Hello again. I’ve been thinking about the future of metapunk lately, and I’ve decided I’d like to overhaul the site a little bit; give the theme a facelift, and get rid of that redirect page on the main URL to the blog. I’ll also be re-focusing the content somewhat, including a bit more structured attention to the “holodoxy” aspect of the site. The process will take some time, but hopefully it will make the site much better. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going, and let you know when the new site goes live.
In the meantime, I’d still like to develop holodoxy a bit more on the current site. Just remember: what I’m trying to convey with the label of “holodoxy” is not really a formal system of beliefs or principles, but rather an outlook, or a set of attitudes toward life and knowledge. It’s a personal form of spirituality that I think is useful, but by no means finished, conclusive, or necessarily universal. Food for thought, and that’s all.
With that in mind then, I’d like to spend the next few articles on metapunk on some definitions, in holodox terms, of some words which frequently show up in discussions of spirituality or religion. Our word for today is “faith.”
Dictionary.com defines faith as follows:
- confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
- belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
- belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
- belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
- a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
Take careful note of the distinction between definitions 1 and 2. The first definition is an emotional attitude that has very little to do with knowledge or belief. The second is an epistemological claim (I know X, despite not knowing, or caring, how I know).
It’s been my experience that debates about the relative merits of faith vs. rationality, or religion vs. atheism, etc., are almost exclusively framed in terms of the second (epistemological) definition for faith. Yet it is my contention that the “faith” of any genuinely spiritual person is almost entirely of the first (emotional) sort. It means: “having confidence and trust in life, being, existence.” Even if someone says they have faith in God, as we’ll discover as we explore religious words further (in later articles), “God” is in large part just a reference to life, being, or existence.
Think about it. Claiming to have knowledge that you can’t demonstrate is decidedly idiotic. Atheists are not wrong to feel that people who say they believe without evidence are simply being stubbornly contrarian, and irrational.
However, someone who adopts an attitude of trusting oneself, trusting life, and trusting people in a general sense is generally much healthier, happier, and more stable than someone who doesn’t have that attitude. It’s the feeling that you’re going to be okay, whatever happens to you; and it’s eminently adaptive, if not rational, compared to either a constant state of anxiety about life’s inherent unpredictability, or the false certainty of denying that unpredictability.
And this really gets at the heart of the whole religion versus secularism debate: spirituality is about mental and emotional health much more than it’s about metaphysical claims. The metaphysics is only there to support the health aspect, even though it seems to overshadow it.
So, whether you’re an atheist or a believer, please stop framing the debate in terms of beliefs and evidence. Genuine spirituality is not about what a person believes or doesn’t, and why. Rather, it’s about how a person is able to respond to life: with clarity and confidence, or with anxiety or cynicism. That’s what real faith is about—and it’s not exclusive to any one point of view. It’s just a way of being in the world.
Addendum (Feb 19, 2013):
I came across this quote as I neared the end of what is now one of my favourite SF stories:
“I believe,” he thought. “I have faith.”
He jaunted again and failed again.
“Faith in what?” he asked himself, adrift in limbo.
“Faith in faith,” he answered himself. “It isn’t necessary to have something to believe in. It’s only necessary to believe that somewhere there’s something worthy of belief.”
—Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
Although Bester uses the word “belief” here to describe faith, I think he’s talking about the same thing I was referring to above. ”Belief” here refers to a recognition of possibility, rather than a statement of fact (or some metaphysical claim). It’s a recognition that the future is always uncertain, and thus always contains the possibility of something better.
It’s all too easy to forget this, and convince ourselves we know everything there is to know about ourselves, our lives, our relationships, and our world. This kind of certainty is seductive. After all, we can always look for and find evidence (real or imagined) that supports our views on life. But when we do that, it we risk dwelling on what we can’t change or control, and spiralling into despair and cynicism when life doesn’t go our way. But the future is always wide open, and if you invest your attention in the wonderful possibilities it holds, and act toward that… if you have faith (or hope, or dreams)… you’ll always find a way out of whatever trap you’re in at the time, and your life will be an adventure.
