Thursday, July 24, 2014
Many, many things have transpired over the last four years in my life, but I started writing again because I'm about to begin a new chapter in my life. Emerging from a long hibernation, starting over, rebooting, whatever. Pick your tired, cliched metaphor and run with it. I'm back, I'm alive and I'm writing about it all again.
Some readers may know (are there any readers left here?) that I'm emerging from a long, isolated and difficult depression. Some of you may already know of my plans and intentions. But most of you will not. Several friends have inspired me to start writing again, and that's exactly what I'll do.
In December, I'm leaving my job here in Korea and starting a new life on the road. I'm currently planning an ambitious year-long 'round-the-world' trip.
The plan is simple and elegant. When my contract finishes, I will depart Korea and travel overland, from Vietnam to Spain and then to the United States. I will pass through 20-30 different countries.
I know this blog has long been neglected, but if you're still interested in reading, I will be updating regularly again, writing about anything and everything that happens.
I want to offer a special thanks to the many people who have been such wonderful friends and put up with me and my problems for so long. I'm coming to realize I haven't always been the wonderful friend and companion you all so richly deserve.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Before I begin, I should preface this by saying I'll be discussing some thorny, difficult issues with religion, morality, and my understanding of the world. Much of what I'm about to say in this and subsequent notes and blog posts will offend and anger a lot of folks. Folks have already told me off for some of this. So, if difficult, provocative conversations about religion are not your cup of tea, don't say I didn't warn you. Feel free to add any comments you like, so long as you do so in a respectful manner. Feel free to disagree, but unless its constructive, clarifying, helpful and enlightens all of us, I'm not interested. Angry polemics will be deleted.
I've concluded that God probably never existed, and 'god' as a concept is most likely a ficticious creation of our minds, reinforced through religious teaching, indoctrination, predominant cultural assumptions, and our fundamental need to answer the biggest existential questions.
In many cases historically, the gods that people believe in are precisely what one would expect from the cultural, political, and historical climate in which they are expressed. In her bestselling book, "A History of God," religious scholar Karen Armstrong, in immense scope, describes literally hundreds of different conceptual iterations & expressions of God, and how each gave rise to yet another version, and descended from endless other versions dating all the way back to pre-history.
Coming to this conclusion has been a long, difficult, and painful process for me, and I've only begun to make sense of it. I can't find the answers to certain problems on my own, & the Holy Spirit (God (if it exists at all) remains silent on some of these matters. I've found both the Bible and books of faith apologists & their answers to my questions about existence to be unsatisfying, lacking, and at times, downright absurd & strange. As I'm coming to discover, while this has all been very abrupt within the last few months of my life, I'm learning that this process started slowly, during the last 8~10 years (& in some cases, much much earlier).
A lot of things, for a long time, just haven't made much sense to me. For a long time, I've been willing to "trust in the Lord, and lean not on [my] own understanding," but that just isn't satisfactory to me anymore, or sustainable. I've finally reached a point in my life where I realize that my decisions affect my life and others. I also turned 30 last year, and for the first time, health and age are telling me about how much my precious and finite time here matters. I can't waste it any longer praying to a brick wall, rationalizing and defending things in my head that just don't make sense to me anymore. I need good answers, not the canned responses to these sorts of problems I so often get, usually delivered with a slick sales pitch and a dash of brimstone. And even if I had good answers, I need some undeniable connection with the divine, a taste of Karen Armstrong's "sense of sacred transcendence."
Finally, late last year, after a particularly frustrating time personally and interpersonally, I openly entertained the proposition that there may indeed be no God, or alternatively, if there is a God or gods, it or they have chosen to remain hidden. I find these suppositions show greater explanatory power over the world and my perception of it. With this paradigm, there is much more congruence between the experiences & perceptions, & what I know of existence & the universe. It simply makes more sense to me.
Several key issues dominate my deconversion. Frustration with prayer is probably the most significant. I simply can't help but feel or wonder if I've been praying to drywall my whole life. Perhaps I'm not talking to the almighty creator of the universe at all, but simply talking to some deepseated part of myself late at night, a simulation of sorts.
But my problems go far beyond that, ranging in scope from logical problems, moral dilemnas, problems with biblical authorship and historicity of key events alleged by Christians, to experiences I've had while traveling and learning about other cultures. I don't have to apologize for an ostensibly 'perfect' God who demands & needs to be worshipped. Why would anything perfect need worship? Or a loving God who condemns you to hellfire (eternally!) for being skeptical about, or 'rejecting' him, or even being simply mistaken about him. I don't have to explain how millions of people who lived & died prior to Christ (or prior to access to knowledge about Christ) may be condemned to hell.
