Friday, July 29, 2011

A Self-Led Life

Eyes Wide Open

The way I see it, life is not a mission; it is about living on life’s terms between birth and death. I deal in reality. It can be filled with struggle, beautiful moments and everything in between. This is how I face that life: Head-on, no blinders on and enjoying every delicious minute and every crappy one too. I live it to the fullest. I enjoy the good and deal with the bad while knowing that it will always present me with challenges. Those challenges are what make the ride exciting, scary but extremely worth living. Going through struggles only makes the reward of achievement that much sweeter.

The out-of-the-clouds approach to life that I choose naturally does not require a god; it requires only a desire to understand life as it presents itself to me. On my journey, I strive to make good choices with my eyes wide open and have the will to learn whatever valuable lessons present themselves to help me live my best life. My hope is that in this process I will enrich the lives of those around me who choose to share my life’s education and understanding. May my compassion for their well-being and the love that I feel for them have a positive impact on their lives. The choices they make are theirs; it is not for me to decide what they have defined as happiness for themselves.

Inner Strength, Not Manufactured Dependence

Being an atheist, I believe in myself and my abilities. Being self-led and not requiring direction from a spiritual source speaks to my independence. The humanity and compassion I share with my fellow man is something I choose; the decisions to live a moral life come from within, not gifted from an invisible spirit.

There is no evidence that there is anything beyond the life I live today, so the only option is to lead the most fulfilling life I can, every day. I do this without the help of a god, and I don’t feel empty, unsatisfied or unhappy because my choice. The times that are filled with struggle do not require me to get down on my knees and request release from my circumstances because I already look at my life’s situations from a perspective of accepting that reality. Dealing with those situations with no illusions about the exact circumstances tremendously reduces the stress level that can accompany challenging situations. Fear is a natural given when faced with distress, but keeping my thoughts and actions firmly rooted in reality will not allow that fear to become a constant factor in my reaction to those events.

You Get One Chance

Rather than dedicating myself to the man-made invention called religion, I live my life from a perspective of reality and that gives me the freedom to live my life in a way not hampered by irrational guilt, submission, fear or constant worry that I see in so many of those who believe. The love they claim to feel by being bathed in the grace of their lord is a love I feel naturally because I allow myself to experience it coming from my husband, my children, my friends and my fellow man. Love comes and is felt when I can first love myself; I embrace that love because I am worthy of receiving it.

Life does not require a god; it requires a willingness to accept my humanity while I experience all the stages of my life… my only life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I like it.....

the word fuck

This simple 4 letter word rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Me... not so much. I like it specifically for the reasons mentioned. It's a very versatile word that comes in handy in so many different ways. If it feels appropriate... THEN USE IT!

I don't think that using the word makes you a lesser person, but using ONLY this word to put together a complete sentence shows us that you have an inability to be creative with your vocabulary. That's where they rub me the wrong way.

Speaking of rubbing, let's use it as a prime example. Oh, Fuck... that feels good! See what I mean by being appropriate? Now go use your words and be proud!   ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Manicured Lawns Are Not Natural

Every day I challenge myself to walk two miles in addition to some other aerobic form of exercise I can get.  It's not my favorite part of the day, but moving is a requirement, otherwise I feel more like I'm one with the couch rather than this world. What I do enjoy about walking in my neighborhood is seeing all the colors of nature and feeling either the heat light me up or the wind cool me down. I've always enjoyed that connection to all that surrounds me.

On my walks, in between all the mental conversations I'm having or written pieces I'm trying to work out, I notice a whole lot of people's attempts at manipulating their front lawns. Most are neatly done, every square inch of grassy strands perfectly in order, complete with lawn ornamentation that on many, compliment either the house or the owners personality very nicely. The lawns go from deep luscious green to weather-whipped tan and everything in between. The man-made variations of lawns are as plentiful as nature's rich and colorful display of foliage. But, some really go to the extreme of saying a big Fuck You – I own you! to nature with their manufactured look, rather than an inviting natural feel to their display.

I'm a big fan of orderliness in my regular day to day life, so one would assume that I would be equally thrilled with those lawns that smack of having a paid lawn maintainer or an enthusiastic gardener as its caretaker, but I'm really not. Even though the crisp look of those well-maintained lawns do add charm and a sense of 'all is well in the world' rightness to the neighborhood, there is something distinctly off about it too.

