Saturday, February 26, 2011

Simply Incredible!

Gorgeous and soulful collaborative effort of the classic Ben E. King hit, Stand By Me.  This international version of the song is, simply said, incredible.

Thank you to fellow local Yukon blogger, Lindsay Dobbin of The Dreaming for such an awesome link!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gregory W. Lester: Bad Beliefs

Gregory W. Lester, Ph.D
The abovementioned (pictured left) is a Ph.D in Psychology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.  He has written an article hosted on The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) called, "Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die."  I found the excerpt quoted below at John Loftus's site, Debunking Christianity, and thought it was very thought-provoking.
Because senses and beliefs are both tools for survival and have evolved to augment one another, our brain considers them to be separate but equally important purveyors of survival information....This means that beliefs are designed to operate independent of sensory data. In fact, the whole survival value of beliefs is based on their ability to persist in the face of contradictory evidence. Beliefs are not supposed to change easily or simply in response to disconfirming evidence. If they did, they would be virtually useless as tools for survival....Skeptical thinkers must realize that because of the survival value of beliefs, disconfirming evidence will rarely, if ever, be sufficient to change beliefs, even in “otherwise intelligent” people....[S]keptics must always appreciate how hard it is for people to have their beliefs challenged. It is, quite literally, a threat to their brain’s sense of survival. It is entirely normal for people to be defensive in such situations. The brain feels it is fighting for its should be comforting to all skeptics to remember that the truly amazing part of all of this is not that so few beliefs change or that people can be so irrational, but that anyone’s beliefs ever change at all. Skeptics’ ability to alter their own beliefs in response to data is a true gift; a unique, powerful, and precious ability. It is genuinely a “higher brain function” in that it goes against some of the most natural and fundamental biological urges.
What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Questioning God

At some point in almost everyone's life, the question of the existence of God moves from a rosy sentiment to an intellectual briar patch. The shiny world of youth makes it easy to rely on the claims of one's parents that God is real, personable, and knowable. Or the equal, yet opposite simplicity that God is a quaint mythology fit for a pre-scientific world, but no more real than Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny.

Soon, however, maturity intrudes on our winsome innocence. We start asking harder questions. For example, just what kind of God is it that looks on as countless millions are slaughtered in religio-political pograms? Wouldn't God be just the right arbiter in human affairs to help us avoid senseless killings? Or, if God isn't real, how do we account for morality, conscience, or the seeming uniformity of nature? Given our moral inclinations, why haven't we come up with a solution to the horrors we perpetrate on ourselves? And what are the empirical sciences doing to advance our moral status in the alleged absence of deity?

On the other hand, it would be easy, even practical to dismiss the question of God altogether. Afterall, neither religious nor secular metanarratives can ultimately prove their claims regarding the divine. So why be bothered with something that cannot be proven conclusively, or conclusively disproven? Why pursue a subject that, given its ultimate non-conclusion, will require faith in either the propositions of the world's religions, or faith in the evolving world of the sciences?

But how practical is it to dismiss questions that help us – individually, and collectively – form a sense of our place in the universe? Is it practical to eschew religious claims when many of those claims have helped shape the cultures, and perceptions we participate in today? Is it practical to disregard the findings of the sciences? Would gravity be less binding if we were unconcerned to pay attention to its effect in our lives? Would God be less of a question if we found it practical to disregard the effects of religion around the world? Would this kind of practicality even be honest?

Parsing Original Sin P. 1

Ayn Rand rocked the literary world with her anti-altruist writings.  In particular, her epic novel Atlas Shrugged gave full berth to her philosophy, Objectivism.  In said novel, the ultimate protagonist, John Galt--a figure who is intitially so enigmatic his name becomes a byword--questions, indicts, and redefines the very nature of humanity.  Galt's soliloquy toward the end of the book drives a proverbial knife into the heart of modern Western values; he attacks their religious root, specifically located in the doctrine of original sin.

