Authordom

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2017 by RWZero

Actually, it turns out there’s all sorts of stuff you’re supposed to do in the digital world if you want to be a respectable author.

I hope to get a website up sometime soon. And I’ll link to that website from here, but not to here from there.

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Investigations into the Paranormal – On My New Book

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2016 by RWZero

After I more or less finished the mental task represented by this blog, the next chapter in my life–literally, as I insufferably leave a trail of written words behind me wherever I go–was to investigate the paranormal. This all started more than 5 years ago, and at the beginning, I did it because I still wanted to know whether there was anything out there. And I wrote all my investigations, research and conclusions into a book. In the end, it contains 23 cases of true stories about people’s experiences (or what they claimed were their experiences) with the paranormal, as well as a general review of the subject in light of them.

I documented my investigations and made them into a book, because that’s what I do. But as the project dragged on and on, I began to think that maybe I ought to try to publish this one, instead of binding it on a Rubicoil and leaving it on my shelf.

And that’s a bit of a dangerous mental transition. It’s nice to have books in your back pocket that you wrote for yourself. It doesn’t matter who reads them. But once you wake up and realize you’ve put this much effort into distilling something into book form, you realize that it kind of does matter who reads them (and that you can’t really guarantee that anyone will). You have to humble yourself before those obnoxious literary types, and ask yourself: do I have a platform? Have I sounded the depths of the masses’ taste for… whatever it is?

Anyway. This was supposed to take a year. It took 5 years.

If you want a PDF of the book, I’ll post it here shortly. But on the condition that you have to show your friends.

We’re Covered

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2015 by RWZero

The Pope has now basically said that atheists and non-believers can go to heaven. There was a satirical article circulating a while back, which put words like this into the progressive Pope’s mouth. Just a few years later, the reality has caught up.

I have pointed out, and will continue to point out, that neither the Bible nor church tradition supports this idea of everyone making it into heaven. However, in an increasingly interconnected world, a form of universalism will eventually infiltrate even the most traditional of traditions, until it really doesn’t matter whether people even believe in Christianity. Just follow your conscience.

If Christians teach this idea to their kids, it will be quite interesting to see what happens to the church next.

The Empty Sundays

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2015 by RWZero

Every so often these days, I’ll wake up on a Sunday and realize that there are millions of people dressing up and going to church. Or rather, that millions of people are coming home from church, considering the time that I usually wake up on Sundays.

It feels a bit weird, to think that that’s still going on. The time between now and even just 5 years ago, when I last went to church as a churchgoer, feels like the time between now and prehistory for me. But for many people the routine has just continued, unabated, since childhood; and there has been nothing much changed in their views of God, existence, reality, and so on.

So on the face of it, I’m tempted to think that it’s just me that’s changed. Church hasn’t suddenly become more silly, more antiquated than it used to be… I just feel this way because I haven’t been going for a while. But that can’t be all there is to it. Undeniably there have been some drastic cultural shifts in the last few years. Indeed, had it not been for some of these cultural shifts–the “New Athiesm,” or what have you–I might never have left Christianity, for I might only have read books about it written by other Christians. But the fact of the matter is that you can still attend an evangelical church, or Google an evangelical topic, and find that everything is humming along just as it used to. Sure, it’s less mainstream. And answers in Genesis has different articles on the front page (“Is Atheism a Religion?” and “Pluto’s Surface is Young!”)–but it’s all still there.  Still tickin’.

Or is it? Being a Christian might feel mostly the same as it always did, for most Christians. But it can’t feel entirely the same. In my early years, nobody ever talked about religion. Questions of God, life, death, beginnings… in my mind, these were topics that only religious people had thought about, for if anyone ever considered where we came from, why we’re here, and what happens when we die, then they would surely be religious, or take their religion more seriously. The culture of my early youth seemed to corroborate these assumptions. Religion was a respected thing. Nobody around me ever seemed to think about large questions, and to whatever extent they did, they tended to vaguely affirm Christianity, though they were completely ignorant of it and not at all living in accordance with it. The idea that there might be some evidence against Christianity out there was hardly threatening–for even if it did exist, it seemed absurd to think that it all might coalesce, like some great storm, and strike at the heart of a little church in the old suburbs.

