Friday, May 30, 2008

An Atheist's Criticism

Per the urging of Sherry I have decided to update my blog (man I'm updating a lot right now) with a brief back and forth I had on a different blog. Basically I recently came across the Friendly Atheist blog that wrote about the prayer rug that I received a few months ago and wrote my own post on it. I read the atheist's post and it was just sad seeing that exactly what bothered me about it was so obviously happening. I then wrote a short comment hoping to limit the ridicule of Christianity.

My First Comment (Brian)
I’m a Christian and I received the exact same package. I can assure you that they don’t represent Christianity and it is nothing more than a scam. I actually wrote my own blog condemning it and the annoyance you feel is all the greater for myself as it is being done in the name of Christ…it makes me sick to my stomach and deeply saddened. I only ask that everyone remember that just because someone claims to be Christian doesn’t mean they represent Christianity in anyway.

This produced a couple of challenges to me from their readers...

HoverFrog Response
Brian said:I can assure you that they don’t represent Christianity
If it’s scammers masquerading as a church then get the law involved and stamp it out. If it is a church or even if it is Christians then it represents Christianity. It may be a brand of Christianity that you hate but anyone who claims to be a Christian does represents Christianity and builds up the stereotype.

Brian E Response (not me...coincidence)
@Brian - Exactly what tenets of Christianity are they violating? Yes, they’re using an optical illusion to ‘fool’ people, but Christianity has been using lies, deceit, fear, guilt and even torture on its members for centuries. As far as I’m concerned, this church is par for the course as far as Christianity goes.

The first comment I wasn't going to respond to because it actually doesn't make sense. It would like if I were an atheist going around saying there is a god, could some atheist group sue me for not properly representing atheism...thus no use to respond. However the second comment was one that I couldn't let slide. Thus I wrote the following response.

My Second Comment (Brian)
@Brian E - First, one of the 10 commandments says to not give false testimony. Thus if they are making a claim that this prayer rug (which itself has no scriptural logic behind it) can do something supernatural when it obviously does not, that person is giving false testimony. Thus my claim, that this is nothing but a scam and outside of Christianity, is quite obvious.

However, I would like to also point out the often confused situation that Christianity is hypocritical since it says you shouldn’t lie, but everyone (Christians included) do lie (or fill in any other sin). I guess the first thing to say is, yes all Christians are hypocrites…we all fail to do what Christianity says we are to do, but that isn’t the point of Christianity. Christianity is the acknowledging that we are sinful and thus asking and receiving forgiveness through Christ Jesus. I know writing that on an atheistic blog is probably just going to produce more ridicule, but that is the core belief of Christianity. For that reason those that claim to be Christian are actually stating that they are not perfect, sinful, and in need of forgiveness. Christianity offers two ways to heaven; (1) be perfect or (2) ask for forgiveness through Jesus. FYI – I don’t know anyone that is trying route (1) currently.

Now that you have challenged my statement let me challenge you’re logic. If I were to go on a killing spree in the name of atheism (one could picture me saying that since we are merely products of evolution it is vital to weed out the weak and strengthen our specie), would my actions then define atheistic principles? I certainly won’t hold you responsible for every action that someone holding to your beliefs does, so why do you do the same to me. Shouldn’t Christianity, atheism, and any other religion (atheism is a religion in the sense that it is a set of beliefs) only be held accountable for what the tenets of that faith claim and not the actions of those that claim to hold those beliefs?

Unfortunately there hasn't been any response to my challenge after waiting a couple days, but I'll keep an eye on it to see if Brian E has a good answer for it. From my experience with reading various arguments against religion (or Christianity specifically) from atheists, it almost always hinges its arguments on the atrocities performed in the name of Christianity or whatever religion they are arguing against. However, its important to always point out to them that its inappropriate to argue based on the misguided actions of some followers (or just non-believers using the name), but should only be argued based on what is claimed by the religion. As G.K. Chesterton said "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."

If it is appropriate to judge a belief system on the atrocities performed in the name of that belief then once again atheism is in trouble. We always hear how bad things like the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, and the Spanish Inquisition were, but no one ever goes and compares these to actions performed in the name of atheism. So below is a quick comparison to give everyone perspective when challenged by an atheism in this way.

