The Relativity Of Being Lost

The Relativity of Being Lost

My argument will always be with men who imagine and believe in gods, not with the gods imagined by them. Men exist, gods do not. It is easy to argue about an improvable concept, but it is impossible to engage in debate with one. I would no sooner seek to directly debate Voldemort or Sauron than I would Yahweh or Allah. To do so would make me seem as deluded as their worshippers, not to mention a bit silly. My sense of logic and lack of divine faith may not match someone else’s faith and lack of logic, but that should neither label me as a sinner nor insinuate that I’ve ‘lost my way’, as indeed I’ve been accused of doing by many a so-called ‘loving’ Christian or other theist.

As an atheist, being labelled as a sinner is one thing. Being told I am lost, on the other hand, makes me sigh at what has become a hugely overused cliché. Who is more likely to be lost in this universe – a follower of science and philosophy, or a believer of archaic scriptures? ‘Lost’ is a relative term. In cosmic terms, any good physicist or cosmologist would be capable of estimating their position within the known sphere of existence, which is (if I’ve done my math correctly; I couldn’t find this information anywhere) something like 97,336,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 light years, or 9.7336e+13ly. That (I’m reasonably sure) is the volume (radius cubed, 46b3) of the observable universe. I would presume the likes of Brian Cox and Neil deGrasse Tyson – both of whom I hold in extremely high regard – surely consider themselves far from being lost.

Map of the Known Universe

But, that being said, and despite the utter wonder and beauty of existence, there really is no salvation. So, yes, I accept that ultimately I am lost; not in life, but rather in death. My demise is inevitable. No working model exists, with proof of functionality, that could possibly save me from being snuffed out. Even if a magic elixir of vitality existed, it could not keep me from death long enough to prevent me being caught up in the eventual zero entropy of the universe, or the convergent crunch of the cosmos. All things must die. We don’t need to accept this fact sanguinely, but we should nonetheless accept it as truth. Believing in a super-entity saviour is the epitome of the deepest neuroses. Everlasting life will never be visited upon humanity, because no god and no science can withstand the ultimate fate of a universe.

So, whenever I get accused by a theist of being lost (the worst offenders by far being Christians and Muslims), my sigh is usually where it begins and ends, unless I’m in the mood for a debate. After all, responding with, “I might be lost, but so are you!” would just be a laughable parody of school-yard bickering.

Poem: The Wrong Side

The Wrong Side

A poem by Scott Kaelen
From the poetry volume DeadVerse


The wrong side of the station
The dark side of the sun
The far side of the mountain
The B-side of your song
The cold side of the doorway
The inside of the cell
The west side of your story
The blind side of my hell

Once side by side we journeyed
as friends through life and land,
until you took a side between us
when none was in demand

Years later at your bedside,
I sit beside a flame
that once did burn so wildly,
now fragile, dying, and tame

Will you greet me at the station
if I arrive too late?
Will you use your key
to rescue me,
and free me from your hate?
Will we end this tale together
on the bright side of the moon,
and will we find a love forever
on the flip side of this tune?

But now our story’s ending,
so, if I might be allowed,
if not too remiss,
let this goodbye kiss
be placed upon your brow

A Tale Of Two Deities

A Tale Of Two Deities


Before the Big Bang there was God, of course, sitting around picking at his behind for a trillion trillion years in the centre of a cold and otherwise empty void. He spent all that time asking himself one question: “What created me?”

For all his omniscience, he couldn’t answer himself. He searched the void for answers, but, with it being a vacuum for as far as his infinitely-capable senses could reach, there were no answers to be found. So, after a fleet of omniscient genius while enjoying a hot, soapy bath he’d conjured a couple of million years earlier, he omnipotently created from his own omnipresence some stars and planets and dust clouds and ionized gasses. Then he spent a few billion years watching them coalesce, remembering to give them a stir once in a while.

On one of the planets he’d created, he decided to place some biogenic graphite, a bit of bacteria and a peppering of archaea – uncomplicated little things compared to the bathtub – and he watched them grow, divide, mutate and evolve, until finally, after another several billion years, the line of the universal common ancestor culminated with homo sapiens.

