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How many people here have lived overseas
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
I lived overseas for a total of sixteen years. In the early 70s, I was a grad student in Berlin. Later on, I taught English language and literature in South Korea, the UAE, and Japan over the course of fifteen years. During that time, I saw much of the rest of Asia and the Middle East, not to mention stops in Europe. Getting past culture shock can be more difficult in some places than others (like being a nonbeliever in a Muslim country, for example), but all in all, I view my time abroad as the best time of my life. On January 21st, 2017, I particularly regretted having returned to the US....
What kind of snob are you?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
I selected "alcohol snob" because I drink only craft beers (any other kind of beer is weaselpiss), but I'm told I'm a snob in so many other ways. What comes to mind just offhand: 1) chili snob (my recipe, pinto beans on the side only); BBQ snob (eastern North Carolina); coffee snob (French press-made, no instant); and grammar snob (hell, I'm a former English teacher, so it comes naturally). :-)
What do you have out there for some good rockin tunes. One exception, NO country allowed oh ya.. ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
"We're an American Band" ... Rob Zombie version
What Is Your Favorite Genre Of Music?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
I checked "hard rock/classic rock," but more accurate would be "hard rock/alternative." And perhaps even some blues and blues rock, too. Classic rock has been played to freaking death since the 1970s, and I can't stand it any more.
Midlife crisis?? If you are old enough to have had one, what was yours? Was it positive? Negative? ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
I'm not sure if all of the life/career shifts I had beginning in my thirties qualify as "crises," but if they do, I've had several. After spinning my wheels for a decade on several dead-end jobs as a result of a useless masters degree in German literature, I went and got a much more employable second masters in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and headed off to Korea at the age of 35. It was there I met my wife (another American teacher), and we spent the next fifteen years teaching in various parts of Asia. When I was 50, we returned stateside and took up freelance careers in different aspects of the publishing industry. Sometimes I think the reverse culture shock I experienced upon my return was more severe than the shock I had anywhere I lived in Asia, but it probably doesn't qualify as a "crisis." And now in my sixties--kind of a stretch to say this still qualifies as "midlife" (LOL)--I am having to deal with being single again after the death of my wife in 2010. In some ways, I am still floundering from that crisis, but I am trying hard to find and enjoy the positive aspects of my sudden solitude.
Best fictional TV show that features Atheism?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
I don't watch any mainstream TV per se, but the Netflix series "Godless" has been pretty good so far. Frank Griffin's monologue in the third episode (I think) that gives the series its name is awesome.
What is the most romantic spot to which you have ever been? For me it was the dunes of Cape Cod in ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 26, 2018:
Had to be the overnight trip on a local fishing boat taking us to Komodo Island from Flores in Indonesia. We anchored off an uninhabited islet during a beautiful sunset. During the afterglow, fruit bats flew from the islet to Flores, so many of them they almost blocked out the light. Afterwards, the fisherman fixed us dinner (a fresh local catch, of course), and we all shared a bottle of wine.
How often do you pay attention to your neighbors?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 25, 2018:
As little as possible. It's nice that the two women who live on either side of me are in their 90s and deaf as posts, so I crank up my music super loud with no repercussions. It's also fitting that my two big living-room windows face out towards the woods on the backside of the house, meaning that the ass-end of the house is facing the street--kinda like mooning them all. And when you get down to it, I'm pretty much mooning the whole damn Bible-bangin' town.
Truth be told.... right here..
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 25, 2018:
It very well could happen that if I ever become involved again, she would leave because it's impossible to text me--I'm a proud Luddite who has no smartphone, and I don't aim to change that.
How toxic is your work environment ? I'm finding it tiresome and tedious. I go to work and come home...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 24, 2018:
I work for myself these days, so my work environment is only as toxic as I make it. LOL Seriously, though, I've worked with some nasty people along the line, and that's part of the reason I'm now self-employed. Good luck in your situation.
Is there a particular spice or seasoning you just can’t do without in your meals?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 23, 2018:
A lot of the food I cook is hot--Cajun, Mexican, Thai, Indian, and Korean chief among the spicy cuisines I like--so I suppose it would be a hot red chile or pepper of some sort.
Has anybody out there ever experienced hallucinations without the influence of drugs or alcohol.
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 22, 2018:
I'm still trying to convince myself that the Mango Mussolini currently residing in our White House is an hallucination.
