Saturday, June 30, 2007

Is God more evil than Satan?

It's been pretty slow in Squirrel Land but I got the opportunity to respond to an email my mother wrote to the family. She writes about the things that happen to her during the day, then adds:
Proverbs 3:27

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, it is in the power of your hand to do so.

A cousin on my father's side of the family has had to taken in her 30+ year old daughter and 4 children because the daughter made some bad choices concerning the father of those children. Choices made several years ago that I could've told her was going to end badly; it was that obvious, even from the other side of the USA. (She's in a state that borders Canada, I'm in a state that borders Mexico.) Anyway, everyone in the family thinks my cousin is doing a GREAT thing by allowing this daughter to move in. (BTW, it wasn't a local move.) Mom thought that this verse was applicable to the situation.

It was, sorta.

My response:
Hi everyone,

Thanks again for the bible verse Mom. It does remind us to be nice to people when we have the ways and means to do so, but it also reminds me of the times when people who could've been nice, but chose not to do so for poor reasons such as differences in ideas or religion. It seems this scripture only applies to someone within the group and not outside it. I find that a troubling fact about the bible; that it inhibits people from being tolerant those who are different and keeps us from extending rights to people who deserve them as much as the in-group does.

Here's a bible verse I found very troubling:

Isaiah 45:7 (King James Version): I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Well, it is God and he can do anything I suppose, but evil? I thought that's what Satan was in charge of. To me, after reading the OT, it seems that God is far more evil than Satan. God kills lots of people in the OT but I don't recall Satan killing anyone. Perhaps I missed something. Anyone?

Back to the real world:

We received more rain yesterday but we are forecasted to get a lot more today and tomorrow. Blah, blah, blah.....

I'm actually not sure if Satan killed anyone in the OT so I'm hoping to get an answer from the apologetics in the family. Anyone out there know for sure? I do remember Satan doing a lot of temping.....


Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I've been tagged in blog-land so here it goes:

1. All right, here are the rules.
2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight random facts/habits about myself.

1. I love tennis. Watching Wimbledon as I write this. I play everyday (sometimes twice) and have access to indoor courts which makes it very easy to get matches up with friends. I play mostly doubles, but will play singles when asked. I've been playing for over 17 years and still have a lesson once a week. I love my coach, he's great!

2. I still have all of my body parts. I suspect if I get rid of anything it'll be my uterus. I broke my arm as a child, and I'm constantly bumping into things, but I've been lucky so far.

3. I am comfortable being alone. Don't get me wrong, I like people and have lots of friends, but being alone rules!

4. I've been married 4 times. Yeah, this looks worse than it is. First at 17 to get away from my parents. Next at 19 because I could. Another at 23 which lasted 2-1/2 years. Current one has lasted 14 years, I was 32 and he was 49, there's a lot to be said about waiting to be mature to make such an important decision like getting married.

5. I love animals but am not a PETA member. Wanted to be a veterinarian.

6. I don't like hugs. I'm trying to be better about liking them.

7. Trained a Schipperke and earned two AKC obedience titles. His name was Dundee, born in 1986 and was a wonderful dog. I still miss him. My current Schipperke, Nemo, will be 7 years old soon and is also a great dog. No titles, but I trained him as well and he's great at parties!

8. I'm a great and loyal friend, but when the relationship is over, it's OVER. I have no problems letting go forever and not giving it another thought. This sounds bad, but it's worked rather well for me.

I'm not going to tag anyone because it looks like everyone I know as already been tagged! It's been fun and thanks for sharing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Those Crazy Christians

Interesting article:

Micah, the wonder dog


Clever Hans Effect

Wow, he's a math teacher and she's a physician. Even I, without the benefit of a college degree, (although I did train dogs, show in American Kennel Club Shows, and place and titled in those shows) knew how this dog was getting most of the answers right. All my dogs, and my horse I might add, read human body language quite well.

From Pharyngula

Friday, June 22, 2007

My rating

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Apparently the words "kill" and "death" have caused my blog to achieve this rating. Strange that it didn't pick up "Fucking." Damn.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dueling bible verses

I can only guess that Mom is trying to show me the error in my ways by sending bible verses imbedded in her email. This is the latest one:
Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,

I took the high road and responded in this way:
First I want to thank mom for the bible verse. There's so much gross and immoral stuff in the bible that it's nice to see the good stuff. (Yes, I've read it many times, thank you very much. Read some today in fact.) Thanks again and I look forward to more.

But what I really wanted to do is point out my favorite verse in the bible:
Ezekiel 23:20 (New Living Translation)

She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse.

Maybe I'll save it for another time.

Where are these guys anyway?

Monday, June 18, 2007

More thoughts about Christianity

The fact that I can criticize Christianity and the fact that Christians normally get defensive about it is one proof that there is no Christian God. Let me explain. If Christianity were the One True Religion then it wouldn't be possible to criticize it and it wouldn't be possible to have to defend it. God, being 3-omni, could've made his favorite religion, one that his "son" died for, a perfect institution. The fact that it can be criticized means that it is imperfect and behaves like a man-made myth.