God knew he’d done well when the uprights started breeding and polluting the atmosphere and butchering each other in the most bizarre and morbidly fascinating ways. With his earlier question still plaguing his every thought, he decided to ask the self-aware but easily manipulated creatures the same question: “What created me?”

Not one of them could answer, until, one day, the omnificent God caught one of the humans muttering to itself, and made the fatal mistake of listening.

“Nothing created God,” said the human, “for there are no such beings as cosmic deities.” The human scoffed. “God is no more a deity than I am! In fact, to sum him up quite succinctly, he’s nothing more than the central figment of a collective dream of mass delusion and socially inherited neuroses. He simply does not exist.”

God, unable to disprove the human’s words, had a moment of omnipotent panic, during which he pulled a rather comical face which would have profusely embarrassed him had he not promptly disappeared up his own omni-massive black hole.

The cosmos, from that moment on, and in true fairy tale fashion, was finally Godless, and its inhabitants all lived happily ever after.

And the human was pleased.

Sketch: Seven Of Nine

One of my favourite sketches. While many of my sketches don’t quite hit the desired mark, this one of Seven Of Nine comes close.

Seven, played by the beautiful Jeri Ryan, is an iconic character from Star Trek: Voyager. The character of Seven was probably the best utilised by the writers during her four years on board Voyager during the show’s seven year run. Unfortunately the writers really fucked up in the last half of the final season, when they paired Seven up with the dismal and dreary Chakotay in a relationship. That would never have happened, and should never have happened. Seven belongs to me, not to some boring fart of a second officer. I could have loved her. #KillChakotay Kill him and his stupid giggity face.

This sketch is featured in my collection From Grains To Galaxies.


Poem: Black Dwarf Ocean

Black Dwarf Ocean

By Scott Kaelen
Featured in the poetry volume DeadVerse


I don’t have the privilege
of being able to say goodbye
to someone who is no longer there.
You, who believe we are more than
flesh and bone and awareness
(which fades to nothing when we die,)
do you realise how lucky you are
in your self-deception, your
arrogant presumption
that the universe thinks you worthy
of that which the oldest stars
will ever fail to achieve?
Do you? Of course you don’t.

Indoctrination is a beautiful lie,
is it not? Hah! You want life
everlasting? Yours was taken
the moment you sacrificed
yourself on the altar of convenience.
I cannot tell a lost loved one
how much I miss them, how
I still see them in such lucid dreams.
You, you have gravestones, you have
candles and altars, a corpse
on a cross, or a skyward glance.
You speak to yourself
as if to gods or the listening dead,
because you know, with your faith,
that such things must exist.

Oh, how blessed, how truly
fucking anointed you are,
to be granted a place
in eternity’s halls, in the space
between stars, sailing the skies
with the angels, with the spirits
of long-deceased friends.
I have none of that;
when I die, I simply die,
as did all those I loved, or hated,
as has every man, woman, child,
every monkey, dog and flower,
the greatest whale, the tallest tree,
the smallest cell and the briefest spark
of life that ever was, or ever will be,
until the stars fade to nought
but a black dwarf ocean.

This is my truth, the universal joke,
and it’s on me, but it’s also on you.
The difference – oh, and what a difference –
is that you will never know
how cruel, how truly awful
life is, while I… Hah! I must
face it each day, each gods-fucking moment
of my wonderful existence in this
glorious, brutal and empty space.
Now all is said and done,
I wonder which of us – you
or me – is truly the lucky one;
is it you, with your well-intentioned
ancient lie? Or is it me, with my bravely-faced
amazing truth? On the one hand, infinity,
overclouding mortality. On the other,
an hourglass, and we all fade away

Fully Indoctrinated, Fully Oppressed

Fully Indoctrinated, Fully Oppressed

When Christians read the Bible (if, indeed, they ever bother) they open it and read a few verses, and mull them over. If at first they don’t like what they’ve read, then their subconscious will reason over the words until they reach a compromise that interprets those words in a way that allows the words to fit into the person’s psyche, and lets them continue practising their faith. Many people utterly disregard the Old Testament, even though it is allegedly much closer to God than the New Testament. Cherry-picking theists. Take what you like the sound of, what slots nicely into your existence, into the way you view the world, and cast away the rest. Call yourself a Christian and do your best to ignore the nagging voice at the back of your mind that might or might not be screaming about hypocrisy. A Commandment is a Commandment, and a god is a god. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the religion.

