Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Gravity of My Situation

Firstly, this note is not about me. Though, I've faced apathy of a similar kind, I've never truly wrestled with it. This is an outsider's view of a friend, written in first person. We'll call this person "Bailey". Bailey was a friend of mine who could never really decide anything and who thought that riding the fence was the best choice. But he denied it was a choice. He said that a nonchoice couldn't be a choice because of the prefix "non-". But then I had to ask if he had nonchose between certainty and uncertainty. He got mad at me.

For a long time, I had trouble deciding. I had a condition called apathy. Well, it wasn’t that I had trouble deciding; I simply did not care. It was, I’ll admit, about trying to frustrate the two sides of the same topic, I genuinely did not care for choosing between them. However, one day, in my daze of not caring, I thought of this question to affirm my position: “Why should I care?” I came up with mock answers like, “to help others!” and “to be the man I know I can be” or even “to know truth!” Without thinking, I had answered it.

“To know truth.” The answer responded like a working church bell in a marble room; it resonated endlessly in my brain. One might say that I had a hollow head, and that’s where the resonance came from; and in retrospect he would be right. I had covered up something in apathy so much that I decided to call that thing my most inner feelings. And in that moment, I realized it. What did great men like Descartes, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Pascal, Newton and Einstein have in common? The search for meaning? “No,” I decided, “they searched for something deeper.” But what is deeper than meaning?
I decided, finally, that my apathy had covered my search for truth. It may have even been a little jealous of it at first, and so started to smother it. What made me so apathetic and how did I reach my conclusion?

My apathy, I believe, stemmed from wanting to not choose a side of an argument that is pure black and white; that much is obvious. I would make fun of one side as much as I wanted, and then the other side too. But oh goodness, don’t make me choose. I could never choose. But even then, was I not searching for truth? A nonchoice is as much of one as choosing theism over atheism. To put it differently, when I don’t choose either side, I choose my preference, “no side”. If I take into account the true meaning of apathy, which is -in short- to not care, I actually end up contradicting myself. I’ve chosen my preference over two other choices. I cared enough to do so. But one might ask, “what other choice do I have?” The answer I would give my former comrade in apathy is, “You have no choice. Unless you’d like to kill yourself, that is. But even then you’re in contradiction. You’d rather choose death (a preference) than choose.” In short, I discovered, one truly cannot live an apathetic life without accepting that it is a contradiction. A step toward choice is a step away from apathy.

For awhile, I accepted this contradiction. Why should I care? The same question rang back again. “Why should I care? What’s in it for me?” Asking what’s in it for me, destroying my position again. I cared what was in it for me, by choosing apathy. What’s in it for me; the simplistic notion that I didn’t have to care for making choices? Who cares that I just cared about not caring? Not this guy; I don’t care.
Finally, I gave up one day. I asked three people the merits and beliefs of Christianity. Below, I will outline the answers they gave me.

My friend Charlie had once asked me if I believed Jesus lived and I said, in a historically based sense, yes He did. Charlie then went through the basic doctrines of Christianity, telling me of how Jesus was the Son of Man and of God, but he couldn’t really explain it very well. And how when Jesus made his sacrifice on the cross, he somehow appeased his Father God, but he couldn’t really explain it well. To me, it seemed like he knew all the answers, but he couldn’t explain them well enough for me. It was almost like he was talking down to me. Finally, I asked him, “And do you believe that Jesus will return for his Christians at the end of days?” Charlie looked at me and smiled sort of manically. He simply replied, “I have returned. Will you accept me?” Yes… Charlie did imply that he was the second coming of Jesus. Yes, Charlie has been institutionalized since then.

And so I went to Christian number two, another friend of mine –who I hope is not insane- Damien. Damien had grown up in church, and unlike Charlie, he could explain simple doctrine that a decent layman could explain. He was well spoken and quick witted and leveled with me so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed. “Although I’ve never been apathetic towards God,” he said, “I can kind of see where you’re coming from.” Damien then kind of went over the same doctrines Charlie did, only in a less insane way, and asked if I had any questions. Taken by his explanation, I simply asked, “So how do I get into heaven?” Damien looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “That has been taken care of for you. When Jesus paid the price of your sin, you were invited into heaven. All you need is faith in Him; that is all you need.” What Damien had said by not saying, is that I did not have to be a decent human, so long as I believe in God. And so I questioned him on this point, to which he replied, “Belief in the cross is enough. Don’t worry so much about sinning. God will forgive you, man. Don’t worry.” I left him then to ask friend number three.

My friend Angela used to be an apathetic person like myself. Then she chose atheism. However, she soon saw contradictions in both views and became a Christian. The first thing I asked her was, “How do I get into Heaven?” I repeated this question to her, because I got the feeling Damien wasn’t telling the whole truth to me; like he was lying or, at least, telling an untruth. The difference is simple. Lies are intentional and untruths are told out of ignorance. Angela told me the same jive Damien had said and then I asked her if I only needed faith alone, sola fide. She smiled sweetly and replied to me this:

“If you’re saying that you only need faith to get into heaven, then you’re in the same position as Satan, even unknowingly. You see, even he knows God exists and even he knows what Jesus did on the cross. In fact, if you want to call that Christianity, Satan is the best Christian there is today, because he was there; he saw these things happen. He’s a primary source. If faith alone is Christianity, then it is a religion I want no part in anymore. If an army has enlisted one of their enemies, then that army will surely fall. So, no. You were told wrong. Christianity is, first, having faith in God and his work on the cross, but then, two, acting on this to help others. It is your faith in God that enables you to help others without a want of reward or recognition. Let me put it this way for you. We’re friends and we interact. We are in relationship and we interact. Why should a relationship be multidimensional to two dimensional humans, but only be one dimensional to a multidimensional God? Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for a relationship with us, by taking the wrath of the Father on himself. Yes, we are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice and can enjoy eternal life after mortal death. However, what good is this relationship if we never interact with God? It isn’t only about faith when you reach this point; you want to do things for God because you’re friends with Him and you may even love Him. For instance, you hang out with friends and play games and such. You do this because you’ve gotten close to your friends. We must get close to God (having faith) so that we can do things through and with him (good works). So, to answer your question, yes you can only have faith but faith is dead without works of charity and kindness. Christians are called to be like Jesus. He loved others and had faith in the Father. We cannot truly have one without the other. Are you friends with someone if you don’t interact with them?”

Realizing the gravity of the situation, I thanked her for her time and went home. Although Angela’s response made the most sense, was I ready for that? I sat in the dark of my bedroom for awhile. I could no longer live in apathy; it didn’t make sense. However, why would I live like the dishonest friend or the insane friend? And how could I live like the true friend?

Awkwardly, I knelt and prayed for the first time in hopes of caring and in hopes of making a choice.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Man on Trial in Heaven

"All rise!", called out a stoic angel, armed to the teeth in the shiniest steel armor imaginable. The gold accents on the breastplate and helm caused minor light refraction from the crystal chandeliers high above the court floor. The tall angel scanned the room and looked up to an old man sitting at the Judge's seat. His sparkling eyes reflected the perfect light off of his perfectly white robes. His long beard was just as white, if not whiter than his silk robes. He had the look of the richest man in the world, without the aid of any jewelry or symbols of power; no crown, not scepter. He nodded and the doors opened under the arms of two angels and a comparably smaller human stumbled in.

Compared to the luminescent atmosphere, he could probably be noted as a protoplasmic tarnish on an otherwise perfect room. The man walked to his defendant's table and remained standing behind the table, carved with a gilded knife to maintain it's perfect linear dimensions. The man observed the judge and noted his brazen look, his pleasant stare and the feeling of other worldliness. The angels, almost as equally glowing stood still as statues, staring into seemingly empty space. However, there was no space empty here. The man observed that his breathing was heavier than it normally was, perhaps the product of high altitude. He wasn't sure. In fact, he wasn't sure where he was. Was he in a dream? As his thought process got more involved, two others walked in. The smell of sulphur invaded his air-space.

