Help Me Understand


I need help understanding why some are incapable of exchanging points of view without making a personal attack. Why do so many lack the ability to debate without hate? Why are some of us born with open minds while others simply switch off at suggestions of  different points of view? How is it that some people repeat only what they hear, never stopping to ponder logic or offer opinions of their own? What triggers the closing of minds –  ignites suspicion, fear, bigotry and exclusion? Help me understand.

Strong opinions from politics, religion, environment to my silly dog; I make myself abundantly clear – writing from the heart without mincing words. No intention, other than matching word to thought.. What you see is what you get; this is who I am. Along the way I’ve met people with vastly different viewpoints – people who present their side of an issue thoughtfully, concisely and without malice. People I respect and consider friends, people willing to “agree to disagree”.  This I understand.

I encounter closed minds – those wishing myself or family harm; people full of hatred. These are the people quoting opinionated broadcasters verbatim, people choosing to spew unsubstantiated rhetoric, people without an original thought or perspective to cloud their venom. Help me understand.

If I didn’t possess a fundamental belief in humanity, my ability to function without despair would have collapsed years ago. I shake my head, scrape my jaw off the ground and carry on. That said – at times the weight of closed minds becomes unbearable. Help me understand – what would it take to strip the blinders from millions of scared, angry people?

Searching For the Wrong Eyed Jesus


If you haven’t pondered this documentary – now is the time.

http://kickass.to/middle-americana-searching-for-the-wrong-eyed-jesus-2004-t1261658.html

How Dare You Label Me


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.

Federal Department of Well Being


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.

http://www.cbc.ca/thisisthat/blog/2013/01/23/saying-bless-you-after-a-sneeze-deemed-offensive-by-feds/

When Does Opinion Become Rant?


At work today one of my friends told me he saw the title of the post I wrote last night – “Scientology – You Don’t Fool Me”, and didn’t read it because he thought it would be another “rant”. His disclosure hit me on the head like a hammer – I rant?  In my mind I have strong opinions and always try to give reasons or facts to back them up. Sure, I visit topics of religion quite often – but rant, this was disturbing.

In my mind a rant is what happens when I comment on a post about abortion or sex abuse within the church and am told to “go kill some babies” or asked ” does loving Jesus make a man gay”. To me a rant just doesn’t make sense; it’s an eruption of emotion based on bias and designed to be hurtful. I see a rant as opinion without thought or regard.

  1. rant

    /rant/

    Verb
    Speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.
    Noun
    A spell of ranting; a tirade.
    Synonyms
    rave

    Pondering “rant” all day has failed to clarify things or make me feel any better.Rant is such an ugly word; it eludes to ignorance, short tempers, and bias. The thought I could be perceived as any of those things is driving me out of my mind. Strong opinions certainly fuel some of my posts – the idea it might be viewed as ranting and raving has stopped me dead in my tracks.

    1. o·pin·ion

      /əˈpinyən/

      Noun
      1. A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
      2. The beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing.
      Synonyms
      view – judgement – judgment – mind – notion – idea

      In my pondering mind the “opinions” I write about are simply that. My point of view backed up by my reasoning, facts, and hopefully points to think about. Not in a million years had it crossed my mind that I may have ranted. The holy crap moment came when I realized those people who I considered “ranters” probably feel the same way.

      My question is – when does opinion become rant? Does opinion become rant if you disagree with the point of view, or it contradicts your morals? Does “rant” rear it’s ugly head when you visit the same topic over again, or does “rant” simply mean you don’t want to read about a certain topic?  When does “opinion” cross the line to become “rant”? Are rant and opinion strictly reserved for judgement by a reader? I need help on this matter – my world is in tatters.

A Pagan World


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?

Vancouver Vaisakhi


Tomorrow brings Vancouver’s annual Vaisakhi parade. Vaisakhi celebrates the birth of Khalsa and the Sikh religion, as well as the start of harvest in the Punjab. A simplistic description if ever there was one, I’m no expert on the Sikh faith. I do appreciate a good festival though, and this one is a keeper.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/7082105327/in/set-72157616676734754/

photo.

We stumbled upon this annual festival a few years ago; it remains on our must do list ever since. Vancouver puts the “multi” in “cultural”, almost half the residents don’t have English as a first language. At Vaisakhi, a smile is the common language. I can’t quite put my finger on it but for some reason Vaisakhi is able to celebrate a deeply religious, significant observance in a welcoming, positive way.  Nothing is for sale – home after home along the parade route sets out tables offering everything from chai tea and pakoras to curries and sweets. With tireless smiles upwards of 100,000 people are treated with the same respect.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/5648270254/in/set-72157616676734754/

photo.
Dance as Bhangra music pulls you to a stage, marvel while flowers fall from airplanes, soak up the history and ceremony as the parade passes by. Ponder an afternoon where no matter who you are, you’re welcomed – no strings attached.