Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Atheism, Strip Clubs, and Beer

It’s almost 11, and I am awake. I not awake because I am not tired, I am very tired. I just don’t want to face the night alone. The guys went out tonight, and I was invited. Their plan was to chill at the enlisted club then go to a strip club. I don’t want to be alone tonight. I’ve been away from Becky for a week now, I am tired and lonely. I hate bars and strip clubs, but it seemed less lonely then sitting in my hotel room, watching Telemundo and imagining a funny story line in English. I called the wife, and told her where I was going and why. She understood, though was not excited by it. Frankly, I wasn’t excited by it. I just wanted to be distracted from my situation.

The drinking began at six at the enlisted club. I watched. I’m done getting drunk. I’ve done it twice in my life, once as a Christian, once as a atheist to see if it is different without Christian guilt. Not different enough. I basically like myself, and if I drink enough to change my personality I don’t like me anymore. Besides, I have no problem yelling, singing in public, crying pathetically for lost love, or telling obscene jokes to strangers without alcohol. I guess for people who are all pent up inside, it’s a big kick to be uninhibited. For me, I’m the exact same person, but I’m just not as good as good at it. So, I watched. I sipped water and watched everyone else drink. I did not watch everyone else have fun, because they weren’t having fun. They kept saying “one more pitcher”. And they drink slowly, I guess to get maximum buzz value. The juke box was too loud for us to talk, the dart board was broken. They just sat a drank, chatting between songs. Being that I wasn’t drunk, and they kept pressuring me to drink. They were being kind, by their understanding, but I wasn’t even tempted.

I watched them not talk. Stare into the distance, and play some computer trivia. At 10:30, I decided that my empty hotel room had officially become less lonely than room of drunken strangers I was sitting in. I don’t know if they went to the strip club or not, because I came home, chated with some friends on facebook and went to bed. This gives me two reflections. First, I find what happened amusing. I am atheist, the bastion of amorality according to many. Last night, I made the decision that going to strip club would be less lonely than my room. I’ve never gone to a strip club, and wanted to be sober and right minded so I could ponder the experience and my reaction to it. However, I knew I would not like it that much. Oh sure, I’d get an erection. But because I was sober, I would know that the woman on the stage were not dancing for me because they liked me, they were dancing for me because it is their job. But the largely Judeo-Christian ethicated class I was with had to be drunk to let loose, and drunk to go to the strip club. It was a source of much irritation to them when they found out I called my wife and talked to her about where I was going before I went. Somehow I made them look at something they didn’t like by being man enough to call my wife and tell her honestly where I was going, and to say that I was going because I was largely lonely and sad, and that I wasn’t especially horny, if I was I would stay in the hotel and masturbate. I watched the drinking for about 4 hours as they got good and wasted to go to the strip club. And I kept thinking, if it’s not fun until you are awareness impaired, why would you do it? (I always used to wonder that about guys who slept with drunk woman. To my feminist readers, I apologize. It never occurred to me until a feminist told me so that to do so would be rape. However, desperate as I was for sex, I never did it because if a woman couldn’t find me sexually attractive until she was shit-faced drunk, I would be too depressed to sleep with her.)

Sitting there reminded me of other bar I’ve been too, and the handful of parties. I recently spent about 27 hours traveling. In a car, waiting in air ports, in a cab, etc. And that feeling of being stuck, of waiting, of not being able to move, yet constantly moving was same in a Boeing 777 as it was in that bar. And I thought about when I worked in a nursing home. I though about nudity out of the context of someone who loves you or least sincerely wants you. It is so totally sexless. I have no problem going to a strip club, but I have a huge problem with doing things to be numb instead of joyful. So, I walked out of enlisted club dead sober and didn’t go to the strip club. I thought about what really makes me happy, and what it means to feel lonely, and I walked away. Moral-less atheist that I am. [More…]

February 28, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Common creationalist misconceptions.

This is a response to a comment on my blog awhile ago, which I just today had the time to tackle.  I’m chipping at some common Christian misconceptions.  This is not to say that only Christians make these errors, or they are the only errors.  These are just some that my dad made.

