I have always enjoyed taking picture but have never been able to afford the type of camera to take really good photos. I have been working for the same small company for over 10 years and instead of a cash bonus this year they give me a Canon Rebel T2i. I haven't enjoyed a camera like this in over 20 years. I have just started playing with it and I know I will now spend a good bit of time taking photos. This is one of the first picture I have taken with it and am already impressed with the quality of it. You do have to understand I have only been using 8 and 10 mega pixel cameras before this one. The only thing that sucks about this camera is that some of the concerts I like going to doesn't allow this type of camera into the concert. I can understand that because of the high quality. I hope to start posting at least a few photos every week and maybe a few videos as I get better with this camera. I think me and my dog will begin making a few trips into nature now because of this camera. I am more into nature photography then most anything else. What kinds of stuff would anyone that reads this be interested in seeing about Arkansas?
I was raised in a family that usually only went to church on Sunday and sometimes Sunday evening. I know I didn't like going but most kids would prefer anything to sitting in a church. I have at least 2 brothers who are heavy into religion but it is possible one other is but really can't see it. My 4th brother is probably a believer but not the kind that attends church unless he is chasing pussy. I have one sister that is Mormon and the other is a bit indifferent to church and it seems she only has much to do with it because she thinks that is what you are suppose to do. My mother is heavily involved with the church but it seems it is more social then hard core believing. I have no real clue about my dad since we have never talked religion and when it is talked about he seldom if ever says a thing. I was raised in a family that really wasn't to serious about religion since I really can't remember praying before meals other then on holidays or when with extended family.
I don't even know when I decided there was no god. I have been trying to figure out what is it that has caused me to see the world of religion for what it is. I can't say it was because of reading the bible. I can't say it is because I have more then the normal education in sciences. I can't say it was because of some terrible thing that has happened in my life. The things that have gone wrong with my life are for the most part my own fault, so I can't blame it on some imaginary being. There are things I wish I had been more prepared to deal with as an adult but I can blame that on anyone other then myself. When I was younger I never really thought much about the future and what I would need to know to deal with it. I tended to live in just the moment and boy did that come back and bite me in the ass. I think it is what I see in the world that tells me there can't be some all powerful being watching us. I see so much hate coming from so many claiming their lives are based on love and peace. I don't think that we would always turn to force if religions really were about love and peace. I know there are times that the only answer is using force but if you have to lie to justify using that force you never tried anything else. I see religion using force all the time to try and push their beliefs and will hear them whining when someone pushes back. I say if your god is real force isn't necessary for that to be shown. If you can't show your god is the truth without forcing that belief on children, I don't see it as anything more then indoctrination.
I used to believe that America was the greatest country in the world. Since I have opened my eyes to reality, I am embarrassed by what we are. We have politicians who have said they are only worried about insuring that President Obama doesn't get reelected. We have a former President who has admitted he ordered a person to be tortured and no one says anything in the media. We have politicians who say they will fight all attempts to change election financing. You have a small number of people who wish to kill health care reforms.
What has caused people to forget what has usually made this country great? I am not well educated in history but know enough about the history of this nation to know it is a new type of attitude that has come around. Is the problem religion? Is the problem the media? Is the problem the major money thrown at elections? I would say the biggest factor is actually the media.
What do I mean that the media is the major factor? I believe the biggest problem we have as Americans have is the fear of the truth. I saw a comment at a blog, I believe it was at vjack's blog, where someone said how we don't see the dead women and children from both our attacks and the attacks of the Afhgan rebels. Why don't we see the effects we are having on real people? I think it is the fact that many Americans don't understand how childish we have become. It is to the advantage of religion and politicians that we have this attitude.
I read several blogs and it amazes me that so many are willing to ignore how their actions will harm others as long as they get their way. I don't see the liberal nor conservative views as helpful in solving problems. The liberals seem to think that we need to throw money we don't have at problems while the conservative want to ignore the problems we have and throw the money into the military. They expect violence to solve the problems. Who can we turn to to help us out of this?
I would like to say me but damn if I was the one put in charge so many would truly hate me. I would end extreme greed and privilege for those who avoid responsibility yet think they are special. If I could do anything I felt would bring the world back from the brink of failure, there are some select things I would do. I would start in the USA, since I am from here. I would give the military 6 months to bring all forces home from foreign soil. That would include all military equipment and troops. I would stop all foreign aid and would provide only material support for humanitarian aid. That would mean no money but supplies that are needed. I would make all elections publicly funded and any private ads would cost triple or more to insure all sides got a fair shake in the press. I am afraid I would actually be a bit to socialist for many people yet in the end they would see the advantage of not worshiping money but the well being of all people.
I have been asked by a few people why I don't post more and I think it is pretty simple for me to explain why I don't. Most of what I have to say is based on my own observations and not based on any evidence beyond that. Many people want evidence and the people who have that are writing on other blogs. If you look down the right side of my page you will find a list of blogs and you will find much better writers on the subjects I tend to post about. I tend to defer to these bloggers because they are much better at presenting their evidence and making it easily understood where they are coming from.
