This video may seem a little long, that said – watch and ponder if you can spare seven minutes.
This video may seem a little long, that said – watch and ponder if you can spare seven minutes.
If you haven’t pondered this documentary – now is the time.
I had an idea, far from claiming it original or earth shattering; just a thought crossing my mind. One of those little moments of clarity, akin to that instant when Algebra makes sense or you understand “cereal box French” – for the first time in your life not having to flip to the English side.
I’m still bargaining with “promise” – I assured her I wouldn’t write about religion. Promises born of good intent are common – minuscule snippets of idea arrive when least expected. My apologies for a flippant promise – little ideas will trump every time.
Worn to my last nerve at the thought of defending my “Godless” views, sick of the label Atheist, and steadfast in belief that religion will be the death of us all – I had an idea. Instead of the “Godless” patting themselves on the back for cleverly debunking the faithful; they need to organize and form a recognized “religion”. Before fundamentalist Atheists vow to jump down my throat – hear me out. We pride ourselves on analytical thinking, minds open to possibilities and truth. The truth is – this idea has some merit.
Like it or not our world is based on religious bias. Values such as freedom of speech and religion become contentious when a segment of society is deemed void of religion. The Godless can justify their position till blue in the face – truth is, nothing less than official recognition will level the playing field. If the Godless stepped down from their fortified positions, organized, put their minds to good use and refused to take the bait dangled by fundamentalists mouth pieces – think of all the good we could do.
Wouldn’t irony rule the day if the Godless behaved with dignity, respect, inclusion and charity? How perfect would it be to exhibit virtues so many faithful overlook in their rabid agenda to eradicate the Godless?
No one will win a pissing match of egos, intellect, common sense or values. I’m tired of the game. A proposal to change the rules – more accurately a “game changer” set in motion by tactical planning aimed at putting an end to the madness strikes me as a refreshing summer rain. Forming a “religion” isn’t hypocritical – it’s smart, decisive, and pivotal towards getting on with more important issues. Granted, the Godless might have to choose something to “worship”. I say – suck it up people, look at the big picture. Maybe we could worship “seeds”, the implications could vastly alter genetic modifications if we put our minds to it.
I could care less if my neighbour was waiting for the rapture or a reincarnated soul from the planet Xenu. As long as they don’t shove it down my throat, making the world a better place should come easily. It wouldn’t be difficult to find a qualifying niche. The link below is for the IRS rules regarding tax exempt/ non profit religious status. Following is an excerpt regarding the validity of religious belief. At least give it a ponder – somebody has to take the high road for the good of us all – why not the Godless?
While speaking to my mother this evening, I learned she told her friend about my blog. She said her conversation came with a warning about my Atheist views. They got into a discussion of fanatic atheism, her friend recommending books I should read to temper my point of view.I`ve never met this person in my life, nor had he read a word I`ve written – he heard the term Atheist, which apparently sent him into salvation mode.
My initial reaction was disbelief – not only for my mother choosing to share my blog with a disclaimer, but for the reaction of this man. Not often do I feel the need to set the record straight; in hope that this phantom stranger actually takes a peek – a definitive ponder on my religious views…..
The idea that God didn`t create man, man created God has been discussed for ages – I agree completely with this statement. My agreement isn`t dismissive or judgemental; it comes with the understanding that what sets mankind apart from other species on the evolutionary ladder is our ability to not only question, but reason. Since the dawn of time `faith` has comforted, guided, and shaped our destiny. Without it, man would never have become mankind. There isn`t a civilization in history without a creation myth. One of the first questions children ask is `where did I come from`, answers given by parents serve as comfort or reassurance – that is how I see faith. Some parents answer `the stork brought you`, some say `I found you in a cabbage patch`, others `from mommy`s tummy` – I see these as different religions. Not a question of right or wrong, merely a personal decision based on family values. Not one of us would take issue with this, or force parents to respond `you came from God`. My respect goes out the window when religion becomes a matter of public scrutiny.
I believe `faith` and `church` are two very different things. Millions upon millions of people quietly draw strength from belief in their God. When I write about religion my words aren`t meant for these people – it doesn`t make the slightest difference to me if people worship God. The fact that I don`t should be a non issue; what matters is how we spend our brief lives. What matters is that we respect others right to answer `I found you under a lily pad` if that`s how they want to.
