Category Archives: Religion

What I think about Satan

One of my readers E-mailed me recently and asked what I thought about Satan. This was my response:

“I don’t think much about Satan, but I did write a comic about Satanism, which says a lot about how I feel about Satan:

This Was Your Life: The Satanist

The Bible is full of enigmas like Satan that theologians could study and argue about for centuries, but in the end, since the Bible is mythology, devoting one’s time to studying and talking about Satan is tantamount to obsessing over Hades in Greek mythology. You might be able to gleam some moral truths out of the stories, but psychology and logic are far better tools for measuring morality.

My Secular Theory on Ethics

Another Attempt at Explaining my Theory on Ethics

Since you asked though, I will say that I always found the idea of Satan illogical. I know the Bible says the wisdom of man is foolishness and God is unknowable, and I used to believe those “truths.” But even then, the idea of Satan seemed suspicious. An all powerful God wouldn’t choose or need to create an all-evil creature and give it leeway to mislead God’s most precious creation into needless eternal torture.

Some people say Satan and Hell are just the lack of God, but the Bible seems to indicate Satan was a specific individual who God sent to live in exile, which sounds a lot like a story you’d read in Greek mythology.

It’s possible the word “Satan” just means “bad guy,” similar to how the virgin Mary may have just been a young woman, and we’ve been taking these mis-translations too seriously. Frankly, at the end of the day, the Bible is about as clear about what Satan is, as it is on what the Holy Trinity is. There’s just not enough information to make sense out of either of them. You can come up with a lot of good sounding theories, but ultimately, they’re all just conspiracy theories you either heard or made up.

I identify as an agnostic theist. So not only do I concede the possibility of something existing in the universe that fits some definition of God, I’m also pretty impressed by the evidence, which I explain in this blog:

An Agnostic Take on Intelligent Design

When I look at the stars or diagrams of atoms, I see a grand design so elegant, it has a one-in-infinity chance of existing on accident. Scientific laws look like God’s thumb print to me, and the universe we live in provides for us, but it doesn’t play favorites or hold grudges. The universe is an impartial and perfect machine. If God’s creation is any reflection of God’s nature, God wouldn’t choose or need to create anything resembling Satan.

The only person who would invent Satan, or at least the idea of Satan, is a human being who wants to design a theocracy that controls its civilian population by indoctrinating them into believing a mentally and physically abusive mythological state-religion. In other words, the most logical explanation of Satan is that he’s a boogeyman invented to scare children into ostensibly obeying God, but in practice, they’re obeying the leaders of the theocracy.

The Jewish leaders who wrote the Torah would be amazed to see how their state-sponsored boogeyman spread around the world via knock-off versions of their mythology and then diffused into other cultures, creating new hybrid mythologies. I wonder if they’d do it again, knowing how their cult would spread and come back to haunt the nation of Israel.

Ironically, the lesson to be learned from their mistake is that actions have consequences in this life. If that much is true, it sets a precedent that actions could have consequences after death. I fear I may have to pay the piper for some of the things I’ve done, but again, I see nothing in the universe that makes me believe its creator would needlessly torture any of its creations for eternity, let alone appoint one of his exiled rivals as the ruler of Pain Land.

Even if I had done something as morally reprehensible as writing a viral mythology to brainwash people into following and obeying me, I’m confident the universe is reasonable. It’ll more likely give me what I need, than take out its anger on me.

In summary, there is no Satan. If there is a God, it’s not Yahweh, and we’re in the best position we can be to hope for the best.”

If you liked this post, you may like these: 

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The Non-Believers’ 10 “Commandments”

Religious believers often ask where non-believers get their morals without God. This is ironic, because to the non-believer, all religions are tantamount to mythologies. So to them, it’s like being asked, “Where do you get your morals, if you don’t believe in mythology?”

The answer lies in the question, because if all religious rules were written by men, then the only way anyone has ever defined any moral rules was by making them up. That doesn’t mean no rules have any value. The value of a rule isn’t determined by who says it, or how they came by it, but by how useful it is.

For example, it’s no accident that multiple religions and governments all around the world had already invented the rule, “Do not murder,” before the authors of the 10 Commandments. Anybody tasked with making rules for a society would immediately come to the logical conclusion that forbidding murder should be one of the first rules on the list.

At the same time, the authors of the 10 Commandments also list human beings as things that can be legally owned as property, but any rational person would come to the immediate conclusion that legalizing slavery dishonors the value of life and should be forbidden.

Nobody speaks for God. Every moral rule you’ll ever encounter was created by existentially lost humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless. We all have cosmic supercomputers inside our skulls, and rules are nothing more than guidelines or best practices for accomplishing goals. So if you can use your brain to figure out that people should wear safety goggles when operating a table saw, you can invent useful rules for any and every aspect of your life.

If you don’t know where to start, try looking at other people’s rules and finding what you like or dislike in them. Use that as a springboard to developing your own list of life’s best practices. You can start by constructively criticizing mine:

  1. All life is infinitely valuable. Treat it accordingly.

You don’t need God to tell you all life is infinitely valuable. Even if there’s not enough evidence floating around the universe to deduce why life exists, there’s enough evidence lying in plain sight, a child could come to the conclusion that all life is infinitely valuable.

