Monday, May 21, 2018

The Apocalypse


I'm not trying to be particularly provocative or negative with this post, 
it's just something I've been thinking about. 

With the continuous human global unrest, I'm sure that a part of all of us wonders what a nuclear blast would be like. We've had at least 2,624 nuclear explosions worldwide since the technology was developed during WWII, detonated by at least eight nations. 
Did you know that? 2,626. 
Think of it.
Isn't that simply ridiculous?

Our species has found 2,624 reasons to release the explosive, concussive power of the atom. This count doesn't even count unknown blasts, underground blasts, and some other types of bombs. It's almost like we can't help ourselves...

Add the infinite number of years that our universe has been in existence, during which time continual annihilation of matter has occurred. It stands to reason that our little haven of a solar system will experience cataclysm some time.

Add other scenarios besides nuclear Armageddon that humans could intentionally or unintentionally bring upon ourselves including ecological disaster, particle accelerator accident, pandemics of all possible origins, 
or some sort of advanced AI scenario not in our favor 

And that brings me to my point.

I'm actually quite OK with the idea of total annihilation of human beings from this planet. With some very marked and noteworthy exceptions, our species has been quite destructive over all. We have poisoned our own planet, our own backyards. We spew toxicity directly into our life-giving atmosphere. 
We have divided ourselves into ever-increasing divisions. We treat our own teeming masses with derision and disrespect. We depersonalize anyone different from ourselves. We remove human rights with personal bias. We show exceptionally cold contempt for other life forms on our planet. We are extremely myopic. And many of us are so confused by various ideologies that we are unable to think our way through the morass.

Thanks to some biological developments and some serendipitous timing, our species is sentient and capable of knowing all of the above issues that allow us to threaten our own existence. I simply don't get it how we don't take this as seriously as possible. 

I don't want an apocalypse, I simply can see it as a distinct possibility. 
And if it happens, with some very market and noteworthy exceptions
it won't be a huge loss on this universe.

But it COULD be a loss.
Our species could be incredibly positive in the cosmic universe if, and only if, we can learn to put aside our differences and to value this planet.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Peace on Earth: We All Live Here


I believe in less judging and more learning.
I believe in finding points of agreement.
I believe in the strictest honesty.
I believe in expanding one's bubble and comfort zone.
I believe that other realities and world views deserve equal care.
I believe in the goodness of most people.
I believe in giving a second chance, yet knowing when to step back.
I believe in always learning more.
I believe that people respond to understanding and effort far more than they ever will to shame and punishment.
I believe that our young people need to see opportunities, need to have access to those opportunities, and that we absolutely need to accept that their future is our future.
I believe in the basic posture of humility and human contact.
I believe in valuing our planet.
I believe in giving compassion to those who you feel don't deserve it.
Why can't we all move toward a place where we don't allow ideologies and conspiracy to separate us.
We all live here together and any other approach will result in our demise.
While I tend to be in love with technology and using social media to come together, there are also those very human qualities of divisiveness, pandering to the uninformed or uneducated, and the use of social media to bring about enmity rather than love.



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Saturday, April 21, 2018

One Piece of Evidence


So I have this new friend.
We met a few weeks ago and simply enjoyed one another's energy and personalities. We became fast FB friends.


Now, if you are an atheist, you know exactly what is about to happen. Everything is fine and dandy; we're laughing at one another's jokes, liking each other's pics of kids, wishing one another well, etc. Until that very moment that I wrote the first thing that identified me as a possible nonbeliever. 
I posted the meme above that reads It would only take one piece of verifiable evidence to destroy atheist. This new friend immediately starts to sound panicky and writing about faith.

You know, what I hope again and again is that new friends who are believers can handle it. My ongoing hope is that they can get to know me, can like me for the person that I am, and then, when finding out I'm an atheist, can just deal with it and maintain our friendship. But again and again I find that some people simply can't do it.

Geesh, and people wonder why I dislike religion so much.

I'm hoping this new friend can find a way to work through her issues and retain interest in our friendship, 'cuz I like her, but I can admit here that I'm not very optimistic about it. Some believers can get very uncomfortable around people who don't think as they do. I've lost any number of friends with being an open atheist.
I guess we'll see. 


April 21, 2018 addendum:
She replied something like I don't really believe in any of that so I'm not one to worry about it.
Hooray!!!!



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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Facebook and Other Social Media


For all of the people paying any attention to the Mark Zuckerburg testimonies, I feel like this is a bit of a watershed moment in history, a thing that we'll all remember in later years. It is the time when the freedom we've been experiencing on the internet is in jeopardy; it is when our freedoms will disappear into bullshit governmental regulations in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the revelations about FB’s role in the spread of Russian disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as CA's misuse of private information of FB users; it is when Zuckerberg has to answer questions about Facebook’s past, current, and future actions.