Crusades - 10,000 to 100,000 killed (over nearly 200 years)
Salem Witch Trials - 25 killed
Spanish Inquisition - ~2,000 killed from 1476 and 1834 (over 350 years)

Ok, these are bad, but when you compare it to the more than 100 million killed by just 3 atheists (Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong) these numbers are negligible. I suppose the third and final argument that should be made when talking with an atheist about this stuff is to ask them how they can even claim that murder is wrong. Remember, Christians and other religions have some kind of moral law that was received from a greater being, but atheism as no right to say that anything is either right or wrong. So if you don't feel like arguing when confronted with a question about the atrocities of Christianity, just ask them why they were wrong according to atheistic principles.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


So I went and took a look at my sister's wedding pics and it turns out the dress is similar but different.

My mom (left) and the majority of the other Elbing women.

THE Mother of the Bride Dress

Since neither the Pistons nor the Wings gave me something good to talk about in sports, I figured I would post something from a wedding I went to last weekend. I knew I was going to post this, but just haven't gotten around to it. Basically, about 3 years ago (is that correct Kristie?) I was in Kristie's wedding and walked her mom down the isle. Then last year my sister got married and I walked my mom down the isle in the same dress that Kristie's mom wore. I don't exactly remember who, but someone else at the wedding said they knew a mother of the bride that also had worn that dress. This leads us to the wedding I went to this past weekend and sure enough there is the mother of the bride wearing the same dress (or one very close to it). When she came to the table next to us I snapped a picture so that I could share it with everyone.

The Mother of the Bride Dress

I have to include a couple pictures from the wedding...enjoy.

Demoree and Ciara before the wedding.

Demoree and I at the reception.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Congrats Moomers

I have to give props to Moomers in Traverse City for winning the best scoop in America. Demoree took me there last year and I have to say that it truly is good ice cream. If you don't believe me I even included details of it in my post from that trip, click here to read.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


(sorry, Sherry for all the sports, but honestly until the Wings win the Cup I doubt I'll be talking about much else)

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Valtteri Filppula scored the above goal in dramatic fashion (if you couldn't tell by him being airborne) to give the Wings a 3-0 lead enroute to their second straight Stanley Cup Final victory (and shutout).

Bonus: Pistons have tied up their series with Boston...I think they can win the series as long as Billups stays health (though they are still underdogs in my opinion).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Think ESPN Wants the Penguins to Win

So its seems rather obvious to me that both ESPN and the NHL are dreaming that the Penguins will win the Stanley Cup. I'm not totally sure why they hate Detroit so bad but I have to say it seems pretty obvious (I'll admit I'm biased here). However when all their analysis consists of them pointing out how Detroit is either more experienced, as talented, or more talented then the Penguins only to conclude that the Penguins will beat Detroit I can't help but say they are only concluding that off of their biases. Then if that didn't convince you, there is a recent article that asked Burnside, Hradek, and Melrose 10 questions about the Stanley Cup Finals and below is Burnside's answer to question #10.

Question: We're asking you to dream again. What's the one dream scenario you would want to see in the Stanley Cup finals?

Burnside: Fleury stops Datsyuk and Zetterberg on a 2-on-1 late in regulation in Game 7 (hey, we've all got deadlines), Hal Gill picks up the rebound and finds Tyler Kennedy at center, who dishes to Max Talbot coming in off the right side, who snaps one under the crossbar. Then that great big octopus comes down from the ceiling at The Joe and the Penguins players hack it to bits with their sticks. I think I'll stop now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wings Pictures and Dreams Coming True

I need a break from my work (I've been working all day and its now 3:00am and I need to do something fun for a moment). I know what everyone is thinking...hey, what could possibly be more fun than making revisions to a 68-page manuscript. Well my friend I have your answer...looking at photos of the Wings beating Dallas to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals and having a life-long dream come true.

Photo by Vernon Bryant / DMN Photo Staff
There is simply nothing better than a Wings short-handed goal like this one by Zetterberg in the second period of Game 6.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Lets take a look at that from another angle.

Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI/Getty Images

Then I came across a nice picture of Mo Cheese on (click to read the article and click the picture for a larger view) and just had to put it up even though it obviously isn't from Game 6. Now I had already made this post and was about to put it online when it dawned on me...hey, this is very close to where my parents and I often fact based on where Mo Cheese is and the angle of the photo we would normally sit in the upper left corner of this picture...hey that guy looks like my dad...hey there appears to be a lady waving a towel about the size of my mom to his right...hey the guy next to the lady that looks like my mom looks a lot like me!!! Holy Crap!!! (Sorry Demoree you just barely missed the photo opt). So there you have it...I finally got my dream of appearing on ESPN (alright I really wanted to make Sportscenter but this will do). Ironically it is clear that my dad and I are both watching Mo Cheese (the guy right in front of us) on the screen overhead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Puzzle, Movie, Sports

1) Puzzle
This past Friday Demoree and I completed our second puzzle...this one being much more difficult. The nice thing about this puzzle though is that it actually got easier instead of harder as we approached the end. In fact we from the right picture below it took us about 15 minutes to get from there to the finish.

A few pictures taken during the final stages of the Simpson puzzle.

The completed puzzle!!!

2) Movie - Prince Caspian

Great movie...its very rare that I sit through a movie that is over 2 hours long and then say I could see that again. Demoree and both said that when it got to the end. Its quite obvious that C.S. Lewis' stepson (Douglas Gresham) is a co-producer of the movie because its (A) holds to the original story very well and (B) clearly conveys the Christian message (at least if you are a Christian).

3) Sports - Red Wings

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I'm glad to be able to say that there won't be a game 7 of the Western Conference NHL Finals...the Wings are Conference Champions!!! Now its on to the Stanley Cup Finals!!! When the Wings lost game 4 I wasn't too worried, but when they lost game 5 (looking quite bad mind you) I was a little concerned. Basically watching the Red Wings regularly for over a decade (I think I've watched the vast majority of playoff games since 1993) I have seen them go cold and suddenly they go from scoring 4 goals a game to 1. It made me nervous seeing them not score on a 6 on 3 to end game 4 and scoring only 1 goal in game 5. However, they surprised me by coming out of the funk with a 4 goal performance to finish out the series. Now that it is past us I think this will help the Wings a lot...had we entered the Stanley Cup Finals with a 10 game win streak I would feel that we would have to either sweep the Penguins or would probably loss the Cup (that two game funk would have happened and perhaps we couldn't have afforded that). Now I think the Wings will be ready for a challenging series that should be very exciting. It sure would be nice if we could get Henrik Zetterberg his first cup, Pavel Datsyuk his second (first as the go-to-guy), and Nicklas Lidstrom his first cup as team captain (we've never won it without Steve Yzerman or Scotty recent years).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Congrats Pistons

Congrats to the Pistons making their 6th consecutive conference championship. While they are big underdogs if Boston makes it thru the second round, I like that position for the Pistons. This year they certainly look more vulnerable then past years, but the reality is we looked more vulnerable when we won the NBA championship. So I'm looking forward to the conference championship series and expect the NBA champion to be out of the East.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images (from

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Weekend

This past Thursday Demoree and I decided to take the open weekend and head up north to Traverse City to visit her family and then stop by my parents place on Sunday. We drove up there Friday night with minimal traffic and arrived in Lake Ann a little after 11pm. Saturday was a nice day filled with bean dip, running, Pistons last second victory, Red Wings 8th consecutive victory, steaks, and a short trip into Traverse City.

View overlooking West Bay in Traverse City.
Demoree and I in front of West Bay.

Sunday started off slow with us just hanging out a bit in the morning before heading over to visit Demoree's grandma. It was nice to hangout with her family, but we couldn't stay too long since we had a lot of driving to do. We then went over to Pigeon to take my mom out for dinner. As a bonus we had a nice show of some family videos from back when I was a wee lad. After that it was back to Ann Arbor to unpack and get ready for yet another week of work.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Stealing Others Entries

Call it lazy if you want, but after Sherry shared this with me I had to share it with everyone. So that I'm not accused of actually stealing I will let everyone know I'm getting this from a blog called "Overheard in Ann Arbor" from 2005. It basically up until last year this group would just post overheard conversations around Ann Arbor. Below is one of those overheard conversations...

Girl 1: ...and then he went outside, and then he started peeing!
Girl 1: He was! I don't think our relationship is off to a good start!

I wonder if they are still together?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Interesting Video

So I recently came across this video that I find rather powerful. Let me first warn you that it starts out quite corny, but there is a purpose for it and is rather necessary. Give it a watch.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

Hope you have a great birthday dad.
(Also happy birthday Matt O and Aidin and happy National Day of prayer...big day)