The universe may seem like a savage, cruel place, but that’s just because it’s indifferent. The universe is operating on autopilot, and it might seem like the universe is out to get you when it runs you over, but if you step back and look at the grand design, you’ll find so much elegance and perfection you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that the universe is too elegant and genius for a human being to comprehend.

From what we know, the universe shouldn’t even exist at all, let alone life. Yet we live in a universe that has been meticulously designed to sprout life on giant, spinning balls of compressed matter that perpetually rearrange themselves according to fixed rules. The universe is an inexplicable life machine that shouldn’t exist. Every living thing is lucky to be here, and we only have a flicker of time to make the most of the privilege. Value life according to its rarity, elegance and the amount of work that went into creating it. Treat your life and others accordingly.

  1. Your life is your responsibility.

The universe is not out to get you or help you any more than it already has by giving you the universe and the tools to make the most out of your life. You don’t deserve, and will not receive, any miracles, bargains or any other entitlements from the universe.

You may receive aid and instruction from people, but you’re not entitled to any. Society doesn’t owe you anything you haven’t signed a contract for. The responsibility to make sure your life is good and complete, falls entirely on your shoulders.

  1. You are lost. It’s up to you to find life’s purpose.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but you have all the tools necessary to find answers, and ultimately, purpose, in life. Your life will only be as effective and meaningful as the purpose you live towards. Nobody can decide your purpose for you, though many will try. You must find it yourself for it to be yours. Choosing not to find purpose is choosing to live without it.

  1. Consider and honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

The value of your actions are determined by how productively they accomplish a goal. Ultimately, the value of all actions are relative to how productively they fulfill the meaning of life. Whatever you do, ask yourself if the benefit to the end goal outweighs the cost. Take risks at your discretion, but always honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

  1. Never stop learning and studying.

You are your mind. The quality and quantity of your mind is relative to the information inside it. Never stop learning and teaching yourself so that you may never stop growing.

  1. Think rationally.

Mastering the art of thinking is a moral imperative, because every mental and physical action you’ll ever perform are based on decisions you calculate in your mind. The more effective your reasoning skills are, the more effective you’ll be at everything.

  1. Put everything you learn to the test of truth.

Nothing is true by divine authority. The truth of a fact is determined only by the quality of the evidence supporting it. So question everything, especially your answers, because the more reality-based your beliefs are, the more effective they’ll be in the real world.

  1. Find and define yourself

Some aspects of your personality were set at birth, and others you get to pick. Discover what makes you who you are, decide who you want to be, and then become that person. The more you, you are, the more you exist, and the more able you are to fulfill your purpose. The less you, you are, the less you exist.

  1. Take care of your body.

Your mind and body are parts of the same machine. The better you take care of your body, the better your mind and body can do what they’re designed to do. The less care you take of your body, the less you can do and the harder everything is.

  1. Enjoy the moment.

No one knows why we’re here or what happens after death, but we do know we’re here now. If we can’t know anything else about life, we know the current moment is an opportunity to enjoy yourself. No one has found any irrefutable reasons why we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves. If you take nothing else from this life, find ways to take joy out of it before it’s too late.

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Biker Philosophy

Believing in Christianity is always absurd, but more so for certain ethnic groups.

It’s absurd for anyone to believe in Christianity, because Christianity is mythology, and you don’t have to be a genius to prove it. Children are famous for pointing out the holes in Christianity. There are so many holes in Christianity, an entire branch of academics had to be created to account for them all. It had to be, because you can’t believe in Christianity without using speculation and logical fallacies to explain everything in the Bible that contradicts reality.

At least half of all Caucasian Americans, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and Latinos believe in Christianity. I couldn’t find an exact number for Native Americans, but it’s definitely higher than zero. It’s historically absurd for any member of these groups to believe in Christianity, because Christianity was spread to their races specifically for the purpose of erasing their culture and controlling their communities.

It doesn’t take a genius or conspiracy theorist to come to this conclusion. It’s the theme of Judaism and Christianity’s history. The Torah is mostly a timeline of the Jewish state’s creation and expansion, which officially began with Moses uniting the factions of his tribe under one religion, driving out all other beliefs, customs and competition. The story ends after thousands of years of military expansion and ethnic cleansing.

The only reason the leaders of the Jewish theocracy stopped adding lists of victories and biographies of their kings to the Torah is because the Romans conquered Israel. Since Israel’s government leaders were also its religious leaders, their religious authority died with their political power.

The occupying Romans had a much more fluid attitude towards religion than the Jews. They already had experience reducing civil unrest by absorbing religions and spreading their own. In fact, they were the world’s leading experts in expansion and oppression.

That’s why there was so much civil unrest in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. The Romans were trying to force their government and culture on the Jewish people, who were decended from generations of militant religious fanatics who believed God had been smiting their enemies for thousands of years. The zealousness and ferociousness of the Jewish resistance fighters earned them a reputation in Rome as formidable opponents who would never surrender.

It’s beyond convenient that the story of Jesus began circulating through Israel at this time. Jesus claimed to be Yahweh incarnate, and had come to Earth in human form for the first time in history, to change His covenant with the Jews. He no longer wanted Jews to expand Israel by military force. He wanted them to accept foreigners as brothers and let Roman soldiers slap them.

It’s also telling that the author of the Bible made it a point to blame Jesus’s murder on the Jews, and absolve the Roman government of any crime. The chances of anyone associated with the Jewish religion writing those words after The Siege of Masada, is slim to none, but the practicality of a Roman writing those words is obvious.