Who here has an obsession with different religions and the reasons why they came to be?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 22, 2018:
I've been interested in the mythology behind world religions since I studied Joseph Campbell while writing my first masters thesis. Later on in my life, while traveling abroad, this earlier interest enriched my experience of the cultures in which I found myself. So it's not an obsession, just a curiosity about the big wide world out there, of which people's religious beliefs are a part--for better or worse.
Happily single—or not?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 21, 2018:
Both, actually. I suddenly found myself single seven years ago at the death of my wife, so this situation was not my choice. However, over that seven years, I have not only become accustomed to the freedom my single status affords, but I've come to embrace it. Sure, I wouldn't mind a traveling buddy for my road trips, and getting laid occasionally might be nice, but I wonder if it's worth giving up the freedom. The hole in my life has a specific shape to it, it seems.
Do you skirt around the issue of out right saying you’re an atheist when people start talking ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 21, 2018:
Most people know where I stand, so the issue doesn't come up very often. However, when it does, I cut right to the chase just to minimize the BS.
What makes you more likely to live to 100? Great TED talk about research showing the top 10 ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 21, 2018:
Both of my parents lived until 96, so I have the longevity thing going on--if I really wanted to live that long. However, they led healthier lifestyles than I do, though my sheer orneriness could put me well past 100.
Best Advice on the "Meaning of Life"?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 12, 2018:
"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." -- J.-P. Sartre
What song would you want played for your funeral?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 11, 2018:
The angel and heaven references notwithstanding, I'd definitely go with John Prine's "Please Don't Bury Me." And it would be at a memorial celebration or wake--if any of my drinking buddies manage to outlast me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEhqzOeJnto
Does it matter anymore who makes the first move?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 8, 2018:
I had hoped never to have to think about this again, at least not insofar as it concerned me. But here I am, single in my 60s, and I have no frikkin' idea. I guess what happened recently at the Green Parrot, a Key West pub, is emblematic of my approach (or lack of one) to the problem. I was drinking with this rather engaging sous-chef sitting next to me, and on my other side was a nice-looking woman (probably in her 50s) who had come in with a crowd but was now drinking wine by herself. I thought about saying something to her, but I'm pretty shy and didn't want to seem like a jackass, so I didn't say anything to her, and she finally finished her wine and left. The sous-chef told me she had been sneaking glances at me, but there could be all sorts of reasons for that. The bottom line is that I'm shy, never figured I'd be in this position again, and have no idea what to do. Fortunately, given all this, I'm OK with my own company.
If you could travel anywhere for free right now where would you go?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 7, 2018:
Machu Picchu is at the top of my bucket list.
Food—what’s your story? Cooking, baking and eating are three of my favorite things to do. ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 7, 2018:
I learned to cook in grad school--it was either that or fast food every day. I lived in this boarding house with a group of fellow grad students who all got along very well, and we ended up forming a kind of dinner club, spurring us all on to find new and interesting recipes. My chili and Brunswick stew recipes have evolved from that time. Years later, I moved to various parts of Asia and the Middle East and learned many of the cuisines of the countries we visited or worked in--Korean, Thai, Indian, and Lebanese are among those I learned to do quite well. Since my wife's death, there's no longer much point in preparing a seven-course Indian dinner, for example, but after a few years of culinary "down time," I'm starting to get back into it.
Just got a call from my 90 yr old mother. I have a very dysfunctional relationship with my family. ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 6, 2018:
I had a horrible relationship with my mother all my life, but at the end of hers, she forgot about it all because of the increasing dementia. We still had some conflicts when I went to see her, but I let them slide. I figured, WTF, she's 96 and either doesn't remember or has completely revised our history, making any recitation of it pointless. I don't know how cognizant your mother is, but perhaps you should do the same.
Hi, are there any Sam Harris fans here? He is coming to Philly soon and would love someone to come ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 6, 2018:
I'm a total Sam Harris fan, have all his books--but Philly is 650-mile drive from where I live in Kentucky. Ask him if he's coming to Lexington. LOL
Who here was never religious? I realize I'm in a minority here. But I'm curious just how few of ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 6, 2018:
My mother was a Baptist, and my father was a Presbyterian, and they compromised by going to a Congregationalist church that ended up joining the UCC. I never believed any of it--not even when I was a toddler--but had to attend every Sunday until the end of high school. I felt like a jackass praying to an invisible sky daddy and was furious when I had to lie and become confirmed at the age of 13. Sunday school teachers dreaded having me in their classes because I was always asking questions they couldn't answer, and it was very clear to them I thought the whole thing was a total crock.
Badly describe your hobby.
