Archive for the ‘odds -n- ends’ Category

Question for the religious

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

So I was reading something on FB that was reposted and somehow ended up in front of me.  As I’m sure you’ll easily deduce, it’s from parents of a child with cancer.  Here’s the post:

Scream it from the rooftops, that our God is Able!!!! We praise God this morning for the wonderful news from DJ’s MRI yesterday. Me Ashlei and DJ’s doctor all hugged and cried tears of joy and happiness when she gave us the results. This is absolutely the best bday/father’s day gift I could ever ask for. I can’t thank God enough for what he’s doing in DJ’s life. Also thank you all for your continued prayers. God is listening to them all. I’ll never fully know the reasoning that we were placed on this journey but I pray that God be glorified by it. Remember nothing is impossible for God, don’t put limitations on what he can do. He wants us to make our request known to him. We look forward to sharing many more praise reports with our Team DJ family. We can’t tell you thank you enough for all y’all do.

Now, as much as I feel for this family and I’m happy that their son is receiving good news about his condition, and I truly am, I have a question.

In this post the father gives God all the credit for the good news, and even goes so far as to say, “I can’t thank God enough for what he’s doing in DJ’s life.”  This one sentence alone was enough to give me pause and then ask,
“But isn’t God the one who gave him cancer in the first place?”

This has ALWAYS confused me about religious people.  They say God is all powerful and nothing happens in this world without his divine touch.
So I ask them what about murder and war.
To that they answer, “God gives man free will. Man is responsible for those things.”
Then I say. Well. Okay. But what about everything else that Man has no control over?
That’s when I get the canned answer, “That’s God testing our faith.”

Really, God is testing the faith of children, by starving them and killing them, and doing the most horrible things imaginable to them…  Small children?  Babies?  If God is what the Christians say he is, then he’s powerful enough to stop the suffering of all children everywhere, right?  Unless of course he’s a sick fuck that enjoys the suffering of children, and causes it.  So either God is a horrible being, or God doesn’t really exist.  Which is it?

So what, is the faith of the DJ’s father and mother being tested right now?  Because I’m pretty sure that they’ve consumed the KoolAid in mass amounts.  And as sure as I am about that… I’m pretty sure that if DJ knew that somebody was forcing this upon him… as some sort of test, a test he really couldn’t fully understand.  He’d probably tell the sick bastard to fuck off.

Blind belief is a scary thing.  I wish at some point, people could have a moment of pure logic.  Just 5 minutes worth would be enough.

Think of it this way.  If you saw a child running into traffic, and you had it in your capability to simply grab the child’s hand and prevent them from meeting a horrible end, would you do it?  You know nothing of the child, and the child doesn’t even know or care if you exist.  Would you still do it?

Now consider this, the Christian GOD, would not.
And even by the Christian standards…  God would only do it… If asked, by a lot of people. “…thank you all for your continued prayers. God is listening to them all.”
Sounds like a nice guy, huh.

Consider further this, “I’ll never fully know the reasoning that we were placed on this journey but I pray that God be glorified by it.”

The above statement alone is bizarre.  It’s like he’s saying.  I know my child is suffering, but I’d like to stroke Gods ego, and thank him for doing this to our child.  It’s truly a wonderful thing.  WTF?!!

So I continue my search for enlightenment, in hopes of finding a redeeming aspect to Christianity. Something that makes sense.  Because I’d really like to have that look and feeling of complete ignorant faith.  I just can’t find it.

Short attention spans

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

We’re constantly complaining about short attention spans in today’s society.    I’ve heard a lot of reasons for the shortness of attention, with blame being thrown at video games and texting, and even at, “kids are just lazy.”

But as I was thinking about it, I thought about some other changes as well.  I don’t doubt that the other reasons I mentioned are partially to blame, but what about other factors?   As I thought about the changes, it occurred to me that most of them had to do with technology (with the exception of laziness, but then perhaps the laziness was also a side effect of tech).

So what else has changed that might have also contributed to this sudden lack of attention?  Media.  Think of the world before the internet.  That’s not that long ago. Information; You’d receive information such as news, through your TV and before CNN, it was only thrown at you twice a day. Once at 6pm, and again (usually same news) at 11pm.  Before that, you had only the newspaper. Even  with  Basic cable, you still only had 36 channels to choose from.  That’s not that many.  But now, things have changed dramatically.

Now you are being bombarded with information.  It no longer comes at you once or twice a day.  Back then,  school was as much information as one person could stand for a day.  You could soak up a chapter of a math book, dive into a brief section of history, and still finish that book report by Friday.  You’d skip the evening news and still feel like you couldn’t absorb anything else for the day.  But not today.  You still have those things, but now you’re completely submerged in information, constantly.  News headlines, Sports scores, comics, Facebook updates, chat windows, stock tickers, temperatures (outside your house and outside your friend’s houses), Alerts, Notifications, Aps screaming at you to feed your farm animals!!!!   AHHHHH!!!   That’s within the first 10 seconds of you waking up. 

Your life revolves around instantaneous information being thrown at you from all angles.  You no longer have the luxury of being slowly filtered the information at designated times of your day.  Our attention span has had to adapt to this constant flow of information.  And for good reason, well over half the information you receive is of absolutely of no use to you.  Sure some of it is amusing, and some of it is interesting, but the majority is completely worthless.  And that’s where your attention span saves you from most of it.  You skim right over everything, and don’t waste too much time on the worthless garbage.  

