Monday, September 30, 2013

Like a good neighbor?

This Sunday, my local paper must have been short of content, so they throw in some page filler. And what did they use? Why, a second letter to Billy Graham of course. Lets look at the first one today, and the second one tomorrow.
Don't give up on unfriendly neighbor

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I feel sorry for our neighbor, because she’s getting up in years and doesn’t seem to have any relatives or friends who pay her much attention. I’ve tried to be friendly, but to be honest she doesn’t seem interested and I’ve about given up. Any suggestions? —  Mrs. B.L.

DEAR B.L.: We can’t force our friendship on another person, but we can let them know that we care about them and want to help them if they need us. And this may be the best you can do in this situation.

Don’t give up, however. God cares for your neighbor — and so should you, even if she seems indifferent. Some people are just shy; others may be suspicious of our motives; still others may simply not want to be bothered. But whatever her reasons, God put you next to her, and as you have opportunity let her know you care. The Bible says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right” (James 2:8).

This is especially important because of what you say about her age. Like many older people, she’s probably very independent and is determined to stay in her home as long as she can. But time takes its toll; gradually she may lose the ability to take care of herself. Or she may experience a fall or sudden illness, and will need your help.

Pray, too, for your neighbor, and ask God to help you be an example to her of Christ’s love and compassion. In addition, see if you can find out anything about her relatives, in case you need to contact them in an emergency. Even as he was hanging from the cross, Jesus made sure that one of his disciples was willing to provide for his mother, Mary (see John 19:26-27).
Actually no, God didn't bring BL to be her neighbor. A real estate agent and BL's favor toward the property did. But enough of that... Let's get down to business.

I find it odd that both Graham and BL instantly assume that the problem is with the elderly woman in question. However, we are presented with no facts to make such a judgment.  Yes, that is one possibility, but there are many others. One being that BL is actually the problem. If BL is genuinely that concerned with her neighbor liking her, that is a possibility that has to be entertained. If fact, it could be something that they are unaware has put of their new neighbor.

We do not know how new BL is to this community. Maybe they are new and have somehow gotten off on the wrong foot. Maybe they are long-time residents that have build up a list of 'offenses' to draw this neighbor's ire.

It could be that BL has a dog that barks all day while she is at work. Maybe the neighbor has said something, and maybe she hasn't. Maybe BL's schedule means getting home late and the lights and sound of her truck wake the neighbor every night. Maybe BL mows her grass when the neighbor has her clothes out to dry, and the wind in the area happens to blow the clippings and dirt on to them. These are all things that BL may be doing unaware that they are angering this neighbor that she would like to get to know better. There could be a misunderstanding where the neighbor thinks these things are done deliberately, thus the attitude. Or maybe BL is a hoarder and has junk all over her yard.

BL could also be new to town. She is writing to Billy Graham for advice about a non-religious question, so chances are that she is pretty religious. What if her first action was to go door to door introducing herself and inviting her new neighbors to the Bible study meetings she'll be holding? I can tell you first-hand that this can be a sure fire way to turn a new neighbor off. When my wife and I moved into our home, we met a few of our neighbors almost immediately after moving in. Many are nice and enjoy a bit of conversation when we cross paths. And I enjoy speaking with most of them as well.

But there is one neighbor that I would try to avoid if I could. Why, you ask? Well just about every time we spoke, every conversation would lead to an invitation their weekly Bible study meetings. Oh, we're having an evangelist speak this week. We're reading Leviticus this week. We're studying the resurrection tomorrow night. We're discussing who the Bible says who we should vote for in the coming election... It didn't matter how many times I declined, the invitations just kept coming. So rather than risk getting my house vandalized, or to have the proselytizing get turned up to 11, I felt that simply avoiding that neighbor was a safer bet that telling them that I am an atheist and just not interested in his meeting in the slightest. Perhaps BL is the same as that neighbor that I avoided.

Graham says to 'love your neighbor as yourself'. He takes this as doing everything you can to look out for them. And if she is that old, I can't see anything wrong with keeping a watchful eye. Maybe she walks her dog about the same time every day. If this is the case, glance out the window to make sure she looks okay. But the 'love your neighbor' policy also has another side... respect their wishes! If they don't want to talk, they don't want to talk. Respect that wish, especially if you want to get on their good side. Just leave that one invitation that you are there, and let them decide if they want to come to you with their troubles, or just talk about landscaping or the weather. Pestering will get you nowhere.

Billy also suggests trying to learn everything you can about this person, find next of kin, etc... Remember what I said about prying? Plus, this all may be wasted time. I have to wonder if BL has spoken to the other neighbors about this mystery neighbor. Maybe she is fine with them. Maybe they know her story, or even know her family and how to contact them in the case of and emergency. All these bases may be covered. Or you may find whether the problem is with you, the neighbor, or both.

And please don't follow Graham's advice to an 'example of Christ's love'... First, I cite again that knocking on her door selling Jesus (even if she is already a believer) is pretty much a sure fire way to get told to piss off. Second, Jesus'/God's love is far from something I'd want anyone to aspire to. I love you and want you to love me. But if you don't, I'm going to send you off to be burned and tortured and ripped to bits forever and ever. Please, oh please, oh please tell me you're not going to kidnap this neighbor if they don't agree to be your BFF. That you're not going to tie them up in your basement and torture them... Right BL? Please tell me I'm right...

-Brain Hulk

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Martian Water

The big news out of NASA the other day was that the Curiosity rover on Mars has run some soil tests with surprising results. The SUV sized rover scooped up a sample of the Martian soil and heated it. Upon testing the vapors emitted they found water. But they didn't just find water, but much more than expected! In fact, a cubic foot of the soil tested would yield two pints of water when heated!

This is a big deal for a couple reasons. One is that readily available, and relatively obtainable water is a huge help for any future maned missions to Mars. This means that less water will have to be brought along from Earth, which makes any such mission just that much less difficult. It also means that those future missions won't have to rely on securing and melting ice from Mars' polar cap for additional water for astronauts. Granted, water being present doesn't automatically mean that it's currently drinkable. But it's certainly much more positive than there being no water present at all.

The bigger implication is that a healthy dose of water makes the chances of past or present life on Mars even more likely. Water is necessary for life on Earth, so the absence of water would severely diminish the chances of life on a bone dry globe. But Mars was once very wet, and as it turns out, is currently wetter than surmised. This bodes well for the chances of finding that life once existed on Mars. That is one development that I will be watching eagerly and closely.

Of course, some have gotten carried away with this announcement. Even going as far as claiming that NASA is on the cusp of proving current life on Mars. I'm not sure how, since Curiosity wasn't really set up to find signs of life. That's going to be the mission of it's sister rover that will be launched at a later date. Now don't get me wrong, but I would love it if they were able to confirm that Mars still hosts life. But I'm not going to hold my breath.

The radiation that Mars experiences from the Sun makes me seriously doubt that anything could live on or near the surface. Perhaps there could be microbes deep in the soil, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Though I do feel that it's a fairly safe bet to say that Mars once hosted life in it's past.
Mars now, and what it may have once looked like in the past.
Mars cooled faster than Earth, was once a world with great oceans, and then it all went wrong. Most of that water has been lost to space or soaked into the soil. The atmosphere... basically gone. But Mars had a head start on Earth in the department of 'conditions suitable for life'. Mars had time for life to arise (simple life) before it all went pear-shaped.

