Willful Ignorance

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I debated a friend of mine about theism. He’s working on his masters in pastoral ministry. Me? Well...I’ve read a few verses of the bible, so I’m not qualified to debate him in any way. Most of my knowledge of that historical fiction came from watching the Atheist Experience on YouTube. So my religious knowledge remains rudimentary. If that.

In one of our debates, he condemned the validity of the Theory of Evolution. We argued in circles, and I kept telling him that I was nowhere close to having the knowledge of an evolutionary biologist, let alone a biologist. Needless to say, neither did he. He asked me to read a book that has interviews of scientists who stated that the theory has serious problems that put its validity in serious question. I was a bit shocked to find that there were scientists that doubted evolution. I didn’t know how to argue against that except to read what those scientists objections had been and research to see if they were valid. I then challenged him to speak to an evolutionary biologist who is a believer and get their views on the theory. He declined, stating that he has read enough to know that evolution was not true.

While watching the Atheist Experience, I had come to learn about the Discovery Institute, a creationist organization, which had compiled a list of almost 900 scientists who don’t support evolution. In response, the NCSE, National Center for Science and Education had started Project Steve, honoring the late Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionary biologist. The project asked scientists who supported the theory to sign their names on its list with one caveat: Only scientists with the name Steve should participate. From the NCSE’s FAQ: Not only Steves (can sign), but also Stephens, Stevens, Stephanies, Stefans, and so forth. Etiennes and Estebans would have been welcome. As of March 9, 2018, there were 1424 signatories.

When I relayed this to the pastor, I mistakenly stated that the NCSE created their own list to mock Discovery’s. So instead of acknowledging that only Steve’s could sign the list, and that that list had surpassed the number on Discovery’s, the pastor lamented the NCSE for mocking the creationist organization.

Now, whoever has the bigger dick, the longer list, doesn’t prove one thing or another. But the point of Project Steve was to show the overwhelming support for evolution by scientists, since only about 1.6% of the US population is so named.

Still, the pastor stood stern and reiterated my need to read his book. I said I would, despite the fact that he wouldn’t take me up on my challenge to him. I told him that I was pretty confident that I could debunk the issues the book presented.

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He said, “It takes a lot of faith for you to make that statement.”

He has a point.

I don’t know what objections were made in that book, but stated that I was confident in debunking them. The reason is simple: there are mountains of evidence for the Theory of Evolution. Mountain ranges worth.

At this point I went quiet, shutting the debate down. For a pastor to use faith against me is farcical. Faith is central to religion. Without it, all religions would evaporate like a mirage in a desert. Faith is the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Hence the idiom blind faith.

And this is why I’m an anti-theist, someone who is against theism. Many religions purport to have all of the answers, but this can negate the need to explore or find the truth. My pastor friend is a prime example. He won’t explore the truth behind evolution because he’s protecting his own world view. And the sad thing is he doesn’t realize it.

I don’t go around proselytizing my atheism. Though, I’m willing to discuss theism because I’m open to having my mind changed. There’s comfort in thinking that an all-powerful being is there to save and provide for us. However, when I learned that every day 21,000 children around the world die before the age of 5, my belief in that being died as well.

I may be told that we cannot know god’s plan. But if this is god’s plan to let 21,000 births happen only to let them die, I’m gonna question the validity of that plan. And I’m gonna question anyone’s prayers for silly things like getting their promotions, or winning the lottery, or having their cancers cured.

Honestly

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I’m an anti-theist. What that means is that I’m against religion for many valid reasons. For example, an ex-girlfriend had gone to her priest and confessed that she had lost her virginity. The priest scolded her, telling her that she had sinned. She never confessed again. Another example is the segregation of people by faith, sexuality, or magic underwear. “If you don’t believe in what we believe, then you’re going to hell!” Think about that for a moment. A serial killer in the U.S. can seek forgiveness from Jesus and be allowed into heaven. But a non-believer will go to hell. That’s fucked up.

