Given the current rancor in Washington with the partial government shutdown, I thought it might be appropriate to explore another rancorous group, the ‘Anti-CoExisters’.
Haven’t heard of them?
Me neither…that is until I was surprised one day scrolling through my personal Facebook newsfeed and found the below message shared from a very good friend of mine, who will remain nameless:
‘Every time I see a coexist bumper sticker I think of this.
A reality check for those fools.
The ‘This’ that Beth is referring to is the picture below:
Given what we’re bombarded with on the daily newswires, the anti-Islamic statements expressed above are understandable to a certain degree. I say, ‘understandable’, but they are not tolerable.
I know that it only takes one terrorist attack in the name of Allah for the above statements to resonate with many, many people. I am NO fan of Islam, and I’m certainly NO fan of religion. What I AM a fan of though is TRYING TO GET ALONG, yes, COEXIST with one another.
If we don’t make efforts to coexist on this planet, what will this world look like in another 10, 20, 30 years?
I shudder to think about all the violence that could be exacted in our own country of the United States on those who are not of the dominant practicing Christian faith.
Broad generalizations about a peoples’ faith are dangerous to make, and those that create these generalizing ‘memes’ are doing so at the world’s peril.
If it were up to me, we’d all by Atheists living in a material world working for the betterment of humanity simply because that’s just a better way to live your life… helping others. We’d all join up in our communities and work side by side, with no pretense of a supernatural deity blessing or cursing our efforts, to fix the problems that plague our communities.
Islam has its crazies, just like Christianity, just like Judaism, just like any religion where its followers decide that its tenets need to be written down on a piece of paper, and called ‘Holy’.
I think Beth, the person that wrote the Facebook post, my friend who shared the post, and whoever the person was that created the little pictorial, are just acting out of fear and ignorance.
They obviously have never met the Islamic people I know who are peace loving people, and don’t ascribe to any of the generalizations that the above picture portrays for their faith.
And they obviously haven’t gone to Indonesia where over 200 million Muslims practice their faith in relative obscurity and peace each and every day. And they haven’t spent any time in Muslim areas in our own country like in Illinois where nearly 3 million Muslims practice their religion every day without a terrorist attack, or their next closest in population State, Virginia, which has over 2.6 million Muslims practicing the same way. Or New York, New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, Florida, Delaware, and Pennsylvania who, combined, have nearly 10 million Muslims in their States not strapping on suicide vests, or killing Pacifists, Gays, Taoists, Christians, Jews, Pagans, and the like in vengeance.
To Beth, and my friend who shared Beth’s post, I’d just like to plead for you both to stop this kind of unproductive hate speech. Please try to rethink your positions on coexisting with other religions on the planet.
The alternative, where we refuse to coexist, is a much, MUCH scarier reality.
Thanks for stopping by,
Do you ‘thank the lord’ when a natural disaster strikes and your life is spared?
Well, if you’re being interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in Moore, OK, you apparently are presupposed to be doing just that.
Here’s a short clip from Youtube showing the famed news reporter during an awkward moment that I bet he wishes he could get back.
A special thank you to Bradley Bannon for posting this video clip on his Facebook page.
Here’s a copy of what Mr. Bannon wrote regarding the clip:
It’s been a little over 8 months since the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Bengazi, Libya that claimed the life of U.S. Diplomat, Chris Stevens, and 3 others. We’ve learned since that fateful day in September of last year that this was a coordinated, premeditated effort by a group of heavily armed, well trained militia personnel with knowledge of the architecture and layout of the embassy, rather than a spontaneous uprising from protesters reacting to a video about the prophet Mohammed.
What a difference hindsight makes.
My previous post had been a reaction to the initial reports from September of 2012, where it was thought persons had stormed the embassy and killed in the name of their God, Allah, and his supposed offense to the release of a video that depicted their prophet in a less than respectful way.
I’d brought up the question of whether it was harmful to believe in God in general, and Allah in particular.
Despite the more recent information we have about this attack on the embassy, I think the question, and its answer or answers are still relavent. But really, at the end of the day, so to speak, like most questions, the answer is nearly always a big ‘It depends’.
A person who chooses to believe in a said god or gods can do great good or great harm on a daily basis for reasons possibly completely unrelated to that same person’s belief in said god or gods.
The flip side of that is equally true…a person who does not believe in anything dealing with the supernatural can do great good or great harm on a daily basis irrespective of that disbelief.