But like I said, the answer to the question of life on Mars will likely have to wait for the next mission. Personally, I can't wait until our next rover touches down on the red planet... even if it is beginning to 'look' more blue.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Venus, Earth, Sun... Global warming fun

After my previous post on global warming I got in a bit of a debate which wasn't all that unexpected. Perusal, the complaints and debate weren't actually about my blog, but climate change in general. So what did they have to say?
Scientists are just making up false data. There is no problem, Liberals are just mad that
people are making money.
 Suppose some scientists plain made stuff up (some examples would be nice), how does that make the vast majority that haven't no longer count? Something like only 0.17% of peer reviewed articles on global warming deny it's existence. Are you seriously suggesting that almost every climate scientist is involved in a mass conspiracy... and out of jealousy no less? I think it's a bit silly to suggest that people made up global warming just because someone was making money. I mean, really?

People make money on all sorts of things. So are there elaborate plans in place to sabotage each and every type of business in America? It's also odd that all these other countries are so worried about American oil companies making money. Also strange that Canada (who we import most of our oil from) would be shooting themselves in the foot by going all along with your proposed 'climate change scheme'. And if making money is such a problem, why are 'Liberals' pushing solar and wind energy. People will make money! Oh the horror! Sorry, but that line of thinking just doesn't wash.

Heck, if they are jealous that someone else is making money, then they should just publish a paper disproving global warming, and collect their Nobel Prize and endless riches.
Al Gore and his commie friends are spouting CO2  to be the cause, but CO2 has actually been found to cool planets, not warm them. (posts a link declaring the CO2 is causing global cooling).

Again with Al Gore... I could give two shits what Al Gore has to say about many things. Why do deniers think he's held up as some global warming oracle? I care about actual scientists and actual data. That's why I agree with the facts that climate change is a real thing.

CO2 cools planets? Venus must be frosty then. Oh, that's right... it's 864°F on it's surface.

On that story you linked... When it starts out by saying "As it turns out, all those atmospheric greenhouse gases that Al Gore and all the other global warming hoaxers have long claimed" it's rather obvious that this article is biased from the start. But after reading this article it's obvious they didn't understand the data. The truth is a bit different than they think...

This report was regarding a study of a solar flare's effect on the thermosphere. 95% or the harmful radiation was reflected back into space. In short the upper atmosphere did what it does each and every day. Without a protective atmosphere, Earth would be long radiated and devoid of life. And remember, it had this atmosphere long before we came on the scene. But the huge doses of radiation that the sun spits out everyday and are reflected aren't the problem.

As everyone has known for as long as I can remember, our atmosphere reflects most of it back into space. But as we can all tell, some still gets through. If it didn't, we wouldn't feel the sun warming our skin when we stand outside on a clear day. So what happens to what does get through? Some is absorbed by the atmosphere on it's way down. Some is absorbed by the Earth's surface. Some is
absorbed by greenhouse gasses on the way back up. And some reflects off the Earth's surface and back into space. The problem is that the more greenhouse gasses, the larger the percentage that fails to make it's way back into space. And since the percentages change in small increments, that's why warming takes place over a long period.

It's the greenhouse effect, plain and simple. I mean, that's grade school science. To deny how global warming works is to deny that a green house can stay warmer that the outside world off of solar energy alone.  
Comparing venus to earth is apple to oranges. Venus is a different size, mass, orbit distance relative to the sun, orbit time around the sun, time for a single revolution, atmospheric density, atmospheric composition, atmoshperic pressure, atmospheric temperature, surface temperature...all of these factors are not being taken into account by those who say "look at venus". It's like saying a small aircraft should be able to carry as much as a truck and a truck should be able to fly because they are close to the same size and weight and they both have a motor. nope
Actually Venus is not a bad example. Yes it's closer to the sun. Yes it's a different size. Yes it has a different orbital speed. But when people say that CO2 doesn't warm planets, or even cools them it becomes a very valid comparison. The truck/airplane comparison is a silly one. Earth/Venus is not.


Year: 224.7 Earth days
Day: 243 days
Orbital distance: about 0.72 AU
Radius: 0.9499 Earths
Volume: 0.866 Earths
Mass: 0.815 Earths
Average Temp: 863°F
CO2 in atmosphere: 96%
Atmospheric pressure: 92x Earth


Year: 365.26 Earth days
Day: 24hrs
Orbital distance: about 1 AU
Radius:1 Earth (6,372km)
Volume: 1 Earth
Mass: 1 Earth
Average Temp: 54.5°F (currently)
CO2 in atmosphere: 0.0387% (2009)
Atmospheric pressure: 1 Earth

So Earth and Venus are pretty much the same in size and mass. Not much to see there. Yes, the length of a Venusian year is a bit shorter. And a day is a LOT different in length that an Earth day. But does that explain the high global temperatures on Venus? Nope. If Earth had a much slower rotational speed the days would be hotter, but the nights would be colder. What we see on Venus is a rather consistent temperature between the bright and dark sides. This is due to the insulating properties of it's atmosphere.

As for the atmospheric composition, atmospheric pressure, atmospheric temperature, surface temperature... How can you say that they aren't being taken into account? They were the main reason for the comparison for crying out loud! Sure, the upper atmosphere temp is cooler than the surface temp. That's true of all planets with a meaningful atmosphere. The composition of the atmosphere is a HUGE issue. Venus is almost all CO2, Earth doesn't have much comparatively. Yet it's the greenhouse effect on Venus (caused largely by the CO2) that makes it by far the hottest planet in the solar system despite being much further from the Sun than Mercury (-280°F to 800°F). Venus has a much more robust greenhouse effect than Earth, which largely accounts for it's hellish temperatures.

Atmospheric pressure is also much higher on Venus. But do you know what Venus doesn't have? Oceans. CO2 is absorbed by water. If all the CO2 absorbed by Earth's oceans were to be released, the atmosphere would be 70times denser and have a CO2 concentration in the high 90% range. So basically, pretty much the same as Venus. Not to mention CO2 being dumped into the atmosphere by human causes increases pressure as well, albeit on an incredibly negligible scale.

So Venus is actually a very good comparison if you are actually interested in looking a bit closer, or not just looking for reasons to eliminate it. Venus is an excellent example of what it looks like when it all goes wrong on a planet like ours.
If it was in fact grade school science then why is there so much controversy about it? Because they are not using science. Science takes ALL variables into account to eliminate OPINION which there is a lot of on this topic. Do a search on global warming omission or missing unaccounted variables and you will get loads of info. (posts links that claim that the sun is the cause and that this is being ignored, and also that the warming has stopped)
Why is there so much controversy? That's a complex answer. In a lot of cases I see, it's because people have a very poor grasp or understanding on the topic. Another large group I've experienced are those that simply don't like the implications. Some (oil companies) don't like being the supplier of the cause, or the eventual financial hit. The reaction here is usually to deny the problem. No problem = no one to blame. No problem = business as usual.

Everyday people sometimes deny warming because if it is real, they may have to change their routine or make sacrifices. As we all know, people can be pretty damn greedy. No problem = I don't have to change my life. Some are just parrot what they hear from biased sources (usually financed by the fossil fuel industry), and then never look into the facts.

