Look Guys, It’s Religion Not Hate

That should be a reminder to anyone who forgets that. Religion wasn’t meant to be some exclusive club that only the rich or specific race could join and all others be damned. Religion, at its true core and intention, is not about hate or exclusivity. Religion is not about creating governmental laws, it’s about creating moral ones. One does not need religion for morality; religion and morality are definitely not mutually exclusive, as seen by any terrorist or hateful organization can show you. Besides, last I checked there was a separation between church and state for a reason.

Indiana has just become the 20th state to enact a “Religious Freedoms Bill”. I agree with the principle that everyone should have the freedom to practice their own religion freely, but was that it’s true intention or was it the intention of only Christians could have these freedoms but not any other religion or lack thereof. What if a Muslim politician enacted such a law, would it be as welcomed as this one seems to be? No, in fact if any other religion tried to enact this, there would be an uproar about Muslim terrorists taking over America or some other similar statement. Does this mean the Spaghetti Monster gets his time now, and we can start having statues of him all over? Oh and the Pentacle should have its place, since there are a large numbers of Wiccans and other Pagans in America, so they should get this freedom. And the Satanists. But no, if they tried to do any of that people would shrug them off as “just trying to prove a point”, when this law does say that they have this right. What’s sad is they shouldn’t need a law for this right; they should be free to be what they are without discrimination.

Is this the same type of law that makes it legal for bakeries to refuse service to gay couples getting married? It’s a slippery slope back to the days of segregation, and I don’t think I am exaggerating this point. Especially not with the public outcry over race relations in America. History does repeat itself, if you don’t believe that you should go back and read a history textbook.

I worry for America. I worry that we’ve come to a point where we are more hateful and divisive as ever. Not just about race, but about everything. America was once a melting pot, that as long as you were a white Christian that wasn’t Irish, you were perfectly accepted. If you were Irish, a minority, and other religion that wasn’t affiliate with Christianity, you were left to rot in poverty and treated like second-class citizens. Have we really sunk that low that we are willing to not learn our lessons and go back to that time?

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It All Started with a Doorbell

I was working away, when I heard the ring of my doorbell. I went, unsure of what to expect. I don’t normally ever get visitors, let alone visitors that actually ring my doorbell. I wasn’t expecting a delivery. Reason of deduction led me to the likely result of a Jehovah’s Witness being my impromptu visitor. I answered the door, with a dialogue in my head, and I was not disappointed.

“Hi! Good morning to you.” The pleasant woman responded as I opened the door. “Here is an invitation to you, to join us in hearing the good word of Jesus.”

“That’s mighty nice of you. Have you heard of the good word of the flying spaghetti monster?” I replied.

She looked at me, stunned. “Um. No. I haven’t heard of that. He must be a fake God.”

I smiled. “Well, what makes one fake God better than another?”

She had no response, and quickly left me with the invitation in my hand. I watched her scurry down the driveway as fast as she could. I was probably inappropriately pleased with myself over this exchange.

Which leads to an interesting point. What does make one God better than another, that people are willing to kill over this ideal? The answer might shock you: there is no difference between the God that each religion claims to cherish. This God that they all believe in believes in equality, kindness and other positive feels that the so-called believers forget exist. Instead, they would rather fight over which of their “fake” Gods are better than another and cause public debate over it. Are Atheists better than Christians? Are Christians better than Muslims? Where do the Jewish fit in on this grand scheme of awesome?

No. Atheists are not better than religious fanatics, because they can be just as ignorant and unaccepting as the religions they claim to hate. People have a right to religion as they have a right to not walk down that path. I don’t believe there is a God, but I don’t consider myself an Atheist. I don’t believe because I have a hard time stomaching what religions do in the name of their love of God. Spewing hate rhetoric on all sides and ignoring that people just are born different is not something I want to have anything to do with. Does this make me a horrible person? No. I believe that people should be charitable and kind to others and I don’t believe I need religion to do that.

I have people lecture me all the time about my choice to put my children through Catechism classes. “But I thought you were an Atheist?” “I thought you were intelligent, how could you brainwash your child that way?” I think that is as closed-minded as it comes. Just because I don’t believe does not mean I shouldn’t give my child the choice to believe. If my sons want to remain Catholics as I have raised them, then that is their choice. If they choose another path, that is their choice as well. What matters is that I gave them the choice to be whatever they want. If they want to convert peacefully into another religion, that is their right. Part of parenting is allowing children to make these types of decisions on their own.

So next time you find yourself judging another person, think about if that’s the type of belief system you want to have in your life and if that is how you want to raise your child. Children learn by watching their parents. If you teach them hate and disrespect, that is all on you and not your religion. Just because their God (or lack of God) is not yours, does not mean that you are automatically a better person as a result. We all walk the same path down here, and what happens when we die is all the same no matter what religion you follow: you’re dead.

