Today there was an article that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, is in a hospice dying. I have thought about this day in the far past, the final days of one of the most hateful men is actually something I put thought into before.
Years ago I would have cheered his death. I would have hollered, hooted and made it a reason to throw a party. Even before my husband came out, I had many friends (including my at the time wife) who were either gay or bisexual. Not only that, but his treatment of pretty much everyone else made me hope for his death. It wasn’t just the protests of funerals, but the way he treated his own church members as well.
I would hope not only that he dies, but that he would die in extreme agony, alone and distraught that no one cared for him. I even hoped that maybe he would think at the end that it had all been a lie. I hoped for whatever last moment crushing of his spirit (and body) that could happen.
However, today when I heard about his impending death I realized a few things.
- I haven’t actually thought about him in a long time, even when I see the shenanigans on the tv, he leaves my mind as soon as the news article is over. I haven’t given him a single ounce of energy beyond the initial response everyone has to his church’s actions.
- I realized that I wasn’t ecstatic that he was dying. There is no overwhelming joy, and no desire to throw a party. In fact I kind of felt empty about it.
- After I read the article, my response was for me to hope that he found some sort of peace in these last few days. I know some people don’t think he was troubled by what he did, and that may be true. Something was broken inside of him though, I hope maybe he got some clarity.
I am not sure what the change in my outlook is, or really when it happened. I suspect as I grow older that maybe I take a longer view of the world, or maybe I have just seen enough hatred in the world that I don’t want to give it any more energy then it gets from me.
I don’t forgive him for what he did, and I wouldn’t weep if he ended up in his own hell (if something like that exists), but I don’t have the hatred myself towards him. Unlike a lot of people who are crowing upon his demise, I just sighed, clicked the link and moved on (well except for this blog post and my realization I didn’t have the hatred anymore).
Honestly I am really surprised at some of the reaction to my breaking apart of the hypocrisy of religion (especially Christianity). Several unfriendings on facebook later (and actually not sad at all about that) I think I need to reiterate, unlike my wife, I am not an atheist. My problem with religion lies not in their belief that there is something more, but their refusal to adapt their outlook based on what we have discovered. The whole head in the sand avoidance of science is where I have the issue. Most of my problems are with Christianity because that is the dominate religion of my area, and the religion I see the most hypocrisy in.
Here is a very brief list of 3 of my issues with Christianity (and not even close to all of them):
- That the bible was direct from god to man. Let’s be serious about this, it was written by man. They have already shown dozens of books from the bible are missing and were kept out due to politics. This doesn’t even count the fact it was written be sheep herders from two thousand years ago without the knowledge of any science or rational explanation. Also not including the issue that a lot of the stories were copied wholesale from other cultures that the hebrews traveled through. I am not saying that there may be something to it, rather that its possible that the authors misunderstood things, and the explanations were wrong. So its the literal belief that is wrong for me.
- That there is any rational reason from the outside to believe Christianity over another religion. There is no proof or reason an outside person should believe Christianity is more accurate then Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or the worship of the Greek Gods. It is a paradigm that isn’t even understood by most of its adherents. I would like someone to show me a reason to believe in Christianity over even the Greek gods that doesn’t involve “read the bible” or “faith”. What rational example can be used to show that the bible is any more accurate than what Homer wrote about the Trojan War (and to be honest the same story that Homer wrote about Greek gods actually helped archeologists discover the city of Troy, not sure the bible can claim to help archeologists find things that wouldn’t be found elsewhere).
- The hypocrisy of the believers. This is the absolute worst part of Christainity for me. From everything I read, the Quakers are by far the most adherent to Christian principles as spoken by Jesus. For some reason the right has decided to forget that Jesus was a socialist hippy (take care of the poor, give your goods away, render unto Ceasar and turn the other cheek). How a Christian can be pro-military, pro-capitalism and anti-help the poor makes it so mind twisting it hurts. People will try and point at either old testament or what Paul wrote but in my opinion neither works. Old Testament was superceded by Jesus (and if it wasn’t, then why aren’t those same Christians following the other Old Testament requirements) and the writings of Paul were from a man who claimed to be an apostle, but who never met Jesus (and none of the Apostles witnessed the whole scales over his eyes) and who had a dispute with Peter (whom Jesus is quoted as making the rock of Christianity). Everything I read about Paul makes him a mysoginistic rabble rouser who was in it for power and who never met Jesus, especially since a lot of what he wrote seemed to go against the words of Jesus.
- Ok, the whole Paul thing is probably a bias. Most of the catholic families I grew up with actually didn’t acknowledge Paul. I realize that isn’t the Church’s doctrine, which is why I claim to be from Pagan Catholics (also believed in Purgatory when that wasn’t sanctified by the Vatican). Our group of Catholics definitely were not traditional catholics.