The only controversy is a public one that is largely manufactured. In the science world, there is no controversy as those denying warming is an amazingly small minority. As for climate change not being science... You're wrong there. The increase in atmospheric CO2 is the explanation that best fits all the data. An explanation that has led to predictions that have been fairly reliable. If anyone is starting with an opinion, it's been the deniers I've encountered. I wish climate change weren't so, I really do. I wish I would wake up tomorrow and read a report that found that it's all down to some natural cause. But I have to be honest with myself and admit to what the data concludes at the moment.

As for your links... The first misses the mark and reads as largely biased. All this talk of solar activity, but the solar activity of recent years should have meant a cooling trend, yet the we saw a warming trend. He talks a lot about there not being any warming for the past 15 years. It is true that warming has slowed when compared with the 20 years prior. But the fact is that the global temperature rose 0.11°F. Less than expected, but it did rise. It may not sound like much, but you must remember that climate change (like evolution) is a slow slow road. But why did the warming slow? One prospect is that more of the CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans than the atmosphere in recent years. Record lows of ice coverage means more waterways available for absorption. But that question is one still being investigated.

Oh, and I find it comical that he cites record snow falls. Climate change actually predicts more extreme weather. Heavy snow is not to be unexpected. Hotter Earth = more water evaporated, which leads to more water to come down as snow in such a storm system.

Second link... Not sure where the got their info, but solar activity has been considered, and eventually ruled out because it didn't match up with observations or yield meaningful predictive value. Much of the rest of the article just goes to show the writers bias.

I find it odd how most people I discuss this topic with simply jump to another line or argument  whenever I point out the flaws with their previous one. What's wrong with admitting fault? I know that if someone showed me proof that climate change was all fake or just a natural cycle that I would have egg on my face. But I would also own up and admit that I was wrong. My opinion is open to revision, but why does it seem that so many deniers refuse to even entertain the possibility that they could be mistaken?

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to act Presidential

 So I got another chain email. This one basically claims that President Bush was everything President Obama is not to the troops. It lists images of Bush with troops and claims President Obama has much to learn. It then closes with this image... How Quaint.

However, I have taken the liberty of amending the
email to see how it stacks up with reality. The images framed in blue are from the original email. The ones framed in black are from the secret government archives known as google images. Oh the security clearance I needed to unearth these secret images...

Lets take a look!

President Bush knows how to treat our soldiers, with respect and gratitude. He was not the perfect president, but none can be perfect.
Surely, I didn't agree with everything he did, but he was a class act when it came to our military & their families.  
1. Look them in the eye and give them a firm handshake.

No one appreciates a firm handshake more than a soldier.

2. If they prefer not to shake hands… then a chest bump will do.

Chest Bump... Fist Bump... close enough
 3. Admire their medals. They were hard-earned.

 4. Always treat their families with great respect

They have been through more than you could imagine.

5. Laugh with them!

Laughter is a medicine that works 102% of the time


6. Sometimes it’s important that you treat a soldier the way you would treat anyone else.

7. If you know a soldier, call them on the 4th of July.

 It will make their day!

 8. Or you can Skype them.

Pic is of Obama's web chat, but you get the idea.

9. Each soldier has an amazing story.

10. Listen.
Listening is often the best gift you can give someone.

11. Give them a hug!

 12. Do a sport with them.

13. Make sure you are respectful.

 14. Cook them a big dinner if you can. Lots of meat.

No, Obama didn't personally present a Turkey. But we all know Bush didn't cook that.
Obama did host troops for meals. So that's pretty much even.

15. But if you only have a minute, look them square in the eye…

 And say, “Thank you.”
We promise you they will appreciate it.

Very heartwarming....
Somehow, I can't imagine our current president doing anything like this!!!   
Really? You can't imagine the current president doing any of that? Well, it's a good thing that you don't have to imagine it, since he HAS done those things. Look, I'm not the biggest Obama fan, I'll admit that (better than Bush at least). But not liking the guy doesn't mean that you can just go making shit up. If you were interested in the truth, a quick search on google found all these pictures that prove this email wrong. It's just more biased ramblings that just go to create an easily falsified straw-man argument against the president.

What's wrong with sticking to facts and having a meaningful discussion on real issues and real problems. By carrying on like in this email, you loose a good deal of credibility for furthering a story that is very obviously false. This line of argument does not strengthen your position, it only weakens it. Stick to the facts, and then maybe we can get somewhere.

Oh yeah, and that image of President Obama exiting Marine One...

 The angle isn't the best, but Obama is saluting in that image. What's with the phone? Who knows (other than the NSA). He is the president, so it could be important. But you know what's not vitally important? A tiny little black dog. Yet here we see Bush making the same salute as Obama. Where were the cries that Bush didn't give a proper salute? Maybe he likes little dogs more than the troops! *gasp* Seriously though. People need to stop looking for (make believe) reasons to be upset. And this email was one big fabrication to do just that. Sad really...

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

8 reasons college is bad for women

On September 8th, Raylan Alleman published an article titled "6 Reason to NOT Send Your Daughters to College". He later amended the list to bring the total to 8 'reasons'. Alleman is a writer for the Catholic website 'Fix the Family'. Lets look at his list shall we...
Listen up while I tell you little women what to do.
1) She will attract the wrong types of men.
Alleman says that by going to college, the woman is setting herself up to attract lazy men who are only interesting in using her income to supplement his, or for him to strait up live of of her income so that he doesn't have to work.  Talk about having no respect for the judgement ability of women. So these girls that you described as smart are still too stupid to realize someone is trying to take advantage of them. Sure there may be some men that are just looking to be mothered, but it's far less that Allerman seems to think it is. Also, what of all the successful relationships that are formed in college. Did those people that met there, married and are still happily so victims of attracting the wrong type of people as well. And what of Catholic colleges. I'm sure Allerman would be fine with a Catholic gay, meeting a Catholic girl. But that would just be a double standard.

Raylan additionally states that 'men are supposed to be the providers'. Sexist much? Why the old outdated need to reinforce gender rolls such as this. He's saying that the man needs to be the big strong breadwinner, while the woman is supposed to be there helpless just to be taken care care of and serve when asked to. No thank you. What if a woman has a career she loves, and the man stays home and takes care of the kids? What if he has an unconventional job? Maybe she loves her job, and he's a novelist. Both are happy in their positions, and working to the good of their family. And forcing her to leave a job she loves, and him to do one he doesn't would actually likely hurt the family in the long run. How about having some respect for the men and women in those situations instead of demanding antiquated sexist roles.

Then for good measure Alleman reiterates that going to college 'just in case' is the perfect recipe for creating an endless cycle of attracting lazy bums.
2) She will be in a near occasion of sin.
 He basically says that  kids in collage are no longer under the watchful eye of their parents so they just can't help themselves and will almost always give in to the temptation of sex sex sex. He makes it sound like college is some sort of giant orgy. Funny, it wasn't like that to me... but then again he's talking about women. So let's ask my wife... Nope, no wild random sex hiding behind every corner for her either. Why not trust the judgement of these young people instead of assuming that it's all party party party as soon as daddy and mommy aren't looking. Maybe he watches too many collage films. Sorry to be the one breaking the news, but the off the wall fraternity member is NOT your average college attendee.