The two walked in step to their table, the plaintiffs. The taller of the two was in a black Armani suit and adorned with many rings and necklaces; diamonds in all of it. His orange-spray tanned look made the man think of New Jersey Italians. His face was spotted with burn marks, as was his suit, and ashes even fell out of his eyes. To secure his appearance, the being, now establish as a demon in the man's eyes, smoothed back his greasey black hair and took off his sunglasses, revealing two things; one- no eye in their sockets, two, a raccoon looking tan line around his eye sockets. The second of the two looked similar, however, he had no skin! On noting this, the man had to look away in disgust. The second demon also took off his sunglasses to reveal that he too had no eyes. He also opened a suitcase and took a dictionary looking book. From what the man gathered, it was a file; on him.

"The honorable Saint Peter!", called out the angel. The old man nodded at him and the angel stood with his feet apart now.

"If the plaintiff would list offenses on the defendant," said Peter softly.

"Beings of the court," began the taller demon, "I bring to your attention this book. What is this book, though? It is a file on this man, this human standing before you now! His offenses, clearly stated for the court to read, are as follows... In generalities. For the man's offenses are so great! So many! We would keep him here until his mortal death."

The demon slammed the book on his table and began to list.

"At age 16, a hit and run in his school's parking lot. That year, he also went a little too far with his girlfriend in terms of human affection. (He added a hint of disgust to this statement) At age 20, he lied to a clerk asking for some money for cancer research! Ahah! An enemy of the cure! Also then, he even stole money from his mother to make a payment he owed... To her! Disgusting... He then married at 23... And cheated on his wife! Infidelity and right after his vows were taken! He's been publicly drunk a majority of weekends since he was 18, and has even participated in the partaking of recreational drugs! Beings of the court, this man is sick! What's next? Murder? Rape? This man has broken the holy establishment of speed limits every day since he first got his vehicle license and driven drunk numerous times after wards. Beings of this holy court! This man belongs with us. He belongs in Hell. Thank you."

The demon, after his emotioned address, sat down and stared down the man. He was, and rightly so, awestruck that this demon knew all this about him. Has been under demon oppression this whole time?

Peter looked down at the man. "You look a little pale, boy. It's your turn to address the court."

The man looked up, obviously downtrodden. He was done. All was lost, all was over. He was going to die physically, in a few years or so. And then he will die eternally. What would happen to his eyes?! The man began to cry and under his breath, he prayed.

"God, if you're real, help me. I'm guilty of everything that they've accused me of. I'm guilty and I will die. I can no longer help myself, nor can I escape this under my own power. If you're real, only you can help me."

As he finished, the door opened revealing a man of a more intense glowing than Peter had. His attire was simple; white robes with a red sash. His sun-tanned face and black hair still seemed to glow, despite their complexions. His look was determined as he walked to the defendant's table and sat.

"If the plaintiffs remember," said he, who just walked in, "my client is innocent of all charges. He has been pardoned. This trial is a non-trial."

The demons smirked and went for the book again, but it was gone. The man who had walked in now had the book in his hands. A smile crossed his face and he touched the man on the back with scarred. "Go and sin no more."

Those were his last words to him. The man woke up in his bed. It had been a dream. But it felt so real to him. He sincerely thought he was at the edge of death, looking into the pits of hell. He had almost died... Forever. And who was the man who said to him, "Go and sin no more?" That dream was weird. He thought to himself that that may have been the worst drug dream he had ever had. Sitting up in his bed, he grabbed the courtesy Bible from his hotel room's bedside table.

And he sinned a little more, but recognized his faults. Although he was a sinner, he was forgiven. Although he once lived in sin, he now lived in Jesus, the man who took the book from his trial.

On Friends

When it comes to friends, we all have our own differing opinions on what it means to be friends. Some think it's a loose relationship where you only hangout during school or work, etc... There are friends you had when you were younger that you grew away from. There are even friends you only know through over people and when that relationship dissolves, your relationship to the mutual friend also dissolves.

Lastly, and most importantly, there are those friends for whom you'd die for. You know the ones; you're in sync with one another but you may have different opinions. You might not even agree on a majority of things, but you still feel a gravitation towards them. These friends are special. They're the best.

My personal philosophy, when it comes to people, is to try to accept everyone for who they are in the moment. I'm unable to dislike someone based on what they will\could be. I can't simply write people off because I may not see myself having fun with them five years from now. Sure, this brings about a lot of hurt when they have to leave or we grow apart. But, loving people in the moment and accepting them on a simply loving level; that is what I try to do.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Man Who Was Not

It's been a long and terrible time hence
Since I was able to ride the fence
My sense of apathy now since shot,
A fatal error in my selfish plot

I'd never been ever so near
To what I'd opposed and even feared
I never guessed that I would ever think
That even I could be on the brink

'The brink of what', I so inquired
'Of religion, faith, the holy spire!'
Never, not me, I'm too far-gone
So sick and tired of nothing done

'No children fed, no homeless sheltered
I've never seen a Christian who felt
The way I do towards the oppressed
Never a bead of sweat upon his neck.'

'But do you realize" a voice said near
'That you have been placed over here
To work out things that are not yet here
Destined to happen in the coming year

Your scope of vision, is it so low
That you would completely disregard
Your calling, your cause, your destiny
In favor of something more senselessly

Senselessly devoted to yourself
Never wanting to provide any help
You sit there and theorize in your brain
But you never realize, it simply drains

Can't you see? You've been called out
Show my people what you're all about
How they are so selfish in the world
And how you have the righteous word."

In that moment I then felt like
My sense of apathy and of myself
Were gone away forever, Amen
That what I feared so long had a plan

Not for my ruin but for me to expand
Almighty God has devised a plan
A plan that all people may know
That He loves us all, he's told us so

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On "Why I Am Not a Christian" by Bertrand Russell

On “Why I Am Not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell
Part one

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” - Rene Descartes

I’ve questioned myself thoroughly. I lacked the degree of doubt that Rene Descartes had, however, I have questioned myself as severely. That was, in large part, due to an experiment I was doing on myself, my faith, and my logic. I took three Christian books, Mere Christianity (CS Lewis), The Reason for God (Timothy Keller), and Why I Still Believe (Joe Boot) and three skeptic\rationalist books Why I Am Not a Christian (Bertrand Russell), The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), and various essays by men like Sarte, Hume, and Nietzsche.

The objective of this experiment was, as I said, was to test my faith and logic. Why do Christians think they’re right? Why do Atheists think they’re right? Why does it seem so urgent for either side to attack the other? In this short essay, I hope to explain my thought process and cite some of the material I’ve read. Specifically, though, this is a reply to Dr. Russell’s essay Why I Am Not a Christian.

First, I will address his essay, explaining what he wrote in it, then I will attempt give the Christian’s arguments on why it is more rational to have a theistic worldview, rather than an Atheistic one.
Before I begin, though, we should define some words that will come up frequently. As defined in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Chaos: noun 1) complete disorder and confusion. 2) the formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe. 1

Order: noun 1) the arrangement of people or things according to a particular sequence or method. 2) a state in which everything is in its correct place. 3) a state in which the laws and rules regulating public behaviour are observed. 4) an authoritative command or direction. (There are more definitions, but they aren’t necessary for this essay.) 2

In the first part of his lecture, delivered on the sixth of March, 1927, Russell introduces his topic and outlines what it is to be a Christian in modern times. He says that, “The word does not have quite such a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the times of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.” 3 He sees, and rightly so, that formerly serious words; words that meant life or death 1900 years before, had lost their urgent meaning. He continues this, saying, “In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant.” 4 He is right in say that the meaning of being a Christian, then in the 1920s and today, was and is ambiguous.