I said “They all say that” in response to the statement “I am right because God says so.”   It was said that they all say the sum of two and two is four as well.  That’s not a proper comparison.  Everyone agreeing that 2 + 2 = 4 is fine, because four is not mutually exclusive.  The four of the Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, is all the same.  However, they all say that they act in accordance with the divine.  Their answers are mutually exclusive, so the fact that they all say they have the answer says that most, if not all, of them are wrong.  Consider, 150 men in room saying they are the President of Bolivia.  It is a mutually exclusive claim.  At least 149 of them must be lying, perhaps all.  Suspicion is warranted when “That’s what they all say.” applies to subjects to which there can be only one correct answer, but there are, instead many.

Next it was said that God demands worship in the Bible, so the real question is not which God is real, but is the Bible true.  True enough, but a bit misleading.  The Koran also claims to be the word of God, as does the book of Mormon.  The question is not “Which of these books is true?”  To ask that is to assume that one is, in fact true.   The question is, “Are any of these books true?”

Then it was said, creation demands a creator.  Yes, and no.  Design demands a design process.  Who is the designer of open source software?  Who provides the central, top down, single design vision? No one.  The developers are volunteers, they take the code and change what they feel like.  Changes which make the software fitter are kept.  When changes make the software less fit, they are removed, and the software continues to exist.  There is a design process, but no designer.  Natural selection provides this for life.

“The Bible is scientific, logical, and believable.”  No it’s not.  Talking donkeys, suns stopping in the sky, unicorns, etc.   Do not kid yourself.  If you chose to believe the Bible despite these things, that’s fine, but please don’t pretend that it’s logical.

“The only other explanation is atheism”  Several billion Muslims and Buddhists would beg to differ.

“If the world could be proven to be approximately 7k years old, then that would prove the Bible was true.”  I wasn’t aware the truth of the Bible was up for debate, and dependent upon scientific evidence.  If that’s so, the Bible is clearly wrong, case closed.  If the Bible is true regardless of proof, what possible point could there be in discussing proof?

The thickness of the dust on the moon.  *sigh*  This argument is totally bogus, and I will let this link do the talking.

The giant redwoods do have precursor species and have nothing to do with the flood.

Mount Saint Helen’s formations were ash, not rock, and have nothing to do with anything in particular with other formations.

Polystrate trees: first this then this, and finally this:  What percentage of the worlds strata reveals polystrate trees vs the percentage that doesn’t?  Then explain why an anomaly that appears less then 1/100 of 1% of the time says anything about how well the theory works in general.  If you accept the logic that the slightest irregularity destroys a whole theory, I have some Bible verses for you.

I need sources sited for fossils smelling like fish, and intact bone marrow, to research that.

“The funny thing is, of course, that “science” will try and keep coming up with something, anything rather than accept that the design was intelligent and that requires an Intelligent Designer”

Well, yes, that’s science’s job to describe things in natural rather than supernatural terms.  Once upon a time, everybody just knew that you got sick from supernatural forces, but science corrected that.  With time it will correct other things that people attribute to the divine.   And religion will will continue to fight any encroachment of its power over people.

February 10, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Paranormal, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , , | 27 Comments

Fat girls and Bible Camp.

The following is true, names and situations slightly modified.

It was noon.  All the campers were back in their cabins for quiet time. It was about the only time of day that Annette was free to work on the accounts.  She had applied to be the camp registrar, having no idea that she would be the camp mom.  Every kid who got stung by a bee, or skinned their elbow, or (for the older kids) had their heart broken came to her window, sniffling pathetically and waiting for her to make it all better.

She sighed as she wondered about herself.  She was 26.  She’d finished her masters degree in child psych, and had a good job lined up with a private school.  This was her last summer, ever.  From this point forward summer would not be a break from studying, but a break from kids who should be studying.  For some reason, it seemed like the perfect thing to do before she began her long delayed adulthood was pull one last year at Bible camp.

She had worked there 8 years before as a “kitchen helper”, serving institutional glop by the ice cream scoop.  The first week was for families, next high schoolers, then eighth graders, and all the way down week by week to the a half week for the “Lil’ Cowpokes” which was the name for the third graders.

The same office she’d seen since she was a baby in her mother’s arms, only now she was on the opposite side of the window.  Parents came to family camp, then their kids went to kid camp, and then some would apply and get jobs, some for a single season, some for summers on end.  Her father had been friends with Jon, the camp director, since before she was born, and when Jon found out a 26 year old with a master’s degree wanted the job of registrar, she’d been a shoe in.  Of course, at the time, she didn’t realize what the job meant.  As if it weren’t bad enough that she had to mother 300 some campers, she also had to mother the whole eighteen to twenty something staff.