I just read an interesting post on Kotaku called The Rules of Religion, about the intersection between spirituality and game design. It was quite thought provoking in a number of ways. In particular the author, Patricia Hernandez, advocates the “gamification” of religion—that is, taking a crowd-sourced, game design approach to creating a new spirituality for the modern era. It’s reminiscent of an idea I had a couple of years ago for a spiritual wiki-project; a kind of open-source religion. I still think that’s a good idea, and incorporating game design into it seems like a natural fit.
Of course, I have no idea how to begin a project like that, but it really seems to be an optimal approach to modern, inclusive, and pluralistic spirituality. Maybe while we’re at it, we can get open-source political, legal, and economic systems, too. True democracy… I really think that’s where we’re headed—not that there isn’t already a lot of resistance from the people who like to believe they’re in charge; but call me an optimist. Let’s make it happen.
Anyway, the post also reminded me of just how much I’ve learned over the past few years about how spirituality really works; and what it says about the fundamental conditions of human existence. One day soon, hopefully, I will post at length about the psychology behind what I’m about to say. But for now, let me just sum up what I’ve learned into four axioms to remember at all times.
1) At all times remain aware that your awareness and knowledge are limited, and that the world around you is vast, changing, and complex. The “world” you can see, the reality you know, is just a tiny, filtered fraction of the world that actually is.
2) At all times remain aware that because you are limited, and the world is vast, you will suffer. Throughout your life, you will frequently be unhappy. However…
3) At all times remain aware that whatever befalls you, you can choose how to receive it. You can deny it, get angry or afraid or depressed about it. You can have a tantrum or a breakdown. There’s no shame in this. But you can also accept what is happening. You can look at a tragedy, and see it as a challenge—a gift, even—an opportunity for learning and growth. At all times be grateful for your life and the people in it—even, and especially, when things are difficult.
4) At all times remain aware that the world, the universe, is vast, changing, and complex; and you are a part of it. And because you’re part of everything, nothing, no torment, no fear or pain or boredom, perhaps not even death, can affect you forever. All things come and go and come again. Follow your heart and enjoy the ride.
I hope that’s useful to someone.
Forgive me gamers, for I have sinned. It has been years since my last post about roleplaying games. You see, I’ve been preoccupied with this whole religion thing. Now I’m going to write a post that combines both ideas. But before I make my point, I want you to consider a couple of quotes, from two of my favourite game texts. The first is from Violence: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed; by “Designer X” (Greg Costikyan). On page 22, he says:
Now—before you put this away, either “hurr hurr”ing like an asshole, or feeling vaguely disturbed, I want to ask you a question. That orc—you know, the orc in that room in the dungeon, you open the door, there’s an orc there. He looks up, a bunch of heavily armed human motherfuckers are charging into the room waving weapons.
What’s he supposed to do? Smile broadly and say “Hey, mi casa es su casa, amigos!”? No, he whimpers with fear, pulls out his pigsticker, and prepares to meet his doom. I wanna know about his childhood. Are you telling me he doesn’t have friends who are going to miss him? That he didn’t have hopes and fears and aspirations of his own? That you aren’t a bunch of fucking degraded monsters for wasting him without a second thought? You’re playing a fucking role, okay, you’re supposed to act like a real character in this world. And yet you saunter around, killing intelligent creatures like they’re just another widget, a bunch of pixels to blow away, a mechanism for obtaining experience points and treasure. That isn’t roleplaying. Not as I understand it.
Here’s what I want to do. I want to go into a Quake® deathmatch. And I want to strip down to a loincloth, sit down on the floor with a begging bowl, and call after the lunatics with the plasma guns as they flee past me, saying, “It is all samsara, it is all illusion, my friend”—for truly it is, pixels on a screen. ”Reject the fleeting temptations here, what profiteth you another kill? There is another path.” And I want him to turn, think twice—and then I will smile benevolently as he tosses a rocket my way, blows me to my reincarnation as my peaceful self—and he runs on, and kills and kills again, quad damage, armor, another clip, heal and heal and blammo to the floor—until finally he turns, lays down his gun, and sits by me, asking me to teach. And then one by one, the players shall gather by me, sitting, assuming the lotus position, touching the ground in the earth-witness gesture, letting their thoughts still, contemplating that strange Quake sky as it streams overhead, peaceful, in unity, transforming this one, small, cyberrealm of unending war and mayhem into harmony.
I wanna be a shooter bhoddisatva, baby.
