Saturday, October 13, 2018

This is the End, My Beautiful Friends


I have loved you and you have loved me but I have come to the place and time when it is necessary to move forward and away from this blog. I offer you my sincerest love and affection and I'm grateful to so many of you for befriending me off of the blog; you have brightened my life tremendously.

My kids are grown.
My atheism is a given.
Now I'm only angry about politics day after day.


So, to you, I wish you fair and fine roads.
May you continue to find happy and healing words here any time you wish to search for them.


And keep my love for I have given it to you for freely, fully, and fondly.

Ciao.




Thursday, October 4, 2018

Atheists Know There Really IS a God


You know, sometimes you just have to laugh; the cognitive dissonance must be unbearable for some believers. I say this because of some of the claims that some believers make about atheists, though I am aware that they are saying the same thing about us, the cognitive dissonance thing. I mean let's keep it simple. Atheists are simply people who are unconvinced of your supernatural claims. Not all atheists are the same and not all atheists fit into a box...just like all other humans, believers or not. If you make any claim about atheists in general beyond the fact that they are unconvinced of your deity claims, then you are no longer accurate. You might be describing an individual person that you know but you are not describing atheists.


But I can guarantee you several simple things.
Atheists do not believe in your deity.
Nor do we believe in any of your bad guys.
Nor do we believe in your afterlife fears or rewards.
Nor do we believe in the deities of believers other than you.

My heart is not hard.
I do not enjoy sinning.
I am not harboring evil.
We do not believe in any such things.
 


I've stumbled across more than one piece of writing by believers in the last few days that are making a truly hilarious and bizarre claim: Atheists really know that there is a god. And then there is the part that we atheists are ignoring their deity to keep sinning. Furthermore, some vocal believers claim that the fact that atheists actually, secretly, do believe should give believers confidence in their faith...

And their evidence of this claim?
The Bible. The Bible claims that everyone has received knowledge of the god of the Bible.


My reason for writing this post is not to try to convince anyone of anything; we all know how impossible that is. This blog post is about something that I would find truly comical if it weren't for the fact that so many people actually believe it. So I want to say one thing that I've been thinking lately.

Most believers that I know would lovingly say that, it's true, they actually do not know that there is a god, but that they have faith that there is one. I can clearly see some of my friends get that glassy, enamored look in their eyes that shows their complete goodness and well-intentions when they talk about their faith. It looks exactly like being in love when you look into their eyes.
Cool.

Fine.
I don't know it and neither do you.

So, the fact is that believers are actually not believers. 
They do not know that there really is a god. So some believers really know that there isn't a god...

Ironic, eh?

 What Do You Think?
Yes? No? 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:
The Virtue of Doubt
It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist
Atheists Believe in Nothing

Friday, September 28, 2018

POWER


I'm very glad the Kavanaugh proceedings are being televised in total for the people to watch because we don't have to rely on news sources to interpret them for us. Watching the proceedings, it seems obvious to me that this man is neither fair nor impartial and, therefore, not suitable for the highest court in the land.

 Remember, it's not about sex.
It's about POWER
and these men in power
won't let any of it go.






Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Six Years of Life


Guest Post: Kaleesha Williams

Kaleesha is a dear friend of mine. Our friendship started out right here on my blog. She and I finally met at an atheist convention several years ago and we really clicked. Our kids have also become wonderful friends to one another.
This post is something she posted on Facebook earlier today and I thought it was marvelous! 

Congratulations, Kaleesha, on your first six years.  💙



Saturday was a significant day. I didn't mention it then, but I treated myself to some celebration for being six years religion-free. Hallelujah.  

Six years ago my then-husband and I studied our way out of the Bible. On Sept 22, 2012, I laid down the book and rejected its god. For me, it meant freedom beyond words (but I tried mighty hard to find them and even published a whole book that probably didn't do the journey justice, though folks seemed to enjoy it anyhow).

I didn't lose faith, didn't get angry with God and reject him -- my belief simply dissolved in the light of reason. I asked the questions, I found the answers, I closed the book and opened my eyes, slowly shedding a lifetime of indoctrination. 

I had been a devout follower of Yehovah God and Jesus Christ my entire adult life. It shaped EVERYTHING and so EVERYTHING changed.

For six years now I have enjoyed the freedom and owned the responsibility of a life without a deity. I escaped a miserable marriage on the back of this, and as a single parent, I have learned to provide the stability my family needs, the stability that was under constant threat before, bound to a broken man (not a bad one, just very broken) by religious ideals. It's difficult; not gonna lie. But it's not as hard as trusting my life to the whims of an imaginary Father or bending my worldview to an ancient, misogynistic religion with the constant mantra of "my life is not my own."