The War On…

It seems that in America, we are always in a war. There’s a war on terrorism. The war on traditional marriage. Everything is a war. “War” has become the equivalent of “-gate”. In fact, I’m actually shocked that we haven’t heard of a “War on Sodagate”. We can have a “sodagate”, but we haven’t had a “War on Sodagate”. This is depressing. Get on it, America.

Every Christmas, I am told that we have a “War on Christmas” going on. (“War on Christmasgate?” Just a thought…) I hear that as I look out my window, and I see all the Christmas lights. The apartments next to me, 60% of them have a Christmas tree lit since before Thanksgiving. A War on Christmas, as Christmas stuff takes over the aisles before I can even buy my Halloween decorations. Screw the War on Christmas, what about the War on Halloween? I want to enjoy my favorite holiday before a commercialized holiday celebrating a fat man takes over 2 months early. Screw you, Christmas. I do not want to hear “Jingle Bells” when I should be hearing “Monster Mash”. Where’s the outrage?

I could argue that the outrage doesn’t exist over Halloween, since Halloween is associated with Pagans who are obviously mistaken for Satanists, who are also mistaken for actual devil worshippers that want to cause harm on people. News flash: 90% of your traditions that you follow for Christmas, comes from the Pagans. So, I ask: can Pagans openly celebrate their Yule? Wait, we already do that by pretty much every tradition we follow as “Christians”.

The only people who are attacking Christmas are really just people who either want attention (/cough National Association of Atheists) or… want attention. Some might actually have the desire to have their City Hall recognize their religion’s celebrations that occur at the same time. I can’t say that I disagree with those people. There’s no reason that their shouldn’t be a menorah near the city’s Christmas tree, or any other symbol of some other religion as needed to make everyone in the community feel a part of the holiday spirit. We were, as America, founded on the basis of freedom of religion, not just a “Freedom to Christian”. As I remember from my youthful days wasting away in CCD, Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Christ. What follows are things like, the Golden rule. You know the, “treat others as you want to be treated” clause of Christianity?

So this holiday season, just be nice to people. Don’t mock someone’s Christmas tree because it’s sparse and yours isn’t. Mine is purposely sparse. Our tree lacks too many ornaments on account of my trouble making toddler, and has no garland because we are pretty sure that our “lively lab” would tear it off the tree or take down the tree trying. Some people might not even be able to afford a tree or ornaments and shouldn’t be judged for that. It isn’t competition of who has the nicest house or the tree crammed with the most ornaments, or even which religion should have the right to celebrate. It’s a holiday season for everyone to enjoy, so be nice to your neighbor and let them celebrate how they want to this season.

Ending the Week With Controversy and Exciting News

Fall is coming, and this means the happiest time of year for me. I wonder if I could convince my husband to start setting up the Halloween decorations already? Too soon? He gets to put up stupid Christmas stuff over a month early, why can’t I get my Halloween stuff up early?! #debateoverholidays . It’s exciting to have our first holiday come up while we’re in our first house and I can’t wait to go completely overboard and be the neighborhood crazies. Which is horrible of me to say, considering one of the apartments next to me has mentally ill people. Besides the point, entirely.I promised both controversy and exciting news, and I will hopefully deliver on both.

I have written many blogs on how god awful it is to have Islam as a whole be accused of being a religion that celebrates terrorism because there are some radicals out there. I have even noted in the past that what makes those terrorists, but we ignore those radical Christian groups that bomb/shoot at abortion clinics. Why isn’t Christianity considered a terrorist religion because of those bad seeds but we automatically label all Muslims as terrorists. I even have recalled in the past how a person I grew up with (who was fantastic person) was Muslim and how she was treated after both terrorist attacks. More recently, people destroyed her family’s store after the Boston Marathon Bombing because her family has the nerve to not be Christian. I would even argue that even if they weren’t Muslim this would ‘ve happened because assholes in America only see skin color and clothes and not individual people.  So with that, I talk about ISIS.

People against calling them ISIS say it’s because they are neither a state nor part of Islam because they do not follow the teachings. While I agree it’s not a state, declaring them not Islamic is actually a half lie. They follow their own twisted ideals of the religion, as many twist Christians turn around the teachings of the bible to fit whatever endgame they have. Do I think they follow the teachings of the Qur’an as intended? Absolutely not. Despite what scaremongers want you to believe, they are a peaceful religion like any other peaceful religion. What do I think we should call them? I don’t care what you call them as long as you bomb the crap out of them and make them non-existent. In fact, how about we not refer to them as anything and not give them any airtime so they no longer get the toddler temper tantrum attention that they are getting. They are just children that want Mommy and Daddy’s attention, so give them the bomb treatment and call it a day? Not really because so many innocents are going to die. It’s not my place to decide which people die and who lives, unless it’s in a story I write. I just think this whole argument is stupid and distracts from the real issue of making them gone.

