31 August 2006

a letter I wrote with the Fundamentalist radioshow host response

Below you will Find the letter I wrote to radio-host and fundementalist Christian Scott Thomas. He was upset with a certain video conversion made by two fox news reporters who had been released by their insurgent captors. He wasn't angry with them, that would be too strong a word. He was disappointed that they made a conversion to Islam-even if it was false, and made only to ensure their release. He suggested that he wouldn't do it. He eventually put the question to callers: "Would you deny your faith under the same circumstances?" He suggested he wouldn't do it. Later in the program, he had a woman on who had started up "Day of Truth." This is an answer to the gay and lesbian movement's "Day of Silence."
Make sure your coffee is warm, it's long!
And so my letter begins.....

Scott I listened to your show today with some considerable interest.
Your first topic involved the release of two Fox News reporters from captivity. This was of course good news, but it was quite obvious you were annoyed by the fact they made video conversions to Islam.

Of course we can't know if those were the only ways in which their release from captivity could be effected, or whether they derived some other benefit. What was clear was you think you wouldn't have denied your faith. You eventually came out and said it. I think, we in the listening audience all knew you were going to say something like that. That you wanted to say it.

Lets say that by not acquiessing to the demands of these thugs you were killed by them. My question to you is what good would that have done? What have you proved? That your God is powerful enough to keep you from denying Him, yet not powerful enough or at least not interested enough, to save you from what I am guessing would a rather unpleasant end. And in so proving this what would have been the cost? You mentioned your family. What would your refusal to deny you faith-to preserve your life- cost them?

You mentioned the thousands of Chinese martyrs for the faith? And I guess I wonder how all this useless, sensless bloodshed glorifies God? Or does it betray a callous disregard for his followers, and the people he created in his own image. I contend that all this marytrdom only fuels wave after wave vendetta, because no matter how many people foolishly die for their religion, it never seems to spur anyone's Gods to action.
It seems an extrodinary waste. And don't the Gods themselves seem painfully indifferent to the very real plights of those who follow them? Lets face it, the God of Abraham, who is at the heart of all three major monotheistic religions, has totally been asleep at the wheel. Ask the Muslims in Bosnia, or Palestine, or survivors of the Holocaust (jews have historically gotten the short end of the stick where God's inattentivness is concerned), or yes the Christians in China. And let us not forget all the useless martyrdom that has occured thorought human history.

Your next guest-whose name I couldn't find on your web-site was quite miffed by the gay and lesbian community's "Day of Silence." I must say right off the bat that I fully support the Chrisian response to the "Day of Silence." I am on board with the notion of equal and fair access to school facilities, with out discrimination based on race, class, religion or sexual orientation. I would also like say I appreciate the reserve applied by the "Day of Truth" crowd by having their "Day" after, and not simultaneously with, the GLBTQ protest. Such a move would have been terribly confrontational.

What I really took issue with in this segment was the anger you both seemed feel that the "Day of Silence" kids were silent all day. "..they recieve no consequences for this," was what you said, not hiding your incredulity. I do wonder if you have any proof for such a claim, or if you just said it, secure in the knowledge that no one in your listening audience would question it. Moreover, you would have children whose parent's unquestioning belief in the literal truth of Bronze Age myths demanded it, leave class rooms where modern science is being taught simply because it doesn't square with said myths. I will presume that as you think this is a religious objection, and such education is a violation of religious conviction you would expect no consequences to befall such students. This is, in its own way, just as disruptive as any other political statement any student might make. So how is possible to deny other kids their political statements? Both the Creationist movement, and the GLBTQ have adult groups responsible for compiling and disseminating information to interested parties. Both have sections on their various websites for youth. So, tactically, the groups you support are no different from those of the GLBTQ community. In high schools both are started by youth-not adults-who, burdened by some social passion, be it to increase the franchisement of all our citizens or to deny that franchisment, and marginalize people, feel they must act.
I thank you for your candor,
Good Day.

Max Driffill

"We are all athiests about most of the Gods of human history, some of us just go one god farther."
--Richard Dawkins

The response....

Hi Max.

Thank you for an enjoyable and challenging email. Although I don't always hear only from the choir, it is blood pumping to hear from those in absolute diametric opposition. I appreciate you listening and writing. And, while, as I will point out, your presumptions are, in many cases, erroneous, I also appreciate your tone.

Your questions regarding me not denying my faith indicate you presume I have something to prove. Taking a stand for faith has nothing to do with proving whose God is most powerful. There is only one God, and His power is incomparable to that of gods, demons, spirits, magicians, idols, myths or witch doctors.

