#7BadIdeas #1- Atheism

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“Religion is a bunch of bullsh#t.”
-all of my liberal friends

ATHEISM. Yes, it’s difficult to believe in someone or something that you cannot readily observe or touch or communicate with. I, for one, have a personality rooted in what I can see, feel, or read about from reputable sources. I don’t automatically trust what people say. I assume a lot of it is nonsense and am correct 75 percent of the time. I only like to read nonfiction books, I don’t believe in ghosts, am most influenced by cold, hard facts, and don’t even trust my mirrors when I’m driving. I’m not too lazy to turn my head. Data and information that I (or more accurately, someone whom I trust) can measure is what I usually invest my faith in. That’s why the idea of God has always been so hard for me to imagine.

Further, religion seems so quaint and old-fashioned in our hyper-informed modern world. It made sense for folks living on the prairie in the 19th century or in small towns or ethnic urban neighborhoods until the 1960s. But nowadays, we live across the country and all over the world. We have never been more disconnected from our family members geographically. “Community” is a dying phenomenon.

“Religion seems so anachronistic. It reminds me of a t-shirt I saw a college kid wearing in the 2000s that said ‘VOTING is for old people.'”

Religion seems so anachronistic. It reminds me of a t-shirt I saw a college kid wearing in the 2000s that said ‘VOTING is for old people.’ So why not just stick with atheism? Why not proudly proclaim to be ruled by reason and logic? Well, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to look at life from a more pragmatic perspective. And I’ve found atheism to be deeply lacking. Specifically, I’ve struggled enormously my whole life with existential angst- frequently stewing in anger and depression- and during those times, atheism had nothing to offer.

And so, the pain of struggling to understand why the world is the way it is led me on a search for meaning. Specifically, I tried to figure out how an atheist makes meaning out of the world. And through that search, I came right back to religion and the Catholicism of my grandparents. I concluded that, generally speaking, when a person does not center his life around a concept like God, he inevitably fills that worldview with self-interest or what he perceives as self-interest. His moral compass inevitably gets hijacked by the ego. From a practical standpoint, I came to the conclusion that atheism, agnosticism, and generally just checking out from religion are pretty terrible ways to live. I know. I did it for 40 years.

In the absence of a religion to frame how you look at the world, a person will inevitably succumb to the influence of the ego. It’s natural. It’s normal. And it may well ruin your life. Atheism or godlessness- in other words, not recognizing something greater than oneself- is a direct path to self-worship, narcissism, nihilism, depression, and ultimately, suffering. 

I’m not saying I don’t struggle with faith. I’m as confused as anyone, but I’ve been doing a 40-year study comparing the lives of a large group of Catholic men and a large group of “secular” men. The Catholic men are all doing dramatically better than most of my lifelong friends who reject religion. They are generally married with good careers and stable families. After decades of observing these men, it’s clear to me that believing in God and ordering your life around God is a beautiful way to live. Religion offers structure, motivation, focus, an identity- important things you need to live a good life.

After all, what has gotten us to where we are as a society? What traditions, values, and institutions have enabled men and women to flourish like never before? Religion, Christian values, the nuclear family, marriage before children, basic common-sense concepts like these are scorned and undermined by the left at every opportunity. So much so that many of us have internalized that scorn and have an almost knee-jerk reaction to religion, viewing it as “a bunch of bullsh#t.” Not helpful.

And if the positive case for religion, and by this I generally mean Christianity, doesn’t convince you, how about the negative one? Where has atheism and more broadly, secularism, taken us so far? Low birth rates, high divorce rates, relentless competition between men and women, contempt and scorn for Christian values, a general erosion in confidence in all of our institutions, and loneliness, suicide, misery, at shockingly high levels in the West. Enough said.

To get by in life, I say whatever works. But it’s pretty clear to me, #AtheismHasFailed.

NOTE: This is the first in a series of ‘7 Bad Ideas That Will Ruin Your Life.’

#5Reasons Men Should Do Yoga

group of woman in yoga class

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There are many, many benefits to yoga, but here are a few in particular that men should really take advantage of-

  1. Meeting women. The first and most obvious reason to do yoga is the opportunity to meet lots of women. Every yoga class I’ve ever taken has had a ratio on the order 3 or 4 women per male yogi. This is kind of a joke. Don’t take this too seriously.

  2. Real estate insights. There is some evidence that the presence of yoga studios correlates to rising real estate values. When a yoga studio comes into the neighborhood, young folks with money follow.

  3. Strength & flexibility. Of course, there are many, many benefits in the form of improved strength and flexibility. Men with back problems should be careful, but if your doctor says okay it can really make a difference in your life.

  4. Stress reduction. A yoga class can be a calming, meditative refuge from the outside world. Men REALLY need that.

  5. An ethic of self-care. There are countless support groups and activities available to women to assist with self-care. Men rarely take advantage of these opportunities and it comes at a major societal cost in the form of stress, illness, and bad behavior. It’s time for men to do better about this. We will ALL benefit.

#10Videos that changed my mind

First, and perhaps most importantly, this video opened my eyes to the countless feminist lies that saturate our culture-

Which led me to interesting discoveries like this one-

And on to classic thinkers like the brilliant Thomas Sowell-

And on to interesting podcasts like this one-

This one shocked the hell out of me-

Somehow I came across this wise, interesting man-

And on the other side of the theological spectrum, this fellow-

Inevitably I came across this-

And the vital work described here-

And finally, last but not least, the lovely Christina Hoff Sommers-

#10Videos that changed my mind.

Can a man still be a Democrat?

