Archive | December 2012

My Grandmother, The iPod

Facebook, I think, is the best way to tell the ones you know and love, or at least those you met once at a thing somewhere, how you truly feel, all in one fell swoop.

I do it all the time. It’s quite cathartic, actually. I also enjoy reading the musings of others, and recently a Facebook friend of mine, who also happens to be a family member, posted something that caught my attention.

Without directly quoting, it was something of an indictment on the blatant consumeristic frenzy that is Christmas, the way people turn into brutal savages, hunting down close parking spots and red-tag bargains.

My cousin pointed out that in 40 years people aren’t going to be thinking about the gifts they bought or received, rather the family members that have passed, or the moments that they wish could be relived.

I could not agree more. When some nut whacks a person in the face for the last copy of Transformers 2 on DVD, there is a problem. I mean, that movie sucked. And every year someone is getting trampled in the foyer of a store, or getting sideswiped for a parking spot. It’s disgusting.

“I want to show my family that I truly love them. I’ll do whatever it takes to buy them the perfect gift, even if that means shanking some fool in the line at Wal-Mart.”

Come on people.

As I thought further about the post, something else hit me. An underlying viewpoint came to the surface. My cousin is an Atheist. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing really, except for the context of the post itself. Going crazy over “stuff” is ridiculous.

Cussing people out over things that are going to break, wear out, or become obsolete is pointless. I remember begging my parents for gifts that I “had to have,” only to forget about them weeks later. What matters is family and friendship, people to share your life with.

But what are people? From an atheistic standpoint, at the end of the day, people are simply the result of spontaneous evolution, a collection of cells that have joined to make up what we now know as humans, the greater apes.

There is no creator. No intelligent design. Just billions of years of evolution at work.

Boiled down, we are products. Products of an evolutionary process. The “love” that we feel for one another is no more than chemical reaction, the way we have learned to respond.

In a way, we are consumers of one another. Time spent together, family parties, romantic evenings are just how we consume the product. Right?

Forty years from now my ipod is going to be an ancient artifact. My car will belong in a museum, my clothes long gone moth food. But what about my Grandma? If there is nothing after all this, if we are but a link on the evolutionary chain, does she really matter once she expires?

She was here. It was fun while it lasted and we will all sure miss her, but when she’s gone that’s it. She’ll go back to the earth she evolved from.

Does that sound right? Why doesn’t that sit well? Why does my comparing my Grandmother to an mp3 player make me sick to my stomach? I think it’s because we know better than that. I think deep down we know there is something more to this human experience.

It’s insane to clamor and fight over consumer goods that only bring temporary fulfillment.

But if we are just animals with an expiration date, evolutionary products to be consumed, isn’t it equally ridiculous to fight for love? Isn’t it a waste of time and money to develop medicines that cure disease and prolong life? Why cry at funerals? Every product has a shelf life, right? Are we any better?

I think so. I think you do too.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Photo Credit: lifeshots (Creative Commons)

Where was God at Sandy Hook?

20 children. 6 adults. A senseless massacre in what should have been a safe place.

“Where was the ‘God of love’ in all of this? How could he allow such vile things to happen?”

It’s a hard question, but a reasonable one.

Why would an all-powerful, all-loving being allow a madman to destroy the lives of so many people, the ones who died and those forced to live without them? I won’t even pretend to understand how these families feel right now.

I can’t say I wouldn’t shake my fists at the Heavens if I were in this situation.

So, where was He? Was He absent, arms folded in the distance? Events like these cause many people to deny the possibility of a loving Creator.

I would simply say this.

Denying the existence of God based on the presence of tragedy is like denying the existence of love based on the presence of hate. Read More…

Questioning Animals

In a godless society, what is sanctity of life?

Unborn babies aside, why is any human life sacred? We live. We die. The universe moves on.

Why do we enforce some moral standards and ignore others?

It is tolerable for a man to steal another man’s wife, but if he downloads music without paying he could face 10 years. How does that work?

Who among us is properly equipped to set these standards?

If there is no God, no sovereign judge, what person or body of persons is qualified to determine right from wrong? From where is this authority derived? And how are we to trust one person’s moral compass over another’s?

Animalism

  1. Enjoyment of vigorous health and physical drives.

  2. Indifferences to all but the physical drives.

  3. The doctrine that humans are merely animals with no spiritual nature.

In an animalistic society—no spirit, only instict—it should stand to reason that only the strong survive. We marvel at the carnage on Animal Planet, the King of the Jungle making a meal of a lesser beast. It’s terrible, yet fascinatingly normal. Read More…

Things you learn about yourself

My wife and I live on what would be the perfect set for a horror film—dirt road, no street lights, isolation, and plenty of creepy trees.

We bought my childhood home, and for as long as I can remember, people have been creeped out by the house. Visiting friends would be unable to sleep, kept awake by weird noises and strange feelings.

Meanwhile, I slept like a baby on Ambien. It never fazed me.

But I get it now. I hear the weird clicks of the furnace, the creaking of the settling structure as the temperature changes. I’ve gotten up a few times to check on strange noises from another room, but two recent occurrences stand out more than anything else.

One night, as I drifted off to sleep, I heard the bedroom doorknob twisting. Someone was opening the door, and since Tanya, the only other member of the household, was sound asleep next to me, that posed a potential problem.

Within two seconds, I was out of bed and standing in front of the door with an outstretched arm to block it from opening and a clenched fist to throw at whoever was on the other side. I growled,

“Hey! What are you doing?”

About that time, I heard, “Hunnie. Hunnie. Anthony, what’s going on?” The light flicked on. Read More…

LEGO’s For Everyone

According to Uber Facts, for every person on Earth, 62 Lego pieces have been created.

That is a staggering statistic. Think about it. Right now, there are over 7 billion people on the planet. I’m horrible at math, but according to Google calculator, that means there are 434 billion Legos out there just waiting to be stepped on.

Sidebar: Is there anything worse than stepping on a Lego? Prisons should have rooms where inmates are blindfolded and forced to run barefoot across a floor covered in multi-colored torture blocks. I guarantee the crime rate would drop. But, I digress.

That there is one person for every 62 Legos is remarkable, but that isn’t what struck me. When I came across this fact, I thought:

Every one of us gets a chance to build something. Read More…

Give A Compliment, Get A Compliment

If you haven’t watched this video, do so, and see if warm tinglies don’t creep from your heart up to your smile muscles. Who knows, you might even cry.

The concept is so simple. Give a compliment, get a compliment.

  • 1 phone booth
  • 1 giant pair of Beats by Dre
  • 2 curious passers-by

I love how, when the opportunity presented itself, these people happily derailed their plans to take a moment and share spontaneous words of appreciation. The statements were so raw, and that’s what made them fantastic.

“The compliment I want to give you today, that I’ve never said to you before, is your awareness of other people and how nice you are to everyone in the room.”

A teary-eyed father opened up to his son for the first time. Life-long friends exchanged compliments that neither had ever heard.

It’s obvious, based on the relationships, that these people had hundreds of opportunities before this day to share their feelings, and perhaps they had in some capacity, but it wasn’t until they were provided with this platform that they opened their hearts on such a deep level.

They needed a push. Read More…

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