I really believe that some ┼░ber-manicured looking lawns are trying to present the perfect picture, but just like the clothes people wear meant to hide physical flaws or as the large houses chosen to impress are covering up massive debt and insecurities; these lawns are also hiding something. The facade of a beautifully well-kept lawn could be hiding an ugliness on the interior of the homes that sit on those grassy pictures of perfection. I don't know that for a fact, but it certainly is something I contemplate because of all that humans do to hide their true natures sometimes. Our society, so often, demands that obedience to facades otherwise judgments will be harsh because the society hasn't come to terms with accepting people as much as they could and, in my opinion, should.

The cliche 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression' comes to mind when I think about the pristine lawn. The people go to many lengths to impress other people with their skills at lawn maintenance, a facade implying they are equally as good as their lawns; kind of star quality people then. At least, the maintainers of those lawns hope it will lead other people to believe that. They understand what society dictates and they are playing that game of what's truly important. The appeal may be to present this polished outward appearance to indicate a level of achievement that won't warrant negative judgment. The fact is, their character, as individuals, should be the barometer of what qualifies for upstanding, not their damn lawn. I will say that there are probably a few lawn aficionados who are perfectly well-rounded, well-adjusted human beings and their top priority is only to be creative masters in their lawn universes, those kinds of people are not who I'm referring to.

My thoughts aren't always accurate and this quite possibly may be true of only a few people, but with a lot of the different things this old lady has learned in her life, I'm betting I'm not completely incorrect in my thought process. Appearances and fear of judgment are huge in today's world and something I don't see ever changing. Or maybe the only reason this even comes across my mind is because I don't have a manicured lawn. This piece would definitely help to explain it to the neighbors who don't get why it's not important to me. I hope they are reading it. Then they would definitively know who they are dealing with... a person who frequently doesn't adhere to the dictates of this society.



Friday, July 22, 2011

Higher Education

Company: Central Christian College of Kansas
Source: AcademicJobsToday.com
Desirable Qualifications: - A personal commitment to Jesus Christ - Bachelor's degree required - Previous experience in Christian ministry preferred....

Well, in our small town, that surely shouldn't be too hard to find, but the irony of this is the fact they listed it in Academic Jobs Today. Having a personal commitment to JC means believing in him. So, I guess academic now means it's all about pursuing a “higher in the sky" education.   ha, ha, ha

Friday, July 15, 2011

Always Talking the Talk, But Not Always Walking the Walk

The religionists of our country seem to claim they are better and have more moral lives due to their affiliation with god/christ. And some fellow human beings are doing so, fanatically. Let's take a moment and look at the reality of it.

Divorce rates

They claim to be happier, specifically, because they have a god who sanctifies this holy union. Don't you think that if they really were then they would be the ones who stayed together forever? Well, they don't. That's my assumption but let's look at this report. Here's the snippet I found most interesting.


"Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.
George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:
"While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."

 
I highly recommend you read the whole report, there are many other fascinating statistics on the subject. On this chart, I discovered that divorce rates would actually be greatly reduced if we would only just wait until we were in our mid to late thirties! The impression I've always gotten from the religious community is that it is better to go from your parent's house right into a marriage and then immediately procreate and multiply. Considering the main statistic that this country identifies primarily religious, it can be surmised that the majority of those people getting married early are the ones contributing to the high divorce rate. So, help me understand - they believe in the sanctity of marriage and better family values which equates into being more moral, right? WRONG!

Crime & Incarceration Rates

This chart reflects a variety of statistics, let's look at the murder and theft rate only. It says that the higher the religious identification, on average, the higher the rate than those who are not religiously affiliated. Hmmm? Sounds to me there's not a whole lot of morality going on with those religious folks if they have higher crime rates than non-believers. Another rather interesting statistic and backs up the previous chart, is that our jail cells have a HUGE population of religious identifying individuals. Close to a whopping 84% consider themselves religious. According to this report, less than 1% are atheists/agnostics. Somebody really has to explain to me how people who consider themselves as having a moral compass can claim such a large chunk of the prison population, if they expect me to swallow that their morality is a higher standard than mine.

Abortion rates

Looking at this from a purely numbers game, I ask the question - if only 10% to 15% of the people identify as non-believers and the 85% to 90% are believers, are you really going to tell me that all the atheists are the only ones getting abortions in this country? According to the Guttmacher Institute, a whopping 78% of women getting abortions claim to have a religious affiliation. I'm doing the math and that tells me 22% of abortions are carried out by atheists or agnostics. I do believe there's a whole lot of lying going on about what they believe and what they actually do. Doesn't hypocrisy automatically equal not moral for you, like it does for me?

