I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight lyrics
from Champagne Jam album
by the Atlanta Rhythm Section

I picked up the paper this morning
And read all the daily blues
The world is one big tragedy
I wonder what I can do

About all the pain and injustice
About all of the sorrow
We’re living in a danger zone
The world could end tomorrow

But I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
Tomorrow I might go as far as suicide
But I won’t let it bother me tonight

Life on the street is a jungle
A struggle to keep up the pace
I just can’t beat that old dog eat dog
The rats keep winnin’ the rat race

But I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
The world is in an uproar and I see no end in sight
But I won’t let it bother me tonight

I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
Tomorrow I might go as far as suicide
But I won’t let it bother me tonight

Lord, Lord, Lord
We got nothing but trouble
I’ve done all I can do today
So bartender pour me a double, right now

But I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
The world is in an uproar and I see no end in sight
But I won’t let it bother me tonight

I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
No I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight
Tomorrow I might go as far as suicide
But I will not let it bother me tonight


In a recent forum I frequent one poster made these comments about the concept of  “objective truth.”

Here’s a small excerpt from what he says.

The belief that there is no objective truth is a contradiction, it would have to be objectively true that there is no objective truth. So there must be some objective truth. 

I think it’s more like a paradox. Although, there might not be much of a difference. Think about the old scenario about going back in time and preventing your mother and father from getting together. You would never have been born. If not, how could you have ever gone back in time? Our understanding of time and space is limited and our thoughts about it are partial and provisional. Thus, our statements about time and space bring us to a threshold where paradoxes and nonsensical scenarios emerge.

Theoretical physicists have since proposed theories about the nature of time that resolves that dilimma. But before they did, the paradox seemed insurmountable. Enough to send your brain into a spinning, whirring overdrive.

I think a similar phenomenon is true in the case of statements that the positivistic poster made in the above example. What we have is a statement that brings us to the edge of the ability of our human language systems to handle at this point in time. Since thought and language are so tightly interweaved it seems like the thought, “it would have to be objectively true that there is no objective truth. Therefore there must be some objective truth” is unavoidable. It’s tempting to say, “Boy, you got us there!”

But deep inside, doesn’t a warning light start flashing red? Doesn’t an internal clarion start sounding? Statements like this seem like sophistry – a verbal slight of hand, so to speak.

Do statements about something make that something actual? Remember the statement from Anselm’s ontological arugument for god about “god” being “that . . . than which nothing greater can be conceived?”

I believe Anselm and a succession of thinkers who follow in his footsteps went on to say that since actual existence is a thought that is greater than a thought about possible or potential existence, then an actual god must exist in order for us to have the greatest thought. That may be a poor restatement of Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of god, but I have recently seen much worse.

This argument and other agruments like it try to prove something exists from thoughts about the possiblility of existence. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that such attempts try to prove that something exists from statements about the nature of ideas we form as we try to form thoughts about the nature of existence.

Statements that we hope are true or think are true about reality are not the reality themselves. It’s a fallacy to confuse language that attempts to describe and analyze reality with the reality itself. It could be that the language itself is inadequate once you get to the “meta” level of dealing with the universe.

So the better response to statements regarding objectve truth or Anselm’s ontological argument might be to say, “what an interesting paradox!” Perhaps our language and our cognitive abilities are limited at this point. Because, just because what you say about reality is a contradiction does not mean that what you say about reality is not true. If there is no objective truth, then there is no objective truth. It may me that the only objective truth is that all truth besides this observation of truth is relative.

I live in enduring hope that my use of language might be considered creative. But I mean this in the sense of the way in which I choose words and put them together. I never ever expect my language to create reality. This is a thing which logical positivists and others seem to think they can do. I think this is their biggest mistake.


A member of ex-christian.net posted the following:

“Religion is wrong because it lets those who don’t have all the answers believe that they do. The ancient coping mechanism that created thunder gods to explain the sheer terror of lightning to the Neanderthal is now limiting our scientific and social advancement.”.

This was my response:
I went to my first arts festival today as a “post-Christian.” All around me were people of all types whom I would have judged as weird , rebellious, un-godly or worse at various stages of my Christian faith. I now view these individuals as much like the art I was able to see – each one expresses a truth about the world as they see it. Incomplete, flawed, and sometimes tragic – just like me, but in a different way.