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A few years ago, when I started hearing the horror stories from college campuses about kangaroo courts using Title IX to ruin young men’s lives to appease feminist activists, I started to question whether the Democrats still represented my views adequately. With the enactment of Obama’s fiat on transgender students’ use of bathrooms in public schools, it further became clear to me that the Democrats may not be entirely in touch with reality.

As man-haters like Kirsten Gillibrand seize more and more power within the party, it has become abundantly clear that the left has- aside for “Beta” O’Rourke- no place for men anymore. The Franken takedown and the Kavanaugh hearings are both case studies in this. A man, Brett Kavanaugh who very well may have been the victim of a totally fabricated smear campaign, was and continues to be trashed over completely unsubstantiated allegations and the left doesn’t care. Leftists casually call him and Clarence Thomas sexual assailants and portray Al Franken’s lighthearted harassment like a war crime.

Due process is dead on the left. And if that dies, what’s next to go, free speech? Just look at what is happening in Britain right now.

#5Reasons to Make Yourself Useful

Spring is a time of renewal not just for nature, but also for humans. It’s a time to shed old habits and develop new ones like volunteering or serving your community or being a better father.

I started coaching baseball again this spring. It’s a blast! Here are #5Reasons to make yourself more useful:

  1. Feeling useful and purposeful builds confidence which will make you more attractive to your spouse or potential target spouses.
  2. People need role models. Not just kids, grownups do, too. The world needs ’em! Be one.
  3. Karma exists. Sometimes being a good person can get you in a lot of trouble. But generally speaking the more good you do, the more you are rewarded in life in terms of opportunities and kindness.
  4. Connects you with others. Too many of us are shut-ins hiding behind devices, afraid to make eye contact for too long. Talk to people. Look them in the eyes. Get to know them.
  5. Strengthens your community. This country is fraying right now. But there are so many things we can agree on like serving our communities in some capacity. Build community wherever you are.

#7Tips to Manage Anger

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All of us struggle with anger to some degree or another, however, the feminization of society is making all anger- even the anger of hockey players- increasingly unacceptable. Here are #7Tips to help you manage anger in a soft, feminine world:

  1. At the moment of anger, meditate/say a prayer, and/or take a few deep breaths. This can save your hide and perhaps the life of someone else.
  2. Exercise regularly and consider an outlet like martial arts or boxing. Men were evolved to have the capacity for violence and yet we have so few acceptable outlets for it in today’s world. I recently started a boxing class and I’m having a blast.
  3. ALWAYS get enough sleep. I think for most people this is a necessary condition for decent behavior. I know that my anger is like a Porsche versus a Volvo when I’m not well rested.
  4. Get to know any other triggers. Self-awareness is so critical to growth. There are many ways to do it, figure out one that works for you.
    There are a number of tests you can take to get a better understanding of yourself- Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring program, and Myers-Briggs are some of the countless options out there. 
  5. Leave the room, take a walk. With some people you just have to do this.
  6. Splash cold water on your face. This is known to work, but requires extracting yourself from the situation somehow.
  7. Try to remember your values at all times. If you are a Christian, try to see the face of Jesus in your enemy or if not or you prefer, the Buddha or Gandhi or MLK.

A mindless moment of anger can ruin your life in 2019, seemingly like never before. Protect yourself.

#7Tips to Simplify Your Life

The modern world is enormously complicated. It can be like waking up in a whitewater kayak racing through rapids every day. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are #7Tips to help you simplify your life:

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  1. Embrace a spiritual or religious practice. So many folks dismiss religion as a quaint notion in this hyper-informed modern world. But there is tremendous wisdom in the world’s great religions. One of the major benefits of this is simply the routine or habit of it. Atheism and secularism don’t offer any structure.
  2. Purge your life of too many belongings. Empty out those closets and storage units and unfinished basements. A lot of that crap you’ve completely forgotten about anyway.
  3. Keep the sabbath. This can be an absolutely wonderful addition to a person’s life. Having a quiet Saturday or Sunday on the schedule every week can be a wonderful period of quiet for an individual or a family. Learn to be with yourself or with others, but not racing to a practice or event of some sort. I love my sabbath. Sometimes I voluntarily give it up, but I miss it when I do.
  4. Express gratitude at every meal or, preferably, MORE often. Your actions follow your thoughts. Think good thoughts. Think grateful thoughts. For even in our worst times, there are always many more people who have it worse.
  5. Limit your time with screens and when you do, make it useful. My parents used to refer to the TV as the “idiot box.” They were right. Now, we carry idiot boxes around in our pockets. Try to cut out the time wasters that squeeze the rest of your valuable time. Or when you do, read something that teaches you something or makes you think. There are billions of options.
  6. Take a regular phone fast. I like to have lots of people over to my place and I tend to be very welcoming of all kinds of folks. So, occasionally I encounter someone who comes from a culture that is a bit more permissive of distractions and interruptions. In fact, it really pisses me off when I’m socializing with people and someone whips out their phone while I’m talking to them, even if it is to look up something that pertains to our conversation. So I’ve pretty much banned the use of phones in my house. I treat it like smoking. Go outside and do it. Another option is to set a time, say 8 pm, after which you do not look at your gadgets. Helps to have a partner in this.
  7. Say NO to too many activities. There are a million ways to spend your time. Driving to all of the should not be one of them. Factor in whether an activity is going to complicate your life or your child’s life in such a way that it puts a burden on the family and try to avoid that. Too often we are tyrannized by the idea that we or our children should be continually accomplishing something. Overall, yes, they should, but not every minute of every day.