Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Myth is Better than Your Myth

Merry Mythmus, Festivus, Winter Solstice and New Year.

When people debate religion, in my mind I hear...  "My myth makes more sense because it's older."  "My myth makes more sense because it makes me feel better."  "My myth makes more sense because it is cooler." This is goofy logic.

There are real factors in life for how life is. Why don't we all take time to consider these things? Slow down. Think for a second about REALITY.  Evolution, circumstances, relationships, physical strains.

Stories are fun.   Enjoy the stories.  Have fun.  But let's keep our feet on the ground.

Kindness, generosity, compassion, love.  Think on these things.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Children and Other Living Things

I've been thinking a lot about the beauty and concerns of children.  I believe children should be wanted and made to feel so.  I find it sad that some children must grow up scared and confused.  It seems that many people think it is better to have kids regardless of what their life circumstances are.  I am not so sure. Why do we speak of putting horses and dogs out of their misery, but people must suffer until the very last spark of energy leaves them?

Speaking of animals.  If we are just really advanced animals cognitively, isn't it quite sad and unjust the way we "advanced" species treat animals like cows, chicken, etc. I know this is old news to many vegetarians and free roaming supporters, but to an average "faith filled, God gave us the animals to eat" type of American, it's really hit me recently.  How horrifying to live that existence. How do we justify it? Shouldn't our reason bring us to better treatments of the world?

It seems most of the people I know who are the least concerned with the welfare of the natural world are believers such as average mainline denominations. Kind of sad.

It's true, there are many wonderful things about having a large family.  Every one of my children is so unique and beautiful. But, I am so busy that I barely have time to appreciate them, much less raise them in the way I really want to.  I should mention that the fact that our family is so large keeps us separated when my husband must leave for in-state deployment. Most of the families in his unit travel with their spouse. Not us. It's too hard, financially and logistically to manage it. So, because we have been faithful to "God," my children are without their daddy at these times.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ponzi Scheme

If I told you that true reality is that I could make you rich, young, immortal, famous, a genius, and capable of superhuman powers, what would you say? Awsome!  Do it! or Bull Sh!t.  Right? You'd probably (hopefully) say I was crazy, delusional, irrational or a liar. Would you even consider I could actually do this?  If so, I've also got some beachfront property in Arizona for ya!

Studies show that religious people can be happier people.  But, wouldn't you be happier if you thought some delusionally wonderful spiel? Tell me, if you really thought that you won the lottery, or were given a free awesome vacation, redeemable in a short while, wouldn't you be happier in the meantime? What if you came to the conclusion that it was all a big lie? You'd be pissed or at least a bit disappointed.  Now, what if you gave time, energy, savings, relationships for the lie? You'd be even angrier. Welcome to the ex-christian perspective.

Yes, believers can appear to be happier than non-believers.  But if that believer comes to realize that "all things DON'T work together for the good," or that "there ISN'T a reason for everything," or that when you die there won't be a heaven, it can be upsetting that you bought a bill of goods for so long.

The whole thing really is a Ponzi Scheme.  It was started long ago and continues on.  What is the benefit? The belief that all will be ok, that if we just believe - that God's got our back. But the dividends we receive are a portion of the very energy we put in.  Yes, good things can come.  But typically it's because we are putting good efforts.  Religious people are encouraged to choose to be hopeful, give to others, build relationships, forgive, believe in themselves.  Why?  Because Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, Whoeva, says we should. Well, newsflash, these things can be done on their own merit, aside from someone saying so. These things are goods in themselves, regardless of doctrine and supernatural posterings.

How do Madoff's victims feel? What if they chose to believe in the face of all the evidence? What if they were told that they must have faith in the face of all odds to receive their return? What if they were told that one day people will come and tell them that it is all a lie, but they must still believe. They must still give their money, or else they will loose it all. They must hold out till the end to receive their crown of victory. Sound familiar?

Oh sweet ignorant bliss in the face of all obvious b.s.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Best Intentions

It is so difficult trying to share my experiences with a loved one who has decided to believe, on no great evidence, that they have the corner market on truth, inspired by the Holy Spirit and to disagree means that I am being influenced by the most evil Being of all the universe.

How plausible does this SOUND?

But this is what countless Christians believe.  It sounds like science fiction, but people base their entire lives on it!  

This is craziness people. Until adults wake up and start taking the responsibility to stop teaching the junk to our kids, OR at LEAST do the research needed to be able to teach your kid that there is an incredibly powerful beast that wants to destroy you, then we will keep acting like ignorant people from ancient times. 

