A Beautiful Pastafarian Proposal

A few weeks ago, reader Keri and her boyfriend Jeff went on the Texas A&M University campus with posters and in full Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster pirate regalia to partake in some Pastafarian preaching:

Later that afternoon, they began walking through the academic plaza where The Century Tree resides — the superstition says that if you walk under it with the one you love, you’ll be together forever.

As they approached the tree, Jeff got down on one knee…

She said yes, of course :) (Hell, I would’ve said yes to that proposal.)

Keri adds that the ring contains a lot of symbolic meaning to her:

I work on a bunch of different Mars spacecraft studying the atmosphere, so he got me a Mars-themed ring! The center stone is a maroon garnet to represent Mars and the main Texas A&M color of maroon. The two side stones are hematite, which represent the two moons. Hematite is also part of the reason Mars is red, since it’s an iron oxide that rusts over time. The platinum setting has “whisks” on the side that look like escape trajectories.

That’s pretty freaking awesome. (And now the bar has been set impossibly high for all the rest of you.)

Their plan is to get married on May 4th of next year (May the fourth be with you!) at George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston.

Oh. They’ll also be helping a fellow Pastafarian get “ordained” so she can perform the ceremony :)

Congratulations, Keri!

Any readers have awesome proposal stories to share? Let’s hear them!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/veggiepunks C. L.

    Great story! What a kick-ass couple.

  • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

    Cute!

  • Anonymous

    This one will be difficult to top.

  • Peter Mahoney

    May The FSM touch their marriage with His noodley appendage and bestow blessings upon them. Ramen.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWD2M7I7UITLRE24Q4PJ3XZDSU KeriB

      Ramen!!! :)

  • Maya Kulik

    That is one gorgeous ring!!!
    Congratulations!!!

    • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

      Damn. I work in a science where the ring would have to be made out of the bones of children and decorated using the calculi harvested from a gouty man and a bilious man…

      Yeah… my engagement ring may be a tad unorthodox… (Or generic and shop bought)

      • oli kenton

        Are you some kind of necromancer?

        Because that’d be awesome.

        • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

          I will be a sort of necromancer, in that people who would normally die will not around me…

          I suppose a medical degree could be called Necromancy (then Botox = alchemy. It turns a simple outpatient procedure into bars of pure gold!!!)

  • angelo

    Wow. I love this. and the ring is beautiful…..

  • Anonymous

    Awesome. The personalized beautiful ring is the perfect touch. Congratulations!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWD2M7I7UITLRE24Q4PJ3XZDSU KeriB

      Thank you! :)

  • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

    Ha.  I’m just thinking about my own engagement story and how utterly stupid this one makes it look…

    I had walked home from work in the pouring rain, soaked to my underwear and thirty seconds later a fully-suited boyfriend comes knocking on my door. He got down on one knee…and my cat ran out the door. I instructed him to “hold that thought” and ran down the hallway after that stupid f*cking cat.

    What a laaaame story in comparison.

    Congrats to this couple! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      wait, your proposal story includes the phrase “hold that thought” and you think it is lame?

      • Sven

        But more importantly; How’s the cat doeing??

      • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

        …point taken. :)

        Of course, we had done the responsible, adult thing and had talked the thing to death beforehand, so the actual proposal itself was about the farthest thing from being a surprise. He knew what I’d say before he asked…because I had told him what I would say.

        Eh. Kind of takes the mystery out of it, but worth it for the quality assurance.

        And Sven…hate the say it but the cat is MIA, supposed dead, after sauntering off my parents’ property one day, never to return. I didn’t lose too much sleep over it…that cat was always kind of an asshole.

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

           I like your engagement story. It’s funny, and human, and about two very sensible people who see the humor even in their sensibleness. It’s real, and that carries a lot of weight for me.  I hope you continue to be happy.

  • Kelli Smith

    Very cool.  Even cooler that they’re getting married on the same day that I did.  :)

  • Chas, PE SE

    I docent at Gross Point Light.  Last year, I was escorting the tour group down when I realized two people had remained behind.  I went back to get ‘em, peered through the lens just in time to see him put something on her finger and for her to burst into tears.  I gave ‘em a couple minutes, then we took pictures outside.  No weddings are allowed, but the rules don’t say nothin’ ’bout proposals.

    PS Smallcontempt:  Great story!

  • romantic

    wait, is the “May the fourth” pun yours or theirs? It totally adds to the awesome.

  • http://diaryofamessylady.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    Awww…. What a sweet story! That totally made the perfect start to my day!

  • Neurolover

    Not as awesomely nerdy, but I tend to think my (new) fiance did a pretty bang up job as well. We were visiting my parents and it was about time to go back home. It was getting pretty late and he was starting a new job the next morning, so I was anxious to just get home and go to sleep. He had other plans. He wanted to go outside for a while “because it’s a nice night and we can look at the stars.” He was fiddling with the back door and I exasperatedly suggested that we just go out the front for a minute, since we were going to the car in the front anyhow. But he was determined to get that back door open. He finally did and just went and stood on the deck looking out over the backyard. I obligingly joined him. To my utter surprise and joy, he had written out on the grass below “Marry Me” in… glow sticks! He dropped to one knee, got out my (gorgeous, perfect) ring, and gave a wonderful little speech. Of course I said yes! After alerting my family, we then spent plenty of time taking pictures together. Needless to say, despite my best intentions, he did not get a full night’s sleep before his first day on the new job.

