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Archive for March, 2015

Are they really “shoving it down your throat?” Or could this be a matter of perspective.

-Poetic style-

cognitive-dissonance (1)

If you don’t believe it, then just leave it,” that’s what they like to say. What they mean is, “shut up, stop speaking your mind unless it agrees with me.” Tell the truth, be honest, never tell a lie, but suddenly that changes when the truth is exposing their lie.

The religious, the right wing, or so they are called, like to appear good, all American, positive and full of hope. Until their ideas are challenged and someone dares to disagree.

They want to live free to speak what they may, to enjoy who they are in the light of day and never let anyone take it away. But when someone starts to share their ideas that go against their belief, to live a different lifestyle without shame, they jump to take their freedom away.

They claim it’s shoving it down their throat, that people are trying to force them to accept something they don’t believe in. When really the others just want the same freedoms, the same opportunities, and the ability to live without shame true to themselves the way they are.

It’s not really so difficult to understand, the idea is simple, not misleading. But humans get old with their ideas fast. When new information comes along, if it doesn’t fit what they have already established then it’s rejected and colored bad.

The older generation can’t let go while the younger folks don’t know how to make a stand. It’s a paradox that can be solved with courage and better learning. While it won’t happen in a night, the time being taken is rather a fright.

Stop assuming you’re a victim, stop believing your being persecuted, stop seeing other peoples plight for freedom as an assault on your own beliefs and so called conservative life choices. Make yourself step back, challenge yourself to see though other people eyes, start being part of the solution instead of a toxic wall of fearful agitation lashing out at what some day will be your own protection.

– Lorenakoran

Props to Heina for this blog inspiration.  https://www.facebook.com/heinadadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy quote

Cognitive-Dissonance

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If you are surrounded with people who accept people the way they are and are not on a mission to “save” everyone and you only believe in the parts of your holy book that promote peace and love, then, you might not know what the “others” are up to.

Quite a few times in the recent past I have posted comments or shared other peoples posts about Christians that were mean, bullying and threatening. There are several reasons I feel compelled to share such things. One is because there are many Christians who don’t actually know what their bothers and sisters in Christ are up to. Another reason is because if the more liberal Christians would wake up and realize what going on out here then they could better speak out against it. Not that all fundamental Christians will listen to them, but some will, and at least the loving peaceful kind will be noticed and it would at least give Christianity a better name. Being silent and doing nothing doesn’t make the world a better place, it just lets the obnoxious loud people get their way.

Another reason is to set some of the lies and deception straight. As someone who was lied to for most her life I find this very important.

I’ve had issues with the Duck Dynasty group for a while now. Not only is it a show I won’t watch but one of their main and respected people, Phil Robertson, has said some things that made my stomach turn. After his indiscretions instead of seeing the show get canceled I started seeing even more Duck Dynasty paraphernalia sold in stores.

Then today I see this article;

‘Duck Dynasty’ star fantasizes about atheist family’s brutal rape and murder to make point about God’s law

Click on the blue words to read and hear what Phil Robertson said. It’s short and disgusting. Or clink on the link bellow to go to the Sound Cloud recording and listen to it.

This man really believes that a person can not be good without God. Even if the Bible was 100% correct, Phil would still be wrong. We have this thing in our minds that I remember learning about as a child. Maybe folks like him didn’t get that lesson. The thing in our head is called a conscience. They even taught us about it in Christian school.

There are some folks with out a conscience and they are called psychopaths. Many of them are what ever popular religion is in their area. While they may be “religious” so they can blend in, some of them are because they were just raised to be.  There are some without religion who have been raised and taught well how to behave in society and not do things that will cause them harm or get in the way of success. Then there are psychopaths who do bad and horrible things. The majority are going to come from the religious world. But yeah, some from the secular world as well. So, even then, with out a conscience and without a god a person can actually still be “good”.