I'm not a big fan of government.
Smaller government is my preference, and not  in the Republican form of smaller government, but in the fewer rules and more freedoms form of smaller government.



But the problem with fewer regulations is this: human beings can be opportunistic, lying, scheming assholes. We can't trust some people. Our personal freedom and our personal information is all at risk because of these few baddies. But, just like in every other sphere of life, if a baddie is going to do bad stuff, regulations and rules won't stop them. 
So it's the little guys, US, who are inconvenienced by all of the new regulations that are going to be smacked down on FB and other social media.

And just like in other spheres of legislation 
(gun control and others) basic, essential, reasonable laws of operational control are fine with me, more than that is useless and overbearing. But that shit never happens.


I love the internet.
It is a vast place with access to so much information. I'm amazed by it almost every single day. I'm constantly wishing I would have access to information so easily as I was growing up. I'm not the type of person who knows much at all about the ugly places, the seamy underbelly of the internet, hate groups, so I can't speak about any of that. So, with the exception of all of that crap, even with all of the imperfections of the internet, I am in love with more access, more information, more knowledge, more connection.

How to keep that, that is the question.




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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Omnism


We have a very good friend who often says that he believes in all of the religions. That makes him an Omnist. Omni, meaning all, the belief in all. Omnists accept the truth of all religions. 
I'm thinking the Omnists would be likely to have one of those Coexist bumper stickers on their car. I'm sure most Omnists think of themselves as spiritual  rather than religious.

I'm sure there is a spectrum of Omnism, so any definition would, therefore, be incorrect. 
But let's look at it a bit anyway.

I can understand the willingness to be open to the wisdom of all belief systems; I'm sure there is at least some wisdom and knowledge available in many forms and under many guises. I get that. I can wholly appreciate the perceived equality of it all; there is no superior group or belief system. I can dig that. I'm assuming that an Omnist generally accepts the beliefs of all religions.

I can appreciate the Omnists' efforts to be equitable and accepting of all. 
I can appreciate the desire to be open to consider all things.
I can sincerely appreciate the soul searching.



HOWEVER, and maybe this is simply my own shortcoming, I see all the religions as very unworthy of devotion. Futhermore, 
I don't see how a person can accept that there are all-knowing gods, cultural gods, local gods, that we ourselves are gods, and that there are no gods...all at the same time. Not to mention the gods that are no longer worshiped. Or that these gods are knowable and unknowable...at the same time. That there are various afterlives and no afterlife...at the same time. I cannot accept the validity of any single religion, much less all of them.

In conclusion, I want to respect the Omnist.
Alas, I cannot unless that Omnist is young and searching,  as our friend is.
I don't see it as a place to stand.
It seems like a cop out to me. It is not choosing, not deciding, not 

accepting the falseness and bullshit inherent in the system. Religion is a the bathwater and Onmism seems to be unable to separate the bathwater from the baby.


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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Faithless Feminist


A few weeks ago, Karen Garst of Faithless Feminist blog included some of my writing as a guest on her blog. I've been noticing a great deal of sharing of my writing from her blog; it feels quite wonderful knowing it is being read. Karen asked me to write for her regularly, maybe weekly. I hope you consider keeping an eye open for more of my writing there.  *smile*

I've been reading some of the other writings on her blog. Wow, she has found and shared many good pieces of writing. I highly recommend checking it out of you have some lovely time to sit back and read, specifically if you have a nice cup of tea, as I do.    ☕

I, especially wanted to share a piece from Faithless Feminist that I read today called The Problem with Faith: 11 Ways Religion is Destroying Humanity written by Shanna Babilonia. I just thought most of you would enjoy the piece! I looked for more writing by Shanna and found this excellent piece called Why Organized Religion Fears Educated Women...seems Shanna and I are on the same page.

Karen Garst is always looking for guest writers.
You can submit your writing HERE.


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Thursday, March 15, 2018

No Longer Quavering


I don’t care what others think of me,
which is pretty damn liberating.
How many people worry that they’ll say or do the wrong thing
and someone—god or a friend--
will judge or dislike them?
Those are shackles we put on ourselves.
If there’s one thing I learned from being atheist,
it’s that it just doesn’t matter what others think.
I don’t need approval – from anyone.
And when I screw up, I can forgive myself.   

Kids Without Religion

I have spent decades Dec!!! Ades!!!! of my life worrying. I used to worry a great deal about what others thought, kept myself buttoned up and tamped down, kept close tabs on my emotion. I used to almost never deliver opinion publicly. Hard to believe, I know. Some of this tremulousness came from my slightly-anxious personality; some of it likely came from family-of-origin dynamics.

