I’m Just a Ghost

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

CrAzY WoMaN!

Not All There Not All There

I’m just a ghost in this house.  I’m not seen nor spoken to except on occasions when I make a great effort.  My actions have no effect, my words have no sounds.  Silent, my essence drifts through the day, seen in glimpses by those who live here.  No one speaks unless they need, no one touches, no one acknowledges.  When I speak I am cut off.  I am not heard.

My efforts are fruitless here.  If I pick up, things go right back where they were before.  Move and organize and when I turn around, things have not changed.  Clean and it becomes dirty.  Ask for things to be done, I am not heard.  In fact I am not perceived unless I begin to feel great anger or am needed for some purpose.  Then I am summoned.

“Can you babysit when I go out of town for…

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I recently saw an advertisement on television that asked people to support the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a non profit group dedicated to maintaining the political separation of church and state.  Let me tell you, it surprised and saddened me that this was being done.  Fundamentalist Christians in the United States of America are meddling in so many things nowadays that the rest of the country feels it must take up metaphorical arms against them in order to protect the constitution.  Now it’s the decedents of the persecuted doing the religious persecution.

What sane person can say that among all the problems and troubles we have today, the words “In God We Trust” on our money is important.  Better we should write, “God, punish the moneychangers who cheat and rob us, let them see jail time.”  That’ much more appropriate.  Or just drop it all together.  There is nothing wrong with believing in God, worshipping God, honoring God, but it is not the job of the Government.  Likewise, it is not the job of God to meddle in our democracy.  He guides us on a personal level, we are to use that guidance to live morally and vote accordingly.  And if we don’t like what happens when we vote, go vote again and throw the bastards out.

God gave us freedoms, that is a guiding principal of our society.  That means he gave us freedom to live, die, vote and worship as we please.  And yes, we want everyone to be law abiding, good people.  But it is not our duty to judge others.  That is God’s job.  And if people love folks you don’t think they should, that’s really none of your business.  Look at the Capulets and the Montagues.  That ended in unecessary death and destruction, just because some folks thought two people shouldn’t share their love.  And what’s good for Shakespeare straight is good for Shakespeare gay:  If two people love one another, who are you to keep them apart?  The haughty, jealous, grudge bearing Montagues?  The Selfish, controlling, stubborn Capulets?  And is it really any of your business?  No. Because it’s GOD’S job to judge them, not yours.  He said, “Judge not lest ye be judged” and “Love one another”.  So if you see a same sexed couple and are offended by it, remember, God is offended by your lack of humanity.

And the reproductive issues that have been debated recently, issues that are aimed directly at women, calling them whores, making them go back to being pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen in an economy and society where many single women are the only breadwinners for their children.  Imagine, forcing a vaginal ultrasound, a procedure contraindicated in pregnancy.  If you forceably place in object in a woman’s vagina without her consent, that’s rape, pure and simple.  Just like using a broom handle.  Is that what the Virginia congress is now, a pack of gang rapists?

And in Arizona the state legislature they’re discussing requiring women to demonstrate medical need before an insurer will pay for oral contraceptives, for example acne, or menorrhea.  This is to prevent fornication, only having sex for the sake of procreation.  I say, that’s fine.  Just remember one thing: there’s no medical need for Viagra.

Truthfully, Christians need to start minding their own business.  Yes, Cain said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  But God didn’t say, “Yes.”  Jesus told the apostles to spread the word, not run the world.  He taught humility and compassion, not bigotry and contention.  Any Christian who thinks he has the right to tell others how to live has a big surprise coming.  Remember what Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.”

Put down that damned stone.

If you are reading the Bible, you will notice a difference among the descriptions of God and his personality.  In the old testament, God is a cruel narcissist.  The first commandment he gives Moses is that HE is Moses’s god and Moses shall put no other gods before him.  This certainly implies there ARE other gods and Yaweh knows that.  But he is the best, for no other reason than he says so.  Because heaven knows he’s not the kindest.  The Chosen People are continuously thrown into battle, enslaved, tortured, persecuted and in the case of Moses, punished for one man’s impatience… forty years hard labor.

