Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For your next church pancake breakfast…

The Jesus Pan.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

That Stubborn Southern Pride

Oh, southwest Virginia! We’ve got fishing, wide open (extremely hilly) spaces, nature, and more homophobes than you can shake a stick at. We’re also one of the most God-drenched areas out there - part of the infamous Bible Belt, we advertise Christian youth groups and Bible studies on our morning announcements (I went to one of those once, but that’s for another post) in public schools.

And yet, at the same time, I can’t help myself; when I walk into a room I say “Hey, y’all!” in a drawl and I’d never say “be back soon”, it’s always “be back directly.” I come home every day with grass cuts up and down my legs, I could go on and on and on (have I already?).
Do these things make me special? No, not really. In fact, I’m probably one of the most northern southerners ever. And yet (there’s that ‘and yet’ again), whenever I visit New York or Massachusetts I find myself defending my home to the death. I’ve had some pretty intense fights, actually, over my hometown; and when I go to camp in northern Pennsylvania (French Woods), I always lay the southern twinge on a little thicker than is probably necessary.

Is southwest Virginia boring? Yes. Am I moving to the north or to Europe as soon as I graduate? Yes. Quite frankly, do I hate this place? Yes. I don’t really belong here, they don’t especially want me, either, truth be told.

In fact, this place makes me feel practically nauseous. It's hard to have real conversations with most people, no one wants to hear what a Jew-turned-atheist has to say, especially not one who hangs out with the gays (I brought my gay best guy friend to a soccer game once and was practically shunned by a group of people, one of which wrote him a letter telling him why homosexuality is the devil). So why do I pretend to be proud of it when I talk to other people? It’s most likely because I don’t want to seem worse-off than anyone else. Wherever I am is automatically awesome, or at least that’s how I would portray it. I could be in the middle of Siberia and I’d still puff my chest out for my town (or village, or shack, I have no idea what Siberians live in).

Is this childish? Or does everyone do it, to some extent?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Random bit of religious nonsense

I was recently in Canada for the bat mitzvah of one of my cousins. In her Torah portion, the laws of who you could not "uncover the nakedness" of were discussed. After she read and explained the portion, the rabbi gave his speech. One of the things the rabbi said was a bit weird. He had veered off into a talk about why the Jewish laws should be followed. Now, in my experience, most religious people will try to come up with a reason for each law. This rabbi, however, seemed to realize that some laws simply had no reason. He started talking about becoming a better person by following the laws of the Torah, and concluded by saying that even if there is no reason for the laws, a person doing good deeds AND following the Torah's laws would be a better person than someone doing good deeds but not following the laws. I'm really looking for comments on this post, I have no idea what to think of it myself. It's an example of what a lot of religion is all about.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Godless Jew

With much thought and consideration, I've decided to start my own personal blog about the Jewish/Atheism paradox.

I call it: Godless Jew.

I've just written the first post.

We all could stand to know a little more about Judaism & Atheism as a cohesive unit.
Perhaps I can elucidate the paradox a little...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Maybe it's a...Female Thing?

...but I think the icy fingers of society have somehow found their way around my throat (please excuse the really bad use of personification).

Okay, pause for a second. I know this is a blog and I am supposed to be entertaining you with food for thought or something interesting to read, but just for today give me a break. I'm going to be the one asking you the questions. I know, totally defying conventions. You'll live. Unpause.

Why is it so easy for me to express my beliefs to complete strangers but not my closest friends? One could argue it's because complete strangers don't know me, so I don't really care what these people think of me. But then why is it that when I have to give a speech in front of the class or my French teacher puts me on the spot, I completely panic and my voice starts to shake? I obviously care, at least to some degree.

Okay, that's kind of a vague example. Let's try something more specific.

In the mornings during first period, after morning announcements, everyone stands up and says the Pledge of Allegiance. I never stand up. Ever. I don't think I've ever stood up during first period, except to turn in papers or leave. When Dr. Clarke gets mad at me and asks me why I won't say the Pledge, I simply say " 'Cause I would never want to live in 'one nation under God'. You can't make me pledge my allegiance to anything."

Meticulous? Paranoid? Maybe even a little (or a lot) stupid? Okay, I'll admit it. I do get a little out of hand sometimes. But my point is that I'm not afraid to blatantly say (or, in some cases, shout) things to people who sometimes have a very direct impact on my immediate future (i.e. teachers). Actually, I kind of enjoy it.

However, when it comes to friends, I find it almost impossible to tell them what I think; even when they are making faulty arguments and kind of messed up progressions of logic. I especially like it when I'm trying to eat lunch and one of my best friends leans over while I'm mid-chew and says:

How can you possibly be atheist? I mean, you're just a teenager. I think people
should live life more before just deciding 'Hey! There is no God.' Did you ever
stop and think you could be wrong? Do you even think about things before
declaring yourself this that and the other? God pulls through in hard times,
people live life, and they find God in hard times.