Alleman also insinuates that this is a much bigger problem in secular schools than Catholic schools. But is it though. Studies have shown that youths that pledge abstinence and those that don't tend to have sex at the same rate regardless of what they pledged. However, the abstinence only pledges where much more likely to not use protection when they did end up having sex. This leads to more unattended (and unwed) pregnancies among the girls who promised abstinence  than those who didn't. So if anything, the 'problem' is probably actually worse at Catholic schools.

Also, what about online college? How will they be 'tempted' within the walls of their own home? Especially if they are still living at home.
3) She will not learn to be a wife of mother.
Well, at least Alleman isn't trying to hide his sexism anymore. Hate to break it to you, but women aren't 'for' staying at home to be nice little obedient homeworkers and push out kids. And so what if college doesn't teach you how to be a mom. In my experience, it's our parents that teach us what we need to know in order to be parents. We also learn valuable lessons throughout life that will mold the type of parent we'd like to be. But does college not reinforcing sexist gender roles somehow make it a sinister place? No, not at all! In fact it can empower women to succeed things that they couldn't otherwise. And what about those that go to college for child care? I'd count that as something that would be helpful to a new mother. Who cares if they went so that they could teach or open a day care? Despite the reasons for attending, the knowledge could be useful. Also, college does not diminish the work of a stay at home mom. The work hard, and so does the career woman. Some do one out of will, and some do one out of necessity.

And what about single women that are not mothers. Are they supposed to just work low paying jobs that barely allow them to make ends meet? What's so wrong with a single woman that wants to be successful? It instead sounds as if you think they should sit around waiting for prince charming to sweep them away and knock them up. Until then, tough it out until a big strong man comes to rescue you, you weak little woman. Ah, fairytale sexism.
4) The cost of a degree is becoming more difficult to recoup.
 Can't really disagree with that. College costs are getting way out of control. There's a problem though... More and more, even entry level jobs are asking applicants to have a college degree. So youths are faced with the decision to:  A) Work a low paying job. B) Find someone to help take care of them. or C) Go get the education needed to get the job they want and hope it won't take too long to pay back the loans. I'm going to guess that Raylan would favor B... Girls should just find a successful man to provide for them (sexist). But what about the single woman that is in need of money to help her live her life? Should she just stalk any rich guy and get him to marry her, or should she do whatever she can to get a job that pays well, and eventually marry out of love rather than necessity?
5) You don't have to prove anything to the world.
 Correct. But most don't go to college just to prove a point. I agree that those that go just to show off, aren't going for the right reasons. For me, and most others, college is about learning and bettering oneself.  Alleman also claims that feminism teaches that women need to have a job and provide financially to be of any worth. I know that Halloween is getting closer, but your straw man is still a bit early. Feminism doesn't tech that at all. All it is really saying is that women should have the same opportunities as men have, and that their gender shouldn't dictate what jobs and rights they can and can't have.

 Additionally, college doesn't necessarily lock women into careers. I have friends (women) who went to college and worked a job. Met their husband and for a while they both worked. Then they became parents and she decided to stay home and raise their children. Then later on one decided to go into a different field of work part time when the kids were older. So no, they aren't forced to work. But let me ask, if you are so upset with the prospect of girls being forced to work, why are you not outraged with forcing girls to be stay at home baby factories?
6) It could be an occasion of near sin for the parents.
He reiterates that college can be expensive and that because of this parents may try to have less children so there will be less kids to send to college. They may even use contraception, get sterilized or utilize other means of avoiding a pregnancy while still having sex. Apparently sex is no more than a utilitarian process for creating children for Alleman. What about the love and the passion? So what if someone doesn't want to have children (for whatever reasons)? That's their right. It's as if he's reducing marriage to a baby making contract, rather than one of love and devotion. Yes, maybe many Catholics think that birth control is a sin. But you know what, there are those that don't. And as a former Catholic and active non-believer, I just think the idea that using a condom is sinful is ridiculously silly and quite outdated. Yup, God really cares about what I do with my gentiles, but couldn't care less about starving kids in Africa...

He then repeats that girls probably don't need a collage degree since most will wind up being mothers anyway. You hear that? Don't take chances or even try to better yourself. Just know your place and be a mother like you're supposed to. How quaint...
7) She will regret it.
 What!? I's sorry, but I've never met a woman that said she regretted getting an education. Quite the contrary! If anything, I've heard them say that they would have regretted NOT going to college. Alldeman claims that many women went to college to receive approval from feminists. Sure, I've heard of the odd person (usually a guy) that said they went to get the approval of their parents. But the majority have gone for themselves.

He also claims that women will regret college because their careers mean less time with family and not enough time to have more kids. Really? News to me. My mom stayed at home and my dad worked. Alternatively, my wife was raised by a single mother for large spells of her life. Both situations have their benefits and challenges. But I wouldn't say that my wife's mother was doing anything inherently wrong. She was doing the best she could within her situation. At that point in her life she had no college education to help her along. So finances were often tight. Sacrifices had to be made, and it was tough. In my wife's case things worked out okay. But many others aren't so lucky. But even in the face of how tough this can be, you'd sooner toss a woman into a cycle of low paying scraping by, rather than having them get an education and maybe make life easier for themselves (and their children).

I also find it funny that Raylan says that the working woman will regret not having more children. But do you know what I think would cause many to regret? A family relying on one income that just cranks out more children than they can afford to care for. They are then left having to either go into debt or give the children less of a life than they could have had, had the parents been responsible about their procreation. I would suggest another option... Like the wife also working to help out, but we already know your position... The wife belongs in the kitchen home. Forget those silly ideas of working and being anything more than baby factory who's purpose is to do little more than to submit to her man.
8) It could interfere with a religious vocation.
 And so could  NOT going to college. Remember, more and more jobs (even entry level) require a college degree anymore. Plus, I'm sure that going to a Catholic college or university probably looks good on a religious job application.

Why the odd desire to seemingly hold girl back from being all they can be, or obstructing them from learning the tools they may need to better their life no matter what situation they find themselves in?
This is not a list of why college is bad for women... It's a list of how little Raylan Alleman thinks of women and his desire to control the actions of others.

 -Brain Hulk

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Monday, September 23, 2013

A better future? Not so fast...

This Sunday, LK wrote in to Billy Graham offering his story as an example for others to learn from. But Billy gets it all wrong in his typically presumptuous fashion...
While the past can't be erased, with God's help you can build a brighter future.

