Sunday, October 22, 2006

WIRED article: The New Atheism

I read an article this morning in WIRED magazine..... it's chilling to realize that our society is nearing that point where Christians are pushed to the side, marginalized, and even tortured/abused for their faith. Although past times have seen these same extremes (early church, Rome) of Christian-hating, it seems we're nearing that time prophesied in the Bible.

My first encounter with this "no religion" idea came when I lived in New York back in '99. A co-worker and I were discussing faith and eventually, I saw a poster he had in his apartment. This diagram showed all the world faith symbols in a circle. In the middle of this circle was some type of symbol which stood for no religion. This guy was big into Joseph Campbell et al.

From what I've experienced and re-examined after this article, intelligence is the new atheism's god. Indeed, they DO have a faith: in humanity, intellectualism, science and logic. It's funny, because to me, if you look at things logically, there MUST be a God because we are finite. There must be something bigger than ourselves. I think it's so tempting in our day and time to reject God because of all the advances we've seen and are still seeing in technology, science, etc. However, to do so is arrogant and short-sighted. We will all die and our lives will end at some point. We can't go on forever; we can't control our destinies past the time we're given.

All of this reminds me to stay humble and dependent on God. Humanism's rise is creepy, but when I realize how big and all-powerful the God of the universe is, all these somewhat frightening "figures of the new atheism" seem silly. I pity their spiritual blindness and realize they are the ones the Bible speaks of when it says "their minds were darkened."

Another interesting note is how, in the article, they say you can pick apart Christian theology and scripture easily. When you get into details of wording and picking apart how this word might mean this or that, you easily take your eye off the WORD and get your focus onto microscopic linguistic subtlties. It must always be kept in mind that as a believer in Christ, the Bible is inspired by the Spirit of God - it is a living, breathing text. The Spirit illuminates your spirit as you read. Jesus IS the Word. You can't break apart a Person into meanings.

It's all much bigger than rules, fund-raising, and "religion." It's living life with God, in relationship, day to day.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

MuteMath: About to Blast-Off

Check out MM's newly designed webpage, which features a very cool and well-done promo video:

Mute Math New Tour/Album Promo

Go see them live, if at all possible.


A friend and I tonight got to talking. I fleshed out some thoughts I was having while driving to work the other day. When thinking about the evolution vs. creationism debate, you hear all the regular theories. In Barnes & Noble, I saw some book by a brilliant Christian scientist who states that God created the world, but through the mechanism of evolution. I've heard this one before - nothing new. Except that I had a new thought:

God has always been, at His heart, relational. He's always had the fellowship of the Trinity; He's (maybe not always, but for quite some time) had a host of angels around Him in heaven. There was always relationship. So, from what we know of the personality of God, would God create a world that has vast spaces of time where nothing could relate to Him? I'm discounting the idea of God having deep relationship with primordial matter.

From the account in the Bible, God was either in relationship with the Trinity, with the angels in heaven, or with Adam & Eve in the garden at any given time. I don't believe He would have gaps of time waiting for something human, with a soul and the ability to think and relate. It seems inefficient, if not downright wasteful. I also believe God can create human life on the spot - He's that powerful. I'm not sure I see Him waiting millions of years for humanity to come about through evolution (although time as we know it here on earth is like a second to God).

Not that He couldn't do it in this manner. I'm just trying to think about the personality of God and weigh it against an earth that's supposedly billions of years old. What's the point?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Taking Credit

I was thinking today about taking credit for things. Particularly, when someone has a brilliant, genius idea.... are they to receive all the credit? When Einstein came across the theory of relativity in his thoughts, where did those thoughts come from? There are two avenues to take here: one is the way of humanism, where praise is heaped upon the individual and they are lauded as an amazing mind. The second route is one of ascribing the praise to God. Basically, this boils down to what you believe about the origin of everything.

Where do we get our thoughts? Who or what inspires us when we think? In other words, who/what is our muse?