Okay, so in my mind I want to scream so many things. In my mind I tell her something along the lines of

You just completely contradicted yourself! How old are you again? Fifteen,
right? Hmm, last time I checked, you were a freaking teenager too! Why don't you
take your own advice and get some personal experience under your belt before you
make claims that seem pretty outrageous. A supreme being created the entire
world in seven days and then sent his son down to Earth? Through a virgin? And then this son somehow died and came back to life? You seem to be under the impression that just because I changed my mind about my beliefs, I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about. I've probably read more of the Bible than you have. Have you ever actually opened the pages of the damn thing and seen what kind of insane things are in there? At least I'm thinking about things, instead of blindly accepting whatever anyone tells me is true.


But I don't actually say any of those things. Not one of them, in fact. For some reason I just sit there, right in front of my entire lunch table, and let her say whatever bullshit comes to her mind about agnostic and atheist people in general as well as personally attacking me.

I can't for the life of me figure out why I do things like that. It's not like arguing with her over something like religion would endanger my friendship with her. We've been friends for two years and we've had arguments that were pretty extreme, but we've always stayed together for some reason. Just meant to be friends, I suppose.

It's probably, as much as I hate to admit it, because I am completely held back by the contraints society puts on me. In social situations, it's taboo to look someone in the eye and say "The entire basis of your religion is crazy." Yet for some reason (at least, as far as I can tell from the experience I've gathered in this small, southern town), it's totally okay to look someone in the eye and say "The entire basis of your total lack of religion is crazy."

Okay, so I probably shouldn't be blaming society for my problems; if I really wanted to, I could have said whatever I had wanted and the society police wouldn't have necessarily beaten down my door and proceeded to severly maul me.

...or would they?

Just a' kiddin'.

Anyway, I don't think it's because of any inferiority complex on my part. In fact, many if not all of my friends would tell you that I have the exact opposite problem.

Maybe it's just a simple case of l'esprit d'escalier.

But somehow I don't think so.

If anything it seems more productive to speak my piece to friends instead of strangers, because friends will welcome me back with open arms no matter what crazy things I say. Strangers most definitely won't.

And yet, even in light of this knowledge, if the whole lunch period episode happened again tomorrow I would probably do the exact same thing as I did today and I can't for the life of me figure out why.

What do you think?

By the way (P.S.?):

Hi, my name is Cynthia! I guess I'm new here. Please don't hurt me. Please, for the love of all things good in this world.

Also, I totally lifted the title of this post from that RENT song, Over the Moon. "...'cause who'd wanna leave Cyberland anyway? Walls ain't so bad..."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cults

My history teacher made a remark the other day. I'm sure it would please the general atheist population.
I don't like the word cult. We use it to describe beliefs & religions we don't like. Aren't all relgions cults in a way?
He's right of course, there aren't any particular religions which are more legitimate than any other ones. It's all relative.

Now this doesn't mean I'm renouncing Judaism or anything, don't get too excited. But it does mean I should be a little less critical of other religions. To be honest, much of the reason that I'm Jewish is because I was exposed to Judaism first. Of course now, I'm more educated about alternate faiths and have made a conscious decision. That doesn't mean I don't have prejudices though.

It's just something to think about.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Judicial reform

So there's this whole controversy over swearing on Bibles in court. One side says that oaths on the Bible violate the Separation of Church and State, or some such liberal propaganda. The other side says it's just symbolic, and it doesn't violate nothin'.

Now, I'm all for symbolism. I love symbolism. In fact, I look at the entire English language as a collection of symbols. I choose any words I want to mean any thing I want - at least, when I'm at school.

But anywho, the point is, this whole debate is silly. If the Bible is symbolic of anything, it's symbolic of a drug trip. What people should be swearing on is a dictionary.

No, an encyclopedia!

Hell, how about a whole set of encyclopedias? This way, the swearing-in would take up half the trial:

"…Uh, yes, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me A Thru Annoy…Garden Thru Gun…Sardine Thru Swell…oh, fuck it, I killed him."

Oh yes, much more effective than swearing on a Bible. With a Bible, there's no incentive not to lie; it's not like God's gonna smite you if you twist a few details. But with good 'ol Britannica, you can just whack the witness periodically. You know, instill some respect of truth in him.

…You know. Abuse.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Wow, That's Funny

The wheel has come full square, so to speak, and now it is Kingdom of Heathen's turn to host the "Wow, That's Funny" Carnival once more. A collection of witticisms, the carnival is a friendly competition for comedic superiority.

We've got 22 very good witticisms today, and I look forward to seeing which way the vote goes.

The winner of the last carnival, held at Hindustan Without the Hindu was Seth. But that's old news.