The nails of her fingers clicked furiously at ancient keyboard.  Bible camp did not pay well because it did not earn well.  Most of the expenses were supported by freewill donation.  She was considering the difficulty of transferring all the files on the antique IBM to her Dell when she had the feeling of someone staring at her.  She turned to the window.

“Hello, gorgeous!” said the lifeguard, a huge smile beaming out of a tanned brown face.  His name was Abraham, and he didn’t smile often.  In fact, for a eighteen year old, he was painfully serious, his brow in a constant furrow of concern with almost everything.  A lot of the kids and even some of the other staff thought he was jerk because he took everything so seriously, but he never had anything but smiles for her.  Before opening the pool for the kids every afternoon he would come and try to flirt with her for about 10 minutes.

It made her feel funny, not bad, but funny.   His was a Bible camp family, she was 8 when he was 2 and she remembered him very clearly.  He’d been a handful in nursery, where she was a helper.   When she started high school and worked as an assistant in children’s chapel, he’d been a handful there too.  He wasn’t a bad kid, but he had a way of looking through adults rather than at them that made them uncomfortable.  Her last year of high school, when she’d worked in the kitchen all summer, he’d been twelve.  He was goofy, goofy kid, but he’d had a huge crush on her.

Now he was eighteen.  He wore small expensive glasses instead of large cheap ones.  He was broad and brown and his hair was frosted blond from being in the sun all day.  She didn’t normally flirt back.  Normally there were people in the office, and it felt…untoward, as if she was flirting at a family reunion.  But today, she’d told everyone to leave her alone so she could work on the accounts.

He was still grinning like an idiot.  He was just so doggone happy when he talked to her, and that warm smile was infectious.  He was 18, just barely, she shouldn’t encourage him, but he just had no shame when it came to flirting with her.   He rarely called her Annette, it was always “gorgeous” or “beautiful” or “darling”.   From anyone else it would be so sleazy, but from this kid it was just adorable, with total sincerity and not a hint of irony.

“You gonna come swim today?” he asked.  He’d asked everyday.

She kept typing, but turned to him for moment, eyebrow raised

“Why do you want me to come swim so badly anyway?” she asked.

“Well, I like talking to you and because you make me look good!  I like people seeing me talking to this hot older woman.”  He teased her about being an “older” or “more experienced” woman all the time.

Annette turned away from the computer to stare at him, crossing her arms over her ample chest. He had just called her “hot”?   As always, with that total sincerity!  Was he flirting? Was he being funny? Did he really want to get with her?   She felt much more flushed then she felt the complement of a boy just done with high school should have made her, and then she had a dawning realization about Abe.

“I think you just want to see me in a swimsuit.” She said coyly accusing.  For Bible camp, this was a pretty racy conversation.

His smile winked out like a light, but his eyes went from looking at her to looking straight into her eyes.

“Well, to be honest, yes I do” he said softly.

Anette blushed deep red and tuned away, toward the window.  “Abe! Why do you want to see me in a swimsuit?”  The words were an accusation, but the tone begged for a compliment.  Annette had butterflies in her stomach.

Abe struggled. He felt like he was terrible with social situations.  He’d really enjoyed talking to Annette because he felt he could just be himself with her.  Without seeing her face, he couldn’t even guess what the right thing to say was.

“Honestly?” he asked

“Honestly.”  She said.

“I see every girl here dressed and in a swim suit.  A woman’s suit fit’s like a second skin, so I know every curve of their bodies. Except you.  I only ever see you dressed.  Clothing hides a lot.  I just want to know what you really look like, how you’re really shaped.”

“Why?” She said.

Abe sighed, still talking to the back of her head.  “Because I wasn’t joking when I said that I wanted to be seen with you.  You’re incredibly hot.  I mean, I know your 26 and I’m 18 and there’s no way in hell I’d ever have a chance with you, but I can look, and I want to see every inch of you that I can because you’re beautiful.”

Annette swiveled her chair and got up for the door, she turned to the door.

“Abraham, come in for here for second.”  Abe obeyed, terrified and desperately hopeful.

Anette slid him a chair. “Sit.” She commanded, and he did.

She sat back down in her office chair, and rolled it up to him, her face close to his.  Her head was cocked to the side and one eyebrow was up.