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 5, 2018:
I take a little black box with holes, buttons, and dials in it out into nature, aim it at something and push a button. If I do a good job turning the dials, enough light comes into the hole and makes an image that may be somewhat close to what I aim the box at. When I'm done with my first hobby, I come back home and enjoy the fruits of my second hobby. I put a bunch of grains and water in a tank and let them go bad for a while. When it's gone properly bad, I bottle the liquid, let it go even more bad and then drink it.
anybody in the line of fire of the "bomb cyclone"moving up the east coast?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 3, 2018:
I think I'm good in Kentucky. But I'm wondering about my folks back home in NC.
Just for shits and giggles, I went to a christian discussion page and was laughing at all the ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 2, 2018:
Welcome! I see you're in LA. Be happy you have to go online to hear this nonsense. I'm in Kentucky--home of the Creation "Museum" and Ark Encounter theme park--and all I have to do is go to the supermarket.
What has been the dumbest religious comment/response/statement you have ever heard personally? ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 2, 2018:
There's stiff competition in this category, but the ones that come to top of the list for me are "She's in a better place now" or "God needed another angel" in reference to my wife dying at the age of 52. I just want to take a baseball bat to these people when I hear this shit.
Check out the latest fashion of satanic sports wear. :) Oh the irony of this one with the xmas ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 2, 2018:
I love it!!
Living single? Loneliness or freedom?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 1, 2018:
Both, actually. As a widower, I obviously feel some degree of loneliness, but it is no longer the sort that tears you up inside, the sort I felt for the first several years after my wife's death. I am not lonely because there is no woman in my life; I am lonely because *that specific woman* is no longer in my life. I won't rule out becoming involved again, but the longer I am single, the less likely it becomes as I come to appreciate my freedom more by the day.
Are there any New Year traditions that you celebrate?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 1, 2018:
I traditionally get hammered on New Years Eve, this year trying to keep warm in front of the woodstove. And like you, I'm a Southerner, so today I'm fixing a pork roast, hoppin' John, collard greens, and cornbread.
What are your plans for ringing in the New Year?
DharmaBum50 comments on Jan 1, 2018:
Between the cops out everywhere and the atmosphere of forced gaiety at the turn of a calendar page, New Year's Eve is the one night out of the year I'm happy to be home. I got the woodstove going, opened a 15-pack of Founders IPA, and started in on cooking my traditional southern New Year's Day fare of hoppin' John and greens.
happy new year and may 2018 be memorable in a good way for you!
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 31, 2017:
Back atcha!
Would you marry for money or more freedom? Let's say you deeply like this person. But, do not ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 31, 2017:
Marrying for "more freedom" seems contradictory to me. Whatever, I was happily married for 21 years, but she died, and that ain't gonna happen again. Been on my own too long.
What, not who, makes life worth living?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 31, 2017:
Traveling and seeing as much of nature and the planet as possible. As far as I can determine, that's the only reason it's there.
Are there any classical music buffs out there? It has been my favorite genre since I was first ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 30, 2017:
I am mostly into super-hard rock these days, but I do like classical occasionally. I find that my tastes have changed over the years, however. I've tired of the old warhorses for the same reason I've tired of classic rock--overplaying--and moved on to composers such as Penderecki and Gorecki.
The unconscionable lack of integrity in media
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 29, 2017:
Just one more reason why I lead a tee-vee-free lifestyle.
Sometimes it's the simple things we tend to overlook everyday that are the most "spiritual". Like ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 28, 2017:
I agree! I have a screened-in back porch that faces northeast, and sometimes when I'm out there sipping a beer and watching nice sunset afterglows or lightning bugs out back on summer nights, I figure this is as close to spirituality as I get. BTW, lovely picture, Duke!
What is your plan "B"?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 28, 2017:
South America.
Is dating, long-terming, or marrying out of the question for you with a religious person or persons?...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 27, 2017:
Depending on the relationship and the people involved, the difference could even be fairly interesting. However, I found all that dynamic discussion changed when it came to end-of-life issues. When my wife, for example, was dying of cancer and expecting me to say that I'd see her again in her fairy-tale heaven, and I couldn't honestly tell her that, it became painful beyond belief--and that's not something I ever want to repeat.
Why did you choose your username/avatar?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 27, 2017:
Biker Dude is my nickname among some local friends, but I don't actually have a bike. I just look like I do. LOL
Anyone else not celebrating xmas?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 24, 2017:
I'll be driving 900 miles from Florida to Kentucky, death metal spurring me on, and to me, that's a fine way to spend the holiday.
