Sunday, January 2, 2011

Another Year Over, A New One Just Begun

So 2011 rang in as I downed my 4th White Russian. This year crept up on me like an unsightly nose hair does. Time really does seem to speed up as you get older. So what can I say about 2010? Last year was a mixed bag really. It had its ups and downs. My vacation to Asia was probably the highlight of the year. Summer 2010 was actually pretty awesome come to think of it in retrospect. My new extremely demanding job and the stress that goes along with it is probably one of the low points.

I've made no resolutions, and have not really thought much about any hopes or desires for 2011. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christ-mass time


What does Christmas time mean to an atheist? This is the time of the year when we are suppose to spend time with the family and be a little bit more generous. What's wrong with that you ask? Nothing. Nothing at all. Now of course I oppose the supernatural aspects of Christmas: Santa Claus, reindeer, Elves. We can still have the tradition, with out the supernatural elements. Like I said before, Halloween started out as a pagan tradition of dressing up in costumes to scare away evil spirits. We still dress up, but no one does it to scare away spirits anymore. So we can still keep certain traditions if they make sense, or if they are fun and pleasant. Halloween is fun. It allows adults to dress up and act like a kid for a day, or step out of their mundane existence and be a character they fantasize about.

Why not continue the celebration of Christmas? Let's be honest, Christmas in America today is all about consumption and business anyway. Putting a tree in your house was a pagan Scandinavian tradition, and not Christian. The supposed birthday of Jesus, December 25th, is in dispute. There is a plausible case that it might have been a Roman god's birthday that Christians have adopted into their tradition. In anyway, having a holiday that allows you to spend time with the family, especially when you aren't a family-type person like me, is something perhaps needed. Giving a little more is needed as well. Traditions can evolve and they can be purged of all of their supernatural elements, like the way Halloween has for so long.

So I'm not one of those atheists who wages the war on Christmas. Because when you really think of it, Christmas is all about money and consumption, neither of which are religious at all.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, so said Karl Marx.

As an Atheist I reject the supernatural dimension. The material world is all that I believe exists. Recently, I have argued against the idea of fate, controlled by supernatural energy. A lot of "spiritual" people believe that there is energy that contains an intelligence behind it, that goes around fucking with people's lives to teach them a moral lessen. For example, this energy might make you almost get hit by a car, so that you'll appreciate you life more and thus, have a positive affect on your life. It's the idea of fate that I can't stand. It's the idea that supernatural elements are coming into life, and putting obstacles in front of me, challenging me, so that in the end, my struggle will teach me some life lessen that will uplift my character.

Now I don't deny that some struggles in life can in the end, make you a stronger person. What I reject is the idea that there is an intelligence behind it, whether you want to call it god or energy or balance or whatever. When attached to the supernatural dimension, the events in life that are either random, the result of misfortune, or the deeds of people acting in their own free will, this is where I draw the line.

Imagine almost getting hit by a car, and then reflecting on that and appreciating your life more and your loved ones. It's no wonder that so many people are inclined to think that this is fate at work here. I.E. god or spirits made you almost get hit by that car so that you'd value your life more, and respect and cherish those in your life more. Life lesson accomplished, and all that had to happen was for you to come within an inch of your life.

I argue, that could it be possible that it just happened? What about all the events in people's lives that lead to the becoming worse people? Where does fate play into that?

Monday, December 6, 2010

From Queens...


From Queens, the city is an emerald shining from afar. The early morning rays of a golden Sun glisten on thousands of tiny mirrors and reflect back at you. They are a mere twinkle in your eye. The pointy peaks and angled canopies of this metal forest get bigger as you approach aboard a rickety silver machine, passing ethnic neighborhoods as diverse as the world itself. There's the China-man standing next to you with the horrible breath, the Ecuadorian bundled up in a hoodie, face barely visible, the red-headed Mormon reading the Book of Latter Day Saints. You are all headed into the Emerald city to perform some seemingly necessary function that keeps it well oiled and operational. You look around. Some are yuppie suits with office jobs. Others work in restaurants, or in retail. As the train rattles over its skeletal bridge, you glance down at the morning paper with barely enough room to hold it in front of you. This could be any day, why does it have to be today? Your iPod is almost dying. Why does it have to be now? The doors open and let out the masses. Finally you have a chance to read the paper properly. You glance to your peripheral vision. Could this be a seat that has opened up? No, it's too good to be true. It'll be snatched up before you walk over to it. But it isn't. It's still available. You hesitate. Do you really need it as much as the old lady who just walked in? Why don't you let her have it? Keep reading the paper. There a conflict in Korea. The economy still stinks. You think about your job for a moment. Could it be worse not having one? Could you actually be the lucky one who is going to a job? Could your reality be someone else's dream? Then suddenly you realize you're not in Queens anymore. You're in the city. Hurry up and get to work young man, you'll be late.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Something Else To Mix With Soda


I was thinking of maybe taking this blog in a whole new direction. Perhaps writing more about my personal life and thoughts, and my experiences being a young man in contemporary New York. Sure there are thousands already doing that, but no one quite like me. No one is as crazy and weird. I got back into partying on the weekends. I love going out and meeting new people and losing myself in the moment. There's more to life than just being an Atheist. I can comment on each experience, each situation from an Atheistic perspective.

Saturday nights are best spent very intoxicated, and around a lot of people. A cool bar or lounge will do. A loud club will do too, on some occasions. Making out with a cute girl you just met on the dance floor will definitely do. Running your fingers through her hair while inhaling her scent will do even better. Getting kicked out of a bar after being falsely accused of selling cocaine in it will definitely not do. Looking for more girls to talk to after already making out with one is, well, what you do when you're drunk.

