“I identify as…”

It’s the beginning of every conservative’s favorite joke. And only joke. “I identify as an Apache helicopter.” “I identify as a disabled Black woman.” “I identify as a a hawk.”

You see, the joke is on those wacky transgender people, based on the supposed immutability of the genders. You can’t just identify as whatever you want. You are what you are, no matter what you feel you are. “Facts don’t care about your feelings,” as a famous Christian Fascist likes to put it.

Which is genuinely funny (as opposed to conservative joke funny), because anyone can identify as a Christian and it means literally nothing.

What do I mean by that?

There are currently 2.2 billion Christians on the planet, of which almost all fall within the three main branches: Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox. They all identify as Christian, and yet, strictly speaking, each branch believes it represents the only true version of the faith. And then, of course, those branches break down into hundreds of denominations, many of them claiming they have the one and only truth.

I could go on about this for pages, but this classic Emo Philips joke sums it up better than a hundred theologians ever could:


Beyond the three branches, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses also identify as Christians, even though Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians all reject that claim and dismiss them as cults. But for demographic purposes, Mormons and JWs are counted as part of the 2.2 billion Chrizzos.

Alright, so a bunch of people have differing theological ideas about their religion. Who cares, right? That’s not any great gotcha. It doesn’t undermine the faith. I agree, it doesn’t. I don’t care what a self-proclaimed Christian believes. But shouldn’t Christians?

The Christian Nation

Let’s narrow our focus to America. The United States, as conservative politicians and religious leaders claim again and again, is a “Christian nation.” Founded on Christian values with a predominantly Christian citizenship, it’s totally reasonable for the Ten Commandments to be etched into US government buildings and “In God We Trust” splashed across the currency. So we’re told.

Never mind that the number of Christians in America dropped to an all-time low of 64% in 2020 and is, according to the Pew Research Center, on track to drop below 50% within roughly two decades. America is still a Christian nation. So says a majority of Republicans. So, beat it, Jews and Muslims.

But, here’s the real catch: Among those conservative Christian Nationalists who believe Christianity is the foundational truth of America, there is a growing contingent who don’t believe Jesus was God, which is literally the foundational truth of Christianity.

Don’t just take my word for it. That’s the finding of the most recent biannual State of Theology survey, which is overseen by two Christian organizations, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research. This isn’t a survey of “gotcha” questions from Marxist college eggheads. These are Christian groups looking to understand the American Christian™.

A whopping 38% of self-identified Evangelicals said they “strongly agree” with the statement, “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.” Another 5% somewhat agreed, meaning a full 41% of Evangelical Christians question whether Jesus was God. For those who haven’t been to Bible study in a while, if Jesus isn’t God, there is no Christianity.

If you don’t trust an atheist’s definition of Christianity, how about the National Association of Evangelicals:

Evangelicals take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The term “evangelical” comes from the Greek word euangelion, meaning “the good news” or the “gospel.” Thus, the evangelical faith focuses on the “good news” of salvation brought to sinners by Jesus Christ.

So, 41% of Evangelical Christians identify as Evangelical Christians while denying the foundational belief of Evangelical Christianity, namely that Jesus is the Lord.

That should probably raise some holy eyebrows. Evangelicals Protestants, which, for the record, are not a denomination but a subset (there can be Evangelical Baptists and Lutherans; there are even Evangelical Catholics), make up at least 25% of all Christians in America, and growing. 

Let’s do some quick math: There are 330 million people in the US. Since 64% are Christian, that is 212 million (rounding up), which makes 53 million Evangelicals (more than the population of Spain, by the way). And if 41% of those 53 million don’t believe Jesus is God, there are at least 22 million people in the United States who identify as Christian but don’t actually meet the technical definition of Christian.

(For the record Wheaton College estimates 30-35% of the US is Evangelical, which would mean 90-100 million people, with between 37 and 41 million doubting Jesus’ divinity.)

What should we call these millions of people who identify as Christian while denying the central, essential tenet of Christianity? TransChristians? Christian-adjacent? Apache Hell-icopters? (Get it? Because according to their own religion they’re going to Hell.)

I don’t suppose it matters. They identify as Christians, and therefore they are Christians. I have no right to question it, and neither do you. Funny how that works.

Yahweh’s Children: Available Now

Happy New Year!

Alright, with that out of the way, on to business.

The day is finally here. More than a decade after typing the first words on a long deceased computer, my novel, Yahweh’s Children, is available to purchase. Right now. RIGHT HERE.