Some have alluded to it, but let me be the first to say humbug
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 11, 2017:
I'll second that. I've been saying it since before Halloween.
What is on my mind? Besides the anti-social bald wretchedness of the Republican Congress, I think ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 10, 2017:
Ah, T. S. Eliot, "Four Quartets!" Love it! Welcome from a denizen of the Kentucky boonies and Bible Belt wasteland.
What's your preference for a burial option?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 10, 2017:
Cremation, ashes of my dog and my wife mixed with mine and scattered along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
For Those Who Went To Church In The Past, What Do You Do Now On Sunday Instead?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 10, 2017:
I haven't gone to church since I went to college. Bloody Marys is the Sunday morning routine now.
Isn’t it funny when the religious say they will be praying for you?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 9, 2017:
Living in the Bible Belt, I figure it's just a believer's knee-jerk, pro forma reaction to all sorts of situations. I heard it a lot both before and after my wife died. As you see, the prayers before her death didn't do much good, but in the end, I honestly don't think these people actually do pray for you--it's just a little white lie that fills a conversational gap.
If you could were offered free lessons in a subject of your choice, what would you want to learn?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 8, 2017:
I used to be pretty good as a painter. Oils, expressionistic-type stuff. But I succumbed to years of depression, and now want to get back into it.
Celibacy: How is it working for you?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 8, 2017:
Eight years or so. It is what it is. I haven't killed anyone yet, so I guess it's going well.
There is nothing that happens without a reason. Your thoughts?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 8, 2017:
Again, that depends on your definition of "reason." When a program came on in which a clip of Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign speech was played, for example, in which he asked me if I was doing better than I was four years previously, I was spinning my wheels in Louisville KY, working a dead-end grunt job with one useless masters degree under my belt and almost done with another. I had been applying for teaching jobs in the US to no avail and at the moment I heard Reagan ask me that, I was drunk and his question pissed me off. I threw a chair at the TV and broke it (last one I ever owned). When I sobered up, I decided to expand my job search overseas and vowed to take the first job I was offered. As it turned out, that job was in South Korea. It could just as well have been in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Colombia, or any number of other places I sent applications to. But that job turned my life around. It began a rewarding teaching career, and I ended up meeting the woman who would become my wife. We married and became a "teaching couple" and saw most of Asia and the Middle East during our careers. Did it happen for a reason? Yes, in the respect that I happened to be watching a TV program that pissed me off enough that it goaded me into action. No, in the respect that I took the first job I was offered--that it happened to be in Korea was just random chaos. Further random chaos was that ten years after our stint in Asia, my died of cancer, with no history of cancer in her family (other than Uncle Bob, who smoked himself to death).
How many men in politics are sweating bullets now ???? :)
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 8, 2017:
Not enough.
Do you put lime in your coconut...lol
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 7, 2017:
I guess my favorite mixed drink is a well-made Bloody Mary. In addition to the usual ingredients, I put BBQ sauce and chipotle peppers in my own. I've also been trying out new concoctions lately, like something I ran across called One Night in Phuket. It's kind of like an alcoholic Thai green curry, with chile-infused vodka, lime juice, coconut cream, and cilantro. (So yes, I put lime in my coconut...LOL)
If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to portray you?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 6, 2017:
We'd have to dig him up for the role, but Dennis Hopper would have been a good match. But this very same question was posed during a drinking session among old friends a ways back, and it was unanimous that Jack Nicholson would get the part.
Do you believe in love.
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 5, 2017:
It happened once, so I know it exists. But she died, and now I'm an emotional shell.
For those who cook even a little what is your favorite thing to cook. Is it related to any ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 5, 2017:
After having lived overseas for fifteen years, I came back to this country with a lot of international recipes--Korean, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Thai, Indian, etc.. But I guess the one thing I keep going back to--and went to great efforts to put together when I was overseas--is something popular in my home state of North Carolina: Brunswick stew. It originally had squirrel in it, but it's usually made with chicken and/or pork these days, and includes all sorts of veggies, but the must-haves are corn and limas or butter beans. I measure the cooking time in numbers of beers drunk. It's served with cornbread or hush puppies and cole slaw on the side, at the very least.
Anybody here like to take pictures?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 5, 2017:
Photography is one of my hobbies. My wife was a writer, and my photographs often appeared in her travel articles sometimes ending up in some pretty major publications. I guess that makes me semi-professional, though since her death, I am back to amateur status, I guess.
