Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christian Letters








So, my mother, who lives only ten minutes away, wanted me to stop by her house to check out our former neighbor's obituary.

"Mr. Tench" was a war veteran, and since the obituary had a lot of nice things to say about him, my mother thought I might like to see it. He and his wife, Ann("Mrs. Tench" to me), lived in the house next to us when I was growing up. They were there when we moved into our house, and I believe I was around six yrs old when we arrived. His wife died about ten years ago and their only son died sometime in the 90's. So, Mr. Tench has been there alone for quite a while in the same house. His only daughter in law and grandchildren live up North.

Sometimes I cut down my old street to avoid traffic, and about nine months ago Mr. Tench was doing some odds 'n ends in his yard, so I stopped to say hello. At 90 yrs old, he was pretty sharp, because, while he didn't recognized me right off, he instantly recalled who I was when I mentioned the family name. I'm glad I decided to stop, because that would be the last time I'd ever see him.

To back up a bit, I had already seen the obituary online but I dropped by my mom's house anyway because I had a few things to discuss with her. When I got there she had a bunch of stuff pulled out that she had neatly displayed on her desk..e.g...old photos of my grandmother's side of the family, some greeting cards, and some hand-written letters. The letters were from my grandmother to her siblings, or it might have been her cousins, or maybe both. No matter.

The reason my mom had this stuff pulled out is because her uncle had also recently died. He was one of five siblings, another of which was my maternal grandmother, also deceased. There is only one surviving sibling now, my grandmother's youngest sister. She is in her 90s, and all considered, she is doing well and still living at home. Of course, this is because her son and a few other family members are able to keep a close eye on her.

So, cutting to the chase---my mom grabbed a stack of the letters my grandmother(her mom) had hand-written to other family members. I started reading, and not even one paragraph in I noticed bible quotes with the verse/chapter in brackets..e.g...[2 Timothy 3:4], and the like.

So, quickly, I do a cursory scan down the page, and lo and behold, every single paragraph contained at least one bible quote. In this particular letter my grandmother was speaking about how we live in a fallen world, yadda, yadda. Of course, every generation says this, and I remember my mom telling me that in her day they thought Elvis was "evil" because he gyrated his hips, so, there you go.

But, regretfully, I had a knee-jerk reaction to discovering the bible quotes and I quickly handed the letters back to my mom. When she asked me what was wrong, I told her [paraphrased] that I don't want to see this because it isn't my grandmother speaking; it's her indoctrination speaking. Okay, fine, I might've thrown in a few expletives. I was both saddened and angry. I could see that this upset her, as her eyes watered up.

As nicely as I could, I told my mom that it was bringing back bad memories, because, as I explained,  Christianity stole part of my grandmother's identity.

Now, a Christian onlooker might be thinking, "Yeah? So, what?!?", as if not being your genuine self is a good thing. Or...they might being thinking, "Huh? Christianity didn't steal my identity!"

Okay, it's not only possible, it's beyond-argument-fact: When you set out to live your life in devotion to "God"(or to some other leader..e.g...North Koreans to their leader), you are sacrificing a part of who you really are to appease someone else. And yes, from within the Christian bubble this is seen as a good thing. Fair enough. But on the outside of that bubble parts of the indoctrinated person are absent, simply because the Christian philosophy teaches us to believe that we are "wretched", broken, and in need of fixing. We are no good, "as is". We can't figure things out. We can't be "good"; we need a Master. In fact, our own righteousness is like that of a "filthy rag", according to "God's Word"

How can internalizing such things not change who you really are?

In a lot of ways, it changed who my grandmother really was. But guess what? As kind and caring as she was, this side of her shined through her "faith". It was those rare times that she was things like judgmental or strict that things were the other way around..i.e..her "faith" shined through her.

For example, my grandfather was a carpenter by trade and he had wood-working shop behind their house. My mom expressed to me the day I was over there that my grandmother wouldn't allow my mom to go out to watch or hang around my grandfather because, "Little girls don't do those sorts of things".

Sure, this could be chalked up to society's gender expectations, yes, but the bible teaches that men and women are different, that they were "created" for different reasons, and that their roles are different.

But perhaps most sad of all was a part of the letter where my grandmother was going on about how the youth of their day was so messed up, saying that the reason was because people love pleasure more than they love God, with a supporting bible verse, of course.

I don't know whether this saddens me more or disgusts me more. Imagine, you're given a body along with the urge to seek pleasure, but you're told not to use that body for pleasure. Think about this: In the hierarchy of biological/physiological needs, sex is right up there along side food, water, and AIR!

Be fruitful and multiply, but don't you dare lust!!!!

But kidding aside, when my mom started telling me about some of the instances that my grandmother was critical of her and/or overprotective, I could see that she, too, was becoming upset and dare I say she had some residual anger. It was then that she seemed to actually understand why I was angry and where I was coming from.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dots: Not Connected.

In this day and age conspiracy theories abound. But what does one do when it hits home? What do you do if you work in proximity to someone who, say...someone who believes that the earth is flat, not spherical, and that NASA (not to mention every other space program around the pancake globe) is trying to hide the "true" shape of our planet from us? Do you bite your tongue? Do you try to reason with them?

Whatever you do(or don't do), it can put a strain on working relationships and even friendships if you're not careful. Approximately a month ago, a friend/colleague turned to me, and with the straightest of faces, told me this: "The earth is flat, bro'".

To back up a bit, this was in response to a part of a previous conversation in which I was being summoned to "write about" a "flat earth". Those who follow me closely might be able to figure out what the context is here. Naturally my response to being summoned to do this was to ask this person if they meant to mock the idea of a flat earth, because I am surely capable of that.  

