Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Suspected of Breaking and Entering can be Surprisingly Entertaining

In the middle of the night, a friend of mine and I were walking through a somewhat bad area of town carrying a computer. One might wonder why we were doing that. So did the police.

One of my only potentially serious run-ins with the police is something I consider a rather funny story about really improbable coincidences.

It was a few years back and at the end of a period of hard exams at the university. As usual after exams we wanted a way to relax, and this time we opted for nostalgia and nerdiness. We decided to have an old fashioned LAN-party at my friends place; gathering up some people and their computers to play games together. I know; we’re just the epitome of cool.

As is common for such events we totally messed up our sleep patterns, and when we decided to stop playing it just happened to be very early morning.

A friend was going to drive me home, so he and I were walking to his car, carrying my computer. We didn’t have to walk more than a few hundred meters to his car, so we didn’t really foresee any problems. Not that I’ve ever foreseen any real problems in any simple walk to a car, and I’m usually right about it.

This time I wasn’t right. As we were about to cross a street to the parking lot, two police cars came driving up along it. We looked at each other and laughed, commenting on how it must look mighty suspicious that we’re carrying a computer in the middle of the night. And it felt like such an improbable coincidence that the police would show up just then, because we rarely ever see any police cars out and about like that around here.

But even though we knew we looked suspicious we didn’t expect them to actually stop us. But they did. And they did it in an amusingly stereotypical manner, as if it was a TV show. Both cars pulled to an abrupt stop in front of us and police officers welled out of the cars, with their hands threateningly at their gun belts, eyeing us carefully and telling us to put the computer down.

The situation felt absurd, but still highly amusing, and of course we did as they said. One of the officers started questioning us about where we came from, and we told them the address of the apartment building we had just left, and pointed behind us.

She told us that they were out on a call about a break-in in the building behind the one we came from, and said that to them it looked mighty suspicious that we were walking with some valuable electronics from the direction of said break-in. We said that we could understand how they might think so, but assured her that we had nothing to do with it. She looked thoroughly unconvinced.

She stayed with us while the others went on ahead to examine the scene of the crime. She continued to question us and we found out just how damned difficult it can be to explain the concept of a computer LAN-party to a police officer in her fifties. After several attempts to explain what we had been doing, she still didn’t seem to understand how what we were saying could be a good explanation for how we could possibly have any legal reason to wander around with a computer in the middle of a freezing cold night.

It still seemed like we were easing some of her suspicions though, even if our explanations made no sense to someone of her generation. Maybe we just didn’t act like any typical hardened criminals. But her suspicions seemed to be renewed when she got a call on the radio. It was one of the other officers, confirming that a computer had been stolen at the burglary.

We started realizing exactly how suspicious we looked, and how amazingly improbable it all was.

It was the first time in years that I was at a LAN-party. It was the first time ever that I was walking through that neighborhood (which I didn’t live in) in the middle of the night. It was the first time I walked around carrying a computer in the middle of the night. And this just happened to coincide with one of the only times I’ve seen a police car there.

And the police was there because someone had called them to report a crime at precisely the right moment; if it would have been half a minute earlier the police would have passed by before we left the apartment, half a minute later and we would have gotten to the car before they got to the area.

And burglaries aren’t all that common around here; the crime rate of this city is rather low. Sure, that area is a bit worse than most of the rest of the city, but it was still a bit of a coincidence that there was a burglary right then. And to top it off, the only thing stolen in the apartment was a computer, and that’s what we were carrying.

Of course there wasn’t any real risk for us. A quick check would have revealed that we weren’t carrying the correct computer. But we did look pretty suspicious. But then the next coincidence kicked in – the first one to our advantage.

While they were checking the underside of our shoes to match with footprints under the window of the apartment in question, another call came in on the radio, and they promptly let us go. It turns out that the police had actually caught the real burglar, less than half an hour after the crime took place.

I mean, come on, how often does something like that happen?

