Finding Peace Without "God"

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Re-Grouping

It’s been several weeks since I’ve written a new blog or been active on twitter or, well…pretty much anything having to do with all this atheist stuff.  It wasn’t that I didn’t care or wasn’t thinking or that I had run out of ideas or that I was that my passion for god was suddenly reignited-  I was just busy working on other projects (a novel) and frustrated with myself and the direction that this blog was taking, so I decided that I needed to take a break and regroup.

Back around the middle of October I got into a conversation, or at least what I thought was a conversation with a fellow blogger- a believer-blogger and I let him/her get to me.  (I’m not sure if it was a chick or a dude, so for the sake of this entry I’m going to refer to him/her as a him.)  He really made me angry; pretending like he wanted to have an open conversation but really only had one objective- to tell me I was wrong.  I understand and believe that a true believer should  do that, but his tactics really got under my skin.

My intention with this blog is to offer an alternative explanation and way of thinking.  I am proud of where I am spiritually-or not so spiritually.  I have more peace in my life than I ever had when I was hanging on to god.  I worry less.  I enjoy more.  I accept and appreciate better.  These are the things I want to share, along with my thoughts and ideas about the psychology of spirituality.

I have yet to go back and edit my previous blogs, although that is something that I still plan to do.  But for today, I just wanted to, at least, post a little something to say, “I’m back!”

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Stress

When I set out to write this blog I didn’t really have a goal. I was mostly just venting out of frustration from all of the Christian propaganda that surrounds me. After a couple of conversations with other atheists that I met on twitter, I realized that I did not want to become and angry atheist and therefore my plan was to focus on offering alternative ways of thinking without name calling or hitting below the belt. I am not a mean or spiteful person- quite the opposite in fact. It takes a lot to make me angry and even when I am angry I usually keep it to myself, or at least take time to cool off before addressing the issue. However, I am quickly learning that keeping my cool is going to be hard for me on this subject. Not because I don’t like Christians, but because I don’t like being told that I don’t know the “truth” about Christianity or what it takes to be Christian.

I know good and well how it works.

My ultimate goal was: to not be offensive to anyone. While I realize that this is an unattainable goal since religious views are very personal and it’s near impossible not to take what I say personally– I can still strive for that goal.

What I find scary and worrisome is that I might offend someone who I know and love. This is why I decided to keep this blog anonymous, well that and I don’t want to lose my job. But mostly because I don’t want to lose the friends that I cherish. It’s hard because I really do feel the things I say, but I don’t mean them at the people I love. They are not the ones saying the things that make me so angry. I’m not being two-faced, I’m just fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who, no matter their beliefs, are accepting of my own.

I guess, my point is- if you are a personal friend of mine and you read this blog, please don’t think that I ever think poorly of you or your beliefs. I may not agree with your religion but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect you.

Your Reality Is Not My Reality

I understand that you believe that I need saving. I understand that you want me to go to heaven. I understand that it’s your job as a Christian to spread the word. I understand that you “love” me as Jesus taught you. I UNDERSTAND! I GET IT!

Now what you need to understand is that it doesn’t matter how much scripture you throw at me. It doesn’t matter how many questions you ask me about my knowledge of god, Jesus or salvation. It doesn’t matter how much you try to convince me that you are right and I am wrong.

Your imagination is not my reality. I do not believe in god. Therefor your scripture is worthless, you questions go no where and I will know that I am right.

Feel free to pray for me if you’d like.

Christian Question #1

QUESTION FROM A CHRISTIAN: “If there is an all-good, all-powerful God, He would never allow all this evil and/or suffering that we see in the world.”

Christian Question for the Atheist: “If there is no objective standard of right and wrong, or good and evil (such as God), then how can we even judge that the things we see in the world are evil or wrong?”

Atheists say that an all-good God would never allow all the evil we see in the world.

Yet, how are they even judging whether something is “evil”, without having a standard of good and evil to compare to?

And if they do an objective standard of good and evil to compare this world to, wouldn’t that be God?

MY RESPONSE: Humans feel joy and pain, this creates is an innate ability to know good an evil. No god required.

HIS FOLLOW UP: +Life Reason But how can atheists build their entire argument from evil against God based on an “inner feeling” of joy?

MY ANSWER: Well, evil is just a word. Because atheists don’t believe in god they also don’t believe in satan. But you don’t need either of those mythical creatures to have feelings. Feelings are what we use as a gauge to determine good and bad- or in this case good and evil.
We, as in ALL people don’t need to have a god tell us that something is good or bad. We are a thinking, feeling, deciphering species. We know that joy feels good and pain feels bad. The things that cause feelings are what I might label good and “evil”- but not in a devil-ish way

Missionaries Need to Back the Eff Up!

It has been over a year since I was fortunate enough to spend a day with the Embera Indians in Panama and I still feel just as angry and sad as did the day I left; angry at missionaries who won’t leave them alone and sad for the people of the village who will soon lose their identity.

When I arrived, via dug-out canoe, the villagers were lined up near the shore line playing a welcome song on their handmade instruments. As I walked up the dock they each came to me, shook my hand and welcomed me to their village, even the smallest of the children- big smiles and open hearts. Dressed in colorful garb, covering just the “important parts”; the women wore red hibiscus wreaths in their hair, brightly-patterned wrap-around skirts with bra-tops made from shiny nickels and dimes. The men were shirtless with only a loin cloth covering their man-parts and everyone, from the youngest infant to the eldest villager, were covered in a henna-like ink. The ink is made from the berry of a native plant is used as not only decoration but also as a bug repellent.

It was a magical day spent just hanging out- chatting, eating and learning about each other’s culture. They had as many questions for me as I did for them. The Medicine Man took me on a tour of the village, pointing out different plants and telling me about their medicinal properties. He told me a bit about their agriculture and their faith in nature.

