16/365 - someone you trust.
“I trust my barber”- J.Jonah Jameson
Day 17: your idol and why you look up to them
I don’t believe in idols. I mean I realize that ancient cults used to worship them as gods and Yahweh frowned upon that sort of thing. (As in he murdered people just for thinking about idols. But I could talk about someone who inspires me.
Matt Dillahunty. That’s the first name I could think of. There are a lot of outspoken atheists that I am following through one internet thing or another. Matt hosts The Atheist Experience a public access Tv/radio/internet show that is about positive atheism and opening the dialogue to theists who call in to talk about why they believe.
They have had some wild and ignorant callers. I guess I like Matt Dillahunty because he reminds me of Frank and the atheist Experience is a lot like the Impact Program except they don’t usually talk about politics but mostly religion. The Atheist Experience filled the hole in my life that the Impact Program once occupied. Not that atheism necessarily created the hole. It could easily be filled with movies or games or a better full time job or something. But TAE has helped me build my arguements and learn how to counter theist arguements on my own.
Day 18: why you made your blog,why you still have it
I first learned about tumblr through Grace Helbig a.k.a. Daily Grace and Michelle Akin formerly FartWHO. I like it better than facebook because it is more creative and fun. I keep this around because I feel like I have something to say and also I can scroll for hours looking at Star Wars art, pop culture mash ups and. Blogs totally devoted to my favorite celebrities like Emma Watson or Mila Kunis.
Day 19: your thoughts on your family Day 20: what you think makes someone beautiful Day 21: everything you wish for in a significant other Day 22: how you judge intelligence Day 23: a month/year of your life when you were happiest and why Day 24: your favorite 10 people right now and why
16/365 - someone you trust.
“I trust my barber”- J.Jonah Jameson
Write about something you believe in. While I don’t believe in gods or supernatural claims, I do believe in some things. Like gravity, evolution really don’t require belief to be true.
I believe that people for the most part are essentially good and while some are more selfish than others and some are more destructive to self or others but we as humans generally want the same things and have the same needs and understand that working together, helping each other is often beneficial not just for the group but also for the individual because the others in the group silly help them out. I believe in the golden rule and that it was an idea that was formed long believe Jesus supposedly said it. I am not sure what I believe regarding Jesus whether he was an actual historical figure that became the focal point for the new church leaders or if he was a completely fictional character created to deliver the message if that time. I believe(I know I just said I wasn’t sure but I am open to changing my opinion after any new examination of facts or insights) - that he is just a new version of an older mythological god or demigod probably Egyptian god Horus or something.
I believe that religion does a lot of harm. Some of it is just so ingrained in culture and the way certain people have been raised to just accept and obey without question. To some extent I believe that elders of a family or community do have a lot of good advice, knowledge and wisdom. But I also believe we shouldn’t be afraid to question authority and reform or remove some outdated components in our collective consciousness.
“I believe the children are the future” as Whitney once sang. It is better be honest and teach kids how to think and reason and to know when its time to keep quiet and still or when it’s okay to cut loose and have fun.
I believe that one of the most important ways that humans, as well as mammals, birds and other animals is to play. Play time and in the case of humans imagination and creativity help us break through illusion and build an immunity to taking life too serious or spending do much time in survival mode that we go nuts and go on killing sprees or succumb to stress related diseases.
I believe that we have a duty to leave this world better than the way we found it and religious dogma that says that there is some shiny pain-free afterlife an eternity of bliss in heaven or nirvana or shangril-a so there is no reason to conserve the environment or reduce carbon emissions or invest in sustainable energy or stem cell research or space exploration or life enhancement. I believe we should be doing all these things. I believe gays, lesbian and whoever else wants to marry should have the right to marry and to have the same benefits that straight couples do. I believe that denying two people tge right to marry because they both happen to be the same gender is just as despicable as saying two people can’t marry because of different skin color or religious or political differences. I believe rights should be granted if there are enough people ask for it especially if it improves the quality of their life together. I believe in freedom, democracy the power of the people to decide what is right for the people and that government should serve the people not the other way around. I believe women gave a right to choose what happens to their bodies which includes contraception, birth control, and tge right to abortion. I am not pro abortion I think all life has value but if a mother is not fit or able to raise a child or in the cases of rape or incest or birth defects it should be allowed and every case is different and should be treated as such. And these things should be between the woman and her doctor. No government or religious institution has the right to decide for anyone what is best.
I believe that I am done with this entry.
Wrote this thought I posted it but it was still in Drafts.
