Friday, January 31, 2014

The NFL is tax exempt?!

This weekend the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will be contesting the Super Bowl. The game itself usually nets a profit of over $200 million ($245 million two years ago). Annually, the NFL huddles up an annual profit of $9 billion. Considering how much of a money machine the NFL is, it would surprise many to find out the the NFL is actually classified as a tax exempt organization by the IRS... I know I was!

And it has actually been this way since the 1966. The NFL league office is classified as not-for-profit under section 503(c)(6) which lists these as applicable for tax-free status:
business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, or professional football leagues (whether or not administering a pension fund for football players), not organized for profit …
 The inclusion of 'professional football leagues' is pretty odd to me. Interestingly enough, 503(c)(6) organizations are generally considered "organizations whose primary purpose is to further the industry or profession it represents." The NFL argues that they in fact operate is the same way that a chamber of commerce, or plumbers association (also exempt under the same section).

The problem is that they actually don't operate like a professional organization as they claim. A plumber can join a plumbers group by showing they are a plumber and paying their dues. But one can't simply show that they have a football team, pay a fee and be an NFL franchise. The NFL personally seeks and distributes franchises as it wishes.

A college or arena football team can't just join the NFL, like an electrician can join an electricians organization. Also, the NFL does not benefit football in general like a welding guild benefits that profession in general. Tell me how the NFL benefits the Arena Football League or college football? If anything, leagues like arena football suffer because of the NFL.

Also consider that with the NFL making a $9 billion profit, they only donated $2.3 million to charity (NFL Charities is a separate organization), but paid NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell almost $30 million a year. The NFL isn't just non-profit, instead they make a profit bloated enough to make a
gorged tick blush.

So it's no surprise that senators Angus King (I) and Tom Coburn (R) have proposed a bill to revoke the special treatment that NFL has been enjoying. If passed, it is estimated to mean $91+ million of tax revenue for the government every year. That would mean that the NFL would be paying their fair share, and you and I could pay a bit less in taxes. Sounds good to me! Now only if we could get GE to pay taxes as well...

Sign the petition here if you'd like to speak out against the NFL's free ride.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Politically Correct

Political correctness... It seems like it's everywhere. Some people seem to love it, others hate it. Then there's those like me who fall somewhere in between. When it comes to genuinely outdated racist, misogynistic, or discriminatory terms, I welcome updated terms into our lexicon.

But sometimes it just goes way too far. Words like 'manhole', 'freshman', and 'penmanship' have come under attack in recent years. Sometimes it's makes some sense to replace 'man' terms with new ones. Like when fireman became firefighter, and policeman became police officer. I am actually fine with both the new and old terms here, but can understand the desire to be more inclusive.

But has anyone ever known a woman that was offended by 'manhole'? What about 'freshman'? Or even 'penmanship'? I know I haven't. But some states have moved to replace these words with 'utility hole', 'first year student', and 'handwriting'. But I personally don't see the problem with these words.

To me they actually feel universal as they are. Sure, there are woman that work under the street for utility companies. And women definitely write and go to school. But I don't feel like those three terms exclude them.

My reasoning is that I get the impression of those 'man' words that they are references to mankind, rather than just males. I could certainly have the etymology incorrect, but they just feel different to me than fireman and policeman.

So are references to mankind sexist or exclusionary? I don't think so. Mankind is oft shortened to be just 'man' anyway... as in, dawn of man. That phrase is not just speaking about the dawn of males, but mankind... or humans as a whole. To me, there's not much, if any problem there... Unless someone wants to try and claim that mankind and human are also somehow exclusionary even though these terms equally apply to both sexes.

In my opinion, political correctness has done some good. A lot of hate speech has been weeded out by it. But it seems that it's served it's purpose, and now people are just taking it too far.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Is God the answer to a tired marriage?

One of Billy Graham's readers writes him with a serious question... Their long time marriage has become tired, so how can they fix it. Graham gives some  good advice for how to keep a marriage from getting to that point. But he offers nothing to the questioner...
Q: My husband and I have been married almost 30 years, and now that our children are grown and out of the house, I have to admit we're bored with each other. We loved each other once, but I guess those days are over. Why should we stay together?

A: One reason I wanted to print your letter is because I hope it will be a warning to younger couples who might otherwise end up on the same road.

After all, a marriage is somewhat like a vegetable garden; unless you tend it and take care of it, the weeds will overwhelm it and insects will devour its fruit. A good marriage doesn’t just happen; it takes work, and it takes commitment. Perhaps someone reading this has allowed their marriage to drift toward the rocks, and if so, I pray you won’t let it happen. The Bible says, “May you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

Is it too late for you? No, of course not — not if you turn to God and seek His help for your marriage. What can He do? First, He can give you a new desire to see your marriage healed, as you open your hearts and lives to Christ and allow His love to fill you. Then He will help you find ways to move beyond your boredom and begin to love each other again. And that can happen as you seek to serve each other and make each other happy.

Don’t go down paths that may seem attractive to you right now, but will never give you the happiness you seek. Instead, put your lives and your marriage into Christ’s hands. Then seek out a church where you can grow closer to God, and to each other, as you serve Him.
Billy is correct when it comes keeping a marriage fresh. It shouldn't be left for granted and allowed to slip into monotony. You need to keep things fresh and continue to do things to show how special you are to one another. But that advice doesn't necessarily help someone who's marriage has already gone stale. What does Graham say about this particular marriage? Turn to God, the Bible and church.

This isn't really that great of advice though. Remember that research has shown that the marriages of non-believers tend to last longer than those of believes. Since Chistians (on average) get divorced more often than non-believers, then how is turning to God a solution. Okay, admittedly some of those Christian divorces are the product of people getting married because of their faith, that shouldn't have gotten married (surprise pregnancy. too young, wanted sex, etc). But it still stands that religion doesn't seem to be some magic fix to a stale marriage.

Turning to the Bible isn't a good idea either. Most Christians think that the Bible teaches the whole 'til death do we part' line of the wedding ceremony. But the truth is very different.

Take a look at Deuteronomy 24:10
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house
 I don't know about you, but saying a man can just write a woman a letter of divorce if she becomes displeasing to him doesn't sound very anti-divorce to me. Nor would it be good advice for a marriage that is on the rocks.