Does that ever occur to anyone to figure out where our thoughts derive from? If we are blessed with the ability to figure things out and to think abstractly, does it not make sense to give credit to God? However, if God doesn't exist, we must figure out where our cognitive abilities come from.

The question, I think, begs WHY? Why would we think, why would we have a thought that, say, would lead us to create a vaccine for a deadly virus? Why are we even thinking of these solutions? Survival of the fittest, some would say. That makes sense to a certain end. Of course, with the aforementioned situation, we might revisit the question of why would a loving God allow such a deadly virus to exist in the first place?

We can go into that question at another time..... for now, I'm questioning why we think of brilliant ideas. I believe we are given the opportunity to think these thoughts from God. Once again, this question begets another one. Why do some people get the opportunity to think these ideas/discover these amazing truths, while others don't? Who chooses "the lucky ones?" Is it simply "fate?"

We will probably never know what process goes into why an Einstein becomes an Einstein in the annals of history. Food for thought.....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Reflecting on a Journey

I've been home from my trip to Scotland since June 28th. I've definitely had time to ponder and remember all that happened. Surely, as time marches on, small details forgotten will surface; as I re-read my travel journal, faces will appear on the mind's eye; as I continue to keep in touch with those I met, our relationships will grow until a possible return trip to the lovely land of the Scots.

We had an amazing time. I continually attempt to "keep the flame alive" - spiritually - from all the we experienced in our time there. It's difficult to maintain in this American culture, full of noise and distraction. I've already noticed that I'm reading 2 magazines and 2 books again....all this after watching a movie. Granted, all this media was Christian, but it's overkill at times. A media fast looks inevitable. The great thing in Scotland was that I couldn't use a cellphone. No calls or voicemails for 2 weeks! I also didn't watch TV during that time. It wasn't missed. Some would say that I was "out of touch with reality." I was indeed in a land where the pace is different and we were there for specific purposes, but it was REAL. I suppose the question is: which "reality" is preferable?

Anyway, my main joy upon returning to the States was to rejoin my family. I missed my wife and daughter on this trip. I was blessed with the ability to call them on a calling card quite often, and to use the occasional email/internet connection. I desire to bring them back (plus our new arrival, Henry, who is due on the scene in under 3 months) when God allows in the future.

I made many new friends on the trip. The people were certainly one of the highlights. I loved the accents, all the idiosyncrisies of slang, the slogans of advertising --- the culture in general. It was fascinating. And, of course: the landscape. It's gorgeous. Craggy, cool, wet, green....quaint houses tucked into corners of looming mountains, ocean waters leading into a beach which melts into a crowd of green hills.

I must say, I had wanted to visit the UK since I was in high school. I've only been to a portion of the Kingdom United now, but it was a wonderful preview. I look forward to many more returns.....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Memories and the word, "Buddy"

My wife and I were discussing how far back we could remember as kids. We came to the conclusion that you believe you are remembering way back, when in reality you only think you can remember back that far. Most likely, your "first memories" are only "memories" based on photos you've seen of yourself at the age of 1-3. I remember thinking I could remember (how's that for a confusing beginning to a sentence?) the birthday party when I was sitting in a plastic swimming pool. Turns out, I was turning 1 year old at that party; no doubt, at some point when I was a kid, I had seen the picture of myself eating cake, wearing Mickey Mouse ears, and sitting in a plastic swimming pool.

This discussion made me think about the classic sci-fi film, Blade Runner. There's a scene in the movie where one of the characters discovers they aren't a real human, but a manufactured android instead. The android believes itself to be real and even defends this belief. Another chracter reveals that the maker of the androids scanned in photographs of young children into the robots' "minds" when they were being made. These photos were processed by the robots' "minds" into "memories," and provided a false childhood for them. The android cries when it discovers this disturbing truth.

The film is interesting because its themes make you ponder the nature of reality and the line between human and computer. Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" If you're interested in the fascinating world Philip K. Dick explored in his sometimes unnervingly prophetic books, check out this website. Many of his books have either already been adapted as films, or will be soon.