The Jewish insurrection ended as Christianity gained popularity. Within a few hundred years of Christianity’s invention, the leaders in Rome made Christianity the official state religion and published the official version of the New Testament. Then their church leaders added a million more rules outside of the Bible in the form of church doctrine, still claiming the same divine authority they canonized the New Testament with. The chances of the creator of the universe completely reversing the theme of his commandments and abandoning his literal home on Earth in Jerusalem, which He meticulously described how to build, and moving to Rome to speak through Italians, is slim to none.

After Yahweh converted to Catholicism, churches were established in every European country, converting warring Pagans and barbarians into standardized, slap-accepting, Christian workers whose goal is life was to be servile and give God money. So when you read about white Christians oppressing minorities and erasing their culture, keep in mind that white European cultures were the first victims of Christian colonization.

Once Europe became Christian-ized, the Catholic church sent missionaries with explorers from every European country to spread Christianity to the new world. These explorers weren’t noble woodsmen who just wanted to make maps and build log houses. They had a very specific agenda to loot and plunder. In their own words, they viewed all the indigenous people they encountered as work animals to be yoked or vermin to be exterminated.

The chances of the church sending missionaries with looting murderers to save the souls of God’s children are slim to none. Even if that wasn’t the church’s intention, Christian culture still eroded indigenous cultures everywhere missionaries established churches.

Historian, Adriaan van Oss wrote, “If we had to choose a single, irreducible idea underlying Spanish colonialism in the New World, it would undoubtedly be the propagation of the Catholic faith. Unlike such other European as England or the Netherlands, Spain insisted on converting the natives of the lands it conquered to its state religion. Miraculously, it succeeded. Introduced in the context of Iberian expansionism, Catholicism outlived the empire itself and continues to thrive, not as an anachronistic vestige among the elite, but as a vital current even in remote mountain villages. Catholicism remains the principal colonial heritage of Spain in America. More than any set of economic relationships with the outside world, more even than the language first brought to America’s shores in 1492, the Catholic religion continues to permeate Spanish-American culture today, creating an overriding cultural unity which transcends the political and national boundaries dividing the continent.”

In many places, notably, Hawaii, the early British missionaries became wealthy land and slave owners while locals lost access to their hunting, fishing and gathering grounds. The more scarce their land rights became, the more scarce the necessities of life became, which made them proportionally more expensive. Since the job markets couldn’t grow on isolated islands, poverty and drug use became epidemic among Pacific islanders, and they still are today.

Since church attendence is too, Christian leaders are still stockpiling donation from the poorest of the hopeless. To be fair, not all island churches are rich, and many have outreach programs that help their community, but their efforts are lip service towards fixing the fundamental problem they helped create and continue to profit from.

As the world’s island nations were being turned into resource farms for Christian, European nations, so was mainland America. After the British empire lost control of its colonies, many of the Christian governments left in its wake, notably the United States of America, continued to use Christianity to justify slavery.

As much as African Americans still resent and fear slavery, the Bible still approves of slavery multiple times in both the Old Testament and New Testament. So slavery can only remain illegal in America as long as Americans don’t follow the teachings in the Bible.

If a white man told an African American that slavery should be legal today, most people would agree the white guy had it coming if the black guy beat him up. However, when the Bible says slavery should be legal today, most African Americans ignore it or make excuses, even though those passages are the exact ones used to justify enslaving their ancestors.

After slavery ended, Jim Crow laws and Biblical-inspired racism kept African Americans living like second class citizens. To overcome living in a state of perpetual psychological oppression, the African American culture evolved to value racial empowerment and personal independence more zealously than white Americans, who didn’t have the same motivation to prove their worth.

African American culture’s attitude towards self-empowerment directly conflicts with the Bible’s philosophy of perpetual servility, self-loathing  and guilt. A black person wouldn’t accept a white person telling him he’s an unworthy dog, but there are black people with pictures of blonde hair, blue eyed, white Jesus hanging on their walls. And when He says to kneel, they do, just like many Vikings did.

Mexican Americans didn’t officially have to endure Biblical-inspired slavery, but they’ve been treated like slaves most of America’s history. Today, the crime, poverty and church attendance rates in their communities are almost equal to African Americans.

The Bible didn’t create poverty, capitalism did, but the Bible teaches beliefs and behaviors that stimulate poverty and make it harder to escape. The Bible is against birth control, but higher birth rates lead to higher crime rates. The Bible says, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” but higher child abuse rates lead to higher crime rates. The Bible says divorce is immoral, but higher rates of dysfunctional relationships lead to higher domestic violence rates. The Bible says the poorer you are, the better it is to give more, but the only way to get out of poverty is to save money, and the less money you have, the worse every aspect of your life gets.

In order to be successful in a capitalist economy, you need confidence and education. The Bible indoctrinates you to believe you’re lucky God loves you, because you’ll never be good enough to deserve love. It also teaches you to believe stories that contradict scientific evidence, which sets you up to distrust logic and facts. And all the time you spend reading your Bible, praying and attending church functions, wastes time that could be used to succeed in life.

Poor people have been praying and giving money to God for centuries, and it hasn’t helped them out of poverty. It’s only made poverty worse. There’s enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that prayer doesn’t work. The Gospel of Prosperity doesn’t work. The Bible’s instructions on life don’t work.

