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  I have been kind of more of a mess than usual lately. I don't want to do the things I should do. I don't do the things I need to do. I do the things I shouldn't do. I want to do the things I can't do. Who knows what the end result is.
  I feel my relationships are strained. The more I want them to work, the more distance seems to appear. All relationships have felt just a little distant lately, and maybe I am kind of desparate for a connection where in the back of my mind I'm not stressing about what the other person is thinking, if I'm being cool enough, or whether I'm making the person hate me. Really desparate for a real connection. I have become very self defeating, and the fact that my school and work feel like I'm running as hard as I can in place instead of even strolling anywhere are just contributing. I can't live like this, I'm out of things to be passionate about and I feel most people can't understand the things I think about.
  For example, I have comcluded that faith and knowledge are mutually exclusive. Once you have proof, faith is futile because there is no trust in the unknown. As it is, then, the search for proof of things that require faith (let's say, in the case of Christianity, a belief in god) is a search to negate faith as it should be understood. Coincidentally, then, knowledge of something that contradicts faith is meaningless to the faith. If faith requires no positive proof, how can it be affected by negative proof? Now, as an atheist, I'd love to make all religious people believe what I believe to try to do away with all the spiritual BS that stands in the way of things I want, but really, I'd be content if everyone happily coexisted with mutual respect. With that, I pose this question to a religious person who follows intelligent design and negates evolution. When presented with evidence in favor of evolution, why can't you just say, "Ok. I see your evidence, it's compelling, true, it conflicts directly with what I believe, but I don't require evidence for what I believe and still believe it. I don't know how, but somehow if your evidence is true it is because the two systems mesh in a way I don't understand but trust is true." This is what faith should be about.
  Additionally, I've become conflicted on the concept of Christmas decorations and wishing people Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays. Ben Stein wrote a post about being Jewish and not caring when people wished him a Merry Christmas, because he knew Jewish people were the minority and in general people were just wishing nice things. Honestly, you have no idea what holiday people celebrate, or if they celebrate at all, so even Happy Holidays isn't reasonable. I got to thinking. Let's say 2 people walk up to each other, one speaks spanish, the other speaks English, neither know what the other speaks. The English person will say hello in their native tongue, and the spanish person will say hellp in their native tongue, no one will be offended and both will have meant good things. Look, minorities in this country must acknowledge to some degree that they're a minority. That being said, there's a huge difference between putting up a sign or a tree in a store and saying Merry Christmas, and committing the Holocaust. All symbols and messages only have meaning once someone gives them meaning. I, as an atheist, still recognize Santa, trees, and all that hubbub as symbols of a nice time of year where we all give gifts and are with friends. I am not offended by them at all and separate them from their religious origins. I propose that as a society, we collectively examine statistics on population ratios, and no matter what decorations an individual or company decides to put up, know that they are expressing their wishes for this season in their own "language" and not renouncing yours should it be different. Let us recognize that all symbols, though rooted in different traditions, are pretty much all saying "have a good time with your family eating good food, baking cookies, and receiving gifts." I will continue to say "Merry Christmas" because it is the way I define my holiday season, but if you are Jewish or any other faith, please do not be offended, but instead with me a "Happy Chaunukkah" (sp) or whatever it is you celebrate.
  I am piecing together a view of the world in my head and I feel I'm making great internal strides, the only problem is the more truths I find the more the defy societal tradition. I must keep working on this, at whatever the cost, until I can optimally interact and adapt with my environment.

   Here's some links I liked this last few weeks:

Articles on how neat Turtles are.

A Marine gives his view on Iraq.

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