September 22, 2005

I'm sorry for saying what I think...

Ryan Church, baseball player for the Washington Nationals, issued an apology the other day for statements he made regarding Jews. Specifically, he mentioned that his ex-girlfriend, who was Jewish, was going to hell. And then he mentioned that all other Jews are going to hell also.

The way I see it, his apology has one of two motivations behind it:

  1. Christianity really believes that everybody else is going to hell, and Church is only sorry that he said it out loud, rather than just thinking it. In this scenario, Church is sorry in the same way that you might be sorry if you meet someone with cancer and start talking about mortality rates. Sure, you're just speaking the truth, but it's kind of insensitive.
  2. Christianity doesn't really believe every other religion is going to hell. In this case, your best choice is to pick the religion that offers you the best benefit in your daily life, yet still gets you into heaven. There are a lot of factors to consider: How little money you can get away with donating, how much the rituals actually benefit you (for example, possible benefits of Buddhist meditation), how many good looking women attend their services, and most importantly, the minimal time committment. Regarding that last point, I always wondered what the fuck the Coptic people in Egypt and monks and shit are thinking. They pray for like 8 hours a day! And they're Christians just like all the lazy assholes in this country who go to church twice a year! And clearly all the extra prayer hasn't benefitted them in this world - those people are poor as shit!
Posted by mill1991 at 9:45 AM

June 21, 2005

Oral transmission: It's not just a way to get VD!

When you hear the words "oral transmission" you might think it's a way your health teacher warned that one could contract herpes. You might alternatively think it's a system which allows your car to shift gears based on speech commands. You are right on both counts. But it is also a way of communicating history, and a not very good one at that.

You see, before the Old Testament was written down, it was passed down through generations of nomadic illiterate clans by storytelling. The problem with this approach is the same problem that plagues the game "Telephone," in which a message is passed, via whispering, through a throng of a group of children, inevitably incoherent by the time it reaches the last snot producer. Except the problem is even worse, because the children are trying expressly to maintain the fidelity of the message, while storytellers have the temptation to make the story interesting by exaggerating. If you think the bible is boring now, you can't even imagine what a snoozer it was before the storytellers got to it.

The following is a list of outlandish events from the modern Bible, followed by the actual events from which storytellers derived them:

StoryActual event
The burning bushMoses interprets literally the description of the symptoms of a nasty illness passing through the clanswomen.
Ten commandmentsMoses' wife made a list of things that made her mad.
Noah's ArkNoah took his family to the zoo and it rained.
The parting of the Red SeaA really fat guy did a cannonball into the Red Sea.
Cain kills AbelCain stops talking to Abel over a $6.76 debt.
Eve is deceived by a serpentA woman did something stupid and made up an elaborate and ridiculous cover story involving talking animals and magical fruit rather than risk losing an argument.

For people who take a literal interpretation of the bible (read: retarded people), the defense is that since the bible is divinely inspired, god guided the transmission of the bible from its beginning. Of course, the end result of several different versions, each of which considers all the others inferior, makes this argument laughable. I've even heard some people say that the bible is the truth because it says so in the bible. Oh, that's nice! Anytime I want to make a claim, just write out that claim, and underneath write "The above claim is true." Let me start right now:

  • The Bible is a ridiculous book full of myth and contradiction.
  • Every statement in this list is true.
Posted by mill1991 at 1:03 PM

