Why DOOM is Special

(I actually wrote this post some time ago and simply forgot about it. Better late than never I suppose!)

Although I enjoy discussing topics on religion and secularism, I think it’s important every once in a while to dive into the really important topics, the things that truly matter in all of our day to day lives. Therefore, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about video games.

More specifically, I’d like to talk about DOOM.

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Whether or Not You Believe in the Age of Accountability, You’re Wrong Either Way

I know, I said I wasn’t going to make every post about Atheism. What can I say, I’m a dirty stinking liar. I’ll hit the brakes on it one day… but not this day. NOT THIS DAY.

The Age of Accountability (hereafter known as AoA for brevity’s sake) is something I’ve brought up a few times, at least once here and more often elsewhere. It’s a concept that has always bothered me, but it took me a long time – and my eventual deconversion – to understand exactly why. For those who aren’t familiar with it, AoA is a concept many Christians* adhere to, which essentially says that children will not be held accountable for their sins until they reach an age where they fully understand what sin actually is (and that they are committing it).

In other words, a 5-year-old might lie to her mother, but since she isn’t old enough to fully understand why it’s a sin for her to do so, God doesn’t hold her accountable for it. Only when she reaches an age where she fully recognizes that she’s doing something wrong will she be held accountable.

Sounds reasonable, right? Most Christians would say so. But there are some problems when one goes beyond a surface-level examination, both for those who believe in the AoA, and for those who don’t. It is a concept that has forced Christians to paint themselves into a corner, and they have no way to get out without making a huge mess.

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Even Christians Know Their Beliefs Are Nonsense

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote:

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:19-20

 

Let’s just get the point. Paul had it completely backwards. Anyone can look at the world around them and see immediately that God has not been perceived in any way whatsoever. Everyone looks at the natural world and either sees it for what it is, or for what they want it to be. It can mean very different things to the Christian than it does to the Hindu than it does to the Atheist (though I would argue that the atheist is closest, despite knowing there is still much to learn). Nothing about it is plain or consistent at all… if it were, why all the confusion?

But the crux of the matter is the fact that Christians enjoy using this verse as an argument that even atheists don’t really deny the existence of God. We may claim that we do, but deep down, we all know the truth is that God (not just any God, but the Christian God) exists. This is my counter-argument. I would say that not only is this view entirely wrong, but that the exact opposite is in fact true. It isn’t atheists who actually believe in Christianity. It’s Christians who don’t believe in it.

Here are 10 reasons why this is the case. (more…)

The Wall Came Crumbling Down

Ever since “going public” with my atheism, I must admit that I’ve had to work extremely hard to avoid what I see as common mistakes that new deconverts often seem to make. I can’t help but be excited about this new perspective that I’ve discovered, and my first instinct is to want to “spread the good news,” so to speak. And truly, it is good news. We aren’t being eternally judged by our finite actions in this relatively tiny slice of time we’ve been given. No one is going to burn in hell for all eternity. How very precious does this life become when it is our only focus? This is all very good news indeed!

But not everyone will see it that way. In fact, most of the people closest to me will see it in the complete opposite light. And just as I don’t enjoy being preached at, it’s important for me to understand that proselytism is a two way street.

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Becoming an Atheist

The slow erosion of my belief in God was something I never intended, and frankly, was something I never saw coming.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when this erosion began. I’ve always had questions about my faith, as I believe most people have, from a young age. Even the most devout believer will admit there is a lot about Christianity that just doesn’t make a lick of sense. How is it possible to be both three gods and one god at the same time? Where did God come from? How could he have always existed? If the world was only created less than 10,000 years ago, where do dinosaurs fit in? How do we even know that the Bible is true?

These questions (and many, many more) remain generally unanswered, to the point that even adults who are rock solid in their understanding of Christianity must simply accept them as truth on faith, confident that the answers are impossible for mere humans to comprehend. How do we know that the Bible is the true, inerrant word of God? Obviously because we have faith that it is so. Why then must we hold to this unwavering faith? Because the Bible tells us to.

