Archive for the personal Category

Open Thou Mine Eyes

Posted in personal with tags , , , , , , , on January 15, 2009 by scatheist

eye_tut_4Tomorrow I have my second eye surgery in 30 years.  The first corrective surgery I had was on my first birthday. Tomorrow’s surgery is on my thirty first birthday.  A friend of mine asked, “WTF?  Do they only do these surgery’s on January 16th?”  I have Strabismus, which is the medical term for “lazy eye.” My parents noticed this when I was an infant and  the doctors wisely advised them that it needed to be taken care of at a young age so that my brain and eyes would grow to work together.  Even though the surgery appeared successful, it was not.  When I was a teenager, the Strabismus became noticeable again and until now I have been living with it.  

The main issue is that I have “monocular” vision, which means my eyes do not work together and I only look out of one eye at a time.  This results in very limited depth perception and seeing the world in a “2D” model instead of the “3D” model that most people see.  This causes some problems, but my brain has learned to adapt to light and shadow to compensate. Otherwise, I frequently would be walking into walls and knocking things over and whatnot.  Well, there is some of that.   🙂

My brain has “decided”, since my eyes don’t work together, that it wants to use my right eye to see the world.  This has caused my left eye to become very weak. If the surgery is successful this time, my eyes will begin to work together and I’ll be able to see the world from a new perspective (literally) and my left eye will gain strength.  With the added benefit that they will be straight, and people won’t think that I’m looking over their shoulder when I’m talking to them.  

There is a caveat.  My brain has to accept the change.  If my brain has “decided” that it is comfortable seeing the world in 2D, I might wind up with double vision after the surgery.  Ahh, the brain and the eyes. Extraordinary yes.  Intelligently Designed, I think not.  

I had my last sit down with the eye surgeon on Tuesday and he asked me if my eyes had miraculously corrected themselves since the last time I saw him.  I responded, “No, and I hope on the day of the surgery you’ll be relying on medical science and not miracles.”  He gave me a big smile.  

I wasn’t quite sure how to take that.   😉

As soon as I’m able to see my laptop again, I’ll let everyone know how it went.  Peace!

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My Cross to Bear

Posted in personal with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by scatheist

Another year gone by and I still don’t have the courage to sit my parents down and tell them that I’m an atheist.  Many people in my life know it, including my wife, my kids, and even some of my colleagues.  Why am I still afraid to tell my parents?  I am thirty fucking years old.  I should just sit them down and tell them, right?  Well, I guess it’s a little more complicated than that.  Part of my problem is that I am not just an atheist any longer.  I have gone all in and I am becoming an advocate for atheism, skepticism, and reason.  I co-host an Internet radio show with a theist (my friend and brother-in-law) I have joined a local atheist group, the Greenville Non-Theists, and I actively blog about my lack of belief.  I am not being honest with the people that raised me about who I am.  Both of my parents know that I am not a church goer, and they think that I’ll return to the alter one day, as they have done.  They would be quite surprised, however,  if  I told them that I don’t believe in a god or that I think the story of a  god/man Jesus is folklure passed down through the generations. Or that I believe that world religions cause much more harm than good.  It’s killing me though to keep this bottled up.

It will be much easier for me to have this conversation with my mother. She is not as dogmatic, but she really loves her church and does believe in an afterlife that includes Jesus, God, the angels, and the saints. That withstanding, I think she will accept it and it will just become something that we don’t talk about much.  My father, on the other hand, could get very insulted and may become derogatory.  Maybe my biggest concern is that by having this conversation he’s going to say things that are going to piss me off, and I might just reach my boiling point and go off on him.  I anticipate that he will blame my atheism on my liberal ideology and make some kind of connection to left wing socialist brain washing.  For the record, he is am extreme far right conservative Catholic.  Will this end our relationship completely or put such a strain on it that we hardly ever talk?

Hang on.

Thinking.

Sonavabitch.

As I’m writing this I’m realizing that my father doesn’t give a shit about sharing his beliefs with me, regardless of what I think. No matter how bigoted he may sound.  I think it’s time that I follow his lead  and let him know who I am and what I truly think.  He can take it or leave it.  

I think I’m still talking to mom first 🙂  

This rant has been extremely therapeutic.  I’ll let you guys know how it goes.  

 

Side note:  On Monday’s Atheist and Theist Radio Hour, Phil and I tackle the question, Is America a Christian Nation? Join us live at 11pm ET.

Another Christmas Past, But Better

Posted in personal, religion with tags , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by scatheist

Santa ChristI am the only pronounced atheist in my family.  I have in-laws that are evangelicals and my parents are devout Catholics.  My wife considers herself to be spiritual but won’t label herself with any religion. Our children are brought up secular, but do have religious influences from our parents and extended family. This is something that I struggle with but I am raising them to be critical thinkers.  If religion comes up, my wife and I are very clear about our beliefs.  With all of that being said, I am very happy with the way this Christmas was celebrated in our household.  All of the family was present, we had a good time, drank a few beers, and exchanged gifts. The kids got Rockband for the Wii and I have selfishly taken over the drums 🙂 

Guess what?  Not once did anyone in my religious family bring up the birth of Jesus.  Trust me when I say that the lack of Jesusness was not out of respect for me or my atheism.  I think it’s just an evolution of the holiday, at least in our family.  Many hardcore Christians get upset over the commercialism of Christmas and try to get the flock to remember what the holiday is supposed to mean to them.  I don’t particularly care for the commercialism of the holiday either even though I participate in it.  What I like most is everybody in the family getting together, hanging out, listening to music, maybe having one too many drinks, and most of all, taking a break from the daily grind.    

Religious traditions are a part of human history, however, we’re proving that we don’t need the religion to enjoy the tradition.  

Thank you Horus or Jesus or Santa or whoever….

Hope your Christmas was as cool as mine.