Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Richard Dawkins’ Special Visitors

I wrote a short story about Richard Dawkins. It involves him meeting his two favorite imaginary creatures, the "invisible flying pink unicorn" and the "invisible flying spaghetti monster" (I'm not making this up). If you haven't seen the video clips of him comparing God to these two creatures they are laughable. At least the people there think it is really funny. I am not sure why believers (in whatever religion) continue to try and convince him of God because of their belief. He clearly will not be swayed by such arguments and always counters with sarcasm (humor is another of his many talents) and ridicule. After all the man has made it his recent goal to destroy people's belief in whatever god they believe in. He is very generous and nondiscriminatory when it comes to this and mocks every god from Zeus and Thor, to Jesus. He thinks they are all laughable and so he dispenses with mockery evenly. He is actually especially critical of Muslims lately, which has shockingly not drawn the ire of fellow professors, many of whom defend the faith if for no other reason, but on political correctness grounds.

So…I wrote a story about him meeting his two most common examples of silliness, the unicorn and the spaghetti monster. It is a tongue-in-cheek exercise but one I enjoyed. In the story I assert, through the two characters, that he is just as religious as anyone else, in fact more so. I contend that he has created his own religion. I put forth a number of reasons why this is so: he has his own texts, he has monetary motivations, he claims to have a monopoly on the truth, he even has his own images to worship (my two creatures). I think it is very cleaver. He will think I'm an idiot, but then he think nearly everyone is an idiot, especially people who believe in an active deity.

Oh well…I guess Dawkins doesn't need me as a parishioner, he has many thousands already, all of whom defend his belief vehemently. I'm just another moron following a make believe God after all.

If anyone would like to read the story, I will gladly send it with the expectation that you will give me feed back.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Daily Challenge

I have decided to try and take on a daily writing challenge. I discovered such a thing surfing around and reading other people's blogs and I decided that it was high time I do the same. I have generally not written daily, but rather in spurts. I may not write anything for two weeks, then write 5000 words all in one day. This is not necessarily bad or good, it is just how I operated. However, at least for the time being, I would like to be more disciplined in my craft. This should not only up my production, but increase my skill. I really need to focus on writing right now as I make another go at being a successful writer.

There is a community of people engaging in a daily writing challenge and so I am just following them. To make it easy on myself, I am starting with the smallest daily level I found, 250 words. Normally when I start I write well more than 250 words, but then so be it. My goal is not to write a lot, but to write every day. If I can get into a better habit of writing then I have succeeded.

I was thinking over why I don't write every day and I usually fall back on business. But everyone is busy! I think if I just cut out a few things, carry a notebook and pen around with me all the time, and hold myself accountable, I should be able to make my goal every day. I hope anyone reading this Blog will do the same.

With that said, this post is already 286 words. Done for the day? I hope not.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Living Water

For the Easter play this year I wrote a script that circled around the theme of water and also the woman that Jesus meets at the well in Samaria. I think this is such an interesting interaction because it is so relevant. The woman has been divorced five times. That is bad in our day-and-age, let alone 2000 years ago. She is also living with a guy who is not her husband! Yet Jesus looks into her soul and has mercy on her. He offers her grace. He describes it as living water, and talks about the spirit of God and how no one will thirst when filled with the spirit. Of course he was talking about a spiritual thirst, but the water metaphor is powerful since all of us need water. For the first time in a while there were a lot of female roles in the play. It is especially hard to have a lot of female roles when doing a time play about Easter because it usually contains Jesus and the 12 disciples. There's 13 men already! This play allowed me to create mostly female roles with only a couple disciples and Jesus as main male parts. The cast performed it beautifully! I could scarcely imagine it being better. They even filled in where my script probably fell short. I was very proud, and it was a huge blessing to see my work performed. God willing, there will be many more plays to report on. As it is, this is number five. I am already working on the next two.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Spring Break Break Down

So I had high hopes for Spring Break. I thought I could get a bunch of things done around the house, for school, and writing wise. My family was all sick but not me so I thought I could still be productive. Everyone was coughing. We all went to the doctor on Tuesday. My wife had bronchitis; the kids were getting over sinus infections or something. Me? Tip-top. Then Wednesday night the younger two started throwing up. Again and again. I lost count how many times they barfed (partly because I didn't get up for all of them apparently). Then Friday, my oldest child threw up. Needless to say productivity came to a screeching halt. Our days consisted mostly of laying on the couch and watching TV or playing Wii. Then Sunday night I got sick. I threw-up a few times and suffered through a horrible night. So here I am on Tuesday. My wife is working, the kids are better (I guess) and I am feeling a bit better. Will I get something done? We'll see. So much for a productive break. I'd rather be working.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jurassic Park

I finished reading Jurassic Park a few weeks back after borrowing (sort of) the book from my Opa. He loves Crichton and after reading the book I too am impressed. It moved well, was entertaining and also interesting. It combined not just the engaging plot, but also grappled with some hot issues, namely the Earth and our interaction with it. I often tell my students that I have two real fears; things that I think jeopardize our existence on this planet. They are robots and genetic engineering. Maybe I have seen too many sci-fi movies but those two things scare me more than anything else because I see in them the flaws of humans magnified. All of our pride and vanity could be manifest in either robots or genetic engineering because our highest aim in either of those is to be god-like. For all we can do, we cannot create life, at least not life that didn't already exist. Maybe I mean that we cannot create new life. So I see both of these endeavors to be motivated by a desire to be like God. That scares me. Jurassic Park tackles this folly. In the book, of course, it ends up being a bad idea to try and bring back dinosaurs, as cool as it might be, because we cannot control them. This is made supremely evident, and Crichton did a good job of creating characters who clearly wanted to be god-like.

In the end I was very satisfied with where the book went. My favorite character ends up being Ian Malcolm, who in the movie was also good, though as well as he was portrayed in film, I liked his book character even more. He understood the flaw of mankind and expressed it in his mathematical "chaos theory." It was ironic because some of the other characters accused him of being arrogant, and yet they were the ones trying to recreate life that had died out long ago. My favorite line in the book comes from him near the end and fully describes how I feel:

"Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet—or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves."

I love this line. This get's at one of my core beliefs—we are not that important. I laugh every time I see a "save the planet" bumper sticker, or hear about global warming because I believe that, as Ian Malcolm stated, we are not significant enough to destroy or save the planet. What we really mean is we are messing it up for us. Fine. But the planet? We couldn't create it, and we can't destroy it. We are not God, though some people apparently think we have his power. I however, do not, and apparently Crichton agrees with me.