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’m scared of getting older, because I divorced my wife many years ago and I’m not on good terms with my children, and all I can see in front of me is loneliness and hopelessness. I wish I could go back and change the decisions I made, but it’s too late. Maybe someone can learn from my mistakes. — L.K.
Unfortunately, Christianity teaches that all are worthless and hopeless masses. That only through their God can happiness and a good life be found. And it sounds like you've bought into that disgusting teaching. But I'm here to tell you that you do not need a god, or the Christian one to find hope and happiness. Yes, you feel like you've let your god down. But just look at those that believe in rival gods, that are happy. Also, look at non-believers that are also very happy and on average, are more successful. There is hope for you, LK. But first you will need to change your mindset and shed the notion that you are forever deserving of the hardships you are facing. Until you actually feel like you're deserving to be happy, you never will be.
DEAR L.K.: It’s a hard lesson to learn (and some people never do learn it, I’m afraid), but you can’t change the past. What’s done (either for good or for bad) can never be erased, and the consequences will remain with us the rest of our lives. Perhaps your letter will help someone avoid going down the path you once chose.
True, the past can't be changed, but we and other can learn from past experiences. So hearing from others can be quite valuable.
But you can change the future, with God’s help. And he wants to help you, because he loves you and cares what happens to you. So far in life, you haven’t paid much attention to him, but why should that be true in the future? Instead, put your feet on a new path by asking Christ to come into your life, to forgive the past and help you in the future.
What? Um... Aren't you being rather presumptuous Bill? LK is facing tough times so you automatically assume that he hasn't followed your Christ in the past. Why? Because he's divorced? Well as it turns out, believers get divorced more often that non-believers do. So it would seem non-believers tend to be more committed partners. Actually, LK (assuming LK is a man) may have been backed by the Bible in his divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 actually says that a man may divorce his wife if she should become 'displeasing to him'. Now very nice if you ask me. But I think we can safely ignore Grahams protest that divorce = not following God.
How will God help you? I can’t promise you’ll be able to overcome all the hurts your children feel. But you can reach out to them, telling them (perhaps in a letter) that you’re sorry for what happened, and you have now given your life to Jesus.
And how do you know he already hadn't given his life to Jesus. Maybe LK (assuming LK is a man) lost his wife because he followed the misogynistic teachings in the Bible. Maybe the children want nothing to do with LK because they were robbed of a normal childhood by an overly religious parent, or parents. Also, you act so sure that LK had never given their life to Jesus before. But the very fact that LK wrote you suggests that you are wrong. The majority of those that read your column are believers. And those that write you for advice are believers by a much larger majority. You give religious advice. So wouldn't those that share your views be the ones that see you as a person to reach out to for advice? I know I don't believe, so a religious advice column is the last place I'd look to for help. So by the very fact that LK reached out for you, suggests that LK is and was a believer well prior to writing you.

Maybe it's time to stop blaming everyone but your own group for the ills of the world. You also need to wake up to the facts and see that they don't support your arguments. Finally, when backed into a corner, give up the 'No True Scotsman' arguments. It shows just how weak your position is. Just be honest for a change. None of us are right all the time. So stop pretending that you have exclusive access to the answer to everything. Sorry, but shoehorning God and Jesus into every answer doesn't make it sound impressive.

In addition, Christ will give you hope as you grow older. You’ll know he is always with you, and most of all you’ll know that someday you will go to be with him in heaven. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection we have “the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2). 
You see, that's the problem. You don't NEED Christ to give you hope as you grow old. Just shed the Christian shroud of worthlessness and you almost there. Then just don a positive attitude and life from youth to old age doesn't have to be something we fear. If anything, Christians might be the ones fearing their final days. Did I do enough? Was I good enough? Will I go to Heaven or Hell? To a Christian, the stakes are high as you approach death. But that's not so for me. When I die, I believe that is it. So I feel it's my duty to enjoy this brief shot at life as best I can. Make the most of it. Move on from joy to joy.  On the day I die, I want to be able to look back and say that I made the most of life and had a good run. And if I can think that, full of memories, I'll bow out with a smile on my face.

 -Brain Hulk

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Friday, September 20, 2013

If you don't like it, leave!

Following the announcement of the inclusion of 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance being challenged some of the reactions have been negative, and some positive. But some have been downright childish.
Better watch out. She's offended, so that means she's right... right?
Logic and history be damned!

One of those childish reaction came from Fox News' own, Dana Perino. On her program, they were discussing the challenge, and she concluded, "If these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here." Co-host Bob Beckel agreed by saying, "Yeah, that's a good point."

Actually no...  That's a pretty terrible point. And it's a position that many believers have run with and parroted. What they're really saying is 'love it or leave it'. If you don't like ______, you don't have to live here. Okay, two can play at that game...

If you don't like that we have the right to make such a challenge, you don't have to live here. If you don't like that we only want to return the Pledge of Allegiance to it's original form, you don't have to live here. Fox news, if you don't like the president, you don't have to live here. Shoo, be gone!

But that's just a childish position. I'm not going to flail about like a toddler and demand that all who don't agree with me has to leave. So why do Perino and others hold this strange desire to make all conform to their point of view, and kick them aside if they don't? If you know the answer please tell me, because I'd really like to know.

Additionally, is the 'love it or leave it' attitude really a good one? What's wrong with 'love it and fix it'? Let me ask you this... What if someone you care for had a drug problem? Should you adopt a 'love it or leave it' attitude and just wipe your hands clean of this person since you don't like their drug use? Or maybe you should adopt a 'love it and fix it' attitude instead. You care for this person, so instead of abandoning them, wouldn't it be better to try and help them and fix their problem? I think the answer there is a clear one.

The same situation is present when non-believers challenge 'under God' being in the Pledge of Allegiance, when schools trying to force sectarian prayer is challenged, etc. I love my country, and what it was founded on. I love the rights the Constitution affords me, and everyone. So when I see things that violate the Constitution and defy this country's founding principles, I can't just turn around and piss off. I just can't.

In this country we have the freedom of religion, as well as the promise that our proud nation will not respect an establishment of religion. Unlike the country we fought to win our freedom, the United States shall not hoist one religion above all others. And honoring those promises is what I, and other non-believers are trying to do. So we see a nation that we love, that has lost it's way from it's foundation. I'll be damned if I'm just going to give up on this country and it's unparallelled freedoms. No, I'll fight to fix those mistakes and try to lead us back on the path to a return to those founding principles.

So Dana Perino... No, I will not leave. And it's because I do love this country and want to fix it that I'm staying put. And I suggest you get used to it, because we aren't going anywhere. 

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vladimir over here?

It's been a little while, but here's a new chain email I received. This one actually looks to Vladimir Putin for inspiration for curing America's 'ills'...
Vladimir Putin's SHORTEST SPEECH

Putin's Speech August 04, 2013

This is one time our elected leaders should pay attention to the advice of Vladimir Putin....
How scary is that?

On August 04, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed the Duma, (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about the tensions with minorities in Russia:
Putin on minorities? This ought to be 'good'...
"In Russia live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws.
So far, so good. If you want to live in Russia, obey Russian laws. And guess what? If you live in America, you need to follow American laws (unless you're rich enough to buy off  special treatment or a politician it seems).  Russia has a national language, so in Russia, you better speak Russian. And this is one area I agree with the sentiment of this email. The United States of America does not have an official national language, but I think it should. I'd support the adoption of English as America's official language.

