Sunday, March 23, 2008
Who Am I?
There was a radio commercial for Levi Jeans that advertised their jeans as being for hard working men.... they started listing hard working, manual labor, jobs and then the last thing in the list they said "... for the man who carries the sleeping baby up the stairs to bed". I swear everytime I heard that line I got chills and my heart skipped a beat. I think it was a way of defining who I am. Ok, so I don't have kids..... but the definition of who you are isn't what is around you and I think this is where people go so far away from what life is meant to be. The car I drive doesnt define who I am (even if who am I influences my purchase of it) nor does the house I live in.
I'm really pulling for Obama in this election but despite what people want to say about me, I'm not pro-choice. Republicans are pro-life so they obviously reflect the best intentions and hold high the miracle that we all are as humans and wouldn't do anything to hurt us. The problem is that it's easier for people to make judgements based on the outward because getting to know the inward takes time and its time that we don't want to waste.... and this is the whole basis for racism of all types. It was so much easier for slave owners to look at the color of their skin and make a judgement based on that rather than actually take the time to get to know those people as human beings. It's easier to attack me and say that I can't be a Christian because I'm liberal or that I can't be liberal because I'm a Christian. It's easier to look at the picture on the book cover and say its a good book or a horrible book rather than take the time to actually read it.
So who am I, really? I'm 27 years old, I am a male, and my mom's name is Kim..... I'm from southwestern PA and I grew up around a family that had a few prejudice thoughts..... I was in a mental hospital once.... I dropped out of high school -- and then out of college. I am a virgin but have been known to really enjoy sexual pleasure. I moved to Florida in 1999 for four months and came back after spending "needless" money because I couldnt stand to be away from my family.... I declared bankruptcy a few years ago... I once punched my sister on the playground in elementary school.
If those things answered your question then you are sadly misled.... but not because any of those things are a lie. All of those things are 100% true and are factual statements that can be proven with various different legal documents or talking to the right people. I can't go back and change any one of those facts but not a single one of those defines who I am.
Think about what you thought of as you read those things. Many of you didn't know some of those facts about me -- some of them were because I never told you for the reason that you might think what you may have just thought. If I say that I was in a mental hospital then obviously I must have something wrong with me mentally and you should relate to me with caution..... thats the easy thing to say, anyway. The harder thing to do is ask why. If you ask why you might have to hear about how I was misdiagnosed with many different mental "conditions" such as depression and anxiety for 6-7 years before we actually realized that I was ADHD -- a condition that is present in many fully functional Americans. You might also have to learn that I checked myself in to the facility because I wanted to find an answer -- not because I *needed* to be there. But all of that is too much work.
Or you might look at the fact that I dropped out of high school and college and that I declared bankruptcy and decide that I am a failure and that I give up. Again, it would be harder to ask why. In that case, you might have to learn that I dropped out of high school after my guidance counselor and my mom discussed that it was a viable and probably the best option for me and that high school was mainly holding me back from accomplishing what I was capable of. You might have to learn that the one year of college that I experienced was crucial in developing who I am as well as the 4 months that I spent in Florida. You might have to dig a little deeper and figure out what the motivations were for each one of these things and you might have to realize that the good outweighed the bad on these things. You might have to realize that the things I did weren't neccesarily the "easy" way out. You might then have to change your views on a lot of things -- not just views about me.
I've heard people say that I'm obviously a virgin because no one wants me and the result is that I'm sexually frustrated..... of course, thats the easy thing to think (and the most uplifting to the person saying it). But if you ask why with the intent of learning you might have to realize that this is one of my core values. You might have to try to understand that its a lot harder for me to keep this commitment than you might think..... and if you said those things about me because you wanted to attack me, you might learn that you've only uplifted me.
"But bankruptcy? Surely there is no excuse for doing that..... Its not what God would want you to do! You just wanted to take the easy way out and not have to pay those debts." No matter what your views are on bankruptcy, its, again, easier to attack me based on what I did rather than to try to figure out what it was that led up to that. You might have to learn that I spent more than 3 years going through no less than 2 credit counseling agencies and continually bringing myself down because the level of debt that I had and the debt/income ratio I had was not something that even the credit counseling agencies were able to reliably assist me with. You might also have to consider the concept of Jubilee in the Bible where every 7 years everyone forgave everyone's debts (that might be another blog entry sometime). Ok, now this one comes with a disclaimer. None of this is meant to justify my action or to make up your mind about whether bankruptcy is good or bad because those are issues of the heart and are truly between you and the Lord. But no matter what the action was, its not fair to judge anyone solely on the action without first understanding the motive of that action.