Click here to read the rest of "Being Suspected of Breaking and Entering can be Surprisingly Entertaining"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Does the F-Word have Magical Properties?

Warning: that certain, special little word occurs several times in this text, for obvious reasons.

Normally, people can judge from the context if a word is appropriate or not. At even the finest of dinners I could be discussing Dick Clark or Dick Cheney, and no one would mind me saying Dick several times during the conversation. But if I would proclaim “You should all suck my dick!” that would rarely be seen as quite as acceptable.

Saying “Dick Cheney is a great man” may be offensive to your sensibilities, but the word “Dick” in that sentence is not deemed a dirty word, even though “dick” can be dirty in many, many other sentences.

So obviously the formation of sounds that form the word “dick” can be acceptable or not, depending on the meaning we give them. That particular arrangement of sounds doesn’t have any special, magical properties; it isn’t the sounds themselves that are dirty. But what about the collection of sounds that make up the word “fuck”? In that case, many seem to do believe that it has some very special properties.

Take for example the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series, a somewhat popular science fiction TV-show. A very common expletive used by the characters in that show is the word “frak”. This is presented as just some alien swear word, and therefore entirely acceptable for use on TV. But curiously it has many, many similarities to the earth word “fuck” – besides being homologically similar.

The two words seem, by amazing coincidence no doubt, to have the exact same (and wide) range of use.

When curious about the details regarding the nature of someone’s relationship with someone else you can ask “Are you frakking her?”

When you want to use a strong pejorative to express your dismay with someone you can say “Frak you!”

When you feel that all is lost and want to articulate this feeling you can say “We’re well and truly frakked.”

You can call someone of limited mental abilities a “frakwit” and when you are in strong disagreement with someone you might be tempted to call this person a “motherfrakker”.

If you’re really surprised you might shout out “Frak me!” and if you want to give extra strength to a statement about your feelings of dislike for the thing that startled you, you can of course use an adjectival form of the word, like for instance in the phrase “Frakkin’ rats!”

In short I’ve seen the word “frak” used in almost all the ways that I could imagine using the word “fuck” here on earth. For all intents and purposes it is exactly the same word and of course anyone who sees the show knows this. But they still see it as necessary to keep up the blatantly obvious charade.

To them it seems like it is much more acceptable to say “frak you” instead of “fuck you” but I really don’t see the difference. Unless you ascribe some mystical power to the word “fuck” there is no difference. And obviously no one in the target audience seems to be harmed by the numerous instances of the word “frak”, so maybe the word “fuck” isn’t all that horrible either?

While I do understand that swearing might be frowned upon under many circumstances, I don't understand what is so utterly special about “fuck”. But it seems like many, many really do think that it matters; thinking that you can’t say “fuck” but you can say something that everyone knows is just a thinly disguised replacement for the word.

I see this a lot in internet comments, regardless if the comment thread is moderated and censored or not. I look at many more or less humorous pictures commonly classified as “Engrish” and or “fail” in Internet humor terminology. These pictures very frequently contain the word “fuck” in very larger letters on the picture (in, for instance, mistranslated restaurant menus and foreign street signs) so anyone viewing the pictures have already been subjected to the word and they know that the word is part of the humor of the situation.

But, for some reason, people making comments often inexplicably choose to censor themselves when discussing it, writing things like “f*ck” or “f-word” in their comments when discussing what can be read in the picture. Even though every single person discussing the picture knows that the word is “fuck”, they still think that it is wrong to write it out, for some reason.

Once I understand why this is, I will be another step closer to understanding some of the many oddities of the human mind, so it’s something I think about at times.

Click here to read the rest of "Does the F-Word have Magical Properties?"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Musings on Ray Comfort’s “Banana Argument” (the Atheist’s Nightmare)

Ray Comfort is a strange, strange man. And if you’ve never heard of him before, I assure you that he is someone who can bring you plenty of amusement.