The DSM-4 defines a mental disorder as, “A clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom.”

The DSM-5 defines a mental disorder as, “A syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress in social, occupational, or other important activities.”

It’s counterproductive to give money to churches or practice Biblical beliefs. They both lead to emotional distress and dysfunctional behavior. And to continue believing in Christianity, you have to deny overwhelming evidence and use irrational logic; in other words, you have to think and behave in ways that fit the definition of insanity. It’s literally insane for anyone to believe in Christian mythology, but it’s poignantly ironic when the victims of Christianity’s cultural extermination campaigns do it.

I don’t say this in bitterness. It just tastes that way because it’s a bitter pill to swallow. The call to action these observations raise, is not to ridicule Christians. They need treatment, and the only cure for their condition is knowledge.

Most Christians don’t realize how absurd the Bible is, because they never read the whole thing. They only know and practice the parts they learned about in church. Nobody wants to accept that they’ve been basing their life on an ancient state-sponsored mythology, especially if they’re afraid of going to Hell. But you can only see so much evidence before you can’t unsee it. Once you see it, you’ll see it on every page of the Bible.

If the Bible is true, then it will stand the test of truth. In that case, the only thing to be gained from testing it is strengthening your beliefs. If there really is enough evidence in the Bible to prove it’s mythology, you stand to gain everything from looking for it.

If you liked this post, please share it. If you believe Christianity isn’t mythology, free to leave a comment. Then read the following blogs:

 The Bible is mythology

Christianity is bad for you and society

Churches and Christian Culture

American Christians, you don’t believe or practice what the Bible says about marriage. So stop acting like it’s the moral authority on the subject.

It’s absurd that Americans still quote the Bible at weddings and believe marriage is holy because the Bible says so. America’s beliefs and laws regarding marriage are so starkly different from the authors of the Bible they’re irreconcilable.

In America, marriage usually works like this:

Two people of any gender, who are over the age of 18, pick someone freely, get to know them, have sex, fall in love, and move in together. One person then asks the other to marry them, and they go to a court house where they pay for a marriage certificate, pay someone with a marriage-granting credentials to preside over a ceremony where vows are exchanged, and then both parties’ assets become legally tied to each other. If the marriage is heterosexual, the woman will usually replace her last name with her husband’s last name, though she’s under no obligation to. They can get divorced for any reason, but they have to apply for a divorce license and jump through so much legal red tape they have to hire a lawyer to manage all the paperwork until they finally stand in front of a judge who legally terminates their marriage and often sets new laws for one or both parties to follow such as child visitation schedules, child support, alimony, etc. Courts tend to rule in favor of women more than men.

In ancient Jewish culture and the Torah, marriage works like this:

Any woman who has sex before marriage is stoned to death. Depending on the circumstances, any man who has sex before marriage will either be stoned to death, or he’ll have to pay the girl’s father a bunch of shekels of silver. If a man rapes an unwed virgin, he has to buy her for fifty shekels of silver and may never divorce her.

There’s no legal age of consent. When a man wants to marry a girl or woman, he goes to her father and asks if he will sell his daughter to him. They agree on a price, and the groom pays the father. There is a ceremony, after which the husband takes his wife to his home and has sex with her. If she is a virgin, her hymen will bleed when it’s broken. After consummating the marriage, the husband will bring the bloody bed sheet out of the house for the community to see, and they’ll parade it through the streets in celebration. If it’s found that the bride is not a virgin, she’ll be brought in front of her father’s house and stoned to death by the community. Then the bride’s father will have to return the groom’s money and pay him more shekels of silver to make amends for selling a used product that was advertised as new.

Men are allowed to buy multiple wives, and they can own female slaves who aren’t their wives and have sex with them legally if their wife is barren. When the baby is born, the mother lays under the slave as she gives birth so that the wife is giving birth symbolically. If you’re the king of the theocracy God intended to rule the world, you can own as many wives and sex slaves as the nation’s taxes will pay for… as long as your wives and slaves are of Jewish decent.

Also, if a man has sex with a woman who is on her period, then they both have to be exiled. If anyone has sex with an animal or a member of the same sex, they’re to be put to death.

There are a few circumstances where divorce is legal, like adultery. Though, it’s not really divorce since the adulterer will be stoned to death. But if a woman manages to leave her husband, she probably won’t be able to remarry since she’s no longer a virgin, and since she’s a second class citizen with almost no rights, this pretty much leaves her with only two career paths: forager or slave.

Deuteronomy 22: 13-29

Leviticus 20:13

Leviticus 20:18

1 Kings 11:1-3

So when Americans say marriage is holy because the Bible says so, they prove two things: One, they don’t know what the Bible says about marriage. Two, their moral code is an un-researched, unconsidered assimilation of pop culture, which is ignorant but still better than Biblical dogma.

American Christians can try to justify their apostasy by saying Jesus made the Torah obsolete, but just because he forgave us for breaking the law, doesn’t mean he abolished the law. The only two things Jesus changed about marriage are that you shouldn’t kill adulterers anymore, and the only justification for divorce is adultery. He and his followers did, however, reconfirm that slavery is still the natural order of life.

John 8: 1-7

Matthew 19: 3-8

Matthew 5: 17-19

Dozens of passages from the Old and New Testament that condone slavery

American Christians only follow the rules in the Bible that coincide with their modern beliefs. They ignore and excuse the rest. The fact that they believe in customs and laws that contradict the Bible proves they don’t believe in the Bible.