Biblical marriage isn't what they think it is.
What this couple needs to do is talk. Talk about what they are missing in the relationship. Talk and reminisce about  days gone by. Through communication they may realize that they have let things go by the wayside and rekindle the spark that started their partnership. Communication and work may save their marriage. But they may also find that it has run it's course. And if that's the case, that's okay too. It's better to find that out and go your ways than to stay in a loveless marriage. But do communicate. Do give it a try. See where the road takes you are rest assured that it will lead to a better place one way or another.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, January 24, 2014

A 'good' Christian man

"He's a good Christian man." If I had a dollar for every time I've heard those words, I'd be rich. But what is this strange mythical being that I keep hearing mentioned? What exactly is a 'good Christian man'?

I've been suggested contractors and mechanics with the tag that he's a 'good Christian man' appended to the end of the recommendation. Someone I know upon hearing that I have had luck with online dating mentioned that their friend is trying Christian Mingle so she can find a 'good Christian man'. But every time, no further explanation or description is offered.

What qualities does a 'good Christian man' possess? The overwhelming majority of people in jail are Christians, so I doubt that's one of the intended qualities. Criminal doesn't exactly equate to 'good' to me. What about pastors guilty of raping little boys? I don't think that's what they're going for either. So maybe a pastor's son is more in line with the 'good Christian man' theme.

I happen to know of one such person. A girl I know, lets call her Susan, happens to be dating the son of a pastor. Let's take a look at his qualities... He's rude, controlling, physically abuses Susan, drinks heavily, and has gotten her into drinking as well. He's a very religious person, from an ultra religious family, so does he qualify as the fabled 'good Christian man'?

While I'm on the topic of Susan, she unfortunately denies the abuse she is experiencing. I will admit that I don't think highly of Susan. More often than not, she's the most selfish person you could meet. She also manufactured a huge bombshell of drama that caused my me, my wife, and others involved a great deal of stress. Something that could have shattered my life and my wife's for years to come.

So with that in mind, you may think that I would view Susan's hardships and abuse from this man as deserved. Maybe even karma catching up with her. But that's where you'd be wrong. No I probably won't ever forgive Susan for what she did to my wife and I. But at the same time, I still think that what Susan's boyfriend is doing is very much wrong. As terrible as Susan has been in the past, she still doesn't deserve to be beat by an abusive boyfriend. No one deserves to be abused like that.

With all that in mind, do we have any clearer of a picture of what a 'good Christian man' is? I think we do, and that's that the 'good Christian man' doesn't exist. Not because Christians can't be good. Quite the contrary... Christians can be, and often are good (just like those of other faiths and no faith). There are no 'good Christian men' or 'good atheist men'. Just good men that happen to be Christians, atheists, Hindu, etc. So lets try and stop pretending that adherence to a certain religion makes one intrinsically good. Instead, let's cut past the labels and just try to be the best people we can be.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Devilish me?

Okay believers, I would like to make one thing very clear... I do not worship the devil. I hear it claimed far too often that atheists worship the devil. A church was vandalized with Satanic graffiti, so a conservative website attributes it to atheists. A Satanic church wants to put up a monument, so Fox News claims that it's a atheist group that wants to erect the monument.

You know how I know you have no idea what you're
talking about?
This certainly isn't an issue that isn't confined to the ultra-conservative news (propaganda is more like it) websites or the bastion of ignorance known as Fox News. Everyday ordinary people also make the
incorrect assumption that those that don't worship Christ, must worship Satan. In fact, I've witnessed
this firsthand. This one guy I know, I generally get along fine with. We don't agree on some topics, but those disagreements have always be amicable. That is, until the disagreement was on theology...

That's when I witnessed the meltdown that was the closest thing I've personally seen to someone going full Ray Comfort. The reaction was not one you'd expect from a simple differing of opinion. It went from calm discussion one second, to rabid wolf the very next. But the most 'interesting' part was the rapid-fire statements that I was 'a Satan'.

So suddenly there was not one dark overlords of Hell, but multiple Satan's? Or did it mean that I was a follower of Satan? Or did he actually think I was a big man himself? Whatever the answer, one thing was clear... He had no clue what an atheist was. Maybe he was misled by his church, maybe he just didn't know better, or maybe he was knowingly committing an ad hominem fallacy. Whatever the case, he was out of line and incorrect.

You see, atheists no more worship Satan, that a Christian worships Ra or Odin. Not only do we not worship the devil, we don't even believe he exists. So tell me, if we don't even believe in the devil, how could we possibly worship him? The obvious answer should be that we don't.

The ironic truth to all of this is that while atheists don't follow Satan or believe in the Christian god, actual Satanists do. Remember... Satan is a part of the Christian mythos after-all. They do believe in the Christian god and Jesus, they're simply batting for the other team. Their reasons for doing so may vary, but one thing certain is that they are not atheists.

So to my Christian friends out there... don't say that atheists are devil worshipers, or in league with Satan. Doing so will only make you look bad and reveal your ignorance.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, January 20, 2014

The contradictory Joel Osteen

The Billy Graham column in my paper was boring, so I figured we'd look at a different insanely rich preacher (Jesus is going to be pissed!)... Joel Osteen. A few days back, he was being interviewed by Larry King, and the topic of homosexuality came up. When asked his view on homosexuality, he had
Is it just me, or does Joel just happen to look like your
stereotypical snake-oil salesman?
this to say...
The same that they’ve been. I believe that scripture says that it’s a sin but I always follow that up by saying you know what, we’re not against anybody
Well, that sounds nice, but is actually an odd statement as well. How is he not judging or against anybody here? He thinks that their lifestyle is a sin, but isn't against them? So is he saying he's a pastor that's okay with 'sin'? Or if he is not okay with 'sin' (as you'd expect), how is saying that being a gay is a sin, but I'm okay with people being gay any different that if he had said theft is a sin, but he's okay with people being a kleptomaniac? His congregation would be loudly in opposition to the second stance, so why the opposite reaction to the first? Somehow this statement is being made out to one of acceptance when it's really not anything of the sort.

Joel says that the Bible is clear on homosexuality, but he chooses not to preach on it. Sorry, but him not preaching on it does not equate to an open and accepting stance on the subject. He said the Bible is clear on it, and believes it is a sin to be gay... he just doesn't talk about it. His view isn't much different than the more vocally anti-gay pastors. He just realizes that that doesn't market well, and tries to avoid the issue, or appear softer on it if he can't avoid it.