He is an evangelical, fundamentalist Christian preacher, and he has a ministry called “The Way of the Master” which has a hilarious TV-show under the same name. The most famous clip to ever come out of that TV-show is his “banana argument” against the validity of an atheistic world view.

The clip can be seen here, and I suggest that you watch it, if you by some chance haven’t seen it yet and want to be amused. The argument put forth is silly beyond words and, to someone dirty-minded like me, the video is filled with so much unintentional(?) sexual innuendo that I can’t help but laugh.

Many people have very, very well debunked his statements about the banana as a perfect proof of God’s existence, but I will make a short note on that before moving on to my main point.

Comfort argues that certain characteristics of the banana are proof positive that God designed it and that evolution is bunk. He claims that this is obvious, since bananas are good for people to eat, they fit perfectly in the human hand, they are easy to open, easy to eat, easy to digest and you can see on the outside if they are ready to eat or not. He calls them the “atheist nightmare” because this is truly a testament to a perfect and benevolent God, designing wonderful yellow treats for us.

Of course that argument is stupid, mainly because of one, very important thing: bananas didn’t look anything like that when humans first found them.

The “original” banana was short and stubby and filled with large, hard seeds. It didn’t “fit perfectly in the human hand” and it wasn’t easy to eat. The reason we have the much friendlier bananas of today is that humans cultivated bananas and selectively bred them to the now so familiar form.

This was done through a process of “artificial selection”, which is something that is very closely related to natural selection, that integral part of evolution. So Comfort really, really shoots himself in the foot by trying to use bananas to disprove evolution.

But let’s not dwell on the fact that it’s a stupid argument. Let’s instead ask ourselves “What if he was right? What if I get convinced that the banana requires a deity capable of creating and designing life; what would that tell me?”

To someone like Comfort the answer seems obvious. He spends his time trying to convince people that his particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity is the Truth, and arguments like the banana argument is how he does it.

So, to Comfort the sentence “There appears to be a god of some kind, capable of designing a banana” automatically equates to “The designer is the God of Judeo-Christian tradition, Jesus of Nazareth is the son of this almighty God, he was born of a Holy Virgin, died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, and the only way to a decent afterlife is to accept him as your personal Lord and Savior”.

To me, this is something of a large leap. A huge leap, one might say. “Holy logical leaps, Batman!” one might even say, if one has a tendency to reiterate old jokes.

Normally people are very good at spotting leaps like that. But some people seem to shut of that part of their logic when it comes to the particular religion that they favor.

If I said “When I was walking through the forest yesterday I heard rustling sounds that I couldn’t identify. Clearly this was the sound made by tiny, tiny unicorns grazing in the underbrush!” most of you would think I was kidding, crazy or both (and of course I am both). My conclusion of unicorn-caused ruckus would be seen as a huge leap without any logic behind it by almost anyone.

Of course it is possible, albeit incredibly unlikely, that the sounds really are caused by miniscule, horned equines, but it would be unbelievably strange of me to assume that this is the case, without any further evidence for it. It might as well be tiny, tiny elephants! Or something mundane like the wind or a rodent…

The statement “there was a sound I couldn’t identify” says nothing about the existence of undersized animals of any kind, and people generally understand this perfectly well.

But somehow it is seen as more logically sound to assume the divinity of Jesus based on nothing but a “proof” of a designer, even though the statement “there is a designer” says nothing about who or what this designer is and nothing at all about this Jesus character. But people like Comfort still act as though they have proved their particular version of their particular religion just by some inane statement about how good bananas are to hold and eat… I find this terribly amusing.

Of course, Ray Comfort also shoots himself in the foot a second time at the end of the famous clip, when he says “Seriously Kirk, the whole of creation testifies to the genius of God’s creative talent” (or something very close to it, the last word is kind of garbled in the clip I saw).

What Comfort implies is that fruit designed to be easily eaten by humans is proof of God and he says that we see this in “the whole of creation”, but if that is so he really fails to explain things like coconuts and pineapples. I would assume that they are also part of the whole of creation, they are also very good for (most) humans to eat, they are tasty to most humans and they are freaking difficult to eat, especially if you have no tools.