I realize this all makes me sound exactly like an atheist, but it isn’t true. In the end I do think something is out there. Do I believe the adherents of Chrstianity are correct? Not at all, but it doesn’t make them totally wrong. Part of me hopes there is something after we pass on. Whether its a heaven/hell paradigm or a reincarnation situation I don’t know.
However, with that belief there are things that I think still qualify me as a skeptic:
- I am willing to admit part of my belief in something else is probably fueled by a fear that my family is mortal and only here for such a short time. Because of this I have to keep an open mind and not just stick my head in the sand in fear.
- I believe science is impartial, and my belief in anything must be subject to revision depending on what we learn about our world.
- I don’t believe any governmental or society decision should be based on religion. Government should at all times be secular in its outlook and not push religious doctrine. One god is no more provable as real then the others, and even if they were people should not be forced to follow religion.
- Morals are not based on a specific religion. Cultures learn naturally that murder is wrong, rape is wrong and theft hurts society. We don’t learn how to be a civilization because a “god” writes it on some tablets. Hell, the Code of Hammurabi (from Babylon) predates the hebrews by a thousand years and had no influence from the Zorastrian/Hebrew paradigm.
- Oh, and back to science, I firmly think science should be the most funded aspect of our society. Our quest to understand the world cannot be confirmed in religious texts, it can only be confirmed in science. So I will take science over religion anytime.
So, evidently I stepped away to handle something and have lost my train of thought when I came back. I thought I had something to wrap this up. I guess mostly I just wanted to reiterate that while I am not religious, I am not a stone cold atheist (which makes for some uncomfortable interactions at the atheist meetups as well for me).
I was reading about a petition to enforce federal 501(c)(3) regulations by removing the tax-exempt status from churches that engage in political activity. Basically a lot of churches support political positions or candidates from the pulpit.
I firmly think the second a priest/minister/or someone else in a church starts supporting anything on the ballot, or political driven, that church needs to lose its tax exempt status immediately, do not pass go, do not collect your $200.
It’s horrible that they claim tax exempt to begin with (actually I don’t think anything should be tax exempt, including charities, etc, you only pay taxes on profit so therefore everyone who makes a profit should be paying). It is especially horrible to be up there promoting politics of any sort without having to pay the tax man. You don’t get benefits from both sides, or you shouldn’t at least.
I am not sure if its this way now, but a few years ago the only IRS recognized church that paid its taxes voluntarily and didn’t claim “exemption” was the Church of Satan headed by Anton Lavey. It is sad when the only church with ethics is the Satanic Church.
I was watching t.v. and saw that they finally approved Plan B. I am very happy to see it, anything to help prevent unwanted pregnancies is good, especially if its not invasive abortion. However, I noticed several fundie/conservative groups are up in arms about it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily blame people being against abortion. I can understand the thought that human life is inviolate, its just we disagree on when life starts. That is ok. My issue is these same Christian fundies who spout how human life, even one, is important, yet I don’t see any of these Christian Fundies objecting to us bombing another country, or objecting to the military being used for pretty much anything.
Fundie churches are like this to. I have never heard of a Fundie church (or honestly any Christian church, except certain Catholic Dioceses, ever objecting to our war in Iraq. The same churches that spout how important it is to save even a single human life that is lost to abortion, doesn’t even raise an eyebrow at us killing other people in other countries. The last time I read the bible, Jesus was pretty damn clear about not raising your fist against another, turn the other cheek, Thou Shalt Not Kill, and many other obvious things that indicated taking any human lives was wrong. Yet all these conservative “Christian” people are pro-Iraq. I don’t think Jesus approves of us going to another country period, hell he didn’t believe in protecting himself, he certainly would never agree to invading another country, even to give our country safety.
What is worse is when Christians start quoting things from the Old Testament. They start saying an “Eye for an Eye” and how the Isrealites were allowed to defend themselves. Well if they believe in the old testament then they should still be Jewish. Jesus supposedly changed all the rules, including sacrifices, warfare, etc. You can’t just pick and choose from the bible to match your need. Either you follow the teachings of peace and love that Jesus taught, making you a Christian, or you follow the old testament and your Jewish (well that is a simplification, I realize you need to follow more then just the Old Testament to be Jewish, but most Christians are not very informed and get confused of you start talking about the Torah, etc.).
I get confused, I know many Christians, about 1/10th of them object to war (the rest are either pro-war/Iraq or at the very least it doesn’t effect them either way), and half of that is they only object to Iraq, not warfare in general. It kind of turns my stomach when these same people claim to follow the teachings of such a gentle man as Jesus. If a Christian truly followed the path of Jesus, they would stand out of the pack and would garner my respect. Its funny, most of the people I know who protest the war are hippy/pagan types, types you don’t normally see in church (although there are a few that are church goers I am sure), yet those that proclaim their faith (and who drive huge, expensive, gas guzzlers and work for questionable places, but this is a rant for later), are the ones that object to Plan B birth control pills, but don’t even blink an eye when people are killed in Iraq (not even getting into the children killed by us in Iraq, just talking anyone).
