Category Archives: Personal

Conversations with Friends: Possibly the Saddest Thing I’ve Read in a While

This friend is someone I haven’t known very long, but he is a seminary student, and I was drawn to his facebook page by the open discussion he has with theists and atheists alike about various topics.

I’ll call him CW.

His status updates often entailed provocative statements.  He never deleted or moderated dissenting opinions and seemed to welcome open debate.  This seemed like a good outlet for my desire to discuss religion with others so I joined in a few discussions.

They were good.  The first few were about hell and the Bible and God, and many of his friends were skilled at apologetics.  One quick thing I noticed about CW is that he was quick to ignore large statements I had made detailing an error in thought he had, and simply asserting that I had it wrong, or didn’t understand at all.

This puzzled me.

If I had it wrong, that’s unfortunate, but please point out specifically where I am wrong.  He never could.  One of the worst such occasions was “read your Bible”.  That’s it.  Implying that I had never read the bible or didn’t understand it, and this his understanding was superior, all without demonstrating it.

I felt that things we going well when CW was taking historical bible classes from seminary.  He was learning a lot of things that I had already studied that were quite damaging to Christianity. The fact that the bible was likely not a literal transcribing of events.  That the Torah was likely not written by Moses, nor was it likely that Moses ever existed in the first place.

Things were getting interesting on his facebook page as he espoused some of his professor’s teachings.  It made some of the bible literalists on his page squirm.  My friend was smart and I assumed that he was taking this knowledge in with the thirst for understanding that I knew he possessed.

But then something truly depressing happened.

I was distraught for almost a day over this.  In one fell swoop, in one facebook status, he basically denounced everything his seminary professors had taught him in deference to “the God he knew to exist”.  “How can anyone believe in a God that is weak like this” he said.  As profound as that statement was, he failed to reach the natural conclusion of that statement.  Oh, he denied belief in that God, but he embraced his own version of God, completely unsupported by anything other than what he believed to be true about his God.

“Blind faith at it’s worst”  I commented shortly after.  I was upset, and I didn’t feel like hiding my distain for what had just happened.  This is the faith that is so damaging.

When reality sharply presses against your faith, you can either let it be squashed, or you can pull it away and protect it, ignoring reality completely.   

When this happened with my friend, we had heated words.  We both apologized, but he concluded that “I have just finally come to the conclusion that faith is not something someone comes to by an ascent of the mind.”

And that was that.  The conversation is over.

To learn that there are people, smart people, in this world that will decide that furthering their understanding of a subject is not worth it if it threatens what they believe.  That knowledge is somehow evil, stemming from the Garden of Eden perhaps.

This is the true power of faith.  The true evil of it.  Convincing you that your own mind, and the minds of other rational people are the true enemy.

This was a wake up call for me.  Through my studies, I assumed that everyone would accept my position if I presented it in the way that I had learned it.  If we carved away all but true statements.  If we followed those true statements to their logical conclusions.  My reasoning is sound so this should be a simple matter of explanation.

Boy, was my bubble burst.  I was depressed about CW, who had lost something very valuable.  His mental vigor.  But I was more depressed about something else.

I had failed.

I did something wrong.  I didn’t explain something correctly, or maybe I derailed a part of the conversation.

But, in a few days after reading the conversation again and again I realized that I hadn’t failed.  There is nothing you can do against certain mindsets.  The mindset that “I can’t be wrong about this one thing” is something you can’t win.  I couldn’t have failed because there was no way to succeed in the first place.

This is something CW will have to come to without my prodding.  That faith isn’t a path to truth.  Believing something really hard, so hard that it’s above any criticism is irrational, and often leads to false conclusions.

I set my sights on the horizon though.  Maybe this wasn’t a loss, but a push.  And even if it is a loss, it’s not a reflection on my poor arguing skills or faulty logic.

And even if it were my fault, even if I drove this man into stubbornness, skepticism is growing worldwide.  I side with the Beatles:

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First Personal Post – Birthday and Work

This is more of a personal post that won’t be quite frequent here, but I felt I should give this blog a touch of humanity.  Much of what I focus on is my brain trying to figure stuff out.

This past week was my birthday and I worked pretty much 13 hours out of the day.  I decided to celebrate on the weekends surrounding my birthday instead, and I realized that I really love work.  Not because going and providing a service for someone is necessarily fun or enjoyable.  Sure, you might get a gooey feeling from helping someone out, but it really comes down to one thing for me.

I love money.  And not in the “love of money is the root of all evil” type way.  But I want for my time away from work to be enjoyable, and sometimes it’s just not enjoyable without having some form of entertainment.  Right now I have about 6 books in my queue to read for purely entertainment purposes.  I have about 5 video games that I haven’t even started because I am playing Borderlands 2, and I have tons of TV shows that I have yet to catch up on.  And I love it!

These aren’t all expensive forms of entertainment, but for the first year of my marriage we couldn’t afford these things.  The first year of my marriage both my wife and I made a combined $1300 a month.  We had a $400 rent, utilities were about $150.  We had a car payment that was $200.  We both had cellphones and that bill was about $70 at the time.  We had internet/cable at the house.  It was literally our only form of entertainment for a while.  It was an $80 bill.  So that left us $300 for food for the month.  I don’t understand how we did it.  300/30 days in a month is about 10 dollars a day.  For two people.  To eat for the entire day.  We barely made it.  We couldn’t even afford to spare money to go get icee’s from Burger King.  I remember being so angry at my wife because she constantly wanted dessert and since neither of us had been out on our own, making our own money, it was tough.

We eventually decided that we would rather eat and have emergency money than have cable so we got rid of that for a little while.

So when I say I love money, I don’t mean I love money.  I love the act of getting money so that I don’t have to be in that position anymore.  I have small needs, and I have pretty much everything I want right now except for maybe some guitars and a mixing board.  But that’s about $4000 worth of stuff that won’t really make me happy.  It’s not the buying and using of the money that I love.  It’s getting that check and seeing my hard work paying off for me.

I hope you are enjoying this blog, I have been really busy with work this week and now that I have the weekend off to relax and catch up on all my entertainment I will also be catching up on this blog.  Thanks for reading, and please comment if you like or dislike anything!