Let's think back to the Greeks, Romans, others.  Humans have been very bright and capable for thousands of years. It's not like we don't see the real world.  It's that our imaginations run wild and we follow. Yay! 

I am just SO grateful that I have come to this conclusion (that there really is no god) while I live in America in this century.  Thankfully it's not the middle ages or that I don't live in the middle east. Thankfully I wont be burned at the stake or stoned to death.

People....  Wake up! This is CRAZY!

Be good for goodness sake.  Do good for goodness sake.  Find morals and truths without jumping into some fantasy, that teaches stoning of people, ritual sacrifices, child mutilation, and bigotry.

I WISH I HAD NEVER GROWN UP THINKING THIS WAS REAL. It took me years of pain and suffering to overcome it and NOW almost everyone I know is still bound to the chains of superstition.

This post is a big rant because I love my niece very much. I tried to share some reason with her. She thinks I am satan's messenger and her mother doesn't want me in their life.  This is the craziness that FAITH causes.


Monday, October 21, 2013

It's been a Year

It's been a year since I stopped going to church and chose to let go of my belief in a God.

Life is still beautiful.  I am more and more in awe of this world and the amazing reality we are so privileged to be a part of.  Without supernatural paranoia, I am able to be rational about life and not seek some mumbo-jumbo for significance.

I do not regret my decision. I haven't changed my mind.  As I walk down this road reality becomes clearer. I feel more and more sorry for believers, but I completely understand them.  Well, I am starting to forget. The absurdity of religion becomes more evident everyday.  My sixth child is about to be baptized. I am not at all interested in being there. I do think it is sweet that dear friends want to have a significant role in my child's life.  That is special and beautiful.

I do wish community was easier had without religion.  But, I am slowly finding it.  I am a part of a Free Thinkers book club where I am able to learn and share with some of the most interesting and intelligent people, not to mention kind and quite "normal."   I am also grateful to be a part of The Clergy Project, an online community for former ministers and clergy.  It has been a big consolation during this time of transition.


Life is Good.  Happy Anniversary to me!


Trustworthiness of the Bible


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Monday, August 5, 2013

fortress of reasons to believe

When I was young and was trying to make sense of the world, I looked to the Catholic Church.  It had time, peoples, size, money, structure, stories, influence, guidelines, literature, on and on.

Most people in my life taught me to assume that there was a God. The only debate was, which one or how is best to relate to God.  Of course, I did my research and found the one that seemed most reasonable to me.

A fellow recently suggested my looking more into the teachings of St. Thomas to see how belief in God can be based directly upon reason.  I have done this to some degree. The "Summa of the Summa" sits next to me on my book shelf.  But, other than the premises for that logic being a leap of faith (who did it, instead of what did it), this logic in no way gives any reason for beliefs in other supernatural ideas such as angels, demons, heaven, hell, the afterlife, effectiveness of prayer, sin, virtue (as in relation to God), holiness, etc.  This is my understanding.

Ultimately, it takes a leap of faith to go from a basic openness to a possibility of God to a very set standard and belief system such as Catholicism.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happiness

Over the years of my "journey" of faith, friends and I would often give ourselves assurance that we were on the right path when aspects or practices of religion seemed to give better outcomes in life.  For example,  practicing chastity would protect you not only from STD's but also help you to not get into multiple deeply intense relationships.  Or another would be a life of simplicity could help to not get overwhelmed in debt.

There are multiple common practices that are a part of religion that I think are very beneficial to life, but I have come to the conclusion that religion doesn't hold the market or authority on them.  In fact, I bet they can be greatly improved with modern science and psychology.  I also think that it makes sense that religions would have figured out a few things over the course of thousands of years to hand onto people in order to give them some practical guidance other than about superstition.

Some of the things I find that are truly beneficial that religion often uses follow.

Generosity: seems simple enough.  Care about the poor, the needy, your fellow human being.  Being generous actually does make a person feel better and builds compassion and goodness in the world.  Unfortunately,  often times it seems that the secular world can get caught up with materialism and self ambition and leave this behind.

Community: this goes hand in hand with generosity, but it takes it to the next level.  I think of it as continual caring and relationships of trust over time.  This is a very beneficial element of religion at times.  Seeing the same people week after week, being able to have a common bond even where there really isn't much of one, and the security of an environment all can feel a part of greatly increase the possibility of community.  It is hard to replicate this in average American society these days.   I do remember it was similar though living in our small little town in Iowa.  The town literally had about 1300 people.  Most people had lived there their whole lives.  They were very inclusive of our family when we came.   People would wave at each other, talk to each other in the market and help each other out just because. This is the closest thing I found to real community other than church experiences so far.