Man, I am so full of shit.
And then there’s this, from Over the Edge (2nd Edition), by Jonathan Tweet with Robin D. Laws; page 167, under Alternative Hypothesis:
…Perhaps exposure to tulpas, especially psychic contact, would give a person a brief glimpse of the universe as it really is: an infinite number of immortal spirits donning temporary identities in various “worlds” as they play out their intricate, never-ending games with no true concern other than shared amusement. What would one do with this knowledge?
I’ve been thinking about these quotes for a long time. It started when I had a conversation with a good friend of mine almost three years ago. We spoke about the near-death experience she had on an operating table, after being hit by a truck.
I wrote this in my journal, in February of 2009, a couple of days after the meeting:
…and [she] told me something that I guess she told me before but I didn’t properly understand. She said that death is like taking the blinders off—that when we’re not here, living our limited and individual lives, we are infinite beings, capable of infinite understanding. Of course, in a universe where everybody knows everything, beings get bored, so they invented this amusement park / school called life, where we can limit ourselves and experience everything like it’s new again.
Which ultimately means that nothing can truly hurt you. Nothing is permanent—not even death. The only heavens or hells we need to worry about in life are those of our own making. There’s no such thing as eternal punishment or damnation and ultimately there is nothing to fear, or hate, either in life or in death.
This is a very comforting thought—a great sense of peace comes with it. Life is what you make it, and there’s no need to worry. Everything will be okay. That’s not to say that bad things don’t happen to good people, for reasons beyond their control. Of course they do. Tragedy happens. Evil happens too. But when these things occur, we have a choice in how we receive them. With a little perspective, it’s easier to not take them quite so personally, and thus deal with them more effectively.
Then, in the fall of 2010, I saw the first episode (“Is There a Creator?”) of Through The Wormhole, with Morgan Freeman. That’s where I first learned that the Simulation Argument is a somewhat respectable thought experiment in modern philosophy, and not “merely” an ancient philosophical idea (not to mention a seed for interesting fiction, like The Matrix, or Dark City).
If you’re not familiar, the Simulation Argument goes something like this: if it’s physically possible to make a near-perfect virtual reality, then chances are (given the age and size of the universe) that some technologically advanced alien culture has already done it. And if that’s the case, then they’re probably running multiple simulations—a multitude, even—including what might be called “ancestor simulations,” to study biological and social evolution, among other things. And if there is a multitude of simulations of the universe running, each of them filled with self-aware virtual beings; then statistically speaking, you and I and everybody we know are probably simulated people living in an artificial reality.
Now, it’s not like these ideas are revolutionary. Pretty much everybody at some point in their lives has heard or thought of the possibility that reality as we know it is an illusion of some kind, or that there might be some greater reality encompassing this one. It’s an ancient idea for a reason. But it really got me thinking.
The simulation argument suggests we may be living in a simulation. And given the state of present-day video games, it’s certainly easy enough to imagine a post-human society with super-advanced video games populated both by living players and simulated intelligences. It’s funny, really, because a lot of people of the transhumanist / singulatarian persuasion wouldn’t bat an eye at such a possibility; and yet will quickly balk at religious notions of a life beyond the one we commonly experience—whether those ideas are coming from a traditional or more New Agey source.
Maybe the Simulation Argument, and religious metaphysics, are just different ways of expressing the same idea—that ultimately, we’re really far more than we believe we are. Maybe in actuality, we’re all part of some vast collective intelligence—whether that’s an omniscient post-singularity hive-mind, or God itself—and maybe the difference doesn’t matter. And maybe, we just individuate ourselves from that totality of being to take on temporary, limited forms in simulated worlds, playing out parts for the education and amusement of ourselves and others.
Jordan Peterson also talks about this in his talk on Virtue as a Necessity. He begins by noting (at 3:47) that Life is Suffering. Life is Suffering because throughout our lives, our goals are thwarted by the arbitrary limitations placed upon us by nature and time. These are limitations like whether or not we’re smart, or good looking, or pre-disposed to certain diseases, and like the fact that one day we’ll die. All of these things are (Transhumanist optimism notwithstanding) beyond our control, and so they limit us. He says (around 6:20) that they are:
“…conditions of existence. Human being is predicated on a kind of fundamental limitation, in that we are what we are, and we’re not other things. And so that means, inevitably, that the awareness of human being comes along with suffering. Life poses the question: How to conduct yourself in the face of suffering. Not only yours, but everyone else’s. And it’s an inescapable question, except that maybe you’re fortunate, and you’ll have periods of time where something absolutely horrible isn’t happening to you…
…And to know this frees you from the false illusion that life can be conducted without suffering. Suffering is an integral part of being. Now, why is that? Well, who knows? It’s a metaphysical question. But I have some ideas about that that have helped me, and they’re things that I’ve read.
