Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Well shit. Shit, shit, shit. That's about all I have to say about it right now. I didn't know tons about her, I don't know how much about her corruption charges are true, I don't know much about Pakistani politics, but I don't see why anyone thought this was a good idea. What is going on in peoples' heads? Jeeze, people wonder why I'm so down on the idea of God. If he's telling people to do crap like this, then, "Thank you, I respectfully decline to participate." And I know that most folks don't believe God would really condone such things, but how many of the Big Three have wide scale war and terror in their histories? Let's be real. Whatever nut case did this, whether it was a political assassination or a terrorist, they probably were pretty sure that God wanted it to happen. So here's my question, is it really that they believe God wants it to happen or that their higher ups have serious control/power issues and so tell them that God wants this to happen? Then they go and do it because their religions have deprived them of the very critical thinking skills one would need to see the manipulation in such a request?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tell me all your thoughts on God

Since I'm still not sure about this whole God thing, I think I'm going to do a series of posts about the different things that I like and dislike about the idea of God as I know him. Some of these things, obviously, are what keep me from believing full fledged anymore, and some of them are what keep me hanging on to the shreds of desire to believe.

Probably the first thing that bothers me about God, is that he is a he. Oh I know, several religions/mythologies have made room for a female goddess or counterpart to God, but really, we've heard very little from her. She hasn't started any religious movements, she hasn't spoken to any prophets/prophetesses, she hasn't validated her existence in any way nearly as clearly as God has. And, no matter how far back you go looking for the Goddess, she always reports to the God. She doesn't share power ever, she is delegated power and must connive and/or cajole the God for anything that may run contrary to him. And in traditions where there is an acknowledgment of her but no worship of her, she doesn't do a whole lot to protest said arrangement.

So that sometimes gets me to wondering if religion is a boys' game. Something that crept into human existence a long time ago in order for men to rule with a little bit more validation. Or perhaps, drawing from an article I read in TIME once, some guy was scared about his impending death and had this hallucination that simply confirmed his status in relation to the women and made death not quite so scary. But really, all the major religious movements that we now recognize were founded on the visions of men who simply confirmed the already patriarchal society in which they moved. But do we have any records of women receiving such visions complete with admonitions to gather followers? Nope.

At this point, I must admit that I am sorely lacking in my knowledge of Goddess lore. I know that some women believe they have tuned in to her, can pray to her, etc. But they've had to do their searching outside any religious structure. And they have yet to form a movement around this idea. So I'm going to make some assumptions from this: 1) The Goddess doesn't exist and is simply a belated response from women who have finally realized that they are worth just as much as men, 2) The Goddess does exist, but women were so oppressed for so long they didn't know where to find her (although this calls into question her mercy/love for her daughters if you ask me), 3) The Goddess exists but realizes that religious movements can cause more harm than good and so has not felt the need to gather groups around her in great numbers--she's happy to speak to each of her daughters individually without getting into dogmatic bullshit about how to approach her, when, who's worthy, etc., and 4) God really does transcend gender/sexuality but hasn't felt the need to tell humanity that females are worth just as much as males (since the two genders/sexes really aren't separate after death) until the last hundred and fifty years give or take a decade.

Now I know that this sounds rather gender essentialist in a lot of ways, and I don't really consider myself an essentialist. I just know that for a long time, the sexes have been considered to have essential differences that reach beyond biological function and so women's and men's experiences have been different for a long time and thus a lot of women would take comfort in a deity who could understand their particular troubles. Obviously the non-existence of or gender transcendence of God would make these issues moot, but then, that's why I have so many issues to begin with. All the conceptions of deity that I've been able to think of are still vastly problematic when I view them from my own sense of justice, mercy, and love (and to all believers, that was probably the most arrogant sentence in this whole post, huh?). Okay, enough for now. Must go do something productive.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Undoing

I'm still incredibly confused. Just when I think I'm okay with my agnosticism, I hear some Christmas music and all the joy, peace, excitement, and comfort in the season come rushing back. I guess I'm still not one hundred percent ready to give up my belief in God, although I still have major issues with concepts of him thus far presented to me.

Quimby, over on fMh, wrote a beautiful piece about the diversity that could have attended Christ's birth. Even though I don't quite know what to do with it, Christmas and the surrounding story still fill me with hope and joy. I think the reason is because I yearn so much for peace and tolerance among the nations, indeed, even among families. I hurt so much for all the pain and suffering that people have to go through. Christ still represents that hoped for unity to me, although I don't know what to do with his divinity, etc.