Other beneficial aspects can be: continual self reflection (can be overdone) teaching (can be brainwashing), hope, music, art, sense of self worth, etc.  The list can go on and on.  But, the problem I see is that these are associated with and contingent upon fairy tales and myths.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Atheist Experience explains the need to believe in God

Here is a link to a video where I feel Matt quickly wraps up the misconceptions of Christians towards atheists, and explains why people choose to accept religion. Start viewing from about 5:30.  It is a bit rough language because the caller had arrogantly said that atheists can not have hope without faith.  Click the link below. 



Tolerance

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been spending more time with family projects and life, and less on contemplating my frustrations with Religion.  I have also been grateful to be a member of The Clergy Project. It's an online community for previous and some current religious ministers.   It helps to be able to share with others who do not feel attacked by my thoughts. Not only that, but they can relate to most of what I am going through.

But, that being said, I have been learning that tolerance really is the key element that is so necessary in life.  I see more clearly how religious differences give us identity and structure that can make someone feel secure in their place and understanding of the world.  But I can also see how these differences create such strife and unnecessary struggle.

To tolerate does not mean to agree, but to accept that someone else has the freedom to believe things, no matter how absurd these beliefs may seem to me. This stops at harm of others of course.  And this is where my beef comes in lately with religious belief.  It does harm others.  One of its' main goals is to say to others " you have to do it my way." Not all spiritual beliefs do this, but the Abrahamic (Islam, Judaism, Christianity)  ones certainly do.

I also think that certain forms of government can do this as well. That is why I choose to be more libertarian in my political opinions.   If we are all free to make our own choices and live with the consequences then we can be sure not to be oppressed by a small few, at least at the government level.

In any case, I want to put my efforts towards finding ways to help people in a real way and work towards encouraging avenues of social and mental wellness without appeals to some supernatural claim that cannot be proven or demonstrated.


Friday, May 24, 2013

I wish I had a book for young people

There are a certain few things I think that help young people get roped into Religion.

I wish I had the time to get my thoughts out clearly so I could send a out a message to young people considering embracing religion.

1.  Jesus died for your sins/ You need Him for forgiveness.
              This is one of the most disturbing manipulative approaches I see now, looking back.  How much sin can one young person really have?  And let's just say they have plenty. Perhaps they are in fact really bad people.   What good does the death of one person do for another?  Besides convince them that they are indebted to this person?  Maybe then they feel guilty for not loving that person and giving them their everything?
              I think it is more because sometimes we feel so lost.  The world is so big and we are so small.  How can we be lovable?  What can make us stand out? Why am I important?  And if there is someone who has done something wrong, perhaps thinking that a God loves them and made them can allow them to choose goodness even when it comes unnatural or they don't feel good enough.
              I know this was the case for me. I didn't feel lovable.  I didn't feel important.  But, because I became convinced that Jesus loves me and has a special purpose for my life, I could believe in myself as well.
              I wish I could have just figured out at that point that I cold love me and believe in me, regardless of if others did or not.  Too bad we have the need for the approval of others hardwired into our genetic code.

2.  Just because others believe in something does not make it real.
              I became convinced as a teenager that there must be a God because everyone I knew thought there was.  There were churches everywhere. I learned of Buddists, Hindus, Muslims, Catholic, Protestants.  I figured...  well, I guess something must be real.  I went in search of what made the most sense to me.  Catholicism came knocking with it history and tradition and Apostolic Succession. I bought it.    I didn't realize that numbers of people believing something doesn't necessarily make it true.
For something to be true it takes evidence.  There has to be REASONS for belief, besides just wanting it to be so.  

3. Believing something, and loving someone does not give proof that that person is real.
              Example: Luke Skywalker, boy bands, Jesus, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny.   Most of us have loved ideas of these things.  We've probably even gotten pretty emotional over these "people" but that in no way makes there a real relationship or even a real person.

