In Which I Read A Book: The Judas Strain

The Judas Strain, by James Rollins. I picked it out right away, though it was just one of many books. The word “Judas” led me to think it might be religious.  Religion is mentioned, but not really Christianity.

I thought this book was good, until Rollins started forcing the main male protagonist, Gray, and the main female protagonist, Seichan, into a romantic plot that just felt forced and honestly like I was reading a bad romance novel, the kind I read as a junior in high school during that brief period of my life where I got curious about sex, and didn’t feel I got enough education from the Academy.

Basically, the premise of this book is that this disease shows up, and while the CDC is trying to help people and quarantine it, these terrorists are trying to make it into a bio weapon.

While these 2 groups are duking it out on a cruise ship turned hospital ward then turned battle field, Seichan, Gray, Kowalski, and this priest guy whatshisname are traveling in search of the mystery of Marco Polo. Basically, Marco Polo and his father and uncle sailed out with like, a fuckton of ships, and then later returned to Italy with only 2. Or was it 3… Marco Polo never told anyone what happened on that voyage, not even on his death bed. So the Intrepid Explorers follow the clues to this cave and… then I honestly just lose track of the plot. The ending was a tad disappointing.

I’m knocking it down one star for the ending, because it didn’t make much sense (they’ve got to take this woman to a cave to become the cure for the virus because that is supposed to happen… how… I’m confused.) and because of the forced romance in the plot.

And also because the US secret agents in this story are truly horrifying.

Kowalski, the body guard, was probably my favorite character, even though Gray spent A LOT of time telling us how unlikeable he was, and how it was likely no one else could stand him either, which made me want to punch Gray in the nose.

Despite my complaints, I really liked this book. I enjoyed the speculation of what Marco Polo and his crew ran into out there (my money’s on the missing ships being abducted by aliens, haha). In the book it turns out that they ran into this really deadly super virus and ended up having to burn all those ships with the infected people still alive. Which actually might have been the best method in the 1300s ish when Marco Polo’s story takes place.

And honestly? Before I read this book, I had no idea Marco Polo was an actual person. I thought that was just the name of a game kids play at the pool. Did any of you ever play that game? You know, where one person closes their eyes and yells “Marco!” and everybody else has to call out “polo!” and the blind person tries to catch the seeing people? Yeah, I was always Marco. I could never catch anybody, and I always got caught. I was one of those children.

Anyway, it turns out that, surprise surprise, Marco Polo’s deadly virus is the same one we are dealing with now, and he knows the cure, which apparently was to eat the body of a dead person who survived the disease. Which kinda makes a sorta sense, since they’d have the immunity and the 1300s people didn’t know about blood transfusions.

Back to the present, This lady named Susan has survived the virus, but they can’t just use the antibodies in her blood to stop the virus which could easily kill the whole world because Susan is crazily ranting (and glowing in the dark) that she has to get to this cave, where there is a pool of the bacteria that caused the virus in the first place. She gets burned by the bacteria, then gets magically resurrected somehow and… the world is saved.

Everybody lives happily ever after, in the hospital, except Seichan, who runs away, but not before the US agents put a tracker in her belly when they did surgery on her and then sewed it shut inside her. Which has gotta be the stuff horror movies are made of.

This book will definitely keep you entertained, especially if you liked The DaVinci Code, which I read to pieces in High School to see what all the fuss was about. After reading the book, I still didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. The Anti Christian fuss I mean, not the book’s popularity.

Stay tuned for my next entry, which will either be on Frozen or The Help.

 

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In Which I Watch a Movie (The Matrix)

March 9, 2014

I know I should be asleep, but, I realize my blog has been neglected. Not that many people read it, anymore. They used to, but, that was back when I was religious.

I might write a bigger post on that later.

I’ve got this journal. It’s a type of notebook where you write one line a day for 5 years.  This is my second year doing it, and it’s interesting to see what I was doing on this day a year ago. A year ago this day (well, yesterday, really, but it hasn’t been a sleep/wake period, so to me it is still March 8th. Confusing? yes. Deal with it.)

A year ago today, I was giving a seminar at Praire View Univeristy/College. I had a medical problem right before that scared me (blood coming out where blood shouldn’t) and was worried more about that than I was about embarrassing myself in front of all those people. A year ago today, I was on a mission trip to Southern Texas. I was questioning whether or not I believed in a god, but was able to sort of put that aside for most of the trip, or at least, the part where I did any witnessing.

How much difference a year makes! In one year, I’ve come out of the closet as an aromantic asexual (more on this later, possibly), started drinking again, and lost my campus and other family. However, I’ve also found a group of asexuals right here in town. That never happens to me.

One of them, we’ll call her S, invited me over to watch movies, most of which I missed out on in the 1990s because of christian sheltering. I’d never seen the matrix. (We also watched the 1980s version of robocop, but I don’t feel like discussing that, especially when I’m less than sober.)

Basically, the matrix is a computer simulation; a virtual reality, we’d call it. In real life, humans are grown by sentient machines and live in pods hooked up to ports. The humans are being used by the machines as batteries that help run the machines. It works best if you don’t think about it too much, Mkay?

In the movie, Morph guy (can’t remember his name or spell it, and I’m too buzzed to care.) decides to free Neo from the collective because he is apparently The One(tm.) It wasn’t quite clear to me what this One was supposed to do; even if he freed the humans minds, what then? The real world was shown to be virtually uninhabitable, the virtual reality might actually be preferable to that. It works best if you don’t think about it too much.

Morph offers Neo two pills; the blue pill will allow you to wake up in your own bed and believe whatever you’d like to believe; that it was a dream, that you could go on living your normal boring every day life. And the other, the red pill, would show you the truth. Neo, like a total dumbass, takes the red pill. I can’t really blame him, though. I’m a dumbass, too.