January 18, 2005

Ask Tim: Tolerance from religious folk

A reader and fellow blogger writes (from his bike computer I'm sure):
Do you have an explanation for why the holy-rolling crowd seems to leave you alone? You make some fairly inflammatory statements here toward religion (which I enjoy by the way), yet you never seem to get preached at for it. In my case, if I endorse a certain type/brand/style of bicycle, I often have two or three people who give me shit for it.
Zeus bless.
This question intrigued me. Some of my regular readers may already know that I am not religious, and sometimes it may even come across in my writing. While some of it may be inflammatory, that is not my sole intention. Most of it is just goofy, so they probably figure it's not worth their time. But in the spirit of your letter, I'll try to stretch the limits of what I can get away with. Without further ado (except this) (and this - okay after writing this I need to add here that this could be highly offensive if one doesn't realize I'm completely kidding - most of my friends are religious, and most of them are wonderful people):
  • Religious people are too stupid to use computers
  • While religious people are indeed among the most stupid living things, this is not likely. Computers (which are not religious) do most of the work for the faithful these days.
  • Religious people only appear to be leaving me alone - they are actually praying vigorously for me to be struck by lightning or crushed by an anvil falling from the sky
  • You see, religious people think that prayer is more than just talking to yourself. Here's an interesting anecdote. At my parents church, they had a certain committee that had been meeting for a while, but hadn't done anything. My mother came home one night, and told me that they had finally done something. What had they done? They had agreed to pray for help with their task. Wow. Congratu-fucking-lations.
  • Many people are religious about things besides god
  • Even though many people will claim they are religious, they are actually more devoted to other aspects of life. For some people it is bikes, as you mention. For others, it is professional sports. Many vegetarians are zealots who wish to proselytize as much as the most annoying evangelical Christian. This does not explain why my site doesn't get much heat, but rather why yours does. In my case, people have only wasted time if they are wrong about god. But in the case of bicycles, people have wasted their money!
  • Religious people don't feel the need to judge others, because they realize that god will do this at judgement day
  • And if you believe this, I have a bridge that I'd like to sell you, and then push you off of.
Posted by mill1991 at 1:18 PM

January 5, 2005

How to choose a religion

I'm sorry, but I just don't know why anybody would want to be a Christian. If you're the type of person who just has to believe in something, at least be a little creative! All religions are bullshit, so you might as well choose one that fits your personality better. Here I will just look at one: the Greek gods and goddesses, henceforth known as Olympianism.

There are many good reasons for switching your allegiances to the greek gods. For one, there is the expression "Greek god." As in, "Have you seen Samp with his shirt off? He looks like a Greek god." This is because all of the greek gods had sculpted physiques, and were generally considered to be quite hot. Through all of your worship, you can be staring at images and icons of the ancient equivalent of bodybuilder or supermodel. Plus, greek gods always walk around in the nude, oftentimes covered in hot oils that undoubtedly have pleasing fragrances. Why not choose a belief system that allows you some erotic imagery in your visualizations of god? Going to church would be fun again, although you'd have to bring plenty of change for use in the 25-cent movie theatres. Compare this to Jesus, who can't even be bothered to shave or wear proper shoes. The choice is easy.

The second reason to convert to Olympianism is that greek gods will interfere with your life all the time. This can be seen in either The Iliad or The Odyssey, both of which read a hell of a lot better than "the good news," by the way. The Christian God used to fuck with people's lives all the time, but he stopped as soon as he had finished his book. Meanwhile, the Olympian gods descend from Mount Olympus whenever they feel like it. Maybe they smell a lamb roasting on a spit and want to get a taste. Maybe they want to shoot some lightning at some battle weary soldiers returning from Troy on a ship. The Christian God, in his entire history, only personally inseminated one woman. Greek gods do that shit all the time!

That brings up another point. Sure, the Christian God claims we were made in his image, but then why is he so perfect while we're not far away from flinging feces at each other like chimpanzees? With the greek gods, there is no doubt - those assholes are just like us. They're always fighting up on Mount Olympus, and have voracious sexual appetites (as mentioned above), they get jealous of other gods, they scheme and plot against each other, take opposing sides in wars, and so on. It could be the greatest reality show ever on television.

Posted by mill1991 at 7:19 PM

December 7, 2004

Ask Tim: Questions about atheism

Okay, I get a lot of questions from people when they find out that I am a hardcore atheist. In the interest of saving myself some time, I will answer some frequently asked questions about being an atheist.
  1. Where did everything come from?
    I don't know. There are a lot of things I don't know, but I don't assume the answer is God to all of them. I don't know what that awful smell is in the hallway of the CS building, but I'm not going to blame it on God. If he doesn't get credit for the unexplainable bad stuff, he doesn't get credit for the unexplainable good stuff. Except golf. That could only have been God.
  2. What do you think happens when you die?
    Well, I'm certainly not looking forward to dying. But I'm not afraid of actually being dead. I reckon it will be just like it was for the billions of years before I was born, which wasn't that bad, except I was a little thirsty.
  3. Don't you want to go to heaven?
    Oh, certainly, don't get me wrong. It would definitely be nice if I was able to live in eternal paradise after dying. Hey, you know what else would be nice? If dogs could give hand jobs. But I don't think either of them is going to happen, no matter how hard I pray.
  4. What about the bible and Jesus' love?
    Well, that's a pretty old book. For all I know, the people that wrote it may have been doing opium. Or maybe the Gospels are Israel's version of Harry Potter, except much much more boring. Or perhaps it was like The National Enquirer - which would explain the miracles - and we're just missing the back page which read "Luke and Thomas seen canoodling at Last Supper - spokesmen deny involvement."
Posted by mill1991 at 7:39 PM

