My Faith

Posted: January 4, 2014 in religion
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For the better part of the last 17 years, I’ve questioned my faith. At best, I’m an agnostic that sometimes borders on atheism, and other times Christianity. Dying scares me. Sometimes when I’m trying to go to sleep, it’s all I can think about. “What happens when we die? Do we disappear, our consciousness and memories lost forever? Or is there some higher plane of existence, like Heaven?”

I’m not so arrogant to think that I have all the answers. And not having that information, not knowing definitively what happens after we die, scares the ever loving shit out of me. I have near panic attacks thinking that this is all there is, that I’ll miss out on so many awesome things in the future.

But when I get to feeling that way, I just think to myself that you can’t create something out of nothing. Time had to have a beginning. Scientists say this universe may not be the first to exist. But there had to be a first. And it had to have been made out of something. Where did that something come from?

The only thing that makes sense to me is that someone or something that exists outside of time and space, as we understand it, made it happen. Whether it was Jehova, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, the flying spaghetti monster (which I think is the least likely…), or whichever deity you choose to follow, I don’t know. But it makes me believe that there could be something to all these stories of God(s), angels, devils, demons, prophets, and an afterlife.

This is what I choose to believe. I can neither prove it nor disprove it. I know most people won’t take this theory seriously. And that’s fine. But it’s what gives me the strength to keep going.

Rights

Posted: June 15, 2013 in constitution, freedom, politics
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“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 4th Amendment, though not explicitly stating we have a right to privacy, does explicitly affirm it. In recent days, the 4th has been in the spotlight, and rightfully so. However, all of our rights are in danger. We need to stop thinking about rights that come from government or the constitution. Rights are not something someone gives to us. Rights that are given can be taken away, and if they can be taken away they aren’t rights, but privileges.

No, our rights aren’t given to us by anyone. We have these rights the moment we’re born. These rights are innate in each and every one of us and therefore cannot be taken away.

The constitution merely states these rights. It doesn’t grant them. Once we start thinking about our rights as innate and not granted, we’ll finally understand we hold power over the government, not the other way around.

I find it both hilarious and severely disconcerting how the same people who harangued George Bush about his foreign policy and civil liberties records are giving Obama a free pass, even though he exceeds anything Bush did. Now everything’s about the economy, where they offer tenuous evidence at best of how Obama lowered the deficit.

That’s a pretty good misdirection, but there should be an important distinction. Even if he’s lowered the deficit (which is impossible for him to do without the assistance of congress, more importantly the House, where all budgetary matters originate), economic freedom has declined, small businesses have been stifled due to an overburden of regulations that big businesses approve of because they scare off competition, and taxes on the majority of citizens have increased.That’s his economic legacy, along with Bush.

His foreign policy is abysmal. Drone strikes in countries we’re allied with. War or the threat of war with countries who pose no threat to us. Indefinite detention of enemy combatants (a term loosely defined by the administration). Sound familiar?

His domestic policy doesn’t fare any better. Illegal wiretapping of citizens. Illegal GPS surveillance. Indefinite detention of citizens without due process. Raiding legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Deporting more immigrants than Bush ever dreamed of.

And now, thanks to a Glenn Beck tweet, there’s a controversy over the casting of Mendhi Ouazanni as Satan in the Bible miniseries because he bears a passing resemblance to Obama. You know, if he was older, darker, Moroccan, and looked like Emperor Palpatine.

But hey, the economy’s getting better.

Ever since I joined Facebook in 2008 my news feed has seen probably hundreds of posts about how the world would be a better place if only kids could read the bible in school or if God was allowed in school. Or that they need God in order to be good citizens.

To address the points about religion in school: kids are in school for approximately seven hours a day for 5 days a week. Assuming they sleep 8 – 9 hours a day, that leaves ~9 hours a day for homework, chores, family time, etc. Somewhere in there could be bible reading time. If you feel your kids need to read the bible, schedule some time for that at home. And as far as allowing God in school, if you keep Him in your heart (like you’re supposed to), no walls and no laws can separate you.

To the last point: does a person need God, or any deity, to be a good person? To say that’s true is the same as saying all Christians are good citizens and everyone else is bad. If you truly are a Christian you wouldn’t judge someone, let alone billions of people, just because they may have a different view than you.

How much of my money doesn’t belong to me? How much of the money I earn with my own two hands should be used to fund someone else’s retirement? Or their health care? Or anything for anyone, without my approval?

Has anyone who advocates for any government welfare program ever considered that maybe, just maybe, people would be more charitable if they got to keep more of their money? I bring home $490 out of my check every week. I send $110 every week to the government under the agreement that that money will help pay for the defense of this country, my health care when I’m old, and my retirement.

Instead, that money is used for unconstitutional nation building, other people’s health care, and other people’s retirement. Social Security trust fund? Doesn’t exist. A doctor that accepts Medicare or Medicaid? Fewer every day. Defending the country? Sure, if you count wars against countries which have done nothing to us and assassinating American citizens without a trial defending our country.

The plain truth is that anyone, including the government, that claims a stake on my money without my having voluntarily given it, is claiming a stake on a piece of your life. That equates to slavery. 

Every man is free to pursue his own selfish ends so long as he doesn’t infringe on or impede the right of someone else to do the same.

So, after months of reading (been working A LOT of overtime lately), I’ve finally finished Corey Taylor’s Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good. I’ve gotta say, even after being a fan of Corey’s music for years, I’m stilled awed by his talent…musically and, now, as an author.

He takes on everyone in this book: God, religious fanatics, politicians, bad musicians, etc., in trying to undo the millinia of brainwashing making us believe natural human behavior is a sin. And while I disagree with some of his musings (a diatribe near the end of the book against Republicans deregulating industries while they’re in power is, in my opinion, misguided), he makes you rethink what “sins” really are.

He uses personal experiences- some good, some bad- and his ability to overcome them to prove his point. And while I’ve been leery of the validity of “deadly sins” for years, I now have more ammo in my arsenal while discussing the matter.

If you’re a deeply religious person who is closed-minded to anything athiest related, move along. You won’t find a safe harbor for your beliefs here. If you’re like me, however, and have a thirst to strengthen your knowledge base, no matter the source, you should read this book.

Nothing he wrote shook my faith. For years, I’ve held the belief that since man is fallible and man transcribed the Bible (or whichever religious faith you ascribe to), there’s a good chance much was omitted from the final version, or much was written down incorrectly, so all we really have to go by are our gut feelings and life experiences. I still believe in a Creator. I just don’t believe he wants us to live our lives sheltered from life.

So Corey, I commend your effort to open the minds of the masses. I’ll do my part to help you get your message across.

Convenience Fees

Posted: December 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Not understanding the backlash on Verizon for wanting to institute a $2 fee for over the phone and internet payments. It’s not a monthly charge and only occurs under those two uses. Sign up for auto pay, mail your payment, or pay in a store to avoid paying an extra $2. “Convenience fees” are nothing new and help companies pay for new tech, research, and/or make current services more efficient.

By the way, the market worked like it should. Verizon announced a change to one of their services, consumers voiced their opinion, Verizon canceled the change. Many will claim the change of heart came only after the FCC voiced concern over the fee, and that’s a very distinct possibility. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. (I’ll not go into why I think the FCC should stay out of these types of business decisions.)