And round and round it goes. (more…)

That Awkward Moment…

Hey there. It’s been a while.

Updating this blog is like trying to get together with someone  you haven’t seen for years. At first, you mean well, you say, “Yeah, let’s get together for lunch or something!” And you really intend to, but for whatever reason life gets in the way and it never happens. Time goes by, and you keep thinking, Hey, I need to follow up and call them again. But then you realize that’s become so long that it’s awkward now, and you deliberately make a point to remain distant because you feel like too much time has passed. And then you get old and die.

Wow, that got dark really fast.

What I’m trying to say is, here I am. I’m making the attempt, for whatever it’s worth. (more…)

Giveaway – Chorus of Dust

OH HEY THERE

It’s been a while. I once again find myself immediately kicking off a blog post for an apology for being away so long, which is not a good habit to get into. I would offer an excuse, probably having to do with how my day job has once again consumed all free time I have available, but would you care? Probably not, so let’s just say I’ve been a bad host and leave it at that.

As recompense, I offer you the delayed fulfillment of a promise I made waaaaay back in July, which is that I intend to give away a hardcover copy of my novella, Chorus of Dust. Here’s how you can get it. (more…)

Moto Madness

So I bought a motorcycle. I guess I just figured, the mid-life crisis is going to come sooner or later, so why wait?

Honestly, this is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  I remember way back in, oh, 2001 or so going to a local Yamaha dealership and looking at the V Star bikes.  No, not looking, more like pining for them. But I was flat broke and didn’t have the time or money to pursue getting my motorcycle endorsement, so I put it off.

Fast forward several years, and gas prices are still crazy. One day, Jennifer looks at me and says, “Why don’t you just get a motorcycle? Don’t they get good gas mileage?” I blew her off at the time, but the thought kept nagging at me. What if I did get one? Eventually I had to ask if she was serious about because I really didn’t think she was, but as it turns out she truly thought it might be a good idea.

So I went for it. I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course, then took the test at the Texas DPS to get my Class M Endorsement. And now, here I am, with a used-but-new-to-me bike sitting in my garage. Would you like to see it? She is pretty. (more…)

Wet Shaving

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I did enjoy that month-long camping trip.

Ahem.

Okay, so I haven’t updated in a while. It’s been a busy month, and my real-life work has dominated my spare time and practically drained the life out of me. Not a good excuse I know, but there it is. That said, as I hinted at a couple of posts ago, there is some exciting news coming, as well as a new Literal Daze entry, so don’t give up on me yet!

Changing gears, if you would be so kind, I’d like to take a moment to talk with you about my facial hair.

Wait, come back! I promise it will be interesting! Or at the very least, slightly less boring than whatever else you were doing that was so mind-numbingly dull that coming here seemed like a better option.

Like many strapping young lads, I started shaving in my early teen years. Probably well before I needed to, and certainly well before I knew what I was actually doing. My Dad, though he taught me a great many things, never really took me aside and taught me the finer arts of shaving your face. Yes, he showed me how to use a cartridge razor and how not to completely slice my face up, but I’ve recently come to understand that mindlessly dragging an expensive multi-blade cartridge across your face does not count. It might get rid of the facial hair, but it isn’t truly shaving.

Not that I’m blaming him of course. For whatever reason, this was what he knew and he did his best to pass it on to me like any good father would. However, I always felt that there was something more to it, something I was missing. No matter how good the razor was, I always managed to irritate my face, plaguing it with razor burn and ingrown hairs, to the point that I just began to stop shaving on a regular basis. It was as if my face simply couldn’t handle the ravishing effects that shaving imposed. I’d let it grow out for several days before bothering to shave again, despite the fact that I badly needed it. In my job as an engineer, where looking professional is important, this wasn’t the best practice. But what was I to do?

Finally, after doing some research, I discovered the answer. My face wasn’t the problem. It was my method, and more importantly, my razor. I’ve simply been doing it wrong.