    Also, as a good couple of atheists and scientists, we will be having our wedding in a science museum with a good friend officiating :)

    • C D

      Cute!

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations!  I love romantic stories like this one.  You two are such a cute couple.  And that ring… dude, you knocked it out of the park.  Absolutely gorgeous (I’m partial to garnets and hematite myself!).  Best wishes!!

    • Heidi

      Agreed. That ring is SO many times better than a diamond.  Congratulations to Jeff & Keri. Be happy.

  • edgyllama (Class of ’94)

    Aggies doing awesome things!  Love it!

  • Anonymous

    Who wouldn’t want to marry someone with such an awesome hat.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWD2M7I7UITLRE24Q4PJ3XZDSU KeriB

      It is a lovely hat! It was the one non-slutty female pirate outfit I could find…

  • Gerry

    Great story and also great that they documented it with photos for the rest of us!

  • Ronlawhouston

    Did anyone catch the irony of proposing under a “magical” tree?

    Thanks a lot Hemant for sharing such a lovely story.  Best of luck guys – even if you are – Aggies!

  • Babechick527

    Why do atheists find it necessary to MOCK faith and religious thought?  As one who is about to be ordained, trust me it is no joke!  tt is a very intense, demanding and intellectual process that requires great discernment.  Oh.. and by the way I hold two summa cum laude masters degrees ( one in environmental management, the second in Divinity — and the second was much more demanding and thought-provoking!) 

    • Anonymous

      Studying the Emperor’s New Clothes might be an intense and demanding field too.  You might need to spend years studying brocade vests and styles of frock coats with extra study in hat feathers, just to be taken seriously in the field.  But if the reality comes down to “the Emperor isn’t actually wearing any clothes”, then all that study really doesn’t matter in the end does it?  If there isn’t actually a god, then what was all that demanding work all about?  If I spent years getting a masters in something pointless like underwater basketweaving, mockery would be justified.

      Now, environmental management, that’s a worthwhile field.  I hope you can go back to it someday.

    • dauntless

      I guess it’s for the same reason so many theists find it necessary to mock academia by claiming to be PhD’s when they spent little or no time in an  academic setting (such as people like Kent Hovind). I fully believe that you have spent a lot of time and energy studying your religion, but there are a lot of people who ape religious studies, and a lot of them are theists!

    • C D

      If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it.

    • Anonymous

      Faith and religious thought are funny.  That’s why we mock them.  Take a step back and look at what it is that you believe.  If you can’t find some humour in it then you’re probably taking it far too seriously.

  • Halley

    That is the most beautiful proposal story I have ever heard, I am actually crying over how sweet it is!

  • Mel

    Thanks for the great story and putting a smile on Monday! Congrats to the happy couple. If I could do it over, science museum for sure!

  • Annie

    What a great story!  I wish the couple many happy years together.

    Oh- I loved the glow stick story too… love knowing there are these fun and creative couples out there.

  • http://www.colormeatheist.wordpress.com Color Me Atheist

    I can marry the couple!  But I’m in Nevada, not Texas.  Yay weddings and cute engagement stories!!!  Congrats to them!!!

  • Sarah Mckim

    I proposed to my husband after we finished watching ‘Shaun of the Dead’ in bed.

  • Trina

    Ah, love!  Thanks for the great stories, everyone!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    ITT: Stories of heterosexual men wooing heterosexual women.
    How very non-traditional.

  • anomalouserudite

    It’s not so special when atheists get engaged/married, nor is it logically consistent or intellectually honest. 

    For a couple of atheists, if the purpose of marriage is merely to have greater access to legal provisions provided spouses by our government (insurance benefits, power of attorney, etc.), how truly unexceptional, indeed, is their union.

    I judge by the tears, smiles, and hugging, however, that these two atheists consider the union of marriage to be more than a legally binding contract, whereby, disregarding all spiritual and religious implications thereof, they will experience greater ease in the acquisition, ownership, or transfer of real estate or personal property, or be “blessed” with group insurance rates.

    No, in fact, by the act of proposal, the expressions of joy, hope, connectedness, and the extension of an altruistic sharing of self, they affirm a greater, deeper sense of identity that exceeds a mere recognition of electrical signals in the brain, and the activity of the limbic system. Their choice to commit to, assumedly, a monogamous, lifelong bond of persons means more to them than legalities and technicalities; it is greater-than-civil in scope and intention.  

    Even if subconsciously, or unintentionally (likely even undesirably so), by the act of marriage, this couple — along with the outpouring of encouragement and support on the forum — affirms an intrinsic quality of spirituality, creatively enacted and sustained by an interpersonal being whose character we experience and emulate in acts and encounters of joy, hope, connectedness, and an altruistic sharing of self.

    An ancient text reads: “[God] has set eternity in the hearts of all people.”

    Moments like this proposal for people who are atheists and fatalists are anticlimactic, if, in fact, atheism is accurate fatalism the logical result.