But for many people, it did. The ease with which information is shared and disseminated quickens entropy; it blends the world’s discordant views together in a cacophonous froth. A timid man might once have stood at the pulpit and, on the basis of a single apologetics book, sought to bolster the faith of a hundred congregants, whose doubts had arisen from stray rumours and books. Today, the same thing might be done, but it does so in the shadow of all human knowledge, ever looming, ever current, and accessible with the flick of a thumb, in the back pew.

Lectures on indigenous cultures often includes phrases like “in the [such and such] culture…” followed by a viewpoint about some fact. In Eastern cultures, the body has meridians, along which flows the chi. But as the years go by, it will become increasingly clear to people–as it has already–that cultures don’t get their own set of facts. There’s just one set of facts, and the sun doesn’t rise for a different reason among your group of friends as it does in mine.

Christians, perhaps more than most people, appreciate this. But they have unwittingly (and ironically) benefited from their insulation from things that are destructive to their faith. Christianity has always been a culture, and evangelical Christianity–since the Victorians lost faith, and since society has been secularized–has for many years had a subculture, with its own lingo, its own music, its own festivals, its own trends, its own interpretations of scientific facts, and its own set of morals. It would not have these things if it did not require them. And since it cannot sustain them, one wonders how it will adapt when they are taken away.

Sunday morning church feels like a thing of the past; it feels like a thing that I can hardly believe people are still doing. Not because it’s odious or even undesirable, but just because it seems so obviously based upon a falsehood. Perhaps the Rational Man of the 19th Century felt this way over 100 years ago. The difference, however, is that there were no forces in the 19th Century that prevented people from having facts to themselves. People could have safe little buildings where the truth was whatever it needed to be, for whoever was there. But as the years roll on, we’re inching towards a world where there’s just one truth for everyone, without alternative. Whether we’ll be able to survive on that remains to be seen.

Feminist Christians

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2014 by RWZero

Worshipping a 2000-year-old man. Since a few decades ago.

Why the Ontario Law Society’s Refusal to Accredit Trinity Western is Unconscionable

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2014 by RWZero

According to recent news reports, “the Law Society of Upper Canada has voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University’s proposed new law school in B.C.” The reason for this is that ‘Trinity Western University students must sign a strict Christian covenant governing behaviour, including abstaining from sexual intimacy ‘that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.'”

I do not see this to be a complex issue of any sort. It is nothing less than the outright suppression of a minority group for holding opinions that trasgress against the prevailing opinion. And an intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself is called “bigotry.”

Among the lame arguments offered in support of this decision are the following:

1. “It effectively excludes homosexuals from the school”

No, it doesn’t. It effectively prevents gay persons from making a private decision to go to a private evangelical Christian law school (for whatever reason), voluntarily signing an agreement not to engage in gay sex whilst attending the school, and having gay sex with someone who is unwilling to keep it to themselves. That’s what it does.

Implicit in this statement is that you can’t go through undergraduate university without having sex, which, although apparently unfathomable to most people, is entirely possible. And if you squint, you’ll see that it effectively prevents almost all other students from having sex as well, since most of them are not (or will not) be married. That “effectively excludes” a lot of people.

It is a voluntary abstention from an action, based on privately held religious beliefs. That gay people are uniquely prone to desiring the action is irrelevant; there are gay people who are Christian and nonetheless believe that they are divinely destined to remain celibate their entire lives.

2. “If a school excluded blacks, Asians (etc) would that be OK?”

Except that it doesn’t. Even if being born gay were completely analogous to being born black, having gay sex is *not* analogous to being black, for the simple reason that one cannot abstain from being black for a few years.

