The Pencil Today:


“We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.” — HL Mencken


How are your preparations going for the National Day of Reason Thursday?

Is all your shopping done? Have you wrapped all your presents?

Yeah, Thursday’s the day the godless among us celebrate our holy atheism. There’s even a brave politician who admits being one of us — US Congressman Pete Stark of California.


He’s gambling, of course, with his “eternal soul” that there is no invisible Big Daddy-o in the Sky. It’s the ultimate risk-reward conundrum. The argument has been made that it makes much more sense to believe in god because, if it turns out there is such a character, the believer will be rewarded in paradise and the non-believer will be, well, screwed.

In fact, should the gambler who’s a believer lose the proposition, s/he actually loses nothing. If the Great Croupier does exist, then, the non-believing gambler suffers endlessly in the company of the souls of Hitler, Stalin, and Donald Trump.

“Your Suite Is Ready, Sir. Welcome To The Afterlife.”

Nice god, huh?

I never argue with folks who are believers. First, I can’t prove the non-existence of anything. As James Randi says, no one can prove a negative. Therefore, I won’t spend time and energy arguing a point which may sometime in the future be proved by late-breaking evidence. Absence of evidence proves only that, um, evidence was absent the last time I looked.

Sheesh, these philosophical excursions are rough. The road is laden with logical fallacies.

Anyway, I want to respect the beliefs of people who, er, uh, believe. They say they have faith, which I believe. If so, then I don’t want to lure them into a rational argument, since that would violate the very definition of the term faith.

Aren’t I Christ-like?

Like Two Peas In A Pod

Even more important, I don’t want to bum them out. Honest. The realization that there is no god is really depressing.

I mean, here you are spending all your life wishing, hoping, and praying for a big, all-powerful being who loves you with all his enormous heart. Not only that, when you die, you get to go to heaven (assuming, of course, that you never took another human being’s life, fondled a child, or voted Republican) and have a party with all the most well-behaved people who’ve ever lived. Oh, and god and his archangels will all be there and no one will ever have to pay taxes or worry about a strange new lump.

It all seems rather comforting, no?

Why should I try to kill that buzz? Have at it, believers; I hope it gets you through this weird, confusing, often painful life.

You oughta see some of the things I do to get through my day.

So you’ll never hear me trying to convince anyone that there is no god. I only say (mostly to myself) there is no god. I have no interest in being the attorney for the atheists until they start paying me like one.

Thursday, though, I’ll happily crow to the world: There is no god!

I hope I don’t get struck by lightning. The way people talk about this god fellow, it seems he has a nasty temper.

“Alright, Alright — I’m Sorry!”


A bunch of IU folks got together yesterday and discussed the future of the university’s Office of Women’s Affairs.

Man, I didn’t know infidelity had become so institutionalized.


Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monroe County Courthouse SquareBloomington Quarry Morris Dancers, May Day Morris Dance; 6:45-7:45am

Bloomington Quarry Morris Dancers

Trinity Episcopal ChurchExhibit, collaborative mosaic tile project; 9am-4pm

Monroe County Public LibraryExhibit, “Muse Whisperings, water color paintings done by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st, 9am-9pm

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st, 9am-4:30pm

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series with Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen; 11:30am

IU Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryMFA & BFA Thesis 3 exhibitions; through May 5th, Noon

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th, 1:30-5pm

“Eric With Flowers” By Laura Hartford, Kinsey Institute Gallery

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsPainting demonstration by Dawn Adams; 5:30pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke; 6pm

IU CinemaStudent Showcase, 3D Film; 6:30pm

Rachael’s CafeThe Golden Hour; 8pm

Max’s PlaceComics’ Night; 8pm

The BishopSpirit of ’68 Presents: Vandaveer with deadghost; 9pm


Vintage Phoenix Comic BooksListening party, “The Best Show on WFMU”; 9pm-midnight

IU CinemaIndiana Filmmakers Network Short Films: Made in Bloomington; 9:30pm

Rachael’s CafeWringer, Arms Aloft; 10pm

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