Old question. What's your favorite classic song?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 5, 2017:
There are so many! I guess the following would be considered "classic": Stones--"Brown Sugar" and "Gimme Shelter" The Who--"Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Behind Blue Eyes" Led Zeppelin--"Misty Mountain Hop" Jefferson Airplane--"White Rabbit" The Doors--"The End" And even back then, I was looking around for harder and darker stuff, so though these probably aren't considered "classics" (i.e., played to death on "classics" stations), they're from the same time period, and they were faves of mine: Iggy and the Stooges--"Search and Destroy" and "No Fun" Velvet Underground--"Sweet Jane," "Pale Blue Eyes," and "There She Goes Again"
Does prayer work? Here is my argument. When people pray, the pray for many things. They pray for ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 5, 2017:
My wife had bile duct cancer, and during the course of her treatment, she had Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims around the world praying for her. (Or at least that's what they said they were doing...) That included an entire small order of nuns in Milwaukee and a group of Catholic pilgrims traveling to Rome to appeal for the canonization of a Father Joseph Kentenich. She had the local neohippies "sending good vibes" her way. She died anyway. So my opinion of the "power of prayer" is summed up in that Facebook meme that has a picture of two cats, and it says, "I named my cats 'Thoughts' and 'Prayers' because they're both useless."
Does anyone here hate noise pollution? It's annoying to me as hell. I've got builders working ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 5, 2017:
Absolutely. I live in a small town in Kentucky, and I have a great back porch that gives the visual illusion that I'm living far out in the countryside. But that's the end of the illusion--noise-wise, I sometimes feel like I'm living in "the Hood," what with the traffic noise that comes up from down the hill and the non-ending sirens. In the fall, there's the constant WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE of the leaf-blowers that has me thinking about becoming the same kind of anti-noise vigilante Tim Robbins is in the 2007 movie "Noise."
Anyone here live an agrarian existence?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 4, 2017:
Ideally, my front and back yards would be gardens--but I'd have to be around for the bulk of the year to take care of them, and that's where my Ramblin' Man aspect wins out. So no gardens.
Share a photo of you in a special place. :)
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 4, 2017:
Monhegan Island, off the Maine coast.
Does anyone else here sing Karaoke?? If so what songs or type of music?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 4, 2017:
I don't do karaoke these days, and people should be most grateful for that. But when I was teaching in Japan and out carousing with students, "no" wasn't an option, so I worked up a few songs, my best one being the Stones's "Brown Sugar."
My Agnostic.com level now matches my height. This seems to me to embody some kind of mystical stasis...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 3, 2017:
I had the same thought when I reached 666 points.
Who's child free and over 35?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 3, 2017:
Me! I'm 67, and my late wife didn't want them, either. If there's one thing in my life I have no regrets about, it's my choice to be child-free.
A Little About Me I know I write a lot of silly, fun stuff. I mean hey; I like helping people to ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 2, 2017:
You seem cool. I await your tale.
What are some of your favourite movie lines?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 2, 2017:
Major Strasser: What is your nationality? Rick: I'm a drunkard. Captain Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world. -- Casablanca
What are some of your favourite movie lines?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 2, 2017:
Danny Torrance: Don't worry, Mom. I know all about cannibalism. I saw it on TV. Jack Torrance: Seeee, it's OK. He saw it on the television. -- from The Shining
Bucket list place/s to visit? And...... Go! :)
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 1, 2017:
Alaska, Macchu Pichu, Galapagos, cruise up the Norway coast, Faroe Islands, Patagonia.
I am Married to a vegetarian but I am not one ,Any one in this situation .If so do you have any ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 1, 2017:
It was one thing my wife and I compromised on. She was a vegetarian in the respect that when she cooked, she cooked nothing but vegetarian. But if she was out and about, and meat was what was for dinner, she would eat it. When I cooked, I accommodated her preferences quite a lot of the time by cooking vegetarian Indian, which is about the only cuisine in which I don't feel like I'm missing something if meat is absent. Occasionally, I would cook meat (chicken mostly), and not to rock the boat, she would eat it.
For those that qualify.... What's your favourite thing about being single?
DharmaBum50 comments on Dec 1, 2017:
I do miss my late wife horribly sometimes, but since I now find myself single again, I like to get my Kerouac on: wake up, throw a bag in the car, and head west with no particular destination in mind. If I like a place along the "way," I stay for a while and get to know it a bit. If I don't, I keep moving. My wife's traveling style was completely different--everything, every minute of every day on a trip, had to be planned and mapped out. Mind you, her idiosyncracies notwithstanding, I'd kill to have her back, but since that's just a pointless "what if" rumination, I will continue to enjoy total freedom during my travels. Gets a tad lonely sometimes, but that's the price to be paid.
