Christian billboards I wish Atheists would make

These are all actual quotes taken from the Bible word for word.

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If you liked or hated this post you’ll probably feel the same way about these:

 

A short summary of the Bible
10 scriptures that reveal Christianity is mythology
3 sings Christianity is myth
16 reasons i’m extremely hesitant to debate Christians
Why you shouldn’t respect religious beliefs
15 signs your church is a cult
Christians, you believe in science.
10 signs you should stop pretending to be a Christian
10 reasons Christianity will drive you insane
7 ways the Bible will make you an immoral person
11 ways Christianity ruins society
Disproving the Bible with sex
How Christianity was largely responsible for the holocaust
You can achieve the benefits of Christianity without believing in mythology
It’s time to stop mutilating baby boys’ genitals
Is God a lover or a fighter?
How believers can witness to nonbelievers
Religion 101 final exam
Prophets and cognitive dissonance
10 ways to be a better Christian witness on the internet
The power of prayer
The Dali Lama may be nice, but he still pretends to be a mythological being
A more realistic take on the 10 commandments
On traditional Christian-American values
What is sin?
It’s time to stop celebrating Easter
It’s time to stop celebrating Christmas
Inequality Appreciation Day

Tips on happiness

See a therapist.

Life is too short to spend it in misery. If you’re miserable then you probably shouldn’t be reading inspirational blogs on happiness written by random maniacs. You should schedule one-on-one time to talk to someone who is professionally trained to help people improve the quality of their lives. Seeing a therapist is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of resourcefulness. Help is out there. If you need it, get it.

But understand that a therapist isn’t going to be able to wave a magic wand at you and solve all your problems.  A therapist can show you the way out of the darkness, but it’s up to you to make that journey. You’re the only person who can confront your demons, but it sure helps to have a trained professional to walk you through the steps.

Be healthy.

Getting healthy might not solve your problems, but it will make you feel better. I guarantee it. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of rest. Get a massage on a regular basis. Drink lots of water, and don’t poison yourself. If you do those things your body will feel better, and when your body feels better your mind will feel better.

If you ignore this advice your body will hurt. Living with aches and pains will make you miserable, stress you out and sap the energy and inclination to solve the problems in your life.

Want less, but define and fulfill the wants you do have.

We feel unhappy when there is a disconnect between what we want and what we have. The quickest and easiest way to be happier is to want what you have, and be content with that. However, any virtue taken to excess becomes a vice. Some philosophers have argued that in order to have true happiness you must eliminate all wants. That’s worth considering, but life is rarely so black and white.

Life was meant to be lived. The universe was meant to be enjoyed. Our individuality was meant to be explored and expressed. Fulfilling your wants will bring you happiness. It might not make you happy forever, but our lives don’t last forever anyway. All we have is the moment. In those moments we have the opportunity to find enjoyment and meaning in the things we do, but in order to achieve those experiences we first have to define them and then want them. Just don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Live in the here and now.

It’s okay to reminisce about the past, and it’s essential to explore past traumas in order to bring closure to them. It’s also wise to plan for the future. However, the past is gone forever, and the future isn’t real yet. Life is lived in the here and now. This is where you get to experience the joy of living.

Living in the moment pushes the problems of the past and the future to your peripheral vision and frees you to make the most out of life right here, right now regardless of what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Do that long enough, and eventually you’ll look back on your past and find years of happy memories.

Look at life from the cosmic perspective.

Life has enough problems without making mountains out of molehills. You only have enough time to deal with the problems that really matter. To keep your priorities in perspective it helps to take a step back and look at the big picture.

You live in an inconceivably huge, elegant and powerful universe that offers limitless opportunities.The matter in your body is almost 14 billion years old.You, yourself are a bi-pedal, sentient, autonomous super computer that inexplicably grew out of inanimate matter. There are a finite number of beings like you in the universe, and you will only exist for a short amount of time. For these reasons and more you are infinitely valuable.

Having said that, in the grand scale of things you’re as insignificant as an ant. You’re a fleck of dust flashing in a sunbeam. While that may seem discouraging, there is an upside. On a long enough time scale non of your problems will matter. Your problems are dust in the wind.

You only have time to hold onto what matters. Keep everything in perspective.

Love yourself.