So much of religion is based on the idea of faith. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of faith is: firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Though, theists often vehemently decry the Theory of Evolution, demanding transition bones, blah blah blah. But to believe in god, you must have faith. Hypocritical much?

Because I’ve been watching the Atheist Experience on YouTube, I’ve gained a superficial knowledge of logic and have found a small hobby of talking to theists about their beliefs. I’m under no illusion that I’ll convert them to non-believers. But it’s always fun to challenge their faith. The issue comes when theists aren’t willing to have an honest conversation about it.

I was talking to someone who was very skittish about taking his lord’s name in vain.

“I know there’s a god,” Skittish said.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I can feel it.”

“Imagine this. You’re walking down a dark alleyway and see a shadow moving behind a dumpster. How do you feel?”

“I feel concerned.”

“Cool. You keep walking and you find that the shadow was just a garbage bag fluttering in the breeze. Now how do you feel?”

“Not concerned.”

“So your feelings aren’t a good pathway to finding the truth since they can lead you astray.”

“But the word feeling is so broad. It can mean anything, blah blah blah...”

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Here was where the dishonesty had happened. I showed that his feeling that god existed can’t be used to show the truth. Feelings can be unreliable. So he diverted the discussion by focusing on something else. I’d wager that if he’d admitted that my argument was right, then he might begin to doubt his faith in some deity. That was why he channeled the subject onto the some vague thing about the meaning of a word. To this day, he likes to muddy words instead of focusing on the subject we’re discussing.

There’s another theist that I talk to, and he commits something called guilt by association fallacy. He spent a lot of time trying to discredit Evolution. I explained that Evolution is both a fact and a theory. He narrowed his eyes at me and started to debate me, and I realized he didn’t understand the difference between fact and theory. So I talked about that. Then he diverted the conversation to how scientists couldn’t be trusted because grant money depends on their results. They’d manipulate the data or ignore evidence that proved their hypothesis wrong to preserve their grants.

I then tried to explain the peer review process and how competitive it is in scientific community. So, if someone wants to make a name for themselves by proving the Theory of Evolution is wrong, for example, then they would garner fame and fortune beyond most people’s dreams. Ignoring what I had said about the peer review process, he continued on the path that some scientists have “cheated”, so science as a whole couldn’t be trusted. Hence, guilt by association fallacy.

I suggested that he talk to a theist who was also an evolutnary biologist and get their point of view. This way they could have an open discussion without having the heaviness of opposing worldviews. Alas, he declined.

Having honest discussions is paramount to growing and learning as a human being. If we’re all about protecting our egos and our beliefs, then we’re never open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

I’m wrong a lot. That’s why I go to my writing group on a weekly basis and have them critique my pages. Otherwise, my writing and story would never improve. I like to say that I’m wrong 50% of the time and am guessing my way through life the other 50%. Life’s too short to worry about being right most of the time. Sometimes making the wrong choices can lead to the right outcome.

Listen to my writing group discuss writing and masturbation on the Uncontained podcast.

Life’s Purpose

I write almost every day. Usually at cafes. Starbucks is my go to because I’m Asian: free electricity, heat, WiFi, and refills. During my years at these cafes, I’ve met a lot of people. I met one of my riding friends because he saw me carrying my motorcycle helmet. Our differences could be described as a great divide. He’s conservative, highly religious, a Trump supporter. I’m a liberal and am an atheist. To say that I am not a Trump supporter would be putting it very lightly. However, we’re open enough to have cool conversations about our similarities and differences without getting emotional. Subjects range from boobs to mechanical steeds to religion and other fiction about the human condition. For me, it’s human connection at its finest, the trading of ideas.

Then I encounter the other side of the spectrum. I met a guy who is very closed off to listening to new ideas. Well...he heard them, but I could sense he wasn’t processing them because his counter arguments were a repeat of what he always says. It’s like ideas tried to fly into his head, but there was a cage that kept them out.