    Moments like this proposal for people, however, who are, in fact, expressing qualities intrinsic to people, like beauty, love, and altruism, because it is accurate that God is interpersonal and good, and we, being the result of of his interpersonal and good extension of creation, are wonderful and worth celebrating.

    As one who affirms the accuracy of the latter, I celebrate with the couple.

    • edgyllama

      If you can “prove” as opposed to “affirm”, you might have more success in a forum such as this…

      • anomalouserudite

        If you can “prove” you exist, you might have more success in trying to offer me a rebuttal.

        • edgyllama

          Um, I was attempting to offer some friendly advice to you, not launch the opening salvo in another down-the-rabit-hole debate of logic.  Simply provide some evidence to back up why you affirm what you think is true.  That’s all.  :)

          • anomalouserudite

            Included in all I accept as evidentiary are the intrinsic qualities I named in my first response. Human expressions of the qualities of joy, hope, devotion, altruism, and connectedness, among others.

            As it is, evidence is a nebulous concept. More than having to do with an objective perception (as if perception could ever be such) of data, evidence relates more accurately to perspective. 

            Many have said perception is reality. I say perspective is reality.

            An example is to observe in nonhuman animals qualities once considered uniquely human (altruism for example). Many may observe examples of altruism among primates, penguins, or ants and conclude that the qualities are non-spiritual, purely natural phenomena. The conclusion may follow that there is no god, and the reasons humans and nonhumans exhibit like qualities is because of our common ancestry and environmental influences.

            Another person, anomalouserudite, perhaps, observes the same examples of shared and expressed qualities and concludes that all things derived from the same god who created all things from an extension of his/herself, originally retaining the qualities and, thus, being the common factor of all living things. The conclusion may follow from the perspective that all things derived from God and we exhibit qualities of the “higher” rather than, conversely, concluding all things derived from the “lower” from single cell alleles.

            The perspectives can be that the evidence shows all things derived from ignorant matter or that all things derived from creative intelligence. Perspective is king, not evidence.

            • edgyllama

              Evidence isn’t a nebulous concept in my perspective,  haha, but I see that’s how you look at things. 

              I just don’t see how you’ve arrived at the “affirmations” you have made regarding human qualities, etc and their connection with extra-terrestrial intelligences…  Of course I’m an Aggie (too) and you are using lots of big words and flowery language.  You maybe should “dumb it down” for me, if you can.  Haha…

              • anomalouserudite

                Oh, come on now!

                I’m from College Station and my dad earned his PhD in Engineering from A&M. Aggies have to dumb it down for people from other schools, not the other way around!

                Give yourself more credit, edgyllama.

                Anyway, I encourage you to reflect further on the notion of evidence. Maybe it is a cut and dry concept for you and not at all nebulous. I’ll restate my position and say that evidence is subjective. This is what I was driving at by saying Perspective is king, not evidence.

                Two people can perceive data and variables in the same way: Red ball. Blue sky. However, the perspective those two people can take on what the evidence shows can be dramatically different; and, depending upon the perspective, the evidence is either compelling or unconvincing.

                Once a person takes into account human variability of data, subjective measurements being generalized into larger systems, cosmic variance, bias, unreliability of memory, social conventions, and so on and so forth, it is reasonable, and relatively easy, to accept the fallibility and unreliability of evidence because evidences are constructed within a system of chaos and uncertainty: specifically, the world we live in.

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      “by the act of marriage, this couple — along with the outpouring of encouragement and support on the forum — affirms an intrinsic quality of spirituality”.
      I wholeheartedly disagree. My decision to get married had nothing to do with spirituality at all; it was part business, part logistics, and mostly common sense. Perhaps my religious parents and the officiant at the ceremony saw a spiritual aspect of it, but we did not.

      And as for it being nothing special, I fail to see why you would lump atheists together with the many, many religious folks who decide to get married at a courthouse or have a non-religious ceremony (like the awesome and unique individuals who have ceremonies at libraries or historic homes). If the “specialness” of a marriage is contingent on performing the ceremony in a religious fashion, then we have a lot of religious couples to criticize as well. 

      And it IS special. I managed to stumble across someone who understands me deeply and who I can trust entirely – something that many people call “love”. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether or not you think it’s special – there are still atheists out there that have been married for just as many years as religious folk and profess to love each other, and the people who manage to put in all the incredibly hard work of marriage and love are special indeed.  

      • anomalouserudite

        I never argued that a ceremony must be performed religiously. I’m uncertain where you read that.

        I agree, many religious people do need to be criticized. Less so for getting married in a courthouse (seriously, who cares?) than for so freely and quickly choosing divorce.

        You said your choice to get married was 1/3 business, 1/3 logistics, and 1/3 common sense. But in the next paragraph you talk about how “special” it was.

        This is the point, asmallcontempt. As an atheist, and, thus, a fatalist, everything “special” to you about your marriage must be an illusion. There is no intrinsic value or meaning to what you have done. You are merely a collection of matter and firing quantum particles. Esthetics have no substance. Your brain consists of electrical signals responding to the external stimuli or a tactile planet.

        “Special” is nothing.