Each and every one of us is a cosmic miracle. Nothing we do or don’t do changes that fact. If there is some force in the universe that fits some definition of the word “God” then that force spent almost 14 billion years creating you. Even if there is no God, the universe went through the same effort. If love is something you do then you are loved by the universe, and you deserve to be loved. Your flaws are specks of dust that are dwarfed by your inherent beauty and potential. You deserve to love yourself, and when you do you make the most of your life, which justifies your existence and turns your failures into stepping stones.

Stop obsessing over yourself.

Love yourself, but don’t obsess over yourself, because again, any virtue taken to an extreme becomes a vice. If you constantly fantasize about your virtues you’ll become conceited, and persistently dwelling on your weaknesses, failures and mistakes will quickly make you feel like you’re living in the Swamp of Sadness. It takes a lot of time and energy to obsess over yourself anyway. As gratifying as it may seem at times, it’s a burden, and all you have to do to shuck that burden off of your shoulders is to stop thinking about yourself so intensely all the time.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

The next time you’re having a bad day, stop and make a list of all the things you’ve been thinking about all day. Chances are most of the items on that list will be negative. Whenever you’re having a great day, stop and make a list of all the things you’ve been thinking about that day. Chances are most of the items on that list will be positive.

It’s a simple truth that the quality of your thoughts effects the quality of your mood. This doesn’t mean you should go through your life religiously suppressing any negative thought. There’s a time and place when it’s warranted to let yourself feel pain, but sometimes our worries are merely the product of worrying. In those cases all you need to improve your quality of life is to quiet your mind and not think anything at all. Or you could consciously replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. If you can make a habit of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, eventually you’ll do it subconsciously.

Be consciously grateful for what you have.

Life is hard, but there is much to be grateful for. Take a sheet of paper and one one side make a list of all the things that make you unhappy. On the other side of the paper make a list of things you’re grateful for. The list of things that make you unhappy may be longer than your list of things you’re grateful for, but over the weeks and months of looking at that list and amending it you’ll come to see that any one of the good things on your list are worth ten of the bad. Life is about the good things on the list, not the bad.

If you have a list of all the things that make you unhappy you can take that list to a therapist and get help from them on solving those problems. Even without the help of a therapist, you can address those issues yourself and check them off until your list of gratitudes is longer than your grievances.

Sometimes you may find it hard to enjoy the good things on your list when there are such horrible items on the other side of the page. Just remember that the point of enduring the bad in life is so that we can enjoy the good. If you don’t let yourself enjoy them then all your suffering is/was/will be in vain.

Eliminate negative influences in your life.

Having the right perspective and a positive outlook are important to being happy. However, this doesn’t mean that all unhappiness stems from having a shitty attitude. Sometimes external forces in life cause you pain and stress completely unrelated to your level of optimism. In those instances the path to happiness is eliminating the sources of that hurt and stress.

If you hate your job then you might need to find another one. If your commute is sapping your will to live then maybe you need to move or find a new job. If your bed is crippling your back then maybe you need to buy a new bed. If there is anyone in your life who regularly makes you feel bad then maybe you need to cut that person out of your life. Eliminating these and any other source of negativity in your life will give you more room to be happy and less reason to be miserable.

Treat other people better.

Treating other people better pays off in immediate karma, aggregate happiness, and it releases positive karma ghosts into society that will come back to reward you eventually. Kindness is its own reward. How much of it you reap depends on how much you sow.

Improve your problem solving and conflict resolution skills.

John Wayne once said, “Life’s tough. Life’s tougher when you’re stupid.” If your life is riddled with problems then you’re obviously in need of improving your problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Read some self-help books, but make sure they were written by someone with a PhD from a reputable school.

Enjoy the little things.

Happiness comes in many sizes. Sometimes happiness is as quiet as a breeze off the ocean, as still as a mountain vista or as brief as a sunrise. These joys may be more subtle than finding the love of your life, but they’re still important pieces of the overall puzzle of happiness. The less you pass these opportunities up the more you will have accumulated by the end of your life.

Invest in experiences, not possessions.

At the end of your life when you look back on it all you won’t reminisce about the expensive decorations in your house or your designer clothes. You’ll think about trip you took to that exotic island with your lover. You’ll think about the people you met at events around your home town. You’ll think about the things you did and the people you did them with, not the things you owned. If you’re going to invest money in happiness, invest it in a therapist and having new experiences before you go out and buy a shiny new toy to fill the void in your life.