Yahweh's Children

“The subway pulsed with the message,” was how the novel began in its original form. That opening sentence remains, albeit altered, but so much of what follows is completely changed from the first draft. The first chapter used to be twice as long before I cut out all the unnecessary exposition. You’re welcome.

This is a novel with many themes: family and love; pursuing passions and losing faith; the evolution of life and language; the elusiveness of truth. Also, aliens.

This book is a part of me, an avatar for me; which means it will probably be off-putting to some and out stay its welcome with others. But, hopefully, there will be those who find its weird conceits, obsessive minutia, and caustic humor to be oddly charming.

Now, I’m going to ask something of you, dear reader, that in the long history of this project and this website I have never explicitly done: Give me money. Buy my book.

It’s only $4.99 (available on Amazon right now) and unlike that hypothetical book of poetry, the money will actually go to me. Heck, you don’t even have to read it. But, I mean, please do?

I know some of you out there made a resolution to read more books this year. Here’s the perfect opportunity to follow through and support an independent writer at the same time.

I can already hear some people saying, “Can’t you publish a physical version? I hate reading on a Kindle.” And I get it, I still buy physical books and have never actually read an entire e-book. Believe me, there is no greater dream in my heart than seeing my book on the shelf of an actual bookstore.

For now, though, the plan is to keep Yahweh’s Children digital only. That could change in the future, but only if there is enough demand to warrant it. In the meantime, maybe give the Kindle (or Kindle App) a try.

Thank you so much ahead of time to anyone who does buy and read my novel. I can’t promise it’ll be your favorite book of all time, but I can promise it was written with the intent that it would be. That’s all any writer can endeavor towards.

Buy Yahweh’s Children now.




Religion is a Choice

The Baptism of Christ

The recent attempt (and failure) in various states to “preserve religious freedom” by dumping on the gays has added a new wrinkle to the Gay Rights debate. With the tides of inevitability pretty much guaranteeing that within the decade we will see the national legalization of same-sex marriage, the religious right and conservative groups seem to be shifting their focus: If they can’t stop the gays from getting married, they’ll simply refuse to attend the weddings (me-e-oww).

Despite all scientific evidence and reason (and even bigger failures), much of the religious opposition base their public arguments on the notion that homosexuality is a choice. Of course, they have to hold onto this view because if they acknowledge that sexual orientation is as much an engrained reality as gender or race, the whole “Gays are going to hell” thing gets a little difficult to preach (though, never put it past a Christian* to find a nifty, gymnastic justification for whatever belief they hold).

It’s an interesting view: Since homosexuality is a choice, a person of religious conviction has the right to discriminate against them (oh, I’m sorry, not discriminate, “condemn the lifestyle”).

Well, religion is a choice. In fact, religion is nothing but choice. Which God do you want to worship? Allah, Yahweh, Jesus or someone else with less publicity? Which part of the Bible do you choose to believe is literal? Just the New Testament, maybe parts of the Old Testament, or the whole shebang? Which laws still apply to you? Which sins should you ignore? Which IRA investment strategy does God want you to pursue so that you can be rich, just like he wants you to be?

Christians are always complaining that their religious liberties are under attack, yet by their own logic we should be able to discriminate against them all willy nilly because their faith is a choice. It’s one of our sacred rights to discriminate against people’s choices.

Of course, Christians aren’t discriminated against in this country, not really. An individual Christian might face some discrimination, a Christian might have an unpleasant experience in a store or restaurant, or be verbally abused by a stranger, and sometimes Christians are told that they can’t have everything they want. But there isn’t a systematic mechanism in place for discriminating against Christians, like, for instance, the ones they would love to see codified into law against homosexuals.

The reason, of course, is that nearly 80% of the nation’s population are self-proclaimed Christians (I’ll leave it to them to tell you how many are ‘Real Christians’™). The Christianity vs. Homosexuals debate comes down to basic numbers. One side is the majority, the other is the minority. Our Bill of Rights was created to help prevent the Tyranny of the Majority. Granted, our nation has a long, dark history of stomping all over the rights of the minority, but that’s all the more reason for us to not be swayed by arguments such as “You’re changing the definition of marriage” or “Tradition.” The history of the world is the story of greater liberty for all, won through fits and starts and uncomfortable evolution.

If you’re a Christian and you don’t like the changes you’re seeing in the world, don’t fret. Christianity is a choice, so just change your religious orientation to one that’s less judgmental and bigoted and you’ll be totally happy.

Or you could just choose to not be an a-hole.

*For the purposes of this post, it should be understood that any reference to ‘Christians’ refers to the conservative, right-leaning members of the religion.

I'm pretty much Gandhi, but better.