I get this defensiveness all the frickin' time from my relatives. It's fun because it's easy to get them riled up, but it's also sad because it means that their way of thinking is illogical. And this illogical thinking does spill into their everyday lives.

My sister is prime example of someone who chooses not to get it. She's a very intelligent woman and is responsible for many people at the place where she works. But, in my experience with her in regards to religion, she closes off the rational part of her world and engages with defensiveness that is totally unattractive for someone of her education. It looks to me as if she's anticipating a reward for being so obtuse. She admits to not ever reading the Bible but will defend it unquestionably. It so boggles my mind that I'm having problems thinking of her in this way, as a fundamentalist. I discovered this about her when another fundy relative attacked me via email and she refused to defend me, her sister. It hurt because she allowed and rationalized someone attacking me (calling me names to other family members) and did nothing to stop it.

Fucking Christianity!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Letter from my sister and my response

Just when I thought I was out of the woods when I get this email from my sister. This is in response to this email.

Just cruising my email when this string caught my attention.
A polite observation.
Mom stated "I think prayer is the only answer!!!"
The comment you made that "This is hugely incorrect" could be perceived as an "attack" on her right to believe in the power of prayer.
Please re-read some of your context and consider that at times your tone could come across as intolerant, even somewhat disrespectful, of God fearing Christians (myself included) and their great strength in their beliefs. I do not believe that is your intent.
Just a thought...
Have a GREAT week you two!
Love ya,

Lots of things are going through my mind when I read this. One is how politically correct Sister is being. It's annoying and looks disrespectful in an arrogant sort of way. Another annoying thing is how she scolds me for being a bad girl to our mother, to a 68 year old woman who can take care of herself. I know Sister means well and doesn't want to ruffle any feathers, but jeez....

And why are God fearing Christians so thin-skinned?

My answer to her is as follows. Did I get the PC level correct, I wonder?

Thanks for your thoughtful and polite reply, but I must respectfully disagree once again. What mom said was: "I think prayer is the only answer!!!" I was responding, correctly if I might add, to that context.

I read and reread that email before sending it to make sure that I was addressing the point that prayer need not be the only thing to do. I also wanted to point out that depending on one's goals, perhaps praying for peace isn't the only prayer being offered, and according to the Bible, may also be considered by your God. Some Christians actually think, and some of them are on our email list, that this war in Iraq is a Holy War, one straight from the scriptures. Those are the ones praying that this war continues, a point I thought was worth making.

Since I quoted correctly from the Bible and did not take it out of context why would a Christian think I was intolerant of their beliefs? Didn't I offer up a question that all Christians struggle with? Why prayers seem to not get answered even when your God promises to answer them according to Matthew 21:22: And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive? What is it about this verse that I misrepresented?

I think that you are reading too much into that email. In no way did I "attack" Mom's right to believe in the power of prayer. I merely suggested that there are other options she and others perhaps didn't think of.

Sister, my atheism is no secret. I've had many email conversations with almost everyone on this list about it. In fact, many have written me privately that I've made valid points about other subjects (not religion) that they previously didn't think about. Cousin from CA and I both have very different ideas from most of the group. I don't delude myself in thinking anyone is going to change their minds (I'm not referring to religion here, I'm talking about the war or other things) but I hope to get people to think a minute longer about their position. That is all I hope for.

Anyway, I never heard from anyone else about that email so I'm sure no one perceived it as an "attack" on their right to pray. Thanks for your concern, but it is unheeded. I do not haphazardly send email out without making sure it stands up to scrutiny. For example, I checked for accuracy on the Biblical reference and even read it several verses ahead and behind to make sure the context was correct.

I'm actually very happy to get a response from you. I hope you reread that email in a different light and perhaps write your congressperson about getting us out of Iraq in addition to praying for it. Just a thought....

BTW, you are correct in assuming that my intent was not disrespectful to anyone and, I might add, it never is.

If you still have concerns about that or any other email please feel free to contact me to discuss it. I am open for suggestions and constructive criticism.

I hope you had a WONDERFUL weekend as well.

I don't feel like I walked on egg-shells around her, but I didn't take up the fact that, although I respect her right to believe, I don't respect her beliefs. She most definitely would've been offended by that. That's a subject for another day.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Another day at the WaterPark

Yesterday I spent the day with Brother and Niece at the water park. We all had a great time! Brother talked me into going down a slide called "The Texas Free Fall." It's a slide that is about 4 stories high and goes down at about an 75 degree angle before it levels out. Standing at the top I felt my intestines get tight as I looked over the edge. Well, I told myself, you only live once and I'd regret it if I didn't try it. Brother assured me it was safe and, other than the height, it looked very safe. As I ventured out over the edge and pushed my body passed the point of no return, as my body fell thru the water buffeting back and forth on the slide, I felt a rush that I never want to feel again! It was not fun, and the bikini wedgie at the end was extremely uncomfortable. Anyway, no regrets and I'm glad I did it! Oh, and I lived thru it too. Extra bonus!