4. Good and Bad decisions, verses holiness and evil
               One thing that I know is very convincing of a God or at least a need for a God is morality and the goodness of people.  A lot of times people see believing in God as choosing to live a good life and not believing in God as deciding anything goes and that there is no moral compass.   It is true that for me, belief in God gave me direction in regards to living out morality, but now I see that I could have gotten this without the religious aspect.  My problem was that I just did not have enough people guiding my moral choices or giving me good advice.  So, I made bad decisions.  I felt hurt by those decisions.  When I found God, I started making good decisions and was often made happier by those good decisions.  But, couldn't I have made good decisions without the supernatural aspect? Yes.  We can.  In fact, I now see that following religious beliefs too much can lead to a very unhappy life and very bad choices at times.   The point is that we need to seek good choices and moral decisions, not a fairy tale.

Perhaps I will continue more another day...
This is the start of some points for a future book, or at least letter to young people.









Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finally meeting nonbelievers

I attended my first freethinkers meeting last night.  I was concerned there may be some satanic looking folks there, or scary weirdos   But low and behold, a bunch of normalish looking folks.  Most of them were older than me and actually conservative and peaceful.  Good bye stereotypes.

I am very excited because I can tell I have a lot to learn from these folks.  It's nice just to know that I am not being looked down upon because I do not believe.  Actually, I think I got a few pity looks because I have gotten myself in such a bind out of religious obedience.

Oh well, onward we go.


Here's to the future and today!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kumare

Have you seen or heard of this movie?
I really recommend it.


Friday, April 19, 2013

To become an activist or not

I have told myself that I wouldn't become a fanatic about anything in my life ever again.  My life of Christian zeal took almost everything I had, including my sanity.

Since I have abandoned faith I have become so much calmer, more peaceful, happier.

But, I see so many of my friends still caught in the religious loop.  Trapped in their hopes and fears in things unseen.  Do I want them to have to get to the point of complete psychological break before they accept that it is all a myth?

This is where I am. I have not made a decision yet.  I long to find a way to peacefully confront these delusions.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hitchens debate

I find the points in debate made by Hitchens very sweeping and concise.

Friday, March 29, 2013

On Easter and the need for Jesus.

This Easter is especially different for me.  For the last four or five Easters I have had less and less a sense of connection with the spirituality surrounding the season of Lent and Easter and more a realization that they had very little to do with my real life.

The disconnect between my husbands understanding of faith and my own is growing.  I want to teach my children to love and care for others and be humble.  But I also do not want to teach them that it is ok to allow people to suffer for some greater good. This is in essence what Easter does.  Yes, there are times when a hero is needed.  It is noble to risk ones life for another, but too often I see this manifest in peoples life to mean that we need to jump through certain hopes and rituals and penances.

Is the need for Christ's death similar to that of child sacrifice?  Why would God need a death to appease him? Is he not all powerful? Why does this make sense?  It doesn't to me, at least not right now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Would you teach your child goblins were real?

If you believed that a terrible creature was not real, would it be right to teach them that it was?

I remember being afraid of devils and demons my whole life.  Everyone I knew believed they were real. Within the past year I realized that I had never actually seen or experienced in reality a demon.  So, what am I afraid of?  A shadow?

How is it kind and caring to put this fear into my children?  That is what I am being asked to do by not confronting them with the fact that mommy doesn't believe in God or angels or devils anymore.

It's sad.  We'll see what happens from here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Atheist to Catholic conversions

I read a book last night that compiled a lot of atheist to Catholic conversion stories.  Some of the stories were very moving.  Many of these people have happier lives after faith than before.  The one story that I can relate to is that of the Raving Atheist.

He was first compassionate to pro-life issues and noticed many people in the atheist community lacking in morality.  He noticed the love of Christians and people that faith brings.  I definitely understand this.  This is surely a result of belief at times, not always.  I really do not want to change most of my morals and my pro-life stance as a nonbeliever.

But still, it seems fairly clear that much of the "reasons" these people chose to believe was based on anecdotal evidence.  In almost every story there was a boyfriend, spouse or close friend who was a believer.  I think there is a bit of coercion toward faith if it is a major thing separating a couple.  For me personally, my husband still obviously believes very strongly.  I know that I am staying more open to faith due to my relationship with him.

What if these people had not had a close relationship influenced by Catholicism, but rather Islam?  If you check out the internet there are tons of conversion stories to Islam.  These people have very similar reasons to believe.

At this point, it still seems very coincidental, as in my own life.


Monday, March 11, 2013

New link on Top

I am adding a new link on the top of the blog that will have some videos I think are especially interesting or helpful for people (or friends of people) who are currently struggling to let go of faith.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Looking for signs and other nonsense

I went to see a movie recently and noticed how much focus there was on signs and luck and meant to be's.   I was wondering...  do people really buy this? It is just a big joke that I may be mistaking for something a bit serious?