Now that the controversy is over, onto the good news. I have mentioned that I am going to join in another NaNoWriMo, hopefully with a completion like last year. I have the novel idea set, just need a title and to actually write it when November 1st hits. For now, I hopefully get my 4th e-book released in time for Halloween, a nice monster story for the masses to enjoy. Thank you as always for taking the time to read this.

Grief, Religion, and Other Unmentionables

I had a friend that for about 7 years that I spoke to daily, and though (as geeky as this sounds) we had only known each other from playing a game together, he was a very cherished friend and a big part of my life. I posted a while back about his death, 6 months to be exact. Normally when someone I knew passed away, it was just a person that died and that was that. My husband, always remarked my terrible habit of never actually grieving. What was grief? It was just being sad that someone passed. What good would that do? Someone died, and that was that. I’m far to analytical to think any more of it than that. You go to a wake, you go to the church service, you stand around a coffin in the middle of thousands of coffins already in the ground, and then you go to some reception afterwards and eat and forget the whole thing happened. That’s what happens. Then they are put in the ground or burned to ashes, and that is what happens when you die.

I don’t think I need religion to be a good person, though some would argue that I’m not even a good person and I might actually agree with that fact. People try to console one another when someone dies: God made a choice to make an angel because they were such a good person and he needed him. First of all, who are we to assume that God is a “he” or even a “she”? We shouldn’t put a pronoun to this notion because God is an ideal first and foremost not a person. If you are religious, you would believe that God created people and how could he have created people if he was a person already? Wasn’t Adam the first person? Therefore God is not a “he” or a “she” because that applies to mammals and other creatures with gender which was also said to be created by God. Tangent on God = ended. This isn’t to discount people who have faith, I just can’t get behind things that I can’t find logical. (Don’t worry, I nail Atheists too.)

If God was so attentive to pick a loved one to be an angel to help up in Heaven, why isn’t he attentive enough to stop a toddler for being murder by some punk kid? If God was going to take an innocent child, shouldn’t it be done in a less horrific way? Fine, that’s only one child and that God can’t be everywhere at once. What about mass genocide? I’m supposed to believe that a loved one was taken from me because it was in some greater plan but genocide is some horrific act that can’t be stopped? There’s no comfort in any of that for me.

And so religious people do not feel attacked (and I hope that people don’t assume that I’m someone misguided by grief, that would assume that I went through a grieving process, I assure you that I unfortunately did not and probably would feel better if I had), I actually dislike that National Association of Atheists more not organized religion. I’m a non-believer and that’s my choice as it is yours to believe. I actually admire you for having the ability to trust in something so intangible. I don’t even mind atheists but as a principle, I have a problem with this group claiming atheism. Atheists are people who argue whether or not a God exists, not feign offense at a cross  in legal battles. Atheism, in this form, is no better than religions that place their beliefs above others. That’s not atheism and it makes you no better than those Westboro Baptists that do things for the sake of free publicity and sue people to fund their idiocy. Atheists also don’t agree with organized groups based around religion, and as a result their being a group of Atheists fighting for a cause with a leader is in itself hypocritical since if your main platform is a non-belief in religion based groups you are still a group based upon a religion. A lack of religion, sure but it still involves religion. Moral of the story: You can be a non-believer without being an asshole. If someone wants a cross up, let them fucking have it. No one tells you that you can’t put a spaghetti monster shrine up, don’t knock them down because you want to make the evening news.

My rant go out of hand, but it felt necessary as I wrote it. So why do people die? Because tragedy and illness exists. Because people need to because of overpopulation. Because sometimes your best friend has to die and you have to be okay with that and move on. 6 months has passed and somehow I still expect him to show up and give me some geeky speech about in-game lore or how I’m not a true geek because I have not seen Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. I still expect him to show up and let me throw ideas off of him for stories or vent about how something happened and it sucked. But he won’t, and we have to learn that you can wish it to happen and you can dream that they are in Heaven watching to make sure you get the house that you wanted or that job that you wanted or the you were saved from something because they were watching if that makes you feel better. And I sincerely hope it does.

When Beer and God Collide

I’m not a beer drinker. I’m more of a wine fiend myself, a nice delicious good Merlot preferably.  After two years of not touching a drink, I swore that the minute I stop providing my son’s milk, I was going to go to the store and buy a nice bottle for myself. Then when I got home, I will proceed to drink the entire thing. No, I won’t waste any time with a glass. The bottle will be plenty, then I will take some aspirin and down a gallon of water and go to bed. The trick is to hydrate to avoid the hangover. Truth. Not exactly though, I don’t have the luxury of just downing a whole bottle of wine since I need to be fully functioning for my boys. That, and I’m at a point in my life where I think that getting completely drunk not the type of thing I find appropriate for me. But this isn’t about a love of wine.