To a religionist who claims their faith gives them morality, it should mean their lives reflect a code of conduct showing the world they can distinguish from right and wrong by their actions. If they live a life filled with deeds that are ethical, upstanding and of value to others, then we can say they are moral. So, in other words, if they pontificate that they are more moral, then I would expect to see the numbers truly reflecting that.

This article from 2005 'Societies Worse Off When They Have God On Their Side' agrees with me in my assumption. People of religion who claim to have the moral high ground need to start acting like atheists. Their morality would improve dramatically.

YEAH!

Screw other people's expectations... what are yours?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prayers Needed!

Facebook being the open universe that it is, there is so much drivel on it along with some pretty fascinating stuff. Avoiding all the things I really don't want to see is just impossible. A person of faith recently posted this:

"Prayers needed!" One of her friends responded with - "Prayers! I just saw this! Call me!!!!"

First off, prayers don't do shit - substantive action, taking care of actual needs and personally helping with stuff does. Praying is paying lip service to the person who really needs help. I've always wondered why people would choose to pray versus actually doing something for the person in need. When I was younger and possibly believed that some guy in the sky might actually help, it was comforting to think it would be taken care of. But after growing up, using my rational mind and seeing that's not how it works, I can't stop laughing at the fact that grown people still do this. It's such an irrational way to deal with the shitty parts of life.

To a praying person, they think by doing it they are tapping in to the big guy's sympathy vein and will get whatever they need taken care of. Why would otherwise rational people think there is someone up there taking a stand and deciding that their request is deemed reasonable to be solved in the fashion of their prayer request? Because they are selfish. Yes, I said selfish.They expect that life should just be exactly how they want it to be. They are basically saying "Fuck reality, fuck dealing with life on life's terms and give me what I want... now!"

If the idea that medical intervention alone doesn't sell you on the fact that no one is answering prayers or that luck, good choices and hard work don't contribute to the outcome of all situations, then I don't know what else to tell you; other than grow up and stop fantasizing that an invisible man in the sky is running the show.

Second issue I take away from that post is when the friend, who didn't need the help, had the nerve to say 'call me!!!' - WTF?

If somebody is asking for help, even in the form of prayer, why would it be necessary for the person ASKING for help to call the person who is to give the help to the asker with the need? So, good friend of the person who needs help, you basically said 'I don't want to do shit for you'... but you really care, honestly you do. Horse shit. Talk about not stepping up. I see this time and time again;  but, yeah, the christians got the moral thing down pat and we evil heathens don't know how to be kind to our fellow man.

When I see a post about whatever bad situation a friend is going through, I usually put my two cents in about the sympathy I feel for them and ask if there is anything I can do for them. Usually there isn't anything they need but they do appreciate that someone cares. That is being supportive and if they needed anything beyond that, I would do what I could or if that wasn't a possibility, I would find out if there was someone I knew that could help them. People who believe that prayer suffices are just plain lazy, in my opinion, and offer no solution, what-so-ever.

When I do call the praying crowd out on the waste of time they offer and have no real solutions or offer productive help, a debate usually ensues. But regardless of whatever sense I am making during debates about prayer, they still think 'how's it going hurt?' IT HURTS BECAUSE IT'S NOT DOING ANYTHING OF ACTUAL VALUE!!! What part of that piece of reality don't they understand?? So, aside from being not helpful, giving false hope and comfort to someone who really might need something more to get through hitting a rough patch in life, it's the next best thing to doing something. Again... horse shit.

Then you'll get to hear 'but what about when their cancer disappeared?' and they were all better! Yeah, like the medicine they took or the surgical intervention and the skill of the surgeon didn't play any part. What about all the other cases where people didn't get better and died? The typical answer is either we don't know why god does what he does or it's all in god's plan.

Every logical, rational statement I make always gets tossed out by them and all I get to hear is the inevitable 'it's all out of my hands' way of thinking in the sphere of reality that I'm accustomed to residing in.

The debates I've had with people about the subject of praying are tedious and such a waste of time. So tedious that I frequently ask myself 'Why do I continue to do it?'  The only reason I can think of is that logical thinking and rational thought is worth fighting for in a world that has been damaged by people being irrational and illogical in solving problems. Many of faith say that we just need more prayers as we watch the world struggle to survive the climate issues, poverty, atrocities against other human beings, sex trafficking of children and women and so many more issues. Believing in a god doesn't stop those things, rational people coming up with viable solutions to stopping those tragedies from occurring does.

So, I continue to speak out... it's my way of being a catalyst for good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keith Olbermann - "Face it! We do not take care of each other!"