So after listening to Frank’s new show for a while he shares a story his conversion story. A revelation he had after golfing one day and a friend of his a pastor at some church asked him if he was right with god. Frank has some personal experiencethat and emotional breakdown that convinced him that god was real. I don’t know how the exact details second hand revelation is unreliable and third or fourth is even less unreliable.
All I know is what he announced on his show that he now believed whole-heartedly in the Judeo-Christian God and that Jesus was the center of his life. And that’s all he talked about other than news stories or dieting tips.
Around the same time Frank had his conversion my deconversion took place. After talking with my best friend from high school who had been raised in the same religion and had gone off to learn physics and advanced math - stuff that I was never good with. After studying physics and other science he found he could not believe in tge stuff in the Bible or other superstition. I told him that I too had reached the same conclusion but by a different road after the questioning all I believed and research into why Christmas was celebrated in December why I was Christian and not Jewish Muslim or any other religion. We had been raised in the Christian tradition because thats what our parents taught us to believe and we live in a region that us predominantly Christian.
So after a few months Frank kept going on and on about his relationship with Jesus. And asking questions like “are you right with God?”
My answer was I no longer believe in a god so I cannot begin to know if I am his good little follower.
I asked him how he could believe ib such a violent monster after being the non violence guy and all the spiritual insights. What about the teachers like Bo and Ben Creme who believed that god was something deep within not some invisible sky daddy.
He said I should stop asking questions because it was mental masturbation. (But then he’d go on and on about prayer and the arrogance that the one god happens to listen to him. ) He also asked how complex processes like breathing and heartbeat were controled without a God. (At the time I was not familiar with the God of the gaps fallacy) He also asked “so you know for sure there’s nothing supernatural.” I was stumped more because I was so shocked that his knowledge of science and rejection of skeptical thinking after all those years talking about finding out for yourself.
The thing that bothered me most wasn’t that he’d converted to Christianity. People do it all the time. It was that he refused to have any of his shit questioned and had that “I know better because I know Jesus ” mentality. And I realized it wasn’t so much that he’d changed personality but that he had always approached everything with a certain amount of confirmation bias. He was always relentless about correcting behavior such as allowing emotion and automatic reactionary thinking but sometimes he took the spiritual stuff too serious or just had strong ideas on a lot of issues but seldom thought things through all the way. Granted I’ve had that problem too but I’m tryin Ringo I’m trying real hard to be the Skeptic Thinker.
Over the last few years I have thought about that call. That conversation finding the right responses for the next time or kust thinking of ways to take him to tadk. Eventually I just stopped listening to his show.
And then I found The Atheist Experience but that is another story.
There’s nothing wrong with saying I don’t know. If you don’t know, find out for yourself. Ask questions, think about things and seek answers. If nothing else go sit somewhere breathe relax the answers will come or the peace of being okay with not knowing.
Okay the next three prompts are as follows.
Day 11: the worst advice you’ve ever heard,or ever been given
Day 12: the best advice you’ve ever heard,or ever been given
Day 13: your favorite quote
In order to explain the worst advice I think I have to write about the best advice. And my favorite quote I think will be related. Both or all three came from the same person. This is something that has been on my mind for years and I need to write it out. This isn’t the first time I’ve written this but this might be the first time I tell the story in a more public forum.
The best and worse advice came from Frank Sontag.
What would you think if the person that told you “Don’t believe me, find out for yourself. Question things. Even things that are unpopular to question. The answer may change your life” suddenly told you, “stop asking questions. Trust and obey in the Lord Jesus my savior. It will change your life. “
The former is the best advice anyone could have given me. “Stop and think. Don’t run on automatic. Question everything. Seek answers find out for yourself “
In May of 2005, I lived in Burbank, California. Just down the road from Bob Hope Airport. At the time I was working at a Subway restaurant. I was a closer so I would take the bus and had a twenty minute walk to the house where I rented a room in apartment also occupied by an Argentinian musician.
At the time I didn’t have a TV so I tuned into the radio. One night I was riding home and noticed the reports of more and more troops being killed in Iraq. Months after Bush declared Mission Accomplished, people were still dying. At first I was behind the war thinking Saddam had WMDs and had some connection to 9/11. But I didn’t understand why we were still there and why troops kept dying. No one else in my circle of friends seemed interested in these questions. Public figures who came out against the war were called traitors, Bush-haters, The Bush Administration rhetoric “If you’re not with us you’re with the terrorists.” Or you’re going against God because Jesus told W. to go to war.