I don't have to 'trust' God to someday explain why humanity suffers hurricanes, earthquakes or why miscarriages happen to good people. I don't have to explain how millions of people around the world seemingly have honestly powerful spiritual experiences outside the Christian faith. I don't have to make excuses for all of the terrible things Christians do & have done, whether that be the Crusades into Palestine 100s of years ago or the current child-sex scandal consuming the Catholic Church, or bombings of abortion clinics. Why would the almighty creator of 400 billion galaxies with 400 billion stars allow himself to be represented by pedophile priests numbering in the thousands and an organization that spent decades actively covering up their scandal? I don't have to explain genocide, rape, murder and all the other ugly atrocious acts committed by the God of the Old Testament. All of this makes more sense, with the supposition that god is ficticious.
More important than all of that, I no longer have to rationalize to myself or to others a God who just doesn't seem to be there. Something that's taken years of my life in prayers, thought, fears, frustrations about his will or the future, but has always been frustrating, and just out of reach to me. I've got a lot of serious problems and goals in my life, and I haven't time anymore for a God that can't or won't give me the direction I need. So its time for me to stop praying and start doing something about these things.
So, to get this off my chest, I'm going to write a series of posts explaining my new thoughts on everything pertaining to this matter. Everything from a new grounding in morality and ethics to reasons why I ultimately left it all behind. I'm not claiming I'm always right. I certainly can't know all of this for certain and I have a lot to learn, but I'm going to tell you all how I stand and how I feel about these matters if you're willing to listen. Feel free to ask any questions or if there is something you want to hear about in more detail, don't be afraid to ask...
Friday, March 11, 2011
Friday, August 06, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
"Is this an outrage or a bummer? Think carefully before you settle into your choice." - Carolyn Hax
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
"So how do I know if I've hit neutral if the light isn't working?"
Saturday, April 24, 2010
|From Korean Lint|
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
This Wednesday, millions in Iran will mark Chahārshanbe-Sūri, the Wednesday Feast. This ancient festival marking the last Wednesday of the year (on their calendar), dates to 1700 BCE, in ancient Persia's Zoroastrian Era. People build bonfires in the streets and dance over them. The fires are meant to struggle against the darkness and bring the sun's return in the early morning.
"کوروش کبیر گفت برای
جنگیدن با تاریکی آتش روشن میکنیم و با شادی و نور به سراغ دشمن میروی"
"To defeat the darkness we set the fire and face the enemy down with light and joy." -Cyrus the Great
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Having neglected this blog for nearly a year, I return again, this time with new found inspiration and motivation for elevating my prose. Encounters and exchanges with two recent friends over the preceding months bring me back here.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I arrive first in Prescott, to visit my grandparents. My Grandad has moved his computer upstairs. It looks as though he's in better shape than I thought. So we all go out to dinner.
Bonus: there's nearly 2 feet of snow on the ground in Prescott. Spectacular.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I've just arrived a couple days ago, back in the United States after another marathon jump over Pacific ocean. What I've done so far:
1. Met my parents and took them out for dinner at Ted's Montana Grill. 24 oz. of medium Bison Ribeye Steak. Enough said.
2. Become engrossed in the new Krakauer opus I found at the airport. One of my all time favorite writers has tackled the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL safety with the Arizona Cardinals who quit his million dollar career to join the Army after 9/11. After his death (at the hands of his comrades) the Bush administration tried to cover up its details and use him to promote their foreign policy. But in his best biography to date, master biographer Krakauer paints a portrait of a fantastic, exceptional man who was far more complex and IMHO, more heroic, than most people realize.
Bonus Moral Lesson: DON'T work for the US Army.
3. Enjoyed Skiing at Copper mountain for a few days. Snow was somewhat lacking, but they got some on my last day. Still, snow or no snow, its hard to complain about a few days of skiing in Colorado. I bought a new pair of skis as well. I'm really liking them. Pics coming soon.
4. Meeting my Aunt Dee tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing her and spending time with family.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
まなてぃ～／シドニーへ行く (The Manatee Goes to Sydney) This blog chronicles my friend and longtime Japanese teacher, Kyoko Nagashima as she spends a year teaching Japanese in Australia.
Ask A Korean Insightful blog about Korean culture, history, and society written by a Korean American. Very poignant and sharp perceptions about race, immigration, and culture.
Friday, December 18, 2009
This picture I find particularly interesting, as it exaggerates my features and lets me see how other people see me (which isn't so bad as I always imagine it to be).