Then there’s also another motivating factor for those who are good challenged. It’s called the law and law enforcement. People in general do not want to be punished and do not want to go to prison and do not want to pay out a lot of money and do not want to be executed.

But there’s more!

Not only do most folks have a conscience and a healthy fear of consequences (in this dimension) but many folks with or with out god have empathy. It’s not a god thing, it’s a built in thing just like the conscience. And if you do believe in a god or gods, then you may believe he or her or they put the conscience and empathy in us. One way or another the average person, believer or not, have those. We can operate without a deity and still use our conscience, still be empathetic, still love, still be kind and so on.

It’s a shame that Phil doesn’t seem to know any atheist type people who do volunteer jobs in his community. Considering where he lives it’s possible he does know a few but they are to afraid to expose themselves. The South still has a long way to come when it comes to prejudice. He obviously doesn’t research the subject or he would find atheist are involved in many compassionate outreaches and many are philanthropist. Just like religious people, some do it for attention and to further their goals, but many more do it because it’s just who they are. Without god(s) they are still loving kind people who care and want to help make the world a better place.

After reading and hearing how Phil summed up his gory disgusting vision of what life must be like or could be like for an atheist it seems he may have realized at least for a split second that he had gone too far, or not. I am referring to when he said, “If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right,’”  Really! If anyone, including atheist, had something like that happen to their family to think they would just sit back and think, “hum, something just ain’t right” is insane. Hell no! There would be screaming, crying, panic, a desperate attempt to stop what was happening. It’s as if Phil thinks that atheists minds are empty and void of any emotion.  If someone really believes this they really need to get a psychological diagnoses and medical treatment cause there is something sick going on in their head. No, seriously, I’m not just saying this to be spiteful, well, maybe a little, but really, mental illness is a real issue and there is help out there. Sadly, folks like Phil will not likely seek help for various reasons. I would love to be wrong about him, we shall see. Like Phil, if they keep getting patted on the back and told what a great job they did, why would they seek help? And if they are too proud or too fearful… and so on, well it’s challenging. Also thinking they may be rejected if they admit they have a mental problem stops a lot of folks. This is why we all need to get a better understanding of mental illness and become ready to be supportive and encourage mental health help.

So, now you know more about what the “others” are up to if you didn’t already know. Phil is just one out of many but he does seem to have quite the flare for disgusting drama. Others do as well but not everyone is as famous and well heard. Just ask your friendly well known atheist and they could likely show you quite a lot of messages threatening their life as well as threatening other horrible things. And most of those notes would be from Christians, not the godless.

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Growing up I was programmed to believe one could not actually be good with out the Lord Jesus Christ. Even people who were considered good with out “god” or good but in a different religion were either not what they appeared to be or, somehow the Christian God was influencing them and it was just a matter of time ’till they realized it. This is one of many examples of talking in circles, btw.

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I was approached by a fellow employee at the resort hotel I worked at for many years about such subject. I didn’t realize how ironic it was at the time that the man confronting me was Mexican. I haven’t been everywhere in the world, yet, but I have lived in many states and even in Mexico and I have found it rare to run into a Hispanic atheist. I don’t know if this man was actually an atheist. He was trying to convince me that I was a good person and it wasn’t because of the Lord Jesus Christ, but that it was just what I was. I got very frustrated with that man and let him know he didn’t really know me. I let him know that without Christ there was no telling what kind of person I would have been and that it would be very possible I would actually be a bad person. I really believed this and he finally recognized that fact and walked away upset.

When I left Christianity in my late thirties I put some of that train of though to the test. Not all at once, but over time. Could I be mean, could I do bad, and so on and be okay with it? I learned that the answer was a big NO. It’s just not me, with out the Christian god or any god I was still, and still am, a good person. I still love to help people, I still believe in honesty and so on.