We were talking about kids. That I didn’t want them. “That is the purpose of life,” he said. “To procreate.”

I said, “We’re human, we’re conscious beings. We can determine what our purpose is in life. If a person wants to earn ungodly riches, then that person can pursue that.”

He laughed at me. “Good luck to that guy. Cause that never happens.”

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“Do you wanna go to Silicon Valley? Because the tech industry is creating a lot of rich people.”

Now, I thought I had some serious limiting thoughts. No. Talking to him, I could feel the mental limitations that he placed on himself. I could feel how constricted his thinking was, how small his world was, a prison of his own making. It made the few conversations that we’ve had unpleasant. Now all I do is have small talk with him. And I despise small talk.

Limiting thoughts are nothing. What I mean is that thoughts are just that. Thoughts. They don’t become anything until we act on them. Sometimes I wanna kill my mom because she rags on me so much. We’re two generations removed so my ideas about life is night and day compared to hers.  Obviously, I’m not going to kill my own mother. Too dark?

When I have a limiting thought—I have many—I do my best to ignore them. It’s very difficult to try and negotiate our way out of our own limiting/negative thoughts because we’re prone to seeing patterns where there aren’t any.

I have a friend who is in a committed relationship. But she’s perpetually angry at him when he doesn’t do what she expects him to do. For example, she sent him a sext—a naughty text—and he didn’t respond for a while. That upset her. Then when he did respond, she grew more pissed because he didn’t sext her back. So when we talked about this, I said, “Maybe he’s busy. Maybe there was an emergency. Maybe something happened, and he couldn’t be in that headspace.”

“Of course I know that,” she said. “But that doesn’t help.”

“You know you’re overthinking things.”

“Yeah. But I can’t help it. I feel rejected.”

In all fairness, to feel rejected from thoughts of rejection is a healthy response. However, we get endless thoughts fed to us every day. There’s little we can do about that. The good news is that most of them go unnoticed. It’s like walking down a crowded street. We don’t notice most of the people that walk past us. The issue is that thoughts drive our emotions. Especially the ones we deem important.

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What we do have control over are the thoughts that we hold on to. Like the guy who has limiting beliefs, he holds on to the idea that he can’t accomplish more than what he thinks he can. Worst is that he acts on it. My female friend feels rejected because she’s insecure about her relationship. So she blinds herself to all of the good that her boyfriend has done for her. And she isn’t present enough to realize that her perpetual anger might be pushing him away, making her unpleasant to be around.

For me, the best way to handle limiting thoughts and beliefs is to take steps toward your goal. Just do it in spite of them. In a podcast that featured my writing group—link below—we all talked about how difficult it is to get published. There are so many writers and so many books that a voice could get lost in all that noise. So why try? Because if you don’t, then the chance of it being heard is zero.

There’s another phrase that certain life coaches dispense: fake it till you make it. Faking it means that you’re taking time and mental energy to pretend about something you’ve yet to believe in. That can create conflict within a person because they’re fighting against their limiting belief with a counter belief. It’s hard enough to pursue your goal and then pile on top of that mental warfare against yourself. Why stack the cards? Once you’re focused on the task at hand, there’s no room for limiting beliefs. And even if you make room, you’re moving toward your goal anyways. So faking it isn’t necessary.

We’re All In This Together

I watched Jim Jeffries new Netflix special. He was talking about a bit he had done about why parents christened babies, pointing out the hypocrisy of religion. 

That made me think of a person who used to be my best friend, who is mentioned in my bio. He'd gone to Isreal, worked in a kibbutz, and converted to Judaism. Despite my loathing for organized religion, I do not ever tell people not to be a part of it. It's their life. Their participation doesn't affect mine as long as they don't try and recruit me. It won't be a good experience. For them.