Fuck. That.

This is MY life. Fleeting, achingly beautiful, wretchedly painful, whatever I want to make of it. Mine. None of it has been a mistake, not the religion, not the marriage, not the children, not the time in prayer. I embrace it all. It's mine. I own it. I will own my past. I will own today. I will own tomorrow.

But I will never again tell a child or another person that they are sinful, born broken, destined to always fall short. YOU -- yeah you, reading this now -- YOU are an amazing human being, exactly the way you are. Don't be ashamed of you! You were not created for a purpose -- make one for yourself. Enjoy your time on this rock because it's probably all you've got. Do the dew, climb the mountain, swim the sea, kiss the girl, get the tattoo, eat the soup, read the book, hug the friend, feed the wayfaring stranger.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I just wanna celebrate freedom this week as I think about how hard-won mine was.

Peace out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:

Free to Be
My G2R Talk
The Greatest Gift

Please check out the links in the story.
They are to Kaleesha's book on Amazon.  

Monday, September 24, 2018

I Don't Want to Know!


It's been a little over a year now since Mom's death and I've been thinking about her so much. Our relationship was weird. On one hand we loved each other very much and we meant so much to each other. On the other hand, there was so much freaking contention between us that I hated so much. Among many other things I could mention, she was always upset that I am an atheist and that my kids are atheists too.

She brought it up quite often and I would often say something along the lines of Mom, we don't agree about this and I simply don't want to hurt you anymore. Can we not discuss it?  But we would discuss it.

Although Mom didn't follow an actual religion or go to a church of any kind, she carried on the beliefs of her mom, my beloved grandma, often saying to me Kay, what would your grandmother say if she would hear you talking like that?  To which I would simply reply, I don't know, but I do know that Grandma loved me, so I'll stick with that. I know I wasn't the only atheist in the family on Mom's side, but still, she was very uncomfortable with me being one.


Mostly because she truly didn't know what it meant to be an atheist, no matter how clearly and simply I explained it. No matter how I sat as a model for an atheist. I would explain to her that she knows me and that THAT is what an atheist looks like. But her fears could not be allayed. She had such learned fears of what atheists are, what atheists do, what atheists believe... It was quite sad because she continued to believe the things she had been taught rather than to what she could see before her very eyes, myself and my family. If you know me at all, you know that this continual conflict was extremely outside of my comfort zone, completely unlike anything I would like.


Unwillingly I would get into conversations with her about our differing beliefs. She often told me that she wasn't the slightest bit interested in science, saying I don't want to know!  Whatever evidence you bring, I will never stop believing.  I sincerely respected that and never ever sought to change her mind. I don't mean this in a mean way, but about these religious beliefs of hers, Mom was so weirdly juvenile. She simply accepted what she'd been taught as a very young girl and would not consider anything else.

And that's OK. I didn't need her to be an atheist. In her last week of life, she was able to make some jokes about our differences in belief, especially when my Aunt Mary sent a minister to Mom's house on her behalf. Mom laughed because she thought the minister would have been shocked to know that I was an atheist in the room. She was also entertained when the Hospice minister cornered me outside in order to give me comfort. She told me later that she would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation. 
😊

The point is, Mom was fine in her simple, yet boxed-in way of looking at the world and at life. She fell into her belief system as a child, as most people do, and she was content to simply be there. Which is fine! My only thing was that her fears about my atheism and that of my kids brought her discontent, distress, and consternation and those things come directly from the religion itself. If religions could CHILL and be Live and Let Live, I probably wouldn't have as much problem with it as I do.

But they don't do that.



AW GEEEEEZ, you know what, I realize at this very moment that I've written a blog post about this exact thing again and again in an effort to figure out what bothers me so much about this. It's that the religion that she held onto brought Mom such pain, rather than comfort...and that's another reason why I know the world would be a better place without religion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:

Whatever Made You the Way You Are?
There are No Atheists in Foxholes
Bibles, Bibles Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
Did Something Happen to You to Make You Reject the Lord?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

More of My Music for Mary


The other night I was talking to my very dear friend Mary, a woman who knows her independent music. If you're looking for a little-known artist or cut, she's your contact. Mary and I were talking about music and such and she revealed that she has really taken to some of my music over the years, as surprising as that is, and she wanted some recommendations from me for some good music.

I've said before that my favorite instrument is the human voice and my favorite music reflects that. I love artists who carry the performance with gorgeous vocals. I love excellent music too, it's just that I really lean toward beautiful vocals. 