If we had a perfect, benevolent and loving God who created everything, as the one that Ray wants us to believe in, I would expect everything that is good for humans to be equally easily eaten. As it is, with coconuts and all, even if Ray’s argument did hold any weight, it wouldn’t seem to favor a single, all-powerful God. It would instead seem to favor a specialized banana-making god, and I am certain that he doesn’t believe in any of those.

And of course this is the problem with many similar arguments that people use when they try to convert people to their religion. Even if their arguments are sound, they generally point towards nothing other than some, unknown deity or something else unknown. The arguments never explain how they would “prove” the existence of some particular deity.

Click here to read the rest of "Musings on Ray Comfort’s “Banana Argument” (the Atheist’s Nightmare)"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Working at the Morgue Seems Pretty Good

I think it’s a job that offers some unique perks

I think that complaining a little bit can be a positive thing. I don’t think it’s good or healthy to be a whiny ass, but a little bit of complaining can help you vent your frustrations, put things into perspective and so on. And I also think that enjoying a little down-time in your life, just relaxing once in a while, can be good too.

But if you’re talking about your job, you can often catch some crap by complaining or gloating about such things.

For instance, if you complain about how you have too much work to do, people tend to tell you that you shouldn’t complain about that; it just means that business is good. You should be happy about that! It’s good for job security, likelihood of pay raises and so on, so don’t complain! Such responses really take the fun and pleasure out of complaining.

Likewise if you gloat a tiny bit and tell someone that you’ve had a really relaxing time at the office, with very little work to do. Then they tend to say that you shouldn’t be happy about that, telling you that you’re just being lazy and that you should look for some career advancement if your current job is too easy. Again very irritating responses, taking all the fun out of being lazy.

But imagine if you work at a morgue. If you complain to your friends about how busy you’ve been, they can’t turn it around on you and say it’s good to be busy. Because if you are busy it means that there were a lot of bodies coming in, and that’s a tragedy. Very hard to put a positive spin on it.

And if you seem very happy about having nothing to do, people can’t say that you shouldn’t be happy about that. It doesn’t mean that you are lazy or un-ambitious, just that you’re glad that there aren’t a lot of people dying.

Of course, these perks apply to work in hospitals and clinics too, especially emergency rooms. It’s always good when there’s less to do there. But the morgue does offer an additional thing beyond that:

Regardless if things have been slow or not, when you end your shift and your friends ask how your day was, you can always make them really uncomfortable by replying with the joke “It was really dead.”

Of course you also have to get used to the fact that you have to deal with death every day, but every sweet deal has its downsides.

Click here to read the rest of "Working at the Morgue Seems Pretty Good"

Regarding the Ten Commandments, American Laws and Evil Atheists

Since I’m a bit of a science nerd I frequent a lot of science websites, discussion forums and blogs. In the comment sections of such websites there is often a bit of antagonism from a certain type of religious people.

I have no problem with religious people in general, but there is a group of religious people that seems to think that science is an enemy of religion and that all scientists are atheists (which is very far from the truth) that I do have a problem with. They come to those scientific sites for nothing but to spew hate. They usually just tell us that atheists are all evil.

When they occasionally opt to explain why they think atheists are evil, they often claim that atheists persecute Christians, especially in the United States. As an example of this supposed persecution they often mention the matter of the Ten Commandments in court houses.

They say that Christians are being persecuted in this matter. Because, according to them, US laws in general, and the Constitution in particular, are all based on the Ten Commandments and this should be reflected by placing them there. Apparently those stupid atheists don’t agree.

I honestly don’t know all that much about the reality about the controversy regarding the placing of the Ten Commandments in court houses. I strongly suspect that most of the people involved, on both sides, were being nothing but silly. But whatever the real issue was isn’t the point. The point is their argument that they are being persecuted.