This is why I am a Deist. Yes I believe in God/Divine, and yes I believe every single religion in the world has lost the true message in exchange for power/prestige/riches. If there is a rapture, I have a feeling all those who believe they are saved are going to be the ones burning in hell (oh, and later will be a rant on the hubris of those who have the “In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned” bumper stickers).
I would do more, but this is probably long enough right now.
This morning I got up and started channel surfing. Of course there are a ton of religious programs. Four of the programs I watched stated we are in a religious war and we need to fight it out. One of them (Jimmy Swaggert) said the Koran is not written about love and that we need to end the religion. JS was quoting we need to go to war with Muslims in order to fulfill biblical prophecies. The other three Fundies were quoting almost the same thing.
So, did I read a unreal copy of the bible. I am pretty damn sure Jesus said love your neighbor, judge not, and obey the ten commandments (one of which is Do not Kill, not “do not kill a christian” just do not kill).
What the fuck is wrong with Christianity (not everyone follows this, but almost unilaterally the fundie preachers do). Yes, once again I am reminded why I am a deist, not because I don’t believe in god (I do), and not even that I don’t believe in Jesus (I do, but I also believe god approached us through buddhism, hinduism, etc, etc, not just Christianity) but because organized religion is the bane of real spirituality.
Organized religion is about power, not about spirituality. Its about arbitrary rules that Jesus or the ten commandments never said. Hell Jesus boiled it down to one commandment. Love your neighbor. This “go to war, burn the homosexuals because its wrong, and perform the death penalty” type attitude is the opposite of anything I read from any of the prophets, but especially opposite of Jesus.
Christianity is the anti-Christ, leading poor hapless unthinking individuals in the opposite direction Jesus preached. Love and forgiveness has disappeared into a dark pit of capitalism, rigidity, and pride.
I am pretty sure Jesus preached that the biggest responsibility of man is his fellow man. However 99% of Christians I have ever met don’t give regularly to the poor, let alone do what Jesus said (when he told his followers give away your riches, if someone asks for your shirt, you give it to them).
Christianity as a general rule (there are exceptions) is the most hypocritical of religions I have ever seen, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhists I have met actually follow their religion closer then most “american christians”. If you don’t give to the poor, if you don’t believe in loving your neighbor and not judging and if you are not against killing others no matter what reason (talking Iraq and even Death penalty here) then you are a hypocrite.
Oh, I am feeling a rant coming (lol not like this isn’t already a mini-rant) so I will stop.
WHAT THE FUCK, 3 of the 4 fundies just said Islam is our enemy. GOD DAMN HYPOCRITES.
I have been thinking a lot recently of the Conservative Christian movement (and God Warrior is the one that sparked it).
When did Jesus say it was ok to kill someone for any reason? I am pretty damn sure Jesus doesnt want anyone killed for any reason, not for your own safety, not for your family’s safety, not for any reason at all.
I am pretty sure there is a commandment stating “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. I am also sure that its not “Thou shalt not kill, unless its a terrorist or a non-believer”. So at what point did the memo go out to the Republican Christians that invading another country for the safety of our own (and I wont even go into the fallacy of that, nor compare it to Germany invading Austria for its own defense). Did the Republicans get a memo from Jesus that said ignore my message of peace?
I am also pretty sure Jesus said give the clothes off your back to the poor, walk away from your riches and follow his message, yet most of those Conservative Christians make a lot of money and don’t really do any good with it.
I am also sure that Jesus said “Render unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s” (indicating taxes), but the Republic Conservative Christians are the first to cut taxes, find loopholes or hide their money from taxes or at the very least complain (I have never complained about taxes, nor have I ever refused to pay or tried to hide money).
Where is the memo, I must have missed the Jesus II: The Clarification memo?
Sorry, this is a small rant, I wish I had time for the one that is in my head.
A few months ago, my wife mentioned she thought my beliefs sounded a lot like Deism. Up until that point I had only heard of deism in the fact that several of our founding fathers of this country were deists.
Since then I have done a lot of research. Looked through the various christian religions, asian religions (including buddhism and hinduism), and even have done a bit of research on Judaism and Islam.
After months of looking around I think the wife was right. I think I am a deist. I do believe there is a god, I don’t believe any organized religion to date has it right (they are mostly hypocrites), I also am horrified that many religious people totally ignore science and instead refer to a book (that is a good guide of conscious in some cases) that has stolen many of its stories from other religions (such as Noah was actually a Babylonian Myth in the Epic of Gilgamesh that was written 2000 years before the bible) and that many many of the parts of the bible contradict each other.