So, for Mary and for you, I'm posting links to my favorite music. I tend toward ballads and gorgeous lyrics but I've tried to balance that preference with excellent instrument playing in this list. So, if I have a favorite performer, I might include songs of vocals and of music. Get it? OK, here goes:


Luther Vandross:
I have loved Luther's voice for about twenty-five years now, so most of my favorites by him are from the end of his career, having missed all of his early slow-jam years. Luther died several years ago and I know I will miss him forever. My first favorite is a ballad called Can I Take You Out Tonight. Jerry and I danced our first dance at our wedding to Here and Now. Although I could post about two dozen excellent tunes by Luther, my last one is the lovely song by Luther and Gregory Hines called There's Nothing Better Than Love; I'll bet you didn't even know that the beautiful Gregory Hines could sing!



Eddi Reader:
Eddi Reader is a lovely and talented Scottish folk singer who I found on a TEDtalk and I instantly fell in love with her voice. I have some CDs with music that I adore that I cannot find on youtube, so I'll start you out with her song Kiteflyer's Hill, a lovely tune about lost love. She is a lover of Robert Burns poetry, so I would be remiss to leave out her rendition of My Love is Like a  Red, Red Rose. I love Eddi's version of Across the Universe that she does with another Scottish folk singer named Liam O'Maonlai. I also adore Dear John. I hope you give more of her music a listen. And I found one of my favorites after all, I Won't Stand in Your Way!!!!


Anita Baker:
Anita came out big in the eighties with a bang. She was already in her thirties and just entering the entertainment industry and I fell in love with her voice immediately. I don't know where to start with her so I'll offer this one called No One in the World from her 1986 album. You Bring Me Joy is a gorgeous tune that shows the beauty of her voice, as is It's Been You. She recently played in St. Louis and I couldn't go to the show...and I'm so sad! One more by her that is simply stunning is Giving You the Best that I've Got, a tune that really showcases her her soulful voice.


Kenny Loggins:
It's easy to think of Kenny Loggins at the Footloose, I'm Alright, and Highway to the Danger Zone guy. I'm not a fan of those tunes but I'm a huge fan of his ballads, seldom listening to those commercially successful songs. Instead I love This is It, Celebrate Me Home, and everything, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING from the Conviction of the Heart CD like Too Early for the Sun and Will of the Wind. This gorgeous duet with Shanice Wilson called I Would Do Anything is just stunning. I spent almost a year of my life listening to this CD again and again and again. This entire CD was so beautiful and healing.

Toni Braxton:
I love Toni's voice so much. She's one of those people who was robbed by their manager early in her career so she had to start over! Makes me angry! Anyway, I love her beautiful songs Breathe Again, Another Sad Love Song, Seven Whole Days, and Spending My Time With You. Her R&B contralto voice absolutely soars and her song style is simply amazing. Some time in her forties she was diagnosed with lupus, yet she continued to tour and produce albums. She's gorgeous and her voice is soulful and extremely versatile. I love several of her duets too! OH, I also adore Let it Flow.



I think I'll stop there for now, but PLEASE, below in the comments, list some of your beautiful favorites!

 Love you, Mary!

Honorable Mentions:
Chaka Khan

Ray Charles
The Kingston Trio
Simon and Garfunkle


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:

A Likely Dance Partner
My Friends' Music
Signs I'm Getting Older

Monday, September 17, 2018

Things I Wish I Could Do


I'm a pretty capable person, so are you, probably. I can generally do anything I set my mind to. With a few notable exceptions, I have always found myself to be competent no matter what I try to do. Of course I have to learn things that I don't know but...oh, you know what I mean.

But there are a few things that I truly cannot do no matter how hard I try. And I do feel rather sad about them because these are things that I admire in other people. 
In no particular order:

Math
I cannot do it.
My awareness of my math problems started in the second grade when Mrs. Allison made me take home a paper to get it signed by my parents. It was about greater than and less than. Of course I know which whole number is larger than the other, so why, oh why, do we need to have an abstract symbol in there? Why can't we just say that one number is larger than the other one? Needless to say, I didn't get much better than that. I would estimate my math limit to be at about the half way point of high school freshman algebra 1.

I genuinely admire people who have that part of the brain that can do math with skill and understanding. But, for me, all of the logic of math actually makes no sense to me.

Voice
I love music.
I listen to many genres of music and enjoy quite a variety of music. If pressed I would say that my favorite instrument is the human voice. Beautiful tone, range, stunning ability to move me with your voice...these things are so beautiful. I can't whistle, I can barely hum, and my singing voice is truly abysmal, not that that stops me from singing. Many, many times my daughter will look over at me and say Please don't sing, Mom!

