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I grew up in western Washington State, steeped in Pentacostal upbringing, devout in my teens, all-the-more because I was afraid of my budding same-sex attractions. Studied the Bible carefully on my own, was exposed to very different views by virtue of an exchange year to Germany, followed by secular College. Before I was out of college I had tossed it all; it went in stages, because the belief system had been drilled into me and was a big part of my identity; to throw that out all at once was way too scary. I first left the church for mountain of hypocrisy I was seeing and, by my mid-teens, was seeing through

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TraffIc dIlemma
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 17, 2018:
lol
Perseverance
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 17, 2018:
My least healthy would be vegging in front of the tv for hours, effectively avoiding tackling my to-do list. My healthiest is, of course, spending hours on Agnostic.com sounding out ideas here and digesting valuable wisdom from all of you here! (How's that for totally sucking up?) ;)
Trust
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 17, 2018:
All trust is NOT equal. I absolutely agree with the comment that trust is earned, not automatic. But there is also the important distinction to be made between... ( trusting someone's intentions and goodwill vs. trusting that their judgment and knowledge are infallible.) For the former, many people have quickly and easily gained my trust. For the latter, no one, including myself can do that perfectly. Also, trust is an action rather than merely a feeling. Trusting involves taking some risk. We have to take some degree of risk to even give the other person the chance to earn our trust. If we can't trust at all, we shut people out, and the result, sadly, is that we remain alone. If we are healthy about it, not foolish, we will risk trusting in situations that, if we are disappointed, we can accept the disappointment without feeling devastated. As the other person rewards us for placing that trust in them, it affords us more reason for confidence to extend even more trust as opportunity arises. Not risk-taking for the sake of being risky; that would be foolish; but risk that reasonably promises something positive to be gained
A Friend Just Shared This Posts on Guns
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Brilliant! ...as Ron Weasley would say.
It's snowing again. Had a foot on the ground and now we're getting another foot plus. Anyone else ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Not here, but I did just cut my first garden roses of the season. Does that help you feel any better? ;)
I became an ordained minister today. What a scam. I can legally marry people but they want you to ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 13, 2018:
Late Night host Stephen Colbert got officially ordained and talked about it on tv to show what a scam it is. Even did the most hillarious skit with Rachel Dratch of snl fame. I am sure it is on you tube.
I became an ordained minister today. What a scam. I can legally marry people but they want you to ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 13, 2018:
Not me, but my similarly secular brother got mailorder-ordained when he was just 12. He thought it was the funniest thing to show just how little is needed for this title "Reverend" that so many gullible people place their trust in, believing it represents wisdom and sound guidance. Ha!
Silly humans..
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 11, 2018:
Lololololololol!! Perfect observation. It reminds me of the pickup truck I saw with two bumper stickers. One said "Jesus Loves You." The other was an NRA sticker. That's right, folks, that Heavenly role model Christians are supposed to emulate may love you, turn the other cheek to insult, and tells us to love our enemies, but ..."I will blow your you effing head off if you threaten me or mine." Makes so much sense.
Has anyone read Stephen R. Donaldson? He is my favorite author and I think I’ve read everything ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 10, 2018:
I read the Thomas Covenant Chronicals and the follow up trio. Just saw last week that there is a whole new follow up "next generation" series. I bought the first of those last week. Not sure when I will get to it, but I have some Dune series additions to get through, first. &#128521
Why is it so difficult to connect?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 10, 2018:
Vipyr82, you seem depressed. I am sorry. That certainly does not help you feel you can connect. I wonder what you consider qualifies as connection. Rest assured, connection is inherently subjective, involves at least two separate people's subjective perception of connection, and if you are depressed, it is difficult to feel that any one else can relate to what you are going through. I meet people with some frequency who are surrounded by people in their lives to care for them, and yet those individuals can feel lonely. It is to some significant extent the depressed, lonely person's own perceptions that keep them from experiencing a feeling of connection. As for behavioral factors, there is a classic bit of advice that goes "Be the kind of friend that you want to attract."
Best damn concert you've ever been to? Mine: Depeche Mode - San Antonio, Texas 2005 Also, Ween ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 10, 2018:
Hard question. For me, probably my best damn concert was Robert Plant outdoors, Oak Mountain Amphatheater, Birminham AL sometime in the 1990s, I forget the exact year. There is something deliciously pagan about him. Lol My best "holy" concert perhaps the Yes "Union" tour, in Seattle. Jon Anderson is fairly Jesussy, after all. :P
Is it not possible to search earlier posts? Do we have to begin a new thread every time a subject ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 10, 2018:
Consider that a big part of the point of this site is to stimulate discussion. Searching old posts is fine, but for me, if they are quite old, I feel like I have missed the discussion. I can see why most seem inclined to just start anew.
Christian Family Values: Anti marriage equality, Pro-forced child marriage!
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 7, 2018:
Just to pile on to the absurd hypocrisy of the religionists' morality claims...really, this one doesn't even deserve its own separate post, so here it is. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/03/oklahoma-senate-chaplain-school-shootings-gods-punishment-marriage-equality/?utm_source=LGBTQ+Nation+Subscribers=1205770bba-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_05=email=0_c4eab596bd-1205770bba-429666657
and It's only wednesday...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 7, 2018:
See why none of this administration's scandals get anywhere near the scrutiny they deserve? Who can focus in this deluge of shameful news? Remember, during Trump's campaign, practically all we ever heard about Hillary Clinton was her use of a private email server and her supposedly total personal responsibility for the Benghazi embassy tragedy, and that endless drumbeat of criticism over just that was enough for many voters to shun her. But Trump? Not only are his actions a thousand times worse (at least), but turns out he or some of his closest members of his administration also did exactly what Clinton did (as well as much worse). Somehow, the complaints against him get no traction. I suspect the sheer volume of scandal short circuits the public's ability to care that much about any one thing. Appalling.
I find it ironic that Christians, while advocating the need for humility and self-effacement, often ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 7, 2018:
Let's consider the functions of religion. On a societal or group level its about social control. But forget that. On a personal level, religion appeals to the individual's emotional need for comfort and sense of protection, and for guidance. Since everyone sees countless examples of random suffering, death, and cruelty inflicted on innocents, the cheapest way for the theists to feel safer is to convince themselves that all those horrible things can't happen to them. Why wouldn't those things happen? Well, because they are "specially" protected by God. If just anyone and everyone were protected, the suffering and death we see all around could not happen. Since it clearly does happen, the religiously invested have to convince themselves they are somehow different than "the type of" people who suffer. Self-delusion with a purpose. It can be powerfully resistant to logic.