My friend moved back to the Bay Area, but he found it difficult living here. He called himself a modern Orthodox Jew. I call myself a human. To each their own. A modern Orthodox Jew is a person who observes the traditional ways of Judaism, but doesn't go as far as wear traditional Jewish clothes, keep their hair as they wish, and avoids iPhones. OK...Orthodox Jews use iPhones. I think.

His newfound faith made it difficult for us to hang out on weekends because of Shabbat. There weren't many places that served kosher food. Particular to the Bay, there weren't many female modern Orthodox Jews. He wanted to marry one and make modern Orthodox Jewish babies. So he moved to New York where the Jewish population had been more prevalent. He found a wife. Had two kids.

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An example of this traditional way of life showed itself when I met his wife. I greeted my friend with a hug. When he introduced me to her, I leaned in to hug her. She stood as still as a marble statue. Reading the cue from many first kiss failed attempts, I leaned back. Lean back. A betrothed wife cannot touch another man not her husband. A husband cannot touch a woman not chained to his ankle. I’m sure their own siblings are fine. Hey. I didn’t make the rules.

They eventually moved to Florida where he lives in a frum community. That was the end of our twenty-year friendship.

Though, I had seen the signs of the end. Outside of his faith, his life was changing with a full blown family. Me. I was still living the single life, free of tending to children born from my loins. Actually, that would have been from my wife's loins.

The thing that gets me is that he wanted to live in a frum community. That somehow the rest of the world wasn't good enough for him and his family. In the twenty years that we've been friends, he'd never mentioned isolating himself in a religious community.

How do I know he doesn't want anything to do with the non-frum world? Several of us had wished him a happy birthday on Facebook. We all wrote heartfelt greetings. And none of us received a thank you. Or any acknowledgement. That was last year.

Now, I'm not sure if that's the religion talking or not. But the fact that most religions require that you convert otherwise you can expect Hell to be your forever home in the afterlife is stupid. The big three—Christianity, Catholicism, Muslim—all state they are the one true religion.

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If that is true, then the people belonging to the other two will meet Satan and be his housemate. Forever. And ever! Buahahahaa.

So when I watched Jeffries' bit about dead babies, I was delighted. Not because of the dead babies. But it showed the hypocrisy of religion.

In a world where tribalism runs rampant, we are all humans. As far as we know, there are no other species of humans. Yes, we're all different. I mean, no one would mistake a chihuahua for a mastiff. Still. They dawgs, bruh. They want the same things. To be loved. To hump legs. To sniff butts. To sleep on comfy mats. That's the thing a lot of people don't realize. We all want those things. Love. Pleasure. Community. Security.

I'm not saying we need to get rid of tribalism. But if we can peek through the curtain and see past the superficial differences, we'll all come to the same conclusion. We're all in this together.

Praise tha Lawd

Thank tha Lawd tha rain has come!

California has gone through one of the worst droughts in 2014/2015 and the much needed rain has drenched the state with more to come. Thanks El Niño. Or should I thank Gawd? Did She give birth to The Kid? If so, then Gawd is a woman? I mean, if God made man in his/her image, and God created everything, essentially giving birth to it all, then God is a woman. Right?

According to a friend of mine, no.

So my girlfriend and I and another couple had decided to make the trek to the Sierra Mountains. We spend the long New Year's weekend skiing and snowboarding down the groomed mountainsides on pristine white snow. What we see is beautiful: Thick white snow carpeting the never ending mountains.

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On the way back, my friend was schooling his girlfriend about how evolution was really a big conspiracy and that the Earth was young (6000-10,000 years old). I tried not to pay attention because when it came to religion and evolution, I'm pretty ignorant. I know the basics, like there's Gawd and Heysoos, and we was once be a single-celled thang called a single-celled thingybob and den we turned into peeps...baby chicks.

Plus, I'm not a fan of people who argue that science is failing us.

What peaked my interest was that my friend mentioned a tyrannosaurus rex bone had been found with soft tissue still intact within the fossil. "How could that be?" he lamented. "Soft tissue can't survive 65 million years. The Earth is not as old as scientists have said."