December 2, 2004

The Passion of the Broken Wing

When The Passion of the Christ was first about to be released, there was a lot of controversy. Jewish leaders were afraid that the movie showed Jews in a bad light, and could incite anti-semitism because it ostensibly forwarded the notion that Jews killed Jesus. First of all, let me say that even if Jews in the year 33 CE did kill Jesus, Christians shouldn't hold it against Jews living today. I don't still hold a grudge against the British for taxation without representation, and I'm not still upset at Japanese people today about Pearl Harbor.

But more importantly, this anti-Jewish sentiment has the unstated assumption that Jesus really was God. For all we know, he could have been in his world what David Koresh was in ours. If he's just some crackpot half-baked revolutionary, then what's the big deal? He wasn't the first or last to be killed I'm sure. In any case, he thought it was his duty to die, so someone had to kill him.

Given all these things, I think Jews should be more visible on this issue. If I were Jewish, I would wear this as a source of pride. "Yeah, that's right. We fucking killed god. And if you fuck with us, we'll fucking kill you too." That would be so badass! On the list of things that are completely fucking badass, "Killing God" tops even 50 Cent's "Getting Shot 9 Times and Surviving." Except when they talk about it, they should speak with an exaggerated Hebrew accent that sounds closer to Yiddish than English. Can you imagine? Wannabe badasses in schoolyards and suburbs all over would start talking with Yiddish inflections instead of ghetto inflections if they wanted to sound tough.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:40 AM

August 31, 2004

Flies

Flies are annoying, but they do have a good trait. Just by looking at the name "fly," one can deduce the whole story of how the animals were named in the garden of Eden by Adam.

The fly was clearly named by someone who was extremely lazy. Adam was probably late for a party at Eve's, and God was like, "Hey its time to name the animals." So Adam, not knowing how many there were going to be, agreed. Then his centaur assistant brought out the first animal, obviously the fly. Adam asked what it did, and God said "Well, it basically just flies around." So Adam, in a hurry to get to the party, said, "Ok, then its name is 'fly'. What do we have, like a dozen or so more animals?"

(The next animal the assistant brings out is a bird.)
Adam: "What does this one do?"
God: "Well, this one basically flies around too."
Adam: "Well shit. Ummm.... how about... uh... 'bird'?"
God: "Bird? Where the hell did you pull that out of?"
Adam: "What? I don't know. You're the one who made two different animals that fly."
God: "Umm.. yeah... two."

Anyways, I think flies get a bad rap. I kind of like them, because they are small, and they make me feel enormous by comparison. Because of this, they're really easy to beat up. There aren't many people I can beat up - maybe a few starving children, and babies I can definitely take. But thats it. One time I went out for drinks with a woman and a fly tried hitting on my date. I know what you're thinking, it's really weird that a fly would be attracted to a woman. But don't worry, she was half woman and half fly. The fly was attracted to her fly half and I was attracted to the woman half. Well, okay, I am somewhat into flies too. Anyways, the point of the story is that the fly was really easy to beat up.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:00 AM

August 9, 2004

Signs, signs, signs

One think about Wisconsin that I don't think everybody is aware of is that there are an assload of signs on the roadside. This is especially an eyesore on the way up to Door County, as I noticed last weekend. With such a plethora of signs, there are bound to be a few which are ripe for comedic mining. My attempt follows.

The first interesting sign says: "Been taken for granted? Imagine how God feels!" The point of this sign is apparently to make me feel sorry for God. Wow, yeah, he certainly does have it pretty rough. Oh, wait, he's God. But, I can't just jump to conclusions here. I have to really consider what its like to be god. ...(Cue dream sequence)... Wow, I'm omnipotent! I can do whatever I want! For instance, I could get a woman pregnant without her knowing, then just tell her later in a dream. Topping that, she will happily raise the child without my help or financial support. Wow, I'm even more powerful than... Shawn Kemp. Also, in the New Testament, Jesus creates wine from water. With such a huge supply of water, I could make tons of wine! Well, I don't really like wine that much, but I suppose as god I could do the same thing with Brandy Old-Fashioned's (or Space Ages, in modern terminology).