Any atheists out there who have to live with religious people?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 29, 2017:
When I was dating the woman who would become my wife, we were both English teachers in South Korea and taking the opportunity while there to study Buddhism. She was a lapsed Catholic, and I was an agnostic/atheist. Our wedding was at a Buddhist temple in Seoul, and for many years thereafter, we were both Buddhists to one extent or another, she more than I, since I continued to identify as an agnostic/atheist (Buddhism being a nontheistic religion in the sense that there is no creator god in its essence). However, about a year before Kristin died of cancer, she returned to the Catholic church. She just told me one day as she was walking out the door that she was going to church. I was somewhat startled, since I'd heard her criticism of Catholicism, but I just said, "Fine, I understand. Just don't expect me to go with you." Most of the time, it proceeded like this, but it was tough when we were talking about her death and what would happen afterwards. She got upset when she asked me if we would ever see each other again, and I replied that I thought this earthly life is all there is, but what was I to do, lie? Those discussions of an afterlife were the most painful talks I've ever had, and it didn't end there. Following her death, maybe a couple years afterwards, a friend of hers told me she was disappointed I "wasn't there for her spiritually" at the end. I damn near took her head off, and we no longer speak. I mean, WTF was I supposed to have done to "be there for her spiritually" and still remain honest??
I'm getting more and more irritated at the "us & them" mentality of believers who hold themselves in...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 28, 2017:
Funny, I find myself succumbing to the same "Us vs. Them" mentality, except that I pity them for their blind faith and insane delusions and fantasies and "pray" (hope) that they will see the Light of Reason. It takes a great deal of effort to transcend that feeling of superiority, and I'm not sure I'm always successful. But at least I try.
Any Long Distance Relationship Stories?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 28, 2017:
When my late wife and I were married, we were teachers in South Korea. She taught at a university in Seoul, and I was in charge of a language program run by a steel company in Pohang, a city on the east coast. I was single during the week and married on the weekends, as we took turns making the five-hour train trip. When she was down my way, we would hike on Nam-san (South Mountain) in Kyongju, site of the ancient Buddhist Shila Dynasty. In Seoul, we would party around. I was quite happy with this arrangement, but we eventually moved on to another country, another teaching environment--and the realities of marriage.
Do you feel as I do that Americans (primarily men ) place way to much importance on spectator sports...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 27, 2017:
Absolutely. I think back to an economics professor I had who said that spectator sports is a perfect example of false solidarity. I totally agree.
My messaging stopped working this pm. I contacted Administration to no avail. Meanwhile right nowon...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 27, 2017:
I don't know what you're using for browsing, but Internet Explorer has been getting increasingly dysfunctional for me these days, especially with Facebook. I use Mozilla/Firefox with Facebook now, and it works much better. Just a thought. Worth a try.
Something that living in a different culture taught me years ago; When two or more of us start a ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 27, 2017:
During one graduate course I took in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), we had some sort of cultural simulation game called Bafa Bafa (I think that's what it was called). That is precisely what that simulation was all about, and I thought of it often later on during my life as an expat in Japan, South Korea, and the UAE. Come to think of it, I suppose it would come in handy right now in dealing with religious sorts.
Is it possible to be an atheist and not even try to be?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 27, 2017:
It is not only *possible* to be an atheist without trying to be, it's the *default* position, as somebody below said. We're all atheists at birth, and it is merely societal influences that intrude upon it thereafter. Your family member is a good example of that. You should not feel guilty for not believing her religious crap--the burden of proof is upon her and the prehistoric text she is trying to cram down your throat.
Does anyone else know they don't want to be buried in their family plot?. I had/have a ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 27, 2017:
I didn't have a bad relationship with my parents--no worse than most people's, I guess--but I don't wish to be buried near them, nor buried at all, in fact. I will be cremated, and then if the wishes expressed in my will are followed, my ashes will be mixed with some of my wife's that I saved and my dog's, and then scattered at one of my favorite overlook spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. But then if folks don't see fit to follow those wishes, I don't guess it will matter because I'll be dead.
The silliness of the “War on Christmas.” Just look at the idiots fighting for deals on Black ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 25, 2017:
Yeah, when I'm hearing Christmas music in stores way before Halloween, on days when it's so hot the heat waves are coming up off the parking lot, I feel so sorry for the poor persecuted Christians whose holiday is under such massive assault.