I do believe both scientific reason and god can coexist. I do believe that like science says with the law of conservation that things are not destroyed they just change (meaning I do believe there is more to our lives then right here right now, just have no idea what to believe will happen after we die, but unlike many religions say about science, that science does not say there is no afterlife, just no way to know what it is).
The biggest specific reason I think I am deist is the belief that a “revealed religion” is not accurate. The reason for this is a revealed religion (christianity, buddhism, etc) is not direct from god, rather a revelation happened to a person and that HUMAN passed on the information to other humans. We have all played the game telephone and with just a few people the message changes drastically. I do believe personal revelation is the only way, on top of this I believe that this revelation needs to coexist with science. I do believe god shows his wonders through our environment, biology, chemistry. Many religious people I know kind of dismiss this in favor of miracles (which can happen, I am not saying they don’t) but just the fact that plants can live off the sun is a miracle itself, but the miracle can be explained, just because I can explain the process of photosynthesis does not make it non-god or not miraculous, rather it just shows the power of a creator to create such a hugely vast universe. The entire universe is a giant miracle, but it being a creation does mean it still has its own laws and effects, and that science is the way to determine how god operates.
The biggest gift god ever gave us was Reason. To not use reason and instead you follow dogma someone else told you to do is a lack of use of god’s greatest gift. Reason needs to be applied in all context, if someone tells you a message from god that does not meet reason, then more then likely in my belief, that person is misguided at the least and at the most is intentionally distracting you for some other reason (usually to get you to give them money or do something they want).
I feel a huge rant coming (as can be seen by my orderly post getting more and more unorderly). I will stop now, just reaffirm that I do think I am a deist.
Also a warning, in the future I will be posting some of my arguments against religions. Everyone is welcome to respond (or not read if you got a thin skin), I just ask if you debate with me, you do it in a polite manner and try and use sources, I generally wont accept a response of “well my pastor told me”, don’t rely on your religious leader, I suggest you do your own research, even if you have the same beliefs after the research, at least then you can feel more secure in your beliefs because you looked into them yourselves instead of relying on one of the parasites that calls themselves a minister/priest/pastor.
Well I had a rather bizarre dream that involved me sitting at a restaurant, I came out to find someone had plowed into the back of my pickup (the rusty blue GMC we currently own) and they had totaled thier car and my car, funny enough I wasn’t really angry, just sort of like “damn”.
then I woke up remembering when I lived with my parents at 12 pines apartments when I was about 3 or so years old. I remembered an old prayer my parents taught me.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep,
If I die before I wake,
I pray the lord my soul to take,
Keep Dum Dum, Louis, Tweety,
Mommy and Daddy,
Granny and Grandpa,
Grandma and Grandpa,
Linny and Wally
and Lucky Safe.
I know I had to be age 3 because by age four I had a sister (who is not in the prayer and I guarantee my parents made me put her name in), my uncle Louis (whom my middle name is based on) died in a construction accident and about age four is when Linny and Wally disappeared (they were my god parents, Linny was an American and Wally was a golden glove boxer from Aussie) and dum dum and tweety both parakeets were gone by age 5.
I am not sure why I am even posting this, its wierd, memories from back then almost dont seem real, I worry they are figments of my imagination but my parents agree thats what happened and I am remembering pretty well.
still not sure why I am posting this, just something I woke up thinking about.
This morning (after having woke up at 415am) I was watching tv. A scene for the 700 Club came on and Pat Robertson was talking about President Bush helping America. It then dawned on me how fucked up that was. Nobody who claims to be christian should be supporting this war. I believe distinctly the bible says “Thou shalt not kill” it doesn’t say “Thou shalt not kill unless its an arab or a terrorist”.
Also thinking back to the new testament. It is my firm belief that Jesus would be horrified that anyone who claims to follow god or his teachings would go and kill someone, let alone to another country to do it. I believe he said “turn the other cheek” (and he didn’t mean only once). He even died rather then fight back. Yet hardcore christians support the “War on Terror”, hypocritical bastards are going to burn in their own hell.
Sorry, was just overwhelmed with disgust with our conservative “christian” brigade. Claim to follow jesus and the bible yet wage war (no matter the reason, Jesus didn’t say it was ok to kill a bunch of arabs if the twin towers got destroyed).
Weirdly enough, the only public leader (not Mother Teresa) who has ever abided by Jesus’s code wasn’t even a Christian. Rather that person was a Hindu (Ghandi for those of you who don’t realize who I am talking about). I think its damn funny that a Hindu man (great man at that) is more “Christian” then any Christian I know who supports this damn “war on terror”.
Man, Pat Robertson and all of you “Christians” out there supporting the war are fucked up. I would suggest you all go read the bible again or at least don’t claim to follow Jesus.