Ooh, I'm also omniscient. I can see and know everything! Finally, I can find out what Katie Couric looks like naked without being arrested. Also, if I am omniscient, I also have an understanding of everything that will happen in the future. Hate to waste your empathy, loyal subjects, but this means that you're taking me for granted is neither surprising (I saw it coming) nor disappointing (I created you knowing it would happen). Wait a second, I'm omnipotent and omniscient, and you're trying to assign me credit for creating humans? That's the craziest theory I've ever heard. As your god, its my duty to tell you that its more likely that you developed due to "the non-random selection of randomly varying replicators," (Richard Dawkins) as did the rest of life.

The second sign that caught my eye read: "You're Speeding! No wonder, Door County Candle Company is ahead!" (Sorry, this isn't an exact quote, but the closest I could remember). Yeah, this makes sense. Because candle aficionados are the fastest driving people I can think of. Finally, I have an explanation for why my grandmother and mother drive so freakin fast. But, seriously, I think the sign may be mistaken; at the least, it could be made more accurate. Follow me here: most candle crazies are women, right? So, most people going up to DCCC are women, right? So, the sign should read "You're driving over-cautiously while straddling two lanes! Also, you assume that hitting the brake pedal is the best solution to any driving difficulty! No wonder, you're probably a woman going to Door County Candle Company." I guess I can understand why they wouldn't put this on a sign - if charged by the word, overall costs would be absolutely horrific.

Posted by mill1991 at 8:36 AM

August 7, 2004

Cancer

I hope I don't get cancer until I'm, say, 400 years old. But in the unlikely event that I get cancer as a young man, there are a few things that I would like to get done before the combination of the disease and the treatment leaves me a broken, desolate man.

First, I would like to get t-shirts printed that say "God is an asshole." Not that cancer would change my attitude about god. I already think that if there is a god, the most likely possibility is that he/she/it is a total asshole. But if I printed t-shirts like that now, without cancer, I could be persecuted for my opinions. Once I have cancer, however, who's going to complain? Nobody wants to be the guy who yells at the young man with cancer. Besides, the cancer itself would prove the t-shirt right.

Second, I would write a letter to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Coming up with something to wish for would be quite difficult. I suppose I might ask to spend some time with Dwyane Wade and Shaq on the Miami Heat, since I do like basketball. Or, I could ask for a date with a supermodel, since I like insanely skinny women who eat even less than me. Or maybe Hilary Duff or the Olson sisters. But, in the end, I think my wish would be to not have cancer. Yep, Make-A-Wish, don't bother sending me to Disneyworld or hanging with Olympians. My simple wish is to not have cancer. I really appreciate it.

Posted by mill1991 at 8:48 AM

July 13, 2004

Caveman difficulties

One of the most annoying things in my world is my allergies. If unmedicated, I become a (even more) useless human being, although quite useful as a phlegm producer. But with drugs, I'm like Superman and Darkwing Duck rolled into one. This got me thinking: what would someone like me do before allergy medicine? Its hard to imagine, but I would probably be even less successful with women. They might just throw me in a bubble or something. But what if we take a ride in the way back machine, to caveman (sorry, caveperson) times? Then it starts becoming interesting. Well, hopefully it does.

I don't know how they treated a person with allergies back in caveperson days. They're no good to hunt with, what with all the random sneezing. We're constantly whining about how our eyes itch or our nose is running or the roof of our mouth itches. Given all that, I would suspect that a fair amount of pre-historic allergy sufferers were discovered dead early in the morning outside the cave with mysterious club-like indentations all over their bodies. I seriously don't know how people with allergies survived natural selection. I'm really starting to doubt the validity of evolutionary theory. What's the other theory? A benevolent god created us? And allergies? Yeah, thats believable.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:14 PM