So I was woken up today to someone pounding on the front door and the dogs barking. I came to the ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 24, 2017:
Kudos! Best time I ever had with these people was right after the Jim Jones mass suicide by KoolAid back in the 70s (I know--I'm old). I'd just gotten off from my nighttime taxi driving shift, and had poured a healthy quantity of bourbon into a coffee cup because all the glasses were dirty. I was sitting on the front porch, and these two guys came up and started in on the same JW spiel as you got. I'd already drunk half my cup of bourbon and was starting to get a buzz. They couldn't see what was in the cup, so I said, "I'm sorry, I already have a church I go to. I belong to the People's Temple." Lifting my cup, I continued, "Y'all want to come in and have some KoolAid?" Those guys boogied off my porch, and I finished my drink and went to bed.
Has your life changed since losing religion?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 23, 2017:
I never had religion in the first place. I was force-fed Protestant Christianity from the earliest age, but never bought any of it. I grew up during the space race, and I remember speculating out loud to my parents about the possibility of life on other planets. "Don't be ridiculous!" was the reply. Yet, I thought to myself, I'm supposed to believe in arks and people who get swallowed by whales and survive and immaculate conceptions. I never once thought religion was anything but complete BS, and church and Sunday School were merely boring times to be suffered through.
Does anyone else have mixed feelings this Thanksgiving what we celebrate with our friends and ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 23, 2017:
I'm with you. For me, the holiday is entirely personal and has nothing to do with the mythology that has been constructed around the Pilgrims. It's a time to celebrate and be grateful for the wonderful friends I have. And as somebody who isn't too bad as a cook, it's also a time to rustle up some good food and drink and share it plus enjoy other people's efforts.
I was just on my Facebook responding to a post on Roy Moore of Alabama-how he molested a 14 year ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 22, 2017:
I don't "friend" people on Facebook whom I don't know personally. Needless to say, I don't know that many rightwingers or religious types, so I don't get this kind of thing. Especially since I either unfriended or unfollowed the few I had on November 9 of last year. But I'm sorry you're having this experience.
What brings you peace? Many of us started life believing in a religion that was comforting. Now ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 22, 2017:
Nature, travel, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.
Why atheists feel sadness in religious surroundings?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 21, 2017:
Depending on the situation, I have felt many emotions in religious surroundings, but sadness was never one of them.
What do fellow members do for a living?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 21, 2017:
I used to teach English language and literature overseas, in the Middle East and Asia. After fifteen years of that, I'm back in the States as a freelance indexer. I compile those things in the back of the book where you find stuff.
If You Could Learn Any Language...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 21, 2017:
Good question! I have several I'd like to learn or improve my abilities in. 1) German--I have a master's degree in it, but if you don't use it, you lose it--so maybe a few weeks at the Goethe Institute in Munich? 2) Spanish--when the Trumpets start putting on uniforms, it's time to go, and I'm thinking Ecuador or Uruguay or Chile. 3) Korean, which I already have a basic knowledge of from the time I lived there, but would like to improve for my occasional visits.
Those of you in the US that celebrate Thanksgiving with religious family, do you all have to do the ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 20, 2017:
I really haven't ever found a better Thanksgiving prayer than the one I learned in the Zen tradition. It is a wonderful nontheistic expression of gratitude, and if I am put in the position of having to give the "grace," this is what it is: First, let us reflect on our own work and the effort of those who brought us this food. Second, let us be aware of the quality of our deeds as we receive this meal. Third, what is most essential is the practice of mindfulness, which helps us to transcend greed, anger and delusion. Fourth, we appreciate this food which sustains the good health of our body and mind. Fifth, in order to continue our practice for all beings we accept this offering.
America's Most "Bible-Minded" Cities
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 20, 2017:
Damn, I'm just south of #10, Lexington, KY. Hallelujah!
Don't you hate it when people say things happen for a reason? I almost died in a car crash in 2005. ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 20, 2017:
That's just one of the religious platitudes I heard when my wife died in 2010 at the age of 52. Seven years later, I'm still waiting to hear the reason--other than the obvious one that she had frikkin cancer.
E.T. Aliens: As real as the boy next door Have you had your own personal sightings?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 19, 2017:
I've never had my own personal sightings, but if you head to Benson's Hideaway Bar at the north end of Long Lake in Wisconsin ("UFO Headquarters"), you'll find a guy who claims to have had all sorts of them. If you give him half a chance, he'll whip out his photo album that has lots of pictures that "prove" his point (though you could be excused for thinking they just look like pictures of lights in the darkness). He also has what he claims is an actual Roswell alien in an old pickled egg jar. It looks authentic enough, with slime hanging off it, but then I suppose anything left in a pickled egg jar for twenty years would have slime hanging off it. When you're done with his displays, beer shorties are still less than a dollar (as of last time I was there a couple years ago), and the food is pretty good.