I also have to really feel passionate about something to really take the time to write about it. I haven't found anything that has gripped me in a way that I feel I need to get my words out there other then making small comments at a few of the blogs I go to. I think some of it is also the fact that at a small number of these blogs I go to atheist actually make it easy for theist to point out how atheist are elitist.
It was a few months back that I saw a comment by an atheist that really made me feel many atheist aren't that different then theist. The basics of the comment was that he wasn't going to speak in terms that those not as well educated as he was would easily understand. He didn't want to dummy down his comments. This type of attitude is really no different then the ones most theist have it seems to me. This is the ignorance of elitist and it is a shame.
Lets really look at who is more likely to change their minds about something. How many leaders of most any group change their views knowing it will take away their power? I figure though history there have been a few but they are an extreme rarity. How many leaders of a group will change their views when the people within the group start to change their views? Look at history and you will find examples of this all over the place. The people who need to have their views changed are those that are following other not the person leading. When atheist won't dummy down their comments they are just enforcing the views many theist have of them and that makes the job of people who are actually trying to make things better for all harder.
A good example of how to make comments all can understand with little work is the book The God Delusion. Yeah I am still working on finishing it but all I have read of it has been easily understood and makes many good points without making someone feel stupid. When people have to spend half their time going to dictionaries or do some heavy research to understand a comment, the average people will ignore it.
I also think these types of elitist atheist are why I won't call myself an atheist. I don't want my views in line with their views. The elitist atheist aren't living in the same world as most people just like most theist in leadership roles aren't.
Am I an idiot? I had the chance tonight to make 10 dollars and cost a girl 10 dollars. I went out tonight for the first time in a few months and when I ordered my beer the barmaid give me change for a 20 even though I only give her a ten. Why should I have been honest and corrected her mistake? I was actually 5 or 10 foot from the bar when I noticed that it seemed to me that I got to much change. When I went to her and asked about it, she was really surprised that I came back. Hell she even knew I had given her a ten and was really thankful that I came back. I wonder how many people would have done what I did? I doubt most people would have done what I did. I'm not talking about just theist but I am afraid many atheist would have walked away without returning the incorrect change. I wish more people understood that money is important but not what we should really focus on. Sometimes I wish I could be like the people that have ruined the economy but I can't be. Yeah, money is important to me but not so important that I screw someone over making less then I do.
A real American. I don't think I really need to say much about this link. It speaks for itself. You will have to copy and paste to view this video. I'm not sure why it won't let me embed it in the blog.
I have really been doing some thinking on this and am almost to the point that free will is an illusion. I would say that if it does exist it is very limited in most situations of every day life. Many of the decisions we make aren't based so much on what we really want but on what we need and what society says we should do. Lets look at many decisions we make in a day that aren't really based on what we want but what is decided for us. How many of us really want to wake up as early as we do? How many of use really want to wear what we do when we go to work? How many of us really want to drive the speed limit? Ok I do get up earlier then I really have to but that is because I use the time to catch up on the news and read any blog post I find might be interesting. I would still have to get up earlier then I would like due to work. I don't mind wearing the clothes I do for work other then I am expected to wear boots due to safety. I am not a big fan of boots but understand the safety issue. How many people don't really like wearing what they do for work? I would guess a good percentage don't like it. The few questions I asked are just a few you can ask yourself about decisions you make daily not based on what you want but what others want.
I also believe that the amount of wealth one has can make free will more easily used to decide what you are going to do. How many people have enough wealth to allow themselves to do what they want? I think there are a few but anytime you have enough extra cash don't you feel more willing to go against the norms when you feel you will enjoy it?
I guess what I am really saying is that society and those within the group or groups we belong to tend to make many of the decisions for us about what we will do every day. The more involved we all get into the lives of others the less free will we allow ourselves and others. If you look into history you find the only people who have really had any thing close to free will are those that go against society norms and live in isolated areas. I figure those that lived before society became so important had much more free will then we do today. I figure having more free will will actually make life harder for others.
I also believe that both conservative and liberals want the government to involved in our lives. I know many conservatives claim to want less government but the areas they want removed sure aren't the parts that spy into the lives of us citizens. They seem to want to use more money to oppress the citizens. Neither side is really wanting to allow the citizens of this country to run their own lives but want to impose their way of life on all.
I have been reading the comments at Friendly Atheist. There have been many comments about free will by both theist and atheist. I know many christians say that their god gives them free will but I have never seen how such could really be believed. I am basing my view on what some christians have said to me not those that are trained in religion but only know what they have been told and read to try and defend their beliefs. I really think that most christians have a completely different idea of what free will is compared to what non believers and atheist see it as.
I am always hearing how everything happens according to their god's plan. Well that is unless it is something evil and then they blame it on the devil. I can't say how a god would make a plan but from what I know of the christian god, I would say that it would be micro managed. I have done that kind of planning and it tends to force any others involved into doing things in ways they might not want to do them. When anything is micro managed you can't say you have a free choice on how you are doing something. If their god is doing it this way then how can they say anyone has a choice in what they do? If he/she/it isn't micro managing then how is he running his plan? I have made plans where I just had a basic outline and those never finished exactly as I had hoped they would. If their god has just a basic plan and free will does have a way in this type of plan, how can the end not be changing all the time? I know even simple projects will end differentkly each time you do them if you alter any step even a small amount.