One last note..... we were talking about the word, "buddy," at work today. Several people asked NOT to be called "buddy." Why is this? There's something inherently condescending about the term, I think. Who knows? It's hilarious because you can't quite pinpoint the reasons. Do YOU like being called, "buddy?"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Maybe I'm crazy, but.....

when's the last time you went to the local library? I have an overdue book there as we speak (and yes, it's the one I mentioned in the previous post). It's fun to go to a place where you can peruse the books, borrow them for awhile, and read them (if you can find the time). I think so many go to the shiny, bright, new places like B&N or Border's, which are great (heck, I go too, sometimes, and I even worked @ B&N many years ago), but you can only read the crisp books for so long before you have to leave them when the store closes (or you walk out). It's a welcome change to "rent" a book and take it home, enjoying the smell of its history. I've even taken my daughter there to check out the kids' section. I want her to enjoy the library as much as I did as a kid. Maybe she won't, but it's worth a try. At least the librarians like seeing her cute little mug.

While you're at it, take another left turn and try writing a letter. An honest-to-God letter without the email convenience. It'll surprise and delight the heck out of whoever you send it to, because of its odd novelty, and you'll be living the nostalgic dream of the past. A forgotten art, to be sure.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Educating Myself

When I read or watch the news these days, I'm constantly challenged by the new (to me) names of cities, factions of political parties, and religious leaders mentioned. While I've tried with some effort in the past to educate myself on the Middle East, its history, and the different religious groups represented, I'm taking it a step farther. Currently, I'm reading Bernard Lewis' book, "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East." I did a bit of research and Lewis is considered one of the foremost scholars on the Mid East. I'm only on the introduction but it's interesting so far. Primarily, my search for greater understanding stems from the fact that I don't understand the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. What has anyone else read that relates to the Middle East and its history? Any good reads?

Monday, February 13, 2006


My wife and I found out that we're pregnant again, this time with child # 2. We're excited and not sure what to expect with having an additional kid to manage. Our first, Zoe, has been alot of fun. Sure, there are those times when you're pushed to the brink and you're re-thinking your life, but all in all, Zoe brings alot of joy, laughter, and wonder to our lives. I'm excited as a Dad to get another blessing. It's amazing how, when you're young and living in a pre-marital state, you have your life planned out and you're pretty sure about what values are. Then, when you get married, that's life-changer NUMBER ONE; priorities shift and you take hard-core classes in the school of selflessness. You can't imagine how, but when you have kids, that's life-changer NUMBER TWO (and THREE, FOUR, FIVE, etc. as far as you can go). Your joint priorities shift yet again and your world changes course to where everything revolves around the kid(s). I would have never thought that I could be living for another person to such a degree, but it's happening. It's my reality each and every day. I love it. I never knew I could have as much energy, putting forth as much effort as I do, with everything motivated by my family. They're my engine.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

New MuteMath Promo Video

I am a huge fan of this band. They have yet to even put out a first, full-length CD, but their EP and their live show has done wonders to create a massive buzz and word-of-mouth for these guys. Check them out when they come to your area and you won't be disappointed.

Here is the promo video

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Time is on my mind as of late. Unfortunately, my Grandmother is now under care at a home and she suffers from dementia. Witnessing this has made me curious as to how the mind works, in relation to memories and time. When she's enduring dementia, time has no definition for her. Memories criss-cross in conversations and there's no difference between something that occurred decades ago (even involving someone no longer living) and something that occurred last year. It's strange and perplexing.

I'm also reading a book, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore, which documents the current revolution in slowing down all aspects of life. It's fascinating to see how people are reacting to our modern state of speed lust. One thing that caught my attention the most is the organization (the Long Now Foundation) that's building massive clocks which measure one tick per year; this particular clock measures time over ten millennia. Another thing is the LongPlayer, which is playing a musical composition that lasts 1,000 years. While this may seem extreme, it forces you to re-examine your relationship to time. What's of special interest is the juxtaposition of current, urban life (everything measured by the clock; techno music; stress caused by overpacked schedules) and these movements which highlight the slowness and immeasurability of time. It's like a collision of two opposites: breakneck speed vs. eternity.