Your brain tries to compensate for this information overload by quickly assessing the information, retaining its key points, and discarding further interest to avoid wasting time so it may move on to something that MAY be more important.  This of course is not without its drawbacks. A lesser understanding of what you are reading is sacrificed for the number of subjects you flip through.  A simple case of quantity of quality. 

I have yet to decide how this affects the ability to judge what is important and what isn’t. The constant skimming over subjects doesn’t limit itself to just the media on your cellphone, tablet, TV, computer… It continues to your every-day interactions.  You lose interest in conversation, or the ability to listen beyond the first ten seconds of conversation.  This is bad, because you are now conditioned to expect the person you are talking to, to give you a Flash Headline of what that conversation is going to be about, before you have the chance to truly dive into the details.  Details are what we are losing these days.  Worse yet, is that conversations in general are going to be melted down into brief synopses and the art of detailing is going to be lost.  Each person fearing that in order to be heard they have to blurt out the most outrageous headline or point of interest in order to be heard for ten seconds.  There is already much more truth to this than we know.  Even before technology came to pass, we would have to go above and beyond, just to be heard.  But now… Now the struggle to keep someone’s attention is all but lost, where it was once an art form.

Our brains comprehend more these days.  We’re able to accept and then expand upon knowledge that was once completely inconceivable to generations before us. But, we are losing the race at keeping up with technology.  As we train our brains, not to retain information but how to access it from the world wide web, we are slowly losing the ability to analyze the details of the information we are accessing.  Yes, I can find you information on just about anything in about ten seconds or less.  But I doubt I’ll be able to retain anything more than its basic headline or the search criteria I used to find it.

So yeah, our attention spans are short. Why? Because we cannot handle the amount of information we’re gobbling up at record pace.  The good information, the bad information, and the ugly information, it doesn’t matter, as long as it grabs us for the first ten seconds, we’ll skip the fine print.  This isn’t going away any time soon and sadly we’re losing our thirst for details. It’s not an even trade.

Are there consequences to free speech?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Free speech.  It’s one of the most important rights we have as Americans.  It is a foundation to which others strive to achieve in when building a new democracy. 

In this country, most don’t understand what it means. They lose sight of the fact that protecting speech is to protect unpopular speech, not just particular views and popular public sentiments.  All speech of all types, must be able to be shared both publically and privately, from individuals who want their thoughts and ideas heard.  Period.   

There are of course, exceptions to this rule where speech can endanger the lives of others…  I get that. And in most cases it’s a very valid point. You shouldn’t go around screaming “FIRE” in crowded areas where people could possibly be trampled to death.  That’s just common sense.  So yeah, that’s out.

Dangerous exceptions aside, I wonder about the other forms of speech. 

Now,  let me give you a little bit of context of where this is coming from, so you may better see where this is going.  Most of you are familiar with The Westboro Baptist Church, and their pension for spreading the word of HATE wherever they go, picketing fallen soldiers funerals and such…  I know you know them.  I mean, they are the ultimate Trolls, hands down.  Now, I know logically the best way to deal with a Troll is to simply ignore them, they hate that, but what if I didn’t want to?  To what level does an opposing force of speech have the right to push back against something that they find offensive?  I don’t mean to use violence.  No forms of speech justify the act of violence. EVER.  It’s simply not negotiable.  But does that mean that hate speech is free of consequence of other speech?  Let me clarify…

If abortion protesters hold up a picture of a partially aborted fetus, I find that gross and offensive.  But if opposition protesters hold up a picture of two people having sex, why is it that they can be arrested? I find one GREATLY LESS offensive than the other, and I could make a convincing argument that would back up the fact that most people would agree. Yet in this country sex is still taboo  (heads up their asses). 

Anyway back to what I was saying. Consequence of your actions, in this case hate speech.   Is it free? Yes, and it should be.  Should it have a consequences?  I don’t think it’s a matter of should it have consequences, rather it should be more like, what are the legal rights of opposing speech?  Should I not be allowed to use the same methods of speech as then next person?  Wouldn’t a half aborted baby be justifiably combated with an equally extreme porn scene of Jesus and Mary?  At what point is that line drawn?  If I were to go to one of these Westboro lunatic protests and surround them with Mapplethorpe Images, would I be the one in trouble?  As it sits now, yes.  I would probably be arrested.

But what is the consequence for hate speech?  There are consequences for everything we do, everything we say… regardless of whether or not the speech is protected.  Yes you may absolutely say whatever you like…  but shouldn’t you also be prepared to be held accountable to the words you say and suffer the wrath of the people you attack?  This is my problem.  I’m not sure.  My guttural instinct says, “YES! They should be accountable and face whatever punishment comes to them by hands of those they speak against!”  While the logical side of me says, “Let them be. This is why the freedom of speech is so important. So that we may speak our minds without fear of reprisal or punishment.”  This tears at me.  I know the logical side is right, and I try to apply this to a scenario in which I am the one benefiting from free speech.  I should be able to speak my mind without fear.  That is the entire point.   But man… sometimes.  Sometimes I just want to go over there, surround them in gay porn and blare the most offensive music I can think of, directly at them. All Day Long.  Shouldn’t they understand that some of the things they say may come back to them?  Shouldn’t they expect a level of consequence to their actions?  I dunno, nor is it for me to judge.