I read, for example, an old Jewish commentary about the reason for creation. It’s like a Zen Koan this idea. You take a being with the classical attributes of God: omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience; a totality. And the question is, what does a being with those attributes lack? And the answer is “limitation.” And then you think, well, what’s so important about limitation? Well, if you can be anything, or do anything, at any time whatsoever; there’s no being, because everything is one thing. There’s no differentiation between things. So something that’s absolute and total has no being—it has to be parcelled out into limited being.
And you know this because you all play games. You play video games, you play games with other people. You may play games you don’t even know you’re playing. And when you play those games you put limits on yourself. You play by a set of rules. And the reason you do that is when you limit yourself—arbitrarily, in some ways—whole new worlds of possibility emerge. And so there’s a powerful metaphysical idea that being is not possible without limitation…”
Maybe we’re all role-players, at heart.
Peterson concludes this part of his talk by noting: “So you say, what’s the price you pay for being? The price you pay for being is limitation. And the price you pay for limitation is suffering. So the price you pay for being is suffering.”
Why do we let ourselves suffer if we’re just playing an elaborate game? Why would any all-knowing entity voluntarily experience pain and loss and uncertainty? Maybe just so that we take the simulation seriously.
Maybe we’re all role-players, suffering for our art. Maybe we’re just playing characters driven by our passions—suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to educate ourselves, or the universe itself, in all the wonders of a life well worn. Just so we can feel, and be moved.
Maybe Shakespeare was right: The Play’s The Thing.
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.
—As You Like It, by William Shakespeare; Act 2, scene 7, 139–143
More stupidity on Ye Olde Interwebbe. I pretty much lost my shit with a guy on io9 this week. Not that I wanted to, but… well, here’s a synopsis of the conversation:
Me: Exploring fantasy is a good thing. Metaphorical thinking is useful in a personal crisis. It helps because thinking about metaphors allows you to be more conceptually flexible.
Him: YOU’RE WRONG! Because… SCIENCE! Magic is bad!
Me: Umm… I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. I didn’t say anything about magic. What I mean is, theoretical knowledge doesn’t disprove the experience of pain or misery, but previous practice exploring metaphors can help deal with it. Here’s a scientist talking about what that means (linked video).
Him: Fantasy implies magic. That guy seems to be saying that consciousness is magic. But I only watched a few minutes of that video. It’s a whole hour long! Obviously he is wrong. You’re wrong! Science! SCIENCE!!! Metaphors are stupid!
Me: Go away.
Him: You’re boring. You go away! I’m not even interested in this topic.
Me: Seriously? What do you want here? We can’t really have a conversation if you’re not interested in the discussion. Maybe you’re misunderstanding me. Here, this linked video talks about it more directly.
Him: Yes seriously. I shouldn’t have to look at those videos because I disagree with that guy, and anyway, they’re too long. I came here to have fun and have a discussion. I don’t think you understand SCIENCE!… [I skimmed the rest.]
Me: Sorry, I didn’t read your whole post. After all; I disagree with you, so why should I?
That’s when I left the conversation. He replied twice more, but I didn’t read them. This guy just made me so angry. I seriously would have hit him if we’d been in the same room. I know the internet magnifies everything, but holy crap.
It’s unfortunate when someone disagrees with you because he doesn’t understand what you said. It’s obnoxious when that person vehemently insists that you’re wrong, because he thinks he understands you but refuses to find out what you actually meant. It’s bullshit when that person doesn’t even live up to his own standards of argumentation, because then you can’t even talk to him on his own terms. And it’s absolutely infuriating when that person continues to shout at you, regardless.
I find myself wondering what the lesson is, here. I guess I could have been a lot cooler about it, and obviously it was a mistake to keep talking to this troll as long as I did. As usual, it seems that contrary to their own assumption, believers in hard rationalism are no more immune to irrational speech as their counterparts in religion.