This Is The Most Important Post You’ll Read All Day/Week/Month/Year/LIFE

Really, truly, this is it. This is the post that will change everything. After this post goes viral, nothing will be the same.

Dogs will be cats. Gravity will pull up. Nicholas Cage movies will be good.

This post is so earth-shatteringly, life-changingly, adverb-creatingly important that you need to share it immediately, before you’ve even finished it, because I promise it’ll be worth it and why even think about it, just Tweet it and Facebook it and Tumblr it and Instagram it and Myspace it and Snail Mail it and Pony Express it and Carrier Pigeon it because if there is anyone who hasn’t read it by the end of the week they won’t be able to function in the new paradigm that will have shifted or begun or matriculated or whatever it is paradigms do.

You remember that post last week that was the most important post you had read all week? This post is even more important-er than that.

And that video you saw yesterday, the one that was going to revolutionize the way the world thinks about stuff? Yeah, well, be prepared to be nostalgic, because that’s the past. This post is the PRESENT! No, wait, this post is the FUTURE! YES!

This post is so revolutionary that it’s preemptively nullified any upcoming ‘Most Important’ posts that haven’t been created yet.

That’s right,, this post single-handedly makes your entire existence meaningless. BAM! I’d apologize, but I don’t have time for that, I’ve got to write the single most important thing to ever exist in all of history. Suck it, The Bible.

For too long, the world has existed the way it is, with bad things happening to good people, and the rich getting richer, and low-fat ice cream not tasting as good as real ice cream. Well, NO MORE! It’s time for a change, and I want you to remember that it was in this post where you first read someone calling for change.

Sure, sure, other people have called for change, in the past. The Occupy Wall Street movement wanted change. And the Tea Party wanted change. And Obama wanted change. And Bush, Jr. wanted change. And Hobo Henry wanted change. But their change wasn’t the same as the Change I want. So my Change is more important. And better, and faster, and sexier, and bluer, and less filling, and twice the flavor, and child proof, and chemical free, and available in your choice of Red, Blue or Taupe, and perfect for those quiet Sunday afternoons when you’ve got nothing to do and you’re bored and want to leave the house but you don’t want to go to the movies alone and it’s too cold to walk around downtown so you stay in and flip through the channels all day and then on Monday Susan asks, “How was your weekend?” and you’re like, “It was nice,” and then you just go back to your desk.

Yeah, that’s my Change. BAP!

I hope you weren’t too attached to the status quo, because: BOOM! That’s dead.

Someday, your children are going to ask you about what the world was like before the existence of The Most Important Post Ever and you’ll think back wistfully and try to remember, but you won’t be able to because it’ll seem like a completely different life and so you’ll send little Bobby and Esmeralda to bed and sit in silence in your easy chair and wonder if you’re too old to wear skinny jeans, but NO, you’re not too old, because ‘too old’ is a construct of the world that existed before The Most Important Post Ever and that no longer applies in this newer, better world, so go ahead, buy those skinny jeans, they look great on you. FLURP!

And when the world comes knocking on my door to thank me for FINALLY changing the world in the right way after all those other posts and videos and viral links didn’t do the job, I’ll be modest and say, “I just knew something had to be done.”

It was the least I could do.

You’re welcome, world. You’re welcome.

I'm pretty much Gandhi, but better.

The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working

Conspiracy Theories

Everyone I meet seems prone to imagine conspiracies.  There are always the flashy ones like, “9/11 was an inside job” or “The moon landing was fake,” and then there are the more grounded ones where [Fill In The Blank Group] is manipulating [Fill In The Blank System] for some agenda, secret or otherwise.  Some believe in aliens, or the Illuminati, or spirits.  Others take a more pragmatic take and think that the government is being manipulated by corporate interests, or corporate interests are being manipulated by government, or both are being manipulated  by something bigger.*

Rarely do all of these conspiracies tie together, because just like any good faith, they tend to contradict each other.  That said, I have met at least one person who has never met a conspiracy she couldn’t love.  She drops the name ‘Illuminati’ like it were just another established fact and believes in global conspiracies that range from the forced emasculation of males (literal or figurative?) to the notion that a unique isotope (my word, not hers) of gold transforms people and allows us to use more than 10% of our brains**, and the world governments secretly possess it and fight over it.

I have no interest in going through all of these conspiracies and trying to refute them.  There’s no point.  If you believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya, still, it’s obvious nothing will ever convince you otherwise.  You’re not looking for evidence, you’re holding onto a reason to remain prejudiced (or you’re just trying to goose ratings for you reality TV show).