But until it is actually made as such, people speaking other languages should be no more than an inconvenience. Yet some act as if they have been personally wronged in some way. Yet, while you may be irritated by a speaker of another language, it is likely a bigger inconvenience for them, since most Americans speak English. While it may get in the way of communication, for now, it's perfectly legal.
 If they prefer Sharia Law, and live the life of Muslim's then we advise them to go to those places where that's the state law.
And this is were the US Constitution does us proud. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment would keep Muslin law from ever being passed in the United States. It does the same for Christian rule as well. This great construct of our founding fathers protects us from all forms of Theocracy.
Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell 'discrimination'.
We don't 'need' minorities either. But many come here for a better life. While I agree that minorities shouldn't get special privileges, that's not what most are asking for when they scream 'discrimination'. When gay Americans claim discrimination because they can't marry, they aren't looking for special privileges. When non-believers claim discrimination when atheist billboards are denied (yet Christian ones allowed), or if students are disallowed from forming a Secular Student Alliance club (even though Christian groups are allowed), they aren't looking for special treatment either. In these cases, these minority groups are looking for equal treatment and nothing more. Just the equal treatment and rights afforded to all Americans. 
We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture. We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation.
I'm all for respecting America's culture and history. But I certainly take issue with those that wish to teach and spread revisionist history. When the Texas school board tries to invent a new American history to teach out youths, I can't help but take issue. They've proposed the removal of the Enlightenment, Thomas Jefferson, and America's role in the slave trade from the curriculum. They also wish to propagate the fantasy that America was founded by uber Christians, that the founding fathers were all uber Christian, and that they wanted create the USA as a big old Christians only club. I'm against America being a Christian nation, Muslim nation, atheist nation, etc. America provides religious freedom, and I would like it to stay that way.

But what does Putin mean by the 'suicides of America, England, Holland and France'?
The Muslims are taking over those countries and they will not take over Russia.
Oh, that that's what he means... How are Muslims taking over America? They make up only 0.6% of the US population. How exactly is 0.6% 'taking over'? In England, they're 4.8% of the population. Holland? 5.5% France? 3% So where does Russia stack up? Putin says that Islam is taking over the fore mentioned nations, but won't take over Russia. So they must have almost no Muslims, right? But Russias religious breakdown is 6.5% Muslim. So Russia actually has a higher concentration of Muslims than the nations Putin is criticizing, and a lot more than us here in the USA.
The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways Sharia Law and Muslims. When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that the Muslims Minorities Are Not Russians.
Actually, they are Russians (provided they are there legally). And Muslims in America are Americans (if legally immigrated or born here). And remember, as long as our lawmakers follow the Constitution, there needn't be the slightest worry about Sharia law in our fair nation. 

The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a five minute standing ovation.

If you keep this to yourself, you are part of the problem!

It is a sad day when a Communist makes more sense than our Devout Muslim President Barack Hussein Obama........ but here it is!!!!
 It might be time to come out of the bomb shelter. The Soviet Union is long gone, and Russia is actually a democracy in which the people elect the rulers. True, the system is still very corrupt, but they do hold elections. Officially, it's classed as a semi-presidential republic. While the Communist party does still exist in Russia, though support is waning. In the last presidential election, the Communist party earned 17% (and that figure has been on the decline). Also, Capitalism is alive and well in Russia. Regulation is a bit different, but still free markets.

Putin himself... well he was a member of the Communist party, but he isn't anymore. He now belongs to the 'United Russia' party. In fact, he just opposed a proposed Communist initiative just last month. Putin is a Communist in the same way that I'm a six year old boy.

And finally, the old 'Obama is a Muslim' claim... Really? The president has been pretty candid in interviews, speeches, and his writings that he is a Christian. But no, let's just point at his odd name and yell 'MUSLIM!' I'm sure that will be real rational and productive...

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Based on a true story

 We've all seen movies that start with the statement that they were 'based on a true story'. But what does that really mean? I can tell you that some people have their understanding of 'based on a true story' completely wrong.

I was out at a restaurant not long ago when I heard someone at the next table talking about how scary this film that they had just watched was. Then came the key words, "Did you know that movie is based on a true story!?" They were going on and on about how scared they would be, what they would do, questioning how the family in the movie dealt with it, etc. Basically, they were talking as if the horror flick they just saw was a documentary.

That is NOT how it works. The explanation is pretty much all in the name 'based on' (we made some shit up) and 'a true story' (we didn't make some of it up). So when you think of it, it's a pretty useless disclaimer really. The movie where a family moves into a new house and starts hearing noises that turn out to be demonic or ghosts, doesn't meant that the film version is what happened. To be 'based on' they can start with the story of an actual family that were baffled by the sounds in their new house. But then the film-maker will decide that the actual fact of finding a family of Raccoons under the floors would make for a boring movie.

That's when 'artistic license takes over and someone suggests, "Hey what if instead of Raccoons, the house is built on a demonic gateway to Hell? That would sell tickets!" The same is done in a lot of bio-pics. 70, 80, or 90% of what is in the last bio-pic you watched may be true. But rarely is it all true. Things are changed to make the character seem more interesting or human. Some events may be altered or fabricated. Relationships may have been represented differently. Some true, some false.

So the next time you find yourself scared of a movie that's 'based on a true story' remember that the real events probably weren't as fantastic as they were on the big screen. And when you fear that there really may be ghosts in you wall, remember the 'phantom' Raccoons.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, September 16, 2013

God: No true friend

In my Sunday edition of the Herald Mail, Billy Graham once again answers a readers question. He give a decent answer, but misses the obvious implications on the theology that he so readily preaches.
Seek friends who won't lead you into temptation

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I guess I just don’t have any backbone. I promise God I’m not going to do something I know is wrong, but then I get with my friends and before I know it I’m doing it. I hate being such a weak person. Will I always be this way? — M.H.
DEAR M.H.: No, you won’t necessarily always be this way if you face your problems and sincerely seek God’s help to overcome them. The Bible says, “The Lord is my strength … my heart trusts in him, and he helps me” (Psalm 28:7).
Your real problem (at least in part) is that you desperately want other people to like you, and you’re afraid your friends won’t like you and will turn against you if you don’t do what they do. To refuse to go along with them would be the same thing as telling them they’re wrong and you’re right, and you fear they’d reject you as a result.
And you may be right; they might reject you. But if so, then they aren’t really your friends. True friends would care what happens to you, but they don’t. In other words, they’re tearing you down by pressuring you into doing what they do, and that isn’t true friendship. The Bible warns, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Begin by asking Jesus to come into your life, to forgive your sins and help you live the way you should. Then realize that you now belong to him, and he is with you and will be your friend forever. Then ask him to help you find new friends, friends who love God, and will encourage you and help you confront your temptations and grow strong in your faith.

Read more here:
 Graham instantly assumes that the friends that MH is asking about are leading him/her to do terrible things and that they don't love God. Actually, the odds are that these friends are Christians as well. The truth is that with all the different sects of Christianity there are, what MH sees as wrong, may be something that MH's friend's version of Christianity is just fine with. Yes, they could be that they were convincing MH to do drugs, get involved in fights, or ay matter of other negative activity. Or could be a member of a very conservative form of Christianity. If MH is a woman, it could be as simple as convincing her to dress less plainly, or even that pants are okay. It could be that they convinced her that it's okay for her to get a job and not live life as a home maker and child factory. The one thing we know is that MH thinks whatever these things are, are wrong and not honoring God. But MH never gives us any examples, so we have no way of knowing if these things were actually bad, or what version of God would take issue with them.

But Billy Graham rightly says that friends that would cancel your friendship over a difference of opinion, or just a disagreement. Yet all too often that's all it takes for a believer to end a relationship with a non-believer. True, it doesn't always happen, but it does happen a lot. A friend, parent or lover finds out that you don't believe, and they give an ultimatum. Believe or we're through! You said that a friend that cast you aside because you won't go along with something you aren't comfortable will isn't really a true friend. So why should it be any different when a believer walks out of your life just because you don't share their belief? The answer is that these situations are no different. The believer knows you for who you are. What you do or don't believe doesn't change that. But even though you still haven't changed, they walk out. The obvious conclusion is that they weren't a true friend either.