While the question of harm by believing in a god or gods is relavent, I must concede that it’s actually less interesting than trying to get at the motivations for violence on our planet, and trying to address those motivations with real counter motivations to not do violence.
There’s a song by the group Genesis that I really like.
I hadn’t listened to this song in probably 20 years until a few months ago. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed one day, and noticed a post by a friend who’d commented that the politicians engaged in the ‘fiscal cliff’ discussions in Congress in December of 2012 reminded her of the puppets used in the 1986 music video ‘Land Of Confusion”.
I immediately was transported back inside my head to my sophomore year in high school where I’d heard the song for the first time, and watched the video on Friday Night Videos on NBC late night (anybody remember that show?)
I liked both the music and the lyrics.
I was 15 years old at the time, and not really ‘up to speed’, so to speak, on the political realities that were being mocked in the song’s video; realities of what it takes for a human being to commit to fight in a war for his or her country. From 15 years old to the ripe old age of 42 where I sit now, those realities are now very apparent to me having lived between those ‘bookends’ of the former and latter ages.
One lyric in particular stands out….
“I won’t be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right”.
I can only think about what has happened in the Middle East and Africa over the past 2-3 years with Tunisia starting the so called ‘Arab Spring’ and wonder how much courage it takes for people to rise up and possibly utter these same words from the song to their loved ones.
How hard that must be.
The song continues to haunt…
Orginially written in April 2012, but posted on September 10th, 2012:
It’s been an incredibly busy last 6 months since moving my family to a new city here in California for a new job. We’re in a good location, though very expensive. My new position is slightly little less stressful than my previous one, but still away from home about the same amount of time as before due to my commute.
I’m learning a great deal everyday, which is good. What I lack however, is the time, and frankly, the desire, to cultivate friendships. I hope, in time, the desire to cultivate these good conversations with others will come. I see other people in the area who have families close by, friends they’ve grown up with, etc. and I have to admit that I am jealous.
Not only am I jealous, I am starting to wonder if my vowing Goodbye and God Bless moments mentioned in my previous entry #40 were a bit too confident and premature.
I woke up the other night thinking something I never in a million years would have thought I would have thought: ‘Hey, maybe it would be good if I went back to church, if even just to make some friends.”
Yes, I had that thought about a week ago.
It was hard to just write and admit that last sentence.
Think I’m going to leave it there for now, and see how I do over the course of a few weeks.
Thanks for stopping by…
Quick disclaimer: No I haven’t renounced my atheistic beliefs with the title of this 40th entry ;), nor am I saying ‘Goodbye’ to writing this blog…please read on…
I grew up surfing on the east coast. In many ways, surfing dictated how I lived my life from the time I met my assistant scoutmaster, Max Hastings, in the mid 1980’s, as a member of Troop 856, up to the day I stopped surfing in early 2001 to pursue a career, get married, and have a child. Ten years would pass before I’d be back in the water paddling on a piece of fiberglass to match the speed of an oncoming energetic wall of water. It was a long time to wait, but in May 2011, the wait turned out to be worth it.
In April of last year I found out a coworker of mine who was living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas near me and my family was a surfer from Southern California. He invited me and my family to come down to his house in Southern California to go surfing at this one beach break near Encinitas, CA. I wasn’t able to work it out to bring my wife and son, but I made the long trek down to Southern California in search of surf. I was pretty nervous about getting into the water again. I didn’t tell my coworker how long it had been until we started paddling out. He looked at me askew and said, “Really?! Wow!” The waves weren’t that big (thankfully!) and I was able to catch many that day. Afterwards, my coworker said he was a little worried when I told him it had been 10 years since I’d been surfing and he was more wary of me out in the water just to make sure I didn’t drown. While I was out in the water that day last May, I was able to jettison myself back to my teens growing up along the coast of South Carolina when I was on a board for the first time, feeling the power of the ocean beneath me. Those were great memories to call back up.
My coworker also invited another friend of his to go out that day; a guy who was really into music.
Out of the blue while we’re driving around looking for a good spot for an afternoon session, he mentions ‘The English Beat’, and how he liked those guys back in the 80’s. I chimed in how I had listened to those guys too, along with ‘General Public’. We shared some lyrics from songs we’d liked from these two bands, and then I asked him if he’d ever listened to ‘The Sundays’, being as ‘The English Beat’ and ‘General Public’ were British bands from the 80’s like ‘The Sundays’ (granted,very different styles of music, the latter being more indie pop than the ska and reggae influences on ‘The English Beat’ and ‘General Public’ sound). He said he hadn’t listened to them, and I offered to send him a few web links to the band (see below):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuRheskVG_s (my favorite, contains the quote above that titles this entry).