Another part of this question I seem to never get an answer to is how does the devil come into this? Does the devil do the will of their god or does he/she/it go against the will of their god? If the devil is doing the will of their god, doesn't that mean there really isn't anything evil other then how we name them? Since they claim all that their god does is good, that would mean that the devils actions in their god's eye would be acts of good but seen by us as evil.
If the devil is able to go against the will of their god, what does that do to the plan? I know when someone from outside decides to interfere with someone elses plans, it usually screws things up and causes problems that are unseen. Yes I know that christians claim their god is all knowing but that would mean he/she/it knew that the devil would be doing this or that and it was allowed. I would say this means it is part of his plan and will.
The way I see it, if you believe in a plan by any god or goddess you can't believe in free will.
There are several different news agencies reporting that neo-nazis are now taking up the call to patrol the borders of Arizona for illegals. Yeah I know that the new law doesn't actually do this but the hype being thrown around the politicians and media do imply that all good Americans should be helping. I am waiting to see what the supporters of this law have to say now that they are being shown how their views and the neo nazis. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/us/18militia.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
I am actually reading an atheist book for the first time. Yes this is the book and I figure it will take a while. I haven't actually sit down and read a book in over 4 years. I went to the bookstore here and talk about a terrible selection of books by atheist. I found this and one other book that I was sure were written by actual atheist. I can't remember the other title but it was suppose to explain atheism. I do have to ask all of you few readers, why are the damn books so expensive? Damn I couldn't believe the prices on some of the books I checked out. I hope the people doing the work to get them out into the bookstores are getting a fair share.
I am not really that worried about the cost so much since I am trying to quit a bad habit. I have figured out I can fill my library fairly quickly if I can control my bad habit. The problem will be finding the books at local bookstores here in the bible belt.
I figure I will slowly build my collection and any advise about some of the better books to read would help. I know vjack has a list of some but am looking for the basic ones at this time.
I really can't get into celebrating the 4th of July anymore. I do love the fireworks and the get together but have quit doing them for the most part. When I believe most if not all Americans really believe that this country was about the individual and his rights I was into celebrating the 4th. Over the past 10 or 20 years we have went from what the Founding Fathers wanted to what they were fighting against. I see it simply that many Americans have lost the will to stand on their own two feet and want others to stand for them. I know it is much easier to let others carry the load then to carry it myself. I let or expected others to carry the load for many years of my life and I really don't like where it has left me. I would say for the first 30 or 35 years of my life I expected others to either do what I wouldn't or to carry more if the load then I would.
I think many with in the theist and atheist community have lost track of what this nation was founded for. It wasn't founded so either group could control the views of others but to protect each person so they could live their lives as they saw fit. This is the biggest problem within society right now. Each group seems to think they are the ones that are right and are unwilling to work with each other to make things better for all. We are not here to make things better for just ourselves and those that agree with us. It doesn't matter if you believe in some god or not , we are here to get though life the best that we can. If the only way to make things better for yourself is to make thing worse for others, then you aren't doing the best you can. I heard about a guy who give 1.3 billion to charities but my question is why did he do it after those that are weathly are seen as evil. What charities did he give the money to? Will they use the money to do more good then to make things better for themselves?
I guess some that might read this blog might be wondering about the picture. What does it have to do with the post? It has nothing at all to do with the post. I have a cat and dog I take care of. I can't really call the cat mine because he is around only when he wants to be. The dog is more a family member then a pet and he is a little goofy at times. My question when it comes to the picture is, why do both of them drink water from the toilet when I put fresh water out every day?
I haven't been posting anything lately and have even cut down on how much I have been commenting on the blogs I like to read. I have been working 6 days a week and have been pretty drained with no desire to do my normal typing.This post I am just going to talk about some of the events going on that have a direct effect on the lives of most people and what might be some ways to make things better.
I believe that the actions within Afghanistan have really hurt the USA and most other countries in the world. We, as a nation, have sunk billions into a bottomless pit yet have done nothing that was originally suppose to be done. If the former President had actually pushed for completing the original goals, we would probably have already been out of Afghanistan and many of the problems that have arisen from it wouldn't have happened. I am probably wrong about us being out of Afghanistan. People in power in the USA seem to think we have to be present in all the nations of the world. If the people in power could do it without losing the lives of thousands, I believe they would put forces in Iran and North Korean to impose their views on the people of those nations. Has the current President done anything to bring the original focus of going to Afghanistan back to the fore front? I don't believe he has and in the end this could be our Waterloo. The surge that was suppose to solve the problems within Afghanistan, as some believe it did in Iraq, hasn't worked any better then it has in Iraq. I know many people do believe the surge worked in Iraq but it is pretty common to hear about some group bombing another in Iraq. When enough foreign forces leave Iraq you will see a large increase in the amount of violence and the current Iraqi government will fall apart. I don't see the change of command in Afghanistan as solving any problems but just adding more problems then as a nation we are able to afford. The problems won't be solved by throwing more money and lives at them. I think we should give the Afghan and Iraqi governments final notice that our forces will be removed within the next 6-9 months and if they aren't ready to handle the withdraw, so be it. I also believe we need to remove all our forces from foreign soil. We cannot nor should we be the nation that tries to solve all the worlds problems. We can be a part of the problem solving but by trying to push our solutions onto other nations have us where we are today.
