Why atheists can only consider themselves purposeless slime

First, I’m not saying “Atheists are slime!”  They are men and women of flesh and blood. They have souls and spirit.  God loves them as much as anyone under the sun, as Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son beautifully conveys.

But, if they truly believe there is no Creator, if they truly believe there is no eternal part to our beings that is also created, by their own beliefs, they can only believe their lives are purposeless slime.  This is not exaggeration.  Let me explain why…

Now, I must be clear with my language.  So I will posit this definition of God: God is the self-existent and eternal Creator and subsequent sustainer and ruler of life and the universe.  An atheist is one who rejects the existence of God.

Without a Creator, life can only be a freak accident.  Think about that.  Without a  Creator molding the milieu of unknowable substances that became you and the universe, life could only be the result of chaotic forces of nature.  How can there be an alternative?  Either life was created by an Intelligent Creator, or it is the product of chaos.  Period.     

The Material that became the universe (whose origins no scientist can explain) would have had to morph into a form of life (a process no scientist can prove or replicate) from which you and I and EVERY SINGLE LIVING THING descend.

Now, you can believe this possible.  You can accept the astounding improbability of life coming from non-life.  You can accept the improbability of a print shop exploding, and, from the chaos, coming 10,000 perfectly-worded King James Bibles –  a complete impossibility in reality. 

But, for those who accept this impossibility as reality, you MUST also accept life as a mere extenuation of this chaos.  It’s just a freak accident.  Sperm and egg are accidental.  Heartbeats are accidental.  Birth, childhood, adulthood, epiphany, depression, exultation and death are the random play of the same primordial elements still unfolding as mere chaos, without the intelligent direction of God. 

Yes, you have a conscious mind.  You are aware of your own existence, feelings, thoughts and external circumstances.  But do you have control over them?  If you’re just a random amalgamation of elements, consciousness is no different than fire, or rain, or insects mating.  It is just another random force of nature that you think you have control over, but you don’t.  You are just some Pavlovian dog.

“Oh, that’s bull crap, Charles.  I can choose to eat at Burger King or McDonald’s.  I can choose to read your stupid words or not.  I do have free will.  I am not some Pavlovian dog because, unlike a dog, I can choose to heed my impulses and desires or not.”

But what is it that does the choosing?  Because your life would only be the result of a freak amalgamation of elements, that of your mind which does the choosing is not fundamentally different than the reaction of a dog.  Granted the degree of perception and choice is more evolved than those of a dog, but such a difference in degree does not constitute any real difference in the fundamental nature of a mind with life.

After all, both would be soulless.  Both would be bereft of that rational, emotional and volitional faculty that comes from outside the body.  You’re only flesh.   You’re only material evolved from the chaos of some random Big Bang a long time ago.  You think you’re choosing?  You think you have free will?  That’s impossible.  You’re just chemicals.  Because all the universe is just some freak accident, you are too.  Free will is illusion.

And the point I want to make to atheists is really a question: what purpose could your life really have if you are a freak accident?  You say want to provide for your loved ones?  You say you want to change the world for the better?  Good.  Those are noble aspirations. 

But the good and bad you render is as purposeless as you.  Again, it’s all just some freak accident that no eternal aspect of you can ever know.  You have no soul.  Your sense of self, your consciousness, will go into nothingness after you stop breathing.  It will be as if you never existed.  So why care about anything in the first place?  What purpose could your glimpse of chaos really have?

Of course I don’t believe this.  I do believe in a Creator God.  I do believe he is the God revealed to us through the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  I regard Genesis 1:26 as a sacred truth, and I believe God created us all for a purpose that transcends our lives, whose full force and character we will one day come to understand perfectly, in this life or the next.

But, atheists, do tell me where my reasoning breaks down.  Tell me how the purpose you feel can be anything but an illusion if we are born of chaos?  Seriously, I would really enjoy a level-headed exchange on the nature of our existence.  I would love to learn a new slant to this thinking.

Remembering my father on Lake Powell

Ralph-TorelloMy father was born June 2nd, 1938.  He would have been 79 today.  But, after fighting for his life, he passed on Wednesday August 17th of last year.  His obituary is here.

What does this have to do with Lake Powell?

I think my dad would have liked Arizona.  He would have liked Sedona, Grand Canyon and all the other Southwestern landscapes that have brightened my days.

I was thinking about him a lot this past Wednesday on Lake Powell.  I wished he was with me.  It would have shed more light on what makes me come alive.  It would have helped him understand how important seeing these Wonders are to me, and why I rarely made money top priority.

But that didn’t happen… and that’s ok because I told him I love him many times, and he saw how similar I was to him in so many ways – especially our shared love of GOVERNMENT – which is the ultimate form of respect.

But it would still have been nice to share the time.

Lastly, I have no idea where life is going.  There is some force dragging me from place to place that I’ve yet to be able to resist.  I’m not lazy, dispassionate or unfocused.  But when I see what I saw Wednesday, which my photos do no justice, well, I just wonder, and wanna say to hell with plans.

Make sense?  No?  Ok.  I think my dad would’ve understood.

And if you don’t know where Lake Powell is, click here.

A boat ride into Utah today

Came out to Lake Powell last week. Was getting some training for touring. I’ve been here before a couple of times, but it seemed to hit me like lightning last week.

So on my days off, I thought I would take advantage of my proximity to this beautiful place and explore Lake Powell a little more on a boat ride to a National Monument called Rainbow Bridge in Utah.

Wanna take some photos. Wanna get a better feel for this place. Wanna absorb more of that brightness glowing of the voluptuous red and orange sandstone formations that makes not just a few people question life priorities.

Afterwards, I don’t know. I don’t know where I’ll sleep tonight. But, I think I want to make it to Lees Ferry and the Hopi land tomorrow.

The Glory of God

16Look, God’s glory ain’t contained in my photos.  The source of all that is and will be – outside infinity and eternity – is impossible to contain in a mere photo, especially ones devoid of higher talent like mine.

But that’s not the point.  God’s glory IS in Arizona.  It IS on the mountain tops.  And I’m profoundly grateful to have walked the top of Sedona’s Wilson Mountain, not only to continue experiencing something of a second childhood, but also to see more of that glory inherent to God’s Creation.

And Earth is God’s Creation.  It was made for mankind. It was made for us to be fruitful and multiply upon (as we are not a mere infestation upon the false god Mother Earth).  It was created for health, happiness and countless other blessings.

Now, of course, many reject God.  They reject we’re in his Creation.  They claim all existence is a freak accident, that it’s chaos arising from slime and n12othingness.

Ok.  That’s their choice.  And I won’t address why there is something rather than nothing.  And I won’t address the vain construction of purpose to life that can only be derived from relegating it to mere freak accident by denying a Creator.

But I do disagree with those people: the atheists and materialists. I do say that there is scenery upon this earth that’s intelligently crafted with more talent than all artists that ever have been or will be, explicitly for creating a beauty that turns the hearts of all creatures to the highest realms from which everything comes.

As I often hear about Sedona, it’s hard to see the Red Rocks and not think there is a God.  That’s because the light, colors, forms, shadows of the Rocks stimulate the mind that causes contemplation of how such scenery actually came to be.  It stimulates imagin1bings of living life in a different way, perhaps because we feel something of God’s glory, and know it should play a deeper part of our life.

Of course, God’s glory is found elsewhere.  It is found in charity, forgiveness, love, hope, perseverance, longsuffering, forbearance and a thousand other virtues that bless the lives of neighbors whom we’re supposed to love.

But, it IS here too.  The rocks do cry out God’s Glory – and I’m not the only who around here who says this.  And I felt acutely obliged to say this after this hike…

And check out the rest of my nifty photos!

My happiest college football memory: Rice vs. Texas 1997, Part I

‘T was Saturday September 27th in the year of our Lord 1997…

It was hot.  It was one of those days in late September Houston, Texas when the sun still shines with ferocity.  The heat and humidity remind you that you’re in a paved swamp.  This was accentuated by Rice Stadium’s field sunk into the ground, where the air is more stifling.

logoBut you know what?  That heat made you feel alive!  It takes getting used to, but, once you are, the sweat soaking your body creates an endorphin buzz that pushes you to challenge its limits, in a strange way that only people from the South understand.

‘T was a perfect day for college football.  Today the opponent was the University of Texas Longhorns.  Of course you’re jacked to play them!  Of course you despise their arrogance!  They’re so easy to hate.