So, are we to believe that not saying something means that you mean the opposite? I am currently watching all four seasons of "The Thick Of It". I am greatly enjoying the show. But if I don't say that I
enjoy it, does that mean that I don't enjoy it? If I wasn't vocal with my anger toward the Catholic child abuse scandal, would that mean that I was okay with it? Of course not! While Joel may not preach homosexuality as evil, his few statements on the topic have made his true opinion clear.

Osteen doesn't have a clear a history on this subject as one would be lead to believe either. In fact, he has a very contradictory one. He's previously said that he "doesn't dislike anyone", and that "Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world." But on the same topic, he's suggested homosexuality is a simple choice by saying "God can give us the grace to change." And I felt he was being quite ugly when he compared being gay to a drug addiction on Piers Morgan's show on CNN. He also suggested that gay individuals could stop being gay if they were just loved enough. 
Somebody who has a certain difficulty now, maybe they won’t in five years. You know, one of the messages I speak to is, you can love people into wholeness
That doesn't sound open and accepting to me.

And of course there's the topic of same-sex marriage. Osteen  says...
From a scripture point of view, it’s not what my faith would teach, but it doesn’t annoy me.
And he also said that scripture and his opinion is that gay's should not be allowed to marry, but followed up with...
I think we shouldn’t discriminate against anybody
 Um, Joel... discriminating is exactly what you're doing! Sure, you're Bible may not be okay with it, but so what? The Bible is okay with a guy having three wives and a hand-full of concubines.  It is also okay with slavery. So why should we look to the Bible for what to do? Additionally, the United
States does not look to the Bible to create laws. Actually, doing such would be against the Constitution. In the US, everyone is supposed to be granted equal rights. Denial of a homosexual couple to marry the person they love, while saying that only heterosexual couples may marry the person they love is in fact discrimination. Just as it was when groups of Christians pointed to the Bible as to why interracial marriages should be disallowed.

Osteen may put on a good act, but he's not as different as his fans think.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Worst kept secret EVER!

I feel like we've all had believers come to our door, or hand us a pamphlet in a public place. And strangely, most start with the same question to break the ice... "Have you heard the good news?" What, that the scientists at the LHC found the Higgs Boson? That the Curiosity rover found the Mars once had conditions suitable for life?

Of course, what they mean is 'Have you heard about Jesus?' Do I breathe oxygen? Seriously, I'm a
human being living in a city in the United States, and have television, radio, mobile phones and the internet at my disposal. Of course I've heard about Jesus. Yet the tone they use when asking this question is surprising. Not surprising because of how absurd the question is, but for the fact that it often comes across as a sincere question.

It's as if they think they are one of a select few that are in on this huge secret. That they are one of the chosen few that must spread the word to the masses who are unaware of this privileged information. But the fact is that something like 78% of Americans are Christian, and the remaining Americans that aren't Christians would have to have been in a life-long coma to not know about Christianity.

So I ask... How naive do these questioners have to be to actually believe they are providing brand new information to the masses? And if they actually do believe that most Americans are unaware of Jesus and Christianity, it really does speak volumes about the fact that they can be made to believe anything... no matter how absurd.

A similar case can be seen when a believer is trying to explain why some people do not believe in God. Some of these people will actually state that the reason that people don't believe is that they haven't heard the gospel. They then suggest sharing the gospel with them, and explaining who Jesus was and why he was so important.

This is a shocking stance to have in this country for three reasons. First, most non-believers where once believers. Secondly, in my experience, most non-believers actually know the Bible better than most believers. And finally, it is simply absurd to think that someone can live in the United States for any period of time and be unaware of Christianity and the story of Jesus.

So why do they act as if they are big on this big secret? This strange belief that Christianity is something that only a small minority know about... I really would like to know. Are these believers as genuine as they sound when they act as if they are sharing some super top secret news? And if they are naive enough to believe something so absurd, why should anyone take them seriously?

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Billy Graham still doesn't get it

 Billy gets asked about atheists, then he goes on to prove how clueless he is about us...
Q: Do you think there are more atheists today than there used to be? My cousin says he's been reading some books by atheists, and now he's decided to become one (much to his family's disgust, I might add).
Um, no... One can't simply decide to become an atheist. You either believe in god(s) or you don't. It's not an active decision... it's a passive result. You can no more decide to become an atheist than you can decide to like a food that you hate the taste of. It is sad that his family is disgusted by someone simply having a different opinion on religion, or even for simply looking into things honestly.
A: I don’t know if there are more atheists than there used to be, although it’s possible, since there are more people in the world. But it does seem they are more vocal, and because our society is getting more secular their message often gets more of a hearing.
It is difficult to say if atheists do make up a higher percentage of the population, that we used to. Statistics are saying that's the case. But how much of that growth is due to closeted atheists simply
coming out of the dark and admitting who they are. Yes, we are finally getting heard more. But don't try and pretend we're dominating the airwaves, because Christianity and Christians still get far more coverage than anyone else.
An atheist is a person who believes that God doesn’t exist (in contrast to an agnostic, who says he doesn’t know whether or not God exists). But look carefully at that definition: An atheist believes God doesn’t exist. He can’t prove it; he can’t verify it; he can’t demonstrate it. He lives only by faith — faith that he is right, and everyone else is wrong.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. An atheist does not believe that God doesn't exist... Well, they can, but that's not the actual definition. To be an atheist, you have to lack belief in a deity, not believe there isn't one. This means that an atheists belief can , and often is, passive. He gets 'agnostic' wrong as well. Agnostic is not a distinct position from atheism. Atheism and theism deals with what we believe. Agnostic and gnostic deal with what we know.

They are answers to two different questions, which is why I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in God, so I'm an atheist. But I also can't possibly claim to know for certain, so I'm also agnostic. Agnostic atheist... that's me.

