“I can’t help but try to see things rationally. Math class was only bearable for me because I saw it as a lesson in pure logic. I also saw that Math applied to literally every single thing in this Universe. If anything could describe the origins of our world, it was math.
I was 15 years old the first time I read through any considerable portion of the bible, and I was struck by the evil that this ‘God’ character displayed in condoning and arbitrating rules for slavery and genocide and rape and the treatment of women as cattle. You cannot say they didn’t know any better in those times because ‘God’ doesn’t say anything against these atrocities. He rather encourages them as long as they’re for His glory and exhaultation. He positively enjoys blood sacrifices, and the one who is credited for starting the three main religions is pranked into almost sacrificing his own son. On a lateral note, to say it is a good action, whatever it is, simply because God commanded it is quite insane.
And about his interest in us… I’m sorry, but I simply cannot bring myself to believe that the One who created the Universe is so meticulously interested in a species of primates living on a speck, orbiting a flaming speck, flying in spinning clouds of trillions of other specks; with this swarm of clouds being an inconspicuous fart in the expanding Cosmos. We live on a clot of debris amidst an explosion. I know this is not a comforting idea, but it’s definitely more awesome than a burning bush, or the parting of the Red Sea, or noah’s unlikely ark. And best of all, the former idea can be proven to be true 99.99% of the time, and that’s good enough for me.
The fact the this Universe can plausibly be created from nothing, a null set, a Zero’th dimension is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the idea of a ‘Creator’ is not needed to make a Universe.
(Skip if you hate Math) Quantum Mechanics would describe how ‘nothing’ is really a broiling stew of ‘virtual’ particles, and that a Universe can eventually fill itself up (improbable but possible things will happen inevitably on an infinite scale). Another idea is that a Zeroth dimension started it all. In a Zeroth dimension, 0 is the sum of all possible numbers. 0 becomes an infinite hole that swallows all other numbers. It’s a very large ZERO. If there is a sudden break in the symmetry of the dimension, like a (-1) breaking off, the largest number in effect becomes (1), because 0-(-1)= 1 . That break in symmetry can compose of any variable, like a Universe sized chunk of anti-material ‘information’ breaking the symmetry of ZERO (which is inevitable in Quantum Mechanics), thereby creating a Universe full of matter. Remember, improbable but possible things will happen inevitably on an infinite scale.
I am no physicist, but I’ve listened to real ones speak eloquently about how this Universe is possible without any notion of God. If you take this as bad news, I can understand. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve replaced the comfort I had in God with the awe the I have for my place in the Universe. The fact that we’re made of atoms that were cooked up inside the cores of dying stars redeems any supposed comfort I had in thinking that I was ‘saved.’
(Saved from what, exactly? This concept of Original Sin might apply if the Creation story had any shred of truth to it, but, if you’ve been following along, it doesn’t. And how exactly does Human Sacrifice relieve me of my wrongdoings? He died for all sins except the sin of disbelief, apparently.)
The word Atheist often comes with a connotation of negativity. I cannot say there is no God, but I can say that He, in light of all the evidence, is highly unlikely. It’s for this reason that when asked if I believe in God, I’d have to say no, thereby making me the ‘unenlightened, untrustworthy’ Atheist. I know what it’s like to hear that as a Christian. When I was in 4th or 5th grade, I would ask my friends, “what Religion are you?” and when they responded with that dreaded non-belief, I immediately lost my ‘Christian’ respect for them. I thought, “How can they not see the light? Who do they think they are, not believing in the ‘self-evident’ truth of the Lord…?” I’m aware of that urge to ‘save’ me. Just know that I’ve been where you are, I’ve felt the ‘presence’ of God, the warmest heart of the Lord, Jesus Christ… but logic will always override my feelings because even my own feelings aren’t reliable evidence for His existence. One cannot feel without the brain, and the brain is known for its illusions; the most famous one being Consciousness.
I see the world differently now that I don’t believe in God. I no longer worry about cognitive dissonances between evidence and my perception of reality. I’m not afraid of death, because it is the default state. I am extremely lucky to be given a chance to breathe with you all. When I consider how awesomely improbable my living amongst you really is, I realize this one life I have is the best divine blessing I could ever hope for, from any God, anywhere. That is why you have my undivided thanks, Mom and Dad, for doing what comes naturally and giving this mass of atoms a brief moment to see what this whole Universe thingy is all about.”