Memory
I can forgive myself my brain limitations when it comes to math abilities, logic, and reasoning. But I get very frustrated with my brain's poor memory. I know that, at times, my poor memory makes people think that I don't truly care when they talk to me or that I'm not genuinely listening; I think that is the worst thing, really. How I got through elementary school, junior high, high school, undergraduate, and graduate schools is a total mystery to me. I cannot do things where I have to memorize things, but if there is an art to getting a feeling about something, I'm your girl.  😉 


Language
I LOVE language.
If I could change any of these things, it would be the ability to learn another language. I have tried many times using many different formats and styles of learning, all with zero success. With my interest in history I would love to be able to read source documents! I have tried learning Latin several times with absolutely no success and I've tried learning other languages as well. I do have an excellent grasp of root words of the romance languages, but I am completely unable to learn the languages themselves.

Art
Another skill that I practice for my own entertainment is various forms of art. With very determined effort I can often pull off a decent piece of art, but it is always truly difficult. It doesn't come easy for me at all and I don't have a natural ability.


On the other hand, I'm pretty good at lots of other things and I wouldn't change any of those. SO, although the math one stumbles me regularly, and the memory one gets me every single day, even though I would love to do these things I'm actually quite satisfied with myself as I am.

What do you wish you could do?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:

Being 75 and Not Knowing
Things I Don't Give a FUCK About in 2018
This One Meaningless Life of Mine

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pro-Life on Campus and My Son


One of my favorite times of day is when John gets home from school and he tells me about his day. I know. We all love that moment, but this kid is extra interesting because he thinks so much, he observes, and he's pretty darn hilarious. He tells his stories with such energy and I find myself laughing constantly. I love his unique observations. From what happens in the classroom to learning theories to current events to his own response to things, his stories both amuse and impress me.


On Monday the campus had some sort of stump speech by the Right to Lifers. John was nursing the beginnings of a head cold so he was lying in the sun in the quad, giving him an interesting vantage point on the speeches going on. When he joined the audience from a closer range, John told himself I don't know much about this; I'm going to really pay attention and learn something.  He observed the rhetoric and the barbaric tools the RtoLers showed their audience and he was quite shocked by what they were claiming. He was upset and bothered by the things that they claimed about abortion and he felt the need to educate himself on the issue.

He went back to his little place in the grass and started researching the claims that were being made as well as information essential to understanding the divide in points of view regarding abortion. As you can imagine, his research revealed quite a different reality that what the speakers were saying. He continued his reading on into the day and later that night.

TEN MINUTES, he said, only ten minutes of reading and I was already seeing the significant fallacies in what the speakers were saying, how they were trying to get people emotional and upset instead of informing them.


He told me about a conversation he had that day with three young women at the rally, all of them Right to Lifers. John was confused by their apparent comfort with having the government tell them how they can and cannot operate within their own bodies. He told me that when he say to them It's your body! Why would you want the government tell you what you can and cannot do?  The young women all claimed that they would not change their minds. He was flabbergasted. His word. 


Today he's revealing his growing passion to represent the Choice people. He's been talking about it constantly and doing lots more reading and researching on his own on both sides of the argument in a highly ethical way. He's now kicking around the idea of starting a Pro-Choice group on campus!

My point?
I am so proud of him for his willingness to entertain ideas that appall him, confuse him, that he disagrees with so vehemently. It shows a real sense of integrity to find out for himself, doesn't it? His energy at the moment makes me feel such tremendous love and pride and amazement with the human being that he is... 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:

School's In
I Trusted My Gut
Heart Outside of my Body
Female and Atheist
He Sees It: How the World Treats Women

Friday, September 14, 2018

Ashamed of Jesus

One of the things I've been noticing on Facebook in the past year or so is Christian family and friends writing things like I'm not ashamed of my Jesus. Ashamed? An interesting thing to defend. Have you seen it?
I can't help but wonder where this particular meme comes from, though I suspect I know.

In the churches, for example, from the pulpits, are they saying They want you to feel ashamed of your belief?  I guess it is a part of the persecuted Christian narrative that is so prevalent now. From my many years in the church, I'm sure that the people on the pulpits across our country are riling people up with the idea that they are being persecuted, shut down, challenged in their belief. And it's scary.

Maybe it's because I'm older, but I've become so much more aware of fad, fashion, crazes, and bandwagon thinking in things like music, fashion, even beliefs than I've ever been before. I've watched clothing and hair styles come and go again and again. I've seen musical styles give rise and fall. I've seen the belief systems of the church change from decade to decade. This decade seems to be the decade of War on Christianity.