And we also don't live only by faith. I know I don't. I don't disbelieve in God because of an active disbelief in his existence. I don't believe because I remain unconvinced by the claims, and the lack of evidence. That is not faith in the slightest. Also, is it odd to anyone else that Graham is talking down about faith, when that's exactly all what Christians have to rely on for their belief?
Often, however, people who claim to be atheists don’t reject God because they’ve examined all the evidence and concluded there is no God. Instead, they reject God for one reason: They don’t want anyone (including God) to interfere with their way of living. 
Wrong again Billy... We say we don't believe because we actually have examined all the evidence (or lack thereof) and remain unconvinced. What a god is telling me to do or not do doesn't enter into whether or not I believe in it or not. If my desires dictated what I believed in, I actually would be a believer of sorts. I quite like the idea of reincarnation, so if my desires influenced my beliefs, I'd probably be a Shinto-Buddhist rather than an atheist. But the truth matters to me, so I am an atheist.
Not all atheists are bad or immoral; some live commendable lives. But it’s also no accident that some of the worst atrocities in human history were committed by regimes that were based on atheism. No wonder the Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile” (Psalm 53:1).
 True, not all atheists are bad or immoral. In fact, I've never met one that was. As for atheist atrocities... please name one. But I'll go ahead and guess where he's going with this... Hitler was not an atheist. He frequently stated that he was a Catholic. In fact, all of his writings and other aspects make it clear that he was in fact a Christian of some stripe. As for Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao... while they may have been atheists themselves, their atrocities were not done in the name of atheism. They could have had any beliefs and the results would have been the same. Communism basically became a religion of it's own. They replaced the idea of an infallible god with that of an infallible state.
Pray for your cousin; only God can convict him of his sin and open his eyes to the truth of Christ. Also, pray that you will be an example to him of Christ’s love and compassion, even if others in your family reject him.
And I can only hope that believers such as Graham and  his reader bother to do five minutes of research before they open their mouth and show how little they know about the subject, or throw around ugly and incorrect accusations. Is that so much to ask?

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Abort the hate

The town I live in has a woman's health/family planning center. Every now and then, you'll see the anti-choice crowd out front demonstrating. And just about every day, there is a car parked right out front that is decked out in all manner of anti-abortion bumper stickers you can think of. While the bumper sticker protest is slightly annoying, and the full out demonstrations are quite annoying and even more distasteful, it seems that the situation has become even more stressed.
Shamed for getting a breast exam? How does that make sense?
Are the protestors are pro-breast cancer as well?

I'm driving by, and what do I see? None other than three women in orange shirts that read 'clinic escort'. The protesters have upped their game to the point that the need was felt for escorts. People so distasteful that they feel the need to try and shame and even threaten women going to this clinic... I feel that this speaks volumes toward the character of the protestors.

Sure, they disagree with one thing this clinic offers; abortion. By the way these demonstrators act, you'd think that's all they do. But as is always the case, it's far from all this clinic offers. Their website advertises that they offer the following...

• Gynecological services
• Annual exams
• Pap smears
• Pelvic exams
• Breast exams
• Lab work
• Pregnancy testing
• Ultrasounds
• Birth control counseling and services
• Birth control pill, birth control shot, Nuva Ring, IUD's, etc
• STD screening
• Options Counseling
• Abortion services (pill and surgical)

So tell me, why should a woman going here have to be met at the curb by an escort when she is only going there for her annual Gyno appointment or breast exam? Why should she be yelled at and even threatened by someone who is against abortion, even though she's not even there to get one? Obviously, she shouldn't.

But there's this strange phenomenon I've noticed among the most rabid anti-choice protestors. They seem to find a place that offers abortions, and they stop at that. They've found their target. It doesn't matter that they offer much more than that. It doesn't matter, that abortions are in the minority of the serviced preformed. They just ignore these facts and act like the place in question is an abortion factory that tells everyone and anyone to abort, or even force people to do so. People like this have a nonexistent grasp of reality. Sadly, these people are the loudest in their movement, and often leaders
Because woman's health exams, and showing the happy
parents an ultrasound is SO (somehow) exactly the same
as abortion...
in it as well.

These people are disgusting, but I still have a question for them... They don't like abortion. They think it's always wrong. They'll cite their Bible as justification of their opinion. Okay, fair enough. We'll ignore the fact that the Christian god actually commanded abortions in the Bible, and would be the most prolific abortionist of all time for the sake of this discussion... But I feel that this is a 'problem' that is easily solved. Don't like abortion? Don't get one! It really is that simple.

But don't come out and tell me that what you think, and that what you think your god has to say about the topic should dictate what everyone else can and can't do. I have my own views on abortion, but I won't share them here (unless someone is actually interested). One thing certain is that the religious beliefs of someone else should effect them and only them. Not me, not you, and but the poor woman being demonized while trying to get a simple health exam.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Is Christ unique?

 Billy Grahams claims that Jesus was unlike any other religions figure. But was he?
Jesus was unlike any other religious figure who ever lived

Q: My college friend says every religion has some truth in it, and therefore he's not going to commit himself to any one religion. As a Christian, I don't agree with this, but I'm not sure I could tell him why. What should I say to him?

 A: I’m thankful you’re concerned for your friend, and I hope you will pray for him. He may or may not be seeking God, but God is seeking him, and God wants to use you to point him to Jesus.

My first suggestion is a negative one: Try to avoid getting involved in debates over the good or bad points of various religions. Elsewhere in your letter, you indicate that your friend has made a study of the world’s major religions, and he probably knows much more about them than you do. Therefore, arguing about them probably won’t be helpful.
While it may be a good tactic for the believer to try and keep the discussion off of the good and bad
points of different religions, there is some irony to be had here... Yes, his friend likely knows more about other religions, but he probably knows more about Christianity than the Christian here as well. Most Christians don't do much research into their beliefs, and rather just regurgitate what they were told. If this friend studied many religions, than it is likely they they studied Christianity as well.
Instead, urge him to study the life of Jesus Christ as it is found in the Gospels of the New Testament. The reason is because Jesus made a startling claim that sets Him apart from every other religious leader who ever lived: He claimed that He was God in human flesh. He declared, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Please wake me when I'm supposed to be impressed. Why is it special that he claimed to be God? Thor claimed to be the son of Odin (and was),plus he was a god in his own right. Also, Odin promised to put an end to the frost giants. Did Jesus do that? And most importantly, Jesus' claims only matter can only be of any interest or value if you are already a believer in Jesus. Real evidence transcends belief.
Is His claim true? Yes, and He proved it by rising from the dead. You can visit the tombs of other religious leaders — but not that of Christ. He rose from the dead by the power of God, proving for all time that heaven’s door has been opened for us.

