Category Archives: atheists

China Travel in Four Days

China is evil according to some of the news reports in America. I’m skeptical since agendas abound.

What I do know is that I found another author to read and he is Chinese: Cixin Liu, the award-winning author of The Three Body Trilogy. I just finished the second of the series, “The Dark Forest” and look forward to the translation of the last book in his series next year.

A book on the philosophy of Confucius is the only other book I remember reading from China.

I may have missed the author’s intentions, but here is some stuff I found interesting in his books so far:

History and evolution of communist forces in China. I started reading up on some of the incidents he mentioned.

Technology holds a positive place in the future of mankind. A different spin on the debate between environmentalists and industry. When technology is held hostage by an alien force, the world may be doomed.

Spirituality has a place. Many of the characters in his books are atheists and they wish they had the ability to believe in something. A piece of the puzzle eludes them even if it is only a comforting piece.

Love lends a hand in solving problems for some of the lead characters.

The humanities, the arts clarify reality. They are a useful tool even in a high-tech world.

A frequent refrain in “The Dark Forest” is, “If I destroy you, what business is it of yours?” Despite the harshness, it is something to contemplate. Historical, societal, and personal concerns alter the meaning of this idea.

The firefly refrain: it is everywhere in the book and thought by different characters. I just love the symbolism.

A spaceship named Natural Selection. What a fun, not too subtle reference. All the names of the earth spaceships are interesting to note.

Cixin’s description of nanotechnology, space stairs, and the potential immensity of a photon brings me a bit closer to getting these scientific concepts into my unscientific mind.

I find it harder to separate fact from fiction in the real world. Statistics lie and so does the mutable Internet. I trust well-written, solidly researched books instead. If nothing else, good fiction and non-fiction books start a conversation in my head. Unravel with a book.

A Skewed Bird’s-Eye View

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The concern environmental activists have for planet earth illustrates the egocentricity of human nature.

Earth is special. We are made in the image of God. We must settle on other planets just in case our kind cease to exist here. Human life must continue somewhere, somehow. This is so important since the universe must still revolve around the earth.

If we poison our planet and life dies out, the earth will still go on. It may develop new life forms despite the destruction. If we blow up the planet, there are other planets out there.

If a soul exists, it will merge with the spiritual creator and all will be good. If no soul exists, each particle is still in communion with the whole and all will be good. If none of this is good in our eyes, new cycles and patterns will keep going no matter what we think or want.

I recycle and think it is wrong to be wasteful. But I doubt that recycling will save the planet. Every time I deposit my paper, plastic, glass, or metal in the proper recycling bin, I wonder if the energy and resources needed to reuse this material is, on final tally, worth the process. The best remedy is not to use it in the first place.

Moving backwards, against the tide of progress, may prove impossible. Once you bite the apple, there is no turning back. Until the finite resources are used up and no new ones materialize, people will not willingly stop doing what they do.

A undiscovered source of energy may be out there that can replace oil, coal, and other nasty stuff we depend on today. But most likely it will come with its own demons; knowledge doesn’t come free and clear.

If wind power becomes the only energy source available to keep our cellphones alive, or keep our cars humming, even PETA will look the other way when windmills chop up free-flying birds. Our survival and our desires trump virtue. It’s not easy being green.

Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned

It’s been 30 years since my last confession.

For $1.99 I can get Confession: A Roman Catholic App to use on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

It doesn’t replace the dark confessional booth alongside a real priest, but it does try to get me back in the habit of recording my sins and walk me through the process of confession.

This is not the first application created to help Catholics with confession, but it is the first to get official approval from a church authority. It has been tested and proved that it adheres to the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

Catholics are going less and less to confession and when they do, they go in scared and forget what they were going to say and how to say it. It’s a good fit if you are out of the confession loop for a long time and don’t know what to do once you get in that dark little room. The purpose of this app is to revive interest in confession and help a Catholic prepare for the sacrament.

I remember my First Confession. After all us kids filed through the booth, the priest came out angry. According to him, our sins were not serious enough. I’m sure many of us confessed that we talked back to our parents. But I doubt that we had the time or inclination to do some really serious sinning such as adultery or murder. If only the confession app had been invented, I would have been able to make that priest proud of the sins I could surf through and repeat as my own.

The confession app goes through the 10 Commandants and asks you questions after each one. Then you can check a box next to a sin if it applies to you. You can refer to it while in confession. It has a space on the app to record absolution or penance from the priest. It even has an amen prompt.

Will it work? Probably not with me. I don’t have an iPad nor an iPod. My cell phone is an old Nokia dinosaur that takes no photos, no texting (took it off when salespeople started texting me), and certainly no Internet. So the excuses continue. There is no help for the wicked.