Saturday, October 29, 2011

Indoctrination vs. Learning



If you look at things from a perspective of being afraid of it, you will tend to believe whatever you are taught about it, but if you come at anything from a place of being curious, you will tend to just seek understanding and knowledge.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Three Levels of Being

To survive as one individual human, I need....

Clean water
Clean air
Good health
Shelter
Food that won't kill me

If we are humane, then I believe that all human beings are entitled access to these things in order to have a good quality of life. They should be available and affordable because being civilized means we act like this is not a world where the mentality is 'kill or be killed'. Having these needs met creates the level playing field for the things that...

As a person, I want...

But can't afford

These would be things that enhance the basics and make them more enjoyable than they already are, but aren't necessarily needed. Extra effort, creativity, making sacrifices - that will get me to being able to have what I want and if I desire extravaganza or luxurious...

Bonuses in addition to my needs and wants, well...

these will require going above and beyond what it takes to having my needs and wants met. They will be rewards for being absolutely extraordinary in the face of adversity and roadblocks. They are what is at the end of the rainbow after never faltering, never wavering and are gotten by doing unconventional and inspirational things. In other words, doing possibly the hardest work I've ever done to get that bonus. There are no guarantees that I'll ever get it because hard work doesn't always translate into rewards, but it sure will be worth the effort when it is achieved.

When I have my needs met, I feel safe. When I get what I want, I feel proud of my abilities and when bonuses are realized, it makes me feel that all the hard work and struggle has been worth it.

It all starts with feeling safe. That is what we are all entitled to in this world.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No More Doom and Gloom

via Ray Garton


On December 21, 2012, we can expect yet another 'non-event'. To us rational thinking people, it's called Friday. A day that we anticipate at the end of a long week at work and look forward to enjoying it with family or friends. Most of us won't have to work the next day, so for us "Let the weekend begin!"

For others, it is the next official guess on the books that this world will come to an end. Yes, you heard right - we are to experience yet another "End of the World" scenario. Three in a year and a half, it's just really getting ridiculous. I know you are just sitting there and shaking your head like I am at the stupidity of this, but there are people actually speculating that the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012.

*sigh

It really is just too stupid for words anymore. I've got better things to write about.

We're Still Here

It is now exactly the end of October 21, 2011 in my time zone and guess what?!?!?! We're ALL STILL HERE!

Deviant Art
I'm sure this came as a big bag of disappointment to some people. End of the world as we know it or  the mass evacuation of good souls all over the world... it just didn't happen... again. DUH!!! Of course it didn't happen. Rational and reasonable people knew that, as well as the smug-smile-on-their-face christians who quoted Mark 13:32; no one will ever know the exact date of the end of the earth. It may come one of these days, but my guess, unless someone pushes the big red button and releases launch codes of all the nuclear missiles... it's not going to happen for a very long time.
The Rapture

Silly people, rapture is for con artists who want to take advantage of you because you have 'blind faith'. They know how gullible you are and understand you weren't taught to think for yourselves. I do hope that you've learned a valuable lesson and that it will kick-start your brain into functioning as it was intended to. But if it doesn't and you continue to just fall for crap like this, please understand that there are potentially serious consequences for not using logic and reason in your thinking.

That also goes for those people who think that Harold Campings' only mistake was in assuming that he could predict the eventual rapture you think IS coming. Being rational, questioning things that don't make sense, understanding the real world and admitting that you don't have all the answers is a lot more honest and real than believing in a supernatural being for which there is absolutely no proof for beyond the indoctrination you received, the blind faith you accept whilst parking your thinking skills to the curb, the fear of retribution you think you'll receive for not being a good little follower or the salvation you dream of experiencing at the end of your days. Being rational, using logic and reason; those things are not evil, they are highly recommended in this thing we call reality.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pain

Pain experienced is only as great as the perception of it and concentration on it. When felt, it is greater than the distraction you can create.

Instinct Takes Over

From Poems & Quotes
Many people think that forgiveness and acceptance go hand-in-hand when, in personal relationships, that bond is damaged or torn apart. My own personal sense of justice tells me that is impossible when you are dealing with the aftermath of hateful, cruel, inappropriate behavior or anything that would present itself to you in a fashion that you personally would find hurtful.

Having encountered many instances where people cross boundaries and whether it was friends, family or business associates, once they have done something that negates a supposed respectful relationship, acceptance becomes a less attainable thing. The only thing that anybody really wants from that point on is distance between oneself and the intruder on our sensibilities.