You can probably guess what my standing on that issue is, since I am an evil, godless atheist. I am also a fan of the US Constitution, since I think that it is a beautiful, great document (even though I do not exactly agree with everything in it) and I think that it is being attacked and belittled by these people.

Let’s look at a common list of Commandments that people want in court houses because “US laws are based on them.”

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Not only is this one not in any way a basis for any US law that I know of, such a law would in fact be in direct conflict with the first amendment of the constitution.

The first amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Saying that people are only allowed to have one particular God really seems to limit the free exercise of religion. At least to me, but perhaps I’m being picky there…

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

No matter how you interpret this commandment it is in conflict with US laws. It is not illegal to make “likenesses” such as paintings or sculptures, even if they depict supernatural entities. This is generally considered a part of freedom of expression, which is a right in the United States. A law based on the second commandment would be in conflict with that.

Some people have told me that the second commandment is really about forbidding the worship of those graven images, more than the making of them. But we’ve been over that point already. Saying that you’re not allowed to worship whatever you want would interfere with the free exercise of religion.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain

Strike three. Again in direct conflict with the first amendment. American censorship laws might regulate what you can say on broadcast TV, but in general freedom of speech is liberally protected in the United States. And I don’t think that blasphemy is banned even on TV.

And no, as far as I know, this commandment hasn’t inspired a nationwide crackdown on people who shout “Oh God” in the heat of sex.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

What, can’t we get past the first amendment? Still not one commandment that isn’t in violation with it.

There is to be no laws respecting an establishment of religion, so there should never be any law that requires people to keep a sacred day of some particular religion holy.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother

Finally. This one isn’t in direct violation with the constitution, as far as I know. It’s however not in there either. As far as I know this isn’t really in any American law, and I think that’s good. A law that orders people to honor their father and mother would be a rather stupid law.

I for one honor my father and mother. I honor the hell out of them, because they deserve it. They are great parents and great people.

But we all know that not all parents are great. Many hurt their children, physically and mentally. I think that a law requiring all children to honor their parents, regardless of what their parents do to them, would be rather barbaric.

6. Thou shalt not kill

Getting better! This one is actually sensible and more or less in accordance with US laws.

Of course that is a matter of interpretation of the word “kill” though, since US laws aren’t as simplistic as the Ten Commandments. In the United States killing people is sometimes legal; in justified self defense and executions for instance.

And even if we do interpret “kill” in a way that makes the commandment in accordance with US laws, then so what? If there are laws against killing people, and there is a commandment about killing people, should we then assume that the laws are built upon that commandment? I don’t think so.

Seriously, do these people believe that before the business at Mount Sinai, people didn’t understand that it is a bad idea to kill each other? Do they think that before the age of those fragile stone tablets, people were total morons?

Of course it’s stupid to go around haphazardly killing each other. You can’t build a stable society without realizing that. All through the ages, societies of every religion have understood that. Laws against murder do not need divine inspiration; it’s pretty obvious that murder is a bad idea.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery

This is a pretty good commandment too. Adultery isn’t good.

And there actually are some US laws prohibiting adultery, at least in some states. And I can see those laws having a religious background. So I’ll actually give you this one, this commandment might actually be the basis of some US laws.

Not that any remaining adultery laws are actually seen as important today, but it’s still at least a partial win for the proponents. Six commandments too late, but still.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

Again, this is a rather good idea, but that’s not proof that the Constitution or any other document was inspired by it. If you try to build a society it is easy to understand that stealing isn’t something that contributes to peace and stability, no matter what holy book you believe or don’t believe in.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Like most of the bible, this one is very open to interpretation. Some say that it about lying while testifying and some say that it is just about lying in court.

Of course, perjury is a crime, so if you interpret the commandment that way it is in accordance with the law. And, again, this isn’t something you can figure out on your own… Of course people who have never heard of the Ten Commandment think that courts work well if people lie while testifying…

No, wait, maybe not.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Now, there is an obvious joke about sodomy laws here, but we all know that “ass” here refers to donkeys and nothing else. And I really don’t think that there are any laws against coveting at all, no matter if it is donkeys or asses.

