Attorney Sue Basko and more Internet insanity

Sue BaskoJust a followup from an earlier post about Susan Basko.

Apparently she's pissed off some REAL attorneys, who are attempting to have her disbarred for her antics.  For some reason, they've linked to me.  So I'm linking back to them as a courtesy.

And if you happen to speak with Ms. Basko on any form of social media, make darned sure you screen capture every part of the conversation.  She's known to re-write history in her favor, as I've experienced myself.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are just people. They can be just as religious as anyone else.

Over a decade ago I was having lots of problems with my marriage, my job, and of course my school. So I went to speak with the school psychologist to see what was wrong. My school’s psychiatrist said that she thought I had severe depression – something that I know runs in my family. But unlike my father or his sisters, I could do something about it with medication and treatment.

So my GP doctor found a psychiatrist for me, and I started doing the research to learn about the mental health profession and to find a psychologist for me. I went to see the psychiatrist my doctor recommended.

The psychiatrist’s office was a standard doctor’s office in a standard doctor’s building with other doctors and mental health professionals around. I didn't think much of it until I actually entered the doctor’s treatment room, where she talked to her patients.

Om symbolIt was designed to be a comfortable room, comfy couch, a nice overstuffed chair, her chair, a desk. But it was decorated in India style, with a Hindu shrine, bright colors, the “Om” symbol, and lots of plants in pots decorated in a matching style. It seemed very exotic, and I love that.

The doctor was an older woman, dressed in India fashion, with a discreet Hindu Bindi on her forehead.

We introduced ourselves, and sat down for a discussion. She was very professional. We discussed what I was experiencing and she asked questions, and finally confirmed that I was experiencing very severe depression. We discussed different medications, and lifestyle changes, and the need of a psychologist. She was happy that I was already searching for a psychologist, and she gave me a little advice in that regard.

Then she asked about my spiritual state.

As background, I grew up in a Christian home. My parents divorced when I was twelve, and then mom stopped going to church. But Dad had us kids on the weekend, and we went to CHURCH! I was active in the youth group, and was baptized at 14, and still have the bible my father presented me on my baptism day. I was required by our church to take a series of classes before my pastor would perform the baptism. Later on in my life, I've been a bible study teacher, a church Deacon, and have worked on the steering committee of my church.

And now I’m an atheist. I became an atheist in my mid to late 30’s, just a couple of years before seeing this psychiatrist.

Protestant reformation leader Martin Luther once said,

“Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

He was right. My faith could not withstand my questioning, my reasoning, and my skeptical inquiry. I came to atheism unwillingly, but I got there because I couldn’t prove my beliefs to be true.

So when this psychiatrist asked me about my spiritual state, I gave Carl Sagan’s answer to the question of spirituality. That I was filled with awe and wonder at the universe, but that the universe is all there is.

She didn’t like my answer. I explained a little of my background, and she asked me how I could “know” that there is “nothing”. The answer is I don’t know. I also don’t know that humans in the future didn’t use time travel to go into the past and start the first Big Bang in a time paradox worthy of Star Trek.

Not knowing is not a good reason for belief.

This seemed to unsettle my psychiatrist, and she waved at her shrine, and said that it didn’t matter to her which higher power that I chose, only that it would be best for my mental health if I chose one.

I asked her if it bothered her that I could choose a higher power that came with a religion that demanded that I see her as a heathen, a heretic, or worse? She replied that they were all paths to the same destination, and I was free to choose which ever. I again pointed out that I could choose a “path” that condemned her, and that basically required me to witness to her at best, or do her physical harm at worst.

Inside her nice safe office here in America, she didn’t seem nearly as bothered by the chance of physical harm as she did by me not having a deity to worship.

We left the conversation unsettled. I told her I would keep reading about deities and looking for one that is sufficient for me. She wrote a script to an antidepressant.

The antidepressant helped.

And I picked up the habit of collecting many different types of religious “holy” texts and lots of apologetics texts. I keep asking questions, and so far all the answers are the same. Gideon and David Wilkerson are both wrong – as is Judges 6:33-40.

The only answer I’ve found is this: if I want to believe, I must first believe. Unfortunately this is the same answer to every single supernatural religion that humanity believes.

Her response did clue me in to a possible problem during my search for a psychologist. So I interviewed ten different psychologists during my search, and I included as one of my questions, “I’m an atheist. Is this going to be a problem as part of my treatment?”

Out of the ten I interviewed, three said outright that they couldn’t, or wouldn’t feel comfortable in treating an atheist. Two of them gave doubtful answers in the vein of, “I don’t know, I guess it will be okay…” And five of them gave responses that amounted to, “What? Why would that be a problem?”

This was when I learned that psychologists were just people, with different skill sets, and varying levels of competence. Years of education, training, residency and testing just show that a person can jump through the hoops successfully. It is still up to you to find someone who can actually help you.

The simple answer to, "why bother?"

LECRAELecrae Moore is a "popular Christian rapper". Okay, whatever. I'm not a fan of rap.  But apparently this edgy, urban, unsmiling gentleman has offered a "simple question to atheists."

“If there’s no purpose, if there’s no creator and … no rhyme or reason to the life that (atheists) are living, then why are (they) not acting consistent with that thought?"

In this interview on "TheBlaze", (Glenn Beck's online conservative magazine) Mr. Moore is asking why atheists and other non-believers act as if they have purpose in their lives, since, according to Moore, purpose comes from God.

This is the "simple question"?  This is the "Great Question" that he's created?  It's not very original.  Other religious people have asked similar things.

So what does it mean to have "purpose" in life?

