June 15, 2002
April Anti-Fools' Day
A few days ago I came to realize one thing atheists are truly lacking (other than a larger office and full medical) is a holiday of our very own, when we get to bother the boss for a day off for our atheist-only activities.
Let's call this day of the atheist Non-Believers' Day
. Its symbol will be a candle burning bright. I was thinking about a human brain as the day's motif, but that seems a bit much, if not fairly icky. Agnostics will be welcome to celebrate along with us. And the same goes for secular humanists, freethinkers, and non-religious types of all denominations. It will be an equal-opportunity day for anyone who fails to fall for the religious folderol, or found a way out of it.
Investigating into which is would be the best day for Non-Believers' Day to fall upon, and to get a tack on what others have said about having a day to ourselves (as it's certainly not a new idea), I came across this fanciful little gem
April 1 - A HOLIDAY FOR ATHEISTS
There are many religious holidays, and April 1 would be a good holiday for atheists, humanists, pantheists, and others who deny the reality of an omnipotent, personal Creator God. The Word of God has made it plain that such a faith is the faith of a fool (the Hebrew word, nabal, means both “stupid” and “wicked”).
It is obvious that no one could ever prove atheism to be true, for it is impossible to prove a universal negative. In fact, there is such overwhelming evidence of designed order and complexity in the universe, especially in the marvelous structures of living organisms, that one must exercise an enormous amount of credulity to make himself believe that it all just happened! This is the New Testament testimony as well: “. . . they are without excuse: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:20–23).
And they say we're
filled with hate. Ignoring, for the moment, a lack of belief in God is by most definitions not a faith
, what can one say about a group (the Institute for Creation Research? hehehe
) who drops people with such disparate world views as atheists and pantheists into the same faith-based box. How about they're nimrods
? Yeah, that says it rather nicely. (By the way ICR guys and gals, you'd best re-read Matthew 5:22. You know, before you're damned to Hell for eternity and all.
And hey, that particular date is apparently been built into a joke, too (like the ICR's comments aren't laughable?):
An atheist complained to a Christian friend, "Christians have their special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter; and Jews celebrate their holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur; Muslims have their holidays. EVERY religion has its holidays. But we atheists," he said, "have no recognized holidays. It's an unfair discrimination."
"What do you mean, atheists have no holidays," his friend replied, "People have been observing a special day in your honor for years."
"I don't know what you're talking about," the atheist said, "When is this special day honoring atheists?"
Funny guys, those Christians. Anyway, forget about April 1. I might have gone with it just to spite people like the Nimrods Against Universal Negatives above, but I found an even smarter choice April 13
If it was on the 13th of the month, we could stand in the face of superstition about the number 13. If it was in April, we could jokingly tie religious foolishness to All Fools Day. If it was the unrecognized birthday of a towering American historical figure in the battle for the separation of church and state, that would help us gain its approval as a national holiday. And if was the birthday of one of America's most famous atheists, we should seize the opportunity to embrace that day as our own holiday.
Thomas Jefferson and Madalyn Murray O'Hair were both born on April 13. Jefferson was not only the author of the American Declaration of Independence from England, but he believed so strongly in the separation of church and state that he ended tax support of churches in Virginia and other colonies. Madalyn Murray O'Hair brought atheism to the forefront of American law, and founded our organization. Her departure is a mystery, but her vision and courage are history, quite clear enough to celebrate.
I admit tying an atheist holiday to the middle of April seems to have gone nowhere the first time it was suggested (1997). And I certainly don't recall the grand day being brought to national recognition back by 2000, as the article looks forward to. However, a good idea shouldn't be tossed aside just because it failed to catch on the first time.
So I proclaim that every April 13, Non-Believers' Day, let non-believers gather in fairgrounds across the country, where we can talk to other non-believers, and eat with other non-believers, and spend the day thinking happy, non-believing thoughts about things, like not believing. And we'll do other un-non-believing stuff too. Sharing recipes is most definitely allowed. Non-Believers' Day doesn't have to be anything fancy. A few festivities; maybe a parade. Are the Mummers
a secular operation? But whatever ways we find to celebrate this non-holiest of days, just getting a little of the recognition we're forced to provide religiously-observed holidays would be nice for change.