Anyone who understands how the brain works could have told me this, not that I would have listened, but it’s all there in the brain. It’s called a conscience and it’s activity can be seen in brain scans. Those who have no color activity there are psychopaths. Apparently I am not a psychopath. Yes, I had heard of the conscience but I understood it somewhat as something built into us but more so as something God put in us to help us, like his spirit guiding us.

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But what about my kids? What I knew about child rearing was what I learned from watching and listening to my parents and listening to Dr. Dobson on the radio and listening to my mom read his books and from various things said in churches as well as studying what the scriptures said about it and so on. I have been one of those people who can see someone do something wrong or something that doesn’t work and learn from it and not repeat their mistakes so I did have that advantage. But for the most part I believed in order to instill right from wrong and the desire to do right one needed to involve the Lord Jesus Christ or all their efforts would be in vain.

There was also that horrible judgmental side that comes with all this. For instance the rebellious pk’s (preachers kids). The common train of thought was that their parents must have done something wrong. For many of the very religious other peoples kids are like the litmus tests of the family. They show the true colors. But when it’s your pastors or church leaders rebellious kids, well, they always have a good excuse or find way to avoid the subject. Truth is, good parenting or not in the long run your kids are individuals with their own brain and their own personality. Sure, you could have done better, we all could have. Many of us have done and are doing the best we can and if you are looking to turn out “perfect” mini you’s well, nothing will work. Perfect is an opinion.

Litmus-test

Still, like many other people, I want to raise content smart kids who can think logically and skeptically and become successful and give back and help those in need and not get std’s. Understanding that most our brains are wired to do such things makes it all possible with out god(s). Learning from my own personal experiences that I can be a good person without god helps as well.

Meeting many folks who were raised secular and are good citizens who like helping their community and the world is wonderful as well. Many of those sort of folks don’t really understand the cause for terror many religiously raised folks sometimes have when it come to raising their kids with out religious threats and promises.

For me talking and communication often with my kids is where it’s all at. Telling my kids to not lie, not to steal, not do drugs and to respect others and so on just isn’t good enough. I believe in explaining why and even backing it up with studies proving this and that to be true and beneficial. Listening is just as important. I need to know what they understand and how they see things. Most of the time for me I enjoy hearing what my kids are thinking, however, there are those moments my eyes pop and I feel rather offended. That’s when I start silently talking to myself and investigating why I had trouble with what they said. There have been many times I reacted immediately and it wasn’t a good idea to do so, but I believe in apologizing and not necessarily defending myself, well sometimes, but more explaining why mommy reacted so negatively to them so they can take the info and hopefully learn from my mistake. Also, hearing myself apologize and explain helps me cement a change in myself so I don’t repeat the same mistake again. Other times I catch myself in time and stop myself from reacting. I then quickly recognize the negative feeling and investigate what is really causing it. Doing this helps me not lash out and then if there is something I need to help my child with I can do so calmly and with out the extra baggage involved.

Some things are simple. When you lie or steal or are dishonest you lose peoples trust. Some people can be won back over over time but others won’t. This can affect your future and ruin opportunities. This sort of explanation isn’t necessarily related to the conscience but to cause and effect much like the threat of hell fire and the promise of heaven, but it is more honest and over time more obvious. For young children many of the bad thing they do are not because they don’t have a conscious but because they just don’t understand. Thus explaining actions and reactions is necessary until their conscience can catch up.

I do love being able to teach my children without after life threats. I love helping them see the good inside of them and acting on it. But what if one or more kids is a psychopath? Not every parent will ask themselves this. But I have. I ask myself a lot of questions. Especially when I am learning about a certain topic. Am I a psychopath, am I bi-polar? And so on. So far I don’t fit into any of those type of things but looking inside myself and learning about them helps me become more empathetic. My kids are not psychopaths, but we do have other issue to deal with. I have a child with Autism and one with aspergers. People in the autism spectrum sometimes appear to be psychopaths to others because they don’t react to situations the same way the average person does, so they are easily miss-judged. My two in the spectrum will often not get a joke that every one else gets but then they will laugh at something others think is not funny. They might not cry when others find something sad, but they will roll into a ball, tears streaming out of their face over something else others may not see as all that sad. In order for them to function in society I have to teach them about the moments they should not laugh out loud and so on. It’s not a conscious issue, but a what is acceptable in society so you don’t get bad grades and fired from your job issue.

