Sunday Sermon Talks: Firsts for everything?

Minister Giving Sermon to congregation in Church back view

I don’t really have a clue how much longer will I have the. . . ‘privilege’ of going to church with my parents. While I can’t complain too much, the moment I move out I’m going to enjoy sleeping in on Sundays. I’ve basically operated with the notion of a sort of 6 day week my whole life, with Sunday being a special time of the week reserved for church and family stuff.

So while I still go, I thought it’d be interesting to sort of use this as a writing opportunity to sort of shed my perspective on the sermons. I go to a Christian Alliance Church near home, and the sermons there have always been interesting to hear for the most part. My pastor speaks with a sort of gentle authority that I’m sure is entrancing to listen to for most like myself. He can tell a joke or two but for the most part, it’s short but deep. I used to be eager to take in every word and apply it to my life before I became an atheist, but now every sermon comes as a sort of personal challenge to seek the veracity in his words and challenge my own nonbelief. It’s not that challenging, though. For the most part his sermons are presented specifically to believer, so there’s not much for the nonbeliever like me to really nibble on. The last time I had something worth really thinking about was over a month or two ago. In that particular sermon, he started talking about faith. For those he said who challenge the need for faith, he said matter of factly “We have faith in things all the time, what do you mean you don’t need faith? I have faith the sun rises every day, faith that my phone operates well enough to do the job -god knows I’ve know clue how this contraption works- we all need faith!”

So let’s talk about faith for a moment.

This is of course  paraphrasing, though the phone and sun examples are accurate. I couldn’t possibly remember it word for word, but I digress. It made me think of my own objections to faith and why I felt that faith the way it’s described in the bible wasn’t necessary. For one, it sounded to me that the “faith” that the pastor talked about that day seemed a lot like trust, NOT the biblical version. The sun rose yesterday and the day before, spanning throughout your whole life. It’s not that hard to expect that, from experience, it would do so again. Same with the car and the phone. If the phone didn’t work yesterday, I wouldn’t be so trusting of that phone in my pocket. The faith that the pastor talked about was entirely based on prior evidence to warrant the faith. (Or trust, take your pick) The christian faith, though, has nothing to do with evidence. While people probably have their own sorts of evidences supporting their christian faith, it’s not at all necessary for belief.

 Faith, as biblically defined, means this: 1  Now faith is the 1aassurance of things 2bhoped for, the3conviction of cthings not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

William Lane Craig adheres to the Webster definition: “an unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence.”

I can’t accept that notion as anything more than belief without justification. If this is what faith means, what use does it have? Even Craig goes so far as to say in his website that even though this is what faith means, Christians still have evidence. And I’ve heard most, if not all, of the arguments, from refined to emotional. Let alone the fact that it’s never been sufficient, this is in direct conflict with the biblical calling for Christians to have faith. I think it impossible to sincerely believe in something without evidence.  Let’s be honest, we’re insecure beings. We just don’t take what’s handed to us. I’m willing to bet that everyone who comes to the Christian faith already had prior belief in a god. As evidence motivated creatures, I find it hard to think that anyone actually had a complete lack of evidence before just going forward and believing in god. Sure, their evidences may be false arguments or years of being raised in a religious family. But no matter the quality of evidence, it’s evidence nonetheless.Though, the faith Christians talk about has a catch. If at any point the evidence fails, it doesn’t matter because there was never a need for it! The sting of this is that when the evidence falters in a believer, their belief will still be warranted unlike before they believed, and now they will continue to blindly believe sans justification. Is this any way to operate in real life? Do I just keep believing in things in face or in absence of evidence, or embrace the fact that I have no justification for my beliefs?