As quoted from Galt's speech, original sin is an impossible reality that "begins by damning man as evil, then demands that he practice a good which it defines as impossible for him to practice."  Original sin, as set out by the first Christians, however, suggests that human beings are deprived of their natural connection to God because Adam and Eve, humanity's representative couple, disobeyed God thereby setting all people forever at a distance from their Creator.  Thus Adam and Eve, and everyone after them, suffer the burden  of godlessness--the void between God and man--which is hopelessly incurable except by the movement of God across that void.  And, as Christians claim, God spanned that void in the person of Jesus Christ.

Everyone born into the world then, according to classic Christian formulations, inherits the burden of being simultaneously in God's image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27) and also separated from God by original sin.  Rand's vicarious observation that the Christian "code" damns man for his godlessness and then demands man be good--which is to say that man is to be godly--points at a fatal flaw in Christian conceptions of the nature of man.  Namely, if by original sin man is unable to be godly because of his godlessness, why condemn man for living in the condition he was predisposed to?

More alarmingly, the demand of the Christian believer is that he recognise how damnable he is without proof, or even a shred of evidence to firm-up the case.  Virtue is not allotted man until he confesses not only his vice, but also his utter inability to extricate himself from a condition he cannot point to but is guilty of anyway.

That man was created 'good,' even 'very good' (Gen. 1:31) is simply a nod to a time well behind him.  The post-Edenic reality is that man is "evil" (Matt. 7:11) and exists in a subordinated position; a position that does not act on his innate inclinations of being a free, noble creature but binds itself to the self-deprecating notion of being "depraved," or "distorted," or "disordered."  Man, to be 'good,' must first lie to himself that he is, in fact 'bad,' will himself to believe his lie, and then plead the pity of the Creator who would save him from himself.

From the start, man is damned, if not by his own belief that he has to lie to himself to set up the conditions for salvation, then by the inheritance of representative man's sin (through Adam and Eve) which places him at odds with God.  In essence, man is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

How could anyone get on with such of wave of contradiction and catch-22's?  How could anyone understand their place in reality, their identity as a human being, given such misfit logic?  Clearly,

"It does not matter, the good is not for him to understand, his duty is to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence ato any stray collector of unintelligible debts, his only concept of a value is a zero: the good is that which is non-man."
According to such a "monstrous absurdity," original sin means man is not 'good,' he is evil (cf. Matt. 7:11).  Since a double-bind is placed on man--inherit a sinful condition and/or commit evil by lying to oneself and therefore make yourself evil--his whole moral condition, the opportunity for will, his very freedom is predetermined for him.  Man has been deemed guilty without his choice even before he exists.

There is no sense in that conclusion, obviously, but that is what the doctrine of original sin requires a person to believe for it to have any psychological hold.  A person cannot be bound to a creed that has no discernable impact on his psyche.  No-one is passionate about the banal.  No-one is driven to deliver themselves from ineffectual and meaningless propositions.  Such things are easily discarded  by the very act of choosing to.

For a concept to lay hold of a person fully, and to generate enough fervor that he is irrevocably compelled to seek salvation from the subjective realities of that concept it has to strike hard and deep at the core doubts, fears, and needs of a person; it must demean a person's sense of life and moral confidence.

Original sin does just that.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation, 2003
Roadtrip Nation is a book about discovering who you are, what you love, what drives you, what your passions are, and how to find the "open road" to your dreams.

The book's format is simple:

1) Introduction to the authors, and defining their aims and methods of achieving them;
2) A series of interviews with some of America's most successful industry leaders;
3) Exhortation to start talking to the people you admire, find out how they got to where they're at, and then set your own goals for getting to where you want to go.

Stylistically, the book is very casual, the way you'd estimate it would be written by a couple of surfers and newly minted university graduates.  That is, written simply but well, unreserved, inviting and open, and given to the odd surf-culture-specific flourishes.  Having occupied myself with more than a few years with academic texts and more "highbrow" literature (whatever that actually means), I found the simpler style of Roadtrip Nation refreshing and alive.  In fact, it put me in mind to do some private writing that focuses on simple but effective expression.