What was the first and last concert you attended?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 19, 2017:
I attended symphony concerts fairly early on, but my first rock concert was Jefferson Airplane in the early 70s, and the last was the Black Angels earlier this year.
What about Thanksgiving? I see alot of posts about Christmas, but how do you guys feel about ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 18, 2017:
I feel the same way you do. Some folks make it into a religious holiday; I don't. It's a time to celebrate friendships over some nice food and drink. I used to teach overseas, and I have fond memories of Thanksgiving in South Korea and the UAE. In Seoul, the school bought the faculty a wonderfully prepared turkey from a 5-star hotel downtown, and then we had nothing but chopsticks (and ultimately, our fingers) to eat it with. In Al Ain, UAE, faculty friends rotated Thanksgiving each year, and it was often held up on the rooftop of somebody's villa overlooking copper-colored sand dunes that stretched out into the Empty Quarter. Now, here in Kentucky, following the death of my wife in 2010, I have been "adopted" by my best friend's brother's family, and that's where I'm going on Thursday. They're a bunch of old stoners like me, so no religion will be involved.
Weapons
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 17, 2017:
As we say in these parts, an inkpen.
Favourite Relgion, Atheism Quotes ?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 16, 2017:
The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece.--Sam Harris, The End of Faith
Here they come ... the year end holidays. I manage ok, though I find much of the accompanying ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 15, 2017:
1) Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, a time when I've been able to celebrate friendships, whether it's been in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, or right here in the southern USA. 2) I'm already sick of Christmas, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Full-bore commercialism from Halloween on. In addition to being an atheist, I'm an anti-consumer-capitalist, so there's not much about this holiday that appeals. 3) New Year's is also a BS holiday, IMHO. As if the turn of a calendar page means anything. After all, Cinnamon Hitler will still be residing in the White House.
I call myself a catholic agnostic, what do you call yourself?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 14, 2017:
These days, I identify myself simply as an atheist just to be clear. I do have a background in Buddhism, though, and sometimes I refer to myself as The Whiskey Buddhist.
Should I attend a wedding at church as an atheist?
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 14, 2017:
I visit churches for weddings, funerals, and as a tourist. And when you think about it, I'm kind of a tourist when I'm at the weddings and funerals as well, observing the customs of an alien culture from the viewpoint of my own much different one. I don't participate, I just observe. Well, I have to take that back--I did once participate in a Catholic funeral. It was my father-in-law's, and he had requested that everyone in the family be involved in it. I could have been dogmatic and refused (and thereby alienated all of my wife's family), but I realized that my father-in-law was a real iconoclast, and that was the reason he wanted me included. He knew better than to force anything on me. Appropriately enough, I was given the wine to take up for the communion. My brother-in-law had the wafers, and on our stroll up to the altar, he mumbled over at me, "Don't drink it all, Cuz." After the ceremony was over, the look on the priest's face when he learned I was an atheist was worth the whole experience. The important thing, though, is that I was able to honor my father-in-law and stay on good terms with my in-laws while they knew full well that it did not affect my status as a nonbeliever one iota.
New to agnostic.com
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 14, 2017:
I'm also from the Bible Belt (Kentucky) and also new at Agnostic.com. Alas, the town I live in has 60+ churches and zero pubs--though I shouldn't complain, I suppose, because it recently went "moist" (alcoholic beverages in restaurants). When the religious sanctimony gets to be too much, I head on down to my Beer Mecca (Asheville, NC) for a long weekend.
I'm currently 'unattached'. My previous gf is a Catholic, which wasn't a deal breaker, at least at ...
DharmaBum50 comments on Nov 13, 2017:
I'd say at this point in my life, it's very important. My wife died of cancer seven years ago, and during the last year of her life, she went back to the Catholic church. Previously, we had both been secular humanists and Buddhists to one degree or another. I do not wish to repeat the agonizing discussions of belief in an afterlife that we had during that time. It hurt her that I didn't believe we'd see each other again, but I wasn't going to lie, either. She was an intelligent woman, and she would have seen through it. I fear, however, that here in the mid-South, there aren't many women in my age bracket who have similar (non)beliefs as my own, so like you, I'm preparing to spend the rest of my life alone.

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Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Secularist, Skeptic, Freethinker
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