Materialist Myth

We have accepted, unquestioningly, the dogma of materialism that myths and fairy tales are lies. In another time, a thoughtful man described them as lies breathed through silver. Yet, we all indulge in, fully engage with, and enjoy these lies. We create them, but they are not true. Our truth is four walls. On every side we are surrounded by the physical. The open sky bids us rise to explore the utmost height, yet there is a point when with outstretched arm it decrees us go no further. The floor below, our immediate contact with our limits, grounds us and pulls us downward– or upon finding the edge beside an unknown depth it strikes fear that we may be lost in the abyss of darkness. The hard material truth, if one may rightfully see his surroundings, is that all of us are in prison. There is nothing beyond the limits of the material, and we cannot go any further. There is no light on the other side, no hope for escape. The four walls, the roof, and the floor testify we are inside a great expansive prison. It is the greatest jail anyone has ever devised and no one has ever escaped, still yet, no one has ever come to visit. If a wall were suddenly to break down or the whole prison itself were destroyed by the decay of time, we would break down with it. So that just at the point where it were possible to leave, we would lose all life within us. No strength would remain to cross that great boundary. I0015827A

Myths and fairy tales are the result of man dreaming of a place beyond the prison. They are windows summoned by the magic of words that allow us a glimpse into the possibilities beyond our prison. The light truly shines through the window baptizing us into the new world, whilst in this one we appear still, as one dead, we are revived into another land. And while on our new journey, through the course of the story we find ourselves vanquished by our foe or traveled so far that we have come to the end, we are resurrected back into this world having become so much the better and grateful for the experience. And once awakened again to our surroundings, we see as with eyes afresh our own world colored with new light, the light from the window.  It is here that we regain the perpetual wonder we once held as a child. We are reborn. lightbeam

But, there are those of us who travel to and fro walking up and down the earth with the laws of nature in their mouths and jail keys in there hands who take upon themselves the duty to make us see the walls of our prison and remind us there are no windows to go through and no light to shine in. The stories are wrong. But, is it ever wrong for the prisoner to think of life outside of his prison? Who, indeed, is telling the lie?

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The Angry Sea

Smoking is an exercise of men who expect to die. I find myself recognizing my mortality more often; and the thought sometimes happens in conjunction with that particular exercise. I often reflect that men have been cut off from life in the prime of their youth, yet I continue to persist. I feel it a privilege, and I am pleased by this happy circumstance. From the vantage point this thought gives me, I glimpse the work of infinity. Life has always begun with the same things: hours, days, years, births and deaths. These numbers follow one another in regular succession and are multiplied indefinitely. Infinity drives events onward multiplying itself upon them. Nation rises up against nation, brother against brother, and sword against sword. The word “sword” is peculiar and descriptive of men. Our “words” weren’t enough so we thrust them into the inwards parts of others by adding an “s” at the beginning. The life and flame of man found material expression and extinguished the life and flame of other men.

Over time, we have forgotten our thoughts and only remembered the sword. Thus, we blame the sword for its skillful work, for doing what it was made to do. Now, evil men wield it and we don’t understand them. We have created numerous peaceful communities and removed ourselves from evil. But, these times are only part of the regular succession of historical numbers. The same things will happen again, only we have forgotten who we are, forgotten our part in this succession of numbers. We have forgotten what caused us to add the “s” in the first place. We are evil.

We are like a man born on a ship at sea who through his adolescence has seen great waves push other men off the ship and drown them with tempestuous rage; but has also admired the tranquil beauty of the sea when it is still. He has learned to fear and love the sea. When he is older, he leaves the ship and makes his home on the land. The years are kind to him and give him a wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. All his life he watches the sea and tells his children of his seafaring adventures. But, the older he gets the more his stories lose their dangerous elements and become songs of the sea’s beauty. He loves it at a distance until one day in his frailty he wades too far in the water and drowns. His great grandchildren are affected the most by his death because they too have loved this sea from a distance like their great grandfather. A change comes over them and they remember what their great grandfather had forgotten: to fear the sea.