While I was reading through Roadtrip Nation, I was caught off-guard by the overall genuineness of the authors, and the people the authors interviewed.  Everyone involved in the contents of the book showed a high degree of realistic humility (i.e., not self-deprecation masquerading as humility, but honest self-appraisal), and an unblushing recognition of their strengths and talents.  Yes, it is possible to edit out events and statements that may have given me a different impression.  But since I only have the book as evidence of the contents, and the book itself states that the interviews were verbatim (though specific things said were re-arranged to make a more consistent flow), I am willing to believe my first-blush impressions.

There is a lot to learn about yourself in this book, if you pay close attention.  It seems to me that when you come in contact with genuine people--even if vicariously through the medium of a book--you can't help but reflect on your own self, and have an impression of your own genuineness.  And if there's one thing that I can point to that affected me the most throughout the interview section, it is that all the people interviewed were leaders in their chosen fields because what they do is who they are.

All of the people interviewed had the common thread of being involved in a way of life that built on their deepest passions; they worked their way into a place they could not do without in their life not because it sustains their life, but because it is their life.  They work at the very things that bubble and froth in the centre of  who they are.  The external results--what we would blithely call "products"--are undeniably a manifestation of their inner world.  In short, the leaders interviewed work who they are.  If anything can be admirable, that certainly is.
Bill Murray said it, so it must be true.

Would I recommend this book to anyone?  Absolutely.  While the book really doesn't lend itself to an in-depth examination of any sort, I think that is on purpose: it sets up the possibility for you, the reader, to do your own in-depth examination of yourself by interviewing people who did the same, and found their "open road" to success and satisfaction.

Roadtrip Nation most definitely gets the Saint Cynic award of awesomeness (pictured left).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What I'm Reading

I posted a reading list for 2011 back in January.  I had hoped at that point to set-out a reading track for this year.  I was taking a chance that reality would treat me with the same static indifference as I treat it.  As it turns out, I should've listened to my better instincts that more pressing issues in my life would change the coarse of my reading this year; my gawkish auto-didacticism enjoyed the pulse of my good intentions, but inevitably collided with reality.  The result is a write-off of the old list, and a new list that is smaller, unfixed, and deals more precisely with where my mind is focused right now.

Rather than list any projected books, I will simply give space to the ones I am currently reading.

Undefended Love is an exploration of the human being, and how a person can be whole.  Many people are weighed-down by the pressure of wanting and needing to give and receive love; they want to have an unguarded, vulnerable and safe relationship.  Few people understand how such a relationship can be achieved.  Psychology, anthropology, transactional analysis, real-life anecdotes, all these areas mix and mingle together to bring about a book that elegantly sets forth a manifesto for personal wholeness, and relational intimacy at the deepest levels.

Roadtrip Nation.  I picked this book up at the local Liquidation World (now re-dubbed 'LW').  Initially, the book was more of an interest to my wife; she's interested in other people's successes and how they achieved what they did.  Since I've become disaffected with my own employment and have been sussing-out creative ways to self-employ, I thought I'd have a boo at this book.  The premise is simple: drive around the country and interview successful people about how they got to where they are.  The content is inspirational.  And if you like a casual, passionate look at the qualities of successful people, this book is perfect.

We The Living was Ayn Rand's first full-length novel, and is a tragic romance that depicts the bitter struggles of the individual against the state in Soviet Russia.  Rand's later novels (Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged) more directly explore her philosophy of Objectivism, but We The Living sets a background for why Rand was so abjectly against statism, and philosophies that purposefully manipulate and oppress people's inherent dignity and autonomy.  Like the other Russian authors I've read--and thoroughly enjoyed--Rand brings a sweep of practical majesty, and uncompromising strength to her narration; I've been left shocked and raw many times throughout this novel, so far.

I will update this post in the next few days when I'm done Roadtrip Nation and We The Living.  From there, I'll be starting another Ayn Rand novel, and pushing my way into a volume on some counter-cultural understandings of child-rearing.