How important is sexual chemistry in a relationship?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 7, 2018:
How much varies with the people, but I think for most of us it is at least fairly important right up front in a relationship but over time other factors increasingly compete with it and may (hopefully) surpass it. Factors like friendship and loyalty and respect. Chemistry alone has led many into miserable relationships where the person comes to realize they are stuck with an attractive but horrible partner. It's Being in Love (Chemistry, hormones) vs. Loving Someone (friendship, loyalty, empathy, respect)
My Philosophy about life is that we should be journey oriented and not goal oriented. For example, a...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 7, 2018:
Yes to journey and process focus! I like to emphasize being achievement focused rather than comptitively focused. Your example of the swimmer with the goal of " being the best in the world" doesn't even require a dramatic loss to be a valid observation. No accidents necessary. That is because even "the best in the world" will not remain so, ever. Just ask any athlete. Ask Tiger Woods. Ask Michael Jordan. Eventually ability declines and is overtaken by someone else. That competitive person's sense of self-worth is then so fragile. Focus on process and achievement allows you to appreciate your own efforts, despite how well others do.
How old was everyone when they discovered Atheism or Agnosticism before they became one?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 7, 2018:
Raised Pentacostal, I worked through the questions for myself over a period of time, from age 18 to 20. By my junior year in college, I realized I was done with religion and its fear-based control tactics.
Describe a (nonsexual) hobby/activity that you love to do, and why you love doing it. For ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 6, 2018:
One of my top three leisure loves is green; I love gardening. It is meditative, teaches me to pay attention to little details, has vicariously taught me much about insects, fungal diseases, and plant biology. I have grown roses since age 10, 40 years ago. Where I live, many of the modern varieties will bloom nearly year-round. And I am not much for competitive showing or flower arranging, but I do like to snap pics of standout blooms...for a permanent record.
Describe a (nonsexual) hobby/activity that you love to do, and why you love doing it. For ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 6, 2018:
I love that you only shoot wildlife with a camera! :) I once had a friendly guy chatting with me about his love of hunting, asked me if I hunted, and when I politely said it wasn't my thing, he immediately responded to my non-hunter status with "not a nature lover, huh?" How does killing things equal loving nature?
What should men or women do to make themselves better human beings?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 6, 2018:
The golden rule still works....with a caveat: also listen to how others want to be treated.
So...I have had schizophrenia for a very long time. While it may not usually be the first thing I ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 6, 2018:
Well, the being a gay atheist part I certainly relate to. If people disapprove, they will erroneously tie any number of issues together, "blaming" anything they see as negative on the other thing they Don't approve of. I am an LCSW psychotherapist, too, and I absolutely see examples of what you mention, judgment from the uninformed.
Does advertising effect your purchases, ? When did you last purchase something because it was ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 5, 2018:
The proud answer that suggests total independence of thought and perogative would be "no." But I can only say advertising doesn't control me, doesn't "make me buy," but it can certainly plant a seed. Some products I would never even know exist if it weren't for advertising.
Psychology
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 5, 2018:
Do I? No. But "should" is a slippery, hard to pin down idea. Many people absolutely will feel embarrassed, regardless that they "shouldn't." Social opinion will pile on. Society seems to view mental health as if it were merely a matter of discipline and self-control, as if all people could avoid mental illness by just making responsible choices. Not so.
Sexual identities and labeling others. I think that it is very important to learn to value others...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 3, 2018:
This is a really complicated subject. Speaking as someone actually with a sociology educational background, I agree that labels are landmines, so to speak. They tend to make sweeping generalizations easier and, thereby, facilitate unfair judgment of individuals. BUT we can't live in society without them anymore than we can go without language. And when you find yourself on the receiving end of discrimination because of a demographic category that you are a part of, it is damn near impossible to identify the issue to other people so that you CAN tackle the problem without some kind labels being applied. We are never going to stop labeling as a behavior. All that will happen is that the labels deemed "acceptible" will keep changing, and people will continue to evolve with regard to which labels offend them and why. I guess that is part of the perils of identity politics and of political correctness. I may be offended by a label you apply to me, and in responding to defend myself, I end up applying a label to you that offends you. We are just going to have to keep calling out when we think a label misses the mark.
What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 3, 2018:
Foodwise, warm blackberry cobbler with melting vanilla ice cream. 2nd --apple fritter, yeah, I have a sweet tooth. Non-food: home remodeling makeover tv shows; I can just binge watch, and I Don't even own my home. I rent. Lol
What to do about my father?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Mar 1, 2018:
John, I have a similar situation with my soon to be 80 year old Pentacostal father, who is a loving person, though doggedly blind in his faith. My question to you is how your father confronts your atheism. Is it talking to you directly, or behind your back to others he hopes will put pressure on you? What he says and to whom could inform how you choose to respond. My father periodically tells me directly that he worries for my salvation and hopes I will return to Jesus. I have become more blunt with my responses over time, but no approach I have yet tried has seemed to make any difference. Rather than trying to shatter his faith paradigm, I have generally tried to show him that, if God exists as his scriptures describe, as all loving, all knowing and all powerful, then NO such being would ever condemn us to eternal torture for our sincere doubt , which God would know full well was not rebellion, rather the honest result of the limits of our feeble human understandong....as he created us, no less. I point out that the hell narrative of Christians is very murky and vague in scripture and makes absolutely no sense for an omniscient creator that knew from the beginning which of his creations ultimately would believe what. I also remind him that his bible admonishes Christians not to judge and to accept that, whatever he thinks he knows, is still only childish tiny fragments of the whole truth, if even that, so he should not concern himself too greatly with judging my honest perspective, as none of us has the "whole truth" figured out anyway. I remind him to reconsider what his gospels emphasize as central teaching, that is to love one another, practice kindness and humility and forgiveness of transgressions. I suggest that if I am doing that, I am actually fulfilling Jesus' central teaching, even if my honest doubts question the religious aspects of my father's faith paradigm. I have said all that over time, and he does not know how to refute my reasoning, but he still worries I am going to hell. (Sigh)
Temper Temper..