He is cruel in subjecting Job to the ministrations of Satan on a bet.  Yes, he gave Job more as a reward than he took, but if your children and wife were all murdered, would you be grateful if someone gave you two new wives and twice as many children?  Or would you still be sad about the ones you lost?  God must have given Job Alzheimer’s along with his reward if he wanted to make the man happy.

This is a bloodthirsty god: Don’t eat my apple, blow down the walls of Jericho, murder all the enemies down to the babies and the animals, put blood on your lintel so I don’t slaughter your firstborn.  An eye for a eye.  A tooth for a tooth.  Slaughter your son in tribute to me.  Give your daughters to strangers for sex.  Kill small animals to make me happy.  The god of the old testament sounds like no one so much as he does Jeffrey Dahmer.  This god is a child, a narcissist.  It’s all about him.

Well, you say, he IS God, after all.  Yes, he is.  But by his own admission his is one god, not all gods.  And so far in the old Testament he has given mankind no great reason to trust his maturity.  In fact, several religions see him as a selfish, childish god on the mountain road to the higher plain.  Well, let’s look at that.

God and The Word existed at the beginning according to the myth.  The Word was God and The Word was with God.  The Word was also made flesh, so The Word was Jesus.  The Word (Jesus) made the world.  OK, so what exactly did God do?  Supervise?  And in the creation myth there is no mention of the creation of the angels.  And here’s why.

God needs to be worshipped, because a narcissist can’t exist in a vacuum.  So he made angels to sing his praises.  The angels were God’s Holy Yes Men.  Of course, you can train a parrot to praise you, but it doesn’t mean anything because the parrot can’t believe what it is saying.  Then god made some thinking angels who immediately realized what they were and the purpose of their creation and left, disgusted.  For that they were condemned for eternity.  Then God made man and gave him free will so he could scare the crap out of him and make him love his creator.

Now we turn to a short story by Mark Twain entitled “The Mysterious Stranger”.  In it, the title character visits some boys in a small European village.  As they sit one day and chat, the stranger makes tiny people out of mud.  When he sets them down they become animated.  They begin to build a small village.  Some have misshapen heads or legs because he took little care in making them, so they limp around our fall over because their heads are too big.  They go on with their little lives without knowledge of their creator.  He plucks up one or another and snuffs the life out of them.  Finally when he is bored he crushes the lot of them back into the mud.  The Stranger’s hosts are appalled by the behavior of their new friend.  But he tells them that he made them and he can do what he wants with them.  In other words, they came from mud and he can return them to mud whenever he wants.

And so The Word decided it was finally time to come to earth and show humans how to live, treat one another and think about god.  Jesus was born and began a life of miracle making at an early age.  Imagine a child with the powers of a god.  Imagine being that child’s mother.  How do you keep him humble?  How do you punish him when he is wrong?  How do you keep him and yourself safe?  It is a thin line, no doubt, and according to ancient texts, quite difficult on occasion.

But Jesus grew to be a quiet, thoughtful man who used his powers for good.  He took every opportunity to give his bloodthirsty crony the credit for his miraculous healings, revolutionary theories and seemingly unfettered lifestyle.  Why?  Because no one wanted humans to worship a man!  They were to worship the god.    But of course, that backfired.

Jesus’s message of love, trust and sharing was so diametrically opposed to the old testament god that followers can only worship Jesus the man and elevate him to Jesus the god.  With that they cast away the old God-Monster of the old testament and have a new, loving god who cares for the little sparrows and the lilies of the field rather than demanding their sacrifice by fire.

Is there a loving god?  Or is it propaganda spread by Jesus?  I don’t know for sure.  But if the evidence of the old testament is called in for consideration, I’d have to go with the latter.

The Christian Right in America believes that if the government is run by Christians according to the writings in the Bible, the country will be fine.  This is in direct conflict with our Constitution.  So what is the disconnect here?  Is it that politicians are so terrible that they must be replaced with religious figures?  Or are religious figures terrible too?

Fundamentalist Christians, those who believe the Bible is the Word of God, read their sacred book daily.  However, interpretations vary widely.  From one group to the next, practices are different:  abhor weapons/stockpile guns, pray for sinners at home/preach on the street, do unto others/protest alternative lifestyles, live and let live/assimilate.  Are these Christian teachings?