For me as a Christian, it was a very serious thing.  What was God's Will? Was this in His Divine Purpose?  Lately I have been refusing to entertain such ideas, opting rather to use reason and good sense to try to make decisions.

Regardless, lately as we are trying to purchase a house, so many people have said things to me such as "if it's God's will" or "it could be a sign" or even "if it's meant to be."  And I think how amazing it is that people really think this way.  It just goes into my understanding of peoples use of faith and supernatural possibilities to explain the uncontrollable or undesirable things in life.  If it works out..  great!  If it doesn't then God must have had a better plan.

I have always thought this way.  Perhaps I thought this way up until reality smacked me in the face and I had to admit that as far as I could tell, leaving it in God's hands was not working.

Praying with my own children and speaking with children of friends of mine I realize how much what we teach them about faith truly molds their world view.  They worry about demons and angels.  They really love Jesus and Mary.  It is starting to really bother me that faith blows simple problems out of proportion and gives eternal significance to average experiences.

My latest dilemma is that all of my old Catholic friends are finally starting a family support group and my husband wants to go and I could really use getting together with other moms and such...  but how do I go to a faith group when I refuse to have faith right now???

It is just torturing myself?  Is it prolonging the healing process? It seems to me like it is probably just ripping open a scab.  I think I need to have friendships that are not based on faith, but it is easy to jump into these types of groups.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Darwin and Religion and Lent

I have noticed that while religion seeks to debunk pure evolution and natural explanations for the world we experience, it also strictly adheres to those principles even more than people who completely reject religion.

 I had a revelation yesterday. In a similar way, atheists accept that we are made from natural means and will one day die and go back to nature. Nonbelievers do not anticipate anything after death.  They embrace "dust to dust."  But ironically, the believers, thinking specifically of Catholics in this case, who believe in eternal life and the resurrection of the dead, are encouraged to go to Ash Wednesday Mass to receive their ashes.  "Dust to dust" they say.   Fooey.  They don't believe that.    They teach our bodies will rise again. Why do they push it?


And then we have Catholics preaching openness to life, which I am all for within reason.  I find it interesting that the proponents of Darwin and naturalism believe we have gotten where we are through procreating and passing on the genes, but they are willing to use contraception to not continue this "natural" process. But Catholics, who believe that we were made this special (with reason) by divine intervention, refuse to use reason and human innovation to intervene in the natural process. Richard Dawkins says all the time that he thanks natural selection that we've gotten this far, but that he doesn't think it is most likely best to continue to choose the "survival of the fittest" mentality to make choices going forward.

So who really is following the Darwinian model?  De facto - religious.  I just find it interesting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Extreme Philosophies

Extremes. They can be dangerous right?  I think of the LDS church and the men with multiple brides and underage marriages (here ).  I think of the scrupulousness of Catholicism and the self suffering that believers have chosen to endure (here).  But I also think of some things I have read recently by Peter Singer (here). 

Some religious persons have told me that non belief in God will end in nihilism or being immoral such as Singer.  My thought is, can't both or any ideology take you to pits of human imagination?  Is there proof that religion always makes people more moral?  Is there any proof that being religious actually leads to a more moral life? 

How can a Catholic explain Fr. Maciel of the Legionaries?  Here is this man, second to the Pope. I remember when I had many friends who were members of Regnum Cristi or the Legionaries. They would wax eloquently about how their order was so holy the priests were ordained by the Pope himself.  They were not under a Diocese. Does any one see a huge coincidence?  Here we have one of the most corrupt religious founders I know of and he is second only to the Pope. Could it be a coincidence?  I think not. And for me, it causes a shadow to fall over JPII.  How could he not have known? 

I could go on.  But I would like to hear from others on why they think it is more likely or less likely to be moral and good with or without religion. What proof do you have? 




Friday, February 8, 2013

Reality

Oh man,

How exhausting.  I just left a website of a well meaning lady who cannot accept how people who do not believe in God can find happiness.

I find peoples desire to embrace their delusions to the point of thinking that the people who reject their delusions irrational so sad.  It's like they are in their own little prison continually locking the door least they escape.

I was there.  I remember. I debated so much with so many.  I thought I had all the answers. I feel sorry for whoever had to put up with me all those years!  Sorry!!!!

What are you afraid of? Losing all control? That the world will in fact stop if you accept that what you believe is a farce?