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 28, 2018:
I have never had much temper. Anger, sure. But not explosive, not temper. I like to think of anger as a healthy motivator to confront wrongs, injustices, and heartless insensitivity. But temper threatens to drive the train off a cliff, so to speak, which usually does more harm than good. I find a key to avoiding explosive temper is to learn assertiveness and avoid bottling up feelings just for the sake of conflict avoidance. Those bottles have a way of eventually exploding.
Why do pro-choice women not support a mans right to reproductivity?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 25, 2018:
This is an ugly topic, and I think that's because there is no perfect answer. In an ideal world, no child would ever be born without parents who want it and are prepared to nurture it and guide it, and no parents would feel trapped. But where conflicting agendas and priorities collide, there is no ideal outcome. Women have plenty of vulnerability when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, both physically/health-wise and economically and perhaps socially as well. Men can find themselves trapped in a situation that they believed they were being responsible about. I know it occasionally happens that a woman involved with a man convinces him that she is totally protected by contraception when she isn't. There are women (I have personally met some) who want to have a child, thinking it will win commitment from a man who otherwise isn't willing. Many a shotgun wedding has happened as far back and anyone can remember. But the legal system has settled on a general consensus called the nexus principle that says the first consideration of the courts will be the well-being of the children involved, not necessarily of either adult. It is hard to argue that the children were to blame for any of the situation happening in the first place. For that reason, I tend to agree which how the courts have set this up, even though it sucks to be trapped in any situation that you never intended and thought you had planned adequately to prevent. I feel worst for the kids in the middle.
Two things a person can say that will make me lose respect for them: “Let’s agree to ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 25, 2018:
We live in a society where we can't even agree any more what the facts are. Add to that the fact that people wrap their sense of personal identity around belief systems such as religion and political affiliation and you end up with a situation in which someone would have to overcome first their doubt in YOUR facts being correct and second their fear of what accepting being wrong would say about them. That's a tall order for many, at least to do all at one time. You expect a lot. Actually, I agree with you that that statement "Let's agree to disagree" is not at all satisfying; rather like them saying they are no longer even going to try to respond to the points you've made. But it is what it is. No every argument or disagreement can be simplified down to one person being wrong and the other right. Sometimes both are wrong; sometimes each has elements that are right but neither is entirely right, and sometimes (OFTEN) the question at hand is a matter of values and priorities and NOT reducible to simply declaring factual "Truth."
I am new here hey how are you all ?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 25, 2018:
Welcome! This is a fun site for critical thinking, listening, expressing ideas, and for just feeling less utterly surrounded by religion.
[lgbtqnation.com] This bill in Georgia is called the "Keep Faith in Adoption Act." I am reminded...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 25, 2018:
Pretty hard to argue that this Isn't religiously based government policy-making action. :(
Do you consider yourself a humanist?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 24, 2018:
You are certainly a humanist. To me, humanism is the belief that humans need to be responsible for solving humanity's problems or challenges. "Need" to be, because of course there are no sky faeries to magically save us. But none of this means you must be blind to the abundance of aggravating selfishness and short-sighted stupidity so much on display around you. Every halfway-observant student of sociology knows humans create endless problems for themselves and each other. Basic conflict theory--ideals are never lived up to. Reality always falls short. As for me, I often lose patience with selfish, mean-spirited actions of individuals and groups and can be angry at the bigotry or callous disregard for fellow human beings, but I generally can still genuinely care about people for their human frailties and emotional vulnerabilities, even many of the mean ones. It helps to remember that I am not perfect, either.
Opinions on being a nudist?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 24, 2018:
I am not but would be fine with it if I happened to be around it. (When in Rome) I do think it can serve to help people get over hangups abput their bodies, and that is good. In an ideal world, it would be a non-issue. We are far from that. I know people who consider anything about the naked body to be just about automatically abusive, predatory, immoral, sexist, etc. My former mother in law, who was sexually abused as a teen and has major emotional challenges from that, saw an article my nudist father had written for a nudist org he was part of at the time. She was so offended, she actually said we should not allow our son--her grandson to be around my father. She equated him with a child sexual predator just for being a naturist. (Sigh)
Dating
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 24, 2018:
Ha! I am starting to wonder if Louisianans are legally banned from agnostic or atheist chat sites and if I am breaking the law, cause I missed the memo. So far, I have seen no one even remotely close to local on this site, let alone another local gay guy.
I’ve been shot in combat. And as a veteran, I’m telling you: allowing teachers to be armed is an...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 23, 2018:
Besides the burden of being expected to handle a high-powered weapon and in crisis NOT accidentally shoot any of their students, there's the danger of how to secure their weapon. Students would certainly know the weapons were somewhere there in the classroom, increasing the odds that occasionally, one would find a way to get their hands on one.
Dating the religious. So I met and found myself attracted to a woman recently. I haven't directly...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 23, 2018:
Religion is what one makes of it. To some, it is literal, life and death, and if you aren't on their "team" belief-wise, they'll try to beat you into conversion or will demonize you. I would naturally avoid those people like the plague. But some people who identify as religious are more metaphorical about it; or at least aren't dogmatic. Personally, I can live with that. There are asshole atheists just as there are Christians. How caring and respectful someone is matters a lot, often more than their grasp of factual science. What I can't live with is someone who refuses to have honest discussions about their beliefs for fear of disagreement. I can't live like that. You can find meaningful and touching reasons to care about someone when they open up and share what motivates them, their fears, hopes, life lessons, etc, and when they listen to you do the same. You don't have to absolutely agree on everything. But if you can't even talk about things of personal importance to you, you are accepting that you will never really know each other on any genuinely deep level. Bleh. What's the point. I had a Roman Catholic boyfriend for a few months. He would talk, but then would steer away from some topics. I eventually pushed, because I wanted to know where we stood with life outlook on a variety of things, and he wanted to maintain neat little role-play of the happy, harmonious couple. We ended up splitting over politics, not religion. He was too conservative. He supportive politicians that were horribly damaging to the lgbt community, showing he ultimately cared more about his property taxes than about social justice. I couldn't stomach that.