I strongly believe anything less than complete separation of church and state infringes on basic human rights.
The term `fanatic atheist` makes me gag. Fanatic anything alludes to a one way ticket on crazy train; that said, what`s the worst thing a fanatic atheist could do – stalk forums and bait religious fanatics for amusement. I can`t imagine how the average Godless persons actions hold a candle to Pastor Michael Stahl of Florida wanting to create an Atheist data base or George H.W. Bush saying `I don`t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God`.
I don`t believe the `church` is above the law, the same rule of law should be applied to Catholic priests as your average paedophile or rapist. I see no reason for churches not to be audited more closely – in particular ministries preaching on television or in travelling tent shows – extracting a lavish lifestyle in the name of God is criminal. Religious groups who speak out against homosexuality or abortion should be prosecuted for hate crimes. Scientology should never have been given official non profit status in America. God should be banned from reference in political speeches or campaigns. No person should ever be asked to disclose their religious affiliation.
So there it is; my abbreviated views on religion. If this makes me a fanatic Atheist – I give up. If respecting another’s right to faith, while speaking out against despicable injustice or crime in the name of God makes me worthy of data base registration – there is no hope for mankind. As long as I have to wear the label ` Atheist`, closed minds will dictate the future.
When I look back at history, I can’t help but think scary similarities are rearing their ugly heads. Like it or not; religion has dictated more historical conflict than not. At the very least, religion has shaped history according to whose temple had the most might at the time. Conquest led to far more than having your home torched – invading forces brought with them little choice – death or conversion. Once the soldiers finished plundering and fires went out, it was spiritual control that kept them in power. Legions of missionaries obliterated traces of former deities,history, and language. It was “gods” way or the highway.
Watching the conservative religious fundamentalist movement gain popularity has me pondering that history. I haven’t the slightest problem with a person’s faith, god, or beliefs. It doesn’t matter one iota what anyone chooses to believe – happy to never discuss religion for the rest of my days – but for this army of religious bullies pushing their weight around. I can’t shake the feeling that history is repeating itself.
In many ways fundamentalist assaults are worse than ancient military campaigns – instead of simply getting the job done – fundamentalists appear as everyday people. They enter politics preying on fear or family values, without blinking an eye to the nature of their assault.without understanding the damage they are doing. In America they claim to fight for the constitution; the same constitution that promised freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Using media as an unimaginably powerful weapon, they spread paranoia, misinformation, and dissension without even realizing their attack on fundamental human rights. It is their way or the highway.
It would be incredibly naive of me to think these bullies have the slightest inkling of the damage they cause. The only hope is to ban any reference to God or religion in politics. How dare any of them claim to uphold the constitution – they know of no constitution other than the bible, which has no place in politics.
I don’t have to read the bible or believe in God to respect people who do. My issue is with fundamentalists bullying people to read the bible and believe in God. Conservative politicians using God as a weapon that takes away the freedom of choice or beliefs. It makes my blood boil.
The other night I opened my post on Scientology with a paragraph about ” sensible Canada.” Standing behind my opinion and reasons for this assertion isn’t difficult; my dilemma stems from use of the word “sensible” – I would like to change that to “reasonable” – the examples I gave where reasonable in my mind. There is nothing “sensible” about a nation with a Department of Well Being. Forget the fact it sounds like Communist propaganda; in many ways that would be easier to swallow than the mission to make Canadian federal workplaces “”inclusive to all, offensive to none”.
Susan Bonhart heads the Dept. of Well Being, her goal to include all while offending none, might just have blown my mind. Don’t get me wrong; inclusion is good, offensive is bad, yet much like the distinction between opinion and rant, where do you draw the line? At what point does it become silly?
I’ll go out on a limb by saying this is silly enough to force an amendment from “sensible” to “reasonable” – and only reasonable on a case by case basis. My Canada is nuts and I can’t stop laughing. Tomorrow I may be shaking my head but for now laughter fuels this ponder.
Listening to CBC rradio this afternoon I caught an interview with Susan Bonhart. I have to say, I kind of liked her. She came across as a grade 3 substitute teacher, trying to win over the class with exaggerated enthusiasm. Obviously a woman who takes her job seriously, scary as this may seem, I believe she means well. Good intentions and earnest delivery aside, her message was just plain silly.