Get money, but treat it as a means to an end.

There’s some truth to the old saying that “Money can’t buy happiness,” but money does buy security and freedom, both of which are vital prerequisites for happiness. Plus, since achieving your wants is another important aspect of happiness, and money buys everything, money will help you achieve your wants and make you happy. Money allows you to pursue your dreams. It will help you. Not having money seriously cripples your ability to do anything in life. Poverty is bad for your mental and physical health. It’s depressing. So eliminate your debts, save your money and increase your revenue; you will set yourself up to achieve everything else that yields happiness.

Don’t expose yourself to advertisements.

Advertisements are manipulative propaganda designed to make you feel bad about yourself so that you’ll be motivated to buy a product to solve a nonexistent problem. You would be a fool to expose yourself to that.

If you liked this blog you may like these:

 Steps to becoming a genius

How to become an expert at anything

Advice on life

My advice to the younger generation

Signs you’re old…but not necessarily mature

Signs you’re mature…but not necessarily old

My philosophy on leadership

10 pieces of relationship advice

Stages of a relationship

Stages of friendship

Have a sane perception of conspiracy theories

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A reader E-mailed me recently and asked if I would write a blog analyzing the flaws in all the major conspiracy theories like the moon landing, Area 51, JFK and September 11th. I could do that, but all of that information is already readily available, and anyone who is intimately familiar with conspiracy theories knows the holes in them. The reason people obsesses over conspiracy theories isn’t because they need the obvious pointed out to them. What they need is to think sanely to begin with.

The reason conspiracy theories exist at all is because we don’t know enough information about them to understand them completely. If we did they would simply be factoids. No matter how plausible your theories are, without the hard evidence to back them up they’re not even theories; they’re inconsequential hypotheses.

It’s admirable to invest time and energy solving problems that are important to humanity, but if you’re a skilled enough thinker to solve a complex riddle then you should be skilled enough of a thinker to recognize that trying to solve a problem without knowing all the variables is a fool’s errand.

Even if you could succeed in proving on paper that the moon landing was faked, that Area 51 has alien technology, that the Illuminate shot JFK and the September 11th terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the American government, what would that really change? Sure, people would know the truth, but as important as the truth is, the reality is that it probably wouldn’t change anything. Everyone will go on about their lives as normal: dating, working, shopping and watching television.  Exposing the truth about conspiracy theories won’t ignite a revolution. The truth will simply get filed in Wikipedia and eventually be forgotten.

As important as truth is, many people need food and protection more than they need truth. If you’re smart enough and driven enough to solve outdated, cryptic conspiracy hypotheses, then you’re probably capable of solving real cut-and-dry  problems that humanity desperately needs rectified such as corporate influence in politics, UCMJ reform, corruption in the FDA and NSA, the war on drugs, the existence of sweatshops, the unsustainability of suburbia, income inequality, inflated housing prices, the glass ceiling of higher educationthe oppression of the academically disinclined and price gouging in health care.

If the US government is really run by multinational corporations that hide aliens, assassinate world leaders and destroy sky scrapers then that problem needs to be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Calling out the powers that be for committing atrocities and covering them up isn’t going to stop them from happening. However, fixing the problems that lead to poverty, corruption and crime will cause a domino effect that will solve all the world’s problems and undermine the powers that be even if we never find out who, if anyone, is really running things.

Your time and energy are invaluable. Use them wisely. If you’re going to devote your life to solving problems then solve the most important problems. Once we all have food in our bellies and roofs over our heads then we can worry about toying with theoretical puzzles.

If you liked or hated this blog you’ll probably feel the same way about these:

Being a conspiracy theorist is good business

The Big Conspiracy Theory

How to think critically

7 steps to becoming a genius

The value of knowledge

Your ability to think obligates you to

Enlightenment Through Logic

The Map of Everything

Taking requests for blog topics

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If you have a topic that you’d like me to write a post about, feel free to E-mail me and ask. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to. Case in point, I had a guy ask me to write a blog about the Quran, but I told him I couldn’t because that’s a topic I’m too ignorant about to talk about. I’ve ignored requests from people who sounded like psycho trolls. And though nobody has asked me to, I wouldn’t write a post about celebrity gossip. But hey,if you’ve got a question or a topic you’d like me to write a blog about, you have an open invitation to ask. I’ll do what I can. Just understand I am a sloth. So it might take me a while to write your blog.