America's "Pope" Billy Graham, dead at 99. Here's a little trip down memory lane of just how loving...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 22, 2018:
Worst of all, his son Franklin has all the same ideas but even angrier, more judgmental tone to his fire and brimstone pronouncements. And he is determined to carry on his father's deranged agenda.
I think I’d like to live in a nudist colony.... well if I was younger, and better looking,and it ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 22, 2018:
Yeah, "It's cold" is where I get off the nudism train. gotta be comfortable. Have you considered disposable clothing?
Hello everyone! I have recently joined this group and I'm looking forward to interesting chats and ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 22, 2018:
Welcome aboard!
How do you tell someone, with diplomacy that you don’t want to have a prayer with you? I am an ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 22, 2018:
It sure must be tiresome. You are quite apparently a smart guy and already know various options of things to say to "make a point" but obviously none of that stops the next presumptuous Christian from doing it all over again. Ugh. In your place, I might just resort to cutting them off by saying "Stop. Just stop. You are literally the thousandth person to pray (or perhaps "prey") over my amputation. Just how many times do you think I should indulge your hope for a miracle that never comes?" Then just let them chew on that. If they try to lecture you about the importance of faith, you can say faith is just another way to waste emotional energy by refusing to deal with reality. They will probably think you are mean, but they will likely steer clear of you after that. Still, there is no solution for the sheer number of theists who presume they have the right to intrude. ... Have you considered maybe wearing a button that says "prayer-free zone" or something equivalent. ...Or maybe even, ask them to pray anonymously for you, then wait until they see your leg restored to let you know that was their prayer at work. That's to spare you the anticipation anxiety. If they are REALLY the loving Christian they claim, that's the least they can do.
Oldies but Goodies..
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 20, 2018:
My parents? Ugh! Both born in 1938. My mother liked Lawrence Welk and Hee Haw. My father believed recorded music was best used only to provide background mood, and he mostly expresses what musical impulse he has by singing traditional evangelical church hyms, a Capella and with no finesse nor concern for tone. In short, NO. No I don't enjoy listening to that today. Not in the least. I love music, though. As almost an afterthought. My parents had accumulated a couple hundred Columbia Archives lp records of various artists. To this day, their copy of Van Cliburn's romantic era classical piano music remains a sentimental favorite for me, leading me to fall in love with Chopin, Debussy, Rachmanninov and Tchaikovsky and eventually take piano lessons. I also heard early Johnny Matthis, Judy Collins, Jody Miller, Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand from those albums, which did start me on a path of appreciation for vocalists singing American Standards and big band songs, though I have since found many other favorite vocalists.
Do you think that men have become more feminine recently?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 20, 2018:
Lancer, you made a blatant negative and sweeping judgment near the start of your post, which is in part, I believe, why you have drawn such extensive criticism on this thread. Read your second paragraph again, where you call feminine males (however you interpret feminine) to be stupid and weak, and not much good in a fight. You went on and on emphasizing the value of being able to fight --in South Africa, even Somalia. Whether you meant it or not, your implication was that that was valuable, and softness, gentleness is not so much. So much bullshit. That is not intelligent, no matter how smart you keep telling all of us you are. What the fuck does it matter to men in the U.S. how lawless and dangerous life is in Somalia? We don't live there. Trying to act as if we were would not only be inappropriate, it would be dysfunctional. Why would your teacher describe men from different countries as being generally different based on location and then turn around and divide a group of boys in one place into three groups? Your whole post has implicitly argued for men striving to be tough guys. You argument is horse shit.
Massive study of Australia's gun laws shows one thing: they work
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 19, 2018:
https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/how-nra-rewrote-second-amendment Read this linked article above. It's important. Our nation is being eroded by greedy capitalist lobbying power. Nowhere is that more true than in the case of the enormous sway held by the gun manufacturer's and their puppet, the NRA leadership, who don't stand for the interests of the average gun owner so much as for the desire of gun manufacturer's to keep up a flow of gun sales. That is what it is about; NOT personal safety through self-armament. Every frigging time another mass shooting happens, an understandable public outcry is echoed by some government official's modest calls for a start to sensible regulation, and that is all the excuse the gun lobby needs to whip up a hysterical panic among the faithful that "Obama is coming for your guns!!!" It was and still is absurd. The sale of guns spike widely after every mass shooting. Is that because more people "see the light" and realize they need a gun? Hell no! It is the same roughly 30% of the public that just keeps adding to their own arsenals. This is paranoid insanity, people. And the gun manufacturer's are banking on that paranoia to keep them rich. Stop being their fool. Capitalism is all well and good. But it NEEDS steady regulation to keep from degenerating into dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all chaos. The gun lobbyists, big oil, big pharm, and tobacco don't want regulation, and have deep pockets to use to convince the rest of us to let them continue to run everthing. We COULD actually use our brains and stop letting them dupe us.
Massive study of Australia's gun laws shows one thing: they work
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 18, 2018:
The NRA has proven that it does not value the truth; and Why? ...because the truth doesn't match its propaganda. https://www.ucsusa.org/suppressing-research-effects-gun-violence#.WomvPIFMHqA
How many languages do you speak? How well do you speak them, and can you write in them too? I ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 18, 2018:
English--my native language, German--conversational, movies, tv, news, but not native proficiency; rather rusty after 30+ years since I was in Germany as an exchange student. I have acquired a baby smidge of Spanish over the years. I might comprehend an eighth of what I hear. Meh. But I love the musicality and rhythm of Spanish.
Massive study of Australia's gun laws shows one thing: they work
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 18, 2018:
Every excuse you make for why gun control efforts allegedly can't work in the USA (because we're special? ...American exceptionalism?) is a capitulation to the gun lobby. The facts worldwide are clear. Gun violence reduction is very achievable. If you doubt that, you have bought into the NRA lie. The problem is, social belief lies have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecy.
