Losing My Religion – Part 8 June 10, 2009Posted by Matt in Losing My Religion.
Tags: apologetics, belief, Bible, defense, existence, god, questioning, truth
Or, Is There Anybody Out There?
As has been previously mentioned in earlier posts, I was raised in a church environment that often proclaimed the ironclad truth of scripture and the perfect nature of God’s will. Thus questioning the veracity of the Bible or the supposed actions of God was often looked down upon as a sort of weakness that must be overcome. It was as if the slippery slope to militant atheism began with even the most innocuous of questions regarding the scriptures.
Later on, in my college years, many of my long-held, heavily fortified beliefs began to spring leaks. Naturally, as I began to see teachings that were bestrewn with folly, my thinking became more and more defensive and, as I tried in desperate futility to plug the leaks, it became clear that I would need outside help. My mind was filled with questions regarding everything from doctrine to Biblical events to the nature of God, Itself, and I knew, just knew, that there must be some form of absolute proof to be found. Thus began my obsession with apologetic literature.
Apologetics are certainly interesting reads as authors attempt to make a stalwart defense for things like the Bible and God and I rabidly devoured them one after another. I worked my way through authors like CS Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Josh McDowell, and the recently popular Lee Strobel, as I worked to build a concrete foundation of absolute truth using the various evidences touted by these authors and others.
But my reading did not stop with authors such as these, no, armed with the supposed truths and proofs of God, I began to tackle other works – some from other religions, some from humanist philosophers and some from the most stalwart of atheists – and as I read through these tomes proclaiming ideas that conflicted with those I had long accepted, confusion reigned. For every argument in support of the Bible or the existence of God, there existed others disputing them that seemed just as convincing. So, I began to realize that God was beyond proof. Belief was illogical.
And that was okay.
There is something about mankind believing in something bigger than themselves that just seems right, despite our scientific observations and logical conclusions. I do not have proof of God’s existence, nor do I have concrete reasoning of His/Her absence, and today I am fine with that. Belief and faith and love are abstract concepts existing outside of this supposed sphere of the concrete, but they are no less real. And so we cling to them and look above amid the storms plaguing this mortal coil, for that is all that we can do in the uncertainty of life. I might question the existence of God every day of my life, and sometimes I may even come to an near-agnostic conclusion of uncertainty, yet still I cling.
My view could probably best be found in this rephrased quote of Socrates: “The unexamined God is not worth following.”
Ten For Tuesday: Fantasy Football Analysis, pt. 5 August 12, 2008Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: defense, fantasy football, NFL
add a comment
Being both a numbers nerd and a football fan, fantasy football has been an attention holder of mine for the past ten years or so. I am one of those strange sorts of persons who enjoys looking at page after page of statistical calculations and who actually uses some of the math that they sat through during their school years.
For the past two years, at no charge whatsoever, I have also been giving my own fantasy picks for the various positions utilized in a league of that sort. Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end positions. Our final stop will be with team defenses.
10. Indianapolis – Once not known for their defensive prowess, the Colts have made great strides in the last few years to become one of the better units in the league, while fielding a squad with only one player over the age of 30. While their rush defense is only middle-of-the-road at best, their pass defense, led by Pro Bowl safeties Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea, is incredible, holding opponents to only 172.8 yds/game in 2007. Their 41 forced turnovers ranked second last season and the scant 16.4 points allowed per game was the best in the NFL.
9. Pittsburgh – The Steelers defense was like a brick wall, only allowing 16.8 points/game and 266.4 yards/game in 2008, Though the unit is aging, with 5 out of 11 players over 30, having five former Pro Bowlers should help them to stay among the better crews in the league.
8. Seattle – The Seahawks may be just average when it comes to the number of offensive yards allowed, but their number 3 ranking in forced turnovers and number 4 in sacks push them well up the fantasy charts. Defensive end Patrick Kerney, last season’s NFC Defensive Player of the Year, returns to again anchor the line and, with three other Pro Bowl players scattered around the unit, the Seahawks look to again be a defensive force in an offense-minded division.
7. Chicago – There’s no way around it, the Bears stunk in 2007. Even their normally tough defense struggled, dropping from their elite status to just another also-ran. Now the big question is Chi-town is whether or not they can turn it around. The lineup is replete with former Pro Bowlers – DT Tommie Harris, DE Adeqale Ogunleye, LBs Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, and CB Nathan Vasher – so the pressure will be on them to lift this team to its former glory.
6. New York Giants – The Super Bowl Champion Giants put together another tough front on the defensive side in 2007, allowing only 97.7 rushing yards per game and recording a league-leading 53 sacks. But, future Hall-of-Famer Michael Strahan is gone, leaving a hole on the formidable line. There is little reason to feel sorry for New York, though, for they still return Pro Bowlers DE Osi Umenyiora and LB Antonio Pierce to lead another good squad in what should prove to be a tough division.
5. Green Bay – While Brett Favre received most of the accolades in the great white American north, the Packer defense deserves a lot of the kudos for the team’s success in 2007. With two great Pro Bowl DEs bookending the line (Aaron Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila) the Pack shut down opposing offenses to the tune of only 18.2 points per game. With a new QB leading the offense, the defense may be looked to in Packer country even more this season and they should be able to respond accordingly.
4. Dallas – It hasn’t been that long ago since the Cowboys had one of the most dominant defenses in the league and, with a unit absolutely loaded with top-end players, they may be ready to again ascend the throne of king of defense. Pro Bowlers Demarcus Ware, Greg Ellis, and Zach Thomas constitute a formidable linebacking corp. The Cowboy secondary is crammed full of extraordinary talent, boasting three more Pro Bowl players – CB Terrence Newman, SS Roy Williams, and (former Razorback) FS Ken Hamlin. This is a team bound to venture deep in the playoffs.
3. New England – Once again Belichick has put together another stellar defensive crew that should run roughshod over most opponents. Though many of the top players are aging (5 out of 11 starters are over 30 and 2 are over 35), this unit is talented enough to again put up the proverbial wall against any opposing offense. The lineup, with players like Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, and Tedy Bruschi, reads like a Who’s Who among NFL players. And, they continue to reload with first round draft pick LB Jerrod Mayo.
2. Minnesota – In 2007, the Vikings absolutely crushed opponents who attempted to run against them, allowing a league-leading 74.1 yards per game. Their front four is the best in the business, with three Pro Bowlers leading the way – DE Jared Allen, and DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. Though their pass defense may leave something to be desired, their overwhelming powerful line makes them one of the best around.
1. San Diego – Not only did the Chargers rank in the top five in terms of points allowed per game in 2007 (17.8), they also did in sacks (42), and they led the league in forced turnovers (48), all the among the most important defensive fantasy statistics. Pro Bowl players like DT Jamal Williams, LB Shawne Merriman, CB Antonio Cromartie should assure fans that they will again rank near or at the top again in 2008.