I was stumped.

"How can a cat turn into a bird?" he retorted. "How can an alligator evolve into a human? Evolution is a conspiracy. Show me a picture of a bone where a cat turns into a bird? There isn't."

"That's not what evolution says," I chimed in. I tried to tell him that evolution has branches. So the branch of animals that evolved to cats is not likely to evolve to birds. And alligators are not going to evolve into humans.

We continued this stupid debate and then he put the onus on me to provide him with evidence to support the theory of evolution. "Not a picture," he demanded. Actual evidence.

Well...it's not like I carry around a catbird bone. My girlfriend would probably think I'm weird. She already thinks that, so I guess if I had a catbird bone, it wouldn't hurt to carry the catbird bone around. Maybe wear the birdcat bone around my neck. Or was it my neck bone connected to my head bone?

So I turned it around and asked him for evidence that God was real. He mentioned the Bible. Didn't humans write that, I countered. It was inspired by God. How do you know that? There are statues with the name David with writing on it. So a statue is your evidence that God inspired humans to write the Bible down on paper? There are statues all over the world that contain the same writing, my friend offered.

In summary, I had to produce real world evidence to support the theory of evolution, the catbird bone, and all he had to do was point to these statues. In other words, he could have second or third or fifty-second hand resources, but I couldn't point to the work scientists have done on the subject.

Taking a break from our useless conversation, we veered off the highway and stopped off at a diner. My friend's girlfriend had complained to me about how much he had talked endlessly on his religious and conspiracy tirades. And if it hadn't been for those, their relationship would be perfect.

After ordering our food, he started to question my girlfriend about her religious beliefs. I could tell he he wanted to poke holes in her religion because he believes his should be the only one.

I jumped in and said, "We can't change our past. We're not even guaranteed tomorrow. Nor do we really know what happens when we die. What's important is this present moment. Do we live in happiness and peace now, or do we worry about what will happen after we die?"

My friend wasn't ready to admit what I had said had some merit. And that's fine. But unless you're 007 or you can actually do something about conspiracies, why spend what little time you have on this little blue marble called Earth worrying about it?

In the vain of the success of Star Wars, hate does lead to the darkside. What really depresses most people is a disconnection of some sort. It's the reason we all seek connection through relationships, friends and family (I could have just as well gone to the Sierras by myself, but it's more enjoyable with friends), New Year's gatherings in crowded cities, drunken bars during the holidays. We crave connection. We get it through people, through prayer, through doing things like painting, writing, singing, petting cats.

So I assume that my friend needs to go on these religious and conspiracy tirades in the hopes of convincing people he's right, so he feels connected and supported. But that's the thing about religious faith. He shouldn't need others to believe in order for him to believe. And that's what I find so weird about religious fanatics. Why do they need others to believe? Is it because they truly care about their fellow woman, or is it out of insecurity?

About that dinosaur bone with soft tissue still inside. I decided to look it up to see if this was some kind of hoax. And it wasn't.

Interstellar Wisdom

Is bowling an athletic sport? It's a sport by definition. It's athletic by definition. But it ain't gonna give you that lean body, six pack, cardiovascular capacity to run beyond your corner drug store. It's more of a get together kinda thing where women can watch men make fools of themselves, and men can watch women's butts as they negotiate the hardwood alleyways, while we pretend to watch the ball roll toward the gutter.

Someone told me they had watched Interstellar, and I excitedly asked him what he thought of it. His first question was, "Are you Christian?"

Wat da hell? No, I'm Jimmy. My mind went through about a thousand thoughts because I hadn't realize Interstellar had any religious implications except that maybe there were alien beings.

“I don’t believe in organized religion,” I answered. I spent the next five minutes trying to convince him of this truth because he thought I was Christian because I hang out with a lot of Christians (they’re everywhere), so ipso facto I must be Christian. That literally is five minutes of my life that is forever lost to me. So going back to the original question, I asked him what he thought of Interstellar, since I’d yet to see it.