Gulf Oil Spill.
I believe that both the US government and BP really screwed the pooch on this one. I also blame the courts for these types of actions but haven't really got true evidence for this. They have allowed companies like BP to become the same as humans and we know how easily humans can screw things up. The problem is there really isn't anything government can do to some company or even the company leadership. Because BP is seen in the same light as a citizen, then the company should be arrested and confined as any other person would be if they did something like this. How would you arrest a company? Easily. I would say freeze their funds within the USA and file papers to have the accounts frozen in any country we have treaties with. The fault for the spill lies with the agency that allowed BP to operate it rig below the standards and with BP and its failure to obey the rules. The company contracted to operate it for BP should also be held accountable for its failure to think about safety first over money. As Americans we should be pushing both state and federal government to really get behind the research into new fuel sources. The focus should be on renewable fuel. I would say any company that comes up with a viable renewable fuel should be given tax free status for a set number of years and if they share the technology with others, they should be given even more. I know that the search for a renewable fuel is extremely difficult but think it should be a priority. Look at the disaster of the ethanol attempt. I think the focus of an new fuel source shouldn't be on automobiles so much as on transportation systems and industry. Many people think that cars use a lot of fuel but when it comes down to it the rail and trucking industries use millions of gallons a day. It won't be anytime soon that we will be able to solve these problems but it does need to become a serious search instead of just words the politicians say.
This post isn't so much about the tragic event but the lack of knowledge about it by people I have talked to today. This is the event that happened early this morning in southwestern Arkansas. I live about 100 miles from where this happened. I spoke to 10 people about this event around 5pm this evening and of those ten only 3 knew anything about it. I first heard about it this morning around 10am but because I was no where near a radio was unable to keep up with the news. When I did get back to a radio I was able to get updates. My problem with the 7 that had no idea this event happened is the simple fact that they don't want to know what is actually going on around them and in the world. I believe that fear of truth is what enables many to remain christians.
I have been thinking about this some lately. I don't believe anymore that there is one cause for evil. I am just giving my personnel opinion on this, so like anything else I could be wrong. There are some things people say are the root of evil but only when viewed in the extreme are they able to stand alone. The three main factors I see as making evil come from people are religion, power, and money. None of these three are evil but are used by others to advance an agenda that harms more then it does good. There are very few if any major acts which don't harm someone some how.
I know that the three things I have listed aren't the only elements that lead to evil acts but I do see them as main causes. I will begin with religion. Is religion evil? I don't see religion as it was meant to be as evil but it is easily abused which leads to evil being committed in its name. What I know of history shows that religion has been used to advance many different types of actions. I believe that religion makes it easier for people to justify any action they take that they normally wouldn't commit. I could list all the acts that have been committed in the name of many different religions that are seen as evil in todays world. I don't think it is necessary to do that because most people already know what I would list. What we need to do is look at how people are in ordinary life in regards to their religious beliefs. Most people, no matter what religion, wants the world to believe that their religion is about love and peace. How do each of these different religions define what they call love? How do the people within each religion define love?
Power is something we all have to one degree or another. Like most things, power is easily abused and easily gotten when mixed with religion or money. Power give people the ability to help those in need. What makes someone in need? The problem I see with power is it makes many people believe they are above those under them. Most people who have power begin to forget what it took to get that power. We as people need to ask ourselves what we would do if we were in power? I like to believe that I would do what I could to advance our understanding the universe. How easy would it be for people with money to change my views? I have been poor my whole life. I have had to struggle many times to make it though the next week or mouth. Would I abandon my views if I knew I wouldn't have to worry about money or harm from others religions anymore? How can we stop religion and money from influencing people within power? If you were in a position of power would you want others restricting that power?
Lets get to what most people seem to thing the root of all evil is. When the original statement was coined, the odds are money was rare. While man was small barter and other means of trade were easily used. As mans knowledge began to expand, the ability of trade and barter became to complicated to work. We can still do some trading and barter today but it is usually in extremely small scales. Money isn't really the problem. It is the belief that money is the most important thing in life. Until extreme greed is gotten under control there is little that can be done about the effects of money. I figure here in the USA the best way to control greed is though taxes and eliminating private political contributions.
I believe that the real root of all evil is man and thier inability to understand all people are equal.
You always hear christians saying how this or that disaster is punishment from god. I always wonder what christians say when something happens to them. Do they go around saying that god is punishing them for their sins or do they blame the devil for these events.
I had to work today and when I was headed that way I came upon a fire which was burning inside a church. The volunteer firefighters had only arrived shortly before me because they were just getting the hoses run out. I was unable to get a photo of all the smoke rolling out of the church because it would have been a bit dangerous to at that time. There were probably 5 different fire engines from brush buggies to large fire trucks there. The second time I went by it I was able to get a few pictures that showed some of the fire trucks and this time there were at least 2 county mounties there with them. Since there were so many vehicles on or near the road this was as close as I felt it was safe for taking any pictures from a moving vehicle. This time by they seemed confident they had the fire out and were putting the hoses up. It had been about 2 1/2 hours since I first went by it.