Before we answer this, we should ask why this question is important.  Because something else is actually going on here.

"What is my purpose in life?  Why am I here?  Does my life have meaning or purpose or value to Life, the Universe, and Everything?

Restaurant at the End of the Universe

These are the questions asked by a person in the midst of an existential crisis.  This happens when we realize that not only are we going to die, but so is everything else we know.  The Earth itself will be boiled away as the Sun expands, and the Sun in turn will eventually fade into a cold, black lump.

Existential despair is very real, and it can happen for many reasons.  Depression, a dramatic change in world view, or a new sense of mortality are some of the things that trigger this.

A person in the grips of such despair might ask themselves, "What use is art, culture, love, or anything else if everything is eventually going to go away?"

There are two possible ways to get through an existential crisis.  One way is to recognize that this is something real, and to use several techniques to process these feelings and come to grips with them.  This can be somewhat difficult to do, and people who do this will probably have to continue doing it as these feelings re-arise.

The other way to overcome an existential crisis is to pretend that you will have eternal life in an infinite, and meaningful, universe.  Frankly, this is a simple and easy method to overcome this angst, and you can easily reapply it every time you have doubts.  Of course, it does require some faith that a meaningful eternity actually exists, which is unfortunate for those of us for which "faith" is insufficient for belief.

According to this article, when Moore was young he, "realized he was essentially an atheist".  He didn't think about Christianity, and he idolized the "gangster" on the corner.  In saying this he is identified as an implicit atheist, which puts his atheism in the same boat with Kirk Cameron's atheism.  

I'll make a prediction here about Moore, as he speaks more about his Christianity his stories about his previous life will grow in the retelling.  I predict that his previous atheism will become more pronounced, more "devout".

So what's the answer?  Why do atheists continue to find meaning in their lives.  Why do we act like something, anything, matters?

I'll tell you why.

Because what we do matters - right now.

If we love, if we are kind, or generous, or if we are merely jerks to our fellow humans, it matters because it affects our quality of life - from both the giver and the receiver - right now.

If I kiss my wife, if I eat a cookie, if I give to charity, if I receive help - these things all affect me right now.  And on the day that I die, none of these things will be undone.

When the universe grinds to a halt, that kiss, that kindness will have still happened, at the time and place where it happened.  It cannot be taken away.

Historians may remember it poorly and write it down wrong, history books may forget, but the event itself still happened, and it mattered when it happened.  It will always have mattered when it happened.  No philosophy or theology can take that away.

And if it always matters when it happens, then it is up to you and I to make each "now", matter.

This is why we live as if we have a purpose.  Because we do.  Because we all matter to each other, right now - and not in some merely hypothetical future.

Do you have a book that will make me religious? Let me know! Or better yet, send it to me!

Carl (a former atheist) wrote in one of my posts about Ray Comfort, that he, "wonder(s) if atheists have ever truly looked at Christian Apologetics objectively."

I found this comment interesting because I do have several bookshelf feet of Christian apologetics.

Carl did mention a couple of apologists that I didn't know about. And because of that, I've just ordered a copy of "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions" by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski. I chose this book due to the review by Rebecca Hamilton on the blog "Public Catholic".

I've also added Ravi Zacharias, and St. Ignatius of Antioch to my apologetics wishlist on Amazon.  William Lane Craig is already in my list, and I own copies of "Hard Questions, Real Answers" and "Reasonable Faith" by Craig.

I purchase anywhere from 10-20 physical books a month, and more digitally.  I prefer purchasing physical copies of apologetics because I like to write my thoughts in the margins.  (You should see my copy of "Mere Christianity"!)

But if it comes down to it, if I have the choice between purchasing a book for work, or for personal growth, or for entertainment, or for religion - religion takes a back seat to the rest.  My primary wish list has over 900 books on it!

So here is where you might be willing to help me out.  First, suggest a book that will make me abandon atheism for your religion.  I don't care if you are Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, or a Bön shamanist from Tibet.  If you know a great apologetics book for your relgion, suggest it to me and I'll add it to my apologetics wishlist on Amazon.

Next, if you wish (no pressure here!) you might see it clear to actually browse my apologetics wishlist and actually PURCHASE one of these books for me as a gift.  You could purchase it for me used if it is available.  I don't mind.

In fact, many of my books are used, either from Amazon, or from me combing through the local used bookstores, Goodwill, AmVets, or Salvation Army.  The demographics of this area include lots of older religious conservatives, and when they die their books are frequently donated.  (I find lots and LOTS of books from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, and Tom Clancy.  That gives you a broad idea of what the local conservative mindset is like.)

So, let me know what book you want to see on my Amazon wishlist.  Or take a look at it yourself, and send me a copy.  But only if you really feel like it.

Ronnie is finally out of prison.

Ronnie, Then and Now
Here are before and after photos, from 2003 and when he got out this month in 2013.

The decade has not been good to him.

According to his records, he's lost weight too - down to 140 pounds at 5' 11".

His expression is much different.  I don't know if I should read much into it.

You can find him on the Texas Sex Offender Registry.  Of course, you can also find this website by merely Googling his name.

Will he reoffend?  I don't know for sure, but he has spent his entire adult life being a pedophile, and every psychologist and psychiatrist I've spoken with said that this type of pedophile will almost always offend again.

Seriously, I hope not. I hope Ronnie is able to do whatever it takes to become a better person.
Honestly, I have a hard time believing that he is capable of improvement. I think he is borderline, if not outright, a sociopath. I do not believe he can truly feel empathy - and I'm pretty certain he is incapable of any remorse other than that of being caught.