He then goes on to attempt to explain who a Christian is. From here, he says that Christians must one, believe in God and immortality and two, that Christ was, “divine, or at the very least, the best and wisest of men.” 5 A paragraph later, he says that in order to tell you why he isn’t a Christian, he must tell you why he does not believe in these two things.

In the first paragraph of this explanation, he admits that in order to address the fullness of the existence of God, he would, “keep you all here until Kingdom Come”. He takes these arguments in a summary order, much like I will here. He closes this first explanatory section by saying, (on the Catholic church’s saying the existence of God was an unaided postulate) “…reason might urge against the existence of God, but of course they knew as a matter of faith that God did exist.” 6

The First-Cause Argument

Russell immediately dismisses the “First Causes Argument”, the one that says “Everything we see has a cause, and eventually, that cause will have a name and that name will be God.” 7 But then he asks, aided by John Stuart Mills’ autobiography, “ ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, ‘Who made God?’ “ 8 He says that that answers showed him that the First Cause Argument had not validity. That is his first reason for not believing in God.

The Natural- Law Argument

He begins this argument by saying that, in a nutshell, Sir Isaac Newton wanted a cop out by saying that “God ordained natural orders like gravity” and that when Einstein wrote his theories, that completely negated those theories held before. In a nutshell.

“We now find that a great many things we thought were natural laws are actually human conventions. You know that even in the remotest depths of stellar space there are still three feet in a yard. That is, no doubt, a very remarkable fact, but you would hardly call it a natural law.”9

What he comes to in the end of this section is, regardless of the regularity of these things, the things we’ve called, “natural laws for so long” are only chances.

“The laws of nature are of that sort as regards a great many of them. They are statistical averages such as would emerge from the laws of chance; and that makes this whole business of natural law much less impressive than it formerly was.” 10

In an extension of the section, Russell explains the difference between natural and human laws. But he comes to the conclusion, saying, “You cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to do that, because even supposing that there were, you are then face with the question ‘Why did God issue those natural laws and no others?’ “ 11 He also suggests that if it were, for some unknown reason, that God introduces these laws, then it must be for something greater, a reason for why the laws were introduced and that then suggests, “that God himself was subject to law and there for you do not get any advantage by introducing him as an intermediary.” 12 He closes the full section by saying that this argument, also, has lost its steam in years past thanks to science.

The Argument From Design

This argument is rather short, so I’ll cut to the chase of it. He introduces Darwin into his logical, explaining that design has come a long way since. “You all know Voltaire’s remark, that obviously the nose was designed to be such as to fit spectacles.” 13 This is followed by his citing Darwin’s theories, ending it his speech with a strong, strong assumption. “There is no design about it.” 14

Russell then takes a moral stance in saying that a perfect God’s world would be no less than that; perfect. He says that “…it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all the defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. I really cannot believe it.” 15 And I somewhat agree. Why should God not be here, ending Africa’s troubles? Where is he when everything seems to go amiss?

He ends by admitting that, while gloomy, the view that all life will die out is the most logical one because, why do we have any reason to believe that life will go on? What indications in this life are there that there is a God who will take us into his own and allow us to live forever? Where are the clues and, if there are any, what are they? And how are they clues?

The Moral Arguments for Deity

“Now we reach one stage further in what I shall the intellectual descent that the Theists have made in their argumentations, and we come to what are called the moral arguments for the existence of God.” 16

What he calls an intellectual descent is the moral argument for a God. In this section, Russell introduces one question:

“The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, you are in this situation: Is that due to God’s fiat or not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God himself there is no right or wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, then you must say that right and wrong have some meaning that is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them.” 17

The Argument for the Remedying of Injustice

What Russell appeals to in this section of his delivery is that Christian doctrine says that God must exist for justice to exist. He asks the classical question, “If God is good, and exacts justice, why is there so much suffering?” 18 This is another ones of those “one and done” sections. And he doesn’t really have to ask any other questions. This one powerful question suffices and, for me, tripped me up in a most devastating way earlier in my life. Ask yourself, "Where is God in a dire time?" Is he camping out and unable to be reached or does he just not care? Is he an all-knowing benevolent God? If he is, but he allows suffering, then he isn't benevolent and loving. However, if he isn't benevolent and loving, he isn't God.

Character of Christ

On this, he moves to his second subject; the deity of Christ. In this section, he says, as he said before, that Christ was a good moral teacher and a wise person. However, “…He said, ‘Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.’ That is not a new precept or a new principle. It was used by Lao-tse and Buddah some 500 or 600 years before Christ, but it is not a principle that matter of fact Christians accept.” 19 Russell goes over the basic Christian morals, agreeing with most of them and then, very observantly, adding that most Christians do not follow these. I agree with him. Christians do a horrible job of following their own rules. And it’s a crying shame. However, prematurely to the constraints of this essay, I ask him this: Do people who are well go to a hospital to be fixed? And what happens to the terminally ill who never go to a hospital?

Defects in Christs’ Teachings\ The Moral Problem

To Russell, Jesus has a moral defect. That one is that Hell exists. “I do not myself feel that any person who is really humane can believe in everlasting punishment.” 20 What he is really doing here is making Jesus out to be a vengeful spirit who wants all those who do not love and believe in him to burn in hell for eternity. He appeals to the story of Jesus casting out the demons from the man and sending them to the pigs. Russell calls this “inhumane” and “cruel”.

The Emotional Factor, How Churches Have Retarded Progress, and Fear, the Foundation of Religion

For these last three sections, I will simply get the three questions out of each and leave them be. They are simple enough, given the context of the earlier sections, that only the questions should suffice.

“Christianity is the principle enemy of moral progress in the world.” 21

“ ‘Supposing that in this world that we live in today, an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, “This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you cannot use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.’ Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.” 22

“Fear is the basis of the whole thing [religion]- fear of the mysterious, dear of defeat, dear of death. Fear is the parents of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder is cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.” 23

Informal Bibliography for Part One

1-2: www.askoxford.com

3-23: Bertrand Russell- Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

On "Why I Am Not a Christian" by Bertrand Russell

Part Two

“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” - Sherlock Holmes

As I said in the first part, I’m going to attempt to show that the religious worldview, specifically Christianity, is the most logically sound and the least depressing. I am, of course expanding on my initial objective. I’m not looking to “convert” anyone, as I believe that no argument can do that. No one comes out of a debate on their knees, shouting the praises of the almighty. A wise man once told me that if you can be argued into it, you can be argued out of it. I wholeheartedly believe that. I’ve experienced it.

Remember the initial definitions of order and chaos. They will still be important in the following text.
Russell is right in saying that Christianity has lost its meaning, in the sense of a word, and that it means not what it used to. However, Atheism has also taken this directive. More and more, you hear the word “Agnostic” –that is, one who is not sure there is or isn’t anything; “we can’t know”. If I weren’t a religious type, I’d be Agnostic. Atheism implies that that person has all the answers, which anyone should rightly admit that they don’t. No one can know infinitely, except the infinite and so underlying the statement that "God absolutely does not exist" is a contradiction: "I infinitely know that infinite knowledge doesn't exist."

According to Timothy Keller, “Atheist author Sam Harris and Religious Right Leader Pat Robertson should each admit the fact that his particular tribe is strong and increasing in influence.”1 Let’s face it. Religion is exploding in places like Africa and China. And skepticism, rationalism, and flat-out Atheism are exploding in western lands. This sense that religion or Atheism are in danger of being extinct is foolish and causes unneeded fighting, rather than productive and friendly debate.

I’ll start this section like Joe Boot does in “Why I Still Believe”. Most everything I say is not original. It has been spoken by great like C.S. Lewis, Blaise Pascal, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Ravi Zacharias. I only hope to “put it in a new way”; to redress it so that perhaps someone knowledged in these subjects can get something fresh from reading.

So, where do we start on this task? On a firm foundation, I suppose.