It’s very frustrating.
At the risk of writing a minor rant, I wanted to discuss a comment someone made to me recently, which won’t rest until I write it down.
Recently, an atheist friend inquired as to my religious beliefs. Because I was tired, and because I didn’t want to bore him with all the complicated details of my spirituality, I said I was agnostic. I regretted it as soon as I said it, because his response was very predictable.
“Oh, I get that,” he said. “As Richard Dawkins says, you’re just an atheist who hasn’t made up his mind yet.”
I’ve tried not to be annoyed by this because he’s not agnostic, and therefore he doesn’t realize how profoundly ignorant that statement is. But at the same time: he doesn’t realize how profoundly ignorant that statement is. Like any of Dawkins’ fans, and Dawkins himself, he’s an intelligent guy who has utterly failed to apply his intelligence to the subject at hand.
Agnosticism does not mean sitting on the fence between strong positions of theism and atheism. It’s not some kind of half-assed, waffling maybe. It’s a strong position that the entire question of theism versus atheism is a stupid one—that the fence between these poles ought to be torn down (because, despite fears to the contrary, tearing down that fence won’t make those poles identical). It is the firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs (or non-beliefs, as the case may be). It is the understanding that the reality of these ideologies, and of the universe, is far more complex and nuanced than this simplistic, either/or debate will allow for.
Many atheists will argue that scientific understanding is impossible unless there’s a clear line separating the world of faith from the world of physical evidence. But if you follow the evidence, particularly in psychology, it’s clear that:
- Human rationality is deeply bounded by intractable and inherent limitations in perspective and processing power;
- Assuming those limitations don’t exist is foolhardy;
- Spiritual traditions are ultimately just frameworks for dealing with those limitations.
And maybe 4: Scientific materialism, by itself, is not a viable substitute for such a framework.
Does that mean religions should be followed blindly, or that atheism is an invalid position? Of course not. But it does mean that religious traditions have insights to offer if you know where to look, and that a smart person won’t discount religious stories and practices out of hand, simply because he finds them distasteful, or primitive.
So, on the contrary: Agnostics aren’t just atheists who haven’t made up their minds. They are people who refuse to be limited to a single set of possibilities, or to be told which ideas they can and cannot explore.
I look at people with fixed concepts of God or the lack thereof, and to me they are like people standing in cages arrayed around an open field. I can move freely around the field and still find my way back home, while they are locked inside prisons of their own making. They could walk out any time, but they don’t.
So, no thanks. My intellectual freedom / sovereignty is non-negotiable, and this business of sorting each other into ideological camps and then making war on each other is not for me.
Remember that machine we wanted to build when we were kids? That supercomputer that could be used to monitor, simulate, and predict cultural trends; maybe even physical events? (Okay, I was a strange kid, so what?) We thought this would be some sort of standalone machine. Something centralized and owned by some government. But no.
I just learned about Twendr (yes, I’m a tad slow with these things; bit of a Luddite, really). I hate the baby-talk name; but anyway, it tells you about twitter trends as they happen by spotting keywords in people’s posts. In other words, it just tells you what everybody is talking about in a global sense, in real time.
But think about how this could be applied to utilities like Google Street View and Google Earth and blogs and 4Chan and whatever remains of journalism in the twenty-first century, and every other frigging thing out there.
Think of where this is going. We’ve made maps, representations, of the real world since the beginning. We called them words and ideas and symbols and myths, and sometimes, actual maps. We learned to manipulate these representations. We realized we could use them to highlight certain facts and ignore others, and so could understand the real world better—and alter it to suit our interests.
We’ve had conflicts not only because our interests collide, but often because our representations of the world, our maps, don’t agree—and because our maps feel more real than the actual world. Or they block out our view of the actual world. Indeed, we tend to bury our faces in our maps and forget to put them down and look where we’re going.
Get out your Hawaiian shirts, folks. Everybody’s a tourist.
But now comes the internet, which, among other things, is like a huge map—not only of physical space, but of cultural space as well. And with things like Twendr and Google Earth, we’re updating that map in nearly real time, with commentary.
