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Entry 45 – Coexist? Co-Bleep-Yourself!

October 8, 2013

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.
~Beth’

The ‘This’ that Beth is referring to is the picture below:

Coexist Backlash

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,

TRC

Entry 44 – Thank the Lord

May 25, 2013

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0LP3Zs_V_BQ

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:

‘This highlights the danger of presuming everyone you run into is a Christian who will also credit every good decision or outcome to divine intervention. It kind of reminds me when Katy Couric dramatically & presumptuously asked Sully whether, as he was trying to figure out how to land his plane on the Hudson River without killing everyone on board, he just “prayed.” His response: “No, I was concentrating on landing the plane safely.”‘

Well said, Mr. Bannon.

I would just like to add that I thought the young mother being interviewed handled herself beautifully.  I wish all Atheists could be that gracious to their ‘lord thanking’ counterparts.  Granted, it gets to be a bit much when you see so much ‘lord thanking’ for sparing certain peoples’ lives, and not enough criticism for taking others’.  Sure, it can all be easily swept under the ‘Lord works in mysterious ways’ rug, so to speak, but it’s no less easy to deal with this ‘rug’ when its shifted, lifted, or removed.

Bad things happen on our planet everyday because we live on a hunk of rock that is hurdling through space and time at approximately 1,000 miles per hour around a massive ball of super heated helium and hydrogen gas called a star.  And this hunk of rock we call Earth that hurdles around this star we call the Sun has an atmosphere that gets heated up by the Sun and is as testy with hot and low temperatures as my wife is with our thermostat in the hallway.  As long as we have an atmosphere, we will have severe weather that takes the lives of people who are unfortunate enough to be in the path of these high and low air pressure systems converging violently.  And while we’re on the subject of severe weather and atmospheres, it’s worth mentioning that because we don’t seem to really care as a global society about what gasses we continually put up into our atmosphere, it’s widely accepted by climate scientists that this kind of behavior will lead to more severe weather occurring around the Earth.   But that is another discussion entirely…back to ‘Thanking the Lord’…

In my humble opinion, it’s much easier to make sense of natural disasters from a naturalistic perspective outlined above, than to explain why a deity called ‘the lord’ would allow a Category EF-5 tornado to rip into an elementary school where 7 children ultimately had no chance of surviving.  This ‘the lord’ deity could have easily guided the tornado around these highly populated areas and into corn or soybean fields where maybe just scare crows and the crows that were the objects of such scaring would have been the only casualties.  But no…this ‘the lord’ saw fit to let ‘nature run its course’ so to speak, and allow a 200 mph vortex level with impunity schools, houses, hospitals, you name it, creating utter devastation.

I don’t know about you, but in my book, this kind of negligence by management usually results in someone losing their job at best (think Mike Brown at FEMA circa 2005), and criminal charges for murder at worst (think Nestle Corporation and Thalidimide).

Mr. Bannon, I understand you are an attorney. Would love to hear what charges you think could be brought on ‘the lord’.

Maybe a People of Moore and Newcastle, OK versus ‘the lord’ class action lawsuit is in our future?
Won’t hold my breath…

I know reality is harsh, and like the gracious Atheist in the above clip, she doesn’t blame anyone for ‘Thanking the Lord’.

I don’t either.

I really don’t.

I totally ‘Get it’ that we all need something to get us through this incredibly difficult thing we call ‘life’.  For some its ‘the lord’, for others, its oreo ice cream cake (thank you Get It Done Guy!).

But can we all at least take a moment, and seriously question this ‘the lord’ and their decision making abilities?  It’s hard for me to thank a deity who would allow such a thing to occur on his or her planet where ultimately he or she has the capacity to move ‘heaven and earth’.

My thoughts and wallet contribution through the Foundation Beyond Belief (check them out by clicking HERE) are with you Moore and Newcastle, Oklahoma.  I wish you peace and a speedy recovery from this latest storm.