I love it when Keith gets passionate about something. He manages to push through all the excuses and tells the world what the problem really is. Thanks, Keith, I heart you.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thoughts on Happiness

You deserve to be happy. How you define what happiness is depends on you. But you'll never attain it if you think you aren't worthy of it.

You aren't deserving of happiness if, through your actions, you intentionally try to inhibit or destroy the happiness of others. Having said that, there is a certain responsibility on the receiver of some actions/words. The person who is on the receiving end of incorrectly perceived intentionality, is mistaken when they think the person to blame for their unhappiness is the person who delivers it. When intent is good and facts are accurate, the receiver must honestly keep his/her own personal issues in check and assume responsibility for the emotions it produces.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You didn't deserve this, Caylee


After the verdict was read yesterday, I saw reactions from "OMG, I want to fucking kill this girl for what she did!!" to "Why are people so emotionally involved about something that DOES NOT affect their lives in any way?" Hot-button issues for some, not so hot for others and everything in between.

My viewpoint on Casey Anthony and her case is that I don't know enough about the facts of the trial to comment on it. I didn't watch any of it, which surprises me as I usually do stay in the loop on headline-making cases in the news. But in retrospect, having curiosity and then checking in to watch would likely have pushed my buttons for sure and created all kinds of rage within me.  

Being a mother, my reaction leans towards red-hot fury that this caricature of a human being was ever called one. Hearing the details of what she did and didn't do would have probably sent me into an emotional tizzy that I wasn't prepared to handle. As a mother, she had a job to do and that was to protect her child; she failed miserably and with seemingly no remorse about it. Catching that hint of a sneer/smile when the Not Guilty verdict was announced was enough to make me want to throttle her.

On a couple of occasions, I've written about the importance of what being a good mother means to me. I'm not a perfect mother, but I've dealt with enough of not good mothering to know what's supposed to be important in that mother-child relationship. Raising two children in a fashion that is diametrically opposed to what I dealt with, only goes to reinforce that what I received was not good mothering. It informs me that I learned  enough to become something better and create a new relationship dynamic that is healthy and enriching for my children.

Casey Anthony's behavior (from information gathered in the news) suggests to me that she doesn't even begin to know what it means to be a mother, let alone a good one. Yes, media can skew things and sensationalize things to the point where truth really is unrecognizable, but my assertion that she doesn't demonstrate the qualities of being a good mother comes from only one established fact. Caylee wasn't reported missing until 31 days later and the call wasn't even made by her own mother. Caylee's grandmother reported it.

I can't even begin to understand what went on in that household between the mother, the father, Casey and Caylee; honestly, I really don't care what happened between them as adults. My only frustration and anger with this, is that a child died because good parenting and a sense of right and wrong was not in evidence in that household. 


What parent with a not quite yet 3 year old child would hesitate to get police involved within minutes of the disappearance of that said child, if the whereabouts couldn't immediately be determined? I've had a few of those kinds of scares in my lifetime with my two boys and I'm sure many other parents can also attest to having experienced this. It is one of the most frightening experiences you'll face as a parent and one that good parents want instantaneous relief from.
 

Now, take that image of what a rational, good parent would do and then add the fact this situation required her to act like a law-abiding citizen and decent human being; not on any level did she respond appropriately! If this was truly an accident, then why did she not make the obvious choice of getting the record set straight right from the very beginning? The only thing I can take away from it, before she was arrested, is that she probably murdered her child. If we add the drama of what possibly happened according to the defense team, we might conclude that it was an accidental death but now you've got two more vile people acting inappropriately and involved in the death of this beautiful little girl. The story of bad parenting just keeps getting worse.

Only one person really knows what happened and she can't tell us the truth because she's dead. Her death will probably never be righted and her having to suffer at the hands of someone who didn't value her, is a tragedy.

Casey got real lucky and will be allowed to live out her life, unlike her daughter. The verdict read not guilty and I can't prove she's a killer; I wasn't there and the evidence apparently didn't bear that out, but I think she is guilty. They couldn't conclude she was guilty of killing her child but she is guilty of not being a good mother. For that, I'm sure of it.


What every child deserves, at the very least, is a good mother. Caylee, you should have had that and the opportunity to live a full, happy life with someone who deserved you. I'm sad you didn't get that.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Doesn't Mean Anything

"What you're telling me is a matter of major insignificance." - Allan Lampart

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sorry... is my Atheism bothering you?

Frankly, my dear… I don’t give a damn. I really don’t.