So I posted something earlier that I took down because my intentions were being misunderstood. I ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 18, 2018:
I personally have been on just a few dating sites so far and am frustrated with them. While I am open to possibly finding a date here, this site to me is first and foremost a community for non-religious folks to share thoughts and find support. I haven't had a single date from here yet. Lol
Which bible story for you was the most comedic?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Then there's that obscure little story everyone overlooks...something about naked people in a garden who don't know anything because they haven't yet eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So when a crafty snake comes and talks the foolish woman into eating the fruit, she goes straight to her man to share, and he, being ruled by his hormones, naturally says to his naked woman, "for you Babe, sure I'll do anything." Remember he can't know any better until AFTER he has eaten the fruit. So here's the hilarious part: God, who set this whole scenario up, what with being all-powerful and all-knowing, he punishes the man and woman for doing exactly what he knew all along they would do. What a sadistic joker, that God!!!
Does your hair salon or dresser listen to how you want your hair cut?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 16, 2018:
I got an instructional book and started learning to cut my own hair as far back as 7th grade. I did some awful clip jobs but I improved over time. I would get professional cuts, then just give myself a touch up trim in between going back in for proper haircuts. But I got quite frustrated with the inconsistency of stylists. Before I was out of college I had experienced one too many butcher jobs and finally decided I would rather be disappointed in my own efforts than PAY someone to disappoint me. Over 30 years later now and I have never had anyone else but myself cut my hair ever since. DAMN I'm good! Actually, I'm just pleased to still have a full head of hair. LOL
Which bible story for you was the most comedic?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Jonah surviving being inside a giant fish for many days. Don'tcha just HATE it when that happens? :P
Such a pickle...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Remember, when responding to arguments of a doggedly determined magical thinker-- aka a religious zealot-- we are not responding so much to change that zealot's mind, an exercise in futility, as we are to counter their potential influence over other audience who might be considering the merits of their sales pitch. We are arguing to deny them converts. It is well worth the effort.
Another school shooting. Another useless round of "thoughts and prayers." Here is a photo that ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 15, 2018:
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: The standard answer of apologists for the gun manufacturers' lobby. One more example of religion being used to pacify the public in the face of outrageous injustice. Another Huff Post headline this morning pointed out President Trump crippled an Obama gun safety policy just a couples months back, making it even harder to stop violently mentally ill people from legally purchasing guns, and he had the gall to tweet that students should have done more to report him before the incident. This despite the fact he HAD BEEN REPORTED to police multiple times, and they were aware, but without having committed a crime he could not be deprived of his "freedoms." I say that in derisive quotation marks, because apparently in America, one of our most defended freedoms is the "freedom" to be mowed down by assault weapons when we are just minding our own damned business. FUCKING POLITICIANS!
Here’s a helpful guide for discussions :)
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 14, 2018:
Amusing. But to be picky for a moment, the chart is incomplete and somewhat misleading as a result. IT fails to acknowledge that not every discussion is an argument, nor is every discussion merely parsing facts from falsehoods. Some are about exchanging differing perspectives on value judgments and priorities. There is not always a resolution to be arrived at when different person's have fundamentally different priorities and values.
I am afraid of ghosts, though I don't believe in them
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 14, 2018:
I wonder if there is something instinctual about that kind of apprehension. Fear of ghosts seems to me like some more general fear of the unknown---what might be lurking around the next corner, hiding in shadows, etc. IT could be a visceral, skin-crawling reflexive reaction that the brain then gets carried away with extrapolating fantastical explanations for those feelings.
So, I "met" a guy on another dating site months ago, we have exchanged emails sporadically, ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 14, 2018:
Ugh. I have been trying dating sites for a few months, now. I don't have any comparison to know if the site experience is different based on your sexual orientation, but so far, I have had by far the most attention from guys hundreds of miles from me. What the f**k? If you are seeing someone and feelings are real but one of you moves away due to extenuating circumstances, I understand the desire to make the best of it, but why would anyone willingly choose to start a long distance relationship....on purpose?!? Locally, I get some looks and occasional likes, but no one actually wants to chat online, let alone actually meet me. Plus, here in Louisiana (Gawd's country) even the gay dudes (80%of them) are Christian, and most who aren't are smokers. (Sigh)
Have you ever had a stalker?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 14, 2018:
Yikes! AMGT, that's awful.
The Largest Number Of Scientists In Modern U.S. History Are Running For Office In 2018 | HuffPost
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 14, 2018:
Behold! The part of the "Trump effect" that Trump never anticipated. Still, I would much rather have had Congressional rancor and gridlock with President Hillary Clinton than this national disaster we are now living through.
Do you have a favorite outspoken atheist?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 14, 2018:
I like funny atheists, especially since the whole topic of religious faith is so full of targets for humor. Suspension of disbelief can be truly absurd. Seth MacFarlane, Ricky Gervais.
Issues | American Atheists
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 12, 2018:
"...evidence based public policy that uses science reason, and our shared humanity..." In other words, common sense. How radical!!! What are you? Canadian? ;)
I switched the television on tonight and caught most of "The Fifth Element" on Syfy. I'll watch that...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
Any of the Harry Potter Series and Lord of the Rings! Yeah, I'm one of those geeks. :)
How can atheist make this world a better place?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
Simply show kindness whenever you have the chance. Approach everyone with positive regard. That doesn't mean be blindly trusting and get taken for a fool. But it does mean, figure when people do selfish or hurtful things, they are acting, not out of sheer malice, but rather just doing the only thing they understand of how to try to meet their needs. For me, fostering that outlook helps me move quickly past any resentments, so that I have more energy for constructive things in life.
Hi. I'm new here.
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
Welcome, welcome! This site is a whole lot of fun if you like thoughtful chatting. Tip: Emoji buttons don't work on this site, but typing in the old fashioned punctuation to approximate emojis actually results in ......Emojis! Go figure. ;)
Most common atheist stereotypes or misconceptions you've encountered?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
I agree with all the negative slams already listed. Minions of Satan. By not believing in Satan, we are serving "him." Of course, it makes perfect sense.....not. Also that our criticisms of Christianity's discriminatory practices amounts to a mean-spirited, totally unfair attack on Christians, who are, naturally, only trying to spread the love of Jesus, and who could be against that? Bleh.
Has any one here had any success with this site?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
If you mean for dating, no. I live in a cultural armpit called southeast Louisiana, where, apparently no other Agnostic.com people want to live. I don't blame them. Otherwise, socially, it's been great! A lot of cool folks to talk to about all kinds of interesting ideas. Waaaaaay better than facebook, to me.