Although at this time three of my kids consider themselves atheist and one a pagan, sometimes, I really just wish for them to be skeptical thinkers and to question everything as well as learn how to investigate and not just accept the first answer they hear. As young people it’s been fine with them being what they are because mommy says it’s a good idea, but it’s a matter of time and that won’t be okay any more. When I talk to them about things such as religion and science I do my best to explain why I believe what I believe and how I got my information hoping that they will be inspired to research on their own. I also am open and honest about my mistakes and misunderstanding. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen, it’s part of normal life. So far it seems three of them do understand this. One of them doesn’t. And, who knows, maybe he never will, or maybe he’s just not quite there yet. Either way, in the long run it is his life. Letting go of parental responsibility for older or grown children can be very challenging for many parents. They may not realize it but often they see their kids as a reflection of themselves. So if their kids don’t follow in their foot steps it’s seen as a personal assault on them selves and a testimony to their “bad” child rearing. But the truth is, yes, you may have influenced them, but no, it’s not all about you. It’s all about them as their own person.

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When it comes to having a secular family, not all secular families are alike. Some have all members on the same or similar page, some have a spouse or ex who is still religious and also influential on the children, some have kids who were raised religious at first and still hold on to their religious training, and so on. I consider myself fortunate in this area. My two oldest remember being in the cult I was in for years. One of them remembers enough to still have some bitterness toward it and Christianity. The other one doesn’t recall much and while she doesn’t care for Christianity she isn’t bitter about it. She does get frustrated with everyone at school being religious but she deals with it fine. My younger two don’t remember the cult or religious days at all. My ex gave me a hard time when I first left the cult and Christianity but it was soon after he realized the con we were trapped in and he too left both the cult and religion. He mostly avoids religion all together. So while we may disagree in some areas, at least he isn’t telling our kids that I’m going to hell. It saddens me that many parents do this to each other and to their children.

It makes me happy to be able to raise my kids with out programming them that their natural self is sinful and that they were born deserving hell. That they can be good and moral with out god. That asking questions and digging deeper and investigation is awesome and not a deadly fruit on a tree in the middle of an imaginary garden. I love that they can recognize mental illnesses and mental challenges without pegging those who struggle with such things as demon possession. I do wish the world was a better and safer place and that I didn’t have to warn them about criminals and baby rapers and std’s and cancer and abuse and harmful drugs and bullying, but the world has people in it so it’s gonna have it’s issues. Consequences are a part of life and it’s my job to prepare and train my kids the best I can regarding those things. Teaching them to dig deeper and to learn is one huge way I can prepare them to avoid the negative things life has to offer. Not just relying on one old book that actually condones some horrible things and the people who claim to live by that book but can’t agree on much, but to learn their own truths and learn from their mistakes as well as others.

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If you are a parent who is or is considering raising your children secular but you feel they need to be part of a community like so many religious people are, there are alternatives to religious church. One is the UU churches. You can locate your local UU congregations at UUA.org. They are all different. Many of them have Sunday school and summer day camps etc. Normally their curriculum for children is about learning and respecting different religions and non-religious beliefs. There are also Atheist “churches” popping up here and there in order to give people a dogma free community. There are also things like Boy and Girl scouts, 4H, Boys & Girls club and sports and so on that can offer a sense of community and belonging as well, depending. Many YMCA’s have youth activity and youth leadership programs and although they are Christian based many of them do not push the issue. You can also look for local volunteer opportunities. If you have the energy for it you can also start your own group. If you do I recommend using Meetup.com.

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(All the pictures and posters on this particular post were found on Google image search.) 

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