My stance, should I make it, would simply be in line with my faith...a faith in the God who created everything, including me...a faith that my human brain cannot possibly comprehend everything that's going on around me, around the world, around the universe, for now, from then, or for eternity. If, in the scope of omnipotence, God allowed me to die while refusing to deny my faith, that faith allows me to easily believe that He knows best and, in His way, will provide for my family. (Romans 8:28)

I guess my question for you, in this matter, would be, "What would making a phony conversion prove?" One thing it might prove, especially to those who deny God, is that faith isn't worth spit. For me, faith is worth everything, because God has given me everything. The martyrs of the Bible weren't trying to prove anything. The martyrs of China aren't trying to prove anything. It is those who kill believers who are the ones trying to prove something. And, each time one dies for their faith, many new believers rise up. Where is the Christian church growing most quickly...China!

You accuse God of being "asleep at the wheel", as if the only evidence for God would be for Him to run the universe in the same way you would. If you were God, you'd quell the tsunami. If you were God, Katrina would have simply been a thunder storm.

I can't tell you why God allows some disasters and prevents others. But, again, in faith, I trust He knows why. Actually, I can tell you why these things occur, but if you deny God to begin with, you'll certainly deny His word. To the unbeliever, God's Word is foolishness.

And, I cannot prove the negative. I cannot prove that God prevents disaster...simply because the disaster never happened. I can, however, observe that the conditions for disaster exist virtually everywhere, every day, yet disasters are relatively few. If you believe that God allows some, integrity demands that you believe that prevents the others.

You describe what we view as premature, or non-understandable, death as a "waste" and "foolish". How could God see it in any other way? Again, this is what happens when we try to define the limitless God with our limited understanding. As a Christian, I view life as a precious gift, one I choose (to the best of my ability) to live in service to the One who gave me my life. Having lived this life to His purposes, I see no death of a believer as either a "waste" or "foolish". In the scope of eternity, there is very little difference between 20 years and 80 years.

That said, I do view many deaths as tragic...tragic from a human standpoint for those who love and care for those who died. And, I view the death of a non-Christian as tragic because there is no redemption for them. That's the waste.

Regarding the "Day of Silence", I have no objection to political commentary, silent or not. I'm sure I made that point clear. But, it seems to me, if you have the conviction to make a political statement by remaining silent, even during class, even whey you're called upon, even if you're scheduled to give a presentation, then you need to take your lumps...if, in fact, there are lumps to be taken.

If, in class, you are expected to participate, orally, and you choose not to, then you should expect there to be ramifications. According to my guest, and previous guests on this issue, there were no cases of any scholastic ramifications of people choosing to participate in the Day of Silence. It is entirely possible that none of those participants were expected to say anthing out loud that day. But, it also is, at least, possible that some refused to participate when expected and chose not to.

My "miff" is not with the Day of Silence, per se. I am miffed at the almost Pavlovian response of support for anything and everything that advances the GLBT agenda. I don't blame the GLBT community for trying to advance that agenda. But, I do object to the virtually blind acceptance of that agenda as good and valuable.

Finally, Max, I make absolutely no assumptions that "no one in your listening audience would question it." I fully understand that this 50,000 watt signal, plus Internet delivery, reaches thousands of people who do not walk lockstep with me. The differences are legion...political, ideological, theological. When it comes to presumptions, I presume virtually everything I say will encounter question and disagreement from somebody.

Monday, it was you.

I thank you for listening. I thank you for writing. I pray (in fact, right now) that God would remove the scales from your eyes and you would see and know Him personally and that He would bless you abundantly.

His Peace.


More fun photos from me.

Here are some old Brazilian Jiu-jitsu photos of me. Cool Eh?
I will be putting training photos up of me and my training partners as I get ready for upcoming competitions, The Arnold Classic in March, and what ever other Submission Grappling/BJJ tournament I can enter inbetween. I figure I have about 10 years or so of hard competition left, and I want to revisit those competition days by looking at medals when I am older. On that front by the way. I rolled with some serious dudes, at a serious school and my ankle held up just freakin' fine. No pain the next day, no stiffness. Also after having spent all my training time last year at a less than challenging place, I was pretty pleased with my performance. All is well in what I will call competition training Day 1.

28 August 2006

If I called you from the Coconino this is where I was, and this was the view I told you about. It was always windy up on the Ridge. It took twenty or so minutes to drive out there, or an hour to walk. It was a great place to see elk and mule deer at sunset, as well as Nighthawks.
Arizona is easily one of the most geologically interesting of the continental US.

Life on the road

Can you tell I drove across the country by myself?
That dust that covers my car came from the dry roads that led up to camp. I am still trying to get it out of my car.

Arizona Pictures

This was my home for close to three months in Arizona's Coconino National Forest. Sweet eh?