Yes, challenge your friend to look at Christ. But may his questions challenge you to live more completely for Christ, and to be an example to others of His compassion and truth.
 Given that Jesus hasn't even been conclusively shown to have existed, how can Graham seriously claim Jesus' claims to be true? Why is it impressive to say that you can visit the tombs of other religious figures, but not Jesus? I can't visit Atlantis, because it either never existed, or has never been found. Likewise, I can't visit the grave-site of Superman. He was killed by the villain Doomsday, but then later rose from the dead. You can't visit his tomb, so obviously the story of his resurrection was true, right?

Additionally,if the story of Jesus' resurrection was true, there would still be a tomb to visit... it would just be an empty one. This would be a site of unparalleled importance that would be the destination of endless pilgrimages. But no such site is known of. Are we expected to believe that Jesus' disciples somehow forgot where to tomb was in such a short time?

So is the story of Jesus in any way special, or more impressive that other religions? No, not at all. If you think it is, then you are simply committing the fallacy known as confirmation bias. That is, unless you also worship the humble Clark Kent, and the hero Superman.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Cruel sinful nature...

Someone gets ripped of by a fast-talking salesman. So naturally, they (for some reason) as Billy Graham for advice just so he can spin a web of fantasy that I can only hope makes sense to no one but him...
Cruel people let sinful nature control them

Q: A few weeks ago, a fast-talking salesman got my elderly mother-in-law to sign an expensive contract for something she doesn't need and can't afford, and certainly will never use. Why are some people so cruel, taking advantage of someone like this? -Mrs. A. McL.
It's a shame that her mother-in-law was taken advantage of. Sadly, salesmen preying on the elderly is
a tactic that seems to be getting more and more popular. Personally, I have a rule not to buy anything from people that approach me, either over the phone or in person. But some in the older generations remember a day when you could trust people more, and unfortunately sometimes pay the price because of that. A salesman can throw out some fancy terminology these days, and trick people of any age to buy into their scheme.

My best advice would be to read the contract very carefully and see if there is any way out. Also, research the company on-line. You will often find that these sales scams are well documented, and another's experience may provide you with help, or a way out. Then in the future, research these kinds of things so that you can make the most informed decision possible.
A: Tragically, some people are absolutely heartless and think nothing of exploiting those who are helpless or weak. Perhaps your letter will encourage people to be more alert to these dangers, especially if they have friends or family members who may be vulnerable. The Bible says, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak” (Psalm 41:1).
Agreed... to a point. Yes, the 'heartless' will prey on the weak. But that doesn't place Christians in some magical realm where they are super fantastic in regard to the weak. Just look at your average televangelist. He'll preach on TV and tell you that by sending in money, your prayers will be answered. Your problems will be lifted, and good luck will come your way.

Then they tell you that if you send and even more exorbitant sum, your prayer will be answered the very next day. These are Christian pastors lying to the faithful to make fast money. Please tell me how these guys are any different than your average fast-talking salesman? The same is true of the scammers that send out mailers saying that if you send in money, you will receive a prosperity prayer rug that is guaranteed to change your life, or a vile of (magic) anointed holy oil. Again, taking advantage of anyone they can in exchange for a worthless placebo.
Why do some people act so cruelly? The reason is because they’re concerned only for themselves. They never would want anyone to treat them this way, but that doesn’t bother them, for they think only of themselves. They think this way because they’ve left God out of their lives, and have allowed their sinful human nature to control them. The Bible says, “In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises” (Psalm 10:2).
Se my answer to the last quoted section. It should be obvious that being a believer doesn't make you any better of a person, just like that. Additional, what about the churches that only help out disaster victims with the string attached that the food or water they need, must come attached to the preaching or a Bible that they really don't right now? I'd call that taking advantage of those in a precarious state for personal (the church) gain.

And where does this attitude that those without God are somehow an army or scam artists? Every door-to-door scam salesman I've encountered has either worn a crucifix around their neck, or closed their pitch with a "God bless". Meanwhile, I'm a non-believer who does deal in sales at times, and I never try to sell someone something they don't need. I will lay out their options, tell them the good and bad of each, and suggest my opinion of which one will work best for them. If they disagree, I don't try to invent a fantasy story about how bad that product it if it will work for them. And if budget is an issue, I will try and come up with ways to save them money, while still providing the best product possible. Please tell me at which point I'm ripping anyone off, or being deceptive?

Do what you can to help your mother-in-law, including getting legal advice concerning this contract and whether or not it can be cancelled. Remember: Your concern shouldn’t be just for her, but also for others who might be taken in by this scheme. In addition, it may be time for your husband to take over your mother-in-law’s finances; her lawyer can advise you about this.
Um... Why isn't the suggestion that maybe it's time for you or your husband to take care her finances, instead of laying that responsibility on the husband alone? Sure, she's  his mom. But maybe Mrs. McL has more time, or is better at that stuff. I don't think blood is such a big deal. If my mother-in-law were is a situation in the future where she needed a budget set for her, or needed help with financial decisions, I wouldn't say that I couldn't help since were aren't blood related. I feel like we get along rather well, and if she (or my parents) needed that extra person to bounce these decisions
off of, I don't see any reason for me to not lend a hand.

I guess Billy is referencing Ephesians 5:22-24 where it says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." So... Is misogyny the in thing again?
In addition, ask God to help you be a blessing to your mother-in-law during these latter years of her life. She took care of your husband when he was young and helpless; now ask God to help you care for her. Remember the Bible’s command: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Yes, because the Bible is so consistent on the honoring of ones parents...

In Luke 14:25-27, Jesus said, "Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Hate your family? Yeah... No thanks psycho!

Jesus also replied to a man that wanted to be his follower, but wanted to bury his dead father first, "Let the dead bury their own dead..."  Yeah, your father died, but don't bother burying him. Just leave him to someone else, or let him sit out and rot. Somehow I'm missing the honoring of thy father in that one. 

True, that's not the MO for all believers, but it
does make a good point.
Instead of trying to pretend that deception and dishonesty are a theological problem, why not just be honest. There are believers in various religions that are good and honest. And there are believers of various religions that will lie to a little old lady, or set fire to a puppy without a single thought if it will make them an extra buck. The same is true of nonbelievers too. 