Thanks for stopping by,
TRC

Entry 43: Bengazi Revisited and a Land of Confusion

May 13, 2013

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…

 ‘I must’ve dreamed a thousand dreams…
Been haunted by a million screams…
I can hear the marching feet…
They’re moving into the street…
Now did you read the news today…
They say the  danger’s gone away…
But I can see the fire’s still alight…
Burning into the  night.
Too many men…
Too many people…
Making too many problems…
And  not much love to go ’round.
Can’t you see This is a land of confusion.
This is the world we live in…
And these are the hands we’re given…
Use  them and let’s start trying…
To make it a place worth living in.’
I grew up in the Cold War/Nuclear Annihilation threat era of the 1980’s.  ‘War Games’ and ‘Red Dawn’ were movies that got viewed and reviewed in the theatres, wound and rewound on the VCR (anybody know what those were?!  extra points for ‘BetaMax’), many times.  The Land of Confusion for me was my land of the United States, and the land of the U.S.S.R or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the two ‘superpowers’ at the time.
Looking at the lyrics now though, I realize that this land of confusion can be any land on our planet from the beginning of time until the end.
What I also realize, and this is probably the scariest realization of all, is that it’s ultimately up to ME to make sure that I use the hands I’ve been given to make the land a place worth living in.
The song continues to speak to me…
‘Superman where are you now…
Everything’s gone wrong somehow
The men of  steel, men of power Are losing control by the hour.
I look at these three lines and they look back at me with a cold hard stare to say that that whole ‘you’re the next generation to lead the world’ kind of talk isn’t just filler from your 7th & 8th grade social studies teachers, no, it’s seriously the REAL DEAL.  Whether you like it or not, whether you are prepared or not, whether you believe it or not, we all eventually have to take responsibility for our time on this planet, and we all have to take a stance, pick a side, and make our voices heard.  Silence is just as loud a voice as a scream when it comes to this topic.
I spent my 20’s and 30’s thinking that there was alot of time on the planet to enjoy this life.  Eventually all things would start to smooth out and get easier.  I now understand just how wrong that viewpoint was and is, and just how much time I’ve wasted in this life not doing the things that I should have been doing to make this world a better place.  I’ve woken up.
The song really hits home for me as it goes into its last legs so to speak..
‘This is the  time…
This is the place…
So we look for the future…
But there’s not much love to go round…
Tell me why, this is a land of confusion.’
I think about those people who take to the streets in protest of their government knowing that they may be subjugated to unspeakable violence.  The belief that their path is a right one somehow trumps their fear.  How much courage does that take for one human being to muster?!  It must be unmeasurably high!
Regardless of where you stand in terms of your belief in a god or gods, there comes a point where most of us realize that our time on this planet is extremely limited and we’re forced to live with that knowledge, yet still manage to not get too worked up over the fact that our time is so limited.  Much easier to not have the knowledge and proceed into your daily routines thinking that you have unlimited amounts of time.  I wish sometimes to go back to that state of mind.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my 42 years here on the planet.  There are so many things I wish I could redo, people I wish I could not have hurt, relationships I wish I hadn’t let go and let die.  Living with that knowledge that you hurt people along your path in this life is I think one of the most difficult things we as humans have to learn how to deal with and manage.  It’s much easier said than done.  I struggle daily with it.
The song ends with a plea…
‘Stand up and let’s start showing just where our lives are going to.’
Amen, Genesis…and as a part of that ‘showing’, I want to make sure I don’t run out of that love you speak of that seems to be in short supply ‘to go round’.
Love is still our best resource, and best bet for healing all of what ails us, and our entire planet.
Thanks for stopping by.
TRC

Entry 42: God, Please Save Me From Your Followers

September 30, 2012
No, Chris Stevens probably never uttered those words, and this most certainly wasn’t a bumper sticker on his car riding around Libya (although, even as an Atheist, I really like this bumper sticker), but he just as easily could have said something akin to it after what happened nearly 3 weeks ago outside the U.S. embassy in Libya.  Mr. Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, lost his life during the circumstances surrounding protests of a particular video that surfaced back in July of this year disrespecting the prophet, Mohammed, of the Islamic faith.  The video is entitled, “Innocence of Muslims” and can be viewed by clicking on the link.My sister sent me a link to another video a few days after Mr. Stevens’s death highlighting the work he did for the U.S. Government in the Middle East.  It was published back in May just 5 months before Mr. Stevens’s death and is a touching tribute to this one man’s desire to help through a career of diplomacy and public service:<p>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_SIIxholL4&feature=player_embedded