Our neighborhood has a very active ladies group and occasionally we meet at someone's house to cook dinner and drink wine. I've been to several of them and the company and food at all very good. At this Thursday night's party the subject of the Iraq War came up and the discussion got serious. You see, most of us have either traveled extensively and/or originated from other countries so the point of view is from a bit on the left side of center. I even met another atheist there, which was hugely refreshing! Anyway, all of the ladies there felt we should get out of Iraq now and not let our troops be in harm's way for the folly of an immoral president.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Books to read - another letter to family

Hi everyone,

I'm reading a great book by Neil DeGrasse Tyson called Death by Black Hole, and Other Cosmic Quandaries. Dr. Tyson is the youngest director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and over the past several years has become one of the most recognizable astrophysicists in the world. He has the same ability as Dr. Carl Sagan to translate complex cosmic phenomena into something everyone can grasp. His lectures are interesting and funny (search on YouTube) and he's got a great personality which translates well in print.

I've recently bought a lot of books to read:

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about a politically active Muslim woman trying to reform Islam.
Second Chance by Zbigniew Brzezinski, another political book
Monkey Girl by Edward Hume, about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

The latter book was so named because of the teasing a 14 year old girl got from the religious fundamentalists that she was attending school with. Well, we all know how cruel children can be. Anyway, it's about the trial which pitted creationists against parents (and the ACLU) who felt strongly about the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and how science won. It's a revealing tale about what is really behind the creationist movement and how they are using pseudoscience to fool the ignorant public. Sad.

I'm off to play tennis and have lunch with the girls. These three ladies are great friends of mine and, although we are all at different levels, we get together just to play and laugh. Last week, after tennis, we sat in the clubhouse for over 2 hours talking about death and religion over a glass of wine. As you can imagine, I gave them something different to think about and, funny thing, no one was offended. Mmmmmmm......

This is getting long and I've got things to do for DH. Hey, feel free to comment on my emails. I know I'm being controversial (my nature) but I was hoping for some dialogue.


Letter to my mother

A few days ago I get an email from my mother. As you can see, she's not dealing with the real world:

Us, as God Fearing people should continue to support the troops and not get any bad vibes out where they can see the negative things being said about our government. I think prayer is the only answer!!!

I get this message and I think, WTF! I have to respond to this. My answer follows:

I have to respond to your statement about prayer being the only answer. This is hugely incorrect. There are many things we can do to show our support for our troops. For example, a cousin is doing his part by making us aware of how wrong this war is, to end it now, and to bring our troops home. It is abundantly obvious that prayer is not working in this case. Or maybe those prayers are not being answered because the Judeo/Christian/Islamic God really does want a war there as many Christians believe. In other words, God is listening and answering someone else's prayers. (Matthew 21:22) Damn, my head is hurting just thinking of this. How do you guys do it?

Anyway, I'm doing my part by helping to raise our collective consciousness to encourage each of us to vote with our intellect and not our "feelings." I actively write our representatives in government and our president (by email, of course) to show support or concern for social and civil issues which may or may not be up for vote.


I forwarded this to other members of our extended family and I have yet to hear from anyone. Do you suppose that I'm being ignored? Just ignore the atheist and she'll go away? Not a chance!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

New Post

I know it's been a while since my last post but it's been busier than usual in the Squirrel household. DH has started his own consulting business and I'm the unofficial secretary. I can't complain, even with no salary the benefits are great!

I've also had some minor, but annoying, health issues which are taking several weeks to diagnosis and treat. At this point I'd like to say that I would rather be a man right now. The ladies understand what I mean by this.

Moving on.

I had a great conversation several days ago where my friend Barbara revealed to another friend Laura, during a friendly conversation, that I'm an atheist. It was a surreal moment because Barbara defended my position. It was a moment where Laura seemed truly concerned for my soul, almost to the point of saying "Surely you must be mistaken" when my defender said, "Wait, Summer has decided to take a scientific view on this and based on her exhaustive research she has decided to come to this conclusion." Laura backed off, steely blue eyes focused on me, then smiled and said that she respected that, but wanted me to answer some questions. She asked some thoughtful questions which I thoughtfully answered. At the end of the conversation she gave me a huge hug and told me how much she loved me.

The reason this came up was Laura was sharing the experience of her mother's death. First thing, her family is Catholic. Her mother was found in a position that was impossible for her since she was almost immobile. It was a praying position so it looked miraculous. She wanted my explanation of this event.

This was very simple to explain. I told her that obviously her mother's faith was important to her. She felt, at the moment of her death, that being in that position was a huge tribute to her faith and that nothing would keep her from it. We've all heard of people doing extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances and I felt this best explained the situation. I was careful to admit that I wasn't sure since I didn't know anything except was Laura told me. I also said that considering an explanation that didn't involve a supernatural event spoke volumes about how important her mother's faith was to her and that in itself should be the comforting factor. To my surprise Laura agreed that my explanation was a possibility and that she wasn't offended.

Barbara later told me that Laura said I was one of her favorite people. The feeling is mutual. Funny thing respect.