Let’s look at what Christ wanted.  Jesus left his home at thirty and hit the road.  He told his followers to divest themselves of their worldly goods.  He told them to depend upon the kindness of strangers.  He said they should remain non-violent in the face of an attack.  He said the government and religion should be separate.  And most importantly He said to love one another.  He put no qualifications on that.  Love one another.

He didn’t say love heterosexuals, he didn’t say marriage is between a man and a woman, he didn’t say love only other Jews, he didn’t say hate Muslims.  He said love one another.  Simple, elegant, easy to understand. So why are Christians so hateful?

When you talk to a Christian about the bad behavior of other Christians, like the group that goes to military funerals and screams that the servicemen are going to hell because there are homosexuals in the Army, they will invariably say, “Oh, those aren’t REAL Christians.” But we know that’s not true.  They believe in Christ as their savior, they study the same Bible, they worship the same God.  These people feel it is their Christian duty to attack for God.  But don’t you think God can handle that himself?  Perhaps God put people Christians hate on Earth to test their Christian forbearance?  To exercise that love one another edict?If, as Christians are fond of saying, God doesn’t make mistakes, then why would he make homosexuals?  Why would he make sociopaths?  Why would he make people with disabilities?

People who attack these “mistakes” aren’t abberations, they are as Christian as any other group.  In fact, because they are defying the teachings of Christ and calling it Christianity, ironically they are the definition of the American Christian.

True followers of Jesus do not hate.  True followers of Jesus give and forgive.  True followers of Jesus love with gentleness.  True followers have no conflicts because they turn the other cheek, because they have no possessions worth fighting over, because they love one another.  And true followers do not rule.  They render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, rendering themselves unto God.

Jesus never said that his people should be the government.  He never suggested his followers should rule the Earth.  What he said was the meek shall inherit the Earth.  The meek don’t run for office.  They work quietly to do God’s bidding.  They don’t argue, they don’t shout, they don’t make a pubic display of themselves.

Now if the Christians here in America would just do what Christ wants of them, we’d all be a lot better off.

Does God Get Tired?

Posted: October 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m tired of god.  He made me to be like him, in his image, right?  So he should be satisfied with his work.  I am like god.  And I am like god because he wants me to be like him.  In fact it’s kind of hard not to be like him, isn’t it, if he made me in his image?  It’s rather like looking like your dad.  You can’t help it, you’re made that way.

So if he wanted us this way, what does he want of us?  And don’t tell me it’s in the Bible.  That collection of aimless narrative and loosely disguised threats can only be the word of god if god is a paranoid schizophrenic.  Unless god hates himself so much that he secretly wants to commit suicide, why would he ask his chosen people to kill, maim, suffer and die?  For sharing an apple?  Really?

And even if you die you can’t escape.  No, you can still be thrown into the pit of eternal damnation and burn forever.  This from a loving god.  If your father tortures you and beats you and makes you commit crimes and kills you, guess what?  He goes to jail.  And if he punishes you afterwards, well, it’s desecration of a corpse.  More jail time.  And that’s what god does to the people he likes.

If I am made in god’s image, I am sizzling with divinity.  By looking at ourselves we can see god.  And what do we see?  For most Americans we see people as equals, basically good, generous, helpful and compassionate.  Like rats, when you get people in large groups their behavior changes.  Closely packed rats tend to become more violent and develop abberent behavior.  Likewise, people in urban areas tend to exhibit these traits.  The stressors of constant stimulative input, physical contact and sheer lack of community bring out the more violent, protective behaviors.  When communities fail, the balances which allow for the governence and watchfulness of neighbors and the peer effect on stifling non-conformity is not in place.  It’s not like a small town where Little Johnny gets in trouble at school and the whole town knows it before he gets home.  There aren’t watchful eyes when you don’t know what’s normal.  They are just confused and over-stimulated.

I believe it’s safe to say that God wants us to remain in small groups, extended familial sizes at most, small towns, where people recognize one another on sight.  Where in the bible does it say that big cities are good?  Nowhere.  But it does show the destruction of city after city to expiate the sins which come naturally when populations grow too large to create community.  Sodom, Gomorrah, Babylon, Jericho- all brought down because in populations of great size, anonymity breeds sin.