One day a year is not much to ask, considering the vast number we deal with from the opposite side of the fence.
June 14, 2002
Fragments From the Memory Log, Entry Ten
I don't think the adults around me comprehended that as a child among other children in the comparatively vast and irregular geometry of our neighborhood, one constituting approximately twenty tireless young bodies, a dozen bare backyards, and the late twentieth century equivalent of a Midwestern wilderness, the only important rule of property was the one that outlined the four-lane county road at the northern edge of our roaming lands, which cut off capricious access to both the Dairy Queen and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. Yet even this rule simply stated: no crossing without looking both ways.
I can still draw a map of the outer edge of our world. The border to the east was ill defined and stretched varyingly depending on if school was open or a plan in the works to storm the library or take in a movie at the cinema with its total of one screen! To the west lay brush covered fencing protecting undiscovered mysteries (strangely holding little interest to us). The north as mentioned was traced by semi-trucks and other voyaging craft moving moderately quickly from important place [A]
to location of consequence [B]
. The southern margin was more complicated: along the south-west a naturally defined edge was drawn by the banks of the Wabash river and incorporated the fields where we play Little League ball each summer; to the south-east lay a train yard. What lay beyond this circumscription was foreign, visited for trade or familial purposes, but rarely known well. Anything inside this childrens' province was our stomping ground, and we stomped on it until the earth turned dusty. It became as familiar to us as the back of our dirty little hands.
The unstated objective during the day in our domain was to fill every minute with vibrant and tiring physical activity; unless something involved television it demanded constant movement. My family's backyard, or more accurately ours and the semi attached and semi-livable one next door, was the central hub or meeting place for nearly all social interaction while daylight ruled. Here is where we'd play kickball or baseball or dodgeball or football or basketball, as well as the rare game not
involving a ball. There were plays and musicals produced in the garage and spontaneously arranged parades up and down the front walk. Olympic-style events taking days of planning and preparation were conducted, with prizes awarded to the winners. One-page newspapers were published and quickly put out of business by subscription rate hikes, rain-derived public works designed and manipulated by devious business tycoons, towering snow kingdoms built and destroyed by invading Eskimo hordes.
At night we and so the world grew somewhat more peaceful in our pursuits. When the siren call of TV didn't ring in our ears, we might be found standing along the curb of our northern frontier where we'd wordlessly contemplate the outer world waiting some years ahead of us, or just fill a few hours time begging semi drivers to honk their horns, our arms cranking up in down in mock attempt to punch the air above us; each successful return was guaranteed a reply of joyful hoots, hollers and waves. Sometimes we'd test the mettle of the local bat species by tossing gallon milk jugs into the air while calculating their rate of swoop as they flew out from trees at them. Mostly though we'd mimic in small the behavior of our parents, sitting on a random porch or stoop where we'd discuss the happenings of the passing day, plan for the next, or figure out the following chess move or card choice in a game of war or go fish or old maid. All the while never considering that the porch or stoop or street under us was not our own.
Children work at a close, more animalistic level with the ground under them than adults do. Their behavior may be less instinctual and gut-driven as that which drives territorial shoot-outs between lion prides and hyena packs, but it's more that than what passes for it in the adult human counterpart. Lines are drawn around a sense of immediate turf and not through misconstrued understandings of tenuous property rights and ownership. It's not that children lack the intellectual tools for grasping the basic features of such legally complicated concepts; "mine mine mine!" is a common enough outburst.
In youth we unconsciously choose ignorance at critical times about things like this, because it's to our benefit to do so. Adults can usually understand this part of a child's mind set.