“Abraham, do you like me?”

His brown eyes gazed deep into hers. “Yes.”

“Do you really think I’m beautiful?”

“Yes.”

This one was bit harder to ask.  “Do you really think I am hot?  My body turns you on?”

He swallowed. “Yes.”

Satisfied he was telling her the truth, she scooted the chair away and turned three quarters to make it easier for him to see all of her.  “Ok, last one, and you’d better be totally honest with me.  You know I’m fat, right?”

Abraham’s eyes opened wide.  He knew he shouldn’t,  but he looked her over feet to head.  He realized for the first time that other men would call her supple legs “fat”, her lovely hips “fat”, her round butt “fat”, her padded biceps “fat”, her full bosom  “fat”.   He blinked.  Fat doesn’t just mean overweight to most people;  it means ugly.  He tried to make Annette ugly in his eyes.  He’d had a crush on her since he was 8 years old.  He tried to will her cute nose and smile dimples from cherubic to merely “fat”.  But he couldn’t.  She was beautiful to him, and had been since he was old enough to notice such things.  She was funny, and smart and had huge tits.  There was nothing to not like.

“Honestly, Annette, I just think you’re beautiful.  I know your bigger than most girls, but it never crossed my mind that you were fat.”

Annette began to giggle.

“Abe, do you like Gina or Angie?”

Confusion.  “Um, no, not especially.”

Annette considered one particularly popular cheerleader.  “What about Mary?”

Abraham, scrunched his nose.  “No, she’s totally fake.”

Her giggling turned to outright laughing.

“Do you like Beverley?”

“Yeah”

“What about Laura?”

“Yeah”

“And you think Jaycee is really hot, don’t you!’

Abe, ran his fingers through his hair.  He was really confused now.  “Yeah, I do.  Why?”

Annette smiled warmly at him.  “The girls you like?  They’re all fat. The ones you think are vapid? They’re all skinny.  Abe, honey, you like fat girls.  With other guys I’ve known it’s creepy, I don’t think it is with you, you just like big girls.”

Abe though for a moment.  He thought of ever girl he ever had a crush on.  It was waking up after a long confusing dream, as angels sang out for just a moment in heavenly harmony “You like fat girls.”  He felt like some small part of his future, his very life, had just come into focus.  Then he realized he was still in the office with Annette.

“I guess I do!  Does this mean you’re coming swimming today?”

“NO! You can ogle me some other day, I have work to do.  Now, shoo.”   Anette ran him out, still smiling.   She would be smiling for a while, as would Abraham.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Christianity, Religion, Self discovery, Slice of life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

An athiests friends.

It’s rare that I write so little.  I’m so ridiculously busy of late.  Full time student and full time employment.  Yesterday I was switched from 12 hour nights to 12 hour days.  I was so tired when I got home I could barely eat supper.  Then instead of playing with my daughter I let her watch a movie while I slept on the couch.  Then I got up, put her to bed, and went to bed.  I slept 11 hrs and 45 minutes.  Now, it’s breakfast and I could eat a horse raw.

I’m coming out on the other side of arguing atheism with my parents.  I mean, obviously, they think I’m wrong, but it’s not quite as painfull as it was before.  I’ve only got 2.5 more weeks of class and then I’m done with class for a month.  (I messed up signing up for the next session.)  I’m thinking about friendship.  Becoming an atheist and telling my friends has really been a tough row to hoe.  It means talking the total honesty that I give my wife and expanding it to the rest of the people I care about.  It means being really vulnerable to people.

And some friends have responded really well.  Some haven’t.  Some have responded so well, actaully, that I am closer to them then ever before, my brother and sisters for instance and my friend Jason.  Others have responded with fear and a sort of emotional hardshell.  They’re there, but they’re not.

And it makes me think about heaven.  I wish I could believe that there is this perfect place that we could go to when we die.  I wish over didn’t have to mean over, but honestly I think when your gone, your just gone.  So am gentler to my wife, and more cuddly with my kid.  I wonder though, I sat and tried to work through something with an old friend yesterday, is it worth it?

When my life on earth is a just short few years do I really want to work through stuff with people who only tolerate me, when they’re are people who really love know me and I really love knowing?  And why don’t I work harder to make new friends?  Why can’t have more friends like my wife, like Jason, like Alex?  People who love me from who I am instead of inspite of it?

February 5, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments