Full disclosure: I am an atheist so I have not seen any argument for god as sufficient to “prove” the existence of what I would consider “god”.

The biggest problem I seem to run into when talking to other people about “god” is the inconsistent definition of this idea. I would like to put forth my definition about what a “god” has to be for me.

god: (n) a being which

  1. manifests in the physical world
  2. is omnipotent (all-powerful)
  3. is benevolent (good/just)
  4. is omniscient (all knowing
  5. requires acknowledgement
  6. grants life after death

What do you think of my “definition”? What needs to be changed for you? I will be doing a series defending my reasoning for this definition.

I am an atheist. More accurately, I am an agnostic atheist. This means that I do not claim to know there is no god but I have not seen sufficient evidence for the existence of god therefore, I do not believe one exists. This conclusion has been one of the most difficult realizations of my young adult life.

I grew up in a small town in South Dakota. It is a typical small town in America: three churches, three bars, two gas stations, one grocery store, one post office. I went to the Catholic grade/middle school in town and graduated the eighth grade with a class of ten before going to the big, scary public school for high school where I graduated with forty. And everyone around seemed to be two things: Conservative and Religious.

That last part is not entirely true, my family is neither of these things. They are God believing folks but you will not see them in church and they are not conservative unless you are talking about raising their taxes. I also had a few teachers in high school who were definitely more liberal. However, my understanding of the world was that the “normal” person was a God fearing Republican.

Then I went to college.

I moved from small town South Dakota to the big city: Omaha, Nebraska. You may laugh, but to me, Omaha was huge. Granted, I went to Creighton University which is a private, Jesuit school. I came to Creighton in the fall of 2008; the fall Barrack Obama became the President and my world began to change. I met people who were not conservative. They openly supported marriage equality for homosexuals and thought taxation was not inherently evil. And I found myself agreeing with them.

For the first time in my life, I was free to critically think about my beliefs. I could openly believe that decriminalization of marijuana and immigration reform were issues to be discussed. I could discus the implications of US involvement in foreign affairs and the role that government should play in our lives. I also could think about why I believe in a god and what I believe that god to be.

This last thought kind of rocked me. I went through a phase of pantheism, then a phase of deism, then a phase of agnosticism, and finally at agnostic atheism. I discussed these issues in classes, with friends, and on the internet. I found myself unable to justify any beliefs I once held about this God I had spent years knowing.

My immediate friend group at Creighton was the first to know about my change in beliefs. Some of them went on the same journey and came out at different places. I now have a friend teaching theology, a friend who is an outspoken atheist, and a wife who is right in the middle. I have told my mother, brother, and sister to a lukewarm response of passive disappointment and I have made it “Facebook official” to the chagrin of at least one cousin.

It still feels weird almost five years later. I am not “out” to a lot of people and am afraid to let some people in my life in on this aspect of my beliefs. I have heard the horror stories of the internet and do not want this to happen to me. However, it is time for me to be true to myself and what I believe.

So, here it is, world. I am an atheist.

Well, we are sure starting the year off on the right foot with a ruling from the U.S. Senior District Court that the ban on gay marriage in Oklahoma is unconstitutional. The ruling was handed down by Judge Terence Kern but is stayed pending appeal meaning no marriages are happening in Oklahoma just yet.

This is another step in the right direction for equality in the United States. If it takes a state by state ruling, so be it. I just cannot believe that in 2014 we are still having the discussion about whether two consenting adults should be allowed to be married in this country. The most promising results to these rulings are the enormous waves of support I see among my peers. Young people seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of this seemingly obvious oppression to end.

I will keep tabs on the situation in Oklahoma, but all signs point positive as of today! 

World Press Freedom Index 2013

From Reporters Without Boarders, the 2013 World Press Freedom Index takes a look at the landscape of the media in 179 countries around the world and ranks them from best (Finland) to worst (Eritrea). They include the formula used to calculate the ranking so the reader can be assured they are not ranked on a whim. I first saw this on Upworthy in the form of a world map.

 http://www.upworthy.com/wow-i-bet-this-map-would-be-banned-in-some-countries?c=ufb2

How is your country ranked? Do you agree? 

 

From Bo Burnham’s most recent show available in full on Youtuve and Netflix for free.

Bo Burnham is back and even more cutting than before. His social criticisms are sharp, witty, and well done all while putting on one hell of a show. In this particular song, Bo takes on religion, god’s love, and the beliefs about god held by many.

Remember when this blog was a thing? It seems so long ago when I was enthused and excited to be writing every day, or every other week, or I’ll get back to it… Where did it go? About two weeks and then forgotten, ignored, and failed.

I am not going to chalk this up to youth or blame anyone else. It is time for me to man up and own my mistakes and inabilities to finish what I start. It is time for me to make a change. It is time for me to follow through for real. It is time for a better me.

I had excitement in the year I did not blog. I had a ton of great experiences to draw from and write about. I had creative moments, personal successes and failures. I started a new job and lost it. I got married, went on a honeymoon, and almost through it all away. 2013 was a crazy, fun, and hectic year for me and I wish I could have shared it. I wish I could have harnessed  all the emotions and used them to create something. I wish I would have followed through.

But, that’s me. That is tyler. in a nutshell. I hope that 2014 is every bit as fun, exciting, and creative as the year I threw away. Here is to learning from the past, living in the present, and wondering about the future. I hope you will take this ride with me again.