June 13, 2002
June 12, 2002
Absurd Blog-inspired Words
June 11, 2002
Putting On the Writer's Costume
Of all the paying
jobs I've held through the years, only those of recent vintage demanded an appreciable amount of my time spent in the area of writing, even though it was not a primary responsibility. For example, when I managed the MIS group for a medium-sized operation (which I'll forever refer to as my MIS-manager job), it fell upon me, due in part to a dearth of authorial talent in the company, to formulate some of the marketing material, much of the in-house technical documents, and a large portion of our Web site content -- that this gets little more than a line in the "tech" version of my resume irritates me to no end. So I've rarely received an income specifically for my compositional skills.
Still, I'm lucky to have seen word assemblages of my own creation -- you know, my writing -- see printed publication of some sort. That I lack the benefit of a long, publicly accessible publication trail (excepting the informal and freely given leavings on Blurried Musings) could make me appear a little duplicitous when I claim, in my own thoughts and here in this post, that I am a writer
. Not really in terms of a professional completely at the act, since they benefit from living off what they produce. And certainly I avoid the more pretentious honorific of Author
(capital A and all). Yet a writer is exactly how I see myself, nonetheless.
There's a small selection of reasons I could give, but few of them are well grounded or disposed to concerns of reality. In other words, it doesn't sound all that rational when I try to say it out loud. However, avoiding a long protracted defense, I can sum up my feelings this way: it's based on a way of thinking. No, I've not conned into a "to think it is to be it"
philosophical platitude here. Time and effort, and yes writing, is part of what makes someone a writer, but there's a mind set that goes along with it, and this defines not only what kind of writer you are or will become, but how much drive and determination is pushing you. Talent, skill, and education obviously helps, but in any line of business what you think of yourself goes far in characterizing your abilities.
It also has to do with the base feature that makes up a writer: as noted, one must spend time actually writing. Sounds like this should be a natural trait, but you might be surprised by the number of writers who spend more time conversing about the art of writing than hunkering down and working at the process with the same name. Dialog can be useful in strengthening one's breadth of knowledge in their profession, and can break through the occasional block, but I've never found it a useful tool for accomplishing the work. Ditch diggers might offer brief comments on digging deeper or faster, but chewing the fat only tends to slow them down.
I guess the problem, for me and hopefully everyone making similar assertions, is it takes little more than a proclamation to make oneself a writer. Unfortunately there's no certification program I know of for it.
June 10, 2002
Insurance From Heaven
A bit of non-rhyming, meter-less poetry. Just to pass the time...
I knew a god and goddess once
Who one rainy Sunday afternoon
Took a drive in my car to Fresno
And never returned.
It was probably good for them;
I know it was good for me
As I reported my car stolen
To the proper authorities.
There's nothing much better than
The insurance payoff;
It more than makes up for
a two-year long layoff.
June 09, 2002
Revisiting The Word
Discovered inside a copy of The Bible (NIV Edition, Rev. 1984)
First, I'd like to thank you for purchasing My Book. If this has been given as a gift, please pass My Gratitude on to the donor, and note his or her rewards await. If this has been stolen, a lasting punishment will be exacted upon the violator of the eighth commandment (as noted in This Book; see Exodus); it may not be My Favorite, but it's an important one nonetheless.
Secondly, accept this as a sort of errata of intent, in that I would like to briefly point out a few discrepancies between the goals I set out for this Book, and how it has since been put to use:
- I am not a history teacher. I can be when I set My Mind to it, but try not to confuse My Teaching of a faith-based belief system and the moral and ethical codes therein, with a non-fiction guide walking you through the history of the world or biography of some of the more well known figures in My General Plans.
- Please stop forcing My Words down everyone's throats. If they're unwilling to accept Me and My Son, then so be it. It is one of the purposes for My Construction of eternal damnation, after all. Good that it can be put to use for more than commandment breakers and politicians.
Finally, try not to take things spoken of in this Book so literally. I don't really see the difficulty you all have in this, considering how ambiguous and contradictory much of My Writing can be.
I appreciate your attention.
The Almighty God
January 24, 1993