Christian Talk Radio, or blah, contradictory blah

As many of my friends will tell you I spend alot of time listening to various brands of conservative talk radio. I used to be able to listen to Rush Limbaugh, but by his third blantant falshood, maybe his fourth I generally have to turn him off. Everything about his show and the Golden Microphone really sickens me. As impossible as it may seem, I can actually listen to Sean Hannity the whole way through. Not because he is more honest, he may, in fact be worse, but in his favor, he does have a better delivery. And he never called Chelsea Clinton the White House dog. But still a total prick. Bill O'Reilly, at least twice as bad on his radio show, as he is on T.V. I'll click him off pretty quick. Michael Savage. This is one guy I think I might actually flatten should I ever meet him in the street. I tend to really pride myself on my debating skills, but his vitriol is so acidic and hateful I just don't think he would keep to the form of debate, so neither would I.
Pat Buchannan, and G.Gordon Liddy. Shockingly, I like these two guys. I don't aggree with anything either of them have to say. Not one damn thing, but they tend to be more jovial with guests of opposing view points, less inclined to give GOP packaged answers, and are typically kind of witty. I think Buckley Jr, falls into this catergory too. So of all the folks I just mentioned the last three would be the only three I would have over for coffee and spirited debate.

Now the other conservative talk radio is that of the fundementalist stripe. This is the arena of such giants, as Pat Robertson, Chuck Swindol, Focus on the Family, Michael Medved, just to name a few. Most of these stations tend to fill time between the big Christian shows with local personalities. For some reason I find it all fascinating, and a bit scary.
Okay alot scary.

One of the things I find so fascinating is the enthusiastic, errors of internal consistancy many of these spokespersons for Christ-their version-make.

Take today forinstance, I was listening to the local crazy-christian station, AM 1160, to the Scott Thomas Show. He had a guest, whose name I can't find on his web-site, who was the one of the creators of the evangelical tool, "Day of Truth." For those of you who don't know what the day of truth is, it is essentially the Christian fundementalist answer to GLTBQ community's "Day of Silence." So the gimic, is that the day following a "Day of Silence" Christian school groups will put on this "Day of Truth." They wear T-shirts that say- what else- "Day of Truth." So it is quite the affair. They will talk to people between classes about how nobody is born with sexual predilictions but learn them. And they will bring out people who have been "cured" of the desire. This of course flys in the face of quite a bit of biological and psychological research to the contrary. Furthermore interviews with these people who have been, allegedly relieved of desire for some same sex action prove to in fact still harbor said feelings, they are just utilizing will power to not act on them. Okay that is all I am going to say by way of rebuttal to that.

In fact I have no problem with a christian group making somekind of statement like this, and am in fact quite impressed that they chose to do it on the day following the "day of silence." This is really non-combative. If I had to hazard a guess as to why, it would be that the issue divides america fairly evenly. Maybe there are even more on the side of gay rights than not. This country gets fairly bizarre where the fundemental privacy of our sex lives is concerned. All I know is that, when polled, the majority of americans favor, civil unions, if not out right marriage and that is an encouraging sign.

So that wasn't my problem with what Scott Thomas and his guest were saying. What did bother me was that they were so incensed that the "day of Silence" was taken into the classrooms and this silence earned no consequence for those who remained silent. The woman, who runs a Christian Parents Watchdog outfit policing schools for any thing that might offend them or interfere with their childrens strict adherence to Bronze Age myths, was quite upset. Allow me to paraphrase
This is going on during classes! These kids aren't speaking! She said.
And they aren't recieving consequences. Scott added.
I know. She added.
Much shaking of heads.

Okay i can't know if they were shaking their heads.
To me though, there is really no difference in what these GLBTQ kids do, from what Fundementalist christians do when they demand their children be allowed to leave any biology class where evolution is being discussed, or any health class where-god forbid- some one mentions that penises sometimes go into vaginas and that many things of consequence can follow said action. Isn't this as disruptive? Should fundementalist kids be penalized for leaving, and making a statement by such an action. It is a political/religious statement. Scott and his guest were terribly rattled by the notion that their kids had to be exposed to something that is often referred to as the "homosexual agenda." Yet they are only too happy to push their particular Christian vision on others.

So I guess the position they were taking seemed awfully hypocritical.
What do you think? Am I off base?

Just found this cool blog you should check out.

I was puttering around on youtube.com watching a Richard Dawkins documentary when I stumbled, rather happily, on the following blog. The blog is called Midnight Therapy with Crystal. Go to:
I imagine that strict adherence to that address is important so you don't go sauntering off to some porn site. So type carefully. Its hard to put my finger on what is so great about the blog, all I know is that it is a good bit of fun. She slams fundies (fundementalists for you uncultured folks), george bush and in general, she just cracks me up. She is also a fellow windy city bloke, or so her bio says at youtube.com
Definately check her out.
My first blog endorsement!

I'm on such a roll, I will endorse yet another blog.
This blog is run by a friend of mine who like me is concerned with the role science plays in understanding human behavior and psychology along with a great many other things. Fun stuff, though occasionally abrasive. That isn't a knock, read it as warning.


11 August 2006

I'm back

Hey all,
I have been in Arizona for the past few months, or otherwise internetless. I just wanted to drop a quick blog and let you all know of my return. I have tons to tell you about an exciting field season.
Talk to you soon.