Until then, stay well, and play hard!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Family Guy on Religion and Violence

I normally don't care at all for Family Guy, an adult animated comedy that--I think--cheaply satirizes popular culture, and blitzes people with fast-paced one-liners and scene transitions in horribly irreverent ways.  Okay, admittedly, I do enjoy a little irreverent humour: for example, George Carlin, Ed Byrne, Keith Lowell Jensen, and Billy Connolly.  But from what I've seen of Family Guy, it's usually vapid and principally uncouth.

Enough of my assessments, however.  I just watched a 19-second clip from Family Guy that had me chuckling and chortling quite loudly.  And now I present it to you:

Obviously the video is not historically accurate.  It is an entertaining mockery of religious people's predilections to violence, though.

Thanks to Atheist Media Blog for tipping me off to this clip.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Original Sin

Ayn Rand
I cannot get away from the forcefulness of Ayn Rand's argument against the concept of original sin.  Read it and, if you're willing, tell me what you think.
"Your code begins by damning man as evil, then demands that he practice a good which it defines as impossible for him to practice. It demands, as his first proof of virtue, that he accept his own depravity without proof. It demands that he start, not with a standard of value, but with a standard of evil, which is himself, by means of which he is then to define the good: the good is that which he is not.

"It does not matter who then becomes the profiteer on his renounced glory and tormented soul, a mystic God with some incomprehensible design or any passer-by whose rotting sores are held as some inexplicable claim upon him—it does not matter, the good is not for him to understand, his duty is to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence to any stray collector of unintelligible debts, his only concept of a value is a zero: the good is that which is non-man.

"The name of this monstrous absurdity is Original Sin.

"A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man’s sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man’s nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code.

"Do not hide behind the cowardly evasion that man is born with free will, but with a “tendency” to evil. A free will saddled with a tendency is like a game with loaded dice. It forces man to struggle through the effort of playing, to bear responsibility and pay for the game, but the decision is weighted in favor of a tendency that he had no power to escape. If the tendency is of his choice, he cannot possess it at birth; if it is not of his choice, his will is not free.

"What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge—he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil—he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor—he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire—he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness, joy—all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man’s fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was—that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love—he was not man.

"Man’s fall, according to your teachers, was that he gained the virtues required to live. These virtues, by their standard, are his Sin. His evil, they charge, is that he’s man. His guilt, they charge, is that he lives.

"They call it a morality of mercy and a doctrine of love for man."
The quote above was extracted from For the New Intellectual, "Galt's Speech", Signet Edition.

On Immorality & Atheism

Click for larger picture.
The notion that atheists are immoral because they claim godlessness is tripe. There is no reason to suggest that a person is immoral because they don't believe a certain god, or any gods exist. Such a conclusion is hopelessly illogical: where's the connective tissue between the propositions "I don't believe in God/gods" and "disbelievers are immoral"? Something has to fit between those two propositions, otherwise concluding disbelief equals immorality is a categorical confusion and a lackluster syllogism, at best.

At worst, the implication that people can only be moral if they believe in a God/gods makes believers terribly dangerous people to associate with: are they suggesting that it's only their belief that restrains them from psychopathic rampages, and all manner of hideous crimes?

And what are we to make of pre-Judaic times, before the alleged giving of the 10 Commandments? Were people just given to their impulses with no thought to consequences? Were human beings wantonly viscious with no capacity for restraint until God burned a few words in stone? The fact is: people are moral despite their beliefs, and even without beliefs, because morality is part of our organising instincts and our efforts to promote the survival of ourselves and others.

Your morality is not a cape you are given by some God; it is part of your human composition and does not depend a whit on what brand of religion you choose to adopt.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A History of God: Reflections & Review P. II

In Part 1 of this series, I provided a brief overview of the purpose behind Armstrong's book: to examine the evolution of the idea of God within the three major monotheistic religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  I also noted that Armstrong's historical scrutiny of the monotheistic conceptions of God comes by way of the documentary hypothesis, a source theory of biblical interpretation that seeks to arrange chronologically the inconsistent and independently authored texts of the earliest books of the bible.  Given the seemingly independent perspectives within the books of the Torah--and subsequent Old Testament books--the documentary hypothesis suggests that a series of redactors (editors) prepared the disparate documents into the forms we've come to know as the Pentateuch.