No group is perfect. But by knowing that my actions will impact those I deal with and those around me, as well as myself, I will always try to make the best choices for all involved. But when you have a religion that says it will forgive anything so long as you believe, then what reason is there not to rip of poor old Ms. Nelson. Sure you screwed her over, but you and Jesus are buds, so you still have your card punched for Heaven. You tell me which is more conducive to honesty and fairness.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Underachieving America

Recently, I've been seeing many study results that do not leave me feeling good about the future of my country. Some may seem trivial, but others are very disconcerting. Lets drive right in...

A study done by the U.S. Mint found that only 7% of Americans can name the first four presidents in order. Some may question the importance knowing that our first four presidents were Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. But it's something that I consider to be basic knowledge. Not knowing this isn't necessarily indicative of what else you know. But it is worrisome to me, that our history is seeming to be less and less important to the youth of America.

Newsweek also tested Americans and found that only 27% knew we 'fought' the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Additionally, another study found that over 25% of Americans didn't know that we gained our Independence from Great Britain! Seriously? We have a holiday every July 4th to celebrate that very fact. Of those 25%, those who answered incorrectly thought the US fought China, Japan or France for independence. Please tell me this is a joke...

On the topic of evolution the news isn't great either. 33% of Americans still believe that humans and animals were created in their present form. Sadly, 25% of those that accept evolution believe it is guided by a 'supreme being'. Unsurprisingly, acceptance of evolution is lower among the religious, but the trends when you look at political affiliation. In 2009, 64% of Democrats accepted evolution. Today, 67% do. However, with Independents, it has slid from 67% to 65%. And far worse, Republicans have gone from 54% to 43%.

It's sad that in this day and age, one of the most foundational and well evidenced theories in science
still struggles for public acceptance due to religion and teachers allowing their personal beliefs to dictate what and how they teach. And don't tell me 'it's just a theory'. By doing that, you are telling me that you don't know much about science or evolution. Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is. A theory in science is not just a guess or shot in the dark. A scientific theory is an explanation that best fits all the evidence. Evolution is a theory in that manner. it is rather sad that the US ranks 33rd out of 34 countries on acceptance of evolution. That is something that desperately needs to change.

Finally American students are lagging behind in math, science, and reading when compared with other countries. The US placed a dismal 30th in math, 23rd in science, and 20th in reading. With only the 23rd best science program, is it any wonder that evolution isn't getting the acceptance it should? In a day of cutting budgets, education is one are that needs more money, and desperately. I say cut money from defense, and reassign that money toward an investment in America's future... education! Yes, the system needs to be reformed, and easier tests is not an answer. But the last thing our education system needs is a cut in funding. Especially in light of our poor international results, and the poor example being shown at home.

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pay college athletes?

The college football national championship game was just played, and like always, it made seriously big money. With as big a business college sports has become, the question has been raised again whether college athletes should be paid. After all, college coaches get paid pretty well. The highest paid college football coach makes $5.35 million, whereas the top paid NFL coach makes $8 million. But should the players get paid?

 I don't think they should, because in a way, they already are. Many in the big schools are there on full ride athletic scholarships. So whether they are there for education or not, they are getting a university education for free as compensation for them coming to the school to play. Look at how
Pay for college hand-egg and other sports?
much that education would have cost anyone else, and they are already making out like bandits. 

Florida State University just won the national championship. The annual average cost to attend FSU is about $36k. Sure it's less than the $500k the lowest paid NFL player gets. But these college athletes are also getting that free education.

Granted, going to school full time, practices and games probably doesn't leave time for a job, so it's no surprise that many on such scholarships are not allowed to work, and are given an allowance on which to pay for food and lodging.

All that said, I'm sure many do get paid under the table anyway. But given all the freebies that college athletes receive, I don't see a need to pay them. And even if they were to get paid or receive bonuses, they certainly shouldn't get NFL sized pay packets under any circumstances.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A year without God

It's a new year, and there is one former pastor that is taking on an interesting experiment. Ryan Bell is a former pastor of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He has questioned the official church stance on some issues, which has caused him to take on this project of 'trying on' atheism for a year. Here's on his blog...
what he had to say about the experiment

As it turns out, the day came when I really didn’t fit within the church anymore. I had been an outspoken critic of the church’s approach to our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members — that approach being exclusion or, at best, second class membership (“we won’t kick you out but you can’t participate in leadership”). Through the years, I had also been a critic of the church’s treatment of women, their approach to evangelism and their tunnel-vision approach to church growth...

...I tried to maintain that I was a faithful critic — a critic from within — someone committed to the church and its future success but unwilling to go blindly along with things I felt were questionable, or even wrong...

...This was on top of my theological concerns. I couldn’t affirm the teaching that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the “remnant church” — God’s chosen people to prepare the world for the last days. If fact, there was a lot about the church’s beliefs concerning the last days (and the more proximate days) that troubled me...

