Weird creepy proselytizing thing.

It all started in a troll roasting thread over chez the Lingering Poof. I asked Carmel to back up her claim that Mormons were not Christians. Carmel moved the conversation to her blog and we were discussing the issue when suddenly this dude showed up, trying to convert me and asking to discuss stuff with me. I told him he was free to email me, provided I could post his mails, and my responses, on my blog. Well, he did it. Here it is, in all its creepiness.

I'm very sorry to hear that you feel so defensive about the subject. But let me clarify one thing, if in these emails you do not wish to civilly speak on matters on faith and belief, I will not continue them.

I always try to be civil, regardless of the subject matter. But I did say you were welcome to talk at me. I don't have discussions about faith and belief because I find them boring. Since there is no way to know if there is anything beyond what evidence can show us, I don't see the point in discussing it.

I know we haven't even exchanged emails yet. But there's one thing I have to tell you. I want to cry. For you I want to cry. I feel as if there's something in your heart that you don't wish to talk about.

This is just creepy. Stop it.

And this may be off base or it may be completely wrong, but I don't want to just talk about faith, I want to find out who you are.

Even creepier. We can talk about Christianity if you like. We are not talking about me. We are not talking about you. We are keeping this conversation impersonal or we are not having it. Capiche?

And why, you wish to belittle people's choices of faith or religion.

I don't belittle people's choices of faith or religion. I call things as I see them.

It doesn't seem very intelligent, or kind and giving as you like to make atheists out to be.

Please point to somewhere where I said something about the kinds of people atheists are. I think you're making this up.

Something I don't think you quite get, is that people are people, regardless of religion, race, or creed.

I think I know this better than you do. Because unlike you, I don't think Christians are special. They're just another part of the large majority of people with a belief system I don't share, and think is silly.

My heart really weighs heavy, for some weird reason about you (regarding you). And I don't know why that is,

Again with the creepy. You don't know me, stop making noises about caring about me in a personal way.

but Jake I just want you to know that there's more out there than Christians filled with hate or hypocrisy.

I know there are many smart, loving Christians out there. I count many among my friends. It's the hate-filled hypocrites that bother me, and it's hardly my fault if the majority of those that I encounter happen to be Christian. It's really not clear to me where you got these ideas about what I think, based on a thread that had to do with a very specific question about a very specific religion, and had nothing to do with my opinion of Christians in general (which you don't seem to know, since you keep misrepresenting it).

I wish I could tell you something that would turn your heart, but I'm not a Biblical scholar, neither am I a great Christian.

The best way to piss me off and make me end this conversation would be to try to convert me. Don't. I don't like it.

But for some reason, I find that I need to talk to you. Regardless about how you feel about my faith.

Whatever floats your boat.

And I do find it a tad bit cruel that you like to antagonize Christians and insult them.

I don't. Again, I don't see where you're getting this from the Mormon thread, but assuming you've read my other interactions, I want to make something clear. I don't hate Christians. I don't want to antagonize and insult them. There is a very well defined subset of religious people (not just Christians) who bother me, who I think are dangerous, and who I will contradict every chance I get. These are the people who let their religious faith get in the way of their view of reality, or who let their religious conviction guide them to proscribe standards of behaviour for others, especially standards that are unfair or discriminatory. If a person believes that there is some deity, who is beyond what science can detect, who created and is guiding the universe, that's their business. I don't share their belief, but I don't care if they have it. But if your religious faith causes you to believe things that are demonstrably untrue (the universe/earth is 6000 years old) or morally reprehensible (women should submit to their husbands, a blastocyst is the moral equivalent of a person), and if you try to teach those beliefs to others, then you are dangerous and yes, I will fight you.

Something that most Christians, real Christians, hold dear, it's as if having your heart ripped out of your chest before your eyes.

Not clear to me what you mean by this.

I believe that your stereotyping of Christians is unfair and unjust.

Please provide examples of me stereotyping Christians.

I just wish you could feel what I feel and see what I see.

I'm sure we all feel that way about our own beliefs. It would make a pretty boring world, though.

And I know you see me as some poor, pathetic, Bible beating wimp and weirdo. But I've done things that I've thought would eventually end my life or at least torture me forever. And I assume that there's something in your heart or in your past that makes you feel the same way.

There's not a person alive who can reach adulthood without having done something to feel remorseful about. It's not clear to me what this has to do with Christianity.

That your ever striving to prove not to everyone else, but to yourself, what you believe in. Now that may sound insulting but it's not intending to be that way.

Another way to end the conversation is to try and tell me what I think and feel. It's not only insulting, it's patronizing and self-satisfied and a really fucking annoying trick that most proselytizing religious types employ, and I won't have it. Do it again and this conversation is over.

I just feel as if, and I can't say it enough, that Christians have been misrepresenting themselves for hundreds of years if not more now.

*shrug* Christian is as Christian does. If you don't like how Christians represent themselves, tell it to the Christians.