The third time I went by there were people trying to get some of the stuff from inside out into the sun to dry it seemed to me. From the photo above you can see some of the damage to the west side of the church up near the top. It didn't see to be as much fire damage but smoke damage and where they might have busted it away to get water to the fire.
The final time by the church I was able to get these last two pictures and it seems to me that most of the damage was on the inside unless the back of the church was burned a lot more then the other three sides. The top of the church had fallen in some but it didn't seem that the fire had gotten to far out of control by the time the fire fighters got to work. I would say they are probably lucky it was a Saturday morning, otherwise many of the people that came to fight it would have been at work or on their way to work.
I wish I lived a little closer to where this church is located or knew a few people that lived in the area. I want to know what rumors are flying around about the cause of the fire. I could believe that many of the members are wanting to say it was arson or an attack by the devil. I very much doubt that they are going around saying they are being punished by their god. I figure it was an electrical fire but wouldn't be surprised if the reasons being used for the fire run the gambit from satanist to muslims. I have a brother that goes to church and runs the sound system. Many of these older churches are running probably 4 or 5 times as much electricity as they did when they were first built. The failure of the members to understand that with the added draw of power by many of the new systems they use is what happens when you think some god is watching over you.
Right now I am working in an area where a tornado went though on April 30th. There are many in the area that seem to have the same mind set that anything bad that happens to them is the devil and all the good is because of god. Why do these people always want to blame sin when it happens to others but never blame their own sins when it happens to them?
Update: The police are investigating this as an arson fire. They have arrested a guy for burning another church in the area and suspect him of setting this one on fire.
I do something still today that used to really piss my ex-wife off. I would find a subject and start thinking about it heavily. I have been reading a few old blogs I used to read often until they quit publishing. The one I was reading that led to this post was about how religious people claim it takes faith to believe in science. It seems to me that this type of statement requires you to redefine the word faith. We know that faith is believing something without the evidence to support that view. I know of no science that is based on no evidence.
I have conducted no studies nor do I plan to about this topic. The points I plan on making here are my opinions and mine alone. Some of the differences I see between these two types of people are scientist tend to avoid saying they are 100% sure and always welcome challenges. I have met a few theist that seem to welcome challenges but once you start showing the evidence against their view they tend to get less and less willing to accept anything but their own words. Most that believe in any religion tend to be 100% sure of their views and will throw any evidence out with the bathwater if it doesn't fit their views. Yes a scientist will have some faith in his/her new hypothesis but will tend to have more trust in his/her abilities. A scientist might not like it but if their idea is proven wrong to them, they will accept it and modify their views to fit the new evidence. Many religious people will ignore any evidence or throw the devil into the mix to avoid admitting they are wrong. Most scientist will keep up with any advances in their fields and those that are related to it. I can't say that i know of any people who are religious that keep up with advances other religions make other then the methods which will get them more followers.
Do both scientist and theist use fear to advance their views? Is money the main reason either of these groups attempt to advance their views? I know theist use fear as a tool to advance their religion but I don't think it is used by most scientist. There are some but most people who use fear to advance science aren't actually scientist. The problem is that most non-scientist see the fear invoked by these other none scientist as coming from scientist. Yes money is always a factor in both fields. The difference I see is that most scientist use the money they struggle to get to help all of mankind while religions tend to use it to just advance their own views and could care less about the harm done to others. I have no way of knowing the full numbers but I would be willing to bet all I have that less then 50% of the money given to churches actually helps anyone outside of that church. I would be about 75% willing to bet less then 25% goes to those in need outside the churches.
I have been doing some research into morals and how we might come about with the morals we do. I know most religious people claim it is their god that gives us our morals but I just can't see that. The main problem I see with this claim is that christian morals change with society but by their claims they shouldn't change at all. I like the example of how the laws and morals of people began to change after women got the right to vote here in the USA. Once women started voting many politicians began to enact laws which helped women. It has taken many years but the morals of people have changed when it comes to many crimes committed against women. There are other areas where religious claim morals but their actions don't support their views. Some of these areas are charity, murder, rape, and war. They talk about how their god is all about peace but will condone all the above as long as it is for their god.
What christian principles do christians mean when they say that the US Constitution was founded on? I have asked this of many christians that have claimed these principles are what it is based on. I have never gotten an answer to this question from the people who make these types of comments on the blogs I read. I have found a few sites that discuss these claims and will be doing a few post over the next few months reviewing them. Anyone interested in helping me with this check out this site. I figure I will make this the main one I will be reviewing. http://www.faithfacts.org/christ-and-the-culture/the-bible-and-government
I have been asked to write a post on my take of racism. I'm not sure i am the best person for doing this. First I need to give some background about myself and why I feel I am not a typical white male in regards to racism. I am from Arkansas and lived in a rural area that left me little chance of contact with other people other then at school and teen hangouts. The county I am from had 5 different school districts and of those five, three of them were all white students. One of the two had just a few years before I graduated gotten its first black students. The biggest town, population wise, was the main area where there were blacks residing. I can't be sure but would say between 85-95% of the black population lived within a small area of that town. It wasn't until I had turned 18 that I can honestly say I had any real contact with people of the black race. The contact I had until Oct. 81 was during sporting events and a couple of times at summer camps. One of the summer camps I went to when I was around 11 or 12 was the first time that I recall this group having a desegregated camp.