It’s kind of an accepted fact that the best conspiracy theories (like the best religions) are those that cannot be proven wrong because there is always a window open for adaption.  But, frankly, even crap conspiracy theories will survive as long as someone is willing to believe it (Flat Earth Society, anyone?).  The mind that seeks conspiracies is a mind more interested in a compelling story than facts or logic.  Note, I said ‘compelling,’ not coherent or cohesive.

We all seek stories to explain experiences or phenomenon.  It’s an evolutionary trait.  It’s the reason for myths, fairy tales and religions (I mean, other than that one true religion, [Fill in the blank]).  It’s the reason science exists.  It’s also the reason that we sit around obsessing over what that girl meant when she said, “We should hang out sometime.”  We create narratives.  Smart people do it.  Dumb people do it.  People with faith do it.  Atheists do it.

Conspiracy theories are just another form of narrative building, but on crack.  The classic conspiracy theory usually assumes some body of power exists which has a secret agenda (presumably that we normal humans would oppose if we knew about it).  They have devised a complex, almost certainly nefarious means of achieving their goal, which has resulted in an ever widening net of lies, misdirections and false ‘facts’ to throw us plebeians off the scent.


When I hear a conspiracy theory (in whatever form it may take), my first thought is: Where is this going?  In fact, instead of trying to argue facts with conspiracy theorists, I’ve taken to pulling a maneuver out of every 3-year-old’s handbook and just ask, “Why?” ad nauseum.

And I usually get a pretty obvious answer, at first.  A conversation might go like this:
“Why did Bush and Cheney (or whoever) arrange 9/11?”  To invade Iraq.  To get oil.  To create opportunities for Halliburton. 

Those are all things Bush/Cheney/Whoever very well might have wanted.  “But you didn’t answer my question.  Why did they arrange the 9/11 attacks?  Because, if they wanted to invade Iraq, why pin the attacks on a ‘terrorist’ who had no connection to Iraq and required that we get involved in a war in Afghanistan first?  They had to falsify evidence to get us into Iraq, so why not just create a story where Saddam Hussein funded the 9/11 attacks and skip the middle man?”

And the response that follows starts to break down.

OK, but maybe 9/11 wasn’t about money and oil.  It’s just about power.  They needed a terrorist attack to create an atmosphere of terror in order to seize even greater power through the Patriot Act and other means. 


“So they could control the populace.”


“So they could have more power.”


Either this conversation turns into a big circular argument (they wanted power to control people, and they wanted to control people to have power) or there is some long game being played here that either has failed or is completely staggering in its scope. 

Sure, under Bush the Executive branch finagled some extra powers and some rights were curbed.  But, really (unless you’re Middle Eastern), how much have your personal freedoms really been hampered?  To borrow a Chris Rock quote, is there really anything you can’t do on Wednesday because Bush won?  Obviously, there are some troubling aspects of laws passed by both Bush and Obama, but they’re hardly of the Orwellian scale one would expect from the sort of global conspiracy necessary to fake 9/11. I guess what I’m saying is, this fascist takeover is kinda a let down.

If you want me to believe your conspiracy theory, you need to do a little better job of explaining why such elaborate schemes are needed to bring about rather unimpressive results.  I know we’re never supposed to trust the “official story,” but usually the official story makes a whole hell of a lot more sense than what ever cockamamie theory you are spouting.


People love to believe in secret power pulling the strings.  Maybe it’s God, maybe it’s the Illuminati, maybe it’s the Boy Scouts.  But somebody has to be manipulating the world, right?  Because the alternative is that we’re just a bunch of people on this planet with pretty basic wants and desires and sometimes in the pursuit of them we come into conflict with someone else.  Sometimes we’re bad people; sometimes we create plans in order to meet our needs and those plans hurt other people.  It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just humanity.

Most of the supposed conspiracies in the world can be explained by ‘emergence.’  There are multiple, intelligent actors interacting, all in pursuit of their own ends.  These interactions create networks of events and circumstances and then we stand back from them and we see patterns, like the shape of a butterfly in a cloud.  These patterns couldn’t possibly have arisen by pure chance and chaos (we think), so there must be a conspiracy to explain it.

The funny thing about conspiracy theories is that while they are often very cynical and even dire in their conception of the world, they are actually an attempt by their propagators to make sense of the world and, by turns, create a comforting sense of order.  “I might not be in control, but somebody is and that’s something.  (Maybe I will usurp the powers that be, or join them.)”

Your average conspiracy theorist is like your average American Christian: You have these beliefs but rarely do said beliefs play a substantial role in your day to day life***.  The Illuminati might control the world’s gold supply, but you’re still going to go to work today and buy your Starbucks coffee and log into Facebook and generally play into the world system that you decry as a sham.  It’s enough to have your story, you don’t really care about the consequences.

