When Hate Hits Close to Home

Update: WTHR covered the events described below.

Twenty-one years ago, I met a kid in the neighborhood my mom, my sister, and I had moved into. It was a Friday afternoon, and we hung out on our front porch, looking at and trading collectible comic book cards, a hobby I had recently taken up and which he was leaps and bounds ahead of me in.

We were well underway with our card trades when my dad arrived to pick my sister and me up for the weekend, at which point my friend and I realized we didn’t even know each other’s names!

As we got to know each other, I’d learn that Chris — his name is Chris, by the way — very much enjoyed comic books; if memory serves me, the walls of his room were lined with comics displayed in plastic sleeves. I’d also come to find out that the guy had a passion for pranks. I remember he tried to convince me that he had a twin, and that I could tell them apart by the direction the hair swirled on the crown of their head. Chris also had a few of the younger kids in the neighborhood convinced that behind the shrubs by his house was a portal which led to a realm of dragons, so that was fun.

As we grew up, I moved to a neighborhood a few streets over and made friends with a new group of kids. Of course, I had to bring Chris into that group! He fit right in, and the pranks naturally continued, though usually at my expense, such as when he and our friend Michael tried to convince me that they had become vampires. That was a weird couple of weeks.

Vampires. A monster in the woods near the house. Our own pet cemetery. Believing one of us to be demon-possessed. An exorcism on a household. Fun times! Innocent, naïve times.

I loved my town growing up, and I certainly never understood the hate shown to it by so many of my peers. I still love my community, but it’s far less rosy than it was back in those days of childhood.  Continue reading When Hate Hits Close to Home

Introducing “The Lie: Evolution”: An Examination

Some years ago, never mind how many exactly, I had the opportunity to attend an Answers in Genesis conference featuring Ken Ham, their founder and president, and another gentleman whose name I cannot recall but whose presentation was much more targeted toward children.

At the time, mind you, I was a fundamentalist Christian with a passion for creationism. I spent my time debating the merits of “creation science” in a number of online forums, and greatly enjoyed seeing the Ken Ham live and in person. I even dropped $60 or so on a collection of around ten Answers in Genesis publications.

cover art of "The Lie: Evolution," featuring an apple-shaped globe with a bite having been taken out of itAmong those books was The Lie: Evolution: Genesis — The Key to Defending Your Faith, (Seriously, the book basically has two titles for some reason) written by Ken Ham, “a very popular and effective speaker with American church audiences,” according to the blurb.

When I heard Mr. Ham being an “effective speaker,” he described what he considers one of the primary reasons why so many scientists accept evolution despite having the same evidence available to them as the clearly scientifically superior creationists: they wore different “glasses” which colored their interpretation of the evidence available to them. Continue reading Introducing “The Lie: Evolution”: An Examination

Raising My Daughter in a Broken World

When I first set out sixteen or so years ago publishing content online, I did so as a naïve child, using what little of a homepage I could build to unite my chat room friends, to socialize with a few local friends via guestbooks, and to share a little bit about my interests.

The skills I picked up would soon be put to use in force when I became a Christian in the fall of 2001. I wasted no time in putting together website after website to spread the gospel of the conservative Baptist church of which I had become a member.

What began as largely static websites would blossom in time to blogs, message boards, and more, smaller projects than I care to try to count.

Much of what I wrote about was very abstract; I dealt with doctrine and theology, and I treated the world as if it were black and white — this is good, that is bad.

There was never a weight to my life, and I remained comfortable judging the world from behind my screen, disconnected from it all.

Flash foward.  Continue reading Raising My Daughter in a Broken World

A Fully Modular Phone

Almost four years ago to the day, I asked for a modular phone.

In the years since, I’ve learned that I would never want to use an Android device, but still, the idea of a modular phone? It almost happened.

(And yes, I’m aware that there are other phones with modularity, though none were as close to my original vision as Project Ara seemingly would have been. The in-development PuzzlePhone, though? It looks beautiful!)

Featured image: © Google

Bulk Up Your iOS App Catalog with FREE Premium Apps

Almost four years ago, I made a change that so very many of us have: I exchanged my “dumb” phone for a newfangled smartphone — a then already out of date iPhone 4, to be specific.

Early on, I was impressed with just how many free apps were available in the App Store, and I rather quickly had filled up most of my phone’s storage with ad-supported free versions of premium apps or “freemium” apps which offered some features but required an in-app purchase to unlock the entire thing.