        “Deeply understanding” is void.

        Trust is baseless.

        Love is empty.

        You, along with everyone else, have conjured these concepts to explain the firing of synapses and the process of meiosis.

        At least be consistent with your position as an atheist. Accept wholeheartedly the logical implications of all you profess.

        • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

          Ok, I’ll do my best to clarify my position, but I’ll warn you that I’m a) a little dumb (especially in comparison to some of the minds that show up on this website) and b) severely lacking a language to communicate in this realm. Philosophical arguments such as this are not my strong suit, and I’ll try to fight the urge to inundate you with cheeky metaphors.

          I extrapolated, from your first comment, that marriage  “affirms an intrinsic quality of spirituality, creatively enacted and sustained by an interpersonal being whose character we experience and emulate in acts and encounters of joy, hope, connectedness, and an altruistic sharing of self”, which I took to mean that all individuals who interact in this fashion display spirituality.

          First and foremost, as the other commenters mentioned, I think that we would need proof that, as humans, we “experience and emulate” a higher being. If joy, hope, and connectedness are emulations of a deity, why not other emotions and states? Why are these states of being indicative of a higher being, and how?

          Secondly, I think your idea of marriage reflecting a god is limited, and waffles between the artificial, legal definition of marriage and a “marriage of souls/spirits/whatever”. My legal marriage – that is, the piece of paper I have from the state office – indeed had no spiritual element to it, just as it doesn’t for anyone else. We can ASCRIBE meaning to it that insinuated a deeper connection between two “souls”, and wedding ceremonies are that metaphor (a celebration of uniting hearts). 

          But I think we’re talking about two different things. Marriage is a legal entity, plain and simple (and I think we both agree on that), which people enter into for a variety of reasons, from the practical, such as tax breaks, to the unproveable, such as two people claiming to be “in love”. So there IS no spiritual aspect to entering into a marital contract, if marriage is simply a legal entity.

          I understand you to mean that two individuals in a truly committed relationship display spiritual characteristics, and there we deviate. When I say that I’m in love with my husband, although there is no proof, per se, of that love, it’s as evidence-based as I strive to make the rest of my life. I can be reasonable certain that I am in love based on the experiences that we have together, the unique way that we communicate, his track record or trustworthiness (trust is NOT at all baseless, but rather earned), etc. It seems on the surface that this is cold and empty, but not so! Not only are each of those individual elements extremely rare in my experience, but the sum package and the conclusion we draw from it rare as well. 

          You say that: “You, along with everyone else, have conjured these concepts to explain the firing of synapses and the process of meiosis.”

          “Everyone else” includes you as well! And yes, we ascribe meaning to our lives with occasionally unwieldy and awkwardly-fitting words…but so do you. It is merely a matter of perception for you to say that couples who enter unions like marriage demonstrate spirituality, and yet say that atheist who do so are empty and baseless. Which one is it? Do I demonstrate a spiritual nature by applying the label of “love” to my motivation for getting married? If I remove that label and say that it was a collection of events over a long period of time that led me to believe I was in love, does that make it less spiritual? 

          I don’t think there’s a conflict here because I think there are a myriad of issues with the premise: how do you decide what, exactly, you mean by marriage, and how do some (but not all) marriages demonstrate spirituality?

          Whew. I hope that made a tiny bit of sense. :)

          • anomalouserudite

            Well worded!

            I liked the points you made and happen to agree with most of them.

            I’ll go paragraph by paragraph:

            1. I really enjoy cheeky metaphors. Please do not refrain from using them as often as possible. I feel they lighten the mood and make dialog more enjoyable.

            2. Thanks for clarifying. That’s not necessarily what I meant.

            3. The questions here require a lot of explanation. Truthfully, they are more fitting for an in-person discussion. I understand how ubiquitous is online communication and discussion, and how it seems escapist-esque to not respond here. Nevertheless, I will not respond here because I don’t think this is the right venue.

            A short answer, though, is other emotional states do reflect the character and persona of deity. Absolutely, without question. This is a matter of reference, in some ways. How does one know what is good unless they know what is not good? How does one know joy without knowing despair? It goes on and on. Every emotion has an equal and opposite emotion. This is how an all-loving, wholly-good god can create and sustain a world in which evil exists and is active. For love and good and hope and peace to be experienced in fullness, the adverse sides must also be, at all times, possible.

            Next, these things are indicative of a higher being because it follows logically that something derives from something else, not that something derives from nothing at all.

            As far as how these qualities indicate a higher being in the form of deity, infinite and interpersonal, that is a topic which really requires a different venue for discourse.

            Again, much more could be said to explain, but I will leave it at that.

            4. I agree with your distinction. There is a civil aspect to marriage that includes a contract. Who the hell would celebrate such a thing?

            That is the point of my first response and position.

            For an atheist, all marriage and the hoopla associated with it, is a civil certificate. Period. No ways around it.

            Now, anything for an atheist that goes beyond that, because of the nature of, well, nature, is an illusion. The happiness, bed of roses, tears and hugs and rejoicing is empty.

