Friday, December 30, 2005

a bit better

as of today i'm feeling okay on only 400mg of ibuprofen! its only been two and a half weeks--i still hurt when the dose wears off but its an improvement. yay.

Friday, December 23, 2005


is the devil. i'm not in dire i-need-narcotics pain anymore, but my body wants them. i didn't use 'em more than 10 days, moderate doses...yep, i'm a shaky, achy, weepy bag of withdrawal symptoms. I think my last post was reflective of this--apparently darvocet withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to "Chekovian fatalism, Kierkegaardian existentialism, and teen angst."

Friday, December 16, 2005

educational videos

I've just had my wisdom teeth out, and though the swelling is slowly fading i'm not yet back on solid foods and i'm still hurtin' a good deal. I've been laid up and doped up with ice around my jaw, reading webcomics and getting the Boy to read me stories since tuesday, so i've had a lot of time to let my mind wander.

I've come to the realization that what we need in America is a new "prohibited" sign for public buildings--in addition to those forbidding concealed firearms, dogs, smoking, cell phones, solicitation, and chewing gum, we need a sign that reads "no theism." you could even make it graphical--containing as many different symbols for religions (or rebellion against such) as you can possibly cram into 4"x4"--so that even illiterate bible thumpers know the rules. These can be glue-backed or static cling so they can be displayed on doors and windows of buildings where religious bias and voiciferous theistic or atheistic sentiments are not allowed. These decals are a must for any government office or state-supported institution such as public education and healthcare and should also be available for purchase by business and homeowners in office-supply stores.

Applying one of these decals to your home or office should not indicate to your guests or clients anything about the beliefs of the owners or employees, but rather it should serve as a reminder to everyone present that the establishment functions without concern for it. In that way we can ensure that children are not being taught christianity or atheism in the classroom--they can be taught science--that is, what can be learned through experiment and analysis. We can be sure that women can get their prescriptions for birth control filled and their abortions performed if need be, but they are not pressured into preventing birth if they don't want to. We can be sure government spending is not skewed toward or away from any religious group. We can be sure all behavior surrounding sex can be universally understood from a biological perspective--whatever else you want to teach it is your buisness within the walls of your church or home. The function of the "no theism" sign is clear--"if you choose to enter this establishment, kindly leave your religion outside."

That said, since chances are that idea won't catch on, the secular world could actually do what the religiosos are accusing them of doing and distribute anti-religious literature on the other side of the street from them. While the First Self-Righteous Church of Columbia has their youth group stuffing "Jesus is the only way to heaven" pamphlets into the hands of every drunken college student in 5 Points, an equally loud and obnoxious team of youngsters can thrust "religion is for followers" pamphlets in the stumbling student's other hand and both can look dissatisfied when the kid vomits on them and throws them away. As Americans we have the freedom to speak up about whatever beliefs we choose, but rarely do you see people (at least in the south) using said freedom for anything except Christianity and racism. Personally, i'd love to see a table set up at the next university fresher's week handing out educational videos discouraging new students from joining the Campus Crusade for Christ (et al)--not because i don't want students to join the groups, but just to throw in a bit of variety. It'd be great--i can hear the introduction now:

"Hello, and welcome to "Secularism and You." In the next twenty minutes we'll take an in-depth look at the benefits of the religion-free, worry-free lifestyle that you can enjoy absolutely free of charge in just two easy steps. By the end of this video tutorial we hope you will gain the confidence to just say "no" the next time you are asked to join a religious group or student bible study--it'll be the right choice."

I'd imagine the two easy steps would be something like "1. recognize that religion is a human invention stemming from mankind's inherent fear of the unknown." and "2. affirm that there will always be things you don't know and get on with your life. have a nice day." Oh if only the Preston kids were still radical lunatics this pro-social effort might be realized. Curse my laziness--i'd never spearhead it myself. I'd also like to see a "leave me alone" political party formed, but that's something of an oxymoron so nevermind. wow my next round of pain meds just kicked in. I should probably stop typing before this stops being incoherent drivel and becomes incoherent drivel with spelling errors. wheee.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I would really like a big umbrella that looks like the little ones that go into cocktails. Anyone ever seen one?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Atheism in America

I had a startling revelation yesterday that I thought I'd share before my brain clouded over with the stress of exam week.

When I studied in southeast England, I learned that atheism was a-okay. Uni kids didn't form huge religious clubs or outreach programs, nobody ever passed out bibles on streetcorners--even in Canterbury--and I was never harassed into any pro/anti-theistic debate because not only did very few people take the concept of an oversoul seriously, but nobody cared either way. The country was not theistic or atheistic, it was apathetic. How wonderful.