Unjustified beliefs are dangerous in many ways, and holding them as highly as the religious does runs risk of many things, like self delusion. There’s no questioning that we are our worst enemies when it comes to finding the truth. Confirmation bias, compartmentalization, and emotions fog our perception of reality all the time. People claim to see ghosts, spirits and a list of nonsense as a result. Why would religion risk going into this category if they cared about being a truth based belief system? I have a theory about why but that’s a post for another day. Until then, let’s conclude with this:

I have absolutely no problem with faith as long as there is evidence for it. Hell, we can hope for things without evidence in the same vein with no problem. But the moment we try and find truth by disregarding evidence, we might as well have handed our eyes over to that which we blindly believe in.

We aren’ t about using them anymore, that’s for sure.

So this is my intro to a weekly sort of ramble I’ll be writing about my thoughts on sermons I have to listen to.  I might make a small post about today’s sermon but it’s really nothing huge. They’re talking about the book of Joshua.

-A slightly bored self proclaimed Bard in the back of the room listening to the sermon

 

 

Small time blogger woes

So my base of operations is a harddriveless macbook pro ’08 edition running off of ubuntu 14.14 LTS’s live cd on a usb. The CD Drive is broken too, bear with me. Needless to say I’m struggling right now.

Either way, this situation has forced me to run on a sort of temporary desktop where I must save my files on a usb so that my files aren’t lost between boots and all of my lovely writings don’t evaporate into the void.  (it’s definitely worth figuring out where these files even go everytime I need to shut down)

Why am I saying all this? For the past few days, I’ve been noticing that I’ve gotten at least one view daily. Considering how long ago I started posting, I’m cool with this. In fact, I’m happy that someone actually wants to hear what I have to say (read what I have to write blah blah)

But I think I know who’s been on my profile every day. See, given my situation, I always have to log in daily because of the hard reset my computer goes through. And every day, I access my blog page first and sign in through the link there. My site has been logging everytime I do this as a bloody view.

I feel like Jon from Garfield right now. In a particular comic strip, Jon finds a dollar on the floor. And another. And another. By the time he’s announcing his “luck” off panel, Garfield smirks at the readers and goes “There’s a hole in his pocket”

Fuck.

-A lonely self-proclaimed bard

P.s. If anyone comes across this and knows the strip I’m talking about, lemme know where to find it for viewer reference!

Why Web Games?

I’m going to be spending at least equal or greater time on web games when I do my reviews, simply because it’s been the kinds of games I grew up on. And frankly, I’m surprised I don’t hear about it when you get interviews from gamers about what they grew up on.

As if flash games on newgrounds isn’t hardcore gamer enough. Pfft.

Web games, be it flash games on newgrounds or MMO’s like Runescape, all have one thing in common: they are (typically) free, and they are played on the computer. This was all it took for me at a wee age of 11 years old to hop on the internet, a place pretty much the same age as I was, and get into the world of web games. While most gamers grew up on consoles, I was a mix between a console and computer gamer and I can’t help but scratch my head at the stories of gamers who got to go home right after class, pop in a cartridge, and play games for hours on end until supper.

 

Didn’t these kids have curfews? Or parents, at the very least?

 

Sure, I’d have done the same thing if I could. I grew up on a clear-green Nintendo 64 that I got for some random forgotten occasion when I was a child and it literally took me years to beat Donkey Kong 64. The game was tough, sure, and jesus christ did I take a while to figure out that I’d already collected the medal in the Jetpack minigame and didn’t need to beat the whole sodding arcade game to get into Hideout Helm. But the main reason that the bane of my childhood took me until the age of 10 to beat, a whole three years after I got the N64, was that playing it was a weekend affair. My parents were strict: No games during school days except for fridays.

 

Apparently, no one else had to suffer through this misery. Not many others got to feel the pain I felt when the clock struck 9 on sunday nights and I was just too into Rayman 2: The Great Escape to admit that I had to stop before I got yelled at. It’d a whole week before I’d get to start a new game and play again.

 

Thankfully, Mum and Dad allowed me to use the computer at anytime. I’m positive that they were none the wiser to the fact that there was a world of free games on the internet out there for me to play, but i jumped on that bandwagon the moment i discovered Nick.com

 

Web gaming became a part of my life quickly because of that. Especially with that draconian rule in place all throughout my life until college, I learned to love the online web gaming world.