            I mean, we can get as euphemistic as we want. We can all get together and make it sound special or whatever. We can add all kinds of flowery language to the experience. Ultimately, it’s just a document that grants certain legal provisions. For an atheist, the goal is to propagate the species through finding shelter, hunting food, and procreation until your conscious existence, which starts and stops with you, shrivels and wastes away, making space for the next random mutation of cells to take over your lease.

            5. I agree. No spiritual value in a marriage contract.

            6. We do not deviate here as much as you think. The same way you organize and structure the life you live is strikingly similar to how theists do so. For you:

            “When I say that I’m in love with my husband, although there is no proof, per se, of that love, it’s as evidence-based as I strive to make the rest of my life. I can be reasonably certain that I am in love based on the experiences that we have together, the unique way that we communicate, his track record or trustworthiness…etc.”

            You being reasonably certain you are in love is good enough for you, though there is No proof, per se. Yet, this “love” is evidenced to you communication, demonstrated trust, and shared experiences.

            You believe in a very similar way Christians believe.

            Our god cannot be proved, per se, but, just in the way you are “reasonably certain”, reflecting a life being as evidence-based as is satisfactory to you, you believe in love just as Christians are reasonably certain about God based upon communication, shared experiences, and demonstrated trust.

            You put forth your litmus test toward your husband whom you can see, taste, touch, smell, and hear. Christians, put forth the same litmus test toward someone they cannot, in the same way, experience empirically. However, the empirical experience was not the evidence for you, rather, it was the communication, the trustworthiness, and shared experiences.

            If you tomorrow became blinded, you would not doubt the love because you could no longer see your hubby. The next week, severe otitis media causes you to become deaf. Now, deaf and blond, you cannot see or hear your husband, but the validity of the experience remains.

            What I’m saying is that something intrinsic exists that transcends legal documentation. I’m arguing that something intrinsic exists, called Love by you, that transcends what people experience with their senses alone. I’m arguing that atheists, by giving themselves in marriage, acknowledge this intrinsic quality; a quality that does not align with a reality absent of God.

            What I’m arguing ism if atheists follow their worldview to the logical end, remaining honest about the implications, then all the love and tears and happiness are illusionary.

            Nothing exists except an interpretation of electricity in the brain. There is no ontological value to it. All meaning is merely attributed. It is applied, not actual. Nothing is of intrinsic value, only of the value to which it is ascribed.

            Like your husband for instance.

            He is not inherently and intrinsically valuable. He is only such because you say so. You have attributed value to him and, therefore he is of value. But once you cease to exist, does your husbands value cease as well?

            7. Language is complex and useful for describing what we experience internally and observe externally, yes. Agreed.

            Which one is it, you ask?

            Depends.

            If I’m asking an atheist, the covenant is empty. This is the case for all the reasons above.

            Since you asked me, I say it is an exhibition of underlying spiritual reality, whether the atheist likes it or not, whether she accepts it or not. Again, for all the reasons I have mentioned here and in my original response.

            Love is spiritual. God is love for the Christian. To ascribe love is to ascribe the spiritual and divine. It is to ascribe love.

            If you say that your logical processes and logistics led you to get married, it is less spiritual to be certain. Then it is only a legality.

            As a great philosopher once posed, “What’s love got to do with it?”

            If, for you, it was a collection of events over a long period of time that led me to believe I was in love, that’s different. Why? Because it is still love. It is still a recognition and acknowledgement of something deeper and greater than the physical world and matter, for me.

            For the atheist, however, love is as fake as god is in their minds. It is a sham and a crutch. It is an illusion. It is not based on facts and science and mathematics. You said so yourself you cannot prove it.

            If there is no god there is no love.

            You can skirt the issue all you want, and many people do all the time. All that can be said without god is that love is the word used to describe what happens in a particular part of the brain when my senses are exposed to a particular set of stimuli.

            Shoot, maybe that’s exactly what you think and you are just fine with it. That’s up to you.

            8. The only issue is all the “sentiments” expressed at the marriage proposal. The issue is that if to an atheist marriage means anything more than a legally binding contract granting certain governmental provisions, it is an illusion.

            I will say again, though, as one who does not agree with the atheist position, I find great joy in the commitment and sharing, the intimacy and vulnerability, marriage was created by God to enable and cultivate.

            I wish the couple the very best!

            • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

              Not to devalue the conversation, but this thread is extremely long and, to be frank, I like to do other things with my spare time (like…read books! and play Scrabble! and dine with my friends! etc.) and there are other atheists who happen to share my viewpoint on this issue who have already elaborated on this concept. 

              I’m not familiar with disqus, so at the risk of looking silly I’m gonna try to embed a youtube video where Russell Glasser and Matt Dillahunty deconstruct your argument, which, in a few sentences, I understand to be:

              1. Love cannot be proven in an evidence-based manner because it exists outside of our empirical knowledge.
              2. God is reflected in this human manifestation of what we call love.
              3. Therefore, God exists.