Citing Armstrong's interpretive tools goes a long way in helping to understand why she comes to some of the conclusions she does.  If it is true that the Pentateuch is a patchwork of originally independent narratives that have endured (who knows how many) redactions, then the traditional Christian perspective that the bible is wholly reliable can reasonably be questioned: reliable in its original, unedited form?  Reliable because of its redactions?  And how do we know that those who undertook to edit the original manuscripts were reliable people?  What constitutes 'reliability' in a religious context when dealing with scripture? At what point does having 'faith' that the scriptures are reliable cease to be an acceptable premise?  And further to those questions, if the writings of the major world religions can be questioned as to their reliability, can those religions themselves be questioned as to their reliability on the whole?  That is, if the religions of the book are questionable on a literary level, what aspects of that religion are reliable at all?

I won't be pursuing answers to those questions in this series, but suffice it to say that they are reasonably important questions, and the content of Armstrong's book certainly gives me pause to consider searching out reasonable answers.

But enough of my preamble!  On to the reflections and review.

Introduction (pp. xvii - xxiii)
I have read Armstrong's introduction to A History of God a few times before reading the actual book.  There are several instances within those (roughly) 7 pages that resonated very deeply with me.  For example, Armstrong, right out of the gates, admits to her childhood belief in God as an implicit or "unquestioned" assumption, but because of the arid pomposity of the religious definitions that surround the notion of 'God' she cannot meaningfully state she had faith in God:
"There is a distinction between belief in a set of propositions and a faith which enables us to put our trust in them.  I believed implicitly in the existence of God; I also believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the efficacy of the sacraments, the prospect of eternal damnation and the objective reality of Purgatory... God, on the other hand, was a somewhat shadowy figure, defined in intellectual abstractions rather than images."
 Like Armstrong, I had my own implicit belief in God when I was a child.  I recall demanding I be brought to church when I was eight.  At the same age, I was baptised, though I know I had no real understanding of the religious significance of that event.  A few years later, I sat in the back of my dad's car reading my bible while he and his girlfriend ran errands at a local plaza.  When they returned to the car, I plucked up my courage and asked my dad what he would think if I became a priest and taught people about God.  His response was disheartening to a child of 12: "Do what you want.  Just don't talk to me about it."  This was the same response I received from him when I was 16 and told him that I had become a "born again" Christian.

All this is to say that, like Armstrong,
"As I grew up... I began to be moved by the beauty of the liturgy and, though God remained distant, I felt that it was possible to break through to him and that the vision would transfigure the whole of created reality."
Disappointment is germane to most people's lives, however, and Armstrong did not experience that transfigured reality.  "Eventually, with regret," Armstrong writes, "I left the religious life..."  As did I, and with many, bitter, emotional struggles.  But having pursued her religious studies as much as she did, Armstrong was unwilling to put away her passion to understand religious reality:
"My interest in religion continued... and I made a number of television programs about the early history of Christianity and the nature of the religious experience."
And having scoured the depths of religious history, Armstrong came to an unoriginal, yet beautifully expressed conclusion about the nature of religious experience and activity:
"Like art, religion has been an attempt to find meaning and value in life, despite the suffering that flesh is heir to.  Like any other human activity, religion can be abused, but it seems to have been something that we have always done.  It was not tacked on to a primordially secular nature by manipulative kings and priests but was natural to humanity... Throughout history, men and women have experienced a dimension of the spirit that seems to transcend the mundane world.  Indeed it is an arresting characteristic of the human mind to be able to conceive concepts that go beyond it in this way."
It must be said, however, that although religion has been, and probably will continue to be an activity integral to human participation in the world, the rise of scientific savvy is a formidable challenge to the religious-minded.  For if "meaning and value in life" can come from ancestral liturgies and ancient doctrines, then the continual increase in understanding and factual comprehension science continuously provides may overtake religious devotion.  Certainly knowing the factual details of reality does not detract from life's meaning and value, but should reinforce it if those meanings and values are true.  Certainly deriving one's meaning and value from what is actual and demonstrable will grip people's minds with at least as much fervour as the meaning and value in life that non-demonstrable, non-natural claims have traditionally held.