“Movies can convince you that it’s real,” he said.

“That is the filmmaker’s job,” I said, profoundly.

He nodded and uttered these words of wise wisdom of goodness, “We will never run out of resources on Earth.” I wish he had said ‘On this God-given Earth’ cuz that would have made my freakin’ week.

But of course, he had yet to answer my Gawd dayem question. Then he proceeded to follow up those wise words of wisdom with more wise words of fucking wisdom, “I read an article where they found a fish when scientist have declared that fish extinct. Slowly, the wall of science will eventually crumble and everyone will know the Bible is right. Science is man’s creation and is fallible.”

I knew the answer before I asked the question: “So who wrote the Bible?”

“Man,” the wise one said. “But it was inspired by God.”

So I guess the science behind such things as electricity, water mechanics and engineering are just tropes that have no meaning or use whatsoever. He should stop using lights, turning on the faucet or driving his car because all of that works with the physics of this universe. But hey, who am I but a lowly writer of adult fantasy. The Bible anyone?

He began to go into religious beliefs with the goal of debating me, but I immediately ended the conversation because I ain't versed in them, and if your go to response is 'God inspired it', I can’t reasonably refute that. No one has yet to prove or disprove Her existence, and using that God inspired anything ultimately means nothing in a logical debate. Truthfully, whenever I looked at this dude, I saw:

But here’s the kicker.

When I wrote my book, Nightfall, I knew I had two basic levels of storytelling. The background of the story, the plot, is the conflict of war that ravages the people of the provinces. To readers, this looks like the foreground, the actual story. It’s the background because it showcases the real story of how a father and his wife deals with the loss of a child and the actions they take as the background happens.

Interstellar is similar. The hook is the Earth’s resources are at an end, and humans have to search for a new planet. But the real story is how powerful human connection is, how interlinked we all are, how it transcends life and death, distance and time and dimensions. The fact that the wise Christian missed this and refuses to believe that our planet’s resources can be used up means he lives in great fear, as evident from his statement that movies are convincing and his dependence on The Bible. He seems easily manipulated, and is manipulated to believe humans are born sinners. Geezus fuckin' Krist.

The missed-the-whole-point-of-Interstellar Christian had said many other gems of wisdom, but I didn’t want to go on a tirade against religion. I’m not about that, despite what I’ve written on this site. What I really dislike is how religion stops the conversation. There is no openness, therefore, a reasonable trade of ideas is very limited.

Here’s one gem: “I go to church to worship in the glory of God.”

Well…She is all powerful…couldn’t you do that anywhere and She’d see that? And apparently Heaven has a cover charge, like a lot of clubs on the weekend, given how much money the church collects.

 

 

Suck My Dick

I was listening to a lecture about dating. The woman being interviewed stated specific things she looks for in men and gave an example of what she doesn't like. A guy had picked her up on their first date in a limo, took her to a very nice restaurant, and they ended up making out in the limo. He pushed her head to his crotch. She was immediately turned off, wasn't that impressed by the excessiveness of the date, and left the guy hanging...well pitchin' a tent.

When I talk to people who are in organized religion, I feel like that woman. Though there are times that I feel effeminate, but that's for another post.

I had worked for the USPS as a temp, and some of us were talking about the possible existence of UFO's. Another temp, a Christian, raised his head from the mail bin and said they absolutely do not exist. I asked why not? He said the Bible said so. I've only read snippets of the book, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't say UFO's do not exist. I'm also sure it doesn't even have UFO in it.

But, hey, I write about creatures that look satanic, so who am I?

I'd watched GOD'S NOT DEAD, directed by Harold Cronk, and I knew this movie was made by people who preach to the choir for the people who are in the choir. And in no way in Hell am I one of those people. Shit! I said Hell. Well...typed it. Twice!