 

It seems like the United States citizens who are atheists are getting a lot more grief from their christian counterparts than normal. Why? What are the atheists doing differently than they have since before the shit storms started cropping up around the country? Some were vocal in the past, so I’m sure that hasn’t changed. If those that remained quiet about their beliefs previously are still ‘in the closet’ that shouldn’t be a problem. So, maybe it’s that there are less staying quiet, and they are defending their right to be in this supposedly free society. A society, I might add, whose constitution guarantees that right.

In general, it seems that the way we atheists handle ourselves in public about our non-belief is low-key compared to some of the heinous things brought about by some of the religious. All you have to do is turn on the news to see where the Westboro Baptist Church is picketing at next, spewing their vile messages of hate, all in the name of their god. Turn on the 700 Club to see Pat Robertson malign anything and anybody who does not follow the doctrine of his god. For a more gruesome example of a heinous act, the news is full of the recent shooting in Norway committed by Andres Behring Breivik. He has some pretty strong beliefs, and he was willing to murder in the name of his god. So why, when atheists are proud and tell the country “we are who we are, so deal with it”, do people  get their bloomers all in a bunch? I don’t know, but they seem to be louder than usual about their distaste for us heathens, and I’m hearing it in every venue, from every state and, especially, from politicians lately.

Hopeful Horizons

 

No, I think what has them most agitated beyond the “let’s convert our brothers and sisters” and “I want to make sure I see you in heaven” plea, is the fact that we are starting to make a difference in the way people think. It’s the education of young people and anyone  willing to listen that has them worried. We are using rationality and knowledge to encourage them to use their brains instead of just fall for religion because their parents and community led them by the nose to drink the Kool-aid.

It’s pissing them off that we are standing proud, shouting loud, and organizing. The National Atheist Party is one good example of that. It’s almost reached 4,000 members since April 2011 and shows no signs of weakening. They are establishing in all the states and making a bold statement about wanting to be represented. It is a political party that was started because atheists were tired of not being taken seriously. Mark Smith, of the NAP, said it best: “We are atheists and we have been marginalized for far too long based on our non-theistic stance. We are proudly and boldly standing up to the accusations, marginalization, and discrimination that has been levied against us since The Enlightenment. Our forefathers were a part of The Enlightenment, and our country was founded on these secular ideals. These values have been under attack by the religious since our inception as a nation. Today, in the 21st century, our government has been seized by the religious fanatics of our time who have blatantly attacked us and are in the process of stripping away our civil liberties. This is the one solid reason the NAP was created.”

The fact that the youth in this country are waking up to the hypocrisy and ignorance is another thing that seems to throw a wrench in keeping the children indoctrinated and following blindly like sheep. This is evidenced by the increase of secular clubs that are getting started with the help of the Secular Student Alliance In February 2011, they reached the 250 milestone and recently, Jt Eberhard, Campus Organizer and High School Specialist, stated the groups have exceeded 260 since February. That current small percentage of American citizens will shortly be a larger percentage than the christians. Pissed off? Yeah… that and afraid.They are losing their flock to logic and reasoning.

This July 4th, proud atheists flew banners through the air proclaiming their beliefs; that also incited the godly ones. Just read the hateful comments left by the so-called christian faithful! In fact, in the capitalist country that we live in, only 17 out of 85 pilots asked were willing to fly a plane with an atheist banner on the back, even when we offered to pay for it.  To each his own, but it is infuriating to see this type of protest when christians feel that they have the right to force their religion into our politics or onto the schools. Why should they be able to deny that atheism exists when we have no chance to ignore their religion? When it personally affects us and our tax dollars, we should get upset and rightly so.

Atheists Are Tired of Other ists

 

Atheists want change because they are tired of being treated like second-class citizens and maligned for no other reason than they don’t believe there is an imaginary man in the sky who created the earth 6,000 years ago or that god created the banana to fit perfectly in our hands and peel just right. As atheists, we also want the current level of religious influence and any level of religion in our politics to cease. Religion should not dictate how our country is run.

Darrel Ray,  author of the book The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture and founder of the organization “Recovering Religionists”, says “I think we should start calling Rick Perry, Sam Brownback, Michelle Bachman and others of their ilk just what they are – Christianists. They are of the same mentality and the same agenda as Islamists – domination of the world by their ideology.” I have to agree.
I want my country back from the religious right who think that anybody who isn’t a christian doesn’t belong here. We all belong here; we are all Americans, and we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whichever form it should take or whatever beliefs we have.

So, christianists… deal with it because we aren’t going anywhere.