A good friend and loving man recently wrote me of hell and the devil.  I feel so sorry for the people that are bound by such outlandish phantasms.   How can this kind of paranoid unreal mentality be more appealing than finding peace in reality?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feigned Morality

One of the land mines on the road to abandoned faith for me was the feigned morality and holiness of Christians. There is especially one person I am thinking of in regards to lack of genuine morality and care.  Why does this person matter so much? He has been respected and a leader in our local Catholic community for being a fine upstanding Catholic.    He takes it upon himself to counsel and guide and basically dictate the behavior of gullible souls.  I also notice that he preys upon the young and the old.  I have developed a sinister attitude towards him because I have known him very well.   For whatever reason he has been real enough with me to expose the inner workings of his disturbed mind.  It's not pretty.

Catholicism is very critical. As a Catholic, I saw the spectrum of acceptable and good people closing all the time.  More and more I had judgments and resentments against most of society.  The saddest part about this superior attitude in the world is the fact that it fails to notice the hypocrite making the accusations.  If this dilemma was limited to myself or a select few Christians I could accept it as the fault of the persons.  But, it permeates the Church.

I am not suggesting there is no need for morality or for efforts to be better people.  What I am tired of are the self proclaimed leaders of the Church feigning holiness, pronouncing judgment, and accepting accolades.  The priesthood, we all know, is no better.  Over the years, I have known or met many priests.  Thankfully, I have met some wonderful priests.  The most holy of them have known that they are imperfect and strive to be very humble.   My favorites are an alcoholic, a man who almost left the Church to get married, and a former drug user.  There is a level of humility in the foundations of these peoples faith that, in my experience, has kept them real.

I started to feel like more and more the priests I met were either arrogant, aloof, testy, self righteous, in-genuine,  or let me just say it, gay.  I have known many gay people in my life and I have had very good and warm friendships with gay people.  I am not saying that I think it is a completely fine lifestyle, but what I am saying is, that I am not judging being gay in general.  What I think it disgusting and unacceptable is gay people who wear a Roman collar and profess to abhor the lifestyle.  Not only does that make you ineffective in your role as a priest, it makes you a liar and deceiver.  What possible motivation do these people have?  I am beyond explanation.  But I will not pretend that it is not obvious they are gay.  I will not allow my sons to be alter boys with priests whose only apparent link to spiritual goodness is the clothes they wear.

I am sorry this is a negative post. But the truth must be faced.  The leaders of the Church quite often are not holy.

People will argue that the Church is made up of human and divine. Fine, but the claims of the church are that it can transform the sinfulness of people and bring them to divine light.   Perhaps it's method is ineffective.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The thing I love about Christianity

I haven't seen it in a while, but I have experienced it a few times in my life.  It's the true love and connection that can be shared between believers. A sense of real family.  There isn't much reason for these random people to care about each other, but the "spirit" brings people together. And often it's a pure and selfless sense of togetherness.

I've wondered if that is just hokey and that I experienced that because I wanted to.  I wanted to love and care and find family.  So, I did. I wanted to be important to others and them to me, so I made a bond, real or not, that made it so.

I have even pushed those bonds to the point of breaking.  I see that I have felt more connected to others than they have felt to me.

If anything, I think it shows how important it is to help children grow up feeling connected and important to the world around them.  I see it when children are left to fend for themselves. They are like leaves blowing in the wind, waiting to get caught on a tree limb, or worse get flushed down the gutter.

Perhaps that is the biggest thing that I am grateful for in regards to faith. It taught me basic morality and virtues.  I do believe that many things in this world are fleeting and many people get caught up with passing worldly pleasures that really do not fulfill at all and can actually destroy your life.  But true friendship, generosity, charity, selflessness, these things have stood the test of time for me.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is there a connection between mental illness and spirituality?

I have never been diagnosed with mental illness.  But, there are people in my family who have been.  I do know that I am a very sensitive person.  I have trouble getting intense movies out of my head and I have a very strong imagination.

Towards the end of my faith walk I could feel my intensity in regards to "the spiritual realm" getting out of control.  The Christian faith very clearly teaches that we do not war against flesh and blood but spiritual powers of darkness in the heavens (Eph 6:12). I think, hopefully, most people with religious beliefs are able to keep this in check. But if you are a person who is prone to irrational thinking, Christianity gives pretty good rationalization for delusions.

Here is an example of a popular Christian debater talking about keeping the faith through doubt.  Notice his emphasis on Satan and that he "hates" you and is trying to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2C3T17aKPCI


This can be terrifying. I know for me, trusting the Church and Christian history, I have had many a night fearing my soul. I have spent countless hours discerning God's will and if something was a temptation of the devil.  What I am saying is that it can go from a healthy sense of evil and bad things in the world, to down right paranoia.