You can contact me through the About/Contact page.

P.S. These are three blogs that I wrote at the request of readers who E-mailed me:

An Old Man From Jersey Explains: Free Will

It’s time to stop mutilating baby boys’ genitals

Advice to virgins

Ways universities make people dumber

I’m not saying that going to a university will just make you stupid and therefore you shouldn’t go. You can learn a lot of invaluable information at college, and it will help you grow into a better person. A college education is so important that everyone should get one (for free). However, there are some massive design flaws in America’s existing higher education system that cause many students to get dumber in certain ways even as they get smarter in others:

Standardized essays and regurgitated facts

During your college orientation you’ll be told that college will crack open your mind like an oyster and transform you from a mindless robot into enlightened uber man. But the two most important skills you need to succeed at college are the ability to memorize a lot of information very quickly and write good formal essays.

Most of your college career will be spent reciting information like a parakeet, and even when your professors are psychotic and obviously wrong about something, you still have to give them the answers they want to hear or you won’t pass. You’ll also have to write formulaic essays in more than half your classes. These essays will require you to regurgitate information in a standardized, mind-numbingly formal process. Your professors will demand that you back up every statement you make by citing authoritative sources. While this is a valuable skill to learn, it doesn’t train you to think for yourself and formulate new ideas. It forces you to become a professional regurgitator and to value to popular knowledge over independent thought. Forcing students to think like that for four to eight years straight can seriously stifle their creative potential.

The reason colleges give students so many tests and essays isn’t because that’s the best way to learn. That’s just the way it’s always been done, and not enough people have questioned that tradition. The reason tests and essays became the collegiate standard is because they’re cut and dry ways of quantifying student activity, which schools need to be able to do in order to prove to the government that they’re doing something. That’s the primary goal of for-profit colleges: reporting student output. That’s the bottom line. Colleges need to measure that you did something, because if they can do that they can tick the right boxes on the right bureaucratic government forms that keep their profits flowing in. So they designed their curriculum according to their needs even though it wastes your precious time that you could be spending learning.

If you stay in college long enough to base your sense of self-worth on your academic achievements you may find yourself defending the institution and its practices blindly too. If you grow up in a bureaucratic maze you’re going to take it for granted that the world is one giant bureaucratic maze and the best way to succeed is to just accept it, don’t question your duties and give the person above you whatever they want. These are horrible life lessons that our higher education system has taught to millions of people, and since college graduates end up becoming the leaders of the world, these are the values we’re instilling in the leaders of the world. It should come as no surprise that the world is such a high-stress, unforgiving, dog-eat-dog place.

Awe of rank

Schools tell you that you should address professors as “sir,” “ma’am” or “doctor” out of respect for their prestigious accomplishments. However, if you choose not to address them with a superior title you’ll be verbally reprimanded. So you’re not really “saluting” them out of respect, you’re doing it out of obedience.

It’s illogical to treat another human being like you’re a second class citizen to them even if they did something with their life. They’re not going above and beyond the call of duty. They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. At any rate, one person’s success is not another person’s failure. Spending 8 years doing something doesn’t endebt strangers to kiss your ass. Nothing does. Demanding that other people treat you different than they would anyone else is oppression. It might not be apartheid, but it’s still oppression.

If you can teach a person that they have to place another human being above them for any reason then you’ve made that person dumber. And when you indoctrinate an entire generation of young people to believe that their elders are one rank closer to God than them, you’ve set the stage for an entire generation to be manipulated and exploited.

Another negative consequence of convincing young people to be in awe of their elder’s rank is that young people will believe their elders’ teachings without question. Even though colleges say they don’t want this to happen, they go out of their way to idealize their professors’ authority.