The heart of man is the sea: a strange mixture of evil and good. In a moment, we make swords; and in the next moment, we beat them into plowshares. We are a fountain yielding sweet water and bitter. Recently in this land, the sea has reared its evil head and drowned children with tempestuous rage, drowned the most precious among us. It spared not our young, but cruelly and mercilessly dashed them against the rocks. The rolling waves run red with the blood of the innocent; it has become the red tide stained by the acts of evil men. We who live on the land must remember the sea’s anger and learn once more the fear we have too long forgotten. The Angry Sea Thomas Moran

The Age of Manipulation

This is the age of information, but more like the bombardment of information. From the internet to the millions of books, everyone who can write wants their voice to be heard and given as much consideration as the millions of others who want to be heard. The public processes information too fast and with so much volume, it is hardly surprising that people know very little about a whole lot of subjects. In previous times when words and information were scarce, people put time and labor into their reading. The public, then, knew very well the value of every word and the implications that could be drawn from each one. Now, the public is pushed on every side by words. For each modern word touts an agenda and a bias. Feeling a responsibility to give every writer equal audience, the public gorges itself on more and more information. And just when it is just about to vomit, it forces more down its collective throat. As a consequence, the public has become indistinguishable from a lazy man who, because he cannot manage to govern himself, is manipulated not by the man with the wisest words, but by the man who speaks the most often.

John Blogger Killed God

Today, (Sunday, April 11, 2010) marked the end of a long criminal trial here at New York City. John Blogger has been found guilty of murdering God. The courtroom was shocked as the jury delivered its verdict. Outrage in the justice building ensued as shouts from the audience broke the stunned silence after the verdict was read. Some relayed joy at having finally resolved this historical ordeal. Others cried in anger, shouting for a retrial with accusations of inadequate evidence, namely the body never being discovered. Blogger, nonetheless, was seen looking relieved at the verdict as he was carried away from the courtroom. He received life in prison without possibility of parole. Groups of people flooded the streets afterward and began chanting, “We are free! We are free!” A single mother exiting the scene paused slightly when asked her opinion. She said, “What’s left for me beyond the grave. I have no hope.” As for the distant masses, and the onlookers following the story from home, it is now left up to them to come to terms with what this means for them. John’s father walked the four blocks from the courtroom to his hotel keeping his gaze fixed on the sidewalk. When prompted for a comment he replied, “Why would he waste his life this way? Murder is a serious crime. Then again, why even send him to prison with God dead? Are not we released from any morality we owed to him?” Reporting live from New York City, this is Christian Smith.

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The “Dear Atheist” Letters

Dear Atheist,

I was told by another atheist that without belief, man cannot aspire to greater understanding and a means of exploring the social and physical universe. I agree with this statement. If all we did was observe, what good would it do us? Man, by nature, comes to conclusions or beliefs. The evolutionist believes in evolution and fits the observed facts into his beliefs. The Christian fits the observed facts into his beliefs as well, but the Christian is condemned for it.

You chide the Christian for having an immovable belief. They believe in God no matter what evidence is presented to them. “At least we,” you say, “change what we believe based on new evidence obtained.” The evolutionist is proud of this change, assuming it is a step towards the more accurate. However, in this statement, you are admitting to believing in errors. You believe in error till a more accurate error comes around. You can’t be sure that what you’re believing is real. It’s just the best that you can do at the moment, till something disproves it. But in the disproving, there is still the thought that this fact may be disproved as well. At least the Christian is not unstable in his beliefs.

Sincerely,
Theist

We Shave the Best For Last

“I tried to shave my dog’s neck today.”

“How did that turn out?”

“I discovered it’s a two man job.”

“Hmm… well my dog was sedated when her neck was shaved.”

“What is that all about? Can you just go out and buy sedatives? If so, I’d definitely get some.”

“Oh, no. My dog was having her vocal chords removed.”

“Ok, this is just getting weirder.”

“Well, In Montana, if three people complain about your dog barking, the city will take it away.”

“Ah, I see.”

“But I didn’t go through with it. I stopped the doctor at the last second. He was holding the knife in his hands when I called.”

“*Laugh* So, it was like Abraham and Isaac. ‘No, my son. Stop.’ I bet your dog was relieved.”

“*Laugh*”

“What?”

“I was just picturing Isaac waking up from sedation. ‘Father, I understand the knife and all, but why is my neck shaved?’”

Ode to Being Normal

Ode to being Normal

Ah, thy perfectly adequate face,
Thy conventional clothing,
In the daylight, they strike one in an unexceptional way.
Thy verbification and vernacular,
The way thy lips maneuver as thou dost impart,
In a crowd, they seem commonplace in this faddish day.
The displacement of thy hips as you traverse,
Thine average gait,
All alone, they resemble everyone else.