...In March, I stood my ground on these issues and was asked to resign. I didn’t want to resign but I finally agreed...
It is sad, but not very surprising that he would be sacked from his position simply for having a difference of opinion. Especially, since he was taking the position that I am secure in saying will be on the winning side in history. He tries to be compassionate and a decent person, and instead of accolades,  he is asked to resign. Quite sad indeed.
...So, I’m making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will “try on” atheism for a year. For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else’s circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)...
While I am very supportive of him undertaking this experiment, I think it's worth pointing out that as long as he still believes in God, he's not 'trying on' atheism. You can't choose what you believe, so you can't choose to be an atheist. You either are, or you aren't. So what he will really be doing is living like most Christians do. Not reading the Bible and not really concerning themselves with religion for the majority of their day. Except he's going to go the extra step and not throw around 'God' references as a show of faith. That said, atheist or not, I think it's a good experiment if honestly done.
This one isn't mentioned much, but for
anyone wanting a quick, easy to read
primer on atheism, I suggest 'Atheist
by David Mills
I will read atheist “sacred texts” — from Hobbes and Spinoza to Russell and Nietzsche to the trinity of New Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett. I will explore the various ways of being atheist, from naturalism (Voltaire, Dewey, et al) to the new ‘religious atheists’ (Alain de Botton and Ronald Dworkin). I will also attempt to speak to as many actual atheists as possible — scholars, writers and ordinary unbelievers — to learn how
they have come to their non-faith and what it means to them. I will visit atheist gatherings and try it on.
 I'm guessing that 'sacred texts' is in quotes because he realizes that there are no sacred texts in atheism. At least I hope that's the case. I am encouraged that he will be looking into naturalism, and that he will be talking to atheists and going to gatherings. I hope he gets a nice welcoming, and finds answers to any questions he has. I doubt he'll ever see my blog here, but I'm always happy to field questions. Lastly, once he looks into the science of naturalism, I feel he'll be amazed by how evidenced and beautiful a fully natural world is.
In short, I will do whatever I can to enter the world of atheism and live, for a year, as an atheist. It’s important to make the distinction that I am not an atheist. At least not yet. I am not sure what I am. That’s part of what this year is about. 
 Looks like I spoke too soon. Bell (unlike many believers I encounter) realizes that atheism isn't just a simple choice. I have a good feeling about this guy, and wouldn't be surprised if he exits this year no longer believing.
My desire is, as always, to pursue the truth and do it in a sometimes serious, sometimes playful, way that might be insightful for others as well. During the year I will be blogging my experience here and working on a book. I invite you to follow along and share your thoughts.
 I know I'll be looking for the updates, and wish Bell the very best. Sadly, just a four days in, he's already been a victim of 'Christian love'.
We still love you!
So many of my closest friends and colleagues have said this to me in the past few days. My initial, unspoken reaction was, “Well, I certainly hope so.” Now I understand that this is not a forgone conclusion. I didn’t realize, even four days ago, how difficult it would be for some people to embrace me while I was embracing this journey of open inquiry into the question of God’s existence.
 Luckily it looks like Bell's friends aren't hanging him out to dry, but this is a risk that most atheist's face. I have been lucky, as I haven't lost many relationship due to being honest about my atheism. A couple 'friends' ran for the hill due to my non-belief. But there have been plenty who have lost friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, spouses, and even been disowned by family for simply admitting who they are. It is important to mention that these atheist (as well as Ryan) haven't changed. Everything their relations liked about them is still there and remains unchanged. The only thing that changed was the unfortunately close-minded attitude of those cutting the ties. I sincerely hope that Bell fares better, and is able to retain all his relationships.
It began on the evening of January 1—the very first day of my year without god. First text messages, then email saying, “We need to talk.” By noon on Friday I had been let go from all the jobs that I had. Since leaving my position with the Seventh-day Adventist Church—and even before—I was an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University (APU) teaching Intercultural Communication to undergrads, and Fuller Theological Seminary, coaching doctoral candidates in the writing of their dissertation proposals... They simply feel they cannot have me as a part of the faculty while I’m am in this year long process.

The other work I do is consulting with congregations. One congregation in particular—the Glendale City Seventh-day Adventist Church in Glendale...  the fact that I was embarking on a year without god was just too much for them.
So the price of simply asking a question was enough for this man to be left unemployed. That's now). It is odd though... I should think that such a project should be embraced by these parties. They must be of weak faith, for if their faith was as strong as they often claim, they should feel confident that Bell will end the year more full of faith and belief as ever. But their actions tell a different story, and one that is very telling indeed.
ridiculous! It's not like he's telling people to leave the church, and the fact remains that at this moment, he still is a believer. Yet one simple little experiment was enough for them to all cut ties (for

Ryan also makes some good observations...
1. Religions institutions (Christian, in my case) are not able to endure these probing questions from their public leaders.
2. Christian educational institutions are not serving their students by eliminating professors that are on an honest intellectual and spiritual journey
I've often wondered what is so threatening about simply asking questions. An open and honest search for the truth should be celebrated, not discouraged and penalized. If the churches truly believe that what they are teaching is the truth, they shouldn't fell worried at all. If it's true, then the honest seeker will find what they were claiming all along. Yet they are worried none-the-less. This tells me that even they may be unsure of the beliefs that stamp their meal ticket. And if my personal journey is anything to go by, they should be worried about people searching for the true reality.

3. Those who “come out” as atheist face serious consequences in our society. They are among the marginalized groups that get the least attention. I know this now from personal experience.
 I'm saddened Ryan had to learn this the hard way, but this is very true. Atheists are a decent portion of the US population. You see them every day, yet we are the most marginalized and distrusted. A survey found we are trusted less than rapists! Seriously?! But why is that? I feel it's predominately due to ignorance. People either don't know what an atheist really is, or believe the falsehoods that their church says about us. Atheists make up the majority of the Academy of Science, the most generous philanthropist in the US is a nonbeliever, and atheists only make up 0.07% of the American prison population. Considering that Christians make up the majority of the inmate population, why are we the ones that get the bad rap?
So I find myself, on Day 4, without any employment. My savings will run out in about two weeks and I’m scrambling to find immediate work doing, well…anything—manual labor, waiting tables, other teaching and consulting, or whatever I can find.
 So now Mr. Bell is left with the clock ticking in a scramble to find employment all because those that employed him couldn't handle him asking a simple question. That is very sad indeed. I hope that he is able to find something soon, as I'd hate him and his family to have to suffer financially or otherwise to to the inability of others to understand or keep an open mind. Once more, I'd like to wish Ryan the best of luck on this journey.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bitter cold, bitter truth

The last couple days, it has been very cold in this part of the country. Not as cold as some places, but still much colder than usual. When I left for work today, it was only 0°F. The high was around 12°F, but it was around -20°F with the wind chill. It will only be 4°F again tonight, so I knew it was only a matter of time before denialists began to claim that this weather disproved global warming.

They (especially Fox) enjoyed citing places in the mid-west where the temperatures were anything from around -15°F to -39°F (with wind chills even lower. The claims were ridiculous. Claims that this weather disproves global warming, or that this bitter cold will kill off climate change for good, or even suggest global cooling.

This happens every year... there's cold weather or snow, so it is claimed as evidence against climate change. They ignore that isolated weather events in one part of the world are not what climate change is about. Climate change is not tracked by weather here or there. It is tracked by global averages over long periods of time. Additionally, when a system that causes unseasonably cold weather in one area, also causes warmer weather in another (like this system), it actually has little to no effect on the average temperature of the Earth at all. Even with a cold weather, the long-term data still shows a warming Earth.

Additionally, more extreme and unstable weather is one of the things expected with climate change. I'd certainly consider this weather event to tick both those boxes. Especially considering it's cause. The cold snap hitting the US now, is due to what is called the polar vortex. Typically, the bitter cold of the North Pole is kept at the pole by the strong polar winds that circle the polar region.