Not only is it possible to use common sense and secular reasoning to create moral rules outside of divine intervention, but Americans have been doing it all along. That’s how our modern customs and culture evolved from the primitive barbarism of Jewish theocracy, and the world is better since Jews and Christians stopped obeying the Bible. The less they pretend to, the better the world gets. Imagine how much better life would be if they just dropped the whole charade altogether and let us all be free to do whatever works best for us.

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The Mythology Test

A myth is a story told by a specific culture that explains nature, history and customs. Myths tend to be ethnocentric and scientifically inaccurate. Mythology is the collected myths of a culture. If you can find examples of at least half the items on this list in a religious book, then that book fits the definition of mythology.

Click here to download/print a copy of this list.

Are there credible first hand sources that can verify the authenticity of the events described in the book?

Does it have a scientifically inaccurate creation story?

Does it have any other scientifically or historically inaccurate events or statements?

Does it give supernatural explanations for natural phenomenon?

Does it say supernatural phenomenon exist which have never been recorded by scientific instruments?

Does it contain talking animals?

Does it contain numerology?

Does it advocate or condone animal or human sacrifices?

Does it contain multiple Gods?

Does it have a hero who saves the world?

Does it contain a demigod hero who was born from a virgin?

Does God or other supernatural beings have human or animal body parts?

Does God or other supernatural beings possess tools used by the author’s culture?

Does God or other supernatural beings behave like a member of the author’s culture?

Does God or other supernatural beings have names similar to those used in the author’s culture?

Is the author’s civilization the most important group of people in the world to God?

Do the lessons and rules in the book reflect the values of the author’s culture?

Does it command you to believe and hold onto the teachings in the book?

Does it include permission or commandments to kill certain people?

Does it include permission or commandments to take other people’s land and property?

Does it condone slavery?

Does it have rules regarding property rights, prices and taxes?

Does it contain rules or statements that make women second class citizens?

Does it say government should be a theocracy?

Does it give political power to religious leaders?

Does it tell you to give money to God’s spokesmen?

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Why are there transsexuals? Why are they suddenly so popular, and why do conservatives loath them?

Sexual norms have been changing rapidly in America over the past few decades. In a country that used to have laws against sodomy, homosexuality has become so accepted that gays have been granted the right to marry and serve openly in the military. As shocking as this was to conservative Americans, they’re now having to cope with the fact that transsexuals are being accepted as mainstream celebrities, and the federal government is defending their choice to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Some Americans view this sexual revolution as a sign of progress. Others view it as a sign of the apocalypse and predict God is going to burn down America like He did Sodom and Gomorra as punishment for becoming such a perverse society. Others believe sexual tolerance is a liberal conspiracy to erase conservative culture in order to eliminate conservatives as a political opponent. Most Americans aren’t that dramatic or articulate about why they’re unaccepting of transsexuals. If you ask them their opinion, they may say something like this:

“I just don’t get why someone would want to chop their dick off.”

“How is chopping your dick off, not a sign of mental illness?”

“God made us how we’re supposed to be. You can’t change that.”

“If these people are so miserable with who they are, why don’t they just kill themselves?”

“Anyone who wants to dress up like the opposite sex is just a pervert. Plain and simple.”

“A lot of these people saying they identify as another gender just want attention. They’re just doing it because it’s popular.”

America is confused by transsexuals, but the explanation is actually quite simple. It’s just not something conservatives want to hear. Gender is determined by genetics, not by a decision you make. Gender identity isn’t a moral or philosophical question. It has everything to do with DNA and chromosomes. This isn’t a conspiracy. Nobody made up or reverse engineered the evidence for this conclusion. Impartial scientists tweezed apart the building blocks of the human body and reported the facts they found, and anyone can repeat the same experiments and find the same evidence that supports the same conclusions.

Everyone’s DNA is a little different by nature, and everyone has unintended genetic anomalies. Sex chromosomes aren’t black and white. We all fall in a grey spectrum. At the far end of the spectrum, some people are born with the genes of one sex but the body of the other. They have the wrong operating system for the hardware they’re using.

Transsexuals didn’t ask to be born the way they are, and they don’t like being trapped in the wrong body. Coming to terms with having a mismatched mind and body (let alone living in a society that won’t accept them) is so agonizing that almost half of all transsexuals will attempt suicide at some point in their life. The decision to alter their bodies isn’t something they do flippantly.

Granted, some people with normal chromosomes may choose to identify as the opposite sex because of events that happened to them in childhood or personal preference. Even if sexuality isn’t biological, and it’s only a choice for everyone… people should still have the freedom to do what they want.  Freedom isn’t supposed to be comfortable for anyone expect the individual exercising their freedom.

America has always had its own transgender members. If conservatives didn’t notice, that’s because they ignored, dismissed and oppressed them into oblivion. Conservatives aren’t facing a new enemy. They’re seeing their family for the first time.

There have always been transgender people in every country in the world. Historically, most cultures have treated their transgender members like outcasts. In India and Hawaii, they belonged to the lowest caste, but at least those societies acknowledged the existence of the third gender and incorporated them into the culture.

Christians are having a hard time accepting their transgender kin because the Bible never mentions DNA, genes, chromosomes or the third gender, but it says in black and white that homosexuality is a sin, and transsexuals are close enough to homosexuals to lump them together.