I mean, the internet—I can’t say it’s alive, exactly; but it’s certainly some kind of evolving organic system. It’s a cyborg brain with people for neurons and electronics for synapses.
We can imagine a day when the map becomes more detailed than the territory. And as this happens, we’re developing biotech and nanotech that will one day give us the power to edit the physical world as easily as we can edit photos and documents.
The map, already approaching 1:1 scale, will bleed off the page and into the world, The word “reality” will have no meaning beyond the conversation about it, shifting with our desires and delusions. The medium will literally be the message. We will truly dwell in a collective hallucination that every saint and sinner, every starred commenter and asshat troll will tug and twist with all available might. Whether that hallucination will be consensual and mutually worthwhile, or if it’ll be a bad trip for some or all—that’s anybody’s guess.
But maybe, if we know we’re all hallucinating, we can choose to make it a good one; because we’ll know that every act, every idea we nurture, will contribute (however minutely) to what the next moment brings.
Maybe we’re already living in a Matrix-like world mediated by digital mapping and manipulation, and thereby shaped by the hopes and fears of the minds contained therein. Maybe the singularity happened a long long time ago, and we just don’t realize it. Maybe we’re gods and mortals by turns… fallen from Olympus with self-imposed amnesia and arbitrary limitations, just so we can experience the whole existence thing with fresh and passionate eyes—even if it means we also suffer, and are occasionally brutal to each other. I mean, it’s the challenge that makes the game worth playing, right?
Or maybe I’m just a lunatic, and you should ignore everything I’ve said here.
Choice is quite a thing, no?
Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, has some very interesting things to say about human emotional health, mythology, and religion. In fact, his ideas are profound enough that they ought to be required viewing for anybody who has ever had a strong opinion on the topic of religion.
His ideas are drawn from diverse sources besides mythology: art, literature, philosophy, history, and all of it grounded in science; specifically experimental and clinical psychology. So, it probably shouldn’t be astonishing that he makes so much sense when he explains, well, basically everything. But really, you have to hear him for yourself. I realize that some of these videos are long (no more than an hour), but they’re really worth it. Make the time.
In this first video, Reality and the Sacred, he explains how we actually ignore most of reality, and only really notice it when it becomes a problem for us—and how that fact is symbolized in stories.
In this next one, The Necessity of Virtue, he talks about the nature of virtue, and the nature of evil through examples from religion, literature, and atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust and the mass murders of the Soviet Regime.
Here he explains the story of Genesis and how it relates to consciousness, suffering, and historical acts of evil such as fascism and the Columbine shootings:
Just this: A story from the Onion about the religious punishment of stoning in Iran. Told from the point of view of a man throwing the stones, the back-handed ha-ha-only-serious cynicism of a standard Onion story gives way to something eerily touching. It’s the apotheosis of gritty satire—reminding us of how every one of us dies a little when barbarism and tyranny pretend to be religion.
A couple of days ago I got my weekly YouTube update, which included a ForaTV link to “Dawkins: Did Religion Have an Evolutionary Value?”
You’ll note here that the use of the past-tense strongly implies that religion no longer has any value in evolutionary and social terms, and if you watch the talk you’ll see Dawkins imply that religion itself never actually did—that religion is just an unhealthy byproduct of healthy evolutionary imperatives. All of which is pure assumption / opinion on Dawkins’ part and nothing more.
But it got me to thinking I should write some more measured pieces about Atheism, considering my last one (the first post on metapunk written in anger, probably not the last, but hopefully one of only a few).
At the same time, Dawkins’ video led me to two far more intelligent discussions on the place of religion in the modern world. (continue reading…)
…Frakking fundamentalists, too!
Okay, so I know, I know. Arguing on the Internet is pretty much always a waste of time. Every time I do it, I feel like I just crawled through a sewer pipe, looking for the elusive source of the world’s bullshit. But sometimes you just sorta get sucked in, y’know?
Before I go on, I should point out that atheists are not the problem. If someone chooses to believe in God, Gods, the flying spaghetti monster, the bloody timecube, or nothing at all… well, hey, that’s cool. I respect that decision—follow your experience where it takes you, I say. Be empirical. But those Richard Dawkins wannabe, down-with-spirituality-in-every-form, capital “A,” Atheists—well, I’ve got no time for them, because every one I’ve met is an arrogant asshole.