It was also at this age I saw the effects of racism for the first time.
I went to school at a small school that was one of the all white schools. The town only had about 500-600 residents when I was 12. Because I lived about 6 miles from town I seldom got to hang out in town other then when we had peewee football practice. A bunch of us would share bikes and go riding all over town. One day me and a friend were riding past this house that was near the school and saw a younger black couple moving into a home. I'm not sure if it was one or two weeks later but me and the same friend rode by that same house and it was completely different. All the windows had been busted out and there was a lot of graffiti painted on it. I never said anything about it until many years later and it was odd how some people reacted to it. The rest of the racism up until I left Arkansas for the army was whites talking shit that they had no reason for saying. I never said anything back and at times laughed at their jokes. Even today the town I went to school at is just over 97% white.
In 1981 I went into the army and for the first time I actually was forced to begin to understand that things weren't like I was always told they were. I guess I knew much of what I was taught as a child wasn't the truth but avoided questioning it. It wasn't until I got to my first duty station in Germany that I really started opening my eyes to the fact that other then skin color most people want the same things for their life. I have to give credit for this to SPC. Allen. He was actually very patient with me even though he really didn't have to be. Of course it took a few more years before I really got a basic understanding of how racism has truly hurt this nation. I guess the second big racist thing I saw happened while I was in the army.
I wasn't real big at hanging out with the people involved in this event but did know them all. The people involved were all white and the victims weren't actual people but the image that these guys presented. They were know within the unit as racist but they tended to keep it hidden from those in command. What final got them was a photo they took of a rope around the neck of a bust of a man that was black. Like most racist they weren't big on the brain power. They passed the photo around for others to see and a copy of it made it to the unit commanders attention. They were gone in a couple of weeks.
Earlier I talked about an event when I was around 12 and how some peoples reactions to the event were odd. I was attending PLDC, Primary Leadership Course, while in the army and one of the topics was racism. Some of the other students thought that race relations within the USA was pretty good but I disagreed with them. I used the two stories as examples of how there are still many racist out here and that to believe it is pretty good was foolish. They didn't actually believe my stories until one of the instructors took my side with me. What I found odd was that two of those disagreeing with me and not even believing me were black. We were in Kentucky and I knew black guys who wouldn't even stop at gas stations unless they were with others. It really did surprise me that they couldn't believe how racist the area around Ft. Knox was. While I was there one of the main leaders of the KKK lived about 15 miles from the base.
Have I beaten my racist upbringing? No I can't say I have completely beat it. The reason I say I'm not a good example is I am not a very active person when it comes to making friends. I has a small group of people I call friends and the rest are just people I know. I have a set of rules I use to define what makes a person a friend and there have probably been less then 100 people in my 46 years that fit these rules. I would say less then 10 of those were people that have been non-whites. Even within the army I was a bit of a loner and prefer it that way. Some people might say 100 friends is a good number but you have to understand I have known several thousand in this time. While I was in the army I would meet around 100-150 new people every 12-18 months due to normal rotations within the army. I still have to be aware that I can easily base my opinion on peoples skin color not on their actions.
Where I live now the race relations have gotten better then they were back in the 70's and 80's. I know there are still problems and until everyone decides to base their views of people on actions instead of what their skin color is, it will be a problem.
Thanks for inviting me to make post on your blog and I will try not to disappoint you. I haven't really ever told anyone out here that much about myself and figure I should probably do that in this posting.
I tend to avoid being very open about myself even to people I know. I am a 46 yr old male who until just a little over a year ago finally started to get involved in fighting against the negative influence of religion. I knew at a fairly early age I wasn't like most of the others around my age when it came to religion. Me and one of my brothers was always getting into trouble for playing tic-tac-toe during the church services and we even got called out by the preacher once. I never bought into that 6000 year old earth belief and I think that when I asked my dad about how could the dinosaurs have lived millions of years ago, it was the only time I saw anger in his eyes at a question like this. I never got a straight answer from him but I knew not to ask it again. I know I was under 14 when I asked this and I don't think I have ever asked him another religious question. I guess I had already decided at that time I believed in something other then creationism but at the time I didn't know what it was. I can't say religion was an important part of my life at anytime and it was in vacation bible school that I knew for sure I was different then others. I was 13 or 14 and the next year I wouldn't be attending vacation bible school but would be there to help out in instructing the younger kids if I went. One of the other guys there was just to excited about how he was going to pass on the words of the lord next year. I felt embarrassed for him and it was shortly after that that I quit attending church.
I don't see myself as an atheist but I know that I am not a theist. I don't believe there is a being or force anything like what people here on earth claim there is. I don't think I ever saw myself as a christian so I have no conversion story.