I read a scheme of ethical development one time that suggested that after a person has discovered relativism, they sometimes eventually return to their original beliefs understanding that they aren't perfect, or even wholly true, and I wonder if that's what I'm doing right now--recognizing the issues involved, but comforted by the goodness that is supposed to come from Christianity. I know Christ wasn't the first one to preach peace, nor the only one to claim Savior status, nor is belief in him necessary to see the imperative of peace, but his is the peace that was taught to me as a child, and it is peace in this context that I still hope for, even if I never make another effort to convert someone to Christianity (which I probably won't), I will probably always see peace through that lens. Now however, I know that Christ isn't jealous, only humanity is, and that whatever God there may be, wants peace more than s/he wants anything else for his/her children.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Idealism Damaged

For all my idealism, I have days when I think I should just trash the whole show. I was reading an excerpt of a memoir in Ms. Magazine about a woman who hears a horrific abortion story from her grandma. A couple of weeks ago, I was reading in TIME about the Burmese Monk Protest being crushed. I just don't know how to handle humanity at times like these. I just cry. I don't know what else to do right now but cry. It breaks my heart to see so many lives wasted in the name of power, or decency, or secrecy, or whatever. And on days like this, I just want to stop. But stopping isn't an option, or at least not one that I could entertain in good conscience. It's just hard not to get mired in the hopelessness when I read things like this. Someday, I keep promising myself, I'll have the resources I need to help make things like this obsolete. It just seems like someday is an awful long way away.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Supposedly I'm a fiction writer (graduated about a year ago in creative writing). However, I'm having a hard time really generating stories that aren't agenda laden. So I'm thinking maybe this space will help me get my issues off my chest so that I can just write stories without imposing anything on them--id est, any issues that arise in the stories will be more genuine and not generated solely from my need to prove a point. So there's that for a little introduction at least.

And yes, I suppose my blog title might be a little cliche, but that's how my life is right now. Everything's changing and that's about all I can count on.


My dad and I were talking on the phone the other day about the condition of the world right now. He's rather cynical and said that he believes humanity will destroy itself someday (he said man, but I'm editing him). I'd like to hope that we can learn from our past mistakes. I don't think we'll ever reach a Utopian state, but I think we could do better than what we're doing right now. I know where he's coming from. The global scene is somewhat discouraging even if things are good in some places of the world. I guess I look at the good parts and hope, believe even, that with enough effort, we could make things like tolerance and respect the norm. In fact it's that our scene is global now that is so encouraging to me. We can't be ignorant of things anymore, so hopefully we'll start trying to change more since we're aware of the things that are going on outside our local community.

The first step for such a thing to happen, is to get over our religious selves. I'm sort of religious--I'm kind of agnostic right now. However, part of what disenchanted me from religion was the us/them structure of most religions (Eastern spiritual practices excluded from what little I know of them). This applies especially to the big three--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Their "choice people" rhetoric is inherently dangerous to global peace. Each of the three religions is busy talking about how special they are compared to the poor heathen (who is a conglomeration of which ever two aren't being spoken of at the time) who has no idea about God, is being deceived by the evil half, and who will most certainly wind up in a less than happy (sometimes downright hellish) place after death. And so the proponents of these religions argue back and forth about whose right, who has the most rights because of their divine "election" and how that should be played out in life.

Lastly, I've wondered if the "prophecies" of these religions is to blame somewhat. Because of the belief from most of these traditions that God is omni-everything, they've taken their prophecies to be statements of future fact, rather than things that would happen if they weren't willing to live by the various standards of their faith. So it is that the world is in such a precarious and yet potentially good position. Most people in the world belong to one of the Big Three and are just waiting for Armageddon, the second coming of Christ, or the first coming of Christ (depending on which persuasion you apply to). And because they've accepted the cataclysmic events that are supposed to accompany all of these events, they are taking a kind of "this is how it's supposed to be so I'm not going to do anything about it" stance. And this is where I part with religion. All of the Big Three claim (at least in most circles) to be big proponents of peace, love, charity, compassion, etc., and yet are reluctant to throw a bone to the other two for fear of giving up their "chosen" status. I don't know if humanity will destroy itself or not; I don't know if Christ is coming or not; but I do know that if we would stop saying "this is how it has to be" and say "let's surprise God by doing great things for each other regardless of where we come from" then perhaps all of this war and unrest would go the way of all the earth. And then, if God is there, he'll be pleased that we've worked out our differences and if he's not, then humanity will still be better off than it has been since we started organizing ourselves into civilizations.

Lastly (for real this time), let me clarify. I'm not anti-religion. I think that if religions would really practice what they preach about peace and love, then they have great potential to effect change. Even though I don't know about where I stand in religion doesn't mean I want to eradicate the traditions. I think that a militant atheist/agnostic is just as bad as a militant Christian, Jew, or Muslim. So what I'm advocating is a little more willingness to admit how much we don't know and work together on what we do know--that humanity is capable of good things. I think that then, things will get better. Oh, and also, I realize that each of the religious powers has a tendency to cover its ploys for power and gain in religious clothing--but that's a whole other post.