position!” Well, to be honest, that’s not exactly how I articulated it in my mind. I meant those words, but my mind used a different dialect. My thoughts actually sounded more like: “FUCK YOU!!”

And then there’s this pro-atheist picture I stumbled upon today, the day after Valentine’s Day.

My immediate response was remembering the moment I saw my little girl for the first time. It’s sappy (and subjective), but my eyes tear up every time I think about it. Much to my surprise, my first Daddy experience felt as if more room for love was made instead of sharing the love I already had for her mother. It was such a new experience for me. Various overwhelmingly emotional feelings seemed to appear in my mind out of thin air and I was a different person, a person that took some time getting use to.

So, when I think about this pro-atheist picture and the pro-Christian views of love, I can’t help but think, “No, it’s not about challenging how ‘true’ another’s experience of love is, nor about challenging how much greater another’s experience of love is. Instead of claiming anothers’ experiences of love to be a shadow of our own, maybe we should just consider the possibility that no two people share the same journey of experiencing different kinds of love… ..whether it be for ideas, people or God.”

And, it just might be a healthy exercise for all of us to question ourselves: is the person or God we love, in some way (or every way), just an idea of some kind of person or God we want to love?

January 13, 2011

40 Down, 40 To Go?

Posted in family, fatherhood, friends, history, marriage, secular humansim, soup at 8:09 am by Jerry

Looking back through the years, I would have never imagined being where I am.

I couldn’t have imagined the wife I have, the daughter we’ve created, and the good friends we regularly get together with.

I wouldn’t have imagined the books I’m reading, the arguments I’m joining, the drinks I’m drinking.

I wouldn’t have imagined taking the job I have, making the sacrifices I make, having the fun I’m having.

It makes me wonder what’s next…

November 2, 2010

I Think I’ve Already “Found” My Life

Posted in atheism, family, fatherhood, film, friends, marriage, scripture, songs, theology at 8:57 am by Jerry

Every now and then I end up mentioning the valuable point that its reasonable to require evidence for the existence of a “God” before praying to this God, much less believing this God exists. And still, this point is so easily brushed away in my encounters, as if it has nothing to offer. Instead, I get hypothetical scenarios like, “But what if God did make his existence a matter of fact for us all? What then? How would you respond to his existence?”

Well, there’s so many questions I could come up with, questions I’d like to ask God. In fact, there’s so many that my list of questions would probably outlast my lifespan. But, if God were to turn to me and others, saying the same kinds of things written in the Christian bible, like:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:34-39 NASB

…And if God were to turn to me and others, saying, ‘It’s not your questions that will eventually decide your destiny, its your loyalty. So, are you with me or against me?’ …how would I respond?

Well, it’s hard to say I know exactly how I would respond in the future. However, I can’t help but think there would be a strong possibility that I would love others more than I would love God. And even if God managed to be my greatest love (which sounds so strange from a materialist’s point of view), if any of those whom I love just a little less than God choose not to be loyal to God, and therefore eventually are separated from this Kingdom of God that I’d be living in, how could I be satisfied with such a separation? How could I be content while being separated from those who I still have so much love for? (And God better not suggest to wipe away all my memories of them. THAT would piss me off!)

So, if this God does exist, and eventually reveals himself to all, there’s a strong possibility that I wouldn’t forsake my life for a life with him. Because, the more I think about it, the more I think that I have indeed “found” my life. My life is with those closest to me, those whom I love the most. And, based on 30 years experience of loving “God”, I think the earthly love I’m able to experience is far greater than any kind of love I could have for God. So, instead of an eternity of mediocre love with a supreme spirit while being separated from the love of others I care about, I’ll take the greatest kind of love I’ve ever experienced within a mere human lifespan. And with these loved ones, like the song goes… “Forever is our today”.

*This video is about warrior (sword wielding) immortals outliving those they love, those closest to them. (It’d be great if this video above manages to stay available. The song suits the post and I’ve been enjoying my second time through the Highlander TV series, too.)

January 2, 2010

Pop Theodicy Part 1: Parenting

Posted in atheism, culture, family, fatherhood, politics, scripture, theodicy at 10:00 am by Jerry

Freewill Among the Naive

Genesis 2:9 – And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… 16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

What kind of father or mother would plant a poisonous tree (literal or metaphorical) in their children’s playground and think a warning makes it okay?