I enjoy studying history for the most part and I think that is one of the key factors in deciding that religion is full of crap. I see religion not as a major factor in the evils of man but the guiding force which has caused man to make the same stupid mistakes over and over. Religion has for thew most part held mankind back until the last few hundred years. Yes they did have educational institutes but they weren't for all people but a select few. How many people who could have helped to advance mankind were denied the education they needed by religion? Even now religion keeps people who could help mankind advance from following their dreams when they were young. I have no stats on the number of people who want to go into advanced sciences or other fields but because these fields conflict with their religious views they abandon those dreams. I have a niece who could have gone into most any field she wanted but because of her religion she abandon those so she could remain blind to the facts. She isn't the only one I know that hid from facts because of their brainwashing as a child. I live in a fairly rural area that puts religion about all else and have seen many leave for college just to return when they were forced to admit that their beliefs weren't universal. Instead of facing these other views they ran back to their group of like believers.
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36174722/ns/today-today_people/ I just saw this story on MSNBC and I have to say I wish more people was like this. People who help others no matter what the reason shouldn't try to self promote themselves. I can understand people discussing the actions they are taking while trying to help others in a natural disaster since these people can't really hide from the press. I hope this guy never takes credit for his actions but continues his life as if it never happened. This is the kind of story that makes me sure people are not evil at heart as many within religion claim but want what is best for all. The problem is many within the press seem to avoid these types of stories unless kids are involved. Yeah I could rant about many negative things now but this story tells me good people are in the world and that together they can save 1 or 1000s of lives given the chance.
It was about 4 years ago that a guy I worked with quit and since then I haven't really had any contact with him. While we worked together we talked a lot about religion and how bad I was. He said I would be going to hell and all. My brother and I both missed his conversations when he quit. We both used to have fun baiting him on areas of religion and I am sad to say it was easy to get him flustered. I would hang out with him sometimes after work but he wasn't what I would call a close friend but someone I could debate with at times. A few times we discussed how Hard Copy would do those chat room hookups pretending to be minors and he would get a bit to emotional about this area of conversation. There was something about the way he acted and said stuff that made me wonder about how true his words were. I wasn't the only person that felt he was hiding something but neither of us had any kind of evidence to base this view on. I think it was his reaction to some of the comments I made and how fast he let his emotions get away from him.
Today I was told he has plead guilty to inappropriate touching of a minor under 14 years old. I always thought that his reaction were off but had nothing to base them on. It felt about the same as all those anti gay preachers and politicians that end up being caught in homosexual acts. Should I have said something more or was I correct in not announcing my thoughts?
This morning I was listening to the normal radio program I listen when I work. I happen to hear them discussing how a group of guys were claiming to be close the point of armed revolution. I didn't hear the actual conversation but got the idea it was mainly hot air because the health care bill passed. This lead to people making the claim that President Obama was either the anti-christ or the new Hitler. I have actually tried to find the evidence they are using to make these claims and have found nothing that even comes close to what and how Hitler came to power. Most of the few sites I went to were the normal hot air and empty evidence.
I have studied some of the history around WWII and am at least loosely familiar with how Hitler and the Nazi party came to power. They used the SA, brownshirters, to create hate and anger at minority groups such as the Jewish people, gays, and communist. They were also used as a means of intimidation against those in politics that stood against the Nazi party. I haven't found any organization that Obama helps support that does these things. I figure people can claim Acorn was doing this but it seemed they were more interested in getting people to vote instead of getting people to stay away from the polls. The only groups I have seen doing this are those that appear to be supported by Republicans. The Tea Party appears to be more like the SA then any other mainstream organization at this time. I know they didn't start that way but people who want more hate out in this world got a few spokesmen to draw those types in. This isn't really any different then what the Nazi party did with Goebbels propaganda. If you go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cord-jefferson/becks-fearmongering-mimic_b_512150.html
you will find how closely the words of one of those pushing The Tea Party are to those that were responsible for a massacre.
I was watching a sporting event and a commercial came on for an upcoming event. I only saw it one time and wasn't really paying to close attention to it when I heard how this sport is the most patriotic in the nation. I doubt that they are using the proper definition of patriotic. The first thing I thought was, how can a sport be patriotic? I have only come up with the fact that anyone attending or buying products linked to that sport would be patriotic. That doesn't make the sport itself patriotic.
The sport is seen by most as one with many christians within it and they seem to think that being religious means you are patriotic. I think most don't understand what being patriotic means. Being patriotic means you love your country and what it stands for. The way I see it you have to put your love of your country first in all things or you aren't really being patriotic. I know that this view of patriotic is a view that makes it almost impossible to be patriotic. I would have less respect for someone that would put country first in all things. The point I am driving at is that christians can't put country first if they truly are christians. According to all I know, god has to come first in all they do. This means that they will ignore needs of the country if it is in conflict with the bible. The way many of the christians I know have fixed this is making the claim that this country is based on christian principles. If you ask them to point out those principles in the Constitution they fail at being able to do that. Instead they turn created by the government that was formed by the Constitution to support their belief. They fail to look into history that most of these laws have predated christians in one way or another. They try to make the common laws into christian laws but again the common laws predate christianity in England. What does all this mean? It means christians need to better educate themselves before they speak about anything to do with being patriotic.