Remember the definitions for chaos and order? Let’s apply them here. First, the Atheist will be quick to say that everything is the product of a series of astronomically random chances that happened. The infinitesimal chance that something in nothingness happened; a huge explosion happened, creating a rough draft of everything we see today. Furthermore, they say that we are all products of some rogue genetics that evolved and evolved (again, taking advantage of these small chances) into human beings. From there, we’ve adapted and adapted into what we see today. I’m technically writing this very paper on a product of evolutionary adaptation!

But we should ask some questions of this, since it is right and fair for the burden of proof to also be on the skeptic, as well as the religious. The chances of one of these events happening is almost impossible. The chances of all of them are even more so. Ravi Zacharias quotes biologist George Beadle, in his book The Real Face of Atheism as asking a skeptic,"Whence came the hydrogen?" 2 Beadle then added, "Is it any less awe-inspiring to conceive of a universe created of hydrogen with the capacity to evolve into man, than it is to accept the Creation of man as man?" 3 Zacharias follows this up by saying,"The turning of hydrogen into thinking and purposive beings is scientifically undemonstrated and philosophically devoid of merit." 4

Russell uses a neat metaphor in his essay to explain away natural law and statistics by using dice. He said that there is a 1:36 chance a pair of die will roll double-sixes and if they landed on all double sixes, there should be reason to admit a divine plan. 5 Applying this metaphor to this scenario, as he would have to, I’d say he’s right. The divine did intervene to make all of these chances happen!

Basing a world view on this, though, is dangerous. Here is why? Without some sort of “divine being” to oversee this willy-nilly creation, there would be no order; no reason. There would be no regularity or any reason to believe anything that would ever be said. Language and math would not even be stable! And that's only the beginning. Physical and biological laws would no longer be valid. They would be physical and biological hopes. Without a god, designing everything, why would there be any kind of natural order? Russell points out that natural law doesn’t exist, except by chance. Why would I believe that gravity will be the same in the coming seconds? In that world, I would have no reason to. I propose this: that without a creative being interacting with the world it had made, no order would exist. We could literally take nothing for granted. Language would be a nightmare; as would math, and general understanding. There would be no honesty, but there would also be no dishonesty; with everything changing so rapidly how could there be?

Let me put it another way. Taking an Atheistic point of view means that I would believe that our beginnings lie in chaos. Since the beginning is in chaos, subsequent times would also have to be rooted in chaos. That would mean nothing could make sense. Chaos is defined, as we saw earlier, as complete disorder and confusion.

How do we know that what you're reading makes sense, then? Because we expect, demand, order. The sun will rise tomorrow because it rose yesterday and the day before. Mark your calendars because Christmas is on the 25th of December. The number Pi will always help us figure out circles. The Fibonacci Sequence will always continue and 440hz will always be what we define as the note A, not because we call it A, but because that frequency will always be matched with that pitch; even if we were to call it B, D, or Z.

Ironically, an Atheistic worldview uses a logic that only a Theistic view can hold. In short, Atheists cannot use their own logic to defend their view. They have to draw from the order of Theistic views to defend their chaotic beliefs.

Onto natural law, Russell is quick to note that there are still three feet to a yard in the remotest depths of space. He points out that this is a human convention, rather than a natural law. This is in the same quarter as the note I described earlier. A yard will always be three feet, or thirty-six inches. The names of the measurements are human convention. If the distance traveled between two lines on a football field were “five candles” away from one another, it would still be the same distance. His assumption of Newton and Einstein might also be right. Newton stopped short of Einstein’s theories. Perhaps Einstein went too far. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “ The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes says something to Watson, as he is drawing a theory about a new case they are about study for the king of Bohemia.

“This is indeed a mystery,” I remarked. “What do you imagine that it means?”

“I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” 6

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Einstein is wrong; I don’t know enough about his theories to have a proper opinion. But what if Newton was like Holmes in his approach? What if he simply didn’t have his data and didn’t want to fit a fact to suit his initial theory that apples control gravity? (joke)

But why did God issue laws? Russell also appeals to this question and ends up saying that if there was a standard; God would also have to be subject to it. What if, however, we assume that God made everything and he is how the Christians say he is? Would it not make sense for a benevolent God to issue laws that are for the good of his people? He did, after all, form the human body. The architect knows what is best for the building he is designing; where the central balance will be, where everything should be at. How much less is it to wonder that God knows what is best for his creation, humanity?

An objection could be that some laws are dated or unnecessary. What about tattoos? What about drinking? I answer with this: A child wants candy for every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Is this good for the child? Certainly not! But, are they good in moderate amounts? Heck yes! We, as children don’t know what is best for our own bodies. But our parent, God, does. He made us. He, if anyone could, would know better.

On moral law, I appeal to one man. C.S. Lewis who, in his work Mere Christianity, asks the reader one question: “Where did our morality come from?” In the first part of his book, Lewis appeals to the sense of a universal right and a universal wrong as a key to knowing of God.

“Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to- whether is was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you like.” 7

Going backward in this book, Lewis also appeals to mankind as a whole, in regards to fairness.

“Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about.” 8

How many times have kids yelled, “That’s not fair!!!” It’s one of the first things we learn! What do babies do when they wants things? Cry (annoy us older folk). Now, it would seem I’m going on a moral rabbit trail. However, where do we get this sense of right and wrong? It cannot be instinct, because that then begs the question, “What chooses between our instincts?” It couldn’t be general consensus or social convention. I mentioned earlier that math is also not a human convention. The symbols we have for it are, however, the math itself has always been there. Lewis proposes that moral law is the same way. It can be refined in school, and some people will know more about it than others, but everyone does know it. 9 Lewis puts it beautifully.

“Now this thing that judges between two instincts, that decides which [instinct] should be encouraged, cannot be either of them. You might as well say that the sheet of music which tell you, at a given moment, to play one note on the piano and not another, is itself one of the notes on the keyboard. The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely the keys. “ 10

Russell appeals to a God that doesn’t seem to care what happens. Timothy Keller also says something on this subject in his book, The Reason for God. Talking about his college days and his struggles of faith, Keller says:
“…there was something radically wrong with both of them. The people most passionate about social justice were moral relativists, while the morally upright didn’t seem to care about the oppression going on all over the world.” 11

My question isn’t, “Why doesn’t God use his power to do something?” Mine is, “Why aren’t we doing something?”

My mentor told our discussion group about a dialogue in a comic strip that went like this.

“I’m mad at God.”
“Why’s that?”
All of this injustice in the world, all of this oppression. Why doesn’t he do something?”
“I don’t know. You should ask him.”
“I’m afraid to.”
“Why?”
“I’m scared he’ll ask me the same thing.”

Why should we ask why God should do something? Why shouldn’t the richest in the land do something about it? For the problems we see in the third world, I beg the question, “Why not us?”

On his pieces on Jesus, Russell says that he agrees with Jesus on a level but can’t follow him “all the way”; particularly on the subject of hell. Why would a loving God throw people in hell? It seems almost evil that he would send someone to a place eternal torment and misery, someone who God loves.

However, Lewis sees it another way.
In his book The Great Divorce, Lewis illustrates a bus of people on the outskirts of heaven. They’re simply asked to leave their sins behind. However, they don’t.

“Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others… but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God “sending us” to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will be hell unless it is nipped in the bud.” 12

What Lewis is saying is that we grow so irritable, so contrary, and eventually, so evil, we are already in Hell. In not giving these urges and sins over to God, we have ignored and started to hate him. We only want ourselves in our own fullness. We will be miserable, but we are miserable by ourselves.

“There are only two kinds of people- those who say ‘Thy will be done’ to God or those to whom God in the end says, ‘Thy will be done.’ 13

All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self- choice it wouldn’t be Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will miss it.” 14

Lewis basically says no one is in hell who doesn’t want to be there. It is a choice that ends in the person saying either "Your will be done" or "My way or the highway".