Freewill For The Criminally Insane

Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Revelation 12:9– And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [underlining mine]

What kind of Supreme Judge and parent, with knowledge beyond a shadow of a doubt that an individual will cause the most harm to humanity in the near future, leaves this criminally insane individual free to roam into his or her children’s playground?

Conclusion: God isn’t fit to be any type of parent and should have his children taken away from him for Contributory Negligence.

December 27, 2009

My Twinkling Star

Posted in family, fatherhood, film, songs at 3:13 am by Jerry

One of my little girl’s Christmas presents was a toy piano. Not only does she enjoy playing on it, she also decided to surprise her Mom and Dad with an unprompted performance. We wondered if such a performance could be repeated, and with a camera focused on her as well. I’m so glad it worked out…

April 13, 2007

What Would YOU Do?

Posted in fatherhood, mythology, theology at 3:41 pm by Jerry

What Would YOU Do — if you were an all-good, all-powerful parent?

If I was an all-good and all-powerful parent, my children wouldn’t need ‘faith’ to believe in my existence and care. They’d have knowledge of my existence and care because I’d literally be with them, communicating with them (audibly – if they so desired) and helping them.

If I was an all-good and all-powerful parent, I wouldn’t add to my childrens’ suffering and maintain their new level of suffering for an eternity. I’d invite my children into my heavenly home and give them the freedom to come and go as they please.

If I was an all-good and all-powerful parent, I wouldn’t use punitive measures to bring justice to all. (That’s for parents with limited powers.) I’d reveal to my children a fuller awareness of themselves, educating them about the good and bad they’ve done, and plan to do. I’d explain to them their motives for desiring to behave badly. I’d show them how their bad behavior can hurt others, and help them imagine what that hurt would feel like. (I say “can hurt others” because I’d protect my children from being hurt by their siblings.)

Then, I’d appeal to all the good that remains within them instead of appealing to their bad nature. I’d use compelling positive reinforcement instead of fear. And I’d do this in a way only an all-good, all-powerful parent could.

WWYD

March 25, 2007

Like father, like daughter

Posted in family, fatherhood at 3:33 pm by Jerry

March 20, 2007

Quote of the Day

Posted in fatherhood at 4:46 am by Jerry

“I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.” – James Thurber

February 12, 2007

Baby Challenges Novel Writing

Posted in fatherhood, fiction, film, novelists at 6:11 am by Jerry

I look at Emma and somehow I feel challenged to make sure my novel gets done. I want her to be able to read a finished product in the future.

Maybe it would help if I imagined her goading me like baby Stewie goads Brian the dog in this Family Guy clip:

What Will I Teach Emma About Religion?

Posted in fatherhood, philosophy, psychology, religion at 12:09 am by Jerry

First of all, I’m not necessarily into parental curriculums. I want to get to know Emma and respond to who she is. But if she is curious about religion, I’d like to teach her to train herself how to think critically. That means ceaselessly asking questions like “Why?” and “What exactly is that?” and “Where did that come from?” and “How do you know that?”

I know I’m setting myself up for alot of work by helping my child develop a critical mind because I’ll be teaching her to be my greatest challenger. She’ll grow up seeing and hearing me reveal my thoughts and feelings about everything. I could be challenged on everything! And as tough as that may be, what a great teaching context that is.

I recognize that through any of Emma’s challenges, she may find out alot about WHAT I think along with HOW I think. Here’s some things she may find out about what I think about religion (and a couple of “how’s”):

  • What – If a God who is creator of all threatens you with the ultimatum – I’ll send you away from my heart into a never-ending life of suffering if you don’t love me above all others THIS God is NOT “omnibenevolent” and DOES NOT love you “unconditionally”.
  • What – Worshipping the ineffable is worshipping the unthinkable.
  • What – There’s a personal reason religious people say what they say.
  • What – The “Afterlife” is not worth any living sacrifice in the present.
  • What – There’s both an optimistic and a pessimistic version of people’s religion.
  • How – If you could imagine two of you, make them role-play as the hero and villain of a religion. Then ask yourself, “How can the use of justice be improved in this religion?”
  • How – When religious people say you “should” do something, ask for a reason that other people who don’t share the same religion would agree with.

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