I'm in a weird state of affairs right now. I kind of want to settle down, and be monogamous to one special girl. But then a part of me wants to live the party life that is oh so glamorized. I suppose the right girl can change everything. Is there anything immoral about that lifestyle of debauchery and carnal lust? Everything in moderation is what I believe in, but periods of indulgence are hard to refrain from.

I have to admit that I have not forgotten how fun it was to party every weekend. During my college years, I was working the night shift as a security guard on the weekend. I was taking night classes and that was leaving me with literally no time for any partying. I was sleeping all day and working all night. There was a 2 year period where I think I might have went out less than a half-dozen times. 2008 was the most boring year of my life. This period of my life was my sacrifice, it was my propitiation, but of course not to any god. It was what I had to do to get where I am today, with not only a degree, or a job, but with a career. I have every right to party my ass off now. I sacrificed more than 2 years of the prime of my life, often falling into deep depression because of it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More on Morality from an Atheistic Perspective


I still haven't forgotten religion, oh no no no. It is still a near constant on my mind. And while I may dabble in other topics, religion to me and Atheism is and always will be, the cornerstone of this blog.

I feel like I am almost writing the same things over and over again. I don't want to be repetitive, or redundant, but I do however, want to make sure that with this blog, I tackle every angle from the Atheist perspective. While continuing to watch debates on religion, and argue religion to all those that wish to challenge me on it, or any other aspect of my philosophy, Atheism and morality is one sphere I wish to dwell on a bit more.

The origin of morality is one area that many Theists believe to hold the moral high ground. They claim, that without an objective moral provider, all morality is a matter of opinion. For example, if person A thinks that killing and eating person B is morally right, than person B is in no position to assert that person A is wrong. It is only person B's opinion that person A is wrong. Without an objective, external source of moral authority, let's say person C, who says that person A in this case is morally wrong for wanting to kill and eat person B, than we are only left with subjective, and often self-serving morality. Meaning, person B thinks it's wrong for person A to kill and eat him only because he doesn't want to die, and person A thinks it's right to kill and eat person B because it would satisfy his desire.

This is a basic scenario used by many Theists to explain the importance of having a God, represented by person C, to provide clear and defined objective morality. I've never been too persuaded by this argument, for the following reasons. First, the idea of an objective moral provider makes me cringe, because it is really, when you think about it, just another opinion. It's god's opinion, and doesn't necessarily lay claim to the best possible moral decision regarding the situation. For example, in the hypothetical scenario above, if god (person C) sided with person A, in that killing and eating person B was indeed morally right, would that suddenly be true? Would it abruptly be moral for person A to kill and eat person B, because god said it was so? Would we as a society embrace such an act, because a very powerful and opinionated god sanctioned it? Or would we, in spite of the opinion of an angry and jealous god, condemn such an act? In the most simple terms possible, what do we do with do with an immoral moral objective authority?

It seems to be that the Christian, Islamic and Judaic perspective, has basically taken the position that yes, god is not always fair, and not always moral, but he's the boss and he makes the rules. Therefore, we must obey god's command, even if it doesn't always make sense, or if we have difficulty discerning the moral outcome. Atheists reject this idea and make it one of our key arguments against religion. Why embrace a moral that seems immoral, simply because it is believed to come from a powerful god? Why cancel out commonsense or scientific truth because a book says otherwise? Religions are filled with examples of morality coming from god, that if practiced today, would be so far removed from contemporary moral norms. Was it moral for god to command the Jews to exterminate all their rival tribes, keeping only the marriageable girls? Christians and Jews think it was because the objective moral authority said so.

Dreams of Summer


It's late November and the weather has just started to get really cold, an indication that Winter is on its way. The trees are mostly naked, with just a few of the strongest leaves managing to cling on. I brace myself for another Winter: Short days, fierce winds, hats, and gloves; shivering on the platform while waiting for the train to arrive; dirty, mucky slush hardening on the edges of my shoes.

Just recently, since I started my new job and have been hectic and busy, I started reminiscing about last Summer. My vacation to Asia, looking back at it now, was so amazing. I rarely get to appreciate moments like that as they happen. Instead, months or years later I get to think back and wish I was relaxing on that sandy beach, or navigating the urban canyons of that far off exotic city.

Oh I wish I could turn the clock back just a few months. I love vacations, and I especially do when I don't have to pay for them. I loved being able to lounge around with no obligations to worry about. I love being in some exotic locale, different in every way from where I live. I love hearing different languages, smelling new foods, seeing different streets and architecture.

When I travel, I often stay at people's houses, from either relatives or friends. I love that feeling being in someone else's home, that is designed according to the local culture. The smell of the traditional food, the chirping of birds I don't hear in New York, the lizards crawling on the walls.

Oh I yearn for warm tropical air. I mean, Winter has its niceties, but there is something about Summer that I just can't get over. It always seems to be over just as you find out you're having so much fun with it. I guess I could move to Miami, it's like 80 degrees there now. But, maybe it's best that Summer happens for just a few short months. It makes it that much more memorable. Much like how we cherish a rose, only because we know that it will die in a few weeks.

And while I long for Summer's embrace and my recent vacation, I noticed that I didn't actually write much about it. I think I had devoted one or two posts to my Asian expedition. I suppose I would have written about it more in depth. Perhaps another time. Until then, I will dream of palm trees, and fresh coconut juice, and laying carefree on a mountain of pillows, as I slowly close my eyes.

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