In Christianity, sin is a matter of life and death. So to Christians, it’s a matter of life and death that everyone acts Christian. From one point of view, taking away other people’s freedom to sin is saving their life. From another Christian perspective, sinners made a decision to turn from God, and the path they’ve chosen leads straight to Hell. Accepting sinners is accepting evil, and officially granting them legal freedom to sin is tantamount to electing Satan for president.

It should seem suspicious that Christians are so invested in oppressing homosexuals and transsexuals for not living Biblically, because Christians have been abandoning the teachings of the Bible since it was written. As clearly as the Torah states homosexuality is wrong, it also states homosexuals should be killed. Polygamy and slavery should be legal. It’s immoral to eat shell fish, wear clothes with mixed fibers, get tattoos, pull your penis out of your wife when you ejaculate, have a wet dream or go to church if your testicles are mutilated. It also say in black and white that you should kill adulterers, disobedient children, witches, and anyone who stands in the way of the Jewish theocracy.

Modern, American Christians don’t believe in these laws or follow them, and they justify this by saying Mathew 5:17-29 made these rules obsolete.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Some people would argue this passage clearly endorses the laws of the Torah. Either way, Christians still pick and choose which rules they follow in the New Testament, which clearly states that slavery should still be legal, and slaves are morally obligated to obey their masters. Adultery should still be illegal, but God no longer wants adulterers stoned to death in the streets. God no longer wants you to divorce for any reason except adultery. Women should not wear fancy jewelry, speak in church or hold management positions above men. It’s bad to be rich, and it’s good to give away everything you own.

There is not one single Christian in America who follows these laws. They can’t follow a hardline interpretation of the Bible, because its moral code is barbaric. It has all the trappings of a primitive mythology. Christians know this, but they base their identity on Christianity so strongly, they can’t completely let go. So they create excuses to justify why they don’t follow their own rules. They pick on homosexuals and transsexuals because it’s easier to attack other people who don’t follow Christian rules than it is to live by Christian rules themselves.

American Christians have already stopped believing in so much of the Bible that they’ve created their own modern, watered down version of Christianity the Bible would condemn as being lukewarm. The Judeo-Christian God is dead, and Christians killed “Him,” which was inevitable, because Christianity is absolutely, 100% verifiably mythology. The truth was always going to go mainstream. It just took the invention of the internet to let the genie out of the bottle.

While Baby Boomers are still deluding themselves into believing they’re Christian, Millennials are not. The world has already woken up from history and is moving on past Christian mythology. When the Baby Boomers die, the era of Christianity will be over. There will still be Christians, but they’ll be an irrelevant, impotent shadow of what they once were. Eventually they’ll fade away into the history books.

In the meantime, Christians are left watching in horror and confusion as their culture disappears. Their fear of America becoming a secular nation is validated every time the government passes laws that give homosexuals and transsexuals equal rights. When the government sides against Christianity, it officially declares Christians have lost the culture war. These rulings are nails in Christianity’s coffin.

It’s natural that Christians are frightened by Post-Biblical America and are frustrated with being pushed to the sidelines. It’s to be expected that they would lash out. No matter how many homosexuals and transgender people they harass, it won’t bring Christianity back. Violence and hatred was never going to solve anything anyway.

Now is not the time for hatred. Now is the time for everyone to pause, take a deep breath, and humbly consider the possibility their religion might be mythology. You owe it to yourself to do a few Google searches challenging whatever ideas you refuse to question. If your beliefs stand the most rigorous test of truth, you’ll just strengthen your faith. If you discover mountains of evidence that you’re wrong, you could free yourself from a lifetime of misguidance.

Christians who can’t let go of their modernized, watered-down version of Israel’s ancient mythology, will just have to find some way to cope with the fact that transgender people are here to stay, because there aren’t enough haters left to successfully oppress them.

When the federal government puts the next coffin nail in Christianity, and Christian anger flares up again, I urge Christians to pause, take another deep breath and ask yourself if you should really be angry that the world won’t accept your prejudices. Maybe you’re not the victim. Maybe you’re on the wrong side of history. You don’t want to be the bad guy. You owe it to yourself to question the beliefs that led you to screaming at people in bathrooms.

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My quest to find enlightenment

enlightenment through logic

Everyone has heard of enlightenment, but most people don’t care enough about the topic to study or practice it and probably couldn’t even give you a coherent definition of the word. I’m not a genius or a spiritual guru. I’m a poor white trash kid from Texas, but I spent thousands of hours studying and thinking about enlightenment, and I came to some novel conclusions. In order to fully appreciate their meaning, you need to understand why and how I tried to teach myself enlightenment in the first place.

I have an identical twin brother, and we were born two months premature. My twin was born healthy, but my heart was underdeveloped. So I spent most of the first year of my life in and out of the hospital surviving a series of near death experiences. These factors forced me to be lucidly conscious of my mortality and the surrealness of existence for long as I can remember.

I believe the sensory deprivation I experienced in the hospital during the formative weeks of my development wired my brain to adapt to solitude, stillness and quiet. This may be where my INTP personality type comes from. Either way, I’ve always been an introvert who enjoys spending time alone thinking, writing and working on long, tedious projects. So my temperament and life situation predisposed me to pondering philosophical questions.