In fact, I would like to say that the entire concept of a capitalist society is built on the concept of coveting. If you want a donkey (or a car, as a modern equivalent) that is as good as your neighbor’s, then you go out and work to get it.

And more importantly, trying to restrict what people covet is a serious breach of human rights. No government should tell you what to think and feel.


So, out of ten commandments, at least five are in violation with the American constitution and/or basic human rights. Only a few have any clear equivalent in US laws, and only one of those feels like it would need religious inspiration to make it into a law.

Some commandments are border-cases, but all in all it looks pretty clear that in general the laws of the United States are not based on the Ten Commandments.

Not that saying this keeps that particular group of people from crying “Persecution!” at the drop of a hat though. But I still feel the urge to write stuff like this every once in a while, when I have heard some particular untruth once too many. At least it helps me vent.

Click here to read the rest of "Regarding the Ten Commandments, American Laws and Evil Atheists"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gay Sex is Just Like Christmas

When I was in Junior High, I had a fairly religious teacher. That’s not very common around here, so he kind of stood out, but none of us minded. At least not until he started talking about Christmas…

I can’t remember how the discussion got started, but for some reason the class got to talking about Christmas and he expressed his very strong opinion that people who aren’t religious shouldn’t celebrate it. He was very adamant on this point, giving his view that it is rather vile of us atheists to enjoy a Christian holiday.

Well, I’ve always been open to a debate, and I couldn’t let it slide that a teacher would have the audacity to tell his students what and how to celebrate. So I, and a girl from my class, challenged his opinion and started discussing the matter with him.

First I told him that I do celebrate a holiday at the time of Christmas, but I don’t do it in a religious way. I don’t have any stars, angels or baby Jesuses among my decorations. I just see it as a nice holiday to spend some quality time with the family (and a holiday to get some quality time with some good food).

Then we reminded him that a winter solstice festival has been celebrated here around the time of Christmas since long before our country became Christian. Just like in the rest of the world; winter festivals are very common, Christmas has just become the most popular of them.

We tried our best to convince him that we had every right to celebrate as we do. But he still clung to his opinion that we somehow hurt Christmas by celebrating at the same as his favorite holiday. Despite the fact that we told him that we celebrate an entirely secular holiday that has nothing to do with him, he thought that he had the right to tell us how and when to do that.

That is so infuriatingly typical of a certain kind of Christian (I am very well aware that it is not how all Christians act though). They think that just because their religion has come in and replaced our old winter festival with theirs, they have the right to control how everyone celebrates at that time of year. Apparently we are “cheapening their holiday” if we don’t conform to their wishes.

Note that we didn’t say a word on how we thought he should celebrate his holiday. We didn’t invite him into our homes to see our pagan disrespect of his sacred beliefs. We didn’t disrupt his class with a “traditional winter solstice celebration only” campaign. Yet he felt that he had the right and, apparently, the need to tell us how we are ruining Christmas by having a good time with our families in our own homes.

But Christmas isn’t an important issue to me whatsoever, so I let it drop. But it does serve as an illustrative example of a kind of thinking that I see in many other discussions, especially in discussions about homosexual rights.

As many of you know, I’ve written a fair bit about gay marriage. I cross-posted some of the posts on other writing sites, and I got some interesting comments. Here is a part of one of those comments: “The gay community and their supporters present the greatest example of hypocrisy imaginable. By making a choice to adopt said lifestyle they effectively deny God and the truth of His word. Then they have the gall to demand the right to ‘marry’, and do it in Gods' house! Marriage is Gods' sacred institution, not mans.

Well, first of all, I’ve never met anyone of the opinion that we should force churches to marry gay couples. Almost everyone who promotes gay marriage just says that the government shouldn’t forbid two consenting adults from marrying; they don’t say that churches that are against it must marry them. I know that if I ever marry I wouldn’t want to be wed by someone who hates me.