Can the person who perpetrates the injustice ever gain your acceptance again? Possibly, but that requires effort and a willingness from the person who has wronged you. It requires honesty and a commitment to understand the thing that he/she has done in the commission of that hurt. And it requires a sense of remorse and a commitment from them to never allow it to happen again. All those things, done over and over again, until that time when you can feel acceptance of that person as a natural state of being.

Call me a pessimist, but the likelihood of that happening for people like me... rare. Even though I try to hope for positive in all things, having a strong sense of what I'm entitled to as a person and as a realist about life in general, I have a tendency towards self-preservation and once wronged, will generally do what it takes to never have the offense or anything closely related to it, occur again.

It's hard for me to understand people, women specifically, who will remain with someone who beats the crap out of them; suffering unspeakable horrors at the hands of someone they love. It seems, with the act of remaining, they give their acquiesence to the violence they endure and to a degree, forgive and accept the monsters they live with. The one who beats them and the one inside of them that allows it. They don't seem to have that will to live the life they are deserving of or in many cases, not conscious of even being entitled to a better life, until it's almost too late.

The self-preservation I mentioned, this is what keeps me moving forward against not only the incidents of personal assaults, but also the harshness of life that we all encounter. This is my strength, my reality and what keeps me sane. It's also my joy, my happiness and what makes me want to stay in the game.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fifth Horseman

"My left hand is Truth and my right hand is Law. My head is full of Science and my heart, full of Blood. You fill my eyes with your ugliness and my ears with your poison. I will tread upon you. I am the Fifth Horseman. My name is Logic."   Troy Boyle

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bridges of Madison County Revisited starring Christopher Hitchens

Image from ReverseShot


The look on her face is exactly how I felt upon awakening.  The movie referenced  above immediately came to mind because of the dream I experienced. Me and Christopher Hitchens torn between doing the right thing or indulging in the fantasy of our togetherness. Deep sigh....

Before all those mind-in-the-gutter people start snickering, this dream was not sexual at all, but it had the potential. What was thrilling was the possibility of sharing space with a brilliant mind, the kind that Hitch possesses. The logic he uses, the passion with which he can translate that logic into words and the sheer brilliance of his argument(s).... oh! need I go on? Of course, I do... In addition to that, the many well-written articles and books that he has shared with us in his lifetime; those all contribute to one hunk of a man! To be a partner to that - wow, that would certainly give me a 'Bridges of Madison County' like dilemma, but don't worry, I wouldn't want to give up my current relationship. Hmmm... Maybe Hitch would indulge me anyway?

There I've said it, I'm attracted to intelligence. Do not fear, my current partner understands my feelings as he is one of those intelligent people. He has seen me swoon over other brilliant minds. He doesn't get the attraction because it is not always a physical attraction, initially. But brilliance is sexy to me! It is not what they look like, it is their intense grasp and understanding of things and their ability to teach; that is what gets my pulse racing. It is not that they are more special than my love, who himself has many pulse racing attributes, but they have the ability to tap into a region of my left brain that happens to light up the animal side of the right. People who can think, reason, understand reality & logic; yes, they are sexy and the packages they inhabit, don't matter.

Now, excuse while I go back to my dream...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sometimes it's just too much to take...

AARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

I absolutely can't stand it when irrationality is substituted for reason.

One discussion after another and it always comes back to the same thing. Faith. Suspending rational thought for believing in something that just doesn't make any sense. But THAT is called the truth! And that is when the frustration sets in.

I have a hard time speaking to people when I come at a debate or discussion about anything regarding religion from a place of logic only to have the person I'm debating with just settle the discussion with "Well, I have faith." A more honest proclamation would be "Yeah, I know it makes absolutely no sense based on how the real world works, but I choose to believe something irrational." I would still be frustrated but at least that which does not make sense is promptly put on the table as being unreasonable.

Faith, in reality, is nothing special except for what religious cults have made it. This thing, that all knowing in my heart kind of feeling, is a substitute for accepting the reality of the real world. That's it, nothing more. And this is what is frustrating. It just doesn't make any sense to have faith in something with no evidence. Why would people choose to dump their intellect for the sake of being able to say they have faith there is a god? It's IRRATIONAL!

Mostly I can just shake my head and move on, but some nights, like tonight, reading one story after another about the state of people's minds in relation to the real world and how faith plays a part in it... well, you know... my head sort of explodes.