But those days are OVER
Never again will I tiptoe around those who bugle their voice all over the place. Never again will I tuck my chin down, lower my eyes, and demurely take it. Never again will I doubt that my thoughts and opinions have equal value to every other person in the room. Because I and YOU have value and presence.

I Will not Be Quiet


If you spout your LGBTQ hatred, I will not sit quietly and let you have the stage. If you deliver a diatribe of your racist beliefs, I will not sit still and let your bullshit stand center stage. I simply will not be tolerant of your intolerance any longer.

But why? Because I enjoy the debate, the limelight, 
the battle?
Absolutely not. SOOOO much no.


I detest debates. But I detest hatred and isms
It hurts me inside, truly, when people throw bombs at the gay or lesbian or transgender, at the atheist, at the brown or black person, at the person outside of the mainstream, at the person courageous enough to stand up honestly and with integrity, at the person from another country, 
at those living in poverty, at those marginalized in any way. It hurts me. 

My heart is wounded nearly every day from the words I read online, from the voices I hear on social media. Yeah, inside I'm no longer quavering, but I'm wounded, pained. But I promise you this, if I hear one person standing on the head of another person, whether the object of derision is present or not, 
I will not stand down. I will face the spreader of misinformation or the provocateur and I will tell them truths, point-by-point. I will stand up for the person whose voice is quavering.

I have had several times when my defense of the silent was considered rude. ME, the rude one because I had the temerity to confront the anger, hatred, prejudice. In some circles I am considered rude! But count on it, I will no longer tolerate your intolerance.
I will no longer be silent.


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Friday, March 9, 2018

The Virtue of Doubt


The beginning of wisdom
 is found in doubting; 
by doubting we come to the question, 
and by seeking 
we may come upon the truth.
Pierre Abelard
(1079-1142)

I want to give this idea some more thought, the idea that doubt is a virtue. Let's unpack it a little. I would venture to say that every single person who ever claimed to have or claims to have a religious outlook on life has had periods of doubt in their life. It is a very human thing. In fact, the church holds faith, over doubt, as one of the highest virtues one can hold. Much of the church's teaching, in fact, tells that having faith even when doubt is sucking one's mind into the unending fire is the highest virtue and is, therefore, essential to being in good graces with the Christian god.

Furthermore, doubt is considered a form of pride in the church. Another sinful thing, pride. It seems that the church wants nothing more than to save all believers from the sin of pride, the sin of doubt, by encouraging them to maintain faith in the face of doubt. What treacley goodness comes when one experiences doubt and yet chooses faith over that doubt.

Whereas I say that doubt is a human being's natural function common sense sticking its head above the water and wondering what in the world am I doing in this crazy place

A goodly amount of churchy effort goes in to the practice of encouraging adherents to maintain faith in the face of doubt. As Dieter F. Uchtorf said doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. I've got to admit, that's cute and catchy. Another cute pat on the head, Little One, is that expression Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith

In other words, give us some time to beat your common sense back into submission.

I wonder how many bouts of doubt I weathered before finally finding a way out of the church? Quite a few, actually, because I can clearly recall several of them. Moments when my eyes began to open, to see the ridiculous, to see the obviously man made parts of religion before being subsumed back into the fable and the pageantry. Back to the place where Thomas is a cautionary tale rather than a human being looking for clear, true signs of the resurrection...signs that should have been easy to display in that moment...to dear Doubting Thomas. I mean, just show me your wound, Lord, since we're right here and all.

Yes, those moments when doubt begin creeping up, story inconsistencies, weird/rewritten church history, obvious power plays, moments when the church as an institution, a money-making institution vs. a creation of a deity, becomes so clear, moments when the very kernel of truth of a religion becomes undeniably shaken. Having the courage to explore the doubt, to explore the questions more fully, to entertain the idea that the mustard seed is a truly ridiculous metaphor.

The truth is, being able to change one's mind when presented with new information is the true sign of courage and maturity; doubt is a true virtue. So listen to your doubt; it's trying to tell you something. Allow me to end this little diatribe with one of my favorite quotes by Bertrand Russell:

 The whole problem with the world 
is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, 
and wiser people so full of doubts. 

Bertrand Russell

 


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Genetic Testing - 23 & Me


A bunch of years ago my friend Judi sent her saliva to get the genetic testing thing done and she kept urging me to get my testing done. 
At the time I wasn't very interested, though 
I understood her excitement about the ability to gain knowledge of ourselves. Recently I decided that the time was right.

I sent my saliva sample to 23andme about six weeks ago. I was surprisingly excited to get my results, after all of these years. Well, they finally arrived. Today. YAY.  😀

In my family, a little on both sides, there is some belief in an Italian background. And Swiss, tons of Swiss. But generally we expected German. Forever back, German. It turns out that some of that is correct and some of that is incorrect. Here's the breakdown:


Not a bit of Italian in the bunch and lots more Irish than I thought, or ever even considered. It's a rather unremarkable ancestry, all things considered. Also, I would venture to say that nearly everyone in my hometown has an ancestry that would break down nearly the same.  😄  Unremarkable. In fact, in my own composition, there is nothing at all except for German until one goes back to at least the early 1800s. 
Ja, Freunde, ich bin eine Deutsch madchen.