Until a few months ago, I had NEVER paid attention to the lyrics of that last song, ‘Goodbye’. I’d always assumed that it was a song about saying goodbye to someone you love. More on that in just a bit.
My earliest memory of The Sundays are of seeing their CD ‘Blind’ in my sister’s music collection. That little doll on the front cover mesmerized me into putting the CD into the stereo. I was on a ‘Vision Quest’ of sorts in 1993 (see previous entries 1 through 4 on this site, and the movie of the same name circa mid 80’s with Modine), and visiting my sister in VA where she was going to law school. I was immediately ‘hooked’ by the vocals of Harriet Wheeler, much like I imagine Odysseus was ‘hooked’ by the sound of the sirens on his epic journey.
It’s been 18 years since that experience, but as soon as the opening guitar chords are played I can put myself right back in my sister’s apartment and feel all the hope and promise of being in your early 20’s, wrapped up in the melancholy of knowing you’re in your 40’s, and 20 years have passed by in an instant. Little did I know at the time I first heard this song what it would eventually mean to me today.
I looked up the lyrics and read them as the song was being played on YouTube.
These lines completely jumped off the page and slapped me in the face…
‘I vow that it’s goodbye to the old ways
those stories were a good read
they were dumb as well
I could never be seen
falling down on my knees crawling
o no, talk about a sell’
I haven’t heard back from this person if they started to get into ‘The Sundays’, but I can say that for me, now, this song captures the essence of a ‘Goodbye’ to faith, religion, spirituality, mysticism, you name it-ality/ism mantra.
Ironically, the two guys I went surfing with that day were and are very outspoken Christians. We talked briefly about our faith and lacktherof on my part while we were out in the water. It was all good. No heavy discussions. Just, this is how I believe and I’m not going to try and get in your face with my beliefs. Cordial.
Still amazed at how this one song with these powerful lines really sum up how I feel about the Bible now. Good read, definitely not divine. But, my oh my, what a wonderful selling job the Christians have done with this collection of stories. You do have to marvel at just how much this book has permeated our entire culture as humans on this planet. But, as The Sundays sing so eloquently, I must say, less eloquently, ‘Goodbye’.
Thanks for stopping by,
I turned 40 this year. Ah yes, the inimitable age where many men go to find, and hopefully bury, their inner dream-crasher demons. To speed along my process, I gave myself what every budding 40-year-old male needs…the proverbial mid-life crisis, or as I am now referring to it…my mid life ‘Christ-is’.
‘Christ-is’ because I still find myself even 18 years out from a supposed personal relationship with the imaginary Jesus character, still trying to figure out my place in this secular world without Christ. I am neither comfortable with, nor comforted by my prospects for the next 40 years on the planet.
I ask outright, and sincerely…Why do I continue to struggle with this seemingly simple thing of just being a part of the regular world? When I had my imaginary Jesus friend, I believed that I was supposed to be ‘in the world’, but not ‘of the world’. Now, as someone who doesn’t have a supernatural view of the world any longer, I see these as not mutually exclusive.
I have been feeling quite dejected as of late trying to answer this question until this past week when I downloaded and listened to Dr Robert Price’s interview with Dr. Jaco Gericke on Point of Inquiry’s weekly podcast for July 25th, 2011. I had never heard the term, ‘Died Again Christian’, but Dr. Jaco Gericke explained it thoroughly, and by the end of the interview, had me convinced that his ‘Died Again’ was my ‘Recovering’, just better articulated.
Here is the link to the interview if you are interested in listening:
What a breath of fresh air it was to listen to Dr. Gericke speak about his slow, painful, inevitable, and ultimately irreversible letting go of faith in supernatural beings related to the Old and New Testaments. After listening to Dr. Gericke speak extemporaneously on numerous topics related to losing one’s faith in the supernatural, I finally had something, someone, to compare my life to and go, wow, this guy really gets the pain and personal anguish I’ve gone through leaving the Christian faith. I could sit down and have a conversation with this guy and he and I would most undoubtedly ‘get’ each other.
Will leave it at that for the time being. Thanks for checking by, and as always, I welcome any and all comments you would like to post about this entry.