How does this so-called persecution work for the church?
Any good team builder knows that the building of a good, strong team is to find a common goal around which to base the community. Where the group identity includes victimization (thank you abusers for giving us this form of identity) a leadership can organize all kinds of dynamic activity. From community-building activities to an overall sense of cohesion and battle-ready mode.

How does this persecution narrative effect the church?
I ask this because I've been thinking about this a little bit. First I have to remind myself of that quote that my son John reminds me of quite often: You see what you are looking for.  So if I'm going to consider the idea that the church finds this claim useful, I have to wonder why.

I think the portrayal of persecution toward Christians does several things. I think it is designed to bring together a community of people who are willing to ignore information seen and heard in the media for whatever is being sold by the leader of the club.  That means that people in the church are even more likely to disregard all forms of knowledge being accumulated by science every single day. Not to mention the idea that science is something to fear or to disparage. Which is something I find reprehensible, I'll admit.


It also creates a sense of willingness and a glamour to stand alone in a louder secular world. The feeling of persecution gives believers a sense of connection to the earliest church builders who were battling to survive. A stronger connection to the idea of being a True Christian. I think that some believers get a sense that it is a meaningful thing to fight the good fight for their religion, which is a tough thing to prove in such a wealthy and privileged country as the USA. I think there is also a sense of alarm and fear of all things outside of the church. Some people might even be willing to take their inflated sense of outrage and fear to the polls. More importantly, this increased fear and motility infuses the church with vocal supporters and empowers the quiet among them.

It’s almost a celebration of us vs. them to consider yourself to be persecuted. Can you see the benefits to the church of creating this false sense of persecution?


Sadly, this means that people who have bought into this narrative of exaggerated sense of ill-treatment are highly likely to ignore science, knowledge, critical thought, and any movement toward secularism and are more likely to shrink back into the confines of church doctrine as interpreted by current day proselytizers, are more likely to ignore the many things that are nonsensical about their religions, are proud to reject the outer world for a more fundamental belief system, are far less likely to explore their doubt, are subject to increase vast, impenetrable cognitive barriers between believers and others, to separate believers from the rest of the world.

And I think that that is a crime, a crisis of thought.
I resent the increased tension between believers and non-believers, I resist the church using the minds of kind people, and I resent the spread of fear of knowledge, all created from the church itself, in its pathetic last ditch effort to remain relevant. 


 What do you think? 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Might Also Enjoy:

The Virtue of Doubt
For We Have Been You
Wrong


Monday, September 10, 2018

New Rules


NEW RULE:
If you are going to build a public bathroom, the stall needs to be large enough that a human being can both stand up and open the door at the same time without straddling the toilet.

NEW RULE:
People who break up with each other have to give their support system family and friends three days to prepare.

NEW RULE:
Do not break up with someone just days before holidays, birthdays, vacations, planned events, finals week. 

NEW RULE:
Employers who hire college students need to be aware that finals week requires time off of work.

 NEW RULE:
The church does not get to forgive pedophile priests who go into hiding.

NEW RULE:
70s music is cool again.
Not 80s music. 


NEW RULE:
Every party comes with a dance coach so you can learn that dances that everyone else seems to know. 

NEW RULE:
No more clothing that sexualizes babies, kids, and preteens. 

NEW RULE:
The new drinking age is 18.
You can vote, drive, and serve in the military at 18.
 

NEW RULE:
Marijuana is legal.
Cigarettes and alcohol are far, far, far more dangerous. 


NEW RULE:
Pop songs must not repeat a word, phrase, line, or chorus more than twelve times a minute. 

NEW RULE:
No more comment sections on internet stories, memes, and images so we can all maintain some faith in humanity. 

NEW RULE:
You must specify if you are bowling on behalf of soup or in order to get soup. 

NEW RULE:
White supremacists get a diagnosis in the DSM as pathetically proud of the color of their skin. Because, apparently, they have nothing else to be proud of or identify as...

NEW RULE:
Access to health care should be at least as easy to access as guns and bullets.

NEW RULE:
When a politician votes against equal rights for any segment of humanity, we toss that person out immediately.

NEW RULE:
When a black man or any human orchestrates a peaceful demonstration, we support them. 

NEW RULE:
We switch budgeted military funds with education funds.  🔁

NEW RULE:
Killing endangered or "trophy" species...stop it immediately. And no collecting or owning them as pets.

NEW RULE:
Never, ever ask What were you wearing?

NEW RULE:
Large sums of money get funneled into social programs rather than sports franchises.

NEW RULE:
If someone tells you who they are, believe them. 

NEW RULE:
Driving close to someone's bumper is always considered an act of aggression.

NEW RULE:
Donald Trump: No.

NEW RULE:
Cars with vanity plates must be equipped with flyers explaining the humor or meaning of the plate.