It doesn't stop there though. Many a church will tell you that God just wants a relationship with you and to be your friend. Okay, sounds good so far. But what if you don't believe, or don't want to dislike another friend just because they are gay. Or what if you're uncomfortable with hacking the foreskin off your newborn child? Graham says that a true friend would be fine with that and still be your friend. But what if you don't do what God or Jesus tell you to do? They don't just cancel the friendship, but promise to cast you into eternal torture. That's not a friend. That's a childish and selfish being with a sadistic streak a mile wide. So by Graham's own criteria, God isn't your friend either. Yet he says that he is your friend forever. Too bad he doesn't follow through with his own explanation... Is a little consistency really so much to ask?

 -Brain Hulk

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Caring letter, or yet more nonsense?

My wife and I were at a street festival in Pennsylvania when we came across a guy in the middle of the street handing out pamphlets. Unsurprisingly, they were Christian propaganda handouts. I do find it odd that this guy seemed under the impression that rural PA is so unaware of the Jesus story that he felt the need to act as if he was passing out exclusive news.

Um, rural PA is pretty damn religious and anyone who opens their eyes should be able to see that. Hell, tons of jewelry vendors had cross pendants and earrings, and there were plenty of craft vendors with faith themed items. But no, we need to spread the word of Jesus... Yes, and allow me to change your life with the news of gravity (at least that's real).

But let's take a look at his little booklet that he wasted plenty of time making...
A Personal Letter To YOU From Someone Who Cares!!

I am just a normal everyday guy! I worked for a living and was paid a salary.
Paid a salary? In what way is that slightly relevant  to a religious tract? Oh boy, I get paid to work! ...and so does everyone else. Do you know what being made to work without pay is called? Slavery. Something that your Bible is actually just fine with.
The father of a grown son and daughter, the Grandfather of a young man and three young ladies, and a great grandfather of a beautiful little girl.
Congratulations! You and your offspring successfully reproduced! But that's not anything miraculous. The same is true of the families of the faithful and faithless, as well as bad people and good. I sure hope you're not painting a picture for which Jesus is required. Because if you are, you're failing.
Was it always like this? No! In my younger years while living in a Government Project in South Philadelphia I was involved in things I'm not proud of today. Life had little, if any purpose for me. I thought of suicide more than once. 
Please don't tell me this is going toward the tired and absurd claim that nonbelievers find life meaningless, and that they are morally inferior. In my case, I'd say that  I value life more now that I don't believe,  and am just as moral, if not more so, than many of the Christians that I know or have met. Many have actually told me that they are moral only because of their God. I'm sorry, if God telling you not to rape, kill or steal is the only thing keeping you from these thing, then your problem is a lack of empathy. If God is the only thing keeping you from those actions, you are already a terrible person. Moral acts done only to please a god is not true morality.
At seventeen I quit school and entered the U.S. Army, serving in Korea, Vietnam and Panama. Again the only meaning life held for me was survival. I had done possibly everything you have done and possibly a little more. Maybe not - possibly you're saying "no-way" - "I've done it all" Maybe so! That is why I am writing you this letter. I found a reason for life. I found joy and I found peace! You say "that's not for me", or "it won't work for me". I assure you - if it worked for me it can work for you also!
 I'm sorry that you felt little of your life before, but it wasn't religion you were lacking. My non-belief  has actually led me to be amazingly full of gratitude for the life I have. Life is incredibly meaningful and  it's purpose is quite clear to me. As I said before, life is actually brighter now that I no longer believe. While I don't agree with your conclusions in the slightest, I do thank you for your service. As for how you think people will react to your story... I find those assumptions quite revealing of your clouded judgement and conclusions. No, most won't say "that's not for me". In fact, at least 70% of those you gave these to have concluded that it is 'for them', and that it will 'work for them'. After all 78% of Americans are already Christians.
I found seven facts about life - let me share them with you!
Seven facts? I'm skeptical, but I'll listen...
I. It is a fact that God loves you!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." I don't care how empty you're feeling or how lonely you are - God Loves You!
Sigh... So much for seven 'facts'. Obviously you don't understand the meaning of the word 'fact'. Fact is defined as 'a thing that is indisputably the case'. So your first 'fact' isn't a 'fact' at all. How could it be when God himself isn't even factually proven? If we don't even know that a being exists, it can't be a fact that they then love us. What you have here is no more than an assumption based on your belief. If what you are saying was true, we would all be Christian and believe in the Christian god. The claims you make are no more valid than those of the other religions that you disbelieve in. Also, God's 'love' is far from it, as I've written before.
II. It is a fact that you are a sinner:

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."All meaning - from the preacher to the prostitute - from Sunday school teacher to the pimp. When I read that, I knew I was a sinner and so do you.
Strike two! Two 'facts' in a row, that aren't facts at all. Just as there is no proof of God, there is no proof that the concept of sin is anything real either. Also, way to think the worst of everyone. You see yourself and everyone else and see a terrible sinner. What's wrong  with seeing the best in people? Rather than falling into the trap of an imaginary sickness? So no, I don't 'know' I am a sinner, or even believe that sin is actually even real.
III. It is a fact that you are now dead in sin.

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life thru Jesus Christ our Lord." After reading this realized that my emptiness could be filled - there was a way out for me - yes! even me and yes! even you!
Strike three! Again, 'sin' isn't even factually known. It is no more than a belief that is propped up by, and  is wholly dependent on your religion. If you aren't a Christian, Christian sin is not a relevant belief. Are you concerned with sin in Islam? Christianity and it's claims are just as unfounded as theirs. Again, if these things you are saying were indeed facts, the entire world would already be completely Christian.
IV. It is a fact that Christ died for you.

Romans 5:6-8 "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Christ died a horrible death - a long suffering death - nailed to the cross - for me; a sinner - and you; a sinner.
Strike four! Guess we weren't playing baseball... Four claims, and none of them facts. It isn't even known for a fact that Christ ever even existed, let alone that he died on the cross for anyone. Again, you are simply taking your beliefs for granted. What if I told you that Prometheus died, and died, and died, and died for us all. He suffers a terrible and agonizing death every single day (for all eternity) for daring to bring mankind the gift of fire. Surely upon hearing that you are now a devout follower of Prometheus, correct? Why claim that this unnecessary and unevidenced 'sacrifice' is factual, when you aren't prepared to bow in thanks to Prometheus as well?
V. It is a fact that you can be saved by faith in Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 16:30-31 "And brought them (keeper of the prison) out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." I said to myself, "What does it mean to believe? - I can't see air, but I know it's there because it gives me breath - I can't see electricity, but I know it is there for the lights in my house. The Bible said that Christ dies for ME. He took my sins upon Himself, past, present and future and died in my place - He died in your place. Do you think your sins are too great to qualify? I thought that. But He took them all - From the murderer to the liar; from the adulterer to the man with the bad temper - He took them all.
Now we're five for five  for 'facts' that aren't 'facts' at all. Again, there's no proof for Jesus, nor that he
could save anyone, had he even existed. Believers in Islam will tell you that they are saved by Allah. Hindu's are 'saved' by Krishna. Believers in every religion 'know' they are saved by their deity. The idea that you can be saved through Jesus is no more than hearsay. That's far from a fact.

