Liquidambar styraciflua

I could travel the world and never see anything more lovely than a sweet gum in the fall (do click on the photo). This raises the question of why I should travel the world. I am far from opposing such expeditions, yet it seems to me that most of them are inspired by nothing more noble than the desire to escape obliviousness at home by imagining oneself to have experienced something abroad.

A relative was here recently. He had driven 5,300 miles in two weeks and planned to complete the final third of his journey in one week. He explained that it's sometimes possible to see two national parks in a single day if one takes a business-like approach (i.e. treat them as a prostitute to be done with rather than as a lover to romance). His own scheme was to pick a park’s most celebrated feature—which the federal government would have conveniently situated near a commodious parking lot—take a snapshot of it, and drive on to the next park. He had already bagged Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Crater Lake, and had his sites set on Yosemite, Sequoia, the Grand Canyon, and, last but not least, heaven. I’ve heard that, despite its extreme heat and various other inconveniences, hell does have a first-rate postal service, so I’m hoping Earl will send me a snapshot of Yahweh to go alongside his other trophies.

I’m confused by the part of the Bible where it says that god doesn't confuse people

If it’s such a great thing to be a sheep, why do Christian schools always name their football teams after lions, Crusaders, and even bulldogs? I think Atomic Lambs has a nice ring to it.

Could it be, do you think, that animals got a raw deal? On the one hand, they’re cursed, not because they screwed-up, but because we screwed-up. Yet, we get to go to heaven, and they just get to be dead. I guess the truth of the matter is that animals are only good for providing us with food, clothes, and lab rats. Small wonder then that none of the churches care about animals. When you look at where their money goes, I don’t think they care much about people either, but of course I’m an atheist, and everyone knows that atheists are “embittered God haters.”

I guess I do hate god, but not in the way religious people think. I hate god in much the same way that I hate Hitler. If everyone had ignored Hitler, he could have spent his entire life jumping up and down and screaming at people, and no one would have gotten hurt. God—or rather the concept of god—is the same way. If everyone ignored him, no one would get hurt. The problem is that people think he’s real, so they try to suck up to him in order to get mansions, virgins, and dark chocolate.

I personally think that the Moslem heaven sounds like one hell of a lot of fun, at least for the men. For the women, not so much.

When missionaries come around, they never talk about the good I can do for others but the good I can do for myself. Every Christian virtue is secondary to the desire for eternal wealth, and not just for a few gold serving spoons either but for entire gold turnpikes.

I think of heaven as like the Bahamas, only a whole lot nicer. The problem with heaven is that every iPod only contains one song—the Hallelujah Chorus no less—and you have to hangout with your inlaws, assuming that they didn’t end up in the goat line. My inlaws tithe, so they will probably go to the head of the sheep line. Some of them can’t even afford to neuter their pets because of all the money they put into the church plate, so, yeah, they’ll be in the sheep line.

If Christians are right about how I’ll be screaming for god to save me just before I die, I’ll end up in the sheep line too, and it won’t have cost me all that money, and it won’t have caused my pets to give birth to all those unwanted litters. Based upon this, it’s probably just as well that I’m a “godless atheist.”

The downside of waiting until the last minute to get religion is that I could be killed instantly by a falling safe or a speeding train. I could also get laryngitis. The Bible says that everyone—atheists included—has to “confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord,” so it probably wouldn’t work to write it down, but even if it would, I might be too sick to go looking for a pencil.

Even so, I really like it that you only have to do okay for your last few minutes over here in order to get a really nice bungalow over there. It’s like if you went all the way through school and made a zero on every test you ever took, but you got to graduate with honors because you said that you believed in arithmetic three seconds before the final bell.

When an atheist or an agnostic says that Jesus wasn’t god, but that he was a great man anyway, I always wonder what in the hell they’re talking about. If Jesus wasn’t god, then Jesus was a fruitcake, except that real fruitcakes taste good.

The god of the New Testament is supposed to have been the same as the god of the Old Testament except for one difference. When he got mad in the New Testament, he just threatened to torture people for all eternity instead of murdering them immediately. That’s quite an improvement, I guess. It’s probably why everyone says the New Testament god is a “God of love.”

One person who used to read this blog told me that I couldn’t be an atheist, at least not a terribly good atheist, because I didn’t know enough about theology (I think he meant Christian theology as opposed to the theologies of all those false religions). But if this were true, wouldn’t it also be true that most Christians don’t know enough about theology to be theists?

I think the Bible contains a lot of contradictions, but then I stopped taking theology classes after my junior year. Like in one place, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but in another place, he said to buy a sword even if you had to sell your coat to pay for it (I always wondered if he gave that order in winter). When I mention this to Christians, some think he really did say the first thing but he really didn’t say the second thing. Others think he wants us to stab everyone who refuses to accept his love. I just think he was in a bad mood when he said the second thing.

I’ve noticed that Baptist theologians always agree with the Baptist church, and that Catholic theologians always agree with the Catholic church. Since that is too weird to be a coincidence, it has to be a miracle, which means that god probably does exist.

My problem is that Episcopal theologians don’t agree with one another or with anyone else, and this makes me think that I was right all along about god not existing.

Does the Church of Scientology even have theologians? If I run into Tom Cruise, I’ll ask him. I’ll also suggest that he take his shoes off before he stands on the furniture. My mother always said that we had to take care of our furniture because we couldn’t afford new furniture, and that’s what I have faith in to this very day. Peggy’s mother always said that her family could afford new furniture, and that’s what Peggy has faith in to this very day. When Peggy says that our marriage is plagued by theological incompatibilities, I tell her that Job’s wife gave him a lot of unnecessary trouble too, and, for some strange reason, that always seems to piss her off.