See, UT is one of the biggest universities in America.  Rice, at least in 1997, was literally the smallest NCAA Division I-A school in America.  You can see something of David vs. Goliath.

Furthermore, the academic standards at Rice were far higher.  There’s an absolute correlation between high academic standards and lesser football talent.  Add to this the hotties around Austin and 6th Street drunkeness and, well, there’s a reason why the Longhorns get some of the best recruiting classes every year.

Thus, the Horns should yield the biggest, fastest and strongest teams.  They should be in the hunt for national championships every single year (but the program’s opulence does effeminize…).  Rice should always get trounced.  Thus, we had everything to gain, and nothing to lose.

This was the fourth game.  Though we got murdered by Agamesnip 1ir Force 12-41 in the season opener, we came back to beat a very strong Tulane Green Wave 30-24 for the second game, and then beat the Northwestern Wildcats 40-34 in game three.  The Wildcats had won the Big 10 the previous two seasons, and were still ranked before we beat them.  The back-and-forth scoring up Chicago way that day is quite the memory!

But this day was more!  To be 3-1, after beating the 1996 Big Ten and Big Twelve champs in back to back weeks, as some may remember Texas beating Nebraska 37-27 the December before, would have made one helluva’ statement.  FIRE burned in us all.

Of course, as we ran  on the field, we noticed that roughly 35, 000 of the 53,811 roaring fans wore burnt orange.  I had to laugh.  Attendance at our games kinda’ sucked.  But oh well.

That intensely pleasurable buzz I’ve only felt before football games, when you look forward to each hit, to each opportunity to muscle your opponent into the ground, and listen to punk d-lineman bitch about holding as you whip his ass again and again and again… that buzz pulsed through me…

The game kicked off at 11:10 am.  ABC covered the game, as a lot of people in Texas would have loved to see us win too.  But we didn’t, and that doesn’t matter…

snip

Death Valley ain’t that cool

Death Valley is rightly named.  It’s hell in summer.  It was almost hellish at the beginning of May.

Why’s it so hot?  I’m glad you asked!  Oh, you didn’t?  Too bad, because this is more interesting than cats farting on Chive…

6First, Death Valley’s floor’s 282′ below sea level.  Then, mountains rising over a mile high above surround that floor.  Hot air rising from the bottom can’t escape.  It rises to cooler temperatures, then wants to sink, as all air does.  But, it can’t be pushed out of the valley by the newly rising air because those mountains keep that cooler air in, which compresses the hot air at the bottom, thus super heating the air and ground, to the point of making one of the hottest places on earth.

On July 10th 1913 – 5 months and 2 weeks before the Money Power of Europe created their monstrous Federal Reserve Bank – the highest reliably recorded temperature on the earth’s surface was recorded at Furnace Creek at 134 Fahrenheit.  Some contest this.  Some say it was 136  in Libya in 1922.  Some say that 134 at Furnace Creek is too high, but still say 129 recorded on five distinct Death Valley dates is valid.

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Regardless, that’s hot!  Though August is the hottest month, Saturday May 29th hit 95, and Sunday the 30th hit 100.  That sucks for van camping.  So I spent only one night there…

But I’m glad I went.  Had to quell my curiosity.  Had to stand on the mountains above the valley and see what dynamics create this furnace.  Clouds, mountains, valleys, creeks, trees, brush all say things…

So, left Lone Pine and took CA 136 to CA 190 into the Park.  ‘T was unremarkable desert landscape for much of the way.  Then, lo, the Panamint Valley, as you see in the photo at the top.  The whole place spoke heat.10

Then made it into Death Valley.  The temperature was 95.  Not a cloud was in the sky.

Found the Furnace Creek campground.  Took a 2.5 hour walk along the road for some exercise before returning to my van for sleep, where I slept awesomely the whole trip, even though I could feel metal in my back all night.

Sunday the 30th was… hot.  Took a hike in the morning.  Checked out the top things to see according to Trip Advisor.

First took the Artists Drive.  The highlight is the base  of a black mountain that has a many bright colors, including turquoise, caused by oxidation of various metals, as seen in the photo above.

Then went to the Badwater Basin.  Walked out on the dry lake bed for some time.  It would have been better were it under 80.  But this is the epicenter of heat.  After my seven mile hike that morning, I didn’t feel like continuing to the middle of the lake bed.

Then went to Zabriskie point.  Nice, but not spectacular.