I'm 27 so I must behave like all other people my age. I'm a guy so I must be an asshole in relationships. I punched my sister as a child so apparently I was born evil. I had uncles around me who said negative things about black people. Oh -- and not only that but I DECIDED that I wanted to be around those uncles. These are just tiny little examples of that outrageous prejudice that goes through our heads every single day and we allow them to go through our head simply because it's easier to let them rather than actually weigh the evidence.
Oh -- one other thing about me. I am known as "BibleBoy" a lot of places. This name came about in middle school when I always had a Bible with me. Everyone started making fun of me by calling me BibleBoy.... but even in 7th grade I was already starting to recognize the fact that I need to be proud of who I was. I was heavily involved in BBSs back in that time (if you don't know, BBSs were basically the pre-internet online communications and were access through dialing a phone number with your computer to access a system on someone else's, typically personal, computer) and I had been going by the handle "Headpin" because I was really into bowling. One night I decided to log on to each and every BBS and change my handle to "BibleBoy". Since BBS systems were local based this is something that all the other computer geeks in my school realized right away. The response was awesome..... "Uhhh.... you know we're making fun of you" .... "Yup, I know". The name stuck and I allowed it to. In 2000 I registered bibleboy.org and that officially was who I was letting myself be known as on the big (then fairly new to most) internet. Eventually other people crept up that were also known as BibleBoy so I had to shorten it to bblboy54..... then time went on and I realized that the name had me tagged as a religious freak. I guess, again, it was a situation where I was being judged based on my nickname rather than who I actually am. I considered changing the name of my blog so that more people would take me a little more seriously. Less than a year ago I realized that the person who I am would never really be taken seriously by someone who does judge a book by it's cover and I decided to stick with the name and if I say something that makes sense then I'd let it be for the benefit of those people who take me seriously no matter what my name is.
Did I answer the question of who I am? I hope not! Who I am is a definition that is always changing. All of us are very dynamic people that are capable of learning and understanding and the more than we learn and understand the more that we are naturally going to change. The facts, figures, and posessions are quite possibly the worst way to judge someone even if they are the easiest way. It's more the motivation of the person that led to those things. In reality, we should all primarily respect everyone for who they are.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Friday, February 29, 2008
Open reply to This Week in Science (twis)
I received a comment from Justin (the co-host of This Week in Science) on my blog post of my Open Letter to This Week in Science. I really like what he wrote and I followed up with another comment. Since I know there is no reason for someone to continually check one of my old posts I wanted to bring these up in a new post so that anyone who reads my blog will know that This Week in Science has replied.
Thanks for the open letter! I appreciate that you are speaking out against views you don't agree with, even if that view happens to be mine...
I do understand that all christians are not cut from the same cloth, and that all religion is not at odds with science.
You like Barack Obama for the same reasons i do...
You’re a christian, i'm an atheist...
And if JC came back, believe me, he'd get both our votes too!
Not because it would prove I was wrong about God (it would prove most Christians views about him to be wrong too), but because he spoke about peace, about helping the least amongst us, amongst other things that i agree with completely. (I think he’d agree with separation of church and state, universal healthcare… I wonder what his economic plan would look like… he’d be some form of socialist that’s for sure)
The groups involved in public creationism are doing so by attempting to discredit science, not by following evidence to a truth, but by starting with a belief and attempting to cherry pick the evidence for truths that will fit.
It is strict doctrine religion masquerading as science and it makes a mockery of both.
With the Dover case is still fresh in my mind, this is more than a matter of personal opinion or belief… It is part of a movement that seeks to destroy the credibility of science, and to put it’s own message in it’s place. A Christian message… but one even you may not relate too.
The number of people they reach, whose minds are thereby closed to truth, who are trained to reject facts, to suspect science, who internalize ignorance of evolution…
i often feel that science goes undefended, and i am attempting to stand up for it… and yes, i have a snarky toungue, a lack of politeness filters, and a real knack for turning water into gasoline…
Well, anyhow, i have been offensive to you and i apologize for that…
-TWIS Minion -j-
------ My Reply ------
Thank you so much for your response. I have since realized that I over-reacted a little bit. I think that I was more hurt than I was upset. I mean, I hear the things you said many times and I will continue to and they dont ever tend to phase me but I think what happened is that I became such a fan of TWiS and developed a lot of respect for you an Kirsten both it hit me in a much different way.
Everything you wrote is absolutely true. I don't believe that Christians do anyone a favor by trying to bend the rules to fit what they believe. That would be the opposite of faith. And, quite honestly, no matter which side of the fence you are on it does ultimately get to a point of faith. Everything can be interpreted differently depending on who is doing the interpreting and in ALL cases its going to be slightly skewed because of the way the person thinks. If you've ever seen the "spinning lady" graphic to test whether you are using your right brain or left brain then you know what I'm talking about. Two people can see things completely different and it doesn't mean either of them has to be wrong.