              Curiously, you seem to say both that atheists unwittingly reflect this God’s character by choosing to enter into the institution of marriage, yet say later that atheists can only experience a shallow, surface-level, only-legal version of marriage – something that you call an illusion. I see a contradiction there and I don’t know how it can be both, nor do I see the direct connection with atheism and fatalism (as other commenters have pointed out, admittedly less patiently perhaps, but the point remains). Either the fatalistic worldview that atheists subscribe to (which you would need to demonstrate) is incapable of generating this reflection of God (which you say by calling marriage a sham and my deduction that my husband loves me unfounded), or we ALL reflect this Godly nature when choosing to enter into marriage (which is your first point).

              Check out the video – the first good chunk is what’s relevant, after announcements are out of the way.

              (Apologies if my bumbling around disqus screws this up…)

              http://youtu.be/6va-Jvo8_DE

              • anomalouserudite

                This is a long thread.

                I understand with a lengthy back and forth like we’ve had, many things can get lost or confusing in the conversation.

                Two main points:

                IF atheism is correct, and only if it is, then everything I said about empty marriage, the illusion of love and beauty, and the meaninglessness of life stand true.

                However, if God exists, then love and beauty and life are all experiences which have intrinsic, objective value that is not contingent upon legalities or perception.

                There is no contradiction in my points because I discussed the two side-by-side, affirming my stance, in the end, that because God exists, the act of marriage, through the expression of things like love, companionship, connectedness, joy, and self-sacrifice, etc., substantiates His existence and brings Him glory.

                Again, IF atheism is correct, then human connectedness if empty and meaningless, because it is absent of any sort of internal, objective, ontological quality. All we do is ascribe and attribute meaning as we perceive it to objects and persons which retain no real intrinsic, objective, inherent value.

                Thankfully, God is real and, therefore, so is love.

                Peace (once for all).

                P.S. I’ll watch the video later this evening. Thanks for sharing!

                • Anonymous

                  Atheism doesn’t state anything than a personal lack of belief.  There is no question of it being right or wrong.  it is a statement of opinion. 

                  What you seem to be saying is “if there is no god then I find that marriage, love, beauty, etc is empty and pointless. ”  Well I pity you for that.  If you cannot find value in love and beauty and have to fill that void with an imaginary friend then your life must really be sad.  That may seem harsh but it’s simply how I interpret your statement.  You find nothing valuable without God.  God has replaced all that is good in life for you.  How pitiable.Simply repeating your vacuous assertions isn’t convincing anyone.

                • anomalouserudite

                  hoverFrog, you saying you pity me lacks persuasion. Your argument, unfortunately, is similar to Brian Posey’s. Saying something is “stupid” or “pitiable”/pitiful does not substantiate your position one iota.

                  You sit on your stoop acting like Professor Highbrow pitying me like I’m a poor chap, sitting alone in a corner talking to Drop Dead Fred.

                  I’m a trained philosopher and doctoral candidate in clinical science. Don’t make any attempt at pity or sadness toward me.

                  I don’t wish upon stars, hunt for pots of gold, rub rabbit feet for luck, or cross-my-heart-hope-to-die.

                  I have seen the tangible influence, and experienced the actual movements, of an existent and interpersonal God with distinct actions in the lives of real persons. This is no game, Frogger.

                  God has not replaced all that is good in life for me. You could not be more wrong on this point. God defines all that is good. You need to review the responses up to now.

                  Maybe epistemology and metaphysics aren’t your favorite batch of treats, but don’t for a moment, because you struggle to keep up, delude yourself into believing I’m some insecure child, coddling myself with fairy tales because I struggle with some unacknowledged void in my life (did I put too fine a point on how you think of me, or did I nail it on the head?).

                  Repeating my assertions does not convince anyone here, in the same way saying nothing at all, very little, or something new altogether doesn’t convince anyone. What’s your point? Was there something a Christian could say to convince you? Must we revisit the discussion about “evidence”?

                  Personally, I have little interest in convincing anyone here of a particular position. I visit forums like this a couple times a year for the simple enjoyment of discourse. I enjoy writing and expressing my thoughts and considerations, that’s all. Often I am amused, though taken aback more often, observing the bravado among atheists.

                  The majority of atheists I personally know are pseudo-intellectuals, posing as sincere thinkers, bragging about a perceived monopoly on brains and logic. As a professional in the fields of philosophy and science, I am frustrated by the arrogance and dismissiveness of atheists in academia (noses so high in the air they cannot smell the stink of their own you know what).

                  I am involved in the training and mentorship of some absolutely bright and incredible researchers, clinicians, scientists and philosophers who are Christians. We in the academic world have been working in the labs and universities quietly for some time now. But the tides are a-changing.

                  Christians will no longer be culturally relegated to our churches, small tribal towns overseas, bible studies, or “creationist museums”. No, a wave of bold, innovative thinkers is emerging. We are those who do not shun science or progress. We embrace truth as God’s and are eager to advance discovery, treatments and methods, formulas and hypotheses, technology and culture, while adding to the breadth and wealth of human knowledge and experience, knowing this brings glory to the God who is.

                  I bid you farewell in the most sincere sense.

                  May you all truly be well.

                • Anonymous

                  Atheism doesn’t state anything than a personal lack of belief.  There is no question of it being right or wrong.  it is a statement of opinion. 