I was talking with a guy that claimed he is a christian. He started out with the normal claims that he could prove god exist and that he had no doubts about that. It got me to thinking about some of his proof and why he was using it the way he did. Don't worry I haven't changed my mind about the truth of the bible but it did raise a few questions about how science has caused christians to change their interpretation of the bible. I am really interested in finding how some of the verses he used were interpreted before the advances in science caused the change in their interpretation. These are some of his proofs as he claims or more then likely The Discovery Institue or Answers in Genesis claim.
"The Holy Bible holds that God created the universe and the only reason we continue to exist is because God upholds our existence. (Genesis 1:1) (Hebrews 1:3) Scientifically, this Biblical worldview belief is confirmed by the laws of physics and by our existence living within our universe on the planet earth. You can think of the laws of physics as part of God’s invisible qualities."
"The Holy Bible’s Old Testament (Isaiah 40:22) which teaches us that God stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in; which suggests that the universe has actually increased in size since its creation. Scientifically, this Biblical worldview belief is confirmed by redshifts in nearly all galaxies and the Hubble Law which states that distant galaxies show greater redshifts than nearby galaxies."
" The Holy Bible tells us that the age of the earth is about six to ten thousand years old based upon God creating everything in six literal 24 hour days (Exodus 20:11) and genealogies recorded in (Genesis 5, 11) first starting with the first man God created, Adam. The Holy Bible said that a massive flood covered the whole earth. Noah’s Flood was a global, year-long, global catastrophe.
Scientifically, the geological features of the earth today are exactly what we should expect to result from such a complex, year-long, destructive event as Noah’s Flood which was global in its nature. Also, an incredible find of fossils we find are of shallow marine organisms, like corals and shellfish—and sometimes we find those even in very high sedimentary layers, even on top of Mount Everest!"
I am not wanting to refute these claims but am looking to find how christians interpreted some of the verses he used and others that are claimed to be supported by science. I am not having much luck in finding anything about the way some of the more obscure verses were interpreted. I doubt very much that christians from 100 years ago saw the bible as many see it today. I will keep looking but any help would be appreciated.
I doubt that most christians have a problem with changing how a bible verse is interpreted if it can help them to hide from the fact that their bible isn't very good in the science department.
I drive a truck locally here where I live and since I am in the bible belt I get to see many church signs. I try to remember to take pictures of them but seldom remember to. I drove by this sign 3 or 4 times before I took this picture. I have been trying to figure out what it is suppose to mean. I get the first half of it but the second half makes no real sense to me.
The way I take it is that if you attend their church you will never grow up. I couldn't really see some church calling its member children though. The other way I took it was that unless you attend our church you will never become an adult. Does anyone else have any thoughts on what this is suppose to mean?
I have another challenge for any that read this. There is enough information in this photograph to determine the town and state it was taken. Who can be the first to name the town and state correctly?
Today I got pretty lucky with my brakes. I was hauling a load with the truck weighing around 85,000 pounds when I started to slow down to get ready for a right turn I had to make. I'm not sure if it was right before or right after I applied the brakes. I felt as if I run over something with my steer tires and a heart beat later I felt my drive tires run over something and one of the drive tires blew out. I hadn't seen anything and was thinking a part had broke loose from the truck, so I started slowing down. It took just a second or two to figure out I didn't have my full braking ability. I used both my brakes that remained and the gears of the truck to slow myself down enough to make my right turn safely and get to where I could check things out. At first glance it just seemed that the drive tire was blown and an airline was leaking somewhere in the engine area. Since I was at where I was going to unload I went ahead and got the truck unloaded. It doesn't take long to get unloaded, maybe it takes 10 minutes total to unload. I have to unstrap the load and I saw my steer tire seemed to be low on air but was able to unload and as I was getting back into the truck I knew I wasn't going to far since it was almost completely flat by this time. I got myself out of the way of truck traffic and this is what I found. The brake drum had busted in half on me and it had cut the value stem completely off allowing the air to leak out at a good pace. If I had been driving on a busy road or the steer tire had lost air faster it could have been bad.
Well we got snow here yesterday afternoon until some time last night. It is only about 5 or 6 inches but since this is only the second time in the last two years we have gotten enough to be called a worthwhile snowfall I figured I would post a pic of my truck. Since I am in Arkansas you can be sure there are plenty of fools trying to drive in this stuff not knowing what they are doing.
I went into the grocery store Thursday evening to get a few things and it was a mad house. What I was getting was a money order and a few minor things. There were people buying enough groceries to last a few weeks it looked like. They had known the storm was on its way here at the beginning of the week but I guess they were hoping that it would be like the last time they predicted something like this. We didn't get anything but a few slick bridges.
Now to other things I have been thinking about lately. Why does it seem that most of the main media is ignoring the stupidity of the Supreme Court ruling. I haven't seen much written about it at any of the websites for CNN, MSNBC, AP, and Rueter. I have them on my google reader and only saw them talking about it for the day after it was made. The only place I have seen much said about it is at Huffington and they seem to be doing a good job of talking about what it really means. I saw another site, Alternet, had an article about 10 things to do about it but the suggestions I saw there either had little chance to get passed or would take to long to get done for it to prevent what could ruin this country. I think it will take a major push by the American people on all sides of the spectrum of views to force the courts to over rule this ignorance.