Tags: agnosticism

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George Carlin dead at 71

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A publicist for George Carlin says the legendary comedian has died of heart failure at a hospital in Santa Monica, Calif.

Jeff Abraham says Carlin went into St. John's Health Center on Sunday afternoon, complaining of chest pain. Carlin died at 5:55 p.m. PDT. He was 71.

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Via BoingBoing.net: Skeptic giggles on Indian national TV as mystic totally fails to curse him to death.

Pandit Surinder Sharma, a famous Indian tantrick (magician) was on a televised panel discussion when he claimed he could kill any man with black magic in under three minutes. Fellow panelist, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged the tantrick to kill him right then and there. Hilarity ensued as Sharma chanted the death mantra, and, when that failed, waved a knife and sprinkled water on him, as Edamarku laughed the entire time.

After two hours of this, the show's anchor pronounced the attempt a failure. The tantrick said he must be under the protection of a very powerful god, to which Edmarku replied "I am an atheist". The tantrick claimed nobody could stand up to his extra-special death spell, but that could only be performed at night. The TV station promptly arranged another trial at night, with predictable results.

In the words of the internet: EPIC FAIL.
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Today Kim and I watched most of The Number 23, that tense paranoid thriller-drama inexplicably starring a totally serious Jim Carrey.

It's like the Blair Witch Project, in the sense that it's one of those movies that people watch it and either rave about it and love it, or they just hate it to the core. I remember The Number 23 getting such polarized reviews back when it came out, but I only watched it today for the first time.

I didn't get to actually finish it because my cab for work showed up way earlier than expected, but Kim and I were talking about it and I was like, whatever, you can walk around adding anything up and finding 23s everywhere if you're looking for them. And to illustrate my point I picked a random car stopped at a red light and added up the numbers of its licence plate... and it actually added up to 23. Which was admittedly kind of freaky, but anyways.

But this kind of reminded me of how religion and faith work, and quite possibly how my faith has/had been running all this time. The human mind can and will find meaning and answers in literally anything if it looks hard enough, often seeing patterns that just aren't there, and discovering significance where there is none.

At the end of Luc Besson's mazing and heartbreaking film about Jean of Arc, The Messenger, the ambiguous 'devil slash conscience slash angel' character played by Dustin Hoffman appears to Joan in her prison cell and questions her about just why she believed that finding a sword in a field necessarily had divine designs behind it, leading her to embark on her doomed career as a warrior for her god.

It was at this point that Kim began searching for a heavy, blunt object to strike me with for having taken a perfectly good chat about a movie and somehow finding a way to turn another normal discussion into another delerious rant about God and Christianity, and I don't remember what happened after that, but I woke up at work with a headache.

And then I realized that today is the 23rd. Bugger.
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Just got back from a friend's wedding.  It was all really wonderful and all, especially since this wasn't one of those obnoxious uber-expensive lavish fucking-show-off weddings where the debt of a small nation is blown in one exhausting day, when most or all of that money could go into the, you know, living the rest of your lives together thing.  Like buying a house or something.  But what do I know about money, I'm crap at managing it myself.

They were friends of mine and it was all wonderful and sweet, but weddings generally are agony for me.  Sitting there dressed up formal pretending to be normal (hey that rhymes), and mainly, pretending even harder that I'm not seething and boiling inside, like a washing machine with complex ugly emotions all mixing together in a spin cycle.

I think about how wonderful this is for the couple and how happy everyone is for them (including me), and what they have.  And I do a pretty good job of pretending I'm thinking anything else other than the same tired old thoughts that will never go anywhere.  Of those same old questions with no answers.  The silence from God proving He doesn't care anymore. 

Wondering, ultimately, what specific magic quality made me different from all these other happy Christians whose lives turned out so perfect.  I watch my friends walk down the aisle and exchange vows and remember that once a long time ago I was almost just like them.  I prayed to, worshipped, believed in, followed and passionately loved the same God all my friends did.  I "did" all the same things.  I had the same big dreams and plans and hopes, and most of them even involved serving God and not myself.