And just like winter celebrations, marriage isn’t a uniquely Christian thing. People of most religions and cultures have had celebrations where they join people together like that. But still, he thinks that gay couples who want to marry are out of line. Because it’s not in line with “God’s word”.

It doesn’t matter to him that they might not even be Christian or that if they are, they will in all probability don’t want to marry in the kind of church he prefers.

It doesn’t matter to him that marriage exists outside of Christianity or that the gay couple’s celebration of love is entirely private to them and doesn’t affect him in any way whatsoever.

It doesn’t even matter to him that many Christians, and Christian priests to boot, defend gay marriage and wants gay to have the right to marry in their church.

He still thinks that he has the right to decide how they should act. Not because it affects him in any way, not because it’s bad for society or anything, but simply because it doesn’t agree with his interpretation of his religion. Because he thinks his religion says that homosexuals can’t marry, he thinks that homosexuals shouldn’t be able to marry anywhere.

And he has the gall to be offended by people being homosexual, because it’s not in line with his beliefs.

But he doesn’t hate them. Oh no, of course not. Later on in the comment he also uses the phrase “Love the sinner, hate the sin” which is a very popular thing to say when you defend your own bigotry. Things don’t really work like that though, which brings me to the point about gay sex that I so shamelessly advertised in the post title.

Where gay marriage and celebrations of Christmas can be at least somewhat in the public eyes, even though they are private affairs, sex isn’t. I could never understand how anyone can care what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom, but the kind of people I talk about in this post obviously do care. They often want anti-sodomy laws because they “hate the sin”.

But really, how can you, when it comes to sexuality, hate the “sin” but love the sinner? How does that work?

If you tell people that their inner feelings are a sin and that you hate what they feel and think, people are going to feel hated, even if you add afterwards “Oh, but I love you. It’s just your sins I hate.” That’s just a useless bit of rhetoric, just saying that isn’t going to make people feel loved. It isn’t rocket surgery people; it’s not that hard to understand.

Your sexuality isn’t a choice, and many of those people understand that. That’s why they are things like Truth Ministry, which promises to teach you how to “leave the homosexual lifestyle.” They know that they can’t make a gay person straight, but they want them not to act on their sexuality. They teach people to suppress and hate their natural urges, teaching them that what they feel is a sin and that they need to resist it.

Basically they teach people to spend every day hating a big part of themselves and suppressing all their sexuality. A real act of love, that one. But at least that only works on people who are already deeply religious; usually people are at least a bit harder to convince to hate themselves.

But back to my main point about how these things are similar: Winter celebrations, marriages and sex are not invented by the Christian church. They are all private things that don’t affect other people, they all existed before Christians came around, and they still exist outside of the bounds of fundamental Christianity. But somehow some Christians still really feel that they have the right to control how other people do these things, for some reason. And I really wish that would stop.

I have no problem with people believing whatever they want, just as long as they don’t see the need to control other people because of it. And again; I do know that most religious people aren’t like that, most are content with keeping their beliefs to themselves and letting other people act in accordance to their own beliefs. I am only complaining about the ones who aren’t that tolerant.

Click here to read the rest of "Gay Sex is Just Like Christmas"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Girls with Big Books

Unfortunately, I haven’t been writing much lately. But I have just written something for another blog that I want to link to.

Girls with Big Books

I have written the first real post for a blog called “Girls with Big Books” which is a site in tribute to intelligent, nerdy, geeky and artistic women. It’s about all those women who are not traditionally seen as “hot” but are much more interesting than most stereotypically attractive people.

The site was started as kind of a balance to all the places that seem to be more about girls with big boobs than about girls who enjoy a big book. The first post is the first in a series of posts with some examples of girls who are hot because they are nerdy in one way or another, and it is about Kaylee Frye from Firefly/Serenity and Kari Byron from Mythbusters. You can find it here.

Click here to read the rest of "Girls with Big Books"