I felt a sense of loss. I wanted to reach out to many of them and find out who they were, what made them tick and take into myself some of the universe as they saw it; much in the same way that I took into myself some of the universe as expressed in the artwork all around me.

I kept wondering to myself ‘How?” How does one approach people who are on the surface radicallly different from me, separated by mere cosmetics and circumstances?

I wish that all those years that I sat under the tutelage of preachers, sunday school teachers and seminary professors that I had been taught how to approach people as valuable glimpses into the world around us rather than as lost “sinners” – “others” who are in need of salvation.

Too much time was spent in EE or CWT telling me how to get people convinced that they are lost when I should have been told that I am lost without “those people.”

Yes, in many ways religion is bad for our social advancement – at least mine. I was inspired and overjoyed to wander through the festival today with the music of the live bands flowing through the air along with the breeze. But I wished I knew how to turn the love I felt for life and humaniity into real connections.

Where were you religion when I need to know how to do that?

Originally posted as a comment by oddbird1963 on ExChristian.Net — encouraging ex-Christians using Disqus.


I’ve had an awakening of sorts in the last few days.   Not the sleep-deprived musings of a depressed man expressed earlier.  I’ve had pondered the way of the Tao and looked into the concept of Zen.   It is like a cloud has lifted and I can walk fully in the now with no fear of a future or regret of a past.  The link I followed to the ZBOHY website from a comment to a previous post has also been a great help.  So thanks to Jerry Scott Fisher for his continued willingness to provide feedback as I have expressed my struggle in this blog.
What follows is an excerpt from a forum discussion on the ex-christian.net website.  The originating post was a member who posted that he now believes in the Unknown God of the book of acts.   Robbobrob made a comment to him, and my words are an affirmation of Robbobrob’s comments.  I have edited my comments slightly.
QUOTE (Robbobrob @ Apr 16 2009, 11:05 AM on ex-christian.net ) *
Today, do you only read the Bible to make your mind up about God? I ask because that is like reading only a McDonald’s menu to decide what you are going to cook for a meal…..there are so many other choices and ways of looking at things, and limiting your main focus to the Bible IS putting your concept of God into a very restrictive box.

Robbobrob,

I particularly like your McDonald’s analogy.

I don’t know how to encourage fundamentalist Christians to be open to reading other faiths’ writings and other philosophical points of view. But it is clear, when looking in from the outside, that people use the Bible to restrict their viewpoint. They may get “deeper into the word,” so to speak, but that’s like going deeper into a box canyon. You may know more about the canyon, but you are still restricting yourself. Once you get out of the canyon, there is a beautiful landscape to explore.

QUOTE (Robbobrob @ Apr 16 2009, 11:05 AM on ex-christian.net) *
I prefer to think of God as the Taoist and other eastern religions have describe such a being, as something above good and evil, love and hate, and any other duality that is found in the physical universe. One of the first things the Taoists say in the Tao Teh Ching is that god is unknowable, and once you name it, you have not found its real name.

I look at this “True god, False God/s” issue from the point of view of the old cartoon where the coyote and the sheep dog clock into work, greeting one another in a cordial and professional matter. Once they clock in they engage in a fierce struggle over possession of the sheep. When the day is done, they go to the time clock and clock out, bidding one another a good evening. Once again their tone is ironically cordial and professional.

I have “clocked out” of the “True god, False God/s” struggle. I say that in the sense of the Taoists or Zen Buddhists in how I situate myself in that struggle. If someone were to ask me “Do you believe in God?” I think at this point I would say, “G’Night Bob.” or something. To the question, “Do you have Jesus as your personal Savior?” I would reply, “Have a good weekend!”

I think now I could actually go to church again and not get angry or offended. I think I could recast the entire “show” as a reminder that their is a greater, unspeakable, unnameable reality behind the struggle of opposites. Were I to attend church, I would know I was seeing one head of a two-headed snake. In response to the insanity of a particular religious denomination, I would be open to the people there to be a loving, compassionate neighbor to them. But I can be open and loving to atheists, Muslims, Hindus . . . as well.

The landscape is beautiful once you crawl out of the canyon of theism. Once you say “G’Night Bob!” to the tension of opposites.

IMHO.


Wasted time by the Eagles is the song that comes closest to what expresses how I feel lately.  At least this is the song that has been running through my head the most.

