Monday, November 23, 2009

Sybil's Sagan

My most beautiful cousin, Sybil (affectionately "Shay" as kids, although we have never met), posted a Carl Sagan quote on Facebook the other day. Sadly, it got lost in the mix of notifications and I am just now getting around to commenting. :) I promised a blog post, so here goes...

Carl Sagan was a brilliant scientist who died almost 13 years ago. He is well known for his work in the field of astronomy, including the SETI project (although he was not a "believer" in E.T./UFO's specifically.)

Sagan claimed agnostic in the realms of god/God and religion. (agnostic = a-gnostic = (a)lack of (gnostic) knowledge. He was a giant force in the publication of photographs of Earth from deep space (which showed us just how small we are).

I can't even begin to do the great Carl Sagan justice with any sort of homage here on my measly blog, but he was a genius of the highest human caliber.

Sybil's Facebook quote: "Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."

I am posting for Sybil because she posted in a comment that she didn't know what to think of the quote, and was hoping someone (probably me) would open up the discussion. (Do you know any other heathens, cuz? :) )

I must say that I am jaded...I have read so many Sagan quotes, and I do own his book "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." I have picked it up and read it here and there, random pages and ideas. The man was brilliant, and I am a lowly "smart." WAY beyond me, but I love trying to figure it out, nonetheless.

The most famous quote from Sagan that atheists like to use is, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." I love this quote, and believe in it, not just in debating theism, but anything in life. If I say the sky is blue, well...duh, look up, it's blue. If I say the sky is purple...we've got a discussion on our hands.

In order to continue on with this post, I must present a few other Sagan quotes:

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe,
and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy."

"It means nothing to be open to a proposition we don't understand."

"I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience.
And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science
has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true."

So, Mr. Sagan. What of God/god?

I think it takes a big person of high intelligence to admit that they don't know something.

One thing that bothers me about being an atheist is that the term "agnostic" is considered separate.
Trust me, I've read comments from "baby atheists" (probably rebellious teens) who don't understand
the correlation.

A = without
Theism = belief in God/god
Gnostic = knowledge

Agnostics can be atheists, or they can just be agnostics. Regardless, we are all claiming ignorance or insufficient proof..
I claim ignorance on all sorts of things; quantum physics, open heart surgery, how a steam locomotive works, why Ivy grows and grows,
only to be eaten by some weirdo green just means "I don't know enough to say
"I don't believe/understand."" An atheist is a person who thinks they have enough information to say
they have no belief in a god. It doesn't mean I think I can disprove the existence of God/god, or that
I KNOW God/god isn't means that *I* do not believe in God/god.

So, the quote in question... "Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."

I think the point is, THINK. Think deeply and with purpose. Faith and thinking are not related. Faith is not a catalyst of the thinking mind, and the thinking mind will stump faith out like a 4-minute old Marlboro. Do I think I am superior? Absolutely not. But, I have allowed "outside the box" thinking, whereas some don't.

Do you think God ever wonders, as we do, where He/he came from?
Do you think it absurd that we dismiss Thor, Zeus, Titan as man-made gods, but if you question the lord/Lord almighty, may you be damned to hell?

I wonder who the last person on earth to believe in Zeus was. What kind of ridicule did that person go through? How was that person separated from everyone else in the world that realized that Zeus was a man-made god (like all gods)? Who decided that Yaweh/Jehovah/Jesus/God was any different? Because a "man" "walked" "named" "Jesus?"

The History Channel has a great series called "Clash of the Gods." Historical stories of the "gods" that people have worshiped throughout history. I highly recommend watching it. It's not the first time I've been presented with the similarities between Jesus Christ and ALMOST EVERY OTHER GOD IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION.

Sybil's Sagan quote is probably one of the most poignant reasons I choose to believe what I do. I think. I question. I relinquished the bible as a source of authority some years ago. As you cannot define the word "red" by using the word "red," you cannot discuss Christianity using the bible. The bible isn't proof of anything. The bible isn't an authority. The bible is a collection of stories that have been censored, whittled down, and made to suit the purpose of the church for centuries.

Simple thought: Pascal's Wager. So eloquently described by many, but summed up in one bumper sticker: "If you're living like there's no God, you'd better be right!"


All I truly ask is that any religious person who wishes to discuss the merits of their religion, their God/god, their least give me more than I can get from Kirk Cameron. Educate yourself. Don't be afraid of the dark side...if you are truly faithful, I can't drag you to my side, and you're safe. Don't cap your mind off with religion. Let yourself be the curious being that you are. Read. Study. There are SO many incredible minds who have left a mark on our world because they dedicated their lives to finding the truth. Listen to what they have to say with respect...they are God's creatures. They are the lightbulb of the world

Don't see yourself short. Think about it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I hate god on Facebook

When this blog was created, we knew of nothing called Facebook. Yes, there was Myspace...but that's a different animal. I love Facebook. I love knowing what my "friends" are doing and going thru. I love getting invitations to parties and MMA fight watching parties...