But apparently I failed along the way, I screwed up.  Got something wrong, most probably failed some big test.  Went down the wrong way without even knowing it, all the while still hoping and trusting in God.  All my friends have been and still are all falling in love and getting married and heading towards purpose-filled, shining futures, one after the other.  But I guess I'm different and special or something. 

Me?  I fell in love, really, really fell in love.  Wanted to get married, have babies, be a dad and husband, I was all for it, could see it happen.  I had never been more sure of anything in my life. 

But something went wrong.  We didn't get married, and I ended up working for a church on the other side of the world, being abused by the most evil human beings I've ever met who call themselves Christians, mocked daily for everything I am and am not.  I'd cry out to God every day and my prayers would bounce off a solid black sky.  I realized God was getting tired of my whining and moaning, so I decided not to bother Him with my trivial human misery.  The only thing that gave me comfort in this time was the idea that I could escape this hell by committing suicide.  I'd get through each horrible day fantasizing of that wonderful moment, plan it out.  It was the only thing that kept me sane. 

Then that girl I was still in love with and still wanted to marry, even after all these years, I couldn't get over her.  So I tracked her down, against all hope, figuring I'd at least know for sure and be able to finally stop wondering.  I figured the worst thing that could have happened is that she could have gotten married to someone else, right?


Apparently she lost control of her mom's SUV on the way to work.  It flipped.  It then fell down a sharp incline, landing on its roof.  She died instantly. 

It happened a year prior, and I found out through one of her friends' myspace page.

For the next week I was not in any real functioning state.  I would have certainly killed myself as soon as possible, were it not for me calling one of my best friends and him taking care of me for a few days, helping me jump start the process of pretending to continue to live.

That was a year ago.

As I am still finding out since, a lot of other things died along with her.  Ever since I moved to India, my passion for my art has plummeted and run cold.  After I realized she was gone, whatever art was in me died permanently too.  Strangely I don't even care.  More significantly my passion for God died too.  And in an increasing number of ways, God himself, for all intents and purposes.  Or maybe I'm the one who's dead to God.  Again, it's interesting how little I care.

Every now and again something else happens that helps another part of me die too.  Every time I attend a wedding, the triggered thoughts and emotions that come out make me feel like my life spent serving and loving God was some childish, naiive dream that I am now waking up from.  And I wish I could go back to sleep and keep dreaming but I know that won't happen. 

I'm alive.

She's dead.

My art's dead.

And God either doesn't care or doesn't exist.

Our honeymoon's very much over.  The love has run cold, gone sour, and is evaporating to dust as though it never existed.  I was once His special one, the apple of His eye, but apparently I wasn't perfect enough.  I didn't pass the tests He set up for me.  Couldn't perform well enough.  And soon there are so many others who are apparently doing it better than I am, who deserve His lavish attention and favor more than I.  Maybe God finally got tired of waiting for me to get perfect enough for Him.

And actually, I agree.  I see no reason to pretend things are still the same when they couldn't be more unimaginably different.  I'm starting to see that more and more of my faith and hope in God were based on bad doctrine and faulty logic at best, and sick emotional manipulation, guilt, dogma, and blatant lies at worst.  And I feel sick, betrayed, and countless, multiple, shades of what looks like a mix of grief, anger and heartbreak.  And I've been wondering why "intimacy with God" has been ridiculously, stomach-churningly, nauseatingly terrifying all these years. 

Not that God's one to apologize or anything. 

Not that this is even His fault to begin with.

This afternoon when I was trying to sleep all of this was churning around in my head and I finally understood how married couples end up divorcing, coolly calling it "irreconcilable differences" when barely a few years prior, they were once so completely in love.  And you wonder if they were the same people. 

So God's not exactly going to apologize or explain anything and I'd be foolish to expect it.  I'm not going to pretend and fake like I love God when after all that has happened, that's become impossible (not like I haven't tried).  It's like a stalemate.  Except this stalemate ends with one player throwing the other player into Hell for not being able to win his impossible game.

Irreconcilable differences.  How apt.