Whatever the case may end up being, there is no historical precedent that even remotely recommends a religionless future.
"...religion is highly pragmatic... it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be logically or scientifically sound. As soon as it ceases to be effective it will be changed--sometimes for something radically different."
Thus notions of God are entirely provisional: they evolve just as much as people and their cultures do.  The success of monotheisms such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has not been in having precise knowledge of the divine so much as it has been that the monotheistic religions have been able to adapt culture to their creeds.  Previous to monotheism religious motifs were subject to the suasions of culture.  And indeed, so-called "pagan" religions continue to develop along the lines of the cultures and people-groups practicing them.  Monotheism, however, dictates culture by enforcement of creeds: you cannot be a 21st century Christian without holding dear certain creeds.  You can, however, be a raging pagan, polytheist, or religious pluralist in the 21st century even while brushing-off ancient dictates.

This, of course, makes me wonder why people prefer to be directed in their beliefs, rather than choosing what to believe.  The cafeteria Catholic (pejorative, but apt term that that is) is still beholden to certain essentials, or he isn't a Catholic.  Period.  The smorgasbord pagan is really only expected to choose what he will.  And both the Catholic monotheist and the pagan pluralist enjoy an absolutist sense of reality: they both believe that they are wonderfully right, and that others are woefully wrong.

Be that as it may, such concerns are somewhat allayed by Armstrong's right observation that

"Whatever conclusions we reach about the reality of God, the history of this idea must tell us something important about the human mind and the nature of our aspiration."
The import derived from conversations about God seems to be purely personal.  Given that, it really doesn't surprise me that somewhere along the historical line, the concomitant notion of a "personal God" was recognised in the fact that people conclude their notions of God wholly subjectively: no two people have the same experience of the same idea.  'God', the abstract, is concretized differently in each person.  Thus God-talk is strained at best, and tests credulity not only at worst, but inevitably.

As is proper, Armstrong should have the last word here:

"All talk about God staggers under impossible difficulties.  Yet monotheists have all been very positive about language at the same time as they have denied its capacity to express the transcendent reality.  The God of Jews, Christians and Muslims is a God who--in some sense--speaks.  His Word is crucial in all three faiths.  The Word of God has shaped the history of our culture.  We have to decide whether the word "God" has any meaning for us today."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Senecca and Religion

Senecca the Younger
Seneca the Younger penned these famous and portentous words:

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."

Being a contemporary of Christ, it seems significant to me that he would have such a perspective.  

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Harold Camping.  False toothy prophet.
Remember Harold Camping?  Apparently he's littered the earth, and wasted donations on a campaign sounding a clarion-call for the end of the world.

May 21, 2011.  Mark it on your calendars, folks.  Make sure to love much, and have all sorts of ludicrous fun because when you wake up on May 22, 2011 and you're still alive, and the rapture hasn't happened, you will at least not have wasted your time.

Oh, and keep up the hard work at living life to the fullest, even beyond May 22, 2011 because we have another end-of-the-world to get through on December 21, 2012.

Here's another look at the same silliness, but with a tad more detail.  Enjoy!

Sometime in the future, you're going to die.  Get over it.  But if Harold Camping is right, you're going to die a whole lot sooner than you think.  Isn't Camping such a comforting messenger?  Don't you just want to invite him into your home and let him tell you all about how godless your existence is, and how you're going to burn in hell forever?  Such a nice old man.

I wonder if he'll shut-up about this nonsense when he's wrong for the second time...

Thank you to The Thinking Atheist for this video.