What is a god like creature to do?  Well, I suppose what god does.  We must create.  We must destroy.  We must make things in our own image.  The creator made us little godlings, proud of his offspring. Does that mean he’s a benificent god?  Is a god who made us to want to fight and scrap and kill at times a good guy?  I don’t know.  Perhap god is all those things: scrappy, fighting, deadly, destroying.

 

I recently was reading about the relationship between religious enthusiasm and dopamine.  People with great religious fervor and happiness in their religions have higher levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to norepinephrine and epinephrine production.  On the other hand, those who are clinically depressed and have very little belief in their own worth and the value of the future have extremely low levels of dopamine.  So let’s talk.

Is it the relationship with God which causes the high levels of dopamine, or the dopamine that causes the joyous belief in God?  An interesting question.  As someone who regularly has depression and very low levels of dopamine I can tell you, God is not at the top of my list. 

Raised as a Catholic and a Catholic school survivor, I was once devout.  Every Sunday I was at mass and a true believer.  And as I became older and began to suffer from bipolar disorder, my beliefs would swing from manic devotion to ass-dragging doubt.  Cynicism comes with age and now, in the absence of mania brought on by chemicals, I have extreme doubts about life, death and things I grew up thinking about god.  Is there a god?  Does he give a shit? 

Some of my questions are like this:  Is there one supreme being?  Does this being have superpowers?  Is this being so insecure that it needs the constant reassurance of the worship of it’s creations?  Is it parental?  Is it abusive?  Why would it give you one chance to live forever in heaven or in hell no matter where it put you to live your life?  Are we really made to suffer for the sake of this being instead of living lives that are natural and happy?  Why does it need us?

Of course the worship of gods began as all superstitions do, as a way of finding some control over our environments.  If we do this dance, it will rain.  If we kill this animal, it will stop.  If we want a good harvest, we perform this ceremony, burn this offering, spill this blood.  Do we really think that a god needs goats’ blood as a bribe?  Spilling out wine for Bacchus brings us good grapes?  Crucifying a Jew will be our salvation?  A god doesn’t need us.  Gods and men are cut of different cloth.  Why would they even listen to us, notice us, much less love us or condemn us or punish us?  What is so good or so bad that we can do to make a supreme being want us eternally rewarded or eternally damned?  Why would god want us traipsing around heaven under his feet for eternity?

Lots of questions.  Answers?  I think that religions gain power over people by putting the fear of god in them.  What religions are there that don’t scare the crap out of their believers?  God is Love… unless you piss him off.  Jesus?  Saves some, the others fall into the eternal fires to be tortured forever.  And you don’t even have to be bad, just not believe.  And other religions?  There are always destroyers or demons or haters or those with grudges against mankind.  Man has to watch his step or god’ll get him.

And the worst part is that religions create sin.  The stricture of goodness creates the will to do badness.  Difference in beliefs cause religious wars.  Even in this day of advanced technology, conflicts among believers of the Abrahamic religions quarrel among themselves in an effort to prove which aspect of the same god is superior.  Honest to god, I don’t know what to think.

So back to the dopamine.  Maybe it’s the L-Dopa that makes us believers.  If so, I’m kind of glad I don’t have it.  Believers sin together, hate together and tell everyone else what we should be doing.  And every one truly believes their flavor is the best.  People like me, we just want to get through life without guilt, prejudice and strife.  Without, in other words, god.  Or at least religion.  To me it doesn’t feel good to be religious.  Maybe it’s the dopamine.  Maybe it’s just the way they live.

I live in Texas, the land of Christianity.  At every meeting, every ball game, every anytime a bunch of white people get together they feel the need to pray.  I’ve been listening to this for more than thirty years now.  In that time our community has changed.  We aren’t a white Baptist community anymore (as if we ever were).  We have lots of other folks here now.  There are political refugees, those fleeing war and famine, people from Asia and Europe and Africa and the Middle East.  And that doesn’t even count those folks who’ve lived on the north side of the railroad tracks all these years.  These new people aren’t all Baptists.  There are Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and a myriad of other religious and non-religious people living here now.