The Department of Well Being was formed to govern practices for federal employees. Under the direction of Bonhart these phrases are banned in the federal workplace.”bless you”, “for heavens sake”, “oh my God”, and “cheers”. “Bless you” infers “God bless you”, is offensive as it marginalizes with the message “I believe in God, my God” When a government employee sneezes at work the suggested replacement for banned bless you is – “Oh no, I heard that”. Bonhart reasoned this response let the sneezer know they where heard and showed empathy for their sneeze. Also acceptable is the wave of a hand or pat on the back; she recommends using hand sanitizer after back contact.
“For heavens sake” is deemed offensive as it “opens up debate of an afterlife”. “Oh my God” or” OMG” implies “if you don’t share the same God as I do you have no right to be surprised” , her suggested replacements -” wow”,” oh”,” well, huh.” “Cheers” offends simply because it belongs in a bar not the office. My drive ended before any further enlightenment. If you have 5 minutes to spare, listening to the audio clip on this link will explode your head; well worth the lost few minutes of your life.
Stop and ponder for a minute – picture our world if we were all Pagan.
Heathens, infidels, gentiles – pagan thorns in the side of chest pounding, power brokers carving out their niche in the ancient world. Non followers of the emerging religious muscle men, scorned and ridiculed; their beliefs becoming the poster child for debauchery. Painted as simple and inferior for worshiping multiple deities, big religion eradicated and absorbed culture after culture. Indigenous people assimilated – converted into malleable shells; easy to control, easy to milk for the vast fortunes needed to maintain the bloated machine.
If by some magic it were all a bad dream – what would be so wrong with that? Ponder where we might be today if the Aztec and Inca civilizations were left to their own devices. Think of the men of science burned at the stake because they made the church nervous. Picture where medicine could be but for snuffing out Pagan practitioners. Ponder a world built on reverence and respect for natural resources that sustained us. Contemplate a life freed from guilt, oppression, or arbitrary rule changes.
Before “big religion” reared its ugly head people worshiped deities that made their world definable. Fertility, harvests, seasons, success in battle – all handled by separate spiritual departments. The Pagan gods didn’t get bogged down in the details, each one with a specialty; clearly defined and not subject to whims or political hankering. Ancient deities kept us focused on our planet, they brought rain, food, and sunlight.
Be it ancient heathens or big religion; all were born in creation myth. Since the beginning of time temples and places of worship have been erected, and offerings were made to the “gods”. The difference is, ancient deity worshipers didn’t change the rules as they saw fit.
Once upon a time religion made sense of the unimaginable, structured society and brought people together. Over time it’s become a hideous monster. Oppressive, judgmental, and ignorant – so far removed from its innocent intention at birth – I now fully understand the term “blind faith”
So I ponder a pagan world; for lack of a better description a world where we don’t give a rats ass what deity any body else worships. Worship God, Allah, or a box of cornflakes – pray for a new iphone or world peace, nobodies business but your own. All I ask is that the righteous stop talking about it.If your deity was the one and only, how the hell did the rest of us get here?
While at work today the Jehovah Witnesses dropped a “watchtower” leaflet in my mail slot.
Normally I would have tossed it straight into the garbage but their new image of Jesus caught my eye. The updated watchtower Jesus looked more like the CEO of Hair Club for Men. I read on – it seems March 26 marks the 1,980th anniversary of his death. They were “cordially” inviting people to attend their church on that day to discuss how the death of the greatest man who ever lived could benefit us all. According to the apostle John – the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin. They went on to ask people to consider if death ended it all, stressing the importance of attending a bible study on the subject.
Trying to remember what I knew of the Jehovah Witness faith was spotty at best. I knew they didn’t allow blood transfusions, and was fairly certain the chosen were a limited number. I confess to a little chuckle recalling a story my brother told me – he’s a licensed trapper who happened to be skinning a Marmot one Saturday morning when they knocked on his door. Marmot in hand he answered the door; they asked what was in his hand and he answered “my cat”. Let’s just say they’ve never been back.
Some research followed; I wanted to know if death ended it all. The answer is a little tricky, as it’s yes and no. JW’s don’t believe in a immortal soul or the concept of hell. They believe we cease to exist when dead, however if we dotted all our I’s and crossed our T’s in life, there is a chance God will remember and resurrect the faithful. They believe we are in the “end times” which started in 1914. Never stating when the “end” will come, one certainty is that when the end arrives, precisely 144,000 “anointed” will ascend to heaven to rule with Christ – the rest will spend eternity in “paradise on earth”. I admit some confusion; they seem a little vague on the concept of paradise on earth after end times.