The Wooden Box

I grabbed a cup of water and put it under the faucet. The sound of the water pouring into the cup drew my mind away from the present. I drifted where I always went. I needed it. My mind bent on how I could get it next. I heard the sound of pounding in the distance, but the sound of the cup filling to the top drew me back to reality. Quickly, I turned the faucet off and poured some of it back out. Why did I need water in the first place? Couldn’t I just survive on what I really wanted? Ah… there was that pounding again. It came from the living room.

“He always wants out but he’s not going to get out. Ever. However, a little rest on the couch would be nice.”

The pounding got louder as I entered the living room.

“I’ll just spend a little time in here. It won’t bother me too much. Resting my legs feels good anyway. Now, if I could just get more of that stuff I need.”

I felt an excitement in my stomach just thinking about it.

“I need more of it. I did the last of it months ago. Ah… if only it lasted longer.”

The pounding really got loud now. It came from the large wooden box sitting beside the couch. I slammed my fist on the top of it and yelled, “Shut up!” Sometimes he can be so annoying. At least he wasn’t trying to talk to me. After all, he put me in charge. He should accept how things worked out and just be quiet. On the top of the wooden box a small window controlled the only visual communication between me and him. His breathing was rapid and his eyes danced wildly back and forth as they pleaded with mine. I ignored him and sipped my water.

“Why is this water never enough?”, I thought. “It would be if I had what I really needed. I just can’t seem to find it. It’s not available anymore.”

My eyes wandered around the room. Dust and dishes were scattered throughout the floor. My clothes were strewn on the back of the couch and the only chair I had. Memories of children running through the house went through my head more like ghosts than real thoughts. I really should get a maid. Cleaning is just not a priority. I guess months of fulfilling my needs takes it toll on a house. The wooden box made it seem like the room was furnished more than it was.

“He could clean the house though.”, I considered. “Oh, he would just love that.”

I laughed a little. I sipped more of my water and peered out of the windows. It’s so dark nowadays. I can’t remember the last time the sun peaked over the hills. Darkness prevailed outside the house rendering the windows useless. I stopped looking out of them months ago. There were no neighbors anyway. My street used to bustle with laughter and children’s games. That was before I found what I needed. The pounding started again and this time he spoke.

“Please let me out, “ he said, “I’m sorry I tried to stop you.”

I stood up and kicked the box. “You wanted this Jerry. Just shut up! I’m in control now, and no one can tell us apart anymore.”

“Help me… Help me!”, He cried.

He sobbed quietly as I stood up to leave the room. Jerry used to be my friend. I guess in the end, it was me that turned on him. He always did what I said. Now he can’t do anything.

Dave walked down the hospital corridor. The sun shined through the windows of each room as he passed. Today would have been an excellent day to go fishing, but he had urgent business that could not wait. A Bible could be clearly seen under his arm as he stepped into hospital room 124. A man lay on the bed in front of him. Dave stepped aside to let the nurse finish her check of the patient’s chart. She placed it back at the foot of the bed. The name on the chart was Jerry.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me?”

Jerry’s skin was pale and thin. It looked as though it was draped over his bones like a worn out curtain. Although he was continually moving, Jerry was clearly bed ridden. The sound of the previous question seemed to be sucked into nothingness as the beeping monitors that were hooked to Jerry’s body persisted through an otherwise quiet room. His eyes danced wildly back and forth and his mouth formed inaudible words. He looked like he was crying. Dave spoke again.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me? I’ve come to help you.”

Silence.

“Jerry, I’ve come to tell you about Jesus.”

Jerry’s eyes stopped for just a moment and made their way over to Dave’s. His head shook as he leaned toward Dave. He didn’t have much strength left. Jerry opened his mouth to speak. At first there was a deep gargling sound and then an ever so quiet voice, almost like a baby’s voice, resounding in the small room.

“Help me… Help me.”

At this, he collapsed back on the bed and his eyes resumed their awful dance once again.

“Jerry? Jerry!” Dave called out, but it was no use. He sat in the room for what seemed like an eternity hoping to see more moments of lucidity. The beeping of the machines were relentless. After a while, a nurse walked in and Dave felt it was time to leave.

That night, Dave slipped into bed with his wife. He had not repeated the account of his visit to anyone, and his heart was heavy as his mind drifted back to Jerry. He could still hear his cry.

“Help me… Help me!”

Sleep came slowly to his heavy heart, but his body soon gave way to the familiar rhythms of restful breathing. After all, God gives his beloved ones sleep.

That same night, Jerry slipped into the darkness once more and never returned.