erinjbernard, jesus status, crucifixion, el salvador

Atheish: An Atlas of Spiritual Skepticism

1. “Here be dragons.”

It’s the enigmatic message of warning scrawled across the Southeast Asian coastline on one of the oldest globes in know existence. Look closely at this one-dimensional reproduction, and you’ll see it:


Housed in modern times at the New York Public Library, the Hunt-Lenox Globe represents one of humanity’s first attempts at creating a spherical representation of our shared planetary home. The globe itself is tiny — a mere five inches in diameter — and it was manufactured circa 1510, just after the “discovery” of the New World.

Some 600 years later, historians still argue spiritedly over the colorfully cryptic message, and what its (unknown) author might have meant by it.

Probably, it served to remind explorers of the peril of their undertakings, of the fact that some parts of the world remained abidingly uncharted, and therefore, deeply dangerous.

What we know for sure ends here and goes no further, it seems to say. Beyond this are things we haven’t yet imagined, and they might well be beastly to behold.

The globe portrays North and South America as large scatterings of individual islands, and Southeast Asia as a still-wilder, as-yet-unconquered corner of the earth — and, yes, back then, in the minds of many, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, the earth still had actual corners.

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Ripening: Reflections on Fading Youth and Regretful Aplomb

Is youth wasted on the young?

Sometime around one’s 30th birthday, to be certain, one realizes with a start the astonishing measure of self-absorption and small-mindedness that has defined one’s first decade as a card-carrying adult.

Post-adolescence is a time of vanity, ignorance, selfish pride. Of breaking hearts and being heartbroken. Of exploration, excess, and ego, and immortal pretentions.

And then, blessedly, it ends. One grows, and one reflects back with regretful aplomb. There is shame in the recognition, yes, and some measure of cold relief, too–one has, at least, improved and grown enough to recognize the degree of petulance with which one formerly moved about the world; to reject youthful notions of moral infallibility and to criticize them roundly.

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Type As, We Need to Chat: An Open Letter from A Well-Meaning Type B

Dear Type As:

I know you’re really busy making the world a better place and all, but can we talk for a just minute about Type A people?

Actually, I want to talk, too, about Type B and Type C and Type D personalities, but I figured you might lose interest if I opened this letter by saying that I wanted to talk about those other kinds of people. After all, both of us knows that a sustained interest in the eccentricities of the planet’s quieter folks isn’t always one of your strongest suits. But I’m not trying to pick on your orderly and outgoing tribe. I know you can’t always help it.

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A History of Pop Culture Subversion: Nine Food-and-Drink Mascots Who Totally Ruined Your Life

Hey, you! Humanoid American of non-specified ethnicity or gender born between the years of 1980 and 1985!

Are you suffering from a low-grade case of of pre-midlife malaise? Are you currently jobless, newly dumped, or suffering a case of the existential snifflies? Are you beginning to suspect that maybe you’ve totally flunked your own life?


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Fake jobs, real jobs, and the Internet of Vocations: Why it’s no longer embarrassing to earn a living playing online poker

I met this guy on a tropical island in Belize once. Steven.

He was very New Jersey, and I feel somehow qualified to describe him as such although I have never even been to New Jersey: pasty skin, caterpillar eyebrows, and costumed always in an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and a pilled-up Bowler hat.

Steven sauntered around town in a pair of tacky sunglasses, chain-smoking Colonial Light cigarettes and making frequent allusions to some obscure Internet business he was running.

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The Scary Monster: I gave English names to 160 South Korean children and learned that I suck at diplomacy

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”


Beware the power of names.

At some point in your life, especially if you decide to procreate or to accept some other lesser posting of absolute authority, you might be called upon to name something. Do not take to the office lightly.

Naming a thing gives you a strange and irretractible kind of power over it. This is why, whether or not a delegated alias abides, it is, in its own way, capable of rearranging that thing permanently.

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Kicking Puppies and Taking Names: Why We Misbehave in Elevators

If I could ride in an elevator with anyone, either living or dead, I would most definitely pick Sigmund Freud.

Not because a 30-seconds-long vertical journey would be time enough to permit any kind of meaningful psychological exchange between the Good Herr Doktor and I – it’d be time enough to summon a pithy, off-cuff interpretation of last night’s bad dream, perhaps, or if he had his pocket watch on hand, to flirt with the stirrings of hypnotic stupor, but then it’d be time’s up.

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The annihilation will be semi-complete: on technology, obsolescence, and living in the future

I am from the future.

This occurs to me as I sit on a couch near a window in a second-floor apartment in central San Francisco.

I am at this very moment hearing, for the second time today, the muted rinnnng-rinnnng-rinnnng of a dial-up modem issuing from the open window of a nearby apartment.

The first time I heard it, my boyfriend was sitting on the couch with me.

“Is that a dial-up modem?” he snorted.

But the way he said it made “dial-up” sound a lot more like “dumbass” or “douchebag.”

I snorted my assent.

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Can we please stop referring to our television marathons as “binge-watching”? It’s making me sad and sick to my stomach

Sitting in an airport terminal a few weeks back, I found myself drawn – more by sheer proximity than by particular interest – into a conversation playing out between two women reclining against a row of seats a few feet to my right.

“I’m trying not to binge,” the brown-haired woman was telling the gray-haired woman with a hint of sheepish self-recrimination in her voice. “But it’s so hard!”

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Good work, career crap factors, and the “Is-ness” of it all: Thoughts on finding meaning in a creative profession

Two full weeks here in Barcelona and I’m finally settling down to the primary task I’ve set for myself during our time in Spain: rejiggering my worklife, and rethinking entirely what I want out of my career as a writer.Yes. So. What do I want? It’s such a huge, bloated, amorphous, nebulous, terrifying, wonderful, impossible, fascinating and inevitable question, isn’t it?

So grand, and yet so essential, to put one’s wants – not one’s needs – at the center of things, to shout them out to the huge, busy, noisy universe and confidently, cosmically await a reply. Just who do you think you are, asking for all that happy, being that you are so very tiny, and in case you didn’t notice, this is the Milky Way, not the Hilton, thank you very much; you knew that long before your birth and you chose this galaxy anyway and just what do you expect the gods to do about any of your carbon-based woes?

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