If you look at the CIA Factfile on the UK and scroll down to "Religion" you get this spread:

Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census) (

So, when filling out censuses, about 75% of people do claim some sort of church affiliation. But when you watch the news over there, at least once a week an archbishop or other religious head will be on, complaining that there is a national deficit of churchgoing types. (I'd imagine they try to get on the news whenever they have two weeks or more when nobody shows) Moreover, you have to pay to get into the really neat historic churches around there simply because the people who run it are fully aware that nobody is seriously going in to pray. They just want to wander around and look at the neat architecture. I think most of them are free on Sunday mornings, but then you have to sit and listen. What it looks like, then, is that people still go through the motions of baptizing their children and claiming some sort of belief structure just for simplicity's sake--so that when they have to fill out surveys and censuses they don't have to write "hmm, never thought about it, really" and try and figure out what school of thought they fall into.

That's what British Atheism is, though! It is not a conscious rejection of theology or an inner philosophical debate between the two major schools of thought...British folks just don't care. They're not bothered by it either way and so contentedly live their secular lives--they work, they love, they play, they grieve--without being encumbered the psychological onus that is religion.

I can't do that, unfortunately. I was raised in the American southeast where if you're not Christian, your family gets angry with you and your friends try to change you. (This hasn't happened much since i got into university but middle and high schools were quite another matter.) I went to church for about four years in middle and high schools--a very tiny Presbyterian Church of America run by a fanatic who was so terrified that his attractive teenage daughter would get knocked up that he wanted everybody in the church under age 18 to come to the front and sign a Prayer of Purity, vowing before God, the congregation, and most of all, himself, that they would abstain from sex until marriage--but was never quite able to accept what i was taught there. There were too many inconsistencies. Too many places where it was written in Hawly Scripture that women were inferior to men. Places where it said that the only way to Heaven was through Jesus H. Christ, and everyone believing in other religions was, well, fucked. Particularly people who knew about Jesus but didn't believe he was the son of god (you know, that tiny corner of humanity who reads the Qu'ran or the Torah) as decreed in the year 325 by Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea. By the time i was 16 I'd pretty much figured out that religion was a means by which men could justify some bizarre penis=power sentiment and Americans could uphold prejudice. I opted to go off on my own to discover what it was I truly believed, as an intelligent and interested young American female.

I didn't find anything. Admittedly, i didn't look very hard, but after about a week of fretting i realized that pretty much all religions were simply variations of one another and i stopped looking.

So i tried out Agnosticism. I reasoned that I didn't know where the universe came from, and moreover I would never know, and neither would anyone else. I judged that I didn't know where i'd go when i died, and neither did anyone else, so the question was moot. Easy. Rock on. But conflict arose when i tried to get any sleep with this mindset. I gave my brain the seed "i don't know, i will never know, who cares?" and it took it as a challenge. Damn brain. I couldn't actively believe or disbelieve--i was stuck in the middle, as is the principle of Agnosticism--so i mulled over it, constantly coming back to this argument, and i quote:

"God created the universe." "But who created God?" "Nobody created God, God is eternal." "Eternal?" "Yes, god has no beginning or end. God simply is." "But dude, if God has no beginning, then god never started to exist. Thus god doesn't." "But eternity doesn't work like that. That's the point of it--it is relentless and always has been." "Eternity, and indeed time, are manifestations of mankind. If there is no one around to record the passage of time, does it pass?" "But we age. rocks erode. We can see the passage of time." "Circle of life, yo--matter cannot be created or destroyed. It simply changes state. Matter may walk and talk and read Emerson but it can also collect sediments at the bottom of the ocean out of clamshells which form into islands. Matter on earth is constantly changing forms, so it is impossible to judge the age of the universe based on how much it has decomposed--it will always be recomposing." "Hence eternity." "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." "oh shut up."

etc. Needless to say, i spent my first year of university both exhausted from losing sleep over this and smug from feeling smarter and deeper than everyone around me. I was on the brink of something, i was sure of it! But eventually i realized that i'd thought myself into a corner and had to acknowledge defeat. I couldn't draw any conclusive conclusions. So i did the next best thing. I got depressive and bitchy. Then i went to England and got my answer.

The reason I was bogged down by theology was because i was living in a theistic world! When I got away from it, i didn't care! I could live and let live and eat and drink and revel in how nice and secular the world coul..d...FUCK i'm back in America.