According to the CIA, there are five categories ofillicit drugs: narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and cannabis. The CIA says that the United States is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine (which is shipped from Columbia through Mexico and the Caribbean), Columbian heroin, and Mexico heroin and Marijuana, is a major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican heroin, is a minor consumer of ‘high-quality’ Southeast Asian heroin, is an illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine and is a money-laundering center.
On a fiscal level, according to the United States Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center’s The Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use on American Society report for 2011, the total cost of illicit drug use in the United States was $193, 096, 930. That number was derived from the three components of crime costs, the five components of health costs, and the seven components of productivity costs. That number would be even higher if the cost of law enforcement activities aimed at preventing drug creation and importation were included. Costs that may be possible to reduce could be the costs of preventing and punishing drug use and production if we were to legalize them and design a system of regulation.
It could be possible to reduce the costs of illegal drug use by designing a program aimed at regulation and education of drugs as legal substances as apposed to fighting ‘drugs’ as a whole, blindly and futilely. With the amount of money invested in prevention and punishment of drug use and production it would be possible to create programs designed to educate about and treat for drug use and abuse, and find avenues for effective regulation, production, and taxation. The implications of legalizing drugs, like marijuana in the United States, according to people like Edwin Meese III are: more crime, higher cost to society, worse drug problems; “addiction, violence, disorder, and death.” These absurd arguments were also made concerning the prohibition of alcohol, which was not quite as devastating as the current prohibition, but almost.
According to advocates against legalization of drugs, other countries’ legalization and/or non-enforcement has been ineffective. According to advocates for legalization of drugs, other countries’ legalization and/or non-enforcement has been effective. This is one of those impossible political stand-offs in which there is plenty of evidence for the claims and arguments on each side and all that there is left to do is make our opinions louder, i.e. flinging poo harder.
Young people are going to continue to take drugs whether or not they are illegal, legal, safe, unsafe, easily accessible or hard to get. Alcohol is a legal substance in this country but not for people under 21, yet most teenagers drink alcohol regularly. Tobacco products are legal in this country but not for people under 18, yet many under that age limit smoke cigarettes. Pot and cocaine are illegal substances for everybody (on a federal level) and millions of young people take these substances anyway. Where is the money going when these things are taken illegally? Who gets paid? Regulation of illegal things is impossible. Regulation of legal substances is slightly more possible. If the people who are doing the regulating are the ones getting paid we have an opportunity to make it possible for young people to have access to safer methods of taking safer drugs in safer places. If young people have to go to a tweaker pad to trade sexual favors for dirty heroin because heroin is an illicit drug-that is our fault. If young people are able to go to a safe place that has passed inspection to take clean drugs in a safe place, in a safe way…well, I have a hard time seeing what is wrong with that. Drugs are a moral issue for many people and many people approach this issue from a completely unrealistic perspective. Young people have always and always will experiment and do things that are dangerous; it is our job to make those dangerous things as safe and as easy to learn about as possible. Abstinence is not sexual education and does not prevent young people from having sex; prohibition of drugs is not education about them and does not prevent young people from getting high.
The billions of dollars going into the prevention and punishment of drug use and production could be used to make mandatory vehicle breathalyzers, or blood toxicity testers that would make it impossible for someone to operate a vehicle while intoxicated on any substance. Those dollars could go into education about drugs, safe places to take drugs, safe methods and safe tools. Instead of all the money that goes to bad people making bad drugs it could go to programs to make sure we are supporting and helping the youth and adults with drugs problems and questions. If the demand for drugs is satiated by making them available without having to do dangerous things in dangerous places it may be possible to affect issues like trafficking and drug-related crime in positive ways. Young men in the ghetto may be able to work in a head shop instead of selling weed on the street, getting arrested, and spending their youth in incarceration.
Drugs are illegal in in the United States and they are still being used and still causing great deals of related crime and social issues. I hope that at some point it will be socially acceptable to find new ways of approaching the illicit drugs and the problems associated with them.