I wasn’t raised rich, with every education opportunity money could buy, but the small Texas towns I lived in had old fashioned, strict, rigorous schools. So I received a solid understanding of science, history, English and critical thinking skills. I was also put in “gifted and talented” classes from the third grade where I was encouraged to think outside the box. These two education styles shaped how I approach philosophical questions.

Growing up in the Bible Belt, I took Christianity for granted, but I didn’t really practice it until high school when I made a conscious decision to accept Jesus as my savior and devote my life to being a Christian. Then I applied all my skill sets to proving the Bible to be the true word of God, but within a year I found so much evidence that the Bible is mythology, I wrote a book on it.

After losing my faith I plunged into existential despair and read as many religion/philosophy/self-help books as I could, searching for new insights into the riddle of life. I found the ancient Eastern religions and philosophies like Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism the most interesting.

The concept of enlightenment in particular appealed to me. I already knew enlightenment existed, but my deconversion gave me new motivation to take it seriously. I’d lost the need for faith or salvation, but I still needed purpose to strive for, and enlightenment made the perfect substitute. It offered a way to become more than I am without having to surrender my life to a mythological deity invented by a primitive tribe to justify their culture.

When I was a Christian, I reasoned that if connecting with God was the best thing we could do, then we should do it. Now I reasoned that if a man has the potential to reach a higher state of mind, then he should, not because God commanded us to, but because it offers the most benefit to the individual. The cost/benefit analysis simply adds up.

I wanted to make the most of my life on a personal level, and I wanted to justify my existence on a philosophical level. To be completely honest, I also thought achieving enlightenment might give me some kind of super powers. So I approached the study of enlightenment with childlike enthusiasm. To my surprise, my zeal dissipated into disillusionment as I found at least five holes in traditional theories of enlightenment:

1. There’s no agreed upon definition of what enlightenment is.

Hindus, Buddhists, Zen Buddhists, New Age gurus and thousands of other groups have different definitions of enlightenment and instructions to achieve it. There’s no test you can use to prove which definition or methodology is the true one. Ultimately, it’s all one big pile of stuff people made up. Some schools of thought claim enlightenment can’t be labeled or bottled, because that’s the point. It’s beyond words. That idea is vague to the point of being useless. If it does mean something, skeptics can’t disprove whatever it means, but proponents still can’t prove it’s true or disprove anyone else’s theories either.

2. You can’t prove a higher state of mind exists at all

10,000 years of religion and 200 years of psychology have proven if you commit your mind to connecting with Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, a higher level of consciousness, a parallel universe or Elvis, eventually you’ll find something that feels real to you.

There’s no scientific evidence that a spiritual-level higher state of consciousness exists at all, and the burden of proof doesn’t lay on the skeptic to disprove its existence. The burden of proof lies on the self-proclaimed gurus of the world to prove their “higher” state of mind isn’t just a subjective experience that satisfies their subconscious desires, but it’s impossible for them to do that. So their personal testimonies are hearsay.

3. Every self-proclaimed authoritative source contains evidence of lack of authority

Any Hindu Yogi will agree that you can’t put Om in a test tube, but when you look at Hinduism on a whole you’ll find text-book signs of mythology such as an oppressive caste system, astrology, scientifically unsupported statements about the nature of the universe and animistic deities. New Age books on enlightenment are just as baseless. When a belief systems contains inconsistencies, absurdities and culturally-relative idiosyncrasies, it casts doubt on its authority on any subject.

The authority of a book doesn’t come from who wrote it, how long its been around or how many people believe it. Its authority comes from how rigorously its conclusions have been vetted. If you want to learn about the human mind, then study psychology, not mythology.

4. It’s unlikely that our design is flawed

Some theories of enlightenment claim your average state of mind is inherently flawed, and enlightenment is achieved by eliminating or escaping your base state. Advocates of this school of thought point to stress and crime as evidence that we need to eliminate some part of ourselves. Being a self-loathing Christian, I latched onto this idea quickly and held onto it for a while, but studying astronomy and anatomy led me to the conclusion that it takes less faith to assume our minds work correctly, than it does to assume our minds are cosmically/spiritually flawed.

I don’t know if there’s an intelligent creator, or if the universe came into existence by random chance. I don’t know why or how humans came into existence, but I do know that the universe is designed to behave very specifically and elegantly. Subatomic particles, atoms, molecules and solar systems are ingeniously structured to snap together in powerful and predictable ways.

It can be no more of an accident that humans exist in this universe than it is for stars or planets. The amount of forward-thinking it would take to design a universe that can rearrange itself from nothing, into to an expanding gas cloud, that condensed itself into rotating galaxies full of planets that sprouted sentient beings is staggering.

The complexity of the human body is magnitudes greater than the complexity of the planet that germinated us. Our bones and muscles are a series of levers, counter-levers and pulleys that are positioned to anticipate the need to use opposing forces to create a system of tensegrity that can hold a body upright and perform acrobatics. Humans beings are still years away from designing a robot that can move as nimbly as a human. We’re even farther away from creating a computer anywhere near as powerful as the human brain. We don’t fully understand how the human brain works, but so far we haven’t found anything arbitrary about its design or functions.

If water is supposed to freeze at 32 degrees Celsius and light is supposed to travel at 186,000 miles per second, then the human brain is probably supposed to do exactly what it has been meticulously designed to do by a force infinitely more “intelligent” than a hermit who probably can’t even tell you what the pancreas does.