I really was a dumbass. For me, I feel like the blue pill was believing in Christ, and the red pill was being shown the truth; that everything I’ve grown up with was a lie. I’ve been disillusioned with Seventh Day Adventism for a long time, but it took me even longer to become disillusioned with Christianity itself.

It started with canvassing, and to be honest, canvassing is what pushed me over the edge into thinking god might not really be real. It’s possible I would’ve lost my faith anyway, and that canvassing just expedited the process, or that if it wasn’t canvassing, it would’ve been some other thing, like MTP or Mission College or something.

I started first noticing contradictions between ellen white and the bible. Well, that was no big deal, I hadn’t believed in her for years anyway. I wasn’t sure (still not, actually) if she really thought she had a gift of god but was being led of satan (if there is a satan) or if she intentionally set out to decieve. An argument could be made either way, I think. It’s largely irrelevent; Ellen White can’t be of God.

But then I noticed contradictions in the bible itself. I’ve technically noticed this stuff before. I remember going to my mom as a kid and having her explain aways ome of it (we’ll get to the exact things in a later post, the topic requires sobriety) and her explaining it. AT the time, the explanations make sense. Now, for some reaosn, they could not.

There was another, more disturbing, contradiction: what “Jesus” told me and what he told other people didn’t match up. Jesus (“Jesus?”) would tell me one thing, and then someone else would say Jesus told them the exact opposite. They could not both be true; Jesus could not have told him/her one thing and me the exact opposite. Who was listening to the right Jesus? Was there a right Jesus? Was there a Jesus at all, or was what we called “Jesus” really just a voice inside our head that came from…where? Our subconscious?

This threw me into a crisis of faith such as I had never had before. The last time I tried to be an atheist it lasted all of a week. Now it lasted much longer. I could no longer push aside the questions and confusion that had been building up inside me since I was 15 and first started questioning. The answers weren’t there for me… would they ever be?

Just as the campus leadership was finally ready to accept me into the ministry (by the which I mean, start training me and expecting me to do bible studies) I quit. I didn’t know what to beleive anymore, and it was confused me. I was also very depressed, and I was receiving conflicting feedback on how to deal with that. Not everybody at campus approved of the fact that I was taking anti depressants. Depression was to be cured by prayer and serving others. In the past I’d tried that, to the point where I’d given so much of myself that I had nothing left for me, and that had only left me more depressed. What I needed was help, real world help; therapy and pills.

To be fair, there are a few campus people I trusted with this secret who approved and supported me, mostly the ones who were somehow in the medical field. However, the majority frowned upon it. They did not outright say it was a sin, but it was clear that they disapproved.

Did not God give doctors the wisdom to develop these drugs to help us? Surely God, if he existed, would want us to go seek out the opinions of the experts to which he gave the knowledge? (or, if you prefer, the ability to seek after this knowledge and study hard to get through medical school.)

On top of all this, I was beginning to realize that I am not heterosexual. I did not see this as a big deal at first. Did not Paul talk about the gift of singleness? In Bible times, they didn’t have a word for aromantic/asexual, and even if they did those who translated the manuscripts certainly did not, as asexuality is only just beginning to be accepted. I was joyful; finally, I’d found out what I was! I wasn’t heterosexual, but I could also say for certain I wasn’t gay. I was ridiculously happy. This meant that I wasn’t abnormal, I just had a different sexual orientation.

I thought coming out would be easy. I shared my discovery with my campus and christian family, expecting them to rejoice with me. Instead, the reactions I got were… rather mixed. One person said she’d always known, and that since she was a psych major it wasn’t a foreign concept to her. One had no idea but was willing to listen and learn. The others… oh my god… the others… I don’t feel like I can post about it right now. It may not be as bad as what homosexual/homoromantics experience, but that doesn’t make it good or easy. Let’s just say that I had less than ideal reactions, and I felt I could cry.

Had not God made me this way for a reason? Surely if there was a god he created me like this. Why couldn’t other people accept it? It’s not like I was gay, after all (I know, I know, but that’s how I thought back then.)

It was then that I knew I had to leave. I could not remain where I wasn’t accepted. Based on the reactions, I could never come out to the church. Ever. And it would only get worse as I got older, especially if I stayed in Seventh Day Adventist circles. The pressure on Adventist singles, once they reach a certain age, to marry, is huge. I did not want to deal with people trying to set me up, people trying to insist that I wasn’t really happy, that I was just covering up my insecurities, or people insisting that the right man would change my mind. I know asexuals/aromantics get that a lot in the real world too, but in Adventism once you reach a certain age, that gets ramped up to 11 on a scale of 1-10. At 25, I’m not at that age yet, but give it another 5 or 10 years and I will be.

Then there was anothr crisis I won’t post about (maybe never, actually) and it was the straw that broke the camels back. Actually, more like a freight train that broke the camel’s back. I quit church and gave up on religion. I could never go back.

Is God real? I don’t know. I’m willing to admit he might be, but if he is, he’s got a lot to answer for. Even if God is real, the bible can’t be taken literally. Even if God is real, if the bible is correct about him, he is horrible, and not worthy of worship.

I took the red pill. If I’d taken the blue pill, if I’d been able to lie to myself longer and push down my questions and pretend everything was ok and somehow MAKE myself heterosexual…

I still wouldn’t. There are days I think I would happily trade in everything to be heterosexual, to be the type that could conform to the Adventist mold.

In the movie, this one guy  who’s name I can’t remember has the following conversation with Neo:

Neo: I can’t go back, can I?

Guy: Even if you could, would you?

No, no I wouldn’t. Even if I could go back, knowing now what I already know, I’d still have taken the red pill. I just… might have waited a little longer to do it.

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