I sat and talked with a new friend I made, Miguel, as he was whittling a new flute for himself. It was his birthday. 

It was quite literally the most delightful experience of my life. No one had a care in the world. The villagers just went about their business of cooking and napping and playing and chatting. And although the first hour or so was a little uncomfortable for me, I quickly became acclimated and felt like I was a part of their community.

The day I went was a very special day. Not only was it Miguel’s birthday, but they were also celebrating the new community structure that had just been completed. It was an impressive bit of architecture built using the same techniques that the Embera had been using for centuries. One large log in the center and smaller logs that make up the rest of the frame. There are no walls, only a thatched roof made from large palm fronds. (Before they were booted from their land just a few years ago, all of their materials came from the area in which they lived. However, since the Panamanian government moved them to a “reservation”, much like the American Indians, they Embera now have to buy logs for their buildings as it is against the law for them to cut down trees –that’s a rant for another day.)

On to the point of this essay- MISSIONARIES

As I was saying, it was a special day. It was Miguel’s birthday and the new building was complete- those are two pretty good reasons to celebrate, no? Of course they are! But guess who showed up to do it “right”. You guessed it, missionaries. In this case it happened to be a Catholic Bishop and two nuns, but it could have easily been any other denomination.

You see, the bishop wanted to “bless” the structure- apparently he didn’t think that whatever the Embera had been doing for hundreds, possibly thousands of years was good enough, so he came with his rosary and bible and probably some holy water, to bless this new building. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I missed the actual ceremony as it happened just before I got there, but my guide/interpreter told me about the goings on. He told me that this bishop had been visiting the village for the last few years, teaching them about Christ and the bible and encouraging them to build a chapel at the top of the hill where their homes were located.

The bishop also arranged for other missionaries to come to the village back in 2008 to give them running water and while this sounds like a noble cause, it comes with consequence.

When the Embera were free, they were somewhat nomadic, and were always sure to live near clean, running water. However, when the government moved them to the reservation, not all of the villages were near drinkable water. This particular village was now a mile from the nearest drinkable water and therefore had to walk back and forth with buckets the closest spring daily.

While this was not as convenient for the Indians as having the spring run through their village, they were used to acclimating themselves to the necessities of their circumstances. They did not complain; they just dealt with it- just as they had with any other inconvenience they had to “suffer” in decades past.

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “what’s wrong with providing them with running water?” When the medicine man took me on the tour and showed me the spigot, and my guide explained to me where it came from, I said, “oh wow! That’s cool!”  That’s when he explained to me that, no, it really wasn’t. He said that since that spigot had been provided, the villagers had become lazy. Not only were they no longer walking the distance to get the water, but they were becoming more and more dependent on outsiders to bring them things that, until now, were never necessities.

 

This really became clear to me when, after lunch- a delicious feast of fish, chicken, rice, plantains and a yummy oat-milk drink, 

we were served cake and ice cream.

CAKE AND ICE CREAM!

The bishop and his nuns had brought a tub of ice cream and a sheet cake to celebrate Miguel’s birthday, along with disposable plates and utensils. A thoughtful gesture? Sure, IF YOU LIVE IN A CITY WITH A TRASH DUMP AND A DIGESTIVE TRACT THAT’S USED TO CONSUMING DAIRY AND LOADS OF SUGAR!!!

Do you see where I’m going with this? This bishop and his nuns and all the other missionaries out there who are “just trying to help” will eventually make this tribe and every other tribe of indigenous people EXTINCT by converting them to Christianity, making them sick and creating a dependency that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

These amazingly beautiful, happy, peaceful, nature-loving people will become poisoned with diabetes, guilt, shame and “civilization” all because the “civilized Christians” think the “uncivilized” can’t survive without them or their god.

After lunch, I got to sit down and have a chat with the chief. He spoke a little English, but not enough to communicate, so my guide translated for us. I asked him if they believe in god, he said, “we believe in nature” and when I asked him how he felt about the bishop wanting to build a church, he just shrugged his shoulders. My guide explained to me that it’s not their culture to say “no”. Not because they think it’s a good idea, but because they think it’s rude to turn down an offer.

So regardless of your religious beliefs or dis-beliefs, the next time you think you’re helping someone, ask yourself, “am I helping myself more?” Because while your intentions may be good, all actions have reactions and sometimes those reactions are more like consequences.

As for the Embera, my best guess is that they’ll continue being polite, the missionaries will continue bringing them cake and “wisdom” and eventually, the Embera will become another extinct society. Only they won’t die off, or vanish overnight- they’ll be swallowed up by those who “meant well” but were oblivious to their self-serving motives.

No god necessary…

Nature is far more capable than the credit we give.

Angry Tweeter

I spent the better part of last night and this morning arguing with a militant atheist about how to BE atheist. It started when I posted something along the lines of “If we want the non-secs to respect us, we need to do the same”. This led to him berating me for HOURS even though we’re on the SAME fricken team.

DUDE!

According to him I’m not atheist enough because I’m not ANTI-theist. Supposedly, you have to insult and shame believers into converting because they are responsible for AIDS, among other things. This is the kind of atheist I DO NOT want to be.

The thing is, I’d like to give him credit for some of the things he said, he DID make some decent points. But he was such a dick about the whole thing that I actually tuned him out and simply felt the need to defend myself– which was the whole point of the entire conversation.

I’m always up for a good debate, but you have to know when to walk away.

It ended when he told me that you have to tell Christians that they are stupid over and over again in order to get them to question themselves and their beliefs. My last tweet to him was, “w/your reasoning I should just tell you that you you’re an asshole over and over again until you believe it. would that work??”

–he did not respond.

I wonder if he’ll read this post?

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