This is an interesting article on the connection between religion and psychosis.
http://bipolar.about.com/od/psychoticfeatures/a/religious-delusions-in-psychotic-disorders.htm


This was another aspect that threw me out of the religious experience.  Once my basic family relations were straining, my marriage was lacking in some basic hospitable actions, and I couldn't seem to embrace friendships in a normal way, I decided it probably wasn't so important what was happening in the spiritual world. I needed to focus on THIS world. But, who has time?   Especially as a Catholic.  There's daily Mass (for devout followers, you know this is actually a goal), daily prayers, confession, examination of conscience, service, community, faith study, evangelizing, and more. Also, there is a level of living a good life as a Catholic that strains the most well meaning person.  All of these things are supposed to help make us better people, but it seems that more and more I see it as impotent.  Or maybe they are more like a placebo effect?


I do think that it is important to consider the lives we are living and to live them well.  Like Socrates asserted, "the unexamined life is not worth living."  It is helpful to strive towards our own well being and that of others.  But we must keep it within reason.  I am beginning to believe that the "spiritual world" is just  a big excuse for believing our fantasies and inflating our self-importance.  At some point, we have got to allow spirituality to accept its responsibility for the unfortunate consequences it has on fragile people.





Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Elijah! 
I may no longer feel confident to guide you to all existential and epistemological  reality, 
but it's been a fun year full of squishes, laughs, smiles, and love! 











Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are we just pieces of meat?

On a blog recently I was communicating with a lady who asserted that if there is no God that our lives are pointless, meaningless and we are all just pieces of meat.

I find this disturbing.  Not that it is true, but that people can think this way. Let's just be clear.  The only thing that we can be certain of in this world, is this world and the experiences we have in it. Even Ratzinger confirms that the thing that believers and nonbelievers can find in common is doubt.

I see that as humans, we love, care, think, create, feel, share, hope, and remember.  All of these things seem more than just meat. We learn, study, fly, swim, enjoy, question.  There's technology and imagination.

I think of my trip to Yosemite.  I've only been one time.  It was fleeting. But it was such a beautiful, amazing experience. The depths and scale of the brilliance of nature are almost beyond words.  I enjoyed it. It lifts me up. I am glad I have had that experience.  Even if it was just for a moment.

What do you think?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Why do we pray?

For the longest time I have believed that prayer was essential to our daily existence.  I am not really talking about peaceful meditation or contemplation.  I am talking about intercession and requests.  I mean, really.

Whenever I saw an ambulance go by, or a car crash, or I heard of a child suffering. I would pray.  If someone was sick or having surgery, I would pray hard.  Why?

Because we are helpless. We all wish we had a magic wand to wave and make things right.  And, the problem I feel now, is that this sense of magic makers is encouraged by the Church. I have not just been a conservative Christian.  I was a Charismatic Catholic.  Not only did I have spiritual confidence of Charismatic spirituality, I had 2000 years of history of the Catholic Church which reports people levitating, not decaying when they die, raising people from the dead, healing the sick, fighting with spirits, going to hell and back and even..... BI-LOCATING. I mean, really.

Look, I do not blame myself. I was young.  I was hopeful. I wanted to believe so strongly!   I embraced every extreme reality taught by the Church.  It had the Church's seal of approval! The Deposit of Faith.

But for someone like me, and perhaps many more people, it became overwhelming. It was very hard to determine what was "spiritual attack" verses flawed character traits.  What was the result of a stupid choice and Satan toying with our family?

I literally saw and sought the hand of God in all things. That was, until I woke up.  Literally, my life became almost unmanageable with this light of faith.  I thought I had figured it out, God's call for my life!  This was definitely it.  The peace, the assurance, the good will, it was all there.  But, my choice was rejected. The door was shut. This was NOT God's will. Well then, what was this voice, this longing, this inner-peace?  Wishful thinking perhaps?

 I have a friend who is such a smart and sweet girl.  Her parents divorced and her mom raised them in Brooklyn, NY.  She got into trouble and did dumb things kids can do.  Her mother responded by telling her that she was possessed by the devil and going to hell. Does anyone else see a problem with this?  These are the kinds of things Catholic spirituality encourages.  Her mother, to be fair, was extreme and unstable. But, this spiritual war is specifically mainstream Catholic doctrine. So, how's one to know?