This, as you can imagine, grew to be a nuisance.

Eventually, I gave in and bought several apps for a few dollars apiece; the fates of these apps varied. Some I used or played for a while before abandoning them, while some I still use or keep installed today, such as the excellent The Night Sky. I don’t feel guilty about these purchases in the least, especially when you consider how much the iPhone costs, whether outright or on contract.

You don’t buy a Kindle just to enjoy the dictionary and manual that come pre-installed on the device. You shouldn’t buy an iPhone to enjoy only free apps, either. You’re cheating yourself, all because we’ve become conditioned to feeling that $5 is a lot to spend on an app. It’s okay to pay for good products.

“A $5 App Isn’t Expensive: Customers Need to Help Fix the App Store Economy” by Lex Friedman on Macworld

It’s okay to pay for good products, but I’m still cheap, especially because I’m now at the point where I have the apps that I know I need or want. Everything beyond that is bonus and novelty, and I want to share two great ways for enjoying premium apps without spending a cent. Continue reading Bulk Up Your iOS App Catalog with FREE Premium Apps

I Ran into a Friend Today

I ran into an old friend of mine, Michael, earlier while at work. We grew up together in a neighborhood just a few blocks from where I currently live. We had largely the same friends and the same pastimes since the sixth grade, til high school ended and we went our separate ways.

Since high school, nearly fifteen years ago, I could probably count the conversations we’ve had on two hands with fingers to spare. Funny how that works.

But today we talked as if no time had passed. Continue reading I Ran into a Friend Today

How to Prove an Atheist Exists, Biblically

As a bit of a follow-up to Definitively Proving God’s Existence, I want to add that in the Hebraic myth discussed in 1 Kings 18:21–40, God was proven to be real by Elijah’s sacrifice being accepted, with a spontaneous combustion of the sacrifice caused by God himself.

The prophets of Baal had no such luck with their sacrifice, as in the myth, their god did not exist to aid them in any way.

How would this play out in a contemporary context, if a believer in the God of the Bible decided to make a sacrifice to God as a show of faith in showing that he is real, in the face of unbelievers who may be making a counter sacrifice?  Continue reading How to Prove an Atheist Exists, Biblically

Enabling Form Validation on WordPress Comments

For over a decade, Unapologetic. has accumulated comments from a wide variety of people — many who have posted confidently using their real name and what seem like valid email addresses while others have chosen anonymity with pseudonyms and pretty obviously fake email addresses.

The websites entered with the comments have been just as varied — from links to personal sites that match the rest of the information given (name, email address) to links to Google to strings which don’t resemble a valid website address at all. You know what I mean: “none,” “http://no,” “na,” and so on. Users for whatever reason don’t want to leave the field empty (even though it isn’t required), so they put in some invalid data if they don’t have a website.  Continue reading Enabling Form Validation on WordPress Comments

How to Add Whimsical Form Field Placeholders to WordPress Comment Forms

The WordPress comment form is a humble little thing: a few form fields, an explanation or two, and not much else, barring any plugins or customizations, that is.

Users who have left comments already will be greeted with a form that is already filled out the next time they visit, thanks to a cookie which WordPress sets, but what about before their first comment?

Would-be commenters are greeted by empty form fields for their name, email address, and website address, which is straightforward enough, but what if you want to jazz things up ever so slightly by adding some placeholder text to these form fields?  Continue reading How to Add Whimsical Form Field Placeholders to WordPress Comment Forms

Definitively Proving God’s Existence, One Way or Another

As a skeptic, I have often asked for proof that God — specifically the God of the Bible, the religion of which is an overwhelming majority in my area — exists, to which I’m often told that there is no proof that God exists, that it simply requires faith, or that there is plenty of proof but that it takes faith to actually accept that proof.

I’m also often challenged to prove that God doesn’t exist, the implication being that one cannot prove a negative and so cannot prove that God doesn’t exist, leaving open the possibility that he does exist.

The Bible even goes so far as to say that you cannot test God (Deuteronomy 6:16; Luke 4:12), and some apologists will say that you cannot test God from a position of a lack of faith but that those who have faith in God can test him because they already know he’s real.1

Would you believe, though, that there is an experiment described by the Bible which is entirely repeatable and which can be performed by any group of people, provided one of them is a believer in the God of the Bible and the other isn’t? Continue reading Definitively Proving God’s Existence, One Way or Another