The last three questions that Russell points out are very legitimate and need to be answered. Christianity has done some awful things, from crusades to inquisitions. Witch-hunts. Slavery. But to say that religion has retarded our moral progress is to assume that Christians have done nothing good. I can’t answer for the wars and hunts and corruption, other than that those people were humans; confused humans. However, I can answer for slavery.

Old Testament slavery was very different from the Anglo slave trade. In those days, the slaves were paid for their work and they could purchase themselves out of the slavery they were in. Some forms of slavery were only set for a time, like an indentured servant. The American slave trade was different. Africans were kidnapped or sold by rival tribes, transported in a very inhumane fashion, and then brutalized when they reached the colonies or England. That is, until a man named William Wilberforce.

He was an Englishman who pushed for the abolition of slavery in England. Not only did he push for it, he succeeded. Wilberforce was a Christian and he was deeply convicted by the Bible and in no small way was this a miracle. Soon, almost all other countries abolished the trade. I could name other famous Christians that helped deep-seated moral dilemmas: Martin Luther, of Germany, who fought Catholic Church oppression in the 1500s, Martin Luther King Jr, who fought for civil rights in the US South in the 1960s, Abraham Lincoln, who signed legislation to free American slaves during the civil war. Christianity’s main goal is to fight oppression, and although often we fail horribly, we have succeeded many important times.

The second question involves the Catholic Church’s doctrines on divorce and birth control. The question, though, isn’t on God’s hand? Why did man allow this happen? Why are we so indoctrinated in religion, that we've lost sight of what God wants for us; the best? Personally, I'm not a huge fan of liturgical rules, though I believe they are necessary. Some seem petty and old fashioned and most of them have made "religion" a dirty word in collegiate settings.

Is Christianity based on fear? I think that some people have made it to where that hell-fire is a good detour against dancing too close or smoking. Some people take it to a "turn or burn" scenario when they are evangelizing their faith; another huge step back for Christianity.

But, a religion based on fear? I should think not! Ravi Zacharias has something to say about this, calling Russell out by name on this tenant of his philosophy.

"Bertand Russell's assertion, in his conceptual critique of Christianity, that all religion is born out of fear, is a weak and unthinking criticism of the subject.It is no more true than if one were to say that all irreligion is born out of fearlessness. Caricatures such as this make for a poor philosophical starting point, and end up in false psychological theories." 15

The biggest misconception is that if we make one false move, God will smite us. That isn’t it. God created us; you think he knows we’ll screw up? You’d better believe it. The Christian God is one of love. Now, you may think me crazy. However, I think of it the same way that Timothy Keller does; like a dance.

The triune God has lived eternally and been in perfect relationship with himself eternally, between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternally relational, eternally loving. Keller calls this “The Dance of God.” 16 Sort of like a love triangle, except without the things that make daytime television interesting. There is perfect unity in this dance. Now, imagine the person you love most. Imagine losing that person. Imagine the pain of loss. It would be the worst pain ever felt. Now, imagine how the eternal God felt sacrificing his Son, who he’s loved eternally, on the cross for humanity. You cannot even properly fathom that eternal pain. No other religion teaches that. No other religion has a god who came down to earth in flesh and died for his creation. No other. It is the ultimate sign of love that God would sacrifice himself for his creations. In John 17, Jesus says to God, “I have given them the glory you have given me.” With Jesus’ Death, God has invited us to be a part of this eternal love. Not only was this a loving act; it was a selfless act. And as I’ve said before, no other religion has a god like that. Christianity, at it’s very essence, is a religion of love.

I can only hope that I have adequately explained all of this in a concise way. I sincerely hope that you gain something by reading this text; whether it’s more reasons to not believe, to continue believing, or to start, I hope you’ve gained something.

Informal Bibliography For Part Two

Timothy Keller- The Reason for God 1, 11,16

Ravi Zacharias- The Real Face of Atheism 2,3,4,15

Bertrand Russell - Why I Am Not A Christian 5

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Scandal in Bohemia First quote, 6

C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity 7,8,9,10

C.S. Lewis - The Great Divorce 12,13,14

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wormwood Finds a New Toy

For those of you who have read C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, good for you. It's a great book and I highly recommend it to everyone. For those of you who haven't though, here's a brief explanation. C.S. Lewis wrote this book as a series of letters from Screwtape, a demon, to his nephew Wormwood, a beginning demon learning how to twist humans to fall. The style which Lewis wrote it is kind of backwards. The human he is trying to drag down is known as "the Patient", God is known as "The Enemy", and things we as humans see as sins are virtues for the tempters.

Here's a Wikipedia link to the full summary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screwtape_Letters

Anyways, here it is.

ONE (Patient Age: Junior High, High school Freshman)

My dear Wormwood,

This new human you've been tempting, while setting a front of supreme love for The Enemy, is weaker than you might expect. These "holier than thou" types are almost always the easiest to turn downwards. In his earlier life, you had him. You had beaten this child but he gathered with these Christians and grew stronger. And he was unbeatable for along as he was with them. However, when he came to be cocky (as this one is prone to be), you started to strike- from what you've told me.

You made him think and think a lot. "Why do God's people contradict each other so much?" You made him doubt his new found love. You made it what humans call "puppy love". So far, you have acted perfectly. As soon as you began this, you will end it... If you keep this up. Now, you haven't the insight to see what you've done. I will explain your process to you.

Firstly, you provided doubts before this new feeling of worth took hold. You whispered, "Why does He not stop this fighting between Christians?" "Why doesn't He provide you with what others have?" You exploited doubt and jealousy, and of this, I am proud.

Second, you maintained that separation by distracting him with other things. At this age, the Patient is getting into school more seriously. He likes this thing called "musick". He enjoys watching the pretty females (If one thinks pretty is with smooth skin, light hair, and fit physique. I tend to not). He loves this television box machine the humans invented. You distracting him, you did the man in England, has paid off.

Lastly, you introduced those already under your influence to the Patient. You made the feeling of following peers vital to this boy. But, this is not the genius of your plan. The real showmanship came from keeping them close enough to influence the Patient, but far enough away to keep him wanting more friendship. While at the human school building, they will acknowledge him as long as he acts as they do; despite his ill fated attempts at denying, in favor of school mates who like him.

You kept him doubting, separated from the Enemy, and influenced by all the right sources. You, Wormwood, are a fine tempter and I am proud of you. Keep up your work, and you'll be at my level soon enough.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

TWO (Patient Age: Sophomore- Senior Highschool)

Wormwood,

What you have sent me is disturbing. Not a year ago, you had this boy in the center of your concentration. You had even reserved his hole in Hell. Luckily, these are refundable. Unfortunately, it is a great embarrassment to our clan. Needless to say, GET HIM BACK! Below, are ways that you already know. I feel as though I need to reiterate them, however. I seem to think that you have yet to grasp these concepts.

First, you have told me that the Enemy has made a reappearance in his poor life. This cannot do. Our holy Enemy is, much to our dismay, too powerful to dance with. He loves these creatures for some reason and will do everything to see them safe. We must act first. Get him to doubt with deeper questions, like, "If God is good, why is there evil in the world?" or "Can God create a rock so big that He, Himself, cannot lift it?" At this point in his life, this boy hasn't had the nature and reason of God revealed to him. From what you've said, this boy is an idealistic child. He wants to believe the best and is affected by the worst. Even slight feelings send him into depression.

This brings me to my second point. Make it all seem hopeless. Give him no light to see with. His grades, his family, his friendships. These real friendships are disturbing news, but we can use them to our advantage. From what you've said, a large part of the people he knows are already in our camp. This is great news. Use them. Allow him to think that little sins are okay. God will always forgive him. That is a very popular ideology in America. Our resident Holiologist, Vergile, says that although works will not save a soul, they show that our Enemy is working with the human and the human is working with the Enemy. You said that he has thought this? Use it then, nephew. Make him think he is dirt. That God will never love him.