There are verses of the holy books which ‘moderate’ believers will shun because those parts don’t fit into their world view. Such verses are like a drug for the more bigoted of theists, the ones who grasp onto the worst, most intolerant and violent scriptures, and use them as a means to ramp up their own despicableness.


But then there are those theists who aren’t so lucky as to be able to cherry-pick and interpret to their heart’s content. I’m not just talking about Christians here, I’m focusing more on worshippers of Allah. Muslim women of today are as Christian women of hundreds of years ago – thoroughly oppressed and yet, sadly, utterly indoctrinated into the Islamic faith. They can’t pick and choose what they want from the Quran. They must follow it strictly, or suffer the consequences. These women don’t have the luxury of letting their psyches interpret the words of their holy book to their own liking. Their men do that for them. And what is worse – what is perhaps the most tragic part of all – is that these women scarcely realise what is happening to them; they are happy. Indoctrinated, dominated, oppressed, and happy.


Poem: It Squashed Between My Fingers

It Squashed Between My Fingers

A poem by Scott Kaelen
Featured in the poetry volume DeadVerse


It squashed between my fingers.
I didn’t mean to do it;
I only wanted a look,
a touch, a connection.
But it burst as I stroked it;
gently, I thought.
You can imagine my surprise
when it popped like a blister.
I swear I heard it gasp,
a tiny scream stifled against my skin.

It wasn’t meant to go down this way;
it was supposed to be
an appreciation of nature,
of something wild,
a creature so fair,
dancing across a stage
in languid perfection.

But it was too gentle,
its beauty concealing an essence
much less appealing;
a sticky mess that punctuated
such a brief story
of two attractors,
destined for the destruction
of one, leaving the other
standing, staring down
at his open hand,
at the result, so unfortunate,
of his meddling with a creature
he should have left well alone.

I saw a being of utmost love,
of graceful truth;
a caring heart that beat so strong,
and yet so soft when opened.
I didn’t want to harm it,
only to absorb its tenderness,
to learn, to mimic.
But my touch was all wrong,
my love too awkward,
and it squashed between my fingers.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Kaelen

Suicide And A Capricious God

Suicide And A Capricious God
(Christians Beware)

Picture the scene: You’re a Christian, a follower of God. You’re also a soldier. You’re standing on the battlefield; to your left and to your right is a long line of your fellow soldiers, each holding a sabre. Across from you, a hundred yards away, is the enemy; a long line just like the one you’re in, ten men deep, each man brandishing a sword and a shield. You’re about to fight a battle for your god. The horn sounds. A great battle cry fills the air and you charge to meet the enemy with your sabre held high. As steel clashes against steel you feel an agonising pain lance through your chest, but as your vision fades you smile, because you know you’ve died in the name of your god.
What you’ve actually just done is commit suicide. Come on, you knew you’d never walk away from this fight. You were willing to give up your life to defend your beliefs. You came here to die. Now, I’m not about to split hairs; I’m not playing with semantics here, but suicide is suicide, whether it’s charging towards a legion of swordsmen, throwing yourself out of an aeroplane, climbing a dangerous cliff face unaided, willingly travelling to another country to engage in deadly fire-fights, asking for your life-support plug to be pulled, giving up your share so that your friends might survive…
You get the idea.