So one night I was getting a bit depressed and decided to turn on the radio to 95.5 KLOS the best Classic Rock station ever. At least it used to be. I live in MD and listen to the Bay which may be just as good. Anyway, instead of hearing rock n roll I heard a deep questioning teachery voice asking questions about Iraq and going on a rant about how we don’t question things how easily we are manipulated by fear and don’t bother to hold our leaders accountable. Someone out there was asking the same questions I was and coming up with some thought provoking ideas about why it was happening.
I learned that Frank Sontag belonged to the voice and was the host of The Impact Program. It ran Sunday nights/mon mornings midnight to five in the morning. I became a weekly listener. In addition to questions about Iraq he also asked questions about who we are as people beyond our name and what we do for a living. He introduced me to some “spiritual teachers” he had met or had read their books and recommended them. Bo Lozoff and his book, We’re All Doing Time, Benjamin Creme and his strange claim to be in contact with the Reincarnation of Christ who was now known as Maitreya, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.
Each of these need explaining in greater detail but I recommend reading their works or finding out more about them. I don’t believe in spirituality or anything like that anymore but when I was and if you achieved are I think they all have good advice mixed with some spiritual woowoo that is not very scientific but kind of nice mystical thoughts. As I said I will go deeper into why I was drawn to them and why I am now cutting myself free of them.
As for Frank, I listened to him regularly for about four years. Called in once or twice. The Impact Program was a call in show which people could call in and talked about anything they wanted as long as it wasn’t sports or religion. This is an important point. I found this odd but understood. I didn’t follow sports and still don’t. If it had been a sports show I wouldn’t have tuned in but I think the idea was to focus on what is going on a in politics and social justice and in society.
The theme song to the Impact Program was Better Way by Ben Harper. A song that became my theme song as well. I still really like it.
Then eventually I moved back home to my parents house in Maryland. Where I am right now.
So I could not listen to the Impact Program like I used to but occasionally I did through KLOS online. But I had to stay up all hours just to listen.
One night I tuned in to Frank’s last show. The executives at the station decided to cancel the show. Frank stayed at Klos to do the morning show(as a producer/board tech/bump guy).
I was on Frank’s email list so I could stay up to date on his life. He became a Life Coach for a while and then got a job at an internet radio station called talk radio one. He transplanted the Impact Program but as in some organ transplants something was lost or didn’t match up with the host anymore.
That’s when Frank and I would take rather different steps in our life journey.
More on tomorrows blog.
Genie: remember, beee yourself
In order to obey Genie’s advice I have to know who I am.
Who are you who who who who
Most people answer [insert name]
My blog is called Concord: The Mystic Fool. That name doesn’t really fit. Or maybe it does. Concord is a name I chose a long time ago in a galaxy far far away in a wbs chatroom devoted to Star Wars RP. At first it was basically me in my Luke Bespin jacket and my brown fedora. Then I read the Tales from the Star Wars Cantina book of short stories. For some reason I was intrigued by the character Labria, in Star Wars (A New Hope) the cantina scene he’s the one that looks like a devil with big curvy horns and nasty big pointy teeth. Part of the reason I liked him was that he was obsessed with jazz and he was hunted down by Boba Fett and taken back to Devaron to be executed. So I created a character that was his nephew but I was force sensitive and I met Coura Lightflow who became my Jedi master.
But this blog obviously is not devoted to Star Wars exclusively but I kept the name during my “spiritual seeker” phase.
Concord means agreement or harmony in music. It also means within as in from the heart. Biologically my heart just pumps blood through my body but in poetic terms in means my inner self. The place where I know who I am.
In a book I recently read Kurt Vonnegut writes (rough paraphrase) the soul is the part of you that knows you aren’t crazy.
Concord is who I choose to be within.
The Mystic Fool comes from a story I wrote about my friends from college (U/arts) but as if we were fantasy characters. Adriana a faery Me Beorc the Dwarf, Jenny the dragon, Chris the knight, Jeff the elf mage or some boy wizard. But they all meet in The Mystic Fool a tavern or inn.
The name is partially inspired by the tarot card The Fool. A mystic is someone that looks deeper into life. A sage or spiritual guru. In March of 2006, I met Bo Lozoff. I suppose you could call him the real life Jedi master. His teachings and books certainly felt like some mystical knowledge or ancient wisdom that I needed to hear in order to find my self and at the same time lose myself.
It was about this time I developed my own version of a spirit quest which I called Lose Yourself Find Your Self.