Finally, bring back his distractions. Allow him to be SO preoccupied, that he will only get to think about these questions you want him to. In fact, lead him to a female. This will up his arrogance and his distractions, as well as possibly supply some other things to work with. This small bit of happiness is an investment. Use it when it has matured. And remember this, nephew: Separation.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

THREE (Patient age: Freshman, university)

My dearest Wormwood,

My congratulations on this accomplishment! You have defeated the Enemy in this instance. You now control this boy. You've beaten his spirit, you've destroyed any real faith he had. You have him! You have him in the perfect position. He is in our camp, thinking that he is in the Enemy's. This his relationship with the female and his other friends from his former school are proof of this. He is fully distracted and happy! Wormwood, I cannot express my complete and utter excitement. I have even put in for your Masters in Recruiting. You are a natural at this. Although you've had past troubles, I think you finally understand. Again, I am proud.

But, you've never made it this far with a Patient. So, remember these things.

Maintain this empty support for the Enemy. When he thinks that he is doing Christian things, he doesn't know that he is in danger. He is none the wiser to our plans. In conjunction with this, keep him distracted but minutely focused on Him. Make him doubt more. Make him like our human pets: cold, hardened, and unforgiving. Show him the correct way to live, in other words.

For this kind of human, I advise depression and jealousy in terms of his significant other and who she associates with. Make the human jealous of the other males who talk to the female and then make him depressed because she doesn't love him. It is the easiest way to keep this human in submission.

Lastly, reintroduce the sense of wanting to be accepted in these new circles of friends. Show him what he has to do to be accepted and be confident that he will do this.

Wormwood, you are the tempter I've always wanted you to be.

Your loving uncle,

Screwtape

FOUR (Patient Age: Sophomore, first term. University)

Wormwood,

What you sent me is only of mild concern. A friend invited him to a church gathering. This friend, saturated with the presence of the Enemy, is the only real threat. We've used this Patient's friends his whole young adult life. We have manipulated him in the ways he wanted and it has worked. This new friend, though... I don't think this will happen but be advised. The reciprocal of what we've done could happen. But don't tarry on this thought! You're a skilled tempter!

Do well

Screwtape

Wormwood,

That is how a master operates! When the Enemy sends one man against us, we send five back at him! Very well done, Wormwood. I am more proud yet! His heart has hardened. He is cold. Even his being separated from this female is working in our favor! He doesn't even care for his empty love of the Enemy. If you want to, I would even begin scoping out a new Patient to work with. Perhaps a roommate for our current one.

Proudly announcing his relation to you,

Screwtape, uncle of Wormwood

FIVE (Patient age: Sophomore, second term. University)

Wormwood,

What you have sent me... It is unbelievable. It is impossible. I almost think it a laugh at my expense. This Patient, the one you had so UTTERLY under your grasp; so FIRMLY controlled... I can hardly even write the words. Suffice to say, you have lost. The Enemy has shown himself in a powerful way to this boy. He has revealed his love, his kindness, and his forgiveness. DISGUSTING! He has even shown him how to know the Enemy through two friends of his. Both of them permeated with his presence. He has won this boy over in little more than a wink of one of his eye hairs.

Unbelievable... Wormwood, read carefully. Nothing that you can do will work. Move on to a new soul for capturing. This one is claimed and marked by our Enemy.

Screwtape

SIX

Wormwood,

In light of your recent failings, you've been allowed to keep your degrees and your job. In future recruitment efforts, however, I hope you do take more care to firmly drown out the sound of God. If you need any other advice, you know I am open for questioning at anytime.

A person who knows you,

Screwtape

Top Five Hardest Animals to Kill

Ever wonder which animals NOT to meet in a dark alley without a tire iron or Kurt Russel? These are it. This will enrich your life. I promise.

5) The Rhymnocerus

The Rhymnocerus has a weird way of convincingly telling you that you don't want to kill it because of it's mad rap skills and great cooking. But DO NOT fall for this trap. It will stomp you, while rapping about how stupid you were and how it's fun to stomp you. Recommended plan of action is to simply ignore the Rhymnocerus. It will get so cross that it will just simply cry because you didn't listen to its fly rap. But it's okay. It wasn't that fly anyway. He just thought it was. Technically, you can't really KILL the Rhymnocerus because he's really just a big baby. But please note, it will kill you if given the chance.

4) Man-Bear-Pig

I know what you're thinking. "Man- Bear- Pig ISN'T killable. He's half man, half bear, and half pig! Well, citizen, you're right. Man- Bear- Pig is nigh unstoppable. In the heat of battle, one never thinks about things as clearly as they do sitting at a desk or laying in grass. No, when you do battle with Man- Bear- Big, you have to keep your head and remember: if he has three strengths, he has three weaknesses. Man, his weakness is gun. Bear, poisoned\explosive\flaming honey. Pig, gun. See? Three weaknesses.

3) Flying Zombie Shark with a Jet- Pack and Heatbeam

Lets just face it. When you see a zombie shark flying at you, firing a heat beam, you're probably going to feel a little outmatched. I mean, c'mon. It's a shark. Hundred of people die every day from Flying Zombie Shark with a Jet- Pack and Heatbeam encounters Thousands more are scarred from the experience. If you want to survive, this is how you do it: rocket launcher. Being the Master Chief wouldn't hurt either.

2) Bearsharktopus

No one has ever killed one. No one has ever survived an attack by one. The Bearsharktopus is an elusive creature, only ever seen one time. Not a lot is known about this animal, other than that it WILL COMPLETELY MURDER YOU. If it were going to have a weakness, I would guess that it was a Japan version of Captain Ahab, with a large gun hand. But since no one has one of those on hand in case of emergencies... Just don't encounter the Bearsharktopus.

Also 2) A Freaking Panda Bear Riding a Freaking Shark On Land (While practicing 28th amendment rights, "The Right to Arm Bears".)

This bear is a member of the NRA. This shark likes killing stuff. Together, they are invincible. The reason why this is also number two is because it is in the same family as the Bearsharktopus. This creature has a weakness, though. A weakness: Fox News. This bear is so right wing, that it will stop whatever it's doing and watch Fox News. It could literally spend HOURS watching that network news channel. But, and this is the irony, the shark is a liberal. It could spend hours fighting with the bear. If you can pull this off when in battle with this creature, you might just seen an epic battle of Bear with a gun versus a Land Shark. Grab some popcorn.

NUMBUH 1) The Philosoraptor

The Philosoraptor is the leader of the Raptor Federation of Raptorland. He is the wisest and the strongest of his kind and knows no fear. The creature has had millenia to hone his skills of philosophically murdering you and then seriously murdering you. The Philosopraptor doesn't even need a gun or sword. He can just make your head explode with philosophy. How can you counter this? There is only one way, and it is risky because you just bring about your fate all the sooner. Say to him, "De omnibus dubitandum est". The English translation is "Everything is to be doubted". If you say this to the Philosoraptor, you will force it to think inwardly until is explodes. Claim victory, young philosopher!

Just watch out for the horde of raptors trying to find you because you just killed a Philosoraptor. Carry your tire iron.

Five Things That Annoy Me In Pokemon

I'm sure the majority of us have played, or attempted to play, Pokemon. This is one of my most favorite games of all time. It's just a fun game and there's always something to do. Find that Pokemon you're missing so you can catch them all. Over and over again. In this game though, there's some junk that just annoys you. Here's the top five annoyances of one of the greatest franchises of our time.

5) Freaking Zubat. You know what's up. Walking through a cave... Take a step. Time to battle. Hopefully that Clefairy will appear. But no. It's just Zubat again for the hundredth time in a minute. What do you do? None of your Pokemon can one-hit it yet. Run? Oh, great. "Can't escape". Catch it? I already have five. So you decide to battle it. Which brings us to number four.

