I don’t know if it was part astral projection and part sleep paralysis, or just a too-large slice of autumn bread too close to bedtime, but I recently spent some time at planet Nurmth. Don’t be alarmed. It’s much like Earth and populated by sentient hominids with technology similar to ours. There was one striking difference though. The inhabitants of Nurmth are obsessed with numbers.
They say that a man who owns a clock knows the precise time of day, but a man who owns two is never quite as sure. In my case, that implies complete temporal confusion.
We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell – Oscar Wilde
A recent Sunday found my kids and me careening through the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey as participants in the local “Run with the Devil” MiniCooper rally. Yes, I own one of those goofy little automobiles, and my little devil car has struck me wild-eyed and drooling with car lust, causing me to seek congregation with likeminded enthusiasts. The rally was organized by a charming Empire-type couple, complete with accents from somewhere in the UK or its territories, who are very much into things Gothic. Last year’s Halloween rally, which the Goth couple also organized, took us through haunts of northwestern New Jersey. This October, we were hot on the tail, and the tale, of the Jersey Devil.
Is it just me, or has there been an almost annoying increase in the number of “Let’s see how smart you are” ads on the Web these days? From self-propelled pseudo-IQ tests to numeric sequences to who-knows-what-else, I see these little buggers pop up on all manner of pages. I find them to be a waste of time, not because I think any form of testing is bad, but because the very premise of a correct answer is sometimes flawed. In some cases, all they tell you is whether or not you think like the person who wrote the test.
The question has been raised as to whether or not organized religious fervor will eventually win out over the Enlightenment ideals of humanistic atheism, and if it does, the consequence of America devolving into a theocratic hegemony. On their side, the humanist-atheist camp operates from a position of empiricism and rationality which appears to be a huge plus. On the other hand, as I see it, the main practical-structural difference between the devoutly religious and atheists like me is that atheists do not have weekly meetings or door-to-door membership drives.