I watched it because I'm curious about a lot of stuff, including the entity, force, or whatever people call God. The basic premise of the movie is that a philosophy professor challenges a Christian student to prove the existence of God. The professor, played by Hercules, Hercules—Kevin Sorbo—had stated to the class that God is dead, and the student wouldn't accept it. Challenge accepted!

Since we're supposed to be convinced that God does exist in the form that the Bible professes, there are two problems with the film.

First off, the student's argument for God's existence seems compelling. And the argument against is less compelling, a little manipulating, but that's OK.

The professor lost his belief in God when he witnessed his mother succumb to cancer. He prayed but God didn't save her. The student then rebuts and states sometimes the answer is no.

Uh...all right. So if I slapped you, then it's fine because sometimes I feel like slapping someone. I'm not God, so you say. But aren't we created in the image of God? See how I manipulated that? See how stupid that sounds?

I don't see dead people cause they're buried

Part of the professor's argument is Stephen Hawking, who claims in his book The Grand Design that the universe needed to be created so it created itself. The student then argues that that doesn't make sense. He uses this example (paraphrasing): It would be like claiming spam is the best tasting food because in all of history no food had tasted better. That statement proves nothing, professes the student, and he is correct. Creation vs Spam. Good points of reference to make when trying to prove God's existence.

The student then does some clever manipulation of words, which I'll spare you, and moves on to his next statement: Creation happened because God said it should happen.

I don't see how that statement is different than what Hawking claimed. Both suffer from the same failure, circular reasoning, as argued by the student in regards to Hawking's logic. 

In other words, you can't use the word to define that word. Define the word square:

Square - it's a shape in a form of a square.

Define spaghetti:

Spaghetti - an Italian dish in the form of spaghetti.

What makes the student's arguments compelling is his ability to manipulate our thinking much like a magician makes us look at one thing while he's doing another. And this is what I hate about organized religion. It's not the religion. If anything, all religions have similar goals, to give humans basic core values to live by.

But when people manipulate religion into something else, it pisses me off. And these people think they're so high and mighty they don't see that their own priests are committing atrocities like the molestation of boys.

Twisting of words, an evangelist most powerful tool, is the first problem with this film.

The second goes hand in hand with the first: vilifying those who oppose religion, in this case Christianity. The philosophy professor is the obvious aggressor and evil weasel antagonist. And we have the student's girlfriend who gives him an ultimatum, choose her or choose to accept the professor's challenge. Fine. He chose the challenge.

Hell to tha NO! He chose GOD.

Gawd, seriously? But the professor isn't the only one who was villainified. I know. That ain't a word. Neither was ain't and now it is!

I'm too sexy for my cape, too sexy for my cape, cape...

I'm too sexy for my cape, too sexy for my cape, cape...

We have a Muslim father who beats up her daughter who secretly listens to Christian music on her iPod. Is the iPod GOD approved? Then we have Superman—Dean Cain—who plays a highly insensitive douche that breaks up with his girlfriend when he finds out she has cancer. All are cartoonish in their villainous villainified ways.

Very manipulative.

I love Fruitvale StationIt's the story about a black man who was wrongly shot to death by a police officer at a BART station on New Year's Eve. Part of the genius of that film is that the police were not vilified. Because that's not what the story is about. It's about the last day of Oscar Grant's life, a remembrance of him as a human being.

So too should Cronk have focused on the debate instead of trying to manipulate us into the final answer that God does exist. History shows that forcing and manipulating an idea upon a people doesn't bode well. And the fact that Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 17% is a reflection that his manipulation hasn't gone unnoticed. And to be fair, many Christians didn't review the film well, either.

Had Cronk focused on the debate between student and teacher, even in his manipulating ways (Spam anyone?) it would have been more interesting and engrossing. All that other stuff—for gawd's sake, leave Superman out of it—just magnified his forced hand in the film. And he'd only do that if he didn't feel confident that he could convince people outside of the choir that God exists. Otherwise, why force the subject in the first place?