Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

 “You know, this is a war of ideology, a war of thoughts and of faith. And we need people to really stand for faith and trust, not hope and change.”
Sharron Angle

In 2010 Sharron Angle received an endorsement from the Tea Party Express, to run for one of the open Senate seats in Nevada. I have about a handful of quotes from this woman, and I can tell you we should all breathe a sigh of relief she didn’t win. The really scary part about all this is she received 44% of the votes. She wants us to abandon hope and change and instead put our trust in faith and God? This woman was close to holding a seat of power preaching religion over progress. This is a belief many of the Tea Party members share. This is a scary concept because their solution to solving our problems is by praying, and putting our faith in a God which may or may not even exist. It worries me a bit that these far right religious nuts are gaining so much ground in the political landscape.

If more and more of these kinds of thinkers take office all logic and reasoning will be thrown out the window. What is in the best interest of our country will be completely thrown out the window. In my opinion representatives with such strong beliefs should be banned from running for office. I would feel more comfortable with an atheist in office, because I know they would make decisions based off logic and reasoning and not on what a fairy tale creature would have them do. I am sure I will get some heat for this comment, but let us not forget Bush’s view that God was speaking to him, and also the religious nuts in the middle east.

This is the part that scares me the most. The leader of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes in the concept of a final Holy War, what’s worse is he believes he is the one charged with ushering it in. If we continue to put into office these religious zealots they will see to it this Holy War happens. For many they believe this is necessary for the second coming of Christ. Here is another gem from Angle:

 “And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”

Imagine if more and more of these people take office. It could be realistic that abortions are made illegal. Research such as stem cell will be squashed; meaning many cures will never be known. They will start teaching creationism over evolution in our public schools. This nation will become a Christian nation, but not in a good way. We will come to exile those who believe differently from us, and soon religious freedom will be gone. It is a dangerous thing to elect those into office who hold such strong beliefs. Soon decisions are not made based off reason and logic; they are made based on an imaginary concept with an imaginary symbol of ideology.

“You know, I’m a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.”
Sharron Angle

Yea