4) Confusion. Why, why, WHY?! You're battling this freaking Zubat. And it confuses your Pokemon. There's literally NOTHING you can do about it except watch your Pokemon take damage from itself. I guess just try and run again. "Can't escape". Greeeaaaat...

3) Level Sixty Metapods. It speaks for itself.

2) Having to have gay HMs. Flash. Rock Smash. These are terrible HMs. They do little-to-no damage and you use them once, maybe twice. In short, I hate these HMs a lot.

1) Gary Oak (or the equivalent of). You get out of the cave. Your Pokemon are almost all fainted. You're LITERALLY. THREE. TILES. AWAY. from the Pokemon Center. And he comes out and says, "Hey, I challenge you to a battle LAWL HERP DERP!" I really hate this little group of pixels. Him and his Pidgeot, Gyrados, Executor, Alakazam, Cloyster, and Flareon\Jolteon\Vaporeon. I hate you, Gary Oak...

I Had A Dream

For those of us who were in the band room yesterday from two to three, it was an epic moment of triumph. Jesse Milam and I took down Cody Rowe in a battle of physical prowess... For like twenty seconds. It was legit. Anyways, after convincingly defeating Papa Bear in this battle, my day went on like normal. That night, however, I had one of the top five most epic dreams I've ever had. And I will share it with you.

First, though, know that in the real fight Cody threw Jesse into me and we were knocked down and there were at least two Falcon Punches thrown. One in mid air. It was awesome.

This dream started like any other day. I woke up to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, got dressed, ate my daily raptor leg, and went to class. Later, I went to Intro to Music Ed. This is where my day got a little strange. Stepping into the class, I fell into a pit filled with skulls. On the other end was Cody Rowe, chewing on a leg bone. He spat it out and looked with one eye on me. The other one was looking... It's not important. We stared each other down until someone else came falling down. Jesse landed with a thud looked at us. "Oh..." he said, eyes narrowing towards Cody. It was on.

I nodded and Cody growled like a bear. He had already started running at us! In two minutes he would get to our side of the pit! Getting our game plan ready, Jesse and I ran towards Cody. About ten feet away from him, I pivoted and got on all fours bent over, while Jesse ran and jumped off my back eight feet in the air, sword raised on high, yelling "DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!!!!!!!!!" Cody stuck his hand up, parrying the blow with raw power. Jesse fell to the ground. Cody put a foot on his chest, giving a blood curdling war cry. "WRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I looked up, charging a Falcon Punch. Running at the giant, my fist started to gain power and fire. Screaming out the epic words, "FALCON! PUUUUNCH!!!"

Cody stuck an arm out, swatting my comparably smaller frame to the wall. Everything went black. When I came too, Cody was holding Jesse up by his neck in the air. Jesse's sword was on the ground below his feet. I couldn't get to it. Reason one, it was within his stomping range. Reason two, two black bears were closing in on me. Literal bears! One grabbed me and held me up by my waist, while the other growling menacingly. "Come here and say that to my face", I said to the bear. It understood and lumbered over, teeth bared. As it roared, I poked the bear holding me in the eyes, fell down why getting cut on it's claws. Charging another Falcon Punch, I jumped at the other bear, effectively ending it's life with my fiery fist. The first bear dashed at me, however, this time I was ready. Dodging it's first blow to my neck, I gave it an uppercut to it's freaking face. The bear grabbed it's broken face in pain, as I grabbed fur and drove it to the spiked wall, impaling it onto the side, just like in Gladiator. I looked back. Cody was about to eat Jesse!

I yelled, "Leave Jesse alone, Lazy Eye!" His eyes locked on me and he dropped my friend. He began walking, as did I. My walk turned into a run, fist blazing again. However, this time, I was smarter. Jumping, I raised my fist. Cody stuck his leg out to block me! "Perfect", I thought. Landing on his leg, he tried to punch at him with his right arm. I grabbed hold of it, and used it to pull myself even closer. The Falcon Punch made direct contact with his head.

Landing, my momentum pushed me off balance and I slid on my shoulder to the base of the other wall. I looked back to see Cody's head exploded. We had won. Jesse and I defeated Bear Master Cody Rowe.

Then I woke up.

Fin.

Fear 11

After my note the other night on my ten biggest fears, a friend of mine had a dream about Zombie Velociraptors. It had never occurred to me... Velociraptors can contract necrosis also. At this thought, I stopped what I was doing (driving) and began crying. If that happened, life as we know it would end. Zombie apocalypse, velociraptor invasion... Zombie Velociraptor Apocalypse... Invasion...? "Poopy crap...", I thought to myself. "Golly-gee, what can I do to make sure this doesn't happen...?"

Then I knew... I discovered their weakness in a moment of my own weakness. Zombies are weak to guns, swords, chainsaws, and fire. Velociprators are weak to tire irons, asteroids, and David Hasslehoff. I needed to develop a weapon that combined all of these in order to defeat the possible Zombie Velociraptor Apocavasion Super Funfest. Unfortunately, I couldn't make said weapon. So here's some tips to beating the horde of Zombies, Raptors, and Zombieraptors.

1) Have spotlights on hand. Zombie Raptors (ZRs) don't like light and will turn back. LED Flashlights work best, if the beam is wide enough. You can't turn back three ZRs with a keyring light.

2) Play Peking Opera or any kind of music with atonal themes, and\or dissonances. ZRs appreciate tonal harmony and are attracted to greats like Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. If you want them to go away, blast some Schoenberg. Or Cage. ZRs really hate Cage.

3) Guns are cool. Use them. ZRs are really outmatched by the Walther PPK. I prefer it because, despite it's small clip capacity, it's a great handgun for on the run ZRs disposal.

4) Use cars. Necrosis doesn't make ZRs grow. Use cars, like the reliable VW, to show those stupid, undead, dinos what's up. Why the VW, you ask? Simple. They use them as taxis in Germany. Why NOT use them?

5) Finally, find a really, really, cool flamethrower. It'll help. Trust me.

My Top Ten Fears (In No Order)

1. Sharks
Yes, I do love sharks. They're so cute with their deadly teeth and deadly swimming speed. But they are also meant to be feared. They can appear anywhere at anytime and you MUST BE READY! Here are some suggestions on shark attack preparation. 1) Man the harpoons. 2) Don't carry raw fish wherever you go. Blood is also a no-no. 3) Do NOT be fooled by their gills and fins and lack of legs. Sharks are just as deadly on land as they are on sea, and even deadlier in the air -unless don't have their laser-equipped jet rockets on.

2. Zombie Apocalypse
I'm not really as much scared as I am excited for this one. Too bad it isn't realistic or plausible in anyway. But if it does happen... Learn to shoot.

3. Losing my hearing
I use my ears a lot. I don't want this. :(

4. Nuclear Holocaust
One minute, I'm having the time of my life in Denver. Next, I'm a pile of radioactive ashes. Bad day... Bad day.

5. Velociraptor invasion
Velociraptors are mean. Yeah, they're the size of chickens. Think of them as only chickens and DIE A HORRIBLE AND PAINFUL DEATH! 1\100 Americans are victimized by raptor attacks, and 5 of those (5\500) die from these attacks, no bodies. No nothing. Raptors are an ingenius species, escaping noticed of modern science (they hold that velociraptors went extinct 64 million years ago) and developing a weapons program based on human bodies. As we speak, they are reanimating the bodies captured and reintroducing them into the world with one objective: kill humans. Here are some ways to avoid raptors and their human-mind slaves. 1) Stay away from islands in the middle of nowhere, doing clone experiments. 2) Remember, their necks can be broken but their toe claw cannot. Run as fast as you can. 3) Don't stay in one place too long. Raptors take five minutes to open a door, and even less time to open subsequent doors. 4) Raptor mind-slaves will dress in the main style of the region they are in. Most mind slaves here in Oklahoma are of the white trash persuasion. And finally, keep on your guard. Raptors hate light.