If everyone who reads this post would please vote for their 3 favorite quips in the comments section, it would be much appreciated. Also, the voting shall end 14 days from now, May 15th. I think that about covers it. Now, onto the carnival:

A

Warning: Use of product may result in disease or death. Offer only

valid to Jews, gays, and Mexicans.

B

Studies show that 98% of teenagers don’t pay attention to statistics.

Copy/paste this if you're part of the 4% that does.

C

1. Right, so we can see from this that earthquakes affect poor people the most, people living in 3rd world countries who are unable to afford good living conditions and whose meager building collapse under the slightest vibration

2. ...you mean like the Amish?

D

My dog was chasing her tail yesterday, and caught heartworm.

E

They say it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, but what they don't tell you

is how much oil they buy from the noisy bastards.

F

2: You know what I think is funny?

1: No, what?

2: Humorous jokes with an amusing punch line told in an engaging manner by a competent teller.

1: ... I hate you.

G

Friends don't let friends drive drunk. Well, except for Howie. Man,

Howie's cool. Did you go to his party last week? Dude! It was

awesome! I got so wasted! Also, my mom says we can't see each other

any more.

H

Damn, I’d kill to be in her shoes… and pants.

I

1. I’m sorry sweetie… It just isn’t working

2. I’ll stop sleeping with other people… I promise!

1. Other people? This is because of the drugs thing!

2. …Whoops…

J

I don't get discouraged when my jokes fail. I just remember, "Only 5%

of all jokes are funny. The rest are copied from Woody Allen."

K

Hi! Do you want a shoulder to cry on? Its only $12 an hour!

L

1. So I was telling one of my patients he had AIDS

2. Oh… That’s terrible. How did he take it?

1. Well at first he looked like he was about to cry. Then he put his head in his hands. Then he got up shook my hand and thanked me. And then…

2. What happened? Did he faint? What?

1. …And then the cheese rolled in!

M

1. So wait… If I touched a stove, and yelled “Sweet Zombie Jesus!” it would hold up in court that Jesus is, in fact, a sweet confectionary undead treat?

2 Yes unless they can prove that you were insane at the moment or currently are insane.

1. Damn…

N

Is that an erect penis in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

O

You must be this short to ride the priest

P

1. Hey man, what is going on?

2. Good. I’m good, you?

1. Whah?

Q

It’s a love-hate relationship. I love her, and she hates me.

R

1. BOO.

2. …you realize you’re not scary or intimidating at all?

1. Maybe not when I say BOO.

2. Oh?

1. Yes, when I’m really scary and intimidating is when I follow you home to your house one day after school and rape you viciously.

S

2: Check this out!

1: What is it?

2: A library book.

1: You think I'd've learned better by now...

T

Sex sells, but love buys.

U

Love is blind, lust is just near-sighted.

V

What the hell is up with Easter? Jesus apparently dies, and is apparently reborn, and we celebrate it with a big furry bunny that has neither died nor been reborn, and a bunch of eggs that haven't even been born in the first place.

If you want my advice, we should change the name to "Jesus Day" and, instead of chocolate bunnies, have chocolate Jesus’. And we should fill the inside with cherry-colored goo, so that when a kid bites off the head of a chocolate Jesus, the cherry brings him or her that much closer to that imaginary character that we all know and love.


Let's Say...

Enil Edam, a contributor to this site, recently commented on KoH regarding my most recent post (right below this one). She wrote:
Don't be stupid Aeger.

Believing in God is not a mental disease. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not doesn't give you the right to say that you (and by extension, atheists) are the only undillusioned people in the world. [...]


I don't mean to pull a Raving Atheist here, but I think this needs to be addressed. As I was writing a wrathful response comment, I realised that this could be used as a post, so here we are.

My response below:

Let's say a man believed he could communicate with aliens. Not just that, he said that the aliens were using him as a connection link to the world, and that in our lifetimes the aliens would come down to earth and kill most of the human race, then take the remaining population back to their space-ship city in the sky.

Sound familiar? It should, because this story, or some derivation there-of is told daily by those under the belief they were abducted by aliens. Know what happens to these people? They are labeled insane and sent to an asylum.

Now let's say that a man believed he could communicate with God. Not just that, he said that this God talked with him, and told him what was right, and what was wrong, and that in our lifetimes God's son, Jesus Christ, would come down to earth and start the Rapture, which would send most of the human race to hell, then take the remaining population back to Heaven.

Sound familiar? It should, because this story, or some derivation there-of is told daily by Christians. Know what happens to these people? They are praised as respectable members of society, raise their children to believe the same bullshit they do, and are our neighbors, school teachers, friends, and co-workers.

Scary, huh.

They are delusioned. Not neccessarily idiots, but fooled none-the-less, raised from childhood to believe in God until that belief is so pounded into their skulls that they can't decide rationally anymore. However I try, I can't bring myself to feel anything more than pity for these people. My original post, though mostly in joking form, was an expression of my irritation at these people.



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