One other aspect of time that I've been exploring is Einstein's theories. After watching the film, Donnie Darko, I was intrigued by the idea of time travel. I never believed that it was possible and I still don't. However, I read into what Einstein and other physicists had researched (and this coming from someone who stayed as far away from math and advanced sciences in school as possible) in their careers. It gets into bizarre territory and most of it I've only grasped the faint idea of what they're aiming at (some reading this will undoubtedly already understand more than I do). What they and current experts have found is that time and space affect each other and, ultimately, are one and the same. Without going into details, all of this is based on calculations figuring in the speed of light. So, we aren't going to see any of this evidence with our physical eyes (such as how time slows down the faster you move, for instance, like when you're driving your car). We can't achieve the necessary speeds to witness such phenomenon. Nonetheless, it's very intriguing, especially when you get into ideas such as time portals, black holes, and other dimensions.

Since I'm not a sincere believer that we'll ever be able to go back in time (or forward) or that we can find some portal in the space-time continuum, I can't give myself fully to this. It does make my imagination roam, though. Going further, it makes me think of time and eternity and how God is in control of it all. This world is infinitely complex and our minds can barely make sense of these concepts sometimes. I'm awe-struck at the majesty of this creation and it certainly makes me want to slow down to appreciate it all.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I was thinking the other day as I was blowing leaves in our yard and trying to listen to music on headphones.... the recurring thought of the warring kingdoms in the spiritual realm. One is God's Kingdom and the other is Satan's (known as "the enemy"). Simple enough. What strikes me is how much the world we witness today is in the center of this battle. Of course, we see with "earthly eyes" most of the time and cannot see into this other realm. However, if you look at the fallout of events that we can witness with our senses, you can see clear evidence of something going on.

Primarily, an attack is underway and has been underway for quite some time on the family unit. This isn't new knowledge and most likely will seem like a cliched statement to some. But, if we see that God Himself is deeply relational and exists in the family of the Trinity, you would deduce that the enemy would attack such a structure as a family here on earth (I refer to God as "Himself" only for the sake of a way to personify Him as a Being. Of course, God is neither male nor female, but spirit. However, because God is such a deeply relational Being, I refer to Him as a He. The other option, if one is trying to be politically correct, would be to call God, "He/She." However, this doesn't have that personal ring, but rather a more objective tone which defeats the purpose of personification. Imagine calling your Dad, "It," or your parents, "He/She"). In whatever form you see it --- divorce, child abuse, pornography, isolation --- these attacks are gutting the foundations of trust, security, and intimacy in the family. Satan is waging a full-on war against what God would have as one of the greatest blessings here on earth.

People are becoming increasingly isolated and unplugged from a community. There are communities, such as the ones you see online, and even something akin to this blog would be considered a type of community. However, the basic tenets of a healthy community --- trust, friendship, knowledge of another, close proximity --- only go so far with internet-born units of people. You can talk with someone via email or chat for years, but you might never know who they are if you were to pass them by in the airport in person. That face-to-face intimacy that we have with our neighbors, friends, and co-workers is so essential. Even something like that goes awry these days, as an angry co-worker will go into their place of employment and gun down people who might've thought they were just a "nice, quiet person who would never hurt anyone." Do we really know people anymore? Do we take time to know people and invest in them or are we too busy? Does our trust erode and paranoia rise with all this non-intimacy?

We need a massive sort of healing to move in a different direction. What will it be?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Starting something new....

I wanted to have a forum to express ideas, work out thoughts, and have a general playing field for the mind and spirit. This is that forum. Please feel free to add comments on the articles and insights posted here. I encourage open debate and intellectual discussion, by all means. Thank you for dropping by and I look forward to seeing you again soon. A new article will appear in the near future......