 

And my parents must have been none the wiser, because I got away with this shit for a while.

The Bard

 

On Casual Sex

“At work watching Valerie Hubert give a presentation on the physical and emotional dangers of our sexual culture while thinking about personal stories I have heard. What a multi-task.

Inside of [omitted]’s Head:

Casual sex..including any sex outside of a commitment, does not give freedom. Instead it enslaves one to insecurities, guilt, false expectancy and a broken heart

My conclusion:

The danger of lust is the imaginary world it creates.

The consequence of lust is that world crashing in.

 

I don’t usually feel like responding to posts like this but I have a lot to say about how false the idea of casual sex being inherently bad is. In today’s culture, I agree that casual sex carries with it a lot of shame. It’s certainly not inherent, as many people who care little for what society thinks can have casual sex without feelings of heartache and loss. Hell, I’ve never felt guilt or shame when I have casual sex.

 

How does casual sex give way to insecurities? Guilt? A broken heart? In a culture that shames sex in general, it’s easy to see how the first two are cultivated within some people. Especially with the fact that the idea brings forth images of half drunk, half high on godknowswhat and barely conscious romps through the night, it’s no wonder that people are ashamed of casual sex. How is this a way to live, let alone enjoy the sex? Casual sex has become so taboo that it gets paired up with the second most taboo activity adolescents and young adults enjoy: partying. Given all the underage drinking that goes on in most parties, this taboo at least isn’t all too surprising. How in the world has something so simple and enjoyable gotten pair up with the loud ruckus that parties engender?

 

The answer isn’t all that surprising. Religion has had a firm grip around the balls of sex almost since inception. Anything outside the very strict parameters of sex from a religious context has been toted as shameful for so long that even if the practice isn’t inherently bad, shame, guilt, and insecurity is inevitable. There are many verses that I could point to that elaborate on this fact, but pastors hold a true monopoly on sex shaming. Most people don’t read the bible enough to understand the need for sex shaming anyway. Sex outside of marriage isn’t the problem. The lack of proper sex ed in schools and the shame game toted with it has made casual sex so unfortunate for many participants. People who have sex while holding this kind of shame are more likely to get STD’s and get pregnant because of ignorance and shame towards contraception, thus perpetuating the shame cycle. It’s an almost ingenious system if it weren’t for that fact that I doubt that this was the intended result.

Also, a quick point about the whole broken heart business: if you have sex and you and your partner consensually agree to a purely sexual relationship, no one is going to feel heartbroken. Period.

 

The ending quote made by my dear family member could be reworded for similar effect:

 

My conclusion:

The danger of sex shaming is the imaginary world it creates.

The consequence of sex shaming is that world crashing in.

 

-A self proclaimed Bard

Closet Atheist, Frugal Gamer, Media Binging Procrastinator who calls himself Bard

Let’s be serious, though. Urban Dictionary, the place where all commonplace wordage goes to die and be reborn anew from the ashes, says this about bards:

From the Gaelic “bàrd”. A poetmusician, and entertainer. Also called a “minstrel” in some circles. Known through Latinas a “troubadour“.

And even then I don’t quite come close. Yeah, yeah. I draw some. I guess it’s entertaining, now especially given my skill. (lack there of)

But the term comes near and dear to my heart, and even though the days of my word weaving has past me by, on the B train where soon our paths may once more cross, I still love the term. So screw you, Oxford. Screw you, Merriam and you as well, Webster. I’ll use the word as I see fit. And lookie here, an electronic type writer to officiate the moment!

Bard: Anyone and everyone who chooses to express themselves through the art of music, the art of writing, or the art of visuals and drawings.

Fresh of the pages. New definitions in the making.

And the keys go tick.

Gaming, Gender, Atheism, Anime, Writing. The amalgam of a 19 year old brain