With around 7 million faithful worldwide, the odds of ascending to heaven aren’t that great – yet the faithful knock on my door or plug my mail box with an admirable tenacity. It doesn’t seem to bother any of them in the slightest. I could care less what any one wants to believe; the sooner religion is off the table the better. However; stick a flyer with “hair club” Jesus pondering “death ending it all” in my door, and I simply can’t help myself.
This link has a good overview of Jehovah Witnesses.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, head of the Catholic church in Scotland; resigned over allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation on Feb. 18, just short of his intended departure on March 13 – his 75th birthday. Dare I say; there seems to be a trend developing in the Catholic Church.
These “run for the border” antics have me pondering. It isn’t that it’s happening; that’s old news. What really bothers me is that the same rule of law should apply to them as everyone else. Monumental heartbreak, shattered lives, and broken trust are swept under the mat; as if the victims didn’t matter. Men of God slip out the back door, and we all look the other way.
Apparently the “church” is on to something. In these politically correct times confession remains the accepted path to redemption, I doubt that the irony will ever dawn on the faithful. Thanks to our social media world, the confessional is open for all to see. The holy water gets too hot – jump out of the pot on CNN and all is right in the world – you’re only human. Zero punishment, all is forgiven – right?
I can’t help but laugh. For some strange reason it makes me think of Ted Haggard . the evangelist who strayed when attacked by homosexual demons. Poor Ted, he cried and cried – rather publicly I might add, upon losing his ministry; his livelihood down the toilet, stoic wife at his side – we give him a reality show. Actually paid him for the right to roll film as he re-builds his cash cow out of a barn on his sprawling estate.
I realize that Ted didn’t prey on followers, and can not be compared to Cardinal O’Brien’s path of demise. The point I’m trying to make is that we need to re-evaluate the kid glove extended to matters of God. Every one of us who accepts this ridiculous, hypocritical double standard, is responsible for the God card being played as a “get out of jail free” card.
Pondering religion has me taking a look at Cuba and Santeria. The birth of Santeria is unique in that it sprang from a measure of tolerance by Spanish invaders. Spanish plantation owners allowed their slaves to form clubs called Cabildas; a place where African slaves melded traditional Yoruba faith with Catholicism. What sets this apart is that it happened around the same time Spanish conquistadors were obliterating indigenous civilizations in Mexico and South America.
No question the Spanish had no God but their own in mind, that said it’s fascinating Santeria was tolerated. Perhaps it seemed harmless enough as it wasn’t part of local culture. They were businessmen for the most part who might have recognized the benefits of keeping the peace.I suspect the clever practice of referring to Orishas; Santeria Gods, as “saints” duped Spaniards into thinking the imported work force was toeing the line.
Santeria believes in over twenty Orishas; Gods able to wear many different “masks” therefore perceived in other cultures as their own holy figures. It has no text, and is passed on by word of mouth. Money isn’t wasted constructing places to worship; ceremonies take place in private homes or rented spaces. It worships nature, and takes a holistic approach to healing. Followers are given a “mother” and “father” Orisha in ceremonies conducted by a priest. Orishas have different colours associated with them; followers wear beads to identify their mother and father. Offerings known as ache are sometimes made in the form of blood from animal sacrifice.For this reason many people think of it as Voodoo, a misconception built on one tiny aspect of a rather complicated faith.
It would take hours to explain the intricacies of Santeria. My kindergarten overview doesn’t do justice to a faith born and raised for no purpose other than to help its followers. Santeria doesn’t knock on your door with newsprint pamphlets, it doesn’t care what others believe or pass moral judgement. It focuses on drawing strength from within, and honouring nature. It accepts all faiths and welcomes anyone who knocks on its door.
Perhaps this helps to explain the joy found in Cuban people. People who laugh and sing despite the lousy deal they’ve been handed. Ponder our world if we took a lesson from Santeria and kept religion to ourselves. A world free of church leaders sitting on piles of plundered wealth, free of hatred, judgement, and the belief it mattered one iota which afterlife any of us found ourselves.