Soon, I discovered a whole world of shaving that I didn’t know existed, like the land of Narnia quietly lurking behind the doors of the wardrobe. It was a world of soaps and badger-hair brushes, of facial growth maps, of proper lathering techniques, and understanding the difference between shaving against the grain and across the grain.

It was the world of wet-shaving.

Now, I’m not going to go into all the specifics of wet-shaving, mostly because even I haven’t learned them all yet. It’s surprisingly complicated and deep, but let me share a primer of what I’ve learned so far. Here are the basics.

  1. Wet-shaving is all about never passing a razor over a non-lubricated face. This is why multiple razor cartridges don’t count as wet-shaving. With cartridges, the first razor scrapes away some hair and all of the soap/cream/whatever, and the others drag across unprotected skin. This is a big no-no in wet-shaving.
  2. Due to #1, this means that wet-shaving must be accomplished using single blade instruments. Most commonly, that implies either the use of a safety razor or a straight razor.
  3. Since only a single razor is used, multiple passes are necessary, and each one is generally in a different direction on your face. This means multiple latherings of your face are also necessary.

And that’s why we call it wet-shaving. Of course, there are a host of other guidelines and subtleties that are involved depending on how you go about your shave, but those are the fundamentals. But it sounds like an awful lot of trouble, right? Why go through all of that when it takes so much more time and effort? For me, the answer was easy. I was tired of irritating my skin and cutting my face to shreds with cartridge razors, but I also wanted the baby-smooth shave that I’ve never quite been able to accomplish with electric razors. Wet-shaving gives me an incredibly close shave while also keeping my skin soft and irritation free.

Enough talk now. Here, let me introduce you to someone.

 

This is the Merkur HD 34C safety razor.  She is lovely, isn’t she? A marvel of German engineering and uncompromising beauty. I purposefully call her a “she” because I’m slowly coming to understand that a good safety razor is in many ways like a woman. Treat her well, and her gentleness will repay you twice-over. However, treat her badly, and you will find no end to her wrath.

Yes, I’m being a little hyperbolic for effect, but there is some truth in it. This thing is not a toy, and it’s not your daddy’s razor, although there is a pretty good chance that is quite similar to your grandfather’s razor. What, you thought wet-shaving was a new concept? Far from it, this is the traditional way of shaving that has been lost by the wayside as commercialism and marketing paved the way for expensive, over-produced and over-engineered cartridge razors. We’re only getting back to the basics here, and this fine instrument allows me to do just that.

Though it seems expensive for a razor, your paying for quality. Plus, considering the cheap price of razor blades compared to cartridge razors, you make your money back in savings fairly quickly. It’s a two-piece design, with a nut on the bottom of the handle which loosens the top of the head, allowing access to the razor slot. Here, you place a single, double-edged razor blade, sharp and deadly as… well, as a razor blade. Yes, unlike cartridge razors, the blades used in safety razors could maim or kill a man when used for malicious intent. For those who are brave enough to move up to straight razors (not me), this is even more true. As I said, it’s no toy, and is not to be trifled with.

Thankfully, once you have placed the blade in its slot and re-tightened the head, the more dangerous aspects of the razor are mostly mitigated. Yes, it can still cut you if you aren’t careful, but the cuts will be shallow and non-lethal. Thus, why they are called Safety Razors. At that point, it’s all about technique and getting a feel for how the razor will react to your face, adjusting the angle of incidence and grip and various other factors to ensure a close, clean shave.

This is where I am now, slowly learning how to handle the thing. I’m getting better though, and I can already see the positive effects this kind of shaving has had on my skin. More than that, it has turned shaving from a chore to be gotten out of the way as fast as possible to an experience that I actually look forward to.

You can’t put a price on that.

If I’ve piqued your interest, you can go where I did to further explore the world of wet-shaving at the fantastic website Badger & Blade. There, you’ll find just about everything you ever wanted to know on the subject, and probably more that you didn’t.