3. “‎I cannot vote to accredit a law school which seeks to control students in their bedrooms,” bencher Howard Goldblatt said.

Except that this is disingenuous, because telling students they have to wait until marriage has not been the subject of any of the controversy, nor would it have been, if the statement simply addressed sexual conduct “between two people.” Rather, Howard cannot bring himself to vote to accredit a law school full of people who believe that gay sex is immoral, in a country where gay rights are of special importance.

Nobody would say, of a hypothetical Muslim (or a Jewish or a Hidu) institution, that it “seeks to control students in their kitchens.” The dietary prohibitions would be looked upon as the voluntary (if unecessary) abstentions that they are.

Imagine Howard’s horror at what goes on in the U.S., with private Christian universities issuing such edicts as: “After dusk, students should not be alone with an individual of the opposite sex in any unlighted area.”

4. “It violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms”

Section 15 of the Charter says:

“Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability”

It doesn’t say: “Every individual has the right to attend a private evangelical Christian law school full of people who believe that looking at a person with lust in one’s eye is sufficient cause for eternal torment in the afterlife… and not have to sign an agreement to abstain from gay sex.”

If we’re going to go that route, the much more obvious “discrimination” of a Christian law school is discrimination against other religions.

5. “It violates a fundamental principle. Ontario ruled against religious arbitration.”

That decision was equally not an obvious moral imperative.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2010/09/14/one_law_for_all_ontarians.html

But it is, again, not analogous. There are no credible concerns of abuse, threats, intra-cultural blackmailing to submit to the arbitration, etc. Absolutely no one is going to be forced to go to this Christian law school and sign an agreement of this sort against their will–and even in such a scenario, they could privately violate it without producing any external evidence.

*

For all this hot air about “diversity,” Canadians only tolerate diversity of opinion up until it offends a strongly-held public sentiment. And this–exemplified here, and in other cases decided by human rights tribunals–I find repellent and unconscionable. What can be the rationale for refusing accredation to this school? It obviously cannot be to improve anyone’s life. It cannot be to uphold existing gay rights in society at large, since these are not at all threatened by such a thing. It definitely cannot be to prevent Christian lawyers from practicing law, out of fear of their prejudices (since Christians with these beliefs should then be banned from attending law school at all). It cannot be anything other than using legal powers to punish and suppress an opposing view, which is held in contempt by society.

What people ought to remember is that the whole West was once ruled by Christians, who suppressed and bullied all manner of dissenting private opinions. Times have changed (in Canada), and the Christians who once prescribed morality are now clustered in a tiny huddle, receiving due lashes from a secular society for their sins.

I personally find the evangelical (orthodox, in my opinion) Christian view on homosexuality nonsensical, harmful, and just one of a slew of telltale signs that the religion is man-made. But to police the private, consenting practice of such beliefs is tantamount to policing the thoughts themselves. The best places on earth are places where people don’t bear the prevailing opinion upon the lever arm of the state–not for any amount of certainty of their normative views, not for any amount of anger or righteous indignation, and never for revenge against those who have done the same in times past.

“Not Like those Other Christians”

Posted in Primary on March 31, 2014 by RWZero

The argument:

“You can’t use what Christians do as evidence against Christianity, because Christians are just fallible humans. Only the Bible really represents the Bible.”

The problem with it:

A) The actions and beliefs of Christians are based on sincere interpretations of the Bible

B) Sincere seekers of the Christian God should not be led into serious error as a direct result of believing in and reading the Bible, unless the Christian God is false.

C) Christian behaviour is often used to support Christianity (“look how it changed my life!”) but when it does not support Christianity we are supposed to discount it.

 

If a book / belief system leads millions of people to do and say the exact same crazy / incorrect / mistaken things, then it is fair to weigh this evidence when deciding whether the book / belief system is really a calculated revelation from the Almighty Creator of All Things.