I wonder if anyone really thinks about God or anything about religion while drinking. When I chose a beverage, I can’t say that religion has any influence on my beverage choice. I know some religions don’t approve of alcohol or its consumption. That’s perfectly okay. But I never considered the two being mutually exclusive. Does God have a favorite beer? I’d like to ask him. If he did, I bet he would be a local brewery sort. Maybe God would even make his own at his own distillery in Heaven. Silly me, if God wanted beer he wouldn’t make it; he’d snap his magic God fingers and BOOM! The most perfect beer would appear. I bet it’d taste pretty awesome too. Maybe it would even taste like… wait for it… heaven. (Too much?)

That whole paragraph sounds a little ridiculous, doesn’t it? The idea of mixing religion and beer. That’s exactly how ridiculous I found the whole Sam Adams beer debate. I see where the commercial was going. Sam Adams signed the Declaration of Independence, so what better beer to celebrate the holiday than theirs. Why not hammer it home by using the words of the document to pull at our patriotic heartstrings. If I love freedom, I should love Sam Adams beer. Plus, it’s a state grown brewery, bonus points right? The revolution started here in Massachusetts folks. Maybe they shouldn’t have used the part where it talks about the Creator and omit it. But they are a private company and I thought we’re not supposed to be telling them what to do? I don’t feel offended by this. I don’t think I should declare what people find offensive, though I can say I don’t get it. I don’t understand why God should be mentioned in a beer commercial. I don’t understand the big controversy. I think people are starting to drum up “the war against Christians” because they’re running out of examples of this since it’s not Christmas season. Shame on us for only attacking the Christians and their religions. They are the victims in everything. They never were the victims in the Crusades and World War II. Oh… wait.

The point is simple. It’s a commercial. I think I need to repeat myself. It’s a commercial. There’s no big conspiracy to bring down the Pope. There’s no conspiracy to bring down Christianity at its core of beliefs. There is a conspiracy to sell beer, however, so watch out for that. Maybe even sell mediocre beer. What if another beer company used God in their commercials, wouldn’t there be an uproar of implications of targeting children because God loves kids and so does beer? What if the commercials used another religion in their purposes to sell beer? Where would the outrages be there? I think there’s enough going on the in the world where we should worry about that and not whether or not a commercial referenced God properly. Next you’ll see beer commercials promoting guns, and we’ll see what the real slippery slope is. Also, I doubt God would want to be a part of selling alcohol for the purposes of drunken debauchery. I think that’s against the Bible.

Then People Go A Little Crazy

I sat around watching the news recently, and wondered “are we getting more sensitive in our age, or are people just crazy?” I can’t say I ever truly figured out that answer. It’s always “____ group was offended because ____” and usually it’s something I can’t help but to tilt my head at the television, with a confused look on my face as if I were mimicking the dogs. What’s the big deal, I thought. So what? I can’t quite figure this out.

Just because I enjoy a steak, that doesn’t mean I enjoy a cow being tortured. It just means steak is delicious. One time my son approached me about why we eat meat, and if it’s cruel or not. I said “Dyl, people have been eating meat to survive for eons. Besides, if God didn’t intend you to eat bacon, why does it taste so good?” He nodded happily. I don’t care PETA exists, they have their purpose. Just because I enjoy a steak, doesn’t mean I want to wear a fur outfit from an animal I wouldn’t eat. Sure, killing an animal for it’s fur and tossing the remains aside is cruel, in my opinion. But it someone wants to wear a fur coat, it’s not my place to lecture them. So when I saw on the news that PETA was outraged by the killing of a spider, I thought I would’ve killed the freaking thing too. I don’t freak out on PETA for killing plants to eat, though plants are definitely living things. Who are they to decide what living thing is fit to be eaten? How do they know plants don’t have the capacity to feel pain or love?

I use this same philosophy on religions. I don’t care if they want a manger in the center of the town at Christmas time, no more than I’d care if they tossed up some other religious articles up at their holiday time. Atheists are allowed to be Atheists as Christians are allowed to be Christians, etc. If you don’t want to celebrate the holiday, then simply don’t celebrate it. I won’t judge you like you judge me. Being of one school of thought doesn’t make you smarter than another, unless you’re just a hateful bigot. Then I’ll ignore you on the grounds that I’m a better human being.

I think I figured it out. It’s not about the cause, it’s about the airtime you get for it. In this age of social networking and everyone being a photographer thanks to smartphones, news spreads. And people are suckers for stories on the news that makes us die a little on the inside because of the sheer stupidity of it. Do I think PETA is really offended by the killing of a spider? Probably, but I won’t tell them how many ants they probably kill walking around everyday. But crying outrage on stupid and asinine topics sells the real agenda you want them to, because you’ll get all the airtime you want.