Monday, February 24, 2014

Looking at Life's Gains

(Sorry for the late post.  Midterms are coming up, and I've been trying to study for them. Busy blogger is busy.)

Most of you are already aware of the journey I've been on over the past year and a half.  I came to college as a bright-eyed, innocent freshman, and not only threw myself into a rigorous music program, but also faced new situations and dilemmas I never thought I would have to deal with.  Boys (who before college avoided me like the plague, but were now practically lining up to take me out), drama, friendships tested and some even lost... the first year of college was definitely the one that changed me the most.  I am not the same person that stepped onto campus that August afternoon in the fall of 2012.

But the thing that changed me most was my mental illness.

Bipolar disorder costed so much.  I lost friends that I thought cared about me.  My ex-boyfriend dumped me the day after I attempted suicide.  I lost my reputation to one in which I was labeled "crazy" and "unstable." It cost me my music major.  It's nearly cost me my scholarship.  It very nearly cost me my life.

But even with how much I've lost due to mental illness, there's so much that I've gained.  I've gained a wonderful sisterhood, one that has supported me through everything, and that I strive to support.  I've gained a healthy and loving relationship, one that is going on a year strong this April (I've never had a relationship last that long!).  I've also recently gained a little sister in Sigma Alpha Iota!  I've changed my major to elementary education, so that I am able to work with younger kids.  I've gained new friendships and made lasting memories with people I love.

Many people talk about the losses that mental illness brings them.  And I'd be lying if I said that the battle to control my emotions, to calm myself in fits of mania and bring myself out of pits of depression, is an easy one. But that's the thing: you don't have to face it alone.  And for those of you who feel alone out there, let me tell you: I've been there.  All those feelings you have, those thoughts that plague your mind and won't leave... I've experienced that.  I still experience that, sometimes.  But guess what?  You don't have to fight this alone. There are people out there that love you and care about you.  And if you can't find them in your hometown, there is a strong Internet community out there.  I've actually found myself flocking to sites like Tumblr and YouTube and seeing the kind words that people post there.  They may not be directly aimed at me, but their presence reminds me that there is good in the world.  If I could sum up the point of this post in a short sentence, it would definitely be this one: Measure life not by losses, but by gains.

Love and Coffee cups,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Response to the Nye/Ham Debate

On Tuesday night, science educator Bill Nye "the Science Guy" and Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum squared off in an epic debate between evolution and creationism.  The night was full of science, questions, and answers.  Both sides were respectful of each other, and coming from someone who generally gives it her all in a debate (a.k.a. gets really upset), that is definitely something I can appreciate.  That being said, I posted on my Facebook page that "I don't think you want to know my position" on the matter.

Well, I'm going to be writing it here instead.

If I could sum up my position on the matter in a few short words, I'd say that Bill Nye completely wiped the floor with Ken Ham in that debate.  Hell, a poll on Christian Today even said that Bill Nye won; 92% of the people voted for him!  Bill Nye provided us with actual scientific evidence, while Ham's only evidence was the Bible.

Oh, yeah, and a lot of logical/argumentative fallacies.  Begging the question, straw man, false dilemma, fallacy of equivocation... need I say more?

In the scientific community, the Bible does not count as evidence.  The Bible is the claim; you need more proof than that if you are going to convince someone outside of the religious community to respect your claims.  It would be one thing if he was not talking about creationism and was only generally witnessing to someone, because yes, religion does require faith, and can usually get by without the necessary requirements for evidence found in science.  But in science, you need proof.  And that is something that creationism severely lacks.

Furthermore, one of Ken Ham's first comments in the debate really pissed me off.  Saying that "atheists have hijacked the word science," imposing a "naturalist religion on unsuspecting students."

Ah, yes.  The Persecution Complex.

To say that this idea has upset me to no end is truly an understatement.  It fills me with fury when other Christians claim that we are persecuted when, in reality, we are often the ones doing to persecuting.  Guess what?  We're the majority!  Not just in the United States, but worldwide.  Laws pushing anti-science, anti-LGBT, anti-woman, and anti-human rights are, more often than not, pushed by Christians.  When someone calmly tells us, "Can you please not involve religion in politics?" or "Can we have the right to choose to not follow any religion?" we're like "WAAAAH!!!!! SOMEONE IS PERSECUTING ME!!  THERE IS A WAR ON CHRISTIANITY!!!!"  And I, for one, am sick and tired of it.  Save the cries of persecution for places and times that actually deserve it, where people are being killed and tortured for it, not when people are saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

Yes, I know that not all Christians are like this.  I'm very lucky to have met some very tolerant and kind Christians in my life.  But nevertheless, it is this vocal part that pushes people away.  Hell, there have been times in my life where I have been so close to pronouncing myself agnostic.

But what does this have to do with the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate?  In a word, I am ashamed of Ham.  I am ashamed of what Christianity is becoming.  If we don't learn to accept scientific fact, if we don't learn to stand for human rights, then we will die.  Christianity, our way of thinking and of life, will become nothing more than a fossil.  We will become extinct.  The underlying principles of Christianity are good.  Love your neighbor.  Give to the poor.  Care for your fellow man.  The last thing I want is for these basic principles to be weathered away, to be lost to the evolution of humanity, because of the actions of bigots and villains who use the Bible as a tool for undermining the good of humanity.  I refuse to associate myself with such cruelty.

Besides, why can't we have both?  Why can't we believe that God made everything, but that we can find the processes that He used through science?  If you ask me, this divide is ridiculous.

All in all, the debate was very riveting, and I learned so much about science.  Bill Nye, if by any chance you're reading this, you kicked ass, and I hope that one day I get to see you speak in person.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find a bow tie.  Because bow ties are cool.

Love and Coffee cups,