How do you feel about the way the American government disregarded every treaty ever made with Native...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
Depressed and aggravated, yet again, for my nation's arrogance and selfishness.
Which religions have to most to offer the world?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 10, 2018:
Humanism is the most constructive, but I call that a philosophy more than a religion, so I'd pick the traditional religion that is most philosophical, and second a vote for Buddhism. It's pretty darned cool if you don't worry too much about the compulsive ritualistic aspects. But like any religion, it has evolved into so many sects, and some of them are not so great, meaning, they can be practiced in petty, prejudicial ways just like any other religion.
Any people here recovering from extreme christian fundamentalism?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 9, 2018:
Everyone's personal sense of just how far gone counts as crazy surely varies, but I was raised steeped in Pentacostal brand of lunacy. My parents both spoke in jibberish--tongues frequently, church services contained congregants yelling out "prophecy" in the middle of sermons, and we had regular designated "worship" parts of services in which many people would moan and fall on the floor, "slain in the spirit", and the pastor would yell out inappropriate and embarrassingly personal things(probably inacurate) about individuals in front of the whole congregation, and no one there seemed to see any problem with that violation of personal dignity--except people like me, who, even at age 9 realized that was abusive. I fervently prayed into my late teens, all the more because I needed to be saved from the "spirit of homosexuality!" Something that secretly terrified me but that I never dared admit to anyone else there. Ironically and wonderfully, it was partly my "homosexual spirit" that ended up saving me from that religious insanity by waking me up to the fact that the evangelical bullshit was not only crushi?ngly oppressive with its guilt trip, it was also proven to be bullshit by what science was discovering about sexual diversity, biology, etc. By age 18, I had figured out the church was full of hypocrisy and was NOT the mouthpiece of God. Shortly after that I had pieced together that the Bible, too, was a patched together assortment of fairytales with archaic notions of morality and gender straitjacket norms, and many factual falsehoods. By age 20, I finally could accept that my whole Christian notion of God as simultaneously all-knowing, all-powerful, infinitely benevolent and yet vengeful and eternally damning of billions of people whose "sins" basically amounted to ignorance and flaws that God created them with.... In other words, the whole equation is an impossibility; an absurd oxymoron, that we only thought made divine sense because we were brainwashed with fear of hell, lest we doubt. By age 20, in other words, I was out; I had found the escape hatch out of the fear trap that is their paradigm.
Favorite Anything?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 9, 2018:
Animals being adorably silly! Very highbrow, I know. lol But then, I also love beautiful dance and music. That's as close as I get to spiritual moments.
Who is Your Favorite Philosopher?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 9, 2018:
Mark Twain!!! :P Who says comedians can't be philosophers?
2018 Winter Olympics, who's watching?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 9, 2018:
Mistymoon, I'm right there with ya! Absolutely love the Olympics! I'm truly worthless for these two weeks, because I'm glued to the tv every waking chance. I have a new-ish HULU streaming live tv service, so I'm a little challenged to figure out how all the specific Olympics programming works between all the different networks. Just realized NBC isn't one of my available live streaming channels on HULU; I only have NBC "on demand" but I do at least have an NBC sports app on my roku and my indoor antenna pulls in the signal great, so woo! Old fashioned network tv! I can even record that over the air tv on my personal dvr. HULU does give me NBCSN and the Olympic Channel, but I'm still trying to figure out what the Olympic channel will show me and how to find it and whether I need to tell it to save it for me or if it will all be on-demand. Ah fun... As for the sports, I am completely glued to the figure skating; I am a figure skater--never was competitive, but that doesn't mean I didn't take it seriously. I'm actually really good for 50 year old man who didn't start skating till age 28. lol Just watched the first leg of the figure skating team event this evening, men's and pairs short programs. I'm stoked! In addition to the figure skating, though, I like anything on snow that involves aerial tricks, so the half-pipe skiers and snowboarders, moguls, and straight up aerial freestyle. I also love all the athlete interviews of all the sports. Something about the Olympics is fascinating when it comes to the back stories of how hard the athletes have worked.
I have said this to my kids - When I get older, I am NOT going into a nursing home. There's no ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 8, 2018:
I worked in a nursing home and could absolutely picture myself there in my old age. The thing is, whether it is horrible or not-at-all bad depends in part on how much functional autonomy the person retains and also how much loved ones come to visit. It is the confused and paranoid demented patients and or totally impaired physically that I feel badly for.
Nudists?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 8, 2018:
I would admit it if I were but I am not. My father, however, joined a nudist group when he retired. He socialized with them foir several years. I want nudity to be no big thing, but I don't feel motivated enough about it to put any effort into that. We in the U.S. remain very much a Puritan nation culturally. People are quicker to declare something perverse and evil than they are natural and liberating. I have even heard of parents being reported for "child abuse" just for being naked around their own children.
Government?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 8, 2018:
No one should blindly trust government, for multiple reasons. Having said that, however, we still have to have it. The alternative is to let money and weapon power run absolutely everything. Without government, we have chaos. Think Somalia, or the mob running everything. Government is ugly, dishonest, twisted, and endlessly frustrating. But our only options are to do what we can to make it accountable to the people or else accept that we will be controled by ruthless forces without any accountability. Right now there is a whole lot of accountability sorely lacking and desperately needed. To me our current national administration looks more like a bungling cluster of would-be mobsters than it does a U.S. government. As for religion, we really Don't need it, so there's one difference.
I want to thank @Affinis for giving me this idea (after reading your thread on Lorraine Hansberry)....
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 8, 2018:
Satirist Mark Russell, the Simpsons cartoon, anything by Seth MacFarlane, even Harry Potter, albeit in code, muggles being symbols of intolerant majority bigots --aka fundamentalists.
How does one overcome the loneliness of living in the midst of hardcore believers?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 8, 2018:
Absolutely, chat forums like this help! I also second the advice to look for local get together groups on meetup.com. see if there is a UU Church anywhere near you. They are not Christian, rather, open to all people seeking community to talk about values and social issues and support the diversity of personal spiritual paths. It makes for refreshing conversation just the fact of people NOT being fundamentalist in their opinions.