Along with the ancestry composition, the genetic testing results from 
23 and Me include quite a lot of other interesting information. I doubt much of it is interesting to you, Dear Reader, Sehr Geehrter Leser, except to know exactly what type of results are available through this particular company, and I'm delighted, erfreut, to share that with you. The only thing that really and truly surprised me about my own results is the part telling me that I'm highly unlikely to experience any dementia or Alzheimer's because it was not detected in my genes...I fully expected to get that because of my ridiculously bad memory and recall. Anyway...


The results came to me today by email, six weeks after sending in my spit. I've been clicking on many links and boxes and getting more and more information on myself. The results have lots of explanation as well as lots of disclaimers. 
The explanations are very clear and useful. 
Here is a list of a few basics bits of that information that is available with the emailed results. Each item listed here has an explanation of the characteristic as well as if the characteristic was detected. Lots more comprehensive information is available on their website to help understand results, though no result is considered a diagnosis. I'm including this entire list in case you are looking for something specific:



I found most of that interesting to read about. The results include a multitude of fascinating links to keep me busy reading for days!

I also enjoyed reading about how my long, long ago ancestors spread across the European continent, as well as some information on the family of African mother and I, Afrikanische Mutter und ich, and, indeed, most of us, came from. Here is an example. This map shows the movement of my ancestors, a very short trip, it seems to me, for such a long period of time, over 160,000 years! The L, L3, N, R, and H groups are all traceable and knowable lineages. My results included information on the movement of these distant ancestors. Here are two enticing and intriguing nibbles of information that came with this map:

Haplogroup L
180,000 Years Ago If every person living today could trace his or her maternal line back over thousands of generations, all of our lines would meet at a single woman who lived in eastern Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Though she was one of perhaps thousands of women alive at the time, only the diverse branches of her haplogroup have survived to today. The story of your maternal line begins with her.

and

Though haplogroup H1 rarely reaches high frequencies beyond western Europe, over 60% of eastern Tuareg in Libya belong to haplogroup H1. The Tuareg call themselves the Imazghan, meaning “free people.” They are an isolated, semi-nomadic people who inhabit the West-Central Sahara and are known today for a distinctive dark blue turban worn by the men, and for their long history as gatekeepers of the desert.

I'm still processing lots of the information and will continue to do so. I have to say that while I'm very excited about having this information, there are a few things I was hoping to find out more about. Like cancer. I seem to have some of that in the family. Maybe a few other more common disorders and abilities as well. But WOW, I'm excited about what I have to read and research and, for now, zur zeit, I'll keep following links and using this information as the perfect distraction from my bad back...


If you have had your DNA testing done, or if you have any questions at all, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

 
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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Is Love a Feeling or a Choice?


They say that the very idiosyncrasies that appeal to us about our partners in the beginning of a relationship are the very things that push couples apart as time goes, the very reason that most couples fall out of love. And this is the exact thing that scared me for years as a single person. I thought the real me would push my eventual husband away.
I am kind of annoying. I could list my shortcomings and you won't believe me, but trust me, there are many. As a young woman growing up I would fret about all of this because I was certain that my future amazing husband would eventually leave me for my many irritating parts. And for the snoring.

 Lucky for me, I married Jerry. He is STILL, inexplicably, in love with me.

And I am still in love with him, even with the things that could annoy me about him. We are damn near opposites of each other so we could find about a million things to dislike; but we don't. His sense of humor still cracks me up. It's silly AF, pervasive, and apparently genetic because the house if full of kids with the same sense of humor. At times it drives me out of my mind! At times I can't even sit at the same table as all of them at dinner when they all get going with their silliness!  LOL  Other times, they make me laugh until I have tears running down my face.

I'm so glad that, again and again, Jerry and I have continued to choose each other. How that man can choose me after the ridiculous crap that *I* do is truly beyoooond me. I drive my own damn self crazy sometimes.

One of the kids' favorite stories is this one time on a gorgeous New Zealand beach when I was taking pictures, MANY, according to the story. Along with their dad, all three of them would not give me a decent smile for the camera. No nononononono. Not one. They all kept making faces and cracking themselves and each other up (see above pic for an example). I was FURIOUS.  lol I kept saying I will never be on this beach again and I want a lovely picture!!! I was so angry. They kept mugging and cracking up, never giving in.

 Now a collage of those silly faces is on my refrigerator because I love it.
He's one lucky man I tell you.


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