Occam’s Razor

You might not believe in the Illuminati or 9/11 conspiracies or anything of that sort.  But there is some conspiracy lurking in your mind that you flick at like it was a loose tooth.  It’s probably about the pharmaceutical companies or Wall Street or food manufacturers.  It’s not just that you think they pursue policies that might be harmful in order to make greater profits.  You think that they are secretly controlling politicians, laws and government policies all in order to get richer.

Maybe.  But it begs the question, “Why?”  Considering the amount of years and money it would take to set all these pawns in place, might it not be more realistic to believe that [Fill In the Blank Profiteer] is using legal, albeit ethically questionable means to benefit themselves, the same way you might use your friendship with a manager to get a better schedule at work.  Yeah, the system might be rigged in certain groups’ favor, but I’m not convinced it was a conscious decision by a secret panel of shadowy figures. 

Occam’s Razor tells us that the simplest answer is usually the best answer.  Rarely is a conspiracy theory simple.  In fact, complexity is one of the strengths of a good theory, because it makes it harder to disprove or even completely understand.

Generation and generation of Hollywood movies and comic books have bred us to believe in evil villains who aim to control (or, for some reason, destroy) the world****.  But reality is far more prosaic.  There are certainly dictators in the world, and that’s a whole other issue.  But here in America, most of the ‘villains’ are really just people whose individual goals don’t align with our own.  It’s possible for me to find certain Republican policies repugnant without thinking they all hate women.  And it’s possible for you to oppose ‘Obamacare’ without having to claim it’s an attempt to turn America into a Socialist State (it’s not).

No matter how compelling or reassuring it might seem to believe in a great story, it’s always worth stopping and asking yourself, “Why?”

And if the answer requires more steps than the ‘official story,’ you’re probably just enjoying a good ol’ fairy tale.

*When I say that government being manipulated by corporate interests is a conspiracy theory, I’m not talking about Citizens United or Super PACs or lobbyists.  It’s a well established fact that corporations use their money to influence politicians.  I mean on a larger scale, a more systemic manipulation that involves buying off scientists (or relevant experts) and any governmental official all to line the pockets of a small group of power players.

**The 10% myth is a frequent player in a variety of conspiracy theories, as well as for homeopathic ‘cures’ and mystic healing.  If we could just rid our collective consciousness of this utter bullocks, we might save a lot of gullible people a lot of money.  Probably not, actually.

***And just like any religion, there are fanatics whose beliefs completely guide every aspect of their lives.

****Notice how these movies about World Conquering Villains usually fall apart in the 3rd act?  Because even the best writers have a hard time coming up for a legitimate reason why anyone would want to conquer the world.  Any villain smart enough to take over the planet would realize that he could just make a billion dollars and have the world hanging from his nuts.  No henchmen required.

“Atheists are about as useful as a third tit”

I don’t normally do this, but this is irresistible.

In response to my blog post, “In Support of Jessica Ahlquist,” a commentator calling himself “Lord Monty” wrote this:

You must love North Korea a fine atheist nation as is China and the rest of the fucked up nations of the world.. your kind will bring the demise of mankind eventually.. Do you really believe mankind along with the concept of GOD has survived the millenia accidentally?.. FAITH is why man still exists and wtihout it he will surely not last long.. it’s as essential for the continuance of mankind and spiritual moral as the air we breathe. Atheists are about as useful as a third tit, their influences are counter productive. I would be insulted the mentally handicap to call you retarded but you really are nothing more tha worthless DNA .. the propagation of your seed contributes directly the regression of the species into animal sub-class. you are a cosmic fuckup in other words that you can comprehend

Now, I only post this because just the other day, a different drive-by commentator told me that I was going to hell if I didn’t repent.

What these comments both have in common (besides a second grader’s grasp of grammar and spelling) is that, for some reason, my very existence has angered them.  Neither one of these posts (the other one was about Gay Marriage) was an angry tirade against religion or an insult-laden piece of faith-baiting.  They were just my arguments for my views.

In fact, I would say the Jessica Ahlquist post was more than evenhanded and went out of its way to simply show support for the teenage girl, without vilifying the opposition.

I’m not sure why I’ve received 2 such comments in as many days.  Maybe my site has been linked on some Christian/Right Wing message board or blog.

Whatever the reason, it’s amusing.  These are the comments that don’t actually require a response because they’re pure angry id, poured out on the page.

I am an Atheist.  I know a percentage of the world agrees with this commentator simply because of that fact.

This is why I write.