Then I caved in, and had beer.  It’d been over three months.  But an IPA in the 100 degrees was just too tempting… and of course that turned into a big pizza also, because Mr. Tummy hadn’t been so spoiled for so long.

Then headed to Dante’s Peak, which overlooks the Badwater Basin from over a mile above, which is in the photo to the right.  Spent about 20 minutes there before saying to hell with the heat.  Headed for Nevada, and home.1

I’d go back, in winter only.  The heat kills all charm.  But if life never brings me back, ok.  It ain’t that cool, and I can’t imagine what Europeans go through when they come here in August, because, to them, Death Valley is another spot on the map while journeying across America.  This makes me laugh though.

To the Lower 48’s highest point!

3Been back from Cali a while.  But, I still wanted to write about the rest of my trip. So, here goes…

On Saturday April 29th, I left Three Rivers, California after three days.  It was a nice town.  The people aren’t LA-LA landers.  They’re older and more modest.  Frankly, the area reminded a lot of the Texas Hill Country, except the hills are bigger and devoid of cedars… and some of the most majestic mountains on the planet are nearby.

My next destination was Mount Whitney, California.  This is the highest peak in the Lower 48.  It tops out at 14,505′.

Staying here wasn’t the goal.  It was a stop before Death Valley.  However, looking back, that place impacted me more than expected.  As I type these words, I’m filled with longing to drive all US 395, at the base of the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, which climbs in elevation northward, and takes you to Mammoth Lake, a ski resort just over the Tioga Pass that takes you into Yosemite National Park.24

John Muir remarked on the lucidity and colors of the light above the Sierras.  I understand now.  Just a couple hours piqued my curiosity to experience more of the wonders he wrote about in his book My First Summer in the Sierra Nevadas.  But I wasn’t there yet…

First, had to leave Tulare County, California.  Frankly, it impressed me.  This county is #1 in agricultural output for the whole United States.  That’s because the Sierra Snowpack gives life to countless streams that create rivers terminating in the endoheric drainage basin that was once Tulare Lake.     Those streams are sloughed, canaled and morphed into oranges, almonds, grapes, grass, cattle and countless other commodities.  Again, the money that has come to California!

Anyway, headed south to Bakersfield.  The smell of spilled sauerkraut and old luggage permeated my Sexy Sienna, as seen in the photo above, in spite of whistling air rushing into my windows for coolness.  Old football injuries discomforted my back as the bright California Sun made me wince even with sunglasses.  Snacked on apples, oranges and habanero almonds.

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Got to the Pumpjack Mecca of Bakersfield; then headed east to Tehachapi; then north on US 395 into Lone Pine, at the north end of Owens Lake.   Owens Lake is neat too.  Once upon a time, it was a lake.  Now it’s not.  Now it’s just a dust bowl because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility took all the water – and I can’t imagine the stories of greed and graft that accompany its history!

Lone Pine’s kinda’ neat.  It’s high desert at 3727′ in elevation.  Above is a panorama of Lone Pine’s Valley from the Sierra foothill above and to the west.  Owens Lake’s dry bed is in the upper right.

The eastern slopes of 1the Sierras run west of this small town of 2000 souls.  Their undulating peaks and crags stretch endlessly from south to north horizons.  Not a cloud was in the sky – the first clear day affording my first clear view of these Sierras.   It was something else.

John Muir called them the Range of Light.  The sky was so blue.  The light so clear.  It shimmered off the granite giants with a luminosity as mesmerizing as Sedona’s.

Thus, I had to drive Whitney Portal Rd from Lone Pine to Whitney’s base at 8000-plus feet, from high desert to ponderosa country.  It was worth the detour.  The views along the winding way got higher and better.  At the top, at the base camp where I took this photo on the left, snow covered the ground.  But the chilly air was offset by warm rays of the sun unimpeded by humidity.

Again, that light.  Muir described the Sierras as a wonderland, as a place that carries the imagination from horizon to horizon with a play of color and light off the effulgent vegetation finding its home on crags and clefts overlooking some of North America’s grandest scenery.5

All this leaves me with a longing that Muir indulged for a lifetime.  To see all of the Sierras… to see all of California… but oh well.

After my fill, I left for Death Valley.  Don’t regret not staying longer at Lone Pine.  But I’ll be back.