This site is designed specifically for me to talk about things that piss me off in a way that cracks me up about them. My family has, over the years, lost their tolerance for my full fledged deep breath rants, mostly because I like to say the *exact* same thing in about thirteen different ways. I like to extend a metaphor. I like to take things to their absurd conclusion. I started this blog so that I could spare my family and friends the bullshit, and it has done it quite a bit. My family email list and my best friends email list are both somewhat down in traffic since I started this blog, and I’m sure that, even though most of them come read this, they are happy with that.

But, time to time, I find that something I’ve written has hurt someone’s feelings, and I’m not sure how to feel about that. I have a knee jerk reaction to finding out I’ve hurt someone, and it isn’t pretty. When someone says, “this was hurtful to me” I actually become ruthless. “Well, what the fuck is wrong with you, then?” I say. “Buck the fuck up. If what I say hurts your feelings, you’re pretty goddam fragile and you really should, y’know, exercise your emotional muscles a little more.”

I don’t know why this happens. When people are hurt by me, I have learned to feign compassion, but I am honestly faking it, waiting for the bullshit whining to stop. (In case it isn’t apparent, when I dig a hole I like to dig nice and deep and make sure the walls are good and slick. I don’t want me climbing out of this later.) I wish I knew why I have such hostility to people claiming I’ve hurt them, but I feel like the expression of your pain is a waste of time.

Let me be clear, I absolutely *hate* hurting people, I just can’t stand being told that I have. It isn’t that I feel the other person is weak, it’s that I want something other than admission of damage. I want debate. If I say something that hurts your feelings, then I want to know why, I don’t want to know that you’re hurt. “You are wrong, and here’s why” is something that means something to me, but “You’ve hurt me and… nothing, you’ve just hurt me” fills me with rage, and that rage leads to more pain. For you.

I feel like I can defend almost anything I’ve written on this blog, but really quickly, some of what I’ve written about God and religion has upset some people, so let me make a couple of things really clear.

1. I do believe that, as political movements, Christians and Muslims are trying to take over the world, I also believe that Jews are not. Christians and Muslims, as non-political entities, are praying and looking to God and doing whatever it is that religious people do, and, it’s my suspicion that they would be happy with their religions taking over the world, but I’ve never tried to argue that.

2. I have no knowledge of God, and I have done what I could to distinguish this from a lack of belief. Agnosticism leaves open the possibility of God, and to me, that isn’t true. If I say to you, “there is no connection between Saddam and 9/11” and you respond with, “There might be, and I believe there is. There is no way for you to have all the facts concerning the matter, and I honestly think there is a connection,” then I think, with every fiber of my being, that you are wrong.

My wife is agnostic. She worries about Kharmic retribution, about tempting the fates. To her, there is something more at work in the universe than simply stimulus/response. If we are about the get in a car for a drive, I can say, “I bet you a thousand dollars we don’t get in an accident!” and she’ll say, “Jesus, Sean, I wish you wouldn’t say that.” We haven’t talked about it too much, maybe she believes in God even more than that, but she definitely believes that you can make bad things stay away and good things come your way by thinking and speaking like a decent person.

3. I have tried praying and it’s never worked. I have tried to ask God for guidance, and I’ve gotten nothing, Horrible things have happened to me that I didn’t deserve and wonderful things have happened to me that I didn’t deserve. I’ve worked really hard for something and then it came to pass, and I’ve completely bailed on other things and they have not panned out. I live in a universe where work and luck have given me everything I have, and where apathy or delusion or bad luck have led to every failure.

4. I firmly believe that my lack of ability to find any kind of higher power is a shortcoming on my behalf. Sure, I declare all of this stuff boldly here on the blog, but, as I said before, I like saying the same thing thirteen different ways and this gives me a forum to do that. If my declaration that I have never felt God makes you feel bad then either I’m hitting a little close to home for you or you should quit reading my blog.

5. If you have ever tried to convince anyone else that your religion was the right one, then you are, at the very least, a passionate believer. If you have ever tried to convince someone else to *join* your religion, then you are very zealous indeed.

If your religion is the fastest growing religion in the world, and every single male member of your church spends two years, on their own dime, going door to door across every single nation in the country trying desperately to convince anyone and everyone you bump in to that not only is your religion the true religion, but that everyone should *join* your religion, then you are a zealot. It’s pretty easy math.

I don’t see that there is anything wrong with being a zealot. Every single day I try to make people laugh because I’m always trying to convince myself that I’m funny. You want to baptize people because it helps you convince yourself that your view on God is the right one.

We’re all a little nervous.

But there is a difference between praying alone in your closet, and banging on people’s front doors. I’m not trying to hurt anyone, but if you think I’m wrong then tell me *why*, don’t tell me my words hurt. I can’t apologize for saying what I meant and what is hard to argue is wrong. I don’t want to hurt people, but, really, these are just words and if they mean something to you, tell me what it is and I’ll modify my language or we’ll agree to disagree.