Friday, July 29, 2011

What is a "Good" Christian?

For the past few months I've been asking myself am I friendly atheist or an angry atheist.  Is it better to be one over the other?  I like to believe for the most part I am a friendly atheist...until it no long a time to be friendly.  I thank both Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist blog and P.Z. Myers of the Pharyngula blog, both spectrum.

Now, events of the past week have made me ask, what is a good Christian?  How do Christians justify their "goodness"?  The first even of the recent past was the tragedy that occurred in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, a self professed "Crusader for Christ" is detailed in his manifesto.  Yes, we know that Breivik is irrational, but what prompted that irrationality to manifest itself as violence?  Was it his interpretation of the Word?  Was he a good Christian? What about the murderer, Scott Roeder,  of abortion doctor George Tiller, killed leaving his church?  Was he a good Christian? 

Yes, Breivik and Roeder, not necessarily in their right minds.  But what I believe is truly disturbing is the lack of outrage and outright refusal by Christians to publicly denounce these or any tragic events.  The silence of Christians is probably the most frightening aspect of their religion.  If you believe something is wrong, do something about it!  Stop being silent, sure believe in whatever faith you have, but show some indignation!

This silence is not limited to acts of violence committed by Christians, but by what Christian "leaders" say.  Where is the furor from all Christians when Pat Robertson blames Hurricane Katrina on the "gays" and saying "Haiti had a pact with the devil".  Where are the good Christians when Bill O'Reilly from Faux Fox News is saying Breivik isn't Christian. 

Even closer to home, looks of disdain when an atheist is brave enough to wear a shirt or symbol of his atheism.  Yes this happens!  Where are you good Christian person?  An atheist was recently on Fox News speaking about the World Trade Center cross controversy.  As a result, his facebook page has been flooded with death threats of the most violent and horrific nature.

Yup, I'm a good atheist.  I'll listen to your point of view (won't agree with it unless there it evidence).  I will support your first amendment rights.  I will be your friend.  But if you want my respect, if you want to be a good Christian, start standing up for what you know is true!  Stand up for what you know is right!  Until then, I'll still be your friend, but respect?  That has to be earned and I have seen very few Christians come out and be brave enough to say something.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camp Quest -- A great experience!

My amazing daughter just completed a week at Camp Quest Chesapeake.  I have been thinking of sending my daughter to a summer camp for a while, however, most of the sleep away camps are religious of nature.  So when Camp Quest came to the Chesapeake region, this was a great opportunity.  Definitely had some reservations in reading about the Camp Quest discussions about world wide views, but after talking with Camp Director Sarah Menon, but fears were alleviated. 

With the week complete, all I knew about what was going on at camp were a few random updates on the Camp Quest Chesapeake facebook page. What does "All Hail Pancakes" mean?  Ahh, we were dieing to find out how she was doing.  Pick up day arrived, there was her smile; her mom and I couldn't wait to hear all the details.  "Pancakes" is not a food, it is a person, makes breakfast pancakes and is also the camp lifeguard...too cool!  So we ask here what was the best part of camp, I almost cried when she said "Everyone was just so nice to each other."  How great is that to hear?  Wow!  Just Wow!   The Washington Post just wrote an article about the camp.  Amazing, they reflect the same sentiments as my daughter.

A quote from Camp Director Sarah Menon about what the kids believe in,

"They believe in critical and creative thinking.
They believe in mutual respect and
living ethically." 

Now what they need is a Camp Quest Chesapeake for adults while the kids are at the camp having water fights and Hailing Pancakes.


Anything but an Atheist

Wow!  What a powerful, sad, encouraging video of what is happening in the United States right now. Anything but an Atheist... states the facts about the plight of atheists.  What I find particularly encouraging is the bravery of the young people coming out as atheists in this environment.  So much for Christian love.  And if  you are Christian, you know this is happening, but what are you doing to prevent it?  Are you practicing the word of your Jesus?  Are you showing love to what you proclaim are sinners?  Are you telling/showing/demonstrating to your fellow Christians that you should not be haters?  I highly doubt it.

What is said in the video is absolutely true.  I have (what I consider) a friend with whom I work with.  We had a discussion about politics/religion.  He said outright that he "would never vote for an atheist!" Despite the fact that I am a good person, a friend, he knows that I want what is best for society, he would not vote for me if I were to run for office.  Asking him why?  He replies, "all people need a source for their morals".  I was sort of hurt, but also felt sorry for him somewhat, that his source for morality comes from the Bible.  Ugh!  Probably the most violent piece of fiction ever written. 