NEW RULE:
No one buy those false stomachs that are intended to smuggle beer into the sports venue. Good grief.

NEW RULE:
All citizens of this country have access to clean drinking water.

NEW RULE:
Manufacturers that produce women's clothing, have to look at how men's clothing is made. Seams that stay seamed. Fabric that is not see-through. Buttons that work. Construction that is designed to actually last. Sweaters that are warm. Pockets.

NEW RULE:
Kindly vote.


 Any other good ones I've missed? 

You Were a Fake Christian



Many atheists in the atheist community are fans of the podcast The Atheist Experience with Matt Dillahunty, Jeff, Dee,  Martin Wagner, Russell Glassser, Tracie Harris, Jen Peeples, and a number of others. This podcast is put on by the Atheist Community of Austin. This award-winning podcast gets much attention from Christians and Muslims (mostly) for their debate and scientific method debates. And I've been watching it for the first time for the last two or three months but I've heard about it for years.

Lots of new atheists listen to this podcast "religiously" in order to sharpen their religious debate chops and, probably to find ways to reduce the habit of religious thinking and to get better at critical thought. And lots of Christian and Muslim apologists call in to debate various points of belief, history, dogma, etc. I have heard of the podcast for many years now but I've never been the slightest bit interested in listening to it. I'm not a debater in the least but when you get together in a group of atheists, you'll hear about it. I've been an atheist for about twenty years and I was almost completely unfamiliar with both the shows and all of the personalities who appear on the show. 

But lately I've had some interest in it. And because I'm listening to it, I'm annoyed lately. Alot.
That might also explain my pissy atheism posts lately...


This post might be another one.

Through that show or some other, last week I heard some interview excerpts with the absurd Ray Comfort. In case you don't know who Ray Comfort is, he's an evangelist from New Zealand, now living in the States who is simply always saying the most ridiculous things and who has gained some fame with his debates. 

Anyway

Sometimes I get myself all worked up and miss it, but the entire point of this blog post is the thing Ray Comfort said somewhere... no idea where. I can't be bothered to go find out where I read or heard this one but it would be easy enough to find if you searched for it. This quote of his is a total pet peeve of mine. He said this about people who have left religion:
You were a fake Christian.

Just what is that claim all about? Why it is so common for people who are believers to say to those who have left religion that they were never REAL CHRISTIANS. I'm quite convinced that that suggestion comes directly from the church, from the pulpit. It's a very evangelical thing to say: you aren't a True Christian.

ne type of Christian actually calls other types of Christians Not Real Christians, dismissively, in fact. Not all, OF COURSE. It's just that it's so weird and sad that they to it to each other because that's a real insult from one to another. It's actually a terribly unkind thing to say to someone, not to mention kind of snobby. How weird to accuse someone of this. It seems to me it's a kind of sad self-delusion that these people convince themselves of... it seems unkind, but it's really sad.


And then, the worst! 😉, when a person finds their way out of the mythology and into free thought, we are very often told that we were never a REAL Christian. I've been told this one many a time. I think this is said by some believers because, in the mind of a believer it's simply impossible to imaging no longer believing, which kind of makes it their issue and not mine.  A real believer can never leave, they think.


And yet, here I am. I was a Real Christian.
It mattered a super, great deal to me. I was committed. I felt it was true for life. I spent lots of time certain and comfortable with that certainty. I was hungering and thirsting for the Lord. I was involved in Bible studies for years, planning my weeks around activities at church, attending at least one mass per week, often more, reading Biblical literature, involved with many programs at my church, including teaching Bible School to preschoolers on a Sunday morning, my friends were all believers, making religious pilgrimages, placing my belief in Jesus Christ, meaning what I said, praying many times throughout the day, striving to be a better Christian every day, I was dully fearful of disbelief, truly fearful of Satan and hell, terrified to be around an atheist ...all of that stuff that was real and true and meaningful to me. In my family, I was considered very religious.


So yeah.

You, Ray Comfort and anyone else who suggests that I was never a Real Christian, can live in your little delusional lives and you can make up all of the rules you want. You can derisively make claims all you want. I'm certain it is your fear that, maybe, one day, you will find a way out of the belief doghouse too that makes you so certain that it is not possible. I think that you are quite aware of the flimsy story that you are latched to and you have to create all of these little rules to keep yourself from seeing your own fear, your own smallness in the vastness of all that is.

It took me over three years, against my will, to leave the belief.
THREE YEARS to get enough distance from the utter foolishness of your certainty. And now I am a total atheist. And if you think your certainty of my falseness means anything, well, not only do you not get to make rules about my life, I think you are not Really Thinking. And, sadly, perhaps you never will...

but I wish you could.