Chris Stevens’s death for apparent religious reasons is ironic in that he was a Peace Corp volunteer who had served in Morocco, and had, from his own and others’s accounts, developed a great respect and admiration for the culture, people, and geography of the Middle East.  Mr. Stevens risked much being in Libya not only during ‘peacetime’ in the aftermath of the fall of Qudafi, but also during the entire uprising where the Libyan people, with help from NATO forces, overthrew their brutal dictator.
My sister, in sending me the above link, posed this poignant question…
“What’s the harm believing in God?”
I love this question because I think if we as a society of human beings are going to be able to cohabitate on this planet, believer and non-believer alike, all of us at some point really do NEED to spend some time to try and come up with some decent answers to this question.  Forming a more ‘perfect union’ as the framers of the U.S. Constitution used the two words, is I think a byproduct of grappling with this question.
Obviously, in light of the event of Mr. Stevens’s death, one can easily make the case that there is great harm in believing in God.  Believing in Allah, the God of the Islamic faith, was what made so many Muslims angry when they saw the video.  Don’t believe in Allah, probably not going to get too angry about a video that depicts the prophet Mohammed in a bad light.
But is it really that easy?
Alot of people might answer the question of what harm there is in believing in God by dodging it slightly, and saying that belief in God actually HELPS more than it HARMS.
Fair enough.
Yes, I will concede that religion does help some people.  I would even go so far as saying it helps a great number of people as evidenced by the billions of theists in the world today.
But saying that belief in God helps more than it harms doesn’t actually answer the question.
You can answer the question from a very specific personal standpoint.  There’s the familiar “Pascal’s Wager” that my Dad always loved to bring up when trying to persuade me to ‘come back to God’ (see earlier entry #2).  The wager goes something like this…If there is no God, and I die believing in Him/Her/It, then what I’ve wagered doesn’t come back to harm me.  I die and nothing happens.  But, if there is a God, and I die not believing in Him/Her/It, then my wager costs me dearly, at least if that God is from the Judeo-Christian or Islamic faiths.  When I die in this latter situation, I go to a most unpleasant place.  In fact, my unbelief leads to eternal torture in a secret prison called ‘Hell’.
So the harm is to yourself mainly if there ends up being a God.
But if the flip side is true, and the followers of the religions of the world are following something that is only based on a fairy tale guy/girl/it in the sky who doesn’t exist, then some of the practices of these religions can be quite counter productive to helping a society function well.  Case in point, one of Islam’s teachings is that those who don’t believe that there is only one true God named ‘Allah’ are infidels and can be killed for just such a lack of belief.  Not exactly a very tolerant stance to take in a world of 7 billion people where just under 6/7’s would fall into that category of ‘infidel’.
Or how about Christianity in terms of women’s and gay rights?  There are many in Congress who have stood on verses in the Bible to support their opposition to giving women suffrage and reproductive rights, and gay couples the right to get married.
And there are countless other examples of how religion gets involved in public policy with the Evolution/Creation/Intelligent Design debates of recent years, and the distant past.
Getting back to the quesiton of harm though…
It would be unfair to just blame belief in God on much of the violence that occurs in our societies.  There are many examples of people who hurt others in the name of their particular God, sure.  No question.  But, I think if we are completely being honest in our analysis of human beings doing bad things to each other, we can easily come up with just as many examples of people who hurt others in the name of nothing in particular except just a sociopathic desire to hurt others.
And even when you have those who do hurt others in the name of their particular God, an easy ‘out’ if you will is just to raise the specter of those folks not practicing the ‘true’ form of the religion.
So I think it’s a rather tired argument from both sides that like to point out examples of the Crusades in the Middle Ages as the ‘poster boy’ if you will for religion gone bad, and Hitler’s Nazi Germany as that same ‘poster boy’ for atheism/secular humanism/agnosticism gone equally bad.
I see and hear in many religious circles today, not just Islam, a culture of victimhood, where people take such great offense at their diety being offended.  Does an all-powerful, all-knowing God really get offended at someone making a cheesy, poorly made video about one of his prophets and portrays said prophet in a bad light.  Does He really have time to get offended at just such a thing?  I would like to think that a God that powerful would have the grown-up sense to ignore such people who put together such schlock for entertainment.  But, as is apparent in much of the Muslim world in the Middle East, not many share my sentiment about how this diety is feeling about this so called ‘offense’.
As one of my friends told me once when I was dealing with a tough situation at work with coworkers, he advised me, ‘Don’t get mad, get even!’.
Now ‘getting even’ can be construed in a violent way, surely.  But, he meant it in a peaceful, calm, and collected way.
Don’t let your emotions run high if someone insults you.  Believe in yourself, work hard, and get above the rancor of what someone may be saying about you behind your back.  Don’t resort to violence.  It never works.  The pen truly is mightier than the sword.
My wish for the people who are resorting to violence over the video aforementioned is that they could all take a deep breath and a step back before setting another building on fire, throwing another stone, firing another rifle, inflicting pain on another person who doesn’t share your particular world view, and realize that what you are doing is not productive in the slightest.
No what you are doing is wasting precious, limited energy on a film that, at best, was produced with some of the lowest quality standards for movie making and acting.  And at worst, is a complete hack job.  I don’t think anyone who actually watches the film in its entirety can come away with anything but wanting their 13 minutes and 50 some odd seconds of life spent on it back.  It truly is that poorly derived, and poorly thought out.
Instead of burning, looting, killing, maiming, and everything in between, the protesters of the film could be harnessing their energies for good, and for getting even if you will in an honorable way.  Instead of the violence, put that anger energy into educating your youth (including your girls and women) in your communities in science and mathematics, two languages that the cultures in the Middle East actually developed, and refined quite beautifully and shared with the rest of the world during the Dark Ages.  Build schools in your communities that produce Nobel Laureates and Rhode Scholars.
I don’t know if Chris Stevens was a believer in any particular religion.  I do know that he died doing something that he loved and believed in dearly, helping the people of the Middle East.  And if there was a God, I would like to think that he/she/it would have saved someone like Mr. Stevens from followers of the same said God.  But, because I don’t think there is a God, we’re left with you and me in terms of saving the Chris Stevenses of the world from the followers of various religions that would do harm to people that don’t share their same beliefs.  We actually don’t need a God to save people from followers, we just need you and me to be leaders.  If we lead by helping a follower see a different path, we’ve done the world a great service.
Here’s to leading!
Thanks for stopping by!
TRC

Entry 41 – Location, Location, Location

April 12, 2012

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…

TRC

Entry 40: Surfing and The Sundays ‘I vow that it’s goodbye and God bless’

March 17, 2012

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,

TRC

Entry 39 – My Mid-Life ‘Christ-is’ and Died Again Christians

August 27, 2011

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:

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/jaco_gericke_confessions_of_a_died-again_christian/

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.

Sincerely,

TRC

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