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Archive for September, 2007

Sleeping with Open Eyes

September 30, 2007 4 comments

Damn. I don’t know what causes it, but sometimes, every few months or so, I’ll wake up and realize that I had slept with one or both eyes partially open for a while. It freaking kills. The eyelid somehow just decides to slide back a little bit and leaves an arc on the eye exposed, resulting in an extremely dry portion on the surface of the eye and cornea.

It’s extremely painful to move my eye afterwards or to blink, as the eyeball rubs across the lid. When it’s bad like this morning, it also makes things very light-sensitive. Today’s dryness even affected my vision, as that eye had a bit of blurriness I noticed while getting my ass kicked on Halo 3.

I’ve used bandaids in the past to ensure that the lids close fully all night long – usually only the day after I wake up having such a dry eye, because if it happens a second night in a row, it’s excruciating. My girlfriend thinks I’m a freak for having to do this. What can I say? I mean, what kind of freak sleeps with their eyes open?

I’ve done a little searching on the web and that seems to be the prevailing opinion – that of sideshow freak. Ha! Oh well, if the shoe fits. But in the meantime, it hurts like hell when this happens, and the only other option I’ve come across on the web is electrical tape or some kind of nighttime mask circa 1800. Whatever the solution, I’m about ready to try anything.

It freaks me out because I’m gonna be getting laser surgery soon on my eyes. I’ll be getting PRK, not LASIK, so it’ll take a lot longer to heal. I may have to stock up on the electrical tape before then.

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Categories: eyes

Freedom is… Observe Ramadan, or Get a Free Night in Jail

September 28, 2007 Leave a comment

I ran across an article linked from Fark today about a new morality police force in the West Bank. Their job is to take people into custody who are found violating Ramadan by eating or drinking between sunup and sundown. The best quote from the article has to be from the police spokesman

“Violating the holiness of Ramadan is a violation of people’s freedom.”

His reasoning for believing that violating Ramadan is a violation of freedom?

“The duty of the morality police is to preserve public manners in public places and to preserve the feelings of the people who are fasting”

It’s one of those cases where religious freedom is ensured, as long as you’re following the preferred religion. Wow

Categories: religion

“It’s Not a Religion, It’s a Relationship”

September 28, 2007 5 comments

I recently came across a posting with this thought on friendlyatheist.com. Back in my earlier days I had used this argument as well. I remember sitting on the balcony of a highrise apartment down in Miami watching the boats go by and trying to win a relative to christ.

He made a comment that he wasn’t very into religion, followed by my canned comment of, “Oh, but it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” More recently I’ve heard that comment coming from someone close to me as well. At the time I had wondered why that had sounded so familiar, and it’s because I had used the same faulty logic myself.

Avoiding the word religion, for me, had seemed to stem from the desire to separate my beliefs from that of the nonbeliever. I guess it was to show that somehow all those other religions had it wrong because they were about rules and limitations, where Christianity was about a relationship with an invisible zombie named Jesus. How lucid that thought had been.

And how ludicrous it is now. Really, does any religion like to be called a religion? To flatten the playing field and bring one’s beliefs on the same level as other systems certainly takes out some of the punch. Aren’t there pseudo relationships in most religions? Allah with Islam; the Buddha inside yourself; the Tom Cruises in your Scientology. Each brings a sense of belonging to its participants.

The relationship angle is really a bad selling point for the Christians. I can’t fathom why it still bears repeating. I’ve heard it explained that the reality exists in that relationship, and the feeling of being close to god is proof of his existence. Well, the human mind is a complex beast with the ability to come up with all sorts of feelings that are “real”. I’ve had plenty of deep intimate moments with the invisible sky wizard back in the day that I realize were more of a mob mentality in groups, or that get-up-and-go feeling you get when you’re convinced to do something to change your life around. I don’t know whether to call it delusional, that seems pretty harsh. I think of it more as a placebo.

Categories: religion

Origins

September 27, 2007 5 comments

This was the first post on a blog I started in 2007 at nogodsallowed.wordpress.com which I’ve moved into this blog.

What is this, you may ask? Why, just another friendly neighborhood atheist who thought he’d be doing the world a favor by blogging on religious topics. Yes, I know there are probably already too many of these godlessly themed blogs, so why bother? It’s something I’d like to try out.

I’ve always had an interest in writing, I work in software, and I’ve had a little free time lately. Couple that with a growing up a devout Christian who turned Atheist several years ago, and voila. Blog.

My intent is…. well, of that I’m not really sure. We’ll just see where this goes. Hell, this may be the only post. But at least it’s a start.

Maybe a little history is in order. I’m under 30 but for up until 25 I was totally into the whole Christianity thing, lock, stock, and barrel. I’ll delve more into that later. But around that age, I still kept going through the old roller coaster ride of being close to god, slipping, feeling ever guilty, then repenting and riding on a good repentant feeling for the next couple days. It was always the same thing, sin, repent, repeat as necessary.

I’d always read the Christian books that so many people swear by. I wanted to get closer to god, and not always be up and down. I wanted to learn more about god. And I did…

It probably started by dating a girl from an uber-religious Reformed family. I was raised in a Baptist church, but not the no-card-playing-or-dancing kind of Baptist. The church was very literal in its biblical interpretation, however. I would come to find out that we weren’t nearly as conservative as this girl and her family. They weren’t allowed to do any type of work on Sundays, and it was a standing joke that I had been asked by the family to pick up a bag of hot dog buns on my way over one particular Sunday afternoon, because they weren’t allowed to go to the store.

She was always tense on the subject of religion and afraid of what people would think about how she, Reformed, could be dating a Baptist. Yea, I know, pot and kettle. After being through that relationship, I started thinking about my own beliefs and how they were shaped by the church in my past. I wanted to find out for myself why I believed what I believed. It unnerved me that two devout Christians could be so far apart on the topic of religion.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of a long, difficult journey that continues today. I tried to hold onto my god, but everywhere I turned, it became ever more apparent that I was a member of one of millions of religions. Oh sure, in the old days I would say that all other religions were pointing towards Christianity as the correct religion. But I wasn’t satisfied. I had but a taste of the fruit that the Judeo-Christian god forbade in the garden: Knowledge.

Around every corner was more and more evidence and reasoning that demonstrated there was nothing unique or special about the Christian religion. I went through stages of denial and confusion and bouts of mild depression. But I remember very clearly that one day it dawned on me, the one thought that would lead me into a world which made sense. It seems obvious and less-than-epiphanal today, but at that moment it meant the world to me. It went something like this:

You don’t have the upper hand in life or death. You’re just another member of the human race, just like everyone else. You don’t get a free ride from a man in the sky and no one can talk to him. In fact, there is no “him”.

As odd as that may sound, it was life to me. This realization changed me and gave me hope again. Life would only be meaningless without a god if you let it. Ironically, it felt like I was being born again. I still love that analogy. It brought me hope and joy, and felt more real than the church had.

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve gone from Unknown, to Ex-Christian, to Agnostic, and finally accepting the badge of Atheist, as much as I dislike the categorization of such labels. I’m constantly intrigued by religion and it seems to always be present in the area in which I live. I love to talk and debate with others on the topic, though I try to do it sparingly and only when confronted. I try to avoid evangelical atheism.

So that’s the short story of why I’m here. Religion was a huge part of my life for 25 years, and that’s a hard thing to shake off. I want to get my thoughts written down, and this seems to be the preferred medium of the day. If you’re reading this, well, hello and welcome. Leave a comment if you wish, just make sure you take off your shoes and clean up after yourself.

Categories: religion