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Poll Results: Oath of Office Verbiage

pollresults2This poll ran for just nine days, so it had a significantly smaller sample from which to draw results than my last poll regarding winter celebrations of choice. I would run this poll longer, however, I feel that after today, the issue would not be nearly as timely. I would like to open the comment section of this post up for any debate on the the issue.

Here are the results from the poll:

  • It is a state ceremony and should be free of religious references. – 24 votes
  • It is the personal decision of the President-Elect, whose wishes should be respected. – 9 votes
  • I could care less. – 4 votes
  • This is the first I’m hearing about this. – 0 votes

I’m certainly glad there were no votes for the final option, as it had even come to the attention of national mainstream media outlets.

I thank you for taking the time to vote, and I hope that you will expand upon your votes through discussion in the comments.

P.S. If you didn’t get a chance to read the Christopher Hitchens piece on Rick Warren that appeared on Slate.com, I highly recommend it.

God Sends Mixed Martial Artist on a Mission

Late this summer, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was arrested and detained for felony reckless driving and hit and run after an exciting chase. His identity was difficult to ascertain at first, but police eventually identified Jackson as the driver when they noticed that he looked just like the guy painted on the outside of the vehicle.

Anyway, Jackson’s Wikipedia entry has testimony from friends and colleagues commenting on his mental instability and depression. Keep that first one in mind when you digest the following. The reason Jackson was driving like a maniac and destroying others’ property while do so was because he was en route to counsel a friend who had lost his faith. Mental instability? I think so!

From the Orange County Register:

Jackson, a former UFC champion who is one of the biggest names in one of the fastest-growing sports, said he also felt there was a spiritual war going on in his mind between God and the devil when he raced down Newport Boulevard on July 15, leaving a wake of rumpled cars, frightened pedestrians and angry police.

He said he thought he was on a mission to save a friend – who had recently lost his faith in God – and was unaware that he had hit any other cars or was being pursued by a phalanx of police cars.

“I thought I heard the voice of God telling me to go save Brian,” he said in an interview Thursday after his arraignment on two felony evading arrest charges. “I felt if I didn’t get to Brian, he would die.”

Now, he says, he believes he was irrational because of lack of sleep and nutrition.

It’s interesting that a lack of sleep and malnutrition can cause symptoms of insanity that are strikingly similar to what millions of rested and well-fed people believe every day. Jackson’s lawyer is exploiting his insanity stating that, “The law says you have to have criminal intent. He didn’t have it.” Seriously? A person starves and sleep deprives himself then gets into a vehicle and suddenly is not responsible for his actions because of what his intent wasn’t? What about what his intent actually was? That, to me, is a little more worrisome than his carbohydrate intake. The man believed that the God of Abraham and Satan were battling in his mind over the soul of his friend.

I wish I could say more, but it would just be repeating the same things I’ve thought scores of times, mostly “WTF?!?” People have been masquerading their heinous acts with appeals to religion and insanity (not mutually exclusive) for far too long.

I originally found a blurb about this story at jcnot4me.com, a terribly-designed, hard to navigate, and cluttered website despite its catchy domain.

Who needs doctors?

Sick children are no laughing matter. I really feel for the child, who can’t experience many elements of a healthy childhood, and the parents, whose lives are consumed with worry and financial burden. And while I personally believe that the United States’ healthcare system has its shortcomings, I do believe that we have some of the best doctors, nurses, and caregivers in the world. I believe they do a great job based on their training and experience.

However, there are those out there that do not believe so. These professionals are missing something.

Prayer.

I came across a support group on Facebook for a sick child that urged others to “please keep this beautiful prayer in mind”.

Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care this child. Relieve her pain, guard her from all danger, restore to her your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise this child up to a life of service to you. Hear us, we pray, for you dear Name’s sake. Amen.

I don’t think that prayer is beautiful. I think it is ridiculous. I mean, strictly speaking, I think all prayer is ridiculous, but this one is absolutely absurd. It contains every cliche prayer word and phrase imaginable: “lambs”, “commend”, “raise up”. I mean what does “gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom” even mean? Does it mean “embrace the children with your love”? Then why not say that? Just because the Bible is written in stuffy, archaic language doesn’t mean you have to carefully construct your prayers to match in style.

“We commend to your loving care this child. Relieve her pain, guard her from all danger, restore to her your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise this child up to a life of service to you.” Why are you in a hospital? Do you not trust God to relieve the pain, guard from danger, and restore strength? Is it just possible that your words to God fall upon deaf (read: nonexistant) ears and the real miracles are being performed by trained medical professionals?

Stop praying for sick people. Studies show that it doesn’t help. In fact, it can even hurt.

Proof of God

There is nothing short of a visit from the man himself that would make me buy into such a deception. But would that even convince me? Would we even accept that we had just been visited by the almighty? Would we shake it off as a bad dream? Would we tell ourselves to lay off the weed?

What if we have already been visited by him?

Could God even prove himself? He could have presented himself in any form he wished and you may have written him off as a random bum, a religious zealot, or a kind face on the subway. Before this turns into a Joan Osbourne song, let me get to the point. Would God’s inability to prove himself lend to a lack of omnipotence? Some might say that faith cannot exist with proof. God sure didn’t have a problem revealing himself to the people of the Old Testament. Of course, those stories were written by the very people who he revealed himself to, which might mean they have some sort of bias. If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission produced a report about how amazing nuclear energy was, we might be a little skeptical.

The following excerpt from The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy pretty much sums up the story.

Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

“But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”

“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

The homeless you pass without a second glance. The atheists whose rhetoric you scoff. The gays you treat like second-class citizens. Any of these could be your God in disguise administering your final exam on the teachings of his son. Jesus Christ, the teacher of forgiveness, acceptance, and brotherly love did not give exceptions. Why should you? Think about that the next time you spit on an atheist’s backpack. Because if God doesn’t kick your ass, I sure as hell will.