Not Painless

According to most Christians, if you willingly relinquish your life you will not get into Heaven. You want to argue the point? Let’s do that, then.
Samson killed himself, bringing down a building he was in, in order to destroy thousands of Philistines.
King Saul, filled with insanity, his family dead and his army defeated, killed himself by falling on his own sword.
Judas Iscariot hung himself with remorse for how he had betrayed Jesus.
Zimri, not wanting to be taken prisoner, set the palace on fire and died in the flames.
Jesus willingly relinquished his life, saying, “No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself.”
All the above chose to die. But which of them did God allow into Heaven? Well, Jesus, obviously. Samson, too. Not the others, though. It seems God is as much a cherry-picker as most of his followers.

Suicide is seen by Christians as a sin because it is first and foremost the murder of a human. Murder is a sin, ergo so is suicide. And yet, when someone commits suicide there are so many Christians willing to judge them, to call them out posthumously and shout about how they won’t get into Heaven. But when a soldier dies in war, whether he’s killed one enemy or a thousand – or, indeed, none – he is branded a hero by the self-same hypocrites.

If someone commits suicide, my reaction wholly depends on who they were, whether I knew them, liked them, and, if so, whether I considered them a good person. If I liked them, I’ll see it as a terrible shame that they took their own life, especially based on my atheistic assumption that, no matter how bad life may get, it just can’t trump death. This makes me a more accepting, more caring, and altogether much less capricious entity than God, and I do include his “New Testament incarnation” in that. Not bad for an atheist accused of having no morals because he has no faith, wouldn’t you say?

What Happens

This essay, just like any of my other essays which criticise religion, will either fall on deaf ears or will be argued against by the “yes, but, no, but, we can interpret the Bible however we like” crowd. That’s right, there are Christians who staunchly scream against suicide, saying it is not the will of God (at least some of these have read parts of their Bible), and there are other Christians (vicars are often the worst offenders) who come up with excuses when someone commits suicide and their death has to be faced by the congregation. Well, it turns out that all suicide cases are allowed through the pearly gates, according to Mr 21st Century Vicar.

Who gives a toss what God says any more, right? It’s only the Bible. The actual contents of it no longer much matter, not when interpretation allows for such polarised viewpoints. Nice going, God, you truly are the Lord of Ambiguity.

Digging For Christian Gold

Digging For Christian Gold
(Debating A Theist)

You might ask yourself if it’s really worth engaging in debate with any theist at all, but it can be; some theists are actually quite intelligent, despite having the unfortunate affliction of having been indoctrinated into an organised faith system. In fact, debating a Christian is a great exercise in critical thinking, because it forces you to dig deep for your responses. Give it a go, but don’t expect to strike gold immediately; for every debate-worthy, intellectually stimulating theist out there, there are many more who are as valuable as fool’s gold.

Here are some things I’ve been asked by Christians, and my responses.

“Doesn’t it ever strike you as odd that so many are drawn to Christianity?”
It doesn’t strike me as odd at all, just a real shame. Religion has been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Along with other superstitious beliefs, the religions have spread until their influence on humanity is almost indelible. To believe that “someone” created you, created the Earth, and created everything beyond the Earth is something attributable to ancient times, not modern times. Believing such things is a practice that ought to have faded into history by now.

“You will never live up to the standard of God.”
A standard created and imposed not by God, but by ancient man. A standard tweaked and picked at by every individual Christian the modern world over, to fit into a combination of their own personal standards, and what they think the Bible says about God’s standards.

“Most people don’t understand that God already loves you.”
Your god only loves you in your head. There isn’t a scrap of evidence of a higher entity anywhere in the universe, and certainly no one should consider ancient scriptures as being the “word” of any such entity. The “love” you feel is purely neurological, and is merely a confused understanding of the nature surrounding you.

“He just wants you to seek him out.”
No, no no! If you have read your Bible, then you should know the scriptures say God does not want you to seek him out. In fact, he orders quite the opposite in Deuteronomy 4:19.
“And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath imparted unto all nations under the whole heaven.”
The Living Bible paraphrases this in more modern times quite succinctly:
“And do not look up into the sky to worship the sun, moon, or stars. The Lord may permit other nations to get away with this, but not you. ”
The order from God is for us to not search the stars. What he’s doing with this order is attempting to stunt scientific progress. If all good Christians throughout history had adhered to God’s alleged words in Deuteronomy 4:19, they would not have accepted or recognised any scientific discoveries concerning anything beyond the Earth. In other words, we would still be living in the Dark Ages.

