My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Mailbox: Strangely Inappropriate Non-Writing Questions

What religion am I?  How tall am I?  Am I in some crazy open relationship?  

[Remember, keep sending in your questions to chris.brecheen@gmail.com with the subject line "W.A.W. Mailbox" and I will answer them each Friday.  I will use your first name ONLY unless you tell me explicitly that you'd like me to use your full name or you would prefer to remain anonymous.  My comment policy also may mean one of your comments ends up in the mailbox.  Do remember that all questions should be about writing...at least a little bit. (Art, inspiration, creativity, process, craft, blogging, reading, books, literature, linguistics, or grammar could also apply.)] 

Sampson asks: 
What religion are you?  The reason I am asking is because your blog seems like it is the misguided product of someone who has not found Christ.  You speak of fornication, threesomes,
sexual perversion, and curse constantly, even being directly blasphemous to God and his son Jesus Christ.  I tell you this out of love, but this sort of behavior will cause you to burn in the lake of fire. I beg of you to renounce your evil ways and accept our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ into your heart.  [Then about a week later....]  I see you have not responded to my invitation to find salvation in Christ.  You can harden your heart if you wish, but I must ask you this--what if you are wrong?

My Reply:

A better question might be: "What the hell are you doing reading my blog if you are this dogmatic about your Christianity?" If you think writing about "fornication" is a sin, what in the name of Gabriel's butt hole would make you keep reading after the first twenty seconds or so?

Sampson this is a blog about writing, and this is not a writing question. So please slap yourself on the wrist at your earliest convenience. Though it turns out I think a "non-writing-question" day might be kind of fun as a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, I gotta tell you that I would normally just ignore this sort of thing, especially given how insulting and disrespectful it is to me. I know--because I've met a couple of people like you before--that it probably won't much matter to you if I answer your email with anything other than, "Holy Magdaline-cock-sucking shit, Sampson! I have seen the light! Hand me that loincloth and some free health care; I'm going to do what Jesus would do!"

But maybe some of my other readers will get a kick out of it.

Just for you Sampson, all the pictures in this entry
will be about perverse fornicating threesomes.
Just. For. You.
I'm a pretty open minded guy, Sampson. If you show me a fact or a figure or some kind of evidence that is at odds with the way I understand the world, I try to change my view--not ignore the evidence. (That's sort of the opposite of what religion does...but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

But when I start to hear things that sound a little strange, I conversely expect a greater amount of evidence.

Here's an example: if you told me your girl cat was orange, I'd probably believe you even though that's rare.  I would just take you at your word because that's all the evidence I would need for something I knew was unlikely but possible.  If you told me your girl cat was naturally purple, I'd want to see a picture or maybe even meet the cat.  The stranger claim required further evidence.  If you told me your cat was a purple saber toothed tiger, I would insist on seeing it and probably bring a zoologist with me because that claim is very extreme, and I would want lots of proof.

See how it just makes sense that the stranger the claim gets, the more proof I'll need?  If you tried to show me a picture of your purple saber toothed tiger, I would probably just think you had used photoshop.  I would need more proof because the claim was harder to believe.  The more out there your story gets, the more proof I need.

Welcome to the unspoken #4 of my mission statement....
So if you told me that you had the strength to jump thirty stories straight up from a sitting position, do a back flip and land balanced on your erect cock (even after shaving your head), I would demand that you show. If you wouldn't, or couldn't, I would just assume that you were lying  Probably no amount of insisting that you were telling the truth would convince me, even if you got really, REALLY mad at me for not accepting the truth. It's just too out there. I would need to see it. The claim is extra ridiculous.

No matter how shocked or offended or hurt you acted that I didn't believe you could jump thirty stories onto your cock, I hold fast to my skepticism. And if you had a book written by someone or a "proof" that was at best some weird testimonial by someone who said they'd seen––someone I'd never met who said, "Sampson can do a thirty story jump onto his cock and if you don't believe it, you are the lost," I'm afraid I still wouldn't believe it.

That's not "proof." It's certainly not evidence commensurate with the claim.

So when you start telling me about an invisible omnipotent omniscient bearded patriarchal father figure who is one but also three, talking snakes, 2000 year-old Jews who were God giving birth to himself, healing people, coming back to life, giant fish, time freezes, walking across water, transubstantiation, and resurrection, and a diety that mellows out from killing the entire world and plagues to "love thy neighbor" (yet isn't cool with psychotropics or the LGBTQIA+ community), my need for some kind of actual evidence goes way, way WAY up.

Story of my life.
And no, pointing at the very book where the story itself was written THOUSANDS of years ago doesn't count as proof. If that were good enough for evidence I would have to believe that Spiderman is real because of a comic book my friend has.

Getting mad at me. Telling me that the holy ghost inspired the authors. Telling me I'm going to burn in hell if I don't believe you. None of that makes this any easier to believe. You're appealing to my guilt and emotions and desire to fit in to try to get me to agree to things without actual evidence.

So it's not that I spend time and energy believing that you're wrong, Sampson.  I don't believe either way, and even if I did, my belief wouldn't make something true any more than it would make a fake photo of a purple saber toothed tiger real. (Neither does your belief, for the record.) It's just that I haven't seen evidence that would convince me that the entire Bible wasn't all just one writer's six-day shroom bender, and I'm not credulous. I'm not saying it WAS a six day shroom bender (mostly because I don't fancy enraging two billion followers).  I'm just saying I haven't seen a critical mass of evidence that would overcome my incredulity, and since the claims are extraordinary, the quality evidence (or rather lack, thereof) leaves me skeptical and unconvinced.