Not only does worshiping rank close your mind, it also distorts your sense of self-worth. Every human being is equal. Period. Everyone is deserving of equal respect and love. And in the end, everyone’s shit stinks, and we all die. That’s reality. Indoctrinating young people to be in awe of man-made ranks teaches them to see themselves as second class citizens. This is hurtful and disrespectful to them on a personal level, and on a larger scale, if you can convince an entire generation of humans to believe that the natural way of the world is for society to be divided into social classes in which the upper classes are treated like royalty and the lower classes are treated like children then you’ve set the stage to exploit generations of poor people.

Schools are going to keep enforcing the tradition of students subjugating themselves to their superiors because it helps the teachers control the classroom, and it makes schools look more prestigious when their faculty wears an aura of holiness around them.

Untrained/unaccountable professors

You may learn a lot in college, but possession of a college degree doesn’t make you a higher form of life worthy of a grander title. There are actually a lot of really, really stupid people who graduated college without learning very much. Some of those people got jobs as college professors. Some of those professors have learning disabilities and mental disorders. Some of them may be brilliant on paper but are woefully unsuited to commanding a classroom. Most professors have less training in formal education than K-12 teachers, and it shows. Sometimes even the most well-trained, competent professors will interject bizarre personal beliefs into their lectures.

I’m not saying all professors are stupid. If you go to four years of college you’ll find at least one that will inspire you and change your life, but I guarantee you’ll also have a few nut jobs who have no business being anywhere near a classroom. These teachers will teach you irrational bullshit that will make you dumber. Some of them will just teach your their entire life story. Some just won’t teach you anything. Either way, they’ll waste a semester of your life that you could have spent learning.

Debt

The cost of a higher education is oppressively expensive. It’s so inflated that it constitutes a glass ceiling to professional advancement for the poor. It’s still a major financial setback for those who can afford it, and for those who take out student loans, their debt is an inescapable source of stress and an ongoing strain on their finances.

The inflated cost of tuition causes poverty. It locks the poor in poverty and drags everyone else down closer to the poverty level. There’s a positive correlation between poverty and lowered mental abilities. In other words, poverty will make you dumber. Colleges are making the world dumber by being so expensive.

If you grow up in a capitalist bureaucracy where everything costs as much as possible, and you spend half a lifetime’s wages to go buy the credentials that will unlock the glass ceiling, there’s a good chance you’ll just accept that kind of behavior as the status quo and end up defending the system despite the obvious damage it’s doing to society.

Stress

In addition to the long-term stress of paying off student debt, colleges also submit their students to intense intellectual stress while they’re attending classes. Colleges push you so hard that many students resort to using drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to keep up with the work load, because if they can’t keep up with their unreasonable work load then they’ll lose all the money they paid for those classes, and they’ll lose their chance at getting a golden ticket through the glass ceiling.

And there’s no mercy for the weak. It’s sink or swim in college. Growing up according to those values teaches you that if you can’t endure inhumane stress for long periods of time then you don’t deserve to have a good life. You’re a failure, and your worthlessness proves you deserve to spend the rest of your life scraping the bottom of the barrel. These aren’t the values of an enlightened society. These are the values of a greedy, selfish, oppressive, cut-throat dystopia.

No professional mental health expert would ever suggest that submitting young people to intense, prolonged stress is in any way good for them. That’s a recipe for mental health disorders. Some people crack under it completely and are scarred for life. They might still graduate, get a good job and be a productive member of society, but they’ll carry avoidable scars with them that will bleed into their lives in subtle, negative ways.

Sports-centric

Colleges are for-profit businesses. Even public schools, which are supposed to be non-profit still try to make as much money as possible in order to grow and pay their executives more money. Sports are big business. So universities enthusiastically host and promote their own sports teams. You can tell how important sports are to colleges by how much they pay their coaching staff, which is often times considerably more than they pay their teaching staff.

There are positive things to say about sports, but sports aren’t as important (let alone more important) than academics. The more time students spend carrying a ball back and forth between two lines the less time they spend learning about the world around them and the problems facing humanity.

If the college propaganda machine succeeds at convincing you that sports are so important that you should wear body paint, scream euphorically in the middle of a crowd and/or argue with people who like other sports teams then they have succeeded at manipulating your values for their own benefit. There are more important things going on in the world than sports. We should be screaming about poverty, income inequality, corruption, pollution and civil rights. The more colleges convince people that collegiate-level sporting events are important enough to devote time and money towards they’re distracting the world from issues that actually matter.