What can we do?  Speak out!  Demonstrate our morals!  Show we are all good people!  Get involved in politics!  Become activists! 

Again, a great video.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting Healthy 2.0

I really hate to call it a diet, it must be more of a lifestyle change.  I realize what I must do to accomplish my goals.  I have done my due diligence as I always do when starting a project.  I have created a spreadsheet with my starting statistics, height, weight, BMI, and the scary number of inches around body parts.  As well, I will be keeping track of protein, carb, fats.  The following ratios worked well for me in the past and seem to be a consensus on many websites, 50% protein, 30% carbs, 20% fats.  Water intake will be at least 48 oz/day.  Finally, I will not be eating after 6 pm if I can help it.

This is going to suck so bad!  Will go for a run if I fell hungry, but this is going to kill me.  Well, if I don't do this I'll kill be killing myself.

Workouts goals are to be at least 30 minutes of cardio/day (running/biking/swimming) and lifting at least three times/week.  This will be easy to do when school starts as I'll be biking everyday, parking at school will be a nightmare.

Beginning Stats - July 25
Weight -- Too much
BMI - 43.5
Sum of Inches (230) neck, chest, waist, thigh, calf, belly

The Fight Against Obesity -- Honest View

I am once again way too obese.  I can see the concern in my wife's eyes and even a little in my daughters innocent young eyes.  Now, the question, how did I get this way?  Easy, eat too much, exercise too little.  Now you say that is an easy cure, eat less and exercise more.  Well, no kidding!  You think I don't know this?  To "normal" people out there, do you realize that I never feel full! Never! You would think two donuts is plenty, try a dozen.  Four slices of pizza? Only enough if a large extra large pizza is cut into four slices. 

Recently, some very brave bloggers have shared their issues with the world.  Jen McCreight, The Blag Hag, writes about her battle with Dermatillomania. you can read about it here. Or JT Eberhard's battle against anorexia, he has talked about it often, you can read about it here.  Jen and JT, I thank you for your openness, it helps me talking about what I am going through.  NPR just posted a story about a woman's battle to shed weight and the shame she feels, I see everything she says in my own life. 

Those who know me, know that I hate losing.  Really hate losing (so losing weight is tough, ha ha).  So, today I will be trying to start a "New Way of Life" again.  Eating healthy, well proportioned meals, exercising, and continuing to talk about the struggles.  Will I be downing multiple double cheeseburgers in the future?  Probably, but then not to let it continue.  It is so tough!  But with support, planning, and my desire, hopefully I could get down to a healthy weight by next summer.  I'm going to be posting on a weekly basis my status and what is happening, I'd appreciate any help you can give me.  If you see me sneaking that 1st, 2nd, or 10th donut, tell me.  I won't get pissed.  I need your help.



Writing was extremely difficult for me when I was younger, actually, it wasn't until grad school that I believe I became an accomplished writer.  No longer is one sentence sufficient to describe Hamlet's feelings about the loss of Ophelia, "pretty shitty" just doesn't cut it anymore. 

The reason I've started this blog is in deference to by friends and family.  Of late, I've been posting my feelings and be very blunt about those feelings.  As a result, it has been suggested that I have crossed the line.  Looking back, probably, but I'm not one for holding in my feelings and I will say things as I see them.  I have always had to work on my empathy, it is getting better, but being irrational and/or unthinking, gives me the right to call you (or anyone) out.  If you want to say George Bush (the last one) was a great president, I will roll my eyes, and unleash a whole lot of facts to prove you wrong.  You better be prepared.  This also goes for religion (almost a twice daily occurrence), education, politics, and just people in general. 

My mantra is to be cool to be each other.  A very good tag line from the movie Roadhouse (yup, on everyday and still watch it), Dalton tells the bouncers to 3 simple rules, the third rule is "be nice", if they are idiots, "be nice", but once you cross that line, "I'll tell you to stop being nice".  So if you see a post here that is pretty argumentative, I have thought much about it before posting.

On this blog, I will discuss religion/politics (unfortunately in the USA, these two are linked), activism (atheistic), education, math, science, and as a non-sequitur -weight-loss (binge eating, yo-yo dieting, exercise, bulimia).  That last one will be difficult to write about.