Your comparisons to air and electricity are flawed. Both can be measured. Both can be used, tested, and verified. All are independently verifiable, and the results remain the same irregardless of ones beliefs. These things are not true of gods. And so what if the Bible said that Christ died for you? The holy books of all religions make all kinds of claims that you simply dismiss. So why should I grant one unevidenced book special credence above the others?

As for your statements about the severity of sin vs forgiveness, this does not highlight a positive thing as you think it does. How is it just that murder is considered equal to the crimes of eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics? Also, if any sin is forgivable with belief then we should expect that Hitler (a Christian) is in Heaven. Is that really a thought to be happy about?
VI. It is a fact that you can be saved and know it.

1 John 5:10-13"Anyone who believes in the Son of God (Jesus) has this testimony in his heart, anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this testimony; God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." Am I sure I am going to heaven when I die - as unworthy as I am? Yes, I know for sure - As sure as I know there is electricity - as sure as I know there is air - you too, as unworthy as you are, can know - are you going to heaven?
Well I'll give you one thing... you're consistent. Just as all the others, this also isn't a fact. You are simply assuming from the standpoint of a previously held belief. There are no facts here, just assumptions. I did find one part of the verse quoted interesting. It claims that those that claim to not believe that the Christian god created them are liars. Really? what of those in isolated parts of the world that have never heard of Christianity? They don't believe in the Christian god or Jesus and have likely created different deities. Are they lying about not believing in a religion that they don't even know about? No, such a claim would be absurd, but that's the one you're making none-the-less.

No, you are not factually sure you are going to heaven, you simply assume the claims and the path you believe in is true. Even in the absence of evidence. You are not sure of this in the same way that you are sure of air and electricity. Again, they are verifiable and God isn't.

And if it is a 'fact' that we are saved by Jesus, it must also be a fact that Prometheus died and died to give us fire. It must also be a fact that Thor gave his life to defeat the great demon serpent during the battle of Ragnarok in order to rid the realms of it's evil. It must also be true that Odin rid the world of frost giants as he promised since there are no frost giants. Oh, but I forgot... you don't believe in those even though these beliefs have the same amount of evidence as your Christ. Be honest for a change and believe in what is verifiable instead of what you want to be true or were spoon fed as a child.
After reading these six facts I said to myself - "How do I become a Christian?
What? It's six 'facts' now? I thought you said it was seven... But then again you didn't even present a single fact, so perhaps simple addition is a bit much to ask of someone who doesn't even know what 'fact' means.
1. I had to realize I was a sinner.
2. I had to realize there was a penalty for sin (Hell).
3. I reflected on the fact that Christ suffered and died for mine and your sins (past, present, and future).
4. I realized I had to repent (turn away from) my sin and turn to God for forgiveness.
5. I finally received Christ as my Saviour and believed on His name and confessed Him as Lord.

Romans 10:9 "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved".
Why not realize that Prometheus blessed us with fire? Why not thank Thor for his sacrifice, or Odin for riding the world of frost giants? Why not confess your dismissal of Ganesh? Why not confess that the Buddha really is the wisest and knows all? Why not bow to the virgin birth, sacrifice and resurrection of Mithra?

Why cling to the belief that all are flawed, dirty sinners? Why not embrace a Shinto tradition of purity? Why live in fear of Hell rather than fear of Helheim, Tartarus, Hades, etc? Why reflect on the suffering of Jesus rather than the eternal suffering of Prometheus? What about Mithra's sacrifice, or the sacrifices of the Norse gods at Ragnarok? Shouldn't you see fire and realize that you need to repent for your disbelief in the Greek pantheon? There is fire, and Prometheus brought it to us, so stop wasting your time with Jesus. Thank Prometheus for his gift, and bow to the great power of Zeus.
Why did I write all this? Why did I pay out of pocket to have this printed? Because I care! I care about you and your eternal life.
Or it could be that you wholeheartedly believe in a fairytale that is no more real or verified than the story of Peter Pan. You have been convinced by the deluded and have become thuswise yourself. I'm sure that if a Muslim gave you this booklet, you'd be thinking the same of them. Furthermore, someone that cares does not tell complete strangers that they are horribly terrible people that deserve to burn and burn, and then follow up this threat with unevidenced mythology. Yes, maybe you believe it. But what's so wrong with letting people live their own lives? If your god was real, and as powerful as believers oft claim, your actions are unnecessary and counterproductive as they may come off as presumptuous at best, and pushy and judgmental at worst.
Someone cared about me and about my life and because of that I am more alive now then I have ever been - tho I've had cancer, a heart attack followed  by a mini-stroke, skin cancer and recently my wonderful wife of 53 years went home to be with our Lord, I am spiritually alive because of Christ.
You say you are spiritually alive because of Christ, while the Buddhist will say they are spiritually alive in their beliefs, or a Hindu is spiritually alive in Krishna and Ganesh. Yes, someone was looking out for you... but that someone was yourself, and maybe even your wife. Your positive outlook was not due to an actual god blessing you, but the curious power of the placebo effect.

You've been lucky with your health. You've survived many ailments due to the expert work of physicians and the treatments created by science. I'm also sure that any positive mindset you had probably also helped. But recovery from disease in no way suggests assistance from the hand of a god. I'm also sorry to say that your wife did not go anywhere. I'm sorry for your loss, but she is not in Heaven. Actually she's not anywhere. The moment she died what made her 'her' ceased to be. All that is left is the body that once housed the bio-chemical reactions that were what you assumed to be her 'soul'. She is gone forever, and one day we all shall meet that same fate.
Christ loved me then and he still loves me now. Christ loves you! And will give you the same peace (not as the world knows peace) that He has given me! I promise you - you'll not be sorry! From a friend who cares and loves you as Christ loves you.
So you're closing argument is that  you don't love me? So now I should listen to the unevidenced claims you've made? You said you love me as Jesus does. Jesus hasn't been proven to exist. A nonexistant being can't love. If Jesus can't love, and your love is equal to Jesus, then you don't love or care for me. I'm guessing you didn't think any of this through... Furthermore, even if we pretended that Jesus was real, his character in the Bible is far from love, rainbows and lollypops.

It wasn't until Jesus that Hell was presented. Jesus cursed a tree to death for not bearing fruit out of season. Jesus told a follower not to bother with burring his dead kin by telling him to 'let the dead bury the dead'. He said that he had come to drive a wedge between families and demanded that his disciples leave their families and love him more than their families. He upheld the veracity of the barbaric old laws that often ascribe death as the penalty for many absurd so called crimes and are often misogynistic.
Repent, for the FSM boiled for your sins!

Personally, I'm just sad that you can't see that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) loves you just as he loves me. He will grant you the same peace and clarity that he has granted me. Pasta will taste infinity better, even divine once you have been touched by his noodley appendage. I Promise you that the FSM will grant you the happiness he has granted me and you will not be sorry. And in the next life you will witness the gift of his heavenly beer volcano. So shall you drink, and never become hungover. Ramen!

 -Brain Hulk

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