Lgbt?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 8, 2018:
There sure are! I am another one....gay in my case and outspoken. :)
Conservatives: What is your most liberal view? Liberals: What is your most conservative view?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 6, 2018:
I'm definitely a liberal in many issues, but those labels are somewhat subjective, and the host of issues people apply them to don't always have anything to do with each other. hmm.....hard question. My most conservative belief, off the top of my head: Since conservatism in its simplest form just refers to a desire to support one's perception of either the status quo or some perceived traditional stance of yester-year, I'd say my most conservative belief might have to do with governmental (and personal) fiscal responsibility being important. Americans, for example, don't save for retirement nearly enough. Consumerism is often irresponsible, and people have grown used to instant gratification. Hard work and entrepreneurial creativity deserve to be rewarded. Note: It is reeeeeeally difficult for me to say those things (which I DO believe) without following them up with explanations for why liberal methods are the way to achieve those things and still protect the social safety net.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 6, 2018:
AMGT, what's the source of that quotation? Just wonderin' I generally don't shy away from giving my opinion. I try to empower others whenever I see some way to do that, even in little ways. When someone broadcasts opinions that discount the worth of whole groups of people, I generally can't let that go unchallenged. There are SO many examples of injustice...and just plain selfish destructiveness...that I think we have to pick our battles or risk burning out or feeling spread too thin. I am always concerned about the tortured state of our planet...you know? that thing that we all need in order to exist? Yeah, that. I am trying to keep educating myself about environmental damage and responsible sollutions and to share what I learn with anyone showing the slightest interest. I also cannot seem to cross paths with racist or sexist or anti-LGBT hateful statements without challenging them. Specifically because I'm gay and realize that not everyone feels safe enough to be out themselves, I want to, as much as I can, be an example that you don't have to hide in shame. I LUUUUV the "It Gets Better Project" model of making a difference for people struggling for self-acceptance. Dan Savage is a bit of a hero to me.
What are you guys reading? Or wanting to read? Right now I’m finishing Broca’s Brain by Carl...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 4, 2018:
In rhe midst of "Clean Break," profiling Germany's current full speed ahead transition to total renewable energy, while vested interests in the U.S. --I.e. fossil industry profiteers--convince politicians and much of the American public that a) it isn't possible and b) fossil fuels are miraculously not harming the environment, despite all the hard evidence.
Being Completely Honest, Is There A Bible Or Cross Anywhere In Your Home Right Now?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 4, 2018:
Symbols? Crosses? No. Bibles? Sure. And a Koran, and a copy of The Book of Mormon. They are reference materials, NOT devotional props. It is helpful to know what you are talking about when criticizing religious scriptural claims. I have way more books about religion from a secular, scholarly perspective. My sentimental favorite is a satirical condensed version of the Bible by Mark Russell called "God Is Disappointed In You." It is even illustrated. :P
It has just come to my attention that only 1% of the population of Brazil does not believe that ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 4, 2018:
Oh, I think there is enough work to do here at home. I am rather dubious about missionary zeal, whatever the brand. Too colonial in flavor.
Gays, Lesbians and Transgenders
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 3, 2018:
Speaking specifically of Christian or Muslim haters, yes, their scriptures appear to condemn homosexuality and anything that crosses gender norms (though there are very few references in scripture). But I think the real reason for that is their fundamental subjugation of women. Women in Biblical times were basically chattel, with no rights. LGBT people represent a threat to the rigid socially constructed gender boundaries that those people want to believe are divinely mandated. So they attack.
Do you think that men have become more feminine recently?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 3, 2018:
Another thing...you have expressed a distinct motivation of wanting to attract women. Nothing wrong with that. You also acknowledged that different women want different things. Again, I agree. But you seemed to accept your teacher/mentor's sweeping generalization that women of a given culture generally want the same thing in a man. He and you couldn't be more wrong. Trust me, you don't want to attract just any women. You want to attract women who are a good fit for YOU. you do that best by being yourself, not by trying to study and emulate qualities just to curry favor. Just BE.
Do you think that men have become more feminine recently?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 3, 2018:
Is anyone else here bothered by the statement that this "Strong," "God-fearing" man mentoring these impressionable boys saw nothing wrong with publicly judging and labeling them as feminine or somewhat feminine? How about the fact that his categorization of them as to which of three groups they "belonged to" was decided by nothing more than his personal view of them? He apparently got to act as the unquestioned judge of who is "manly" and who is a sissy boy. I am appalled by how recklessly irresponsible that is. But he is "a great man," and he's "God fearing," so there is nothing to worry about? Wow!
I am supposed to be on vacation having a good time but Devin Nunes memo is upsetting me. Is anyone ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 3, 2018:
I am concerned by the entire circus. The memo, itself, is a big fat nothing-burger, but that does not mean that it won't be used as a flimsy excuse to try to end the investigation. Most disturbing is how complicit many congressional Republicans are in the Potus disgusting scheme. There is no reason for Trump to have gotten so worked up about the Mueller investigation as to have taken such extreme actions trying to derail it. No reason, that is, unless he is scared of what is likely to be revealed. Every action he has taken in response to this obstruction of justice investigation appears to be another attempt to obstruct! He is so blatant about it. The fact many are bent on pretending this is reasonable behavior is a testament to how corrupt the whole system has become.
Since you have revealed to others that you're an atheist how has it effected your love life and ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 2, 2018:
Yeah, not only will people shy away from my "strident irreverence," but I also don't want someone too prone to woo. That very significantly narrows my chances. Waddya gunna do.
Do you like it when people give you false hope? I don't.
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 2, 2018:
I definitely prefer genuine hope to false hope. No empty promises of Gawd saving the day. But some perspective on the ability to get through the given crisis, sure, that is actually helpful.