6. Finding a freaking tiger in my bathroom after my roommates party the night before
Self explanatory.

7. Drowning
I hate water.

8. The Sun
I burn easily. The Sun and I are mortal enemies. As long as I have my mighty sunscreen, though, the Sun is at MY mercy!

9. Getting stabbed in the kidney
Think of getting punched in the kidney. Now think of getting stabbed. DGSCVIUP ADFV ADFSVIAN DFSPOV LADFN N

10. Bears

A. Grizzly Bears- The most vicious of the American bears, Grizzlies arm themselves in response to forest fires. In wildfires, the most casualties are from angry, gun-wielding bears.

B. Polar Bears- The snipers of the bears, their snow-white fur is a perfect ghillie suit for human sniping in the northern and southern hemispheres. What, polar bears are only in one? Think again. You're probably in a room with default white walls. Guess who just snuck in unnoticed and is licking his lips. A freaking polar bear.

C. Panda Bears- They will literally rip your face off. Ever see that movie Ninja Assassin? They're like that, only they're bears. Panda bears are the assassins of the bears. Stealthy, despite their portly stature.

D. Kodak Bears- These are the tanks of the bears. They can withstand nuclear warhead blasts and deal out a similar amount of damage. Ironically, they are also like the monks of the bears. They do not enjoy violence, and very rarely do they fight with their frightening brethren.

E. Black Bears- Black Bears are like... They're kinda... Black Bears are the king of bears. Large, quick, and explosive. Literally. Black Bears can explode at will, leveling entire cities of around Ada's size. Remember that town in Colorado? No. Black Bears exploded in it.

People That Annoy Me

Justin Beiber
Perez Hilton
All the Kardashians
Jon plus four
Kate plus four
Tom Cruise post-Xenofever
Ronald McDonald
Harper Lee
Snape Kills Dumbledore
The guy that plays Spiderman
Rune Master, epic master of the Rune Tables at Noble, OK
That governor who got impeached for trying to sell Obama's senate seat
Miley Cyrus
Joan Rivers
Pat Robertson
Glen Beck
'Papa Bear' Bill O' Reilly
Anderson Copper
FREAKIN NANCY GRACE
NANCY GRACE
NANCY GRACE
NANCY GRACE
NANCY Pelosi
Flavor Flav (Who, until recently, I thought he spelled it "Flavuh" but he spelled it right.)
Ray- J (Don't know who that is. But Ray- J isn't a real name)
Celine Dion
Shakira
J- Lo
Chad Johnson (Ochocinco)
Everyone on every celebrity show (ET, Red Carpet coverage on E. I mean, c'mon. Who REALLY is interested in what suit Clooney is wearing while he goes to win some Oscars? I'd rather watch the Soup. It's waaaay funnier.)
People who are famous for nothing, including...
Paris Hilton
Those three hot chicks in that one new show (Oh wait, there are five shows like that)
The Real Housewives of Whatever County (Or Parish) We Want to Spotlight Next
Nicole Ritchie (My spell check didn't even try to correct that name. I think it's gay.)

Did I mention Justin Beiber?

Heck, there are tons more. And for everyone one of those tards, there are ten waiting to be "discovered". I honestly can't stand these people. They are the bane of me.

I may get famous for this. Then I will become that which I hate. D:

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THAT STUPID KID IS CANADIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gingers: Origins

In the morn of humanity’s existence, when all was new and primitive, humans lived in fear of vampires. Yes, vampires; the blood sucking terrors of the night. But before you disregard this story, pay heed. This isn’t a tale of vampires that are nice to humans. No. This is about a second class race that has preformed first class deeds, not the least of which is making the Vampires extinct. And before you close out and block that thought from your mind, think on this. How many Real Vampires have you seen? How many Gingers have you seen? Exactly.

Ginger Spawn

The Vampires rules everything under the iron fist of King Cladius. The young king of 200 years had his first child, a baby girl. However, this one was different. Before I can tell you the differences, though, I must tell you how Vampires are since fakers like Stephanie Meyer have ruined their image. Vampires are cold, emotionless beings. When I say emotionless, I mean to the humans. They love each other. Now, Vampires do drink blood; human blood. Not that animal blood those stupid “Veggie Vamps” drink. Animal blood literally has no quality to it. But I digress. Vampires are all jet black hair, and black eyes. Pale skin (that doesn’t sparkle in the sun) and they are drawn to darker colors.
Now, Cladius was the king of the Vampire tribe in Sparta. Like the humans, these Vampires were known as the toughest fighters in the world. Cladius’s child was born with pale skin, like a Vampire. However, she had fiery red hair and sapphire blue eyes. Predictably, she was called Ginger. And she was the first Ginger person. The first Ginger was a genetic mutation, a chance.

Exiled

Ginger was trained like all other Vampire children. They were taught to kill prey with speed and stealth from a young age. At this, Ginger failed at first. She was not nearly as fast as a Vampire. Though her mind could react faster, her body wasn’t as fast. Later in the Vampire battle master, Formalis’s, notes he wrote,

“Ginger is stronger than any Vampire I have ever seen. She can produce more damage than any three Vampires at a time. However, her fang venom doesn’t produce. Her saliva, however, as qualities has the wet quality of water, but the burning quality of Greek Fire. She can control whether this weapon is used in its entirety though. In addition, she is immune to Sol. She will turn pink; however, death does not greet her.”

After deliberation, the Vampires condemned Ginger to be executed. However, Cladius made sure she escaped the night before. The redheaded maiden escaped to the capitol of Sparta and settled and had a family. The Ginger race began in chaos.

War

Ginger took a human husband and had many, many children. Centuries passed and Persia was at the door of Spartan; Thermopylae. In these past years, the Vampires migrated to other lands, scared of the Ginger’s betrayal. When Persia attacked Sparta, it seemed as though it would be a simple go find redheads and kill them mission. However, 300 men stood in the way. Led by mighty Leonidus, the 300 Spartans held the Persian invaders back long enough for the rest of Greece to ready itself. This, however, would not have been possible without the Gingers in the Warrior-King’s ranks.

Thanks to their sacrifice, the Ginger race was preserved and Greece maintained its freedom from Persian rule. For thousands of years more, important moments in history were decided between these two races. The Punic Wars between Rome and Persia, Battle of Hastings, the Hundred Years’ War. Roman expansion pushed Vampires back into Gaul, present day France, where they stayed until the French Revolution.

The American Revolution was a tactical defeat and victory for the Gingers, who were represented by the English. France, where the Vampires resided, aided the Americans. The Vampires came too, seeing as how fighting Gingers what they did. When the Gingers realized this, Mort Holmes (leader of the Gingers) called them all to enter France, while the Vampire hordes were away.

When they returned, a Ginger under the alias Maximilien Fran├žois Marie Isidore de Robespierre, a man instrumental in France’s Reign of Terror, called for the killing of those that threatened freedom. These, “oddly enough” were the Vampires. By the time Robespierre was executed by guillotine in 1794, the Vampires were wiped from the Earth, a whisper in history. Thanks to this nameless Ginger, his race is preserved to this day.

Think about it… Gingers are around. No one has seen a legitimate vampire. Ever.

Some Wisdom

Have you ever noticed that it's easier to go down hill, rather than up? Or that breathing at higher altitudes is harder than at lower ones? Is sitting better than standing? Have you noticed that gravity makes falling down infinitely easier than getting up?

Generally, it is easier to go down and do something bad than it is to elevate yourself and do something good. However, there is one exception.

In water, the tendency is to float up to the surface. Why?

Because, when you're in the presence of a life giving object, elevating is easy and falling is hard. When you are in the presence of God, elevating yourself to love others is easier than falling down to degrade.