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Thursday, August 30, 2018

I'm No Economist...But...


Please bear with me; I'm no economist or political science major or business major. Heck, I'm an absolutely terrible person with maths. It's just that I've been thinking about somethings and I keep coming back to a weird conclusion again and again. Surely there is something to my thoughts.
Or maybe not. I do promise to do some research on this idea...


It's Just That...

It seems to me that our economic system in this country, capitalism, isn't working. Over the many years that I have paid any attention to the news, to our economy, to our communities, to our social policy problems, to our environment, so many problems come down to our economic system where money is king. Not just Trickle Down Economics. But so many of our decision seem to be made de facto  due to the fact that money is made somewhere. As though there isn't a good rebuttle to that. It's a bad decision but someone is making money from it or they own that property, therefore we have no right to suggest a better solution.

Yeah, like, still bear with me here. I'm trying to be clear but I'm not sure that I am clear. I'm not even sure that I'm right about this...

I first started thinking about this about thirty years ago when Dad and I were driving down a particular highway that was lined with abandoned factories. The buildings were rusted and idle and truly an eyesore. Not to mention unsafe. I said to Dad something about how the owners of those buildings seem to have some responsibility to leave the land in a cleaner condition before abandoning a lot like that. Dad just sushed me and told me that I didn't have any idea about things and didn't know the real problems. 

Well, I guess I still don't because I still wonder how factory owners (the wealthy ones who build and own the place) can just move their operations to another location, leaving the leviathan abandoned buildings standing there with no other use. I can look around the the St. Louis metropolitan area and see dozens of buildings that fit this description. Then, who has to remove the buildings in order to clean up the place? The city? That makes no sense to me.

Am I missing something?

How about how we are polluting entire riverways and lands from our mining operations and fracking. But because there is cash to be made it's ok? How can such decisions make any sense at all? Why does the bottom line seem to carry so much weight in decisions like this? I'm not convinced that it isn't a mental illness of some kind to require more more more in spite of the obvious needs of humanity and our world, for resources to be used elsewhere.

Deforestation? Removing large swaths of old forests, new forests, rain forests in order to make room for more human expansion. Illegal logging, wildlife's loss of habitat, loss of green spaces, loss of space for indigenous peoples. There might be a quick buck to be made, but at what cost? Who can and will stand up and say no more, OF COURSE NOT?!

I swear, I'm not on a rant. I'm trying to explain what I've finally figured out for myself about capitalism, not that I have any idea what would be a better system than capitalism...

Here's an obvious one.
The wealthy 1% do not use their money. They store it away, leaving less to circulate, putting less into the economy, making the possession of the cash itself to be a goal. I don't get that, is it an issue of monetary hording(?), but that's neither here nor there. The result is that the people with the disgustingly large loads of cash do not spread it around in ways that make sense for any community. Except for a few notable people, money is horded away instead of put into useful, admirable places. Investing in people, communities, causes. Making this world a better, more peaceful and green place. Instead, their money is hidden somewhere... And that's OK, admirable, even, because they have earned it. (supposedly)



These same wealthy people, then, pay off political machines to watch out for their interests. Like they need that, except to gain more money. I mean, why not pay off political machines to support policy that makes this world a safer, more equitable place? I'm not sure that capitalism actually supports ethical decisions like that. I even wonder if there is a level of wealth that should never be reached by human beings or corporations...but I don't know...

Maybe I DON'T KNOW SQUAT and I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance here. Again and again, though, I see humans whose acquisition of cash is obscene and whose use of that cash is equally obscene. These people tend to have connection to the power sources in our country. Why does their wealthy equal power? Is that a typical part of capitalism?


Aren't these things a part of a capitalistic society because the wealthy humans, families, and corporations seek to keep a hold on their money or seek to provide profit to investors? Child labor, intolerably low wages for families, lack of access to health care, lower access to positions of power for those not in the upper 1%, poverty, homelessness, things like Puerto Rico and Flint, Michigan not getting immediate care from our country, massively underfunded schools, war, building up munitions and bombs to ridiculously frightening levels, the wealthy getting away with crimes that they are able to hide, not to mention the huge and powerfully wealthy corporations that actually affect unfair change in our policies, the leap for young adults from living with parents to becoming independent, unemployment, enormous gaps between the classes of people, the lack of research into better fuel sources and other things that might improve the quality of life, the fact that large corporations control what we see on the news and in social media which gives them huge control of public opinion, HUGE environmental crises due to industrialization and product creation, massive life-threatening trash problems, huge hurdles to overcome for small businesses to get a toehold in the economy, people who hunger and thirst for more more more, entire nations are deeply set in poverty, healthcare becoming so ridiculously expensive that most people can't afford even the most basic of care much less life-saving procedures, exploitation of those living in poverty, only those industries that get investment money will make it in the marketplace, the overall devaluing of human life and of animal life and of all life, people living with physical, emotional, or mental health issues are living in poverty and those with money disparage these people as leeches, lazy, or unworthy. Why should our country be so wealthy when the source of that wealth is so obviously from mistreatment of other countries and other peoples?