                  What you seem to be saying is “if there is no god then I find that marriage, love, beauty, etc is empty and pointless. ”  Well I pity you for that.  If you cannot find value in love and beauty and have to fill that void with an imaginary friend then your life must really be sad.  That may seem harsh but it’s simply how I interpret your statement.  You find nothing valuable without God.  God has replaced all that is good in life for you.  How pitiable.Simply repeating your vacuous assertions isn’t convincing anyone.

        • Parse

          This is the point, asmallcontempt. As an atheist, and, thus, a
          fatalist, everything “special” to you about your marriage must be an
          illusion. There is no intrinsic value or meaning to what you have done.
          You are merely a collection of matter and firing quantum particles.
          Esthetics have no substance. Your brain consists of electrical signals
          responding to the external stimuli of a tactile planet.

          “Special” is nothing.

          “Deeply understanding” is void.

          Trust is baseless.

          Love is empty.

          You, along with everyone else, have conjured these concepts to explain the firing of synapses and the process of meiosis.

          If you really believe that atheists think like this (or should act like this), I strongly recommend that you lurk more, and actually meet and talk with an atheist or two.  You’ll find that what you think atheists should be, according to your understanding of atheism, doesn’t match up with what atheists actually are and do; and that your understanding of atheism and it’s ‘logical implications’ need revising.

          • anomalouserudite

            Thanks, Parse.

            I do know many atheists as I was, as an undergrad, a member of my alma mater’s atheist and agnostic club.

            Not only that, but I used to be a skeptical atheist myself and know full well the implications of the logically required fatalism.

            I do think many Western atheists lie to themselves more so than the religious folks I know. I understand that atheists exert a considerable amount of effort to avoid accepting the implications of their worldview.

            My conclusions are based on my personal experience with an abundance of exposure to atheists and atheistic philosophy for many years. These experiences are comprised of friendships (many of whom have turned to prayer in times of despair) and conversations with total strangers and fellow students, professional and academic lectures, books, magazines, and articles.

            I am a PhD candidate and professional bioethicist (a strongly secular field, ironically) with degrees in science and philosophy. I pride myself in not speaking from a position I have not personally experienced.

            Thanks for the suggestion, though!

          • anomalouserudite

            Thanks, Parse.

            I do know many atheists as I was, as an undergrad, a member of my alma mater’s atheist and agnostic club.

            Not only that, but I used to be a skeptical atheist myself and know full well the implications of the logically required fatalism.

            I do think many Western atheists lie to themselves more so than the religious folks I know. I understand that atheists exert a considerable amount of effort to avoid accepting the implications of their worldview.

            My conclusions are based on my personal experience with an abundance of exposure to atheists and atheistic philosophy for many years. These experiences are comprised of friendships (many of whom have turned to prayer in times of despair) and conversations with total strangers and fellow students, professional and academic lectures, books, magazines, and articles.

            I am a PhD candidate and professional bioethicist (a strongly secular field, ironically) with degrees in science and philosophy. I pride myself in not speaking from a position I have not personally experienced.

            Thanks for the suggestion, though!

            • http://twitter.com/gdeichen Gavin Deichen

              You have been brainwashed. I pity you. Such is the curse of the atheist, though: when it’s all over, neither of us will exist for me to say I Told You So.

              • anomalouserudite

                Gavin,

                This thread is nearly ancient on a blog timeline.

                Although I appreciate (not really) you chiming in with a good, old-fashioned ad hominem fallacy for a comment, your assertoric position I have been brainwashed is…well…*yawn*.

                I have generally understood Atheism as a selfish pursuit of contrived intellectual superiority and moral unaccountability, fueled by deeply-rooted insecurities and hubris; however, your lamentation that the curse of atheism is the bitterness it is to you that you will not be able to rub it in my face postmortem truly substantiates the point better than I ever could.

                Now, if the day comes when you are able to approach a conversation with demonstrable intellectual capacity, equipped with arguments from philosophy, science, history, medicine, anthropology, sociology, psychology, or some other position of substance and scholarship, I am more than happy to entertain your conclusions as worthwhile.

                I try not to get frustrated with discussions that happen online, but the arrogance and “blockheadedness” of the people commenting on this thread is nearly unbearable. I can see the strategy at work here, even. You aren’t chasing Christian thinkers away from honest discourse by the veracity and strength of your arguments, but rather by just being an annoying mob, stacking the poppycock so high no one can surmount.

                I haven’t witnessed a sound argument from the start. Everything is, “Oh, that’s all magic talk: goblins and ghosts and unicorns and fairytales and spaghetti.”

                That’s it? Those are the tricks you use to convince yourselves there is no god? Well, you have failed at securing a rational, intellectually honest and consistent position. You have, however succeeded at creating a fundamentally insular and isolating subculture for yourselves.

        • http://www.facebook.com/briancposey Brian C Posey

          fatalism (n) — the doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate and are therefore unalterable.

          ========

          First off, quit saying things like “as an atheist, and thus a fatalist”.  Atheism and fatalism are not the same and one does not automatically (or even usually) lead to the other.  That’s just stupid.
          Secondly, realizing that consciousness is the result of neurological activity doesn’t make life less real.  Most atheists believe in love and companionship.  We just don’t think that they’re magic or from a god.