The whole concept that one needs faith is tantamount to saying "We totally get it that there's no actual proof," so giving shit to the skeptics is either a dis or a wild misunderstanding of faith. You pick wich.

For me, the verdict is still out.

If, at some point, real evidence turns up, come back to me. I have changed my mind on half a dozen issues I felt very deeply about when I discovered they were based on false assumptions. I would change my mind about metaphysics too. Just don't forget it's going to take a lot of proof to match the size of these claims.

We're not just saying that Jesus had an orange female tabby, here.

As for "What if I'm wrong..."  Well, what if YOU'RE wrong, Sampson? What if the Muslims are right and you are angering God every time you invoke Christ as the son of God? What if the Jews are right? The Hindus? The Jains? The Sikhs? What if only the Tibetan Buddhists have the right path? Do you offer blood sacrificed to Janus or spin yourself while saying the 99 names of Allah? Do you make an offering to Neptune before crossing an ocean, or invoke Thor and Odin on stick carvings? Do you think God lives on another planet named Kolob? What if Ishtar is the only real goddess, and my quest for threesomes is my fast track to heaven?

You already know what it is not to have faith. You do it every day. You just call all those other religions "mythology" and think you nailed the right of it (most likely because of WHERE you were born).

You already know what it is to evaluate the claims of a religion through critical thinking and to dismiss them as ridiculous. You already know what it is not to fear a deity's reprisal because you don't think that deity really exists. You do it all the time to hundreds of gods without a second thought. The only difference is I'm doing it about YOUR god, and that's got your knickers in a twist.

In which case, you need to get the fornicate over yourself. It's a big world, and Eurocentric ethnocentricity is so last millenium.

Yeah, yeah. I know. The difference is you actually right and all those other religions are wrong. They have proof you're wrong. You have proof they're wrong. No one seems to actually have proof they're right. If you believe in their religion without proof, you're gullible. If you believe in your religion without proof, that's what "faith" is!

See where I'm going with this?

A lot of atheists would call this need for proof atheism, but I don't label myself that way. Agnostic isn't really quite right either. And I've had a Sufi insist my beliefs are more truly Muslim than most Muslims he'd ever met. Regardless, here's another threesome picture with some bestiality thrown in.

This can work.  Just let me do the talking.
As for what I do believe (or think, or contemplate occasionally when I'm laying in a field and staring at the stars) I only give out that information to people who pass inspection--of course I have special hours for that (and only keep the schedule posted for a select few).

Anonymous asks:

How tall are you?

My reply:

Man I really hope this is so you can properly size the doll you're making out of a composite of my pics and not so you can figure out where best to set the swinging axe blade trap on my front door.

Actually those are both creepy--even for me (which is really saying something).
Oh Sampson,
 you didn't think I was done just because we're on to the next question did you?    

I really really really have no idea what that has to do with writing.  I can sort of relate to just casually asking me how tall I am out of curiosity, but when you send me an e-mail labeled "W.A.W. Mailbox" I have to wonder.  I suppose I might some day have a "non-writing questions" themed mailbox, so here is the answer:  I'm 167 cm (5'6").

That's short enough to run up against the "four inch rule from time to time, but not so short it has really become a thing in my life.

Deenahee asks:

Are you in some crazy sex commune or an open relationship? You talk about your girlfriend like she doesn't care that you're always trying to hook up with other women, and it seems like you live with like three women and another guy who aren't just roommates. It's all very strange.

My reply:

Care? Deenahee she's usually out there trolling the clubs for hot bi babes to bring home.

I would never do the other members of the Hall of Rectitude though. That's just a way to bring unnecessary drama into the crime fighting. After Phoenix banged The Paladin on Moondancer's bed without changing the sheets, the whole team's response time to bank robberies just took a nosedive. So we keep our commune ridiculous-sex free. (And not free ridiculous sex--at least not after the spatula incident.)

How you doing over there, Sampson?
You sorry you asked yet?
We superheros have to stick together though. That's definitely true. Whether we are preternatural geniuses or mutants or just love guns way way way too much for the SF/Bay Area, the world fears what it does not understand, so we band together in a comitatus of platonic love that has nothing to do with massive riotous orgies. Seriously.

My man-crush on Uberdude has never crossed that line, and if I had KNOWN that night with Latexia was sloppy seconds, things would have gone very differently.

Very differently indeed.

I totally appreciate that you're paying attention, though.  It's just....if I told you everything at once, you wouldn't stick around for Season 3, Sampson might blush, and I wouldn't be able to make money selling the decoder rings when I do my tell-all expose about how I slept with Oakland's most prominent crime fighters.

Also...not so much with the being anyone's business but mine.

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  1. Don't be too hard on Sampson! Indirectly, his... I am guessing babtist... meanderings and sycophantry provoked a better question: if you could form a religion based around any existing speculative fiction, what would it be and why?

    1. Interesting question. I'm actually starting to get backed up enough with questions that it might be three weeks to a month before I can get to this, but I will answer it in a Mailbox.

  2. Pascals Wager has more than two choices??? Holly fricken crap this changes everything

    1. I don't normally dis on the bad grammar comments--because I have no leg to stand on--but the idea of festive, Christmas holly crap really made me laugh.

  3. Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist here. Sampson, it isn't just YOUR deity and anti-YOUR deity. We only ask that you give the practice a good faith effort for a reasonable period of time and let it prove itself to you. Not all faiths require belief in sky fairies, or even have deities at all. We do proof based on experience, and all the "faith" you need is enough to give it a try. We also do karma, not rules, so if everybody's having consensual fun in your bedroom antics, go for it. Gay's OK, and Bi's a blast. IME, Americans particularly are terribly narrow-minded and rules oriented. We (Americans) can try something completely different and the world will not end. It might even get better.