And I'm not even trying hard with this list.

As a nation with a capitalistic economic system, we look at so many of these things and lament, sad, but that is the way it is. We can do nothing to repair these systems because it is too expensive. All the while, large sums of money are held by large multinational corporations or extremophile wealthy families and we think well, they earned it (or inherited it) so it's ok.


I don't know.
I'm not smart.
But some of these things seem like no-brainers.
I know of no solutions, only more questions. Just that this is worth thinking about and learning more about...


 What do you think? 

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Monday, August 27, 2018

I've Become Persnickity about my Disbelief


You know, I go through stages. I'm sure we all do, but these stages I'm referring to are the stages of how I feel about belief, religion in particular. Sometimes I can just let go and be all live and let live  about it all, about religion and whatnot. But other times, like now, religion feels like a huge blistering pile of Nefarious Bullshit that doesn't Deserve Protection, much less deference.

Of course, that original statement suggests that there are times when I do not view religion as NBDP. I must here admit that I don't think that is true... I honestly have lost all respect for religion. It is far easier and more common these days for people to express their disdain for religion, in fact it's the issue du jour, and I'm real glad. It's about time. But I'm taking it a happy step further.


Religion has had its day.

I see no redeeming quality of religion.
It harbors abusers. It harbors ignorance. It harbors racists. It harbors misogynists. It harbors bad intentions. It harbors injustice. It maintains an unfair and unbelievable power base in politics and elsewhere. It is steeped in mythology and nonsense. It promotes shame. It wears a mantle of respectability and nobility while earning none of it.


And while I often hear believers say truly ridiculous things like Atheists are actually believers, lately I've been thinking that many people who claim to be religious are truly skeptics running from the truth.

Mirriam-Webster

Open any news site, listen to any news on the radio, even go old-school and open a newspaper and it is obvious that the religious of the world are responsible for warfare, poverty, lack of healthcare for much of the world, racism, sexism, general hatred of any others, beliefs of supremacy, and just so much hatred and chaos. One religion fighting another, one tribe killing another, one race seeking to rule others... Believers in positions of power denying power and rights to others. The absence of peace on this planet can nearly all be colored in by the pencil of tribalism, my belief system and culture is better than yours.

And there is so much more. I think you know what more there is so I don't have to list the many examples of the inherently bad qualities of religions. In fact, there are SO many reasons why I think that religion has had its day. It has become completely superfluous, unnecessary, oily, the antithesis of useful, corrupt, pointless, empty, ...and more words from the thesaurus.

IN SUMMATION


I'm tired of the words like blessing, gift, mystery, ETC being used in language because I find them to be either misleading, to be loaded words that different people mean different thing by, or simply to be saccharine feel-good words that mean absolutely nothing.


I cannot stand the use of them. I'm finding myself a bit riled up about it today and I'm letting off steam right here on my blog because I think that some people who will read this will understand where I am coming from. I'm tired of ubiquitous blessings. I'm annoyed with rampant laziness shows in the absence of critical thought. I'm disgusted with the supposed normalcy of belief.

I'm done with it.

And I hope that soon, within my own lifetime or the lifetime of my children, religion will disappear completely from the common world.

I was listening to The Atheist Experience* the other night, a debate show on YouTube where believers often call in and debate the atheist moderators. The primary chair on the show, Matt Dillahunty, made an amazing, simple, and true comment. I paraphrase: If today something happened to destroy all religion and all knowledge in human beings and we all had to start fresh with our knowledge and/or superstition beliefs, eventually the scientific knowledge would be restored exactly as it is because it is true and provable whereas religion might, again, be created, but it would be a completely different set of mythologies. Because it would all be created by future human beings.

I am a person who is very deliberate with my language usage no matter what I am discussing. I have become very very punctilious about any of these words used by the religious of the world to sound cute or spiritual or pious or righteous. I seldom respond to anything on FB that uses religious language at all because I find it lazy, meaningless, fulsome, sanctimonious, phony, deluded, or glib.
I am done. 


Where are you on this issue?
Still offering deference to the church?


* It's possible, LIKELY, I would be less angry 
if I was listening to something else...  😁

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