5. I can’t make a categorical imperative out of devoting one’s life to meditation

If everyone who has ever existed, spent their entire lives meditating in monasteries, we would never have discovered the Periodic Table of Elements. We’d be fighting wolves with clubs and entertaining ourselves around the camp fire by making up fantastic, mythological theories to explain what lightening, wind, and the sun are. That’s not the perfection of the human experience. That’s a wasted opportunity.

My conclusion

I can’t tell you what enlightenment is, or if it even exists. I have a theory that I try to apply to my life. It could be wrong in all or part. Take what you can from it. Leave the rest.

Enlightenment is like love. It’s a feeling, a state of mind, and an action at all once. You can be in love, and actively love someone. You can’t put your finger on it, but everyone’s lives have been revolving around this intangible force for as long as humans have existed. There’s no definitive book on love, but millions of books have been written about it.

Love is a feeling of attraction between people. Enlightenment is the feeling of existing. It’s how it feels to be awake and conscious of your own individuality. The experience of being you is mind-fuckingly fluid. You slip in and out of states of consciousness constantly. In a single day you can experience sleeping, waking, rushing, resting, fearing, loving, fighting, reminiscing, meditating, obsessing, planning, day dreaming, problem solving, memorizing, fantasizing, hating, hurting, regretting, celebrating, hungering and giving up.

Each of these states of mind exist, because our brains evolved to use them to solve real world problems. Devoting your life to holding onto or letting go of any one of these is throwing the baby out with the bath water and sabotaging your opportunity to fulfill your all-around potential. The key to experiencing the most ideal reality is to master every facet of your mind and become the best You that you can be. Through fulfilling your potential, you’ll achieve as much clarity as humans are designed to achieve. You won’t become a higher form of life. You’ll just be more mature, which is profound enough.

You are your reality. Everything you experience is defined by what’s in your head. In order to live in the best mind-space, you need to do at least 7 things:

1. Learn science.

The universe is a big, scary place, but we can study nature and figure out why things happen. Having a basic understanding of science will give you more peace of mind than turning your brain off and ignoring the mysteries of the universe.

Science also gives us the power to create reliable shelters, warm clothing, mass-produced food, medicine and space ships. These luxuries empower people to live more comfortable, meaningful lives than sitting on a mountain training your mind to ignore the cold.

With understanding comes peace and empowerment. Ignorance confuses and disempowers us. So if you want to maximize your mind, the first thing you need to do is learn science.

2. Learn problem solving skills.

Everything you ever do will require you to solve problems. The better you are at solving problems, the better you’ll be at navigating life. The weaker your problem solving skills are, the less control you’ll have over your life. The more you master the art of problem solving, the more effortlessly you can stride past the obstacles that stand between you and your goals. This is a far more effective way of achieving peace of mind than clearing your mind and convincing yourself that your problems don’t exist.

3. Learn psychology.

You are your mind. If you ever hope to cope with your existence, let alone maximize the experience of being you, then you need to understand how your mind works. Studying psychology will teach you why you have so many different states of mind and how to control them. Mastering your mind will bring you more peace and fulfillment than denying it.

4. Define and refine yourself.

The universe doesn’t need us. We don’t serve any practical purpose outside of ourselves. Nothing would be lost if we disappeared. Yet the universe went through almost 14 billion years of trouble rearranging itself to create the conditions necessary to create us. If we were supposed to be nothing, then the universe would have made us nothing. I believe throwing away your identity defeats the purpose of existing in the first place. I believe you’re here to be you.

Studying science, problem solving and psychology give you the tool sets to accomplish whatever goals you have. The morality of an action is determined by how much it helps/hinders life achieve the most important goal, and the most important goal is to become the best you that you can be. To do that, you need to define who you are, who you want to be, and then create/execute a plan to improve yourself.

5. Meditate and smell the roses.

Psychology classes can prepare you to be yourself, but the world off-campus is a brutal place full of idiots and sociopaths with agendas. You’ll be pulled in every direction, and every aspect of your mind will be put to the test. If you never spend any time in solitude, focusing your mind inward, exploring and feeling what it is to be you, then the world will force its definition of you onto your mind.

You don’t always have to sit in a quiet room and clear your mind to feel at one with the universe. You can find moments during the daily grind to stop and smell the roses or to take a deep breath and just be. Schedule time in the evening to stop and marvel at the stars.

If the drama of life is too overwhelming, then turn your mind off for 15 minutes to experience the peace that comes from quietly being one with the universe. Once you’ve centered yourself, pick yourself back up and resume your quest with renewed focus.

6.  Do what you love.

Existence isn’t just something you passively experience. It’s something you do. Being a unique individual isn’t only accomplished solely by sitting in a room exploring the space behind your eyes. It’s something you do. The way you actively “be” yourself, is by doing what you love.

Doing what you love will bring you more peace and fulfillment than suppressing your passions. Those passions aren’t unnatural. Nature put them there. Nature gave you the freedom to express, enjoy and validate yourself through doing the things you love. If you’re not doing them, then you’re just letting life pass you by.

7. Love.

Solitude is an important tool in the quest to refine yourself, but if you were meant to be alone, then you would have been the only person to ever exist. If you want a transcendental experience that is more real and powerful than words can describe, then host a dinner party at your house and invite all the most important people in your life. The joy you’ll experience while communing with your loved ones will bring you closer to “God” than cutting yourself off from the world.

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