Status updates are my favorites, and I have several favorite friends that I troll Facebook for daily to check out what they're doing. My friend COLIN always writes in CAPS and always likes his own status. His status updates are usually pretty random, and he suggested that I go as "Sexy Abraham Lincoln" for Halloween to counter all of the 30-something slut costumes. My friend Holland has the best kid anecdotes ever. Her son is a funny little guy that I'd love to spend time with. My friend Tracy has great tits and everyone on Facebook knows it. My friend Dre (Andrea back in the day) hates it when you tag her in pictures that are pre-2000. My friend Amanda drops her kids on their heads and has pajama parties, and my friend Jamie paints wine glasses and hates her job. (By the way, Jamie is painting me some wine glasses just in time for XMAS with the American Atheists logo...I'm sure she's taking orders, so if you want me and I'll get you in contact with her).

Then...there are status updates that make me crazy. Now, I don't mean to offend anyone (haha), and if you want to delete me from your friends list, please feel free to do so, this is America.

"Pray for me"
"Pray for my dad"
"Pray for my sister"
"Pray for my dog"


Facebook is not a coven of saints. (Trust me, I know *wink*)

Today, my (I love you) Mom tried to stick it to me when I posted a Freud quote about the absurdity of religion with a quote from Einstein about "God." My cousin followed with a quote from Ravi Zacharias. (Boo).

Here's my issue. I'm "out" as an atheist, but I don't think that people know what the word means. (a)=without (theist)=belief in a god. I don't hate Christians. I don't hate Muslims. I don't hate Jews. I just don't believe in a god. Why is this so hard to understand?

Likewise, why is it that Christians that I know have a hard time reconciling "Religion" with "god." (ie. my mom's quote from Einstein about "God" had nothing to do with religion, because Einstein didn't subscribe to any traditional religion).

Facebook has minimalized the word "friend."
If I knew you in high school, but I haven't spoken to you in the 14 years that I have been out, you probably aren't my friend. I have very few real friends.

I will continue to voice my heathenism on Facebook status updates, because I am one, and I hate christmas (as opposed to those who love Christ-mas)...the holidays have resurrected the infidel in me. I am not ashamed to be a non-believer.

What do you do, though, when you have "friends" who post this:

"Let's see how many people on f/b aren't ashamed to show their Love for God and admit that Jesus is their Savior. We need to get God back in America. If you are not ashamed copy and paste this in your status"

Dislike button, anyone? My only recourse was to ask if God lost his green card. I dunno.

So, with my first sporadic post (forgive me as I get back into the groove), I leave you with this bit of humor:

From: Pace, Stacy US-HSP
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 10:02 AM
To: Wang, Jennifer (US-HSP)
Subject: I've always wondered where he likes to party...

UPS Delivery Date / Time: 12-November-2009
Delivery Location: FRONT DESK
Signed by: JESUS

Shipment Detail

Ship To:


From: Wang, Jennifer (US-HSP)
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009
To: Pace, Stacy US-HSP
Subject: RE: I've always wondered where he likes to party...

NICE! Jesus <3’s> Sin City!

I am of peace, always.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1 year, 11 months, 14 days

...That's how long it has been since any of you have officially heard from the Stacy & Jared duo. What have we been doing? Let's see...

Stacy got a new job and a promotion a year later.
We moved into our house together.
We've played in probably over 500 games of poker and double that for scrabble.
We've watched every season of House.
We've watched every season of Dexter.
We've watched every season of Mad Men.
We've watched every season of Rescue Me.
Jared has beaten 6 different games on XBox 360.
We got a Wii, and we are obese.
We've had pee-wee football, pee-wee t-ball, youth soccer, and dance classes to attend.
Our kids have grown to almost-5, 7, and the dreaded 12.
Jared built a deck, 3 arbors, and a tree house in the back yard.
We have extricated 4 Crepe Myrtles from our property, and had a dead oak tree removed.
We've consumed approximately 14,000 oz of beer, 50 bottles of whiskey, 50 bottles of vodka, and 90 cases of redbull and diet coke.
We've been to Oklahoma, New Orleans, southern Mississippi, Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, and Cancun.
We've gotten a collective 6 new tattoos.
We've won over $600 in scratch-off lottery tickets.
We've taken guitar lessons and written our own lyrics to silly songs.
We've laid on the roof and looked at the stars thru standard binoculars.
We've read dozens of books, and listened to the 50-CD audio book of Atlas Shrugged.
We've done 98 New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzles.
We deleted our myspace accounts.
We opened facebook accounts.
Jared completed the new Cowboys Stadium project.
We've made new friends, and lost touch with old ones.
We've hung out with atheists and felt out of place (how is that possible?)

And now we're back, older, wiser, and as steady in our disbelief as we've ever been.
Looking forward to catching up, renewing our spot on blogrolls, and having blogger-comment conversations with people we wouldn't normally get to talk to.

Here's to Redux!