“When you find him, you will understand what everyone else understands.”
I assure you, there will never be a “when” for me. I have studied – albeit as an amateur – history, astronomy, geology, languages, geography, psychology, and more. And I have studied Christianity and other religions’ doctrines and philosophies. The only ideas within the Bible I agree with are the purely humanitarian areas. I do not and never will accept the concept of an entity which demands my worship. Moreover, if any such entity were to descend to the Earth from the stars, I would call it a charlatan – mighty, no doubt, but deserving of an entire species eternity of praise and devotion? Absolutely not.
What I do understand is that religious people need religion, they need to believe in a higher, unfathomable purpose above themselves, they need to believe they’re going somewhere after their bodies die. In the absence of one ‘divine’ plan, in the absence of a particular religion, most god-fearers would just choose another faith to kneel down to, another god to name as theirs. Now, tell me what everyone else understands?

“Science has helped show that events in the Bible are possible.”
This one is brilliant, is it not? Here’s a list of miracles allegedly performed by Jesus – without science, which science has not proved possible, along with where they can be found in the Bible:
1 Turning water into wine.
2. Faith healing (including regeneration of severed appendage – Luke 22)
3. Exorcism (Matthew 12, 17; Mark 1,9; Luke 4,9,11)
4. Bringing the dead back to life (Lazarus) (Luke 4,8; John 11)
5. Controlling the weather (Matthew 8; Mark 4; Luke 8)
6. Summoning demons (Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8)
7. Mass instant food replication (5 loaves + 2 fish to fill 5000+ stomachs)
8. Walking on water (Matthew 14; Mark 6; John 6)
9. Power of atrophy over nature (Withering the fig tree) (Matthew 21; Mark 11)
And those are just Jesus’ alleged escapades without adding the extremely dubious account of his resurrection in Matthew 28. To list all else, especially from the Old Testament, would take much, much longer. And let’s not mention turning someone into a pillar of salt. Oops.

“How do you know what happened in the past unless you were there?”
We know thanks to fossil records, carbon dating, geological findings, physics, human history, statistical probabilities, limits of human abilities… In short, we know because we seek, find, study, learn, accept, and employ. That is the nature of science and the gathering of wisdom.

“To be a true follower in science you have to be open to all possibilities, even spiritual ones.”
I like this point, because it’s partially true. Science takes a theory, a myth, a belief or something presumed to be true, and it explores it. It digs deeper. It takes time in doing so, but every scientific fact came about as a direct or indirect result of a theory, myth, legend, presumption, etc.
Science has disproved myths and legends like the Loch Ness monster, the Abominable Snowman, and many other more obscure creatures in ancient lore. Science has proven that the stars are not angels, but rather balls of intensely hot gasses. Science may not have seen it, but it knows that in the centre of the Earth is, not Hell or Satan, but a solid ball of nickel-iron alloy the same temperature as the surface of the Sun. Ah, the Sun! An object of spirituality in bygone years, today a yellow dwarf star consisting mainly of hydrogen and helium. Oh, we’re certainly not opposed to exploring spiritual possibilities.

“There are things in the world our minds don’t yet understand.”
There are things in the world certain people’s minds can’t understand. There are also certain things in the world not yet able to be fully explained by scientific methodology. I assure you, that will change, but it will be science that gives the answers, not religion.

There is Christian gold out there, but don’t expect to get rich from it. At best, you can make a friend with vastly fundamental differences to you, with whom you can engage in deep theological debate. But there’s no such thing as winning in the Great Debate Game, because the fact that atheists can’t prove there’s no afterlife puts them at a no-win disadvantage, and the fact that Christians can’t come back to prove there’s an afterlife, puts them at a disadvantage too. Still, what matters is that we keep talking. Surely something will come good of it, eventually. Surely…?