Welp, no, they were serious, and my heart sank when it hit me that they were not kidding. All I could do at that point was to literally put my face in my hands and utter out loud, "Oh, god....no. No, no, no, NO!"

A few minutes of passionately exchanged ideas took place..i.e....they, offering why science is wrong and how "we've been lied to"; me, why science is right and how the dots are never connected with conspiracy theorists. And, well, they're not connected. What the hell does anyone stand to gain by keeping the true shape of the planet from you, me, and everyone else? No satisfactory answer.

And then some rather obvious questions come up, such as why there are time zones if the earth is flat. How is it that during a lunar eclipse we can actually witness the earth's shadow against the moon, and this shadow is curved? Not to mention, in a flat earth model the earth never even gets between the sun and moon.

Entertaining their hypothesis, if the earth has "edges", why on earth(no pun), in this day and age, where nearly everyone has a camera at their finger tips in their waking hours, has no one ever, not once, taken a video or picture of the "edges" of the earth?

Well, well, it's because the entire North Pole, which the flat-earther believes goes around the entire circumference of the flat, pancake earth, is a heavily guarded "no fly zone". That's why.

IOW, you've now entered the flat earth apologetics zone. Why do we have hundreds of thousands of pictures taken by NASA depicting a spherical planet? They're "faked", that's why. How is it I can be flying over seas and look out a 747's window at a really high altitude and see a curved horizon? Oh, it's because the plane's windows are curved, which creates a fish eye effect, and subsequently this distorts what I'm seeing. I'm dead serious. You can't make this up. ...::sigh::

Fortunately, the subject has not come up since then.




Would removing the turtle and elephants really make it less outrageous?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Meet Dudley Do-Nothing....




We've all heard of "Dudley Do Right", right? Welp, I now give you his cousin, "Dudley Do Nothing".

Dudley Do Nothing supposedly works all day, but interestingly - and conveniently for him - he doesn't actually do anything. Nope, he does jack-squat all day long, despite claiming do be "on the job" at all times and the best at what he does. 'Doesn't seem like a guy you'd hired to fulfill a position or get a job done, does it? I know I wouldn't hire him.

It's both bizarre and disconcerting, though, because there are some people out there who would hire Dudley Do Nothing. This is seriously messed up, especially considering that Dudley Do Nothing is indistinguishable from a worker who's not even there. In fact, Dudley Do Nothing looks a lot like the individual described here....








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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Apathy

 I confess that I never owned a Wham! album or cassette tape. I confess that I never bought a George Michael CD. I did(and still do), however, have an appreciation for George Michael's voice, which I consider to be strong and soulful. I especially like the Queen covers George Michael did..e.g.."Somebody to Love", since Queen is an all time favorite band of mine. And let's face it, not just anybody can jump into Freddy Mercury's shoes. George Michael could. Goosebumps every time.

With the recent publicized death of George Michael, my Facebook feed was blowing up. But not all feedback was positive. One *Facebook friend asked,

Is anyone really sad that George Michael died?

*Disclaimer: by "Facebook friend", I just mean someone who happens to be on my friends list. Often times people friend-request me based on being fans of my music. Many if not most of my Facebook friends I've never met nor will I ever meet.

I don't know what would possess someone to make such an insensitive remark, except maybe to seek attention. But in this particular case, it's fine by me if I never meet such an individual, as I don't want to be associated with anyone who is apathetic about people dying.

But to actually answer their question, yes, I'm sure George Michael's family members and friends are sadden by his passing, not to mention the millions of fans who loved his music. Could it be that this person is just jealous? Hard to say, but one observation I'd like to make is that he was a Trump supporter. Now, is this to say that all Trump supporters are insensitive jerks? No, of course not. But it is rather telling that most of the insensitive jerks I see posting their insensitive opinions are by and large Trump advocates.

I've said it before, and it's worth repeating: Apathy, racism, bigotry, elitism, are nothing new. What's new is that it's apparently trendy to be apathetic, racist, bigoted, and elitist. Someone has made this "en vogue".

BTW, the following was included in the deleted friend's profile pictures:


    

Very profound, isn't it?

Saturday, December 24, 2016



As mentioned on other occasions, I still celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday. Thus, I am not the least bit offended if someone says "Merry Christmas". For those who opt for "Happy Holidays", I feel that these people are just trying to include people of all faiths, and/or, religious persuasions; I don't feel that they are trying to strip anyone of their right to celebrate Christmas or whatever else one chooses to celebrate. The common denominator is that we are all human beings.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Festive Feet


This is something that I can not only enjoy for the holidays here in the South, but year round. Every day is flip flop weather in Florida! Oh, and by "holidays", I mean including Christmas. Yes, I've posted it before, but it's still a nice change from looking at decorated palm trees and houses.

Friday, November 25, 2016

In the End


I've often said in the past that if I could get just one religious person to put fear aside and to really examine the belief-system that they've likely been handed(just as it was handed to me), then it would all be worth it in the end. But who am I fooling? Come on....... really? Do I really believe that deep down?

I'm starting to wonder. I mean, is it really worth leaving the impression with the people I encounter online that I'm "difficult", trying to "one-up" everyone, and overall, just a big meanie because they are the ones who can't see that being an atheist blogger doesn't define me? Is it really worth the thousands of hours of blogging/discussing/debating, and yes, sometimes arguing, just to have most people write-off what I have to say with the wave of a hand, simply because they've been indoctrinated to do just that? Is it really worth putting aside the things in life that bring joy, as opposed to conflict and derision, just so someone can tell me with straight face that I'm "blinded by Satan"?......::sigh::

There's only one thing worse than having an invisible friend, and that's having an invisible enemy.