Facing Pain
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 2, 2018:
I really don't think the discomfort is biological. I believe it is learned. We learn by the examples around us. Emotion is universal, but we are taught to hide tears and vulnerability. Because it is generally hidden, we don't get much chance to see how others respond. That leaves us feeling unsure what to do. Faced with someone obviously hurting, most of us feel pressure, like we are expected to "fix" that suffering. For me, personally, my mom was expressive and open (oh she had her other issues, to be sure, but in that sense, she was a good role model). Dad, however, though I know he is a kind person, always acted stiff and awkward, never even hugging, let alone shedding a tear. I got the loud and clear message that guys "should" emulate John Wayne. John Wayne is, to me, the embodiment of all things wrong with American models of masculinity. Stiff, repressed, absolutely forbidden from showing genuine emotion; supposed to project calm no matter what, like he can "handle" any crisis without breaking a sweat. If emotion is EVER allowed, it is only anger, never sadness. Sadness is supposed to be weak. So much bullshit! I am someone who can tear up at a sad news report on the radio. I love tear-jerker movies. But I would still feel intimidated to be live in the presence of someone else showing emotion. My psychopathology training and subsequent experience did finally teach me to respect people's need to cry. So I no longer get uncomfortable. I no longer feel like I am supposed to "help" the person stop crying. As a therapist, I have the message still in my head to generally avoid crying with the person, because there is the risk a client/patient will think "oh God! I am so hopeless that even the therapist is upset!" (I don't stick to that 100%) In my personal life, I am much more permissive in letting myself go with the flow. But I definitely had to LEARN to be okay with that.
Wow! Thanks, religion! NOT. This story from a Mormon couple hits a bit close to home for me, ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 1, 2018:
For me, as for many others who see their marriages end, we can choose to look at those years as lost time or as one more chapter of our lives that, though we wouldn't choose to do it again, still taught something and gave us some positives as well as negatives. I have a terrific kid who never would have been born otherwise, and his mom and I remain friends (she is very progressive) and are finding coparenting pretty positive. Btw, we have dinner together most Thursdays and watch Will & Grace around it. ...Naturally. ;)
So I'm dating a catholic now. It's only been maybe a few weeks into a relationship and we've had our...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 1, 2018:
I may be old, but I am young in gay experience. I dated one guy, several months. He pursued me, and I let him know I found him attractive. Well, he was devout Roman Catholic, always going to confession and telling me about his discussions with his confessor, who, naturally, as a Catholic priest, was telling this guy to be celibate. I can respect people with different spiritual viewpoints, and see that they have some insights, too. But a romantic partner is another matter. I don't agree with the advice to agree not to talk about beliefs. They are fundamental to our identities. Some people can do it, but I question how well they actually relate to their partners. Might as well agree to wear duct tape over your mouth on dates. It doesn't work in the long run.
Thank you to admIn for creatIng thIs sIte!
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Feb 1, 2018:
Hey Admin, you are my methadone to Facebook's heroin. Thanks for stealing me away.
Binge worthy TV Shows
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 31, 2018:
I already answered, with three fictional series, but if I am being honest, more than anything I watch reality stuff, #1 any remodeling show on HGTV, and second, right now I am consuming all things Olympics that I can. There is something inspiring, even though not at all practical. Lol
Binge worthy TV Shows
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 31, 2018:
If it is on network currently, I can't binge. Only one episode at a time. But streming, sure. Anyway, my favs, Will , for the Sharp LGBT humor, timely socio-political references, and nostalgia. Grace & Frankie, because apparently I like shows with Grace in them. Nah, it's the gay thing again. And Stranger Things. Love the creepy twists from kid's perspective.
Do you think that men have become more feminine recently?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 31, 2018:
There is so much wrong on so many levels with this entire description that it is impossible to address it all. But just for starters, ...strong only equals masculine subjectively. You said your mentor was a strong, god-fearing, great man. Those terms have nothing to do with one another. All men and women have some masculine and some feminine components to our character. To try to sharply divide the genders and only emphasize their differences while rewarding gender conformity is not only prejudiced, but also prevents people from being fully developed human beings. It is a misguided attempt to straight-jacket people into narrow gender roles, enforced by fear of social rejection. Plus, those gender roles are subjective, anyway, varying widely from one culture to the next. What you'd call masculine in one culture, another would laugh at you for. The whole premise of your questions is skewed with a particular bias, a quite pronounced one. I don't blame you. You clearly indicated you were taught these things by people with an agenda. But you certainly can learn better, just as I and many here have learned a better way than the prejudiced religious fables we were raised on.
Does anyone out there listen to NPR?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 31, 2018:
I listen to NPR almost exclusively in the car.
I've been reading a lot about death, and mankind's wildly different perspectives on it over the ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 31, 2018:
I like the "soft edges" idea. I think awarenes of death and fear of not existing was just one motivation. But the Julian Jaynes theory of the development of unified consciousness in early humans could explain a lot. It postulates that hallucinations we now dismiss as malfunctioning psychotic brains apparently were once upon a time far more common. There is archeological evidence suggesting the earliest notions of diety were quite personal, unique to each person; that not until some time later did chieftains and kings start insting that their subjects adopt the leaders' gods. It could very well be that God always was, at its core, simply psychosis. If you hear voices telling you what to do, it must be God, right?
So I'm going to get a little rant-y. Why on earth can I not make relationships work. I was in ...
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 31, 2018:
I am curious about your communication skills you say used to be terrible but are now honest. I wonder how those skills are appearing to the other person(s). Maybe there is still a mismatch between those skills and the type of person you gravitate to. Maybe your honesty sounds like judgment or pickiness to them, and they are intimidated. Just speculation on my part, since I have dated just the tiniest bit in my life and currently have been single the past couple years. I agree with what a few others others here have touched on, that as we get older, perhaps be get more risk averse regarding relationships, less willing to have "blind faith" in the suitability of those we meet--and likewise they do, too. We come to be more aware of the downside of investing our time and trust in someone we know little about, and therefore finding a good fit SEEMS more difficult, when in fact it is not more so. It is just that many of those people jumpining into commitment earlier in life are willing to make risky matches. I am no more experienced than you at this ( and I am a therapust; Ha!) But I CAN tell you, more patients coming to me are unhappy about problem relationships than about loneliness. So being in a couple is not the key to happiness. We have to be happy with ourselves first. Then we will naturally find the patience to take our time getting to know someone else. Not settling surely does tend to require a lot more patience, but it is worth it.
Tattoo Appreciation
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 30, 2018:
I love roses; been growing them for 40 years. That is a terrifically lifelike tattoo! Roses are difficult to render well.
What are your thoughts on the quote?
MikeInBatonRouge comments on Jan 30, 2018:
If someone tells me I have offended them but fails to explain how, I respond with "Congratulations!" That usually puzzles, then offends them more. Lol

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Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Secularist, Skeptic, Freethinker
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