Currently I serve on a board for a non-profit agency which assists disabled individual’s efforts to live independently.  At every board meeting we have an invocation and this bothers me. It’s not that I’m against being religious, it’s what these invocations say about the mission of our agency.

Giving an invocation at every meeting shows that we don’t have diversity of religious beliefs on our board of directors.  In this day and age, diversity is no longer defined as Baptist, Catholic and Episcopalian.  Diversity is different paradigms, cultures and forms of worship.  It says that we are not thinking about people of other faiths.  Worse, it also shows that we have no interest in recruiting people of other faiths.  It has not crossed our minds.

Unfortunately by not registering that these populations are out there, we are failing to serve the entire community.  Some refugees come from places where they have been tortured, injured by land mines, malnourished, shot or sustained other debilitation injuries or illnesses.  These folks could use our attention.  Too, there is a language barrier.  It would behoove our agency to break through this barrier by placing ourselves into these communities by way of the agencies which are currently serving them: Placement, advocacy, political and educational programs.  When we are serving the entire community, we are serving our community.

So let’s take a serious look at what we’re doing when we give an invocation and the implications it has.  Perhaps our time would be better spent sending out invitations as opposed to invocation.

Are humans creations of God?  Did God make us in His own image?  Or does man make his gods?  Do we need a god to keep us sane?

These are the tough questions.  If you believe the Holy Bible you are among the largest group of religious believers on the planet at 2.2 billion.  If you read the Quaran, you are in the second largest group at 1.6 billion.  And if you are in the third largest group you have no religious beliefs whatsoever.  The third of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, would likely be more popular but it seems difficult to keep its adherents alive.  All told, followers of Abraham’s god make up a little over half of the world’s population (3,868,000,000). The rest, to the larger group, are strictly wrong.

If you can step back and take a good look at these three branches of the original Hebrew roots you see the basics are the same: faith, honor and good behavior.  The differences are strictly philosophical.  We know what God expects of us.  But what do we expect from our God?-  Love. Protection. Wealth. Happiness. Equity. Eternal Life.  These religions are great levelers.  All believers have the same opportunities, the same rules.  There are no castes in the basics of the these beliefs. As long as you are one of the Chosen, you are in.

But there is a subtext to this story.  It is that God made everything and he made it for Man.  Like spoiled children, humans were given “dominion” over the Earth.  Even after they were banished, all that is in the world is there for the the taking.   Man is the keeper.  Man is the user.  Man is the creator and destroyer on Earth.  He has the rights to the world.

The result has been destruction and abuse.  With no respect for the origin of his world, Man conveniently forgets it was given as a gift and treats it and everything in it as his rape kit.  Land, water, plants, animals- even other men are fair game.

In the Old Testament God seems young and insecure.  He asks over and over- do you love me?  Do you trust me?  Will you fight for me?  Walk into danger?  Kill your son?   And he strikes out when angered, destroying cities, killing thousands at a time.  He asks his followers to fight and kill men, women and children, animals then punishes them for what would seem humane treatment when they spare the innocent.  Perhaps humane treatment is not godly.  Or godly treatment is inhumane.

So Abraham went forth to multiply from his two sons.  One was the father of the chosen, one the father of the cursed.  Like Abel and Cain, the faithful need someone to check themselves against, those who make them feel privileged, like demigods.  God’s Cursed are to the Chosen like the Chosen are to God.  By comparison, God’s men are holy.

But God sent mitigators.  Jesus, Mohammad.  Mediators.  Their jobs were to take up the slack between God and Man, show the world what God really wants.  Maybe what God really needs.

Does Man need God?  Men need a guideline, it seems, a higher power.  We are sentient creatures and need something to explain why we are different from the other animals.  We are special.  We are God’s image.  We are one step from divine.

Does God need Man?  What is a god without worshippers?   Does He exist in the absence of belief?  “You don’t believe in God but He believes in you.”  A positive message, but inane.  “Believe or die.” Another of the Abrahamic mandates.  But that is the hallmark of this God’s followers.  They are right and everyone else is wrong.  There is no tolerance for anything else.

If you are not a believer it will end badly.

You are not Chosen.

You’re going to hell.

The infidel must die.