They're supposed to be compassionate, understanding, and Jake in my heart, I feel you need that compassion more than anyone.

Again with the creepy. Further emails containing this sort of creepy will go unanswered. You don't know the first thing about me, stop thinking you do.

And I'm not here to make you believe what I believe...

I very much doubt that.

but to just give you a better understanding of what I think a Christian should be.

Why don't you focus on telling other Christians, then?

Jake, I feel in my heart for you. And it troubles me. In my sleep it troubles me.

You might want to work on that. It sounds like something that could easily turn into stalking behaviour, and I won't have that, either.

With all sincerity, compassion, and love,

The scary part is, I think you mean that.
And that's the whole, creepulent thing. A bit weird, no?

There are a few things that some Christians seem unable to grasp, so I'll explain them here.
1) My atheism, and the atheism of many other atheists, has nothing to do with you. I'm not an atheist because I hate you, or your religion, or because I "want" to deny your god. My lack of belief has no more to do with your god than my lack of belief in living garden gnomes has to do with the gnomes. It's a passive state. I simply don't believe they exist. I also don't care.

2) Atheists, by and large, don't feel deep down in our hearts that there must really be something out there. We really, really don't. We don't go about feeling things and then denying them to ourselves by consciously reaffirming our atheism. We just go about our days, living our lives, and we don't really think about the god question unless some religious dumsnut pops up and starts whacking us about the head with it. That's really how it is, and if your fancy book tells you different then your fancy book is wrong.

3) Most atheists don't hate religious people. Most of us (although there are exceptions) could care less what you believe. It's your behaviour that interests us, and that only so far as it affects others.

Drock, if you want to respond, please use the comments. If your response is sufficiently interesting or entertaining I'll move it up to the main blog.


And It Really Is That Simple

Via Finn, Grover gives us a definition of marriage.

Notice anything missing from that definition? Nope, me neither.



Conversation between me and my SO:

SO: (calling on cell from grocery store) So I could only find one can of chickpeas.

Me: Well if to dollar store only has one, can you buy another can at the grocery store?

SO: No, I'm at the grocery store already. The dollar store didn't have any.

Me: That sucks.

SO: Yeah. Apparently there's a shortage right now because a lot of the people that produce them are dead.

Having done some research, I'm in a position to say that this conversation makes less sense than I initially thought. According to this document (PDF), India is by far the world's largest chickpea producing country. Are people there killing each other more than usual?



The good:

The bad:

And the very, very ugly:

I won't ask for help, because nobody should be required to put up with the monster that ragweed, dust, and stress make of my nerves. My beloved has been, inexplicably, doing so voluntarily, for which I am eternally grateful, because I doubt I could do this alone, but the rest of you should probably just sympathize from a safe distance.


Dan Savage is Angry

And rightly so.

I really like his latest take on straight marriages.

How about it? Until gays are allowed to get married, nobody in a straight marriage is allowed to have gay sex. No more DL, no more "working late" at the bathhouse, no more consensual infidelities with members of the same sex. If you are queer, and live in a jurisdiction where you cannot marry a member of the same sex, you should refuse to have sex with any member of your sex who is in a straight marriage.

This is sort of like the idea that women who live in places where there are restrictions on abortion should simply stop having sex with men until they have the rights they need. I mean even taking into consideration the women whose male partners don't give them any choice in the matter, you'd still have a solid majority of straight/bi-and-partnered-with-a-woman men who aren't getting any. And that would sure as hell motivate them to vote pro-choice.

Of course, neither of these ideas would ever work, for the same reason that abstinence-only education will never work. But it's nice to dream.

Adventures in Reinventing Flatbread

So far, my adventures in reinventing flatbread have included:

- A dead sourdough starter
- Way too much whole-wheat flour
- A HOT blender (tip: don't use your blender to mill grain. Sometimes the internets lie)
- Leaving the yeast out of the pita recipe (steam-rising my eye!)
- Putting it back in the oven after dropping it on the floor
- The hottest damn oven I have ever used
- Excessive amount of aluminum foil

What have I learned?

Dense, unrisen, brown-edged flatbread is yummy, but proper sourdough and pitas with pockets would be yummier.

And 500F is really fucking hot.


Hold Your Nose with Your Left Hand

It'll leave the right one free for shaking Pat Robertson's.
Look, the guy's an asshole, a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, and I have no intention of calling him a friend or even an ally generally, but we need him.

He has finally accepted the reality of global warming. His reason (it's been really fucking hot this summer) is as unscientific as they come, but people listen to him and we need him. I know, I know, fucking Pat Robertson, but we need him. People listen to him. He's enough of a bigot and a moron otherwise that people take him seriously, and if he starts supporting Kyoto, and encouraging Americans to reduce their CO2 outputs, and telling people to invest in renewable energy, it could make a huge difference.

Mourn your personal integrity later. Right now we have a planetary ecosystem to save.


Those Mean Ol' Homos

Just can't stop picking on the Christians.