June 16, 2004

Upsets

Some people have said the Piston's beating the Lakers in the finals is the greatest upset in history. Personally, I think the greatest upset in history is me losing to Jared Schmidt and at least two others for "Most Attractive Male" in Preble High School's Class of 1999 senior survey. But I digress. I thought I could take some time here to look at other major upsets in world history.
  • Broncos over Packers, Superbowl 32 (Screw Roman Numerals!!!). Venue: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA. Date: January 1998. Story: As someone from Green Bay, this story is too painful to even recount. I'm going to need a minute to have a good cry. Modern implications: I cry myself to sleep every January 25th.
  • And finally, the biggest upset of all time: Satan over God. Venue: Garden of Eden. Date: ~4000 B.C. Story: In a major shocker with implications still being felt today, evil triumphed over good as God's "perfect" creation was subverted by a fricken snake. The Ominscient, Omnipotent, and Omni-everything deity of all judeo-christians everywhere created a perfect environment for humans to live with dominion over the earth. Unfortunately, a woman ruined it by being misled by the devil disguised as a snake (Note to women: talking animals are generally the devil in disguise). Modern implications: Well, one positive is that now we have knowledge of good and evil, courtesy of a vastly powerful apple. However, believers everywhere have the unfortunate downside of living in a non-paradise environment, as opposed to the paradise of Eden. Non-believers have it even worse, as we have to listen to believers complain about fairy-tales all the time.
Posted by mill1991 at 3:51 PM

May 18, 2004

Basketball

I think if the Timberwolves moved their home court to the hoop in my driveway I could play for them. I can't miss out there! I'm not saying I could take Garnett's place, but I would be at least as good as Fred Hoiberg (yes there is really a player in the NBA named Fred Hoiberg). Granted, the seating capacity of my backyard is vastly exceeded by that of the Target Center. But I think the thousand or so that could fit would really make some noise. You should hear how loud everything outside is in my bedroom at 2 AM the night before important exams. Plus, the hoop is a little slanted to one side, and it should be harder for the NBA players to hit from the opposite side, but I'm telling you, I hit everything from that side! Also, the whole left side of the backboard is pretty much a giant hole. I have the experience to not shoot from that side. Does Fred Hoiberg have that experience? No. Finally, from the recent storms, there are branches and leaves strewn about the driveway that make a basketball bounce about as reliably as a football usually does. This levels the playing field! I can't dribble, but now neither can they! Speaking of basketball, if Jesus played basketball, would he bother advancing the ball upcourt and setting up the offense, or would he just shoot as soon as he got his hands on the ball? I say "Just shoot, Jesus."
Posted by mill1991 at 1:37 PM

April 23, 2004

Prophet or crazy

Today I was thinking about how God doesn't talk to people like he used to. If you talked to god earlier than, say, the Renaissance, you were a prophet. Now, if you talk to god, you're just bat-shit crazy. This may lead many of you to think, "Well, what about Reggie White? Does he really talk to God, or is he crazy too?" However, this led me to think, "How could someone who is so clearly crazy play professional football for so long?" See the difference? He's fucking insane. I can't even comprehend the size of the ego a person would have to have to think that God would talk to them, let alone about issues such as which teams contract offer looks the best. God's all, "Reginald, I think you should sign with the Packers. The other offer is worth more overall, but its all backend money. With the Packers' bonus offer, and assumed annual interest rate of blah percent, it ends up being worth more in the long run." Congratulations, Reggie White, for trivializing your deity more than any non-believer could. If your wife isn't around, do you ask God which belt matches your slacks better? Does God tell you which lane is moving faster on the freeway? If your god really gives a shit about the things you think he does, then you've probably picked the wrong god. You might want to try Shinto or Huyijih (okay I made that one up).
Posted by mill1991 at 7:48 AM

April 22, 2004

Better idea

I thought of a better idea for the crazy religious fanatics on our campus. First, when I'm walking by minding my own business and they call to me, I'll pretend like I'm surprised and flattered that a stranger wants to talk to me. "Who, me? Sure, I've got time to talk." Then, when they ask me if I've heard the "good news," I'll ask, "You mean about a UMD alumni winning the Pulitzer Prize?" Then they'll say, "No, the good news about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." And I'll reply, "No, doesn't really ring a bell. I'm a first year grad student, though, so I'm always a little bit behind on the news."
Them:"Well, God sent his son, who was actually himself, to die on earth for us."
Me:"Wow! That sucks! So your god is dead?"
Them:"No! It's great! Now, we can do whatever we want, and as long as we apologize for it sometime before death, we're not responsible."
Anyways, I could probably drag this out for a while, but the idea is that I'd gradually let them think that they were converting me. Because this is like their wet dream, right - finding someone who isn't going to heaven and getting him in! Then I'll ask them if I could help by donating money. When they tell me yes, I will reach into my backpack and unfold a giant cardboard novelty check written for $10,000 (Granted, its heavier than carrying around a few tracts, but its a worthwhile cause).
Posted by mill1991 at 8:49 AM