Hearing stories about natural disasters being god's wrath - you know he ACTUALLY had a hand in bitch slapping us because the atheists and gay people in this country are to blame! Never mind that there were perfectly innocent people suffering this wrath at the same time. Did you hear about someones brother who was miraculously pulled from a burning car, then spends two months in a coma, but yet god is the one who 'saved him'? Naturally, everyone completely disregards all the medical intervention that went into bringing him back to the land of the living. How about where children who die at the hands of their parents because child abuse somehow just says "I love you" the best?

I shake my head, my blood pressure rises and all because somewhere someone is saying "Just have faith, it's all in god's plan." All of it - it is ALL totally irrational thinking... and it does not compute.

This is the reason for AARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!! Thank you for letting me vent. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DO NOT DONATE TO AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY!!

Gotta love Facebook to spread the injustice around pretty quickly. After having read Greta Christina's take on the American Cancer Society's big charity foo pah, it moved me to add my own two cents.

Greta's piece clearly states that The American Cancer Society did not openly come out and say that they were rejecting the money because it came from the atheist organization, Foundation Beyond Belief. However, in doing so it goes against what should be a charity organization's function. The American Cancer Society is in the business of adding to their coffers in order to bankroll research, so it seems terribly odd that they wouldn't take it. And really, what other reason than differing ideology is there? My guess is they knew exactly how wrong it would be to openly take a stand on what they thought about an atheist organization. Coming out honestly on the subject would have really left a bad taste in the mouths of those who would then take their donations elsewhere. Hem and haw and doing the dance of avoiding coming clean... yeah, much better plan.

Well, now it's out and surprise, surprise... it's leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who previously donated and predictably, it casts a doubt on future donations. People are going to choose other ways to donate their money because discrimination doesn't sit well with them. If you are one of those, please... Let me help you with that.

Charity Navigator 

America's premiere independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of America's largest charities. 

 

The American Cancer Society doesn't fare too badly when it comes to how they run the organization, BUT let me point out a few things.

In comparing the other organizations that deal with financing research for cancer, the ACS scores the LOWEST!  And take a look at what a CEO at ACS makes. Do you think that's a bit out of line considering this is supposed to be a charitable organization? You know, one that is compassionate to a cause? I thought caring equated with doing everything that you could for that cause, maybe including not withholding valuable research dollars in order to pay a guy's salary?!?! I'd say that's taking too big of a cut, MR. CEO!

Many have already voiced their displeasure on the American Cancer Society's Facebook page and have publicly said they would take their donation dollars elsewhere. Please stand with those people and do the same. Go check out the other organizations below and find one that is right for you. Charity should be about giving freely, without hesitation and with love and compassion as the core reason for doing so. Not accepting charity because of someone's ideology is smacking that love and compassion in the face.

Do not turn the other cheek. Please.


Charity Name Overall Score Overall Rating
American Cancer Society - GA 53.85 3 stars
National Comprehensive Cancer Network - PA 60.67 4 stars
National Cancer Coalition - NC 64.13 4 stars
CancerCare - NY 60.55 4 stars
The V Foundation - NC 64.25 4 stars


 

Leadership      (FYE 08/2009)

Name Title Compensation

John Seffrin              CEO             $914,906

 
Other Salaries of Note
William Barram National VP of Divisional Services, Retired              $1,550,705

Donald Thomas Deputy CEO, Retired $1,407,719








Monday, October 10, 2011

O Ye Faithful - Ye Lie!

The disgust I feel when atheists are labeled as evil characters is sometimes almost too much for me to stomach. It is despicable and, frankly, un-christian-like that the people who have no credible evidence to support the fact that there is a god or Jesus and choose to live out their lives in a different fashion are then judged for it by those claiming to have a faith in the almighty. Where's the so-called love they have for their fellow man that they always go on about?

In forums where they can remain hidden, those complete strangers make bold, hateful accusations and attack non-believers when they see only written words from our kind. The anonymity of the Internet gives them power to indict us but they wouldn't be the only ones who judge us. Even so-called friends who are believers use the word evil or at the very least, less than good because of what we claim to be true and our way of thinking. Regardless of the connection we have with them, they will have reservations about our kind because we are different from their clan of people. This hesitation to defy the mentality of the clan can be called strength in numbers, fear of being ostracized or mob mentality; not sure which but whatever label it's given, the stance taken is one of being unwilling to understand the true intent of an individual and then dismiss, ignore, belittle, label or smear them because of that lack of understanding.