Back to prayer.  Why do we do it?  I think we want to have some sense of control over the uncontrollable.  There have been scientific studies done to see the result of prayer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/candy-gunther-brown-phd/testing-prayer-science-of-healing_b_1299915.html

It reminds me of James Randi.  Ever heard of him?  He has made his career going around exposing fraud and con-artists.  Some interesting investigations I have seen involve healers and Christians.

James Randi exposes faith healer

I still am tempted to pray.  I still wished it worked.  But I've lost my faith.  At this point, I see it as goofy and unfounded in reality.

Do you really believe that you can telepathically send messages to an unseen God who can send warrior angels to effect change on a particular situation?  Do you see anything odd about this in regards to actual reality?



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Questions I would like to ponder on this blog

Why are christians, all believers, afraid to not believe in god?

Why do we turn to god?


What are the benefits of belief?


What are the losses of belief, or neg consequences of believing?


Why should people not believe?


What should people do instead?


What are the consequences of faith in world?


What are the consequences of not having faith in the world?

Songs for God



Some of my original Christian music.  


Little Flower



Stranded


Unexpected


This is not my song, but I love it and put pictures to it.  It's Andrew Peterson.



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Me with some of the beautiful gifts in my life.


This picture kind of captures our reality I think. 


 Fun times full of exhaustion!

flagging or fanatic Catholic?

To the worlds standards, I had become somewhat of a fanatical Catholic.  My faith influenced what I wore, ate, drank, who I hung out with, what music I listened to, how I spent my free time and what I taught my children. More and more over the years I felt a chasm between my lifestyle and that of most other Americans.  I am a convert to Catholicism and so the very extreme differences in how Catholics live is very obvious and divisive when it comes to gathering with my family.  Even on my husbands side, his mom, dad, sisters and brother are Catholic, but none of them devoted themselves to living out the official teachings of the Church like us.

On one hand I was out of touch with most of society, and on the other, I felt like a flagging Catholic.  It seemed I could never pray enough, love enough, sacrifice enough, be humble enough, be joyful enough and so to actually live in that peace which surpasses all understanding.  Towards the end, my life of Catholicism felt like a war for reality. On one hand, I knew I was a wonderful person, imperfect yes, but doing well.  On the other, I felt guilty and selfish and unholy.

Many people who are ardently Catholic will say that God loves us unconditionally and that we are just trying to purify ourselves from our sinfulness.  And I do believe that is the teaching of the Church. But, there is the reality of the constant examinations of conscience, the penance, the prayers, the pondering on the holiness of Christ and our personal unworthiness.

For me, the dichotomy between these two extremes became overwhelming.  It's like a perpetual cycle of pride and humiliation, each feeding into the negativity of the other.


*Update* The politics issue was just the last straw of many things, I did not make this choice because of politics.  I see my comments below are confusing.  It was just the final thing. I will try to give a better picture in a new post. 

What finally spit me out of the loop was when my perspective on politics changed and I was standing in contrast against what most Christians and Catholics believe is the moral decision in this country when it comes to politics.  I became a libertarian.  For me, my conscience could be completely clear as a Catholic and promote libertarianism.  I could see the evil in American Republican mainstream politics. I could see the deception and lies.  But when I tried to bring these thoughts up with Catholics, often I would get a mind numbing look that what I was saying did not compute. And, what's more, they did not CARE to even consider it. They were happy in their world view and it fit.  They were content to not consider it.

I saw Church leaders supportive of either major political party, but none supported a third party. This for me became a final straw that lead to my decision.   How could I devote so much time and energy to trying to live  for Christ the way that the Church teaches when it seems that they could not offer another option to the mainstream dilemma? For me, this was a very big deal because my husband is a Army Officer who has deployed twice to Iraq. I have seen first hand the suffering of military families.  I have seen the insane waste of military budgets.  As a Catholic, all life to me is precious, but most seem to be blinded by Abortion to not consider the overwhelming damage made by illegal war.  I disagree with abortion and I disagree with murdering and destroying innocent lives through military might.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Catholicism on the Rocks

Ok, here it is. Catholicism on the Rocks.  My new blog name.

I have not completely given up on Catholicism, but the door is shutting.

This is my first post as a non-practicing Catholic.  I never thought I would end up here, but here I am.

There are so many things I would like to explore in this space.  I want to gain insights about the possibility of morality without religion. Is it possible to take the goods from religion, and bring them to society without the supernatural aspects?


Until next time!