          Thirdly, people have gotten married, celebrated births and mourned the dead long before your god was invented.  Religion is inserted into these events and then claims are made that the religion is necessary for them to have meaning.  This is just false.

          • anomalouserudite

            Hi Brian,

            Seems you have interest in arguing semantics. I can entertain your semantic critiques for a moment or two:

            If in the definition of Fatalism you don’t particularly like the word ‘fate’, we can easily remove the word entirely.

            Atheism’s logical result is determinism and nihilism (maybe these words you prefer or consider more accurate), and thus is intrinsically barren, lacking any sort of underlying meaningful quality. All worth and value and depth and desire is merely ascribed and attributed, not intrinsic, and, thus, illusionary.

            A lot more can be unpacked on the logical implications of the atheistic worldview, and I spent quite a bit of space on it already, but hopefully the rewording makes it more palatable for you.

            Now, if you’re finished splitting hairs on words…

            It’s just stupid to think you can say something “is just stupid” and shut down an position with which you disagree. Maybe that works for you in other areas of your life or with other people you know; it’s not very effective on someone who can see through it, however.

            I recognize this particular forum is a congregation of skeptical atheists and, thus, an arena of solid agreement and support and so on (camaraderie, if you will). Of all the venues to engage in meaningful discourse, this is probably the least desirable for a non-atheist. Sort of like an atheist trying to discuss the similarities between Noah’s flood and the Gilgamesh Epic at a Southern Baptist Bible study.

            Next, “realizing that consciousness is the result of neurological activity doesn’t make life less real” is absolutely correct. However, realizing that consciousness is the result of neurological activity ALONE does make life less real. Have you ever read any philosophy? Psychology?

            I’m glad atheists believe in love and companionship. It’s nice you don’t think they are magic or come from a god. No, you just think such things are contingent upon your capacity to perceive them. If you reread my responses to *asmallcontempt* you will see how and why this is an inherently flawed position.

            Finally, people were worshipping God long before written language, the enlightenment, and industrialization. People are still worshipping God and will continue to do so long after you and I, and everyone reading this blog are gone from this life. My close friends and acquaintances who work in the fields of medicine, genetics, mathematics, physics and engineering, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and psychology give me great confidence in the powerful minds and lives that love and serve God. We aren’t going anywhere, guy. And the future of missions is in academia, scholarship, sciences and philosophy.

            Religion is not inserted anywhere. I have not done it one time in this thread, Brian. Humanity’s conventions expressed through a plethora of religious paradigms has little or no bearing on the actual person of God.

            God’s presence and character permeate the world and flesh out in those things we call love and joy and peace and kindness and goodness.

            God’s presence and character will permeate the wedding of this couple whether they like it or not, whether they acknowledge it or not, whether they believe in it or not. As they exchange vows and affirm realities like love and companionship and connectedness and commitment, God will be glorified.

            Peace.

    • Anonymous

      Please don’t try to insert your god into other people’s joy.  It really isn’t necessary or particularly welcome.

      • anomalouserudite

        Oh, it appears you misread my comments and my intention.

        I wasn’t trying to win converts here or insert my something into anyone else’s anything (yes, I see how that reads).

        Listen, this is an open forum, one where the contributors try to take god OUT of others lives. Don’t get so defensive when someone comes to an open forum and points out logical flaws in your (in the general sense) worldview.

        Call it inserting god if you wish. I call it discourse.

        If people take a particular stance and promote it publicly, it is open to public scrutiny.

        • Sissylue

          But … but  you’re boring and way too scrolly (and this is from someone who is not even particularly an atheist).

          • anomalouserudite

            And that means what? Is this what the argument has come to? When someone cannot any longer offer an argument of substance, they (he/she) resort to calling someone boring, and criticizing him for being “scrolly”? Really?

            Okie dokie.

  • Keri

    Thank you everyone for your kind words!!! We are very excited. :)

  • Keri

    Thank you everyone for your kind words!!! We are very excited. :)

  • Reading Frame

    My engagement story isn’t all that special; my husband and I were about to fall asleep when he asked me to marry him and I believe I said something to the effect of “Of course you idiot. Now let me sleep.” 

    We have such an awesome relationship. ;)

    No, it was our wedding ceremony that was very special indeed. It was entirely cultural and non-religious. We were married at a Renaissance Faire by an ordained Ollam, who wrote some very beautiful Irish vows for us. We said our vows, drank from a quaich, and exchanged rings. Our wedding rings are inscribed with Celtic knotwork and mine is set with an emerald. 

    My very best to the happy couple, and congratulations on your new adventure together. 

  • Nazani14

    As Pho Bo Vien, Pirate Queen of the South China Sea,  I dedicate my next plunder to the happiness of your union. 

  • http://twitter.com/gdeichen Gavin Deichen

    This is brilliant! I shall raise a forkful of spaghetti to them tonight!

  • Anonymous

    I love it when there’s a really intense argument and then people just start ignoring it. Everything is so emotionally charged and then suddenly we’re talking about how cool the ring is. The internet is my favorite.

  • Attila

    Gig em Aggies!  May the FSM bless their marriage.  RAmen
     

  • Bobby Effinger

    Congrats and Gig Em’ !!!!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X