However, when those winds slow down, that cold and dense polar air is able to spread out. And that is exactly what has happened now. The 'fence' of polar winds has slowed down, and the frigid air has taken a vacation to the south. So some of the north has come down to us, and because of that it has gotten much colder here, meanwhile the reduced concentration of cold air means that the pole is warmer that it would be otherwise. For example, areas of Canada were actually colder than the North Pole due to the pole warming some, and Canada (and the USA) getting blasted with that former polar air.

But why did the polar winds slow down, and allow the frigid north to head south. One possibility is the climate change that the deniers are so set against. But the fact is that the warmer polar water that is one of the symptoms of climate change may play a big role. The arctic is warming faster than the rest of the Earth, and it is thought that this can play a roll in slowing and destabilizing the polar winds and jet stream in general. So the very thing Fox News mocks could possibly be partially to blame for the US cold snap.

But facts are not something Fox is interested in. They'd rather attack straw-men to try and further their own political agenda... and line their pockets as well. Disgraceful.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, January 6, 2014

New year, new you?

2014 is underway, and I'm sure there are those that made resolutions. I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions... In fact, I've never made one. I've never really seen the point of treating the start of the new year as some sort of magic window into self betterment. But just as Bono of U2 fame said,
nothing really changes on New Year's day.

Some wonder if they should even make resolutions, and if they do, how to make them successful. In my local paper, Billy Graham wrote that the key to a successful resolution is to turn to Christ and ask him to help change you into the person he wants you to be. But I feel like that's a silly and pointless thing to do. Yes, one reason is that there is no Jesus to ask for guidance from. But even if Jesus was real, it still doesn't make sense. Christianity teaches of Jesus as the great forgiver. That he will forgive any and all 'sins' so long as you believe in him as your savior.

But that's a problem. In my opinion, one who will forgive anything whatsoever doesn't really care what you do or who you are. If anything can be forgiven, there is no reason to change if you follow Jesus. At least in regard to trying to seek salvation. So the only reason to better ones self, would be for the sake of those around them. But Christianity teaches that this life is unimportant in comparison to the next one they are promising. So, is asking for guidance from a religion  that views this life as unimportant, and will forgive even the most heinous of crimes really one someone should look to as a template to mold their life? I sure don't think so.

But why do resolutions often seem to fail? Sometimes people just don't make realistic resolutions. But more often than not, the reason is that people just aren't willing to put in the work needed to make it happen. If you resolve to get that big promotion, you'll need to put in those hours of hard work at the office and try and stand out. If you resolve to lose those extra pounds, you'll need to watch what you eat, diet, work out, or some combination of those. Maybe you resolve to be a better parent. If so, that will take considerable work as well.

And in this world of instant gratification, many give up on their resolutions when the results don't manifest on their unrealistic scheduled. If you resolve to have that bikini body you always wanted, you need to be in it for the long haul. You have to have determination and patience. If you haven't dropped three sizes after a month, the answer is not to give up. Maybe you're only one size smaller. But so what? For some reason, people tend to act like that failure to meet their end goal in the blink of the eye somehow constitutes failure. Maybe they just want to have an excuse to give up so they can go back to the way things were. But I don't see that as a failure. I see it as the first in a line of successes needed to reach that end goal.

And quite often, the unrealistic goal is not really necessary. All the diet plans will try to make it look like a woman has to be a size zero. But the reality is that you don't need to be a size zero to be beautiful. And those pictures of models that are held up as idols of perfection are often so fake, Photoshopped, and covered in makeup, that the actual person in the shot likely looks very different in real life. 

And I hate that these unrealistic examples are hoisted up as what women should be shooting for. But the sad truth is that this is creating a generation of women who think they aren't good enough, it can kill their confidence, and when they can't quickly replicate that fake example, just give up. I think that's sad, because you don't need skin and bones to be beautiful. And many women resolving to make that transformation may already be beautiful as they are, but have been convinced they aren't. Maybe all they need to lose is that one size or two to be in a more fit or healthy range. They may be half-way to where they need to be, when they prematurely give up due to false expectations. So girls, don't give up just because you aren't a size zero yet. And guys, just because you don't have six-pack abs yet doesn't mean that you failed. You're likely making progress, and at least one step forward should be considered a small victory, rather than failure.

Another thing I don't understand with resolutions is the timing. Why wait for the new year to try and enact change. Often things that people want to change are something that have become habits. If you want to quit smoking, don't wait until the new year. By waiting, you are only making it even more habitual, and thus, harder to stop doing. So by waiting, you are really making it more difficult to quit. It also makes me wonder why you are waiting. Sometimes I'll hear that someone wants to eat better, but they set a date in the future to start this change. They say that they want one more week to enjoy fast food, and actually end up binging on it. To me, this may actually suggest that they know they eat better, but they enjoy the way things are too much now to really want to.

So I feel that if there's something you want to change in your life, you should do it right then. When I was young, I had a bad habit of chewing on my fingernails. Eventually, I decided that enough was enough and stopped cold turkey. That time was fairly easy, because I was aware of when i was doing it. But sometimes things won't be so immediate. I once found myself in a job that I absolutely hated. I looked and looked and looked for another job. For over a year, in fact. It seemed like nothing was going to change, and I could have just given up. But I didn't. I made the best of things, and kept looking. And eventually, I did find a new job and escaped the one I was in. 

Similarly, when I decided to look for love, like many I assume, it wasn't any easy case of just going on dates and, bam!, I found the one. Well, I did find the one. But not after a few bumps in the road. I was led on, blown off, and even stood up. Like the person that didn't get their 5 minute miracle abs, I could have just given up. But them I found a wonderful girl that in just a few years time would become my beautiful wife. So if you don't get want you want right away, stay the course, because it may be just around the corner.

The problem with some resolutions is that they are really more of wishes than anything else. But a wish isn't good enough to change things in your life. I can wish to be able to win a marathon. But that wish isn't going to get me there. I would need determination and a huge will to make that happen. It will take lots of work. A wish is just an idea, but the work is what makes it happen, and if you are lacking half of that equation, you'll never make the finish.

So don't bother with resolutions. If you want to make change in your life, do it what you make that choice. And really work for it. Don't give up too early, or fall victim to the false expectations of the day. 

-Brain Hulk

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