I have respect for every human being and I feel that is the most important thing that everyone needs to work on. I have faith in God and I believe that God created everything.... on that same note I do believe that evolution exists to a point because all lifeforms do adapt over time. What complicates things is when "evolution" becomes a swear word inside the Church and any mention of it means your tagged as a sinner. This is the opposite of respect and a true representation of how not respecting someone will hurt BOTH sides. On the other hand, many atheists begin treating concepts of creation in the same way.
I appreciate what you and Kirsten do and I am glad you have the beliefs that you do because each week they work in to a podcast that helps me grow in understanding of how aspects of the world work and, while it may seem odd, help me increase my own faith.
No matter which side you are on, everyone has to agree that there are some incredibly amazing things that we may never come even close to understanding. If anyone isn't awestruck then he obviously has lost any kind of joy in life.
Oh... and GO OBAMA :)
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Friday, February 08, 2008
An open letter to This Week in Science
Dear Kirsten Sanford and Justin Jackson,
I began listening to This Week in Science in December and it didn't take more than 2 episodes to have me completely hooked. Being able to hear news about things I am interested in with it being presented in an extremely entertaining way is a difficult thing to find and it seems to be exactly what the two of you do every week. During the couple of months that I have been listening I have noticed a somewhat anti-Christian overtone which is something that I could easily deal with simply because I understood that point of view.
Before I go on, let me tell you who I am. I am a person who certainly is a Christian by the actual definition but someone who is sometimes affraid to call himself a Christian because of the stereo-type that I seem to constantly be faced with. I am someone who had devoted his life to helping people and respecting people for exactly who they are. I am someone who does my best to hear what every single person is saying because I have a strong belief that I am able to learn something from anyone whether they are like me or not. I am someone who is irritated how most of the Christian Churches preach love and then practice hatred by denying people such as homosexuals the respect.
As this person, I am understanding of the way people feel about Christians in general but it is very hard for me to understand people that have a closed mind and I think when it's someone who deals with the sciences, I find it even harder to believe. While I can understand there may be skepticism I can't understand and I can't support someone who completely denies someone the chance to be heard simply because of their religion, race, nationality, and so on. Growing up I learned that in order to move beyond the mediocre and investigate the sciences you had to have an open mind and be able to listen to everything no matter where it was coming from. I think back to Christopher Columbus's era. The entire world believed that the world was flat and would completely denounce anyone who believed as such. I often wonder how many people wouldn't even heard Columbus's reasons for saying the world was flat simply because he was a believer in a round earth.
The episode that was released today has me extremely upset and personally hurt. It hurts me even more because the beginning of the show had a rather large endorsement of my favorite presidential canidate, Barack Obama and then later in the show many supporters of Obama were attacked because they didn't believe everything that another supporter believed. Personally, I am a strong supporter of Obama because he is all about bringing people together. He does not draw the line at any group of people but says we all need to come together. His slogan "Yes We Can" doesn't say "Yes most of us can".... The contradictions infuriate me.
To be completely honest, the group of people that you are attacking with the peer group I am not familiar with and, as seems to be evident, you are neither. I am not, in any way, defending this group of people because I just simply don't know what they stand for -- but that's just my point. I am not able to judge until I hear what they have to say and weigh their words for myself and investigate such. Even if the group of people are entirely off their rocker maybe they will make one point that makes sense that none of us would have learned unless we listened.
My point is this: Any person who denies another person the right of being heard based on their religion, race, etc is someone that should not be honored. The words you said tonight were absolutely no different than the racist bastards who say a black person can't do anything except violent crime. Those words contradicted the spirit that you are fighting for -- both as a scientist and a supporter of Barack Obama.
I sincerely hope that the points I made will make sense to you. I'm not meaning to defend anyone or anything but I am asking that you think about the words you said and how they may have really hurt a large group of people -- especially those people who are trying their best to spread the message that everyone deserves respect.
Bob K Mertz
For my readers who are not familiar with This Week in Science, they are a weekly podcast that reports on scientific issues facing our nation and the world. Their website is www.twis.org. The episode that is referenced in this post is the Feb 5th edition. If you would like to hear a snip of the section in reference, please use the following link:
TWiS - Feb 5th 2008 / Answers in Genesis Segment
Dr. Sanford did say that she wants to expose the flaw in the scientific process which is certainly a respectable thing to do but the attitude that was presented was obvious that there was no interest in hearing what these people had to say.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
(C)2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
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