I have to stress, not all Christians or believers do this, but a large majority of the faithful do. If those religious people who do would just stop for a moment and assess who we are and look at our actions, individually, they might possibly have to reverse their assessments of us specifically when our actions are in alignment with what we call our values. The values that usually resemble their own proclaimed values. To just simply imply our lack of a belief in a god automatically means we don't have values, some or any, is just discrimination and down-right rude and insulting. Especially when I see how they parade their values and ethics everywhere; touted as the righteous way to live, only to watch them implode when I see their vileness also in full public display once the scandals break.

To all those who would shout the loudest about values and who are frequently having to apologize for doing the opposite.... Please keep your values to yourself. Stop preaching, it makes you look stupid! And more specifically, stop maligning those of us who do have values and actually have lives that reflect them. Stop saying that atheists are inherently value-less because it's just not true and while you are at it, stop committing all those acts that show us how value-less YOU actually are.

When I have the opportunity to read Freethought Today, the "Black Collar Crime Blotter" section, it totally turns my stomach and sends my blood pressure sky-high because of the many cases of sexual abuse involving children. The newspaper-sized pages are filled with local, national and international incidents of arrested/charged, civil lawsuits filed and settled, legal developments, allegations made, removed/resigned instances, pleaded/convicted and sentenced individuals. It covers a wide spectrum of criminal activity - rape, assault, breaking and entering, embezzlement, fraud, kidnapping, etc. The predominant crimes are sexual in nature and again, many of the offenses occur primarily with children.

This monthly updated blotter tells me that religious people DO NOT have the 'good' market cornered. Actually, quite to the contrary, as evidenced by our own frequent personal experiences. We've all witnessed many instances of hypocritical actions and behavior displayed by religious family members and neighbors. And watched as believers got involved in community leadership positions with their halos blazing, only to be fodder for the evening news. The local, state and national politicians don't disappoint us either after they swear on the bible the oath 'So help me God'; then predictably, we see one criminal act or sex scandal after the other come out. They claim to hold themselves to a higher standard because they've got god on their side and then do the very things they claim they are above participating in. The hypocrisy is astounding.

Throughout history, there have been many famous and not so famous examples of people who have done some pretty shabby things in the name of Christianity or just because they could; the list is endless. It is no different in today's society. You need to look no further than the evening news or at the frequent stories floating from one Facebook page to another about a deplorable, evil act committed against yet another child by a member of the community that has touted their morality as better because they believe in a god or claim to be part of a religion that holds them to a higher standard. As I said, it disturbs me greatly to be maligned just because I don't have the same beliefs as they do, but to also see the prevalence and the types of atrocities these so-called Christians commit; it sometimes just leaves me speechless.

But then, justice arrives after the acts come to light and the hypocrisy is clearly evident. There is some satisfaction in seeing them finally fall from grace committing the acts they would accuse us of doing. It's always brilliant to watch them take up a good part of their lives professing decency and values, only to fall disingenuously off their perch of perceived morality when their vile actions are exposed. Seeing their shame, humiliation and regret on display in the media is almost too funny to watch. The righteous speeches, forceful and passionate, meant as indications of their character; now, are meaningless. Getting caught is a bitch, isn't it?

Ray Garton says it best - “People can be good with god, sure.  But there are a whole lot of people who are bad with god, too, and we need to stop deluding ourselves into ignoring that fact.  Belief in god is not a shortcut to morality and church attendance is not emblematic of a good person  What a person believes really doesn’t matter.  What matters is how a person lives. “

In a perfect world - there is no religion, there is no hate, there is no crime, and everybody just lives a happy, comfortable life. I'd settle for one where people just stop acting as if they were better than everybody else. The reality is they aren't and many times they are actually worse.

Fake People Are A Waste of Time

When will I ever learn to listen to my initial instincts?

I generally present the world my accepting and open side because judging on first impressions will usually have you making assumptions about someone that aren't warranted. But when I pick up cues of cowardice and fake attitude right from the get-go, I really should pay attention and heed it. Well, that and give the person the cold shoulder. Other connections, real relationships that are so much more worthy of my attention, would be and should be my priority. I guess it's never too late to learn not to be invested when they're not deserving of it.

Fuck those fake people.