Now, a qualifier to this is that the song is about the loss of love at a point in time where the subject did not expect such a loss.  Because of the unexpected loss of a love relationship, the subject in this great ballad wonders if the time spent with said lover has been wasted time.

Strike the romantic parts and that describes how I feel about my 30+ years in Christianity. 

But there’s a deeper dimension to my sense of loss.  All my life I have struggled with a great emptiness.  It is a void – - a shadowy sense of aloneness and isolation from others in this world. 

It’s not just a tragic, ironic void that exists despite otherwise fulfilling circumstances.  It’s a void in the midst of broken dreams, non-existent relationships and a career so full of false starts and mis-steps that I cannot tell if the darkness is inside me, outside of me or both.

Lately, this “void” has been more like a lesion in my inmost being that has grown wider and wider over the years.   The promises of my former faith did not fill that void.   There’s been nothing to heal the lesion of darkness and despair.  I have grown to dread and despise the superficiality with which I relate to all people and they to me.   All this pain for so many years.  And who knows me?  At this present hour, there is no end in sight. 

I still have not told my family about my loss of faith.  They do not know that I am no longer a Christian. 

Still more disturbing is the fact that I love my wife so much and I love my son deeply.  But they don’t know that this cloud within me is so deep and so dark and so persistent from my earliest days, that even my relationship with them, as loving as it is, cannot take it away.  I don’t know if they would ever understand that, though they would want my void to go away, it is not their responsibility or their ability to heal me.

So here I am, with my head in my hand.  I am at my wits end.  I realized months ago that there is no god in the heavens hearing my prayers and sending wisdom or healing my way. 

When I think of the future, I feel like someone has placed a black plastic trash bag over my head and is wrapping a chord around my neck.  Or maybe a better description is being trapped at the bottom of a deep well at midnight on a dark stormy night with only the wind to receive my cries for relief. There’s just no relief in sight.

I don’t know how to conclude this post except to say that my need to express myself is so great that I just had to write these thoughts down.  There is really nobody in my life I feel safe telling these things to. 

Have my years in that religion been of any benefit to me or anyone else?  Have I developed no resources in my life to combat this loneliness?  Or, has it al just been wasted time?


The movie Blade Runner  has always been, to me, one of the most incredible movies ever made.  The flick, adapted from the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  by Philip K. Dick, struggles to answer the question, “What does it mean to be human?.”

I’ve labored to pen my explanation and interpretation of this scene. But, alas, words fail me in that they seem extraneous and unnecessary.   So I will allow you the reader to interpret why this scene does demonstrate why atheists and agnostics, despite the claims of the apostle Paul and many Christians since then, do in in fact have a basis for meaning and purpose in their lives.

I think also the scene symbolizes a reason for blogging, journaling and all forms of literary expression on the part of the “nobody” writer. We write and share so that others will know were were here and what our eyes have seen.

Please comment, whether or not you agree or disagree.


On Religion (Thinking in Action) , which I can now cross of my books to read list, was recommended to me by Dr. Keith Putt who now teaches at Samford university.  What follows is a very brief review since I am still taking in all that Dr. Caputo wrote.

    I like Caputo’s  dialogic approach – - not a stuffy systematic theology tome or a dry-as-a-bale-of-hay philosophy book with endless quotes and end notes. 
     It was probably Caputo’s intention, but he begins from the standpoint of belief, asking the question after St. Augustine, “what do I love when I love You, my God?”   A more appropriate question might have been “How do I know that what I love is God?”  But, I suspect he would call me a rascal and continue  on from his original launching point.
   And I’m glad he does continue.  The author  engages in a nicely done exposure of pre-modern theology (which I equate to Conservative and Fundamentalist theology of today) as being too certain of the “answers”  it provides.  Nor does the modernist escape with delusions of a singular Reason behind all truth  intact.  His critique of both eras of theology converge in one point – - they both defy what true religions – religions without religion should be – - the pursuit of love as the follower continues to question “what do I love when I love my God?”

The reading of this book also reminds me how much I love  NetLibrary.com .  I was able to read this book in it’s entirety just because I have a library card and a subscription through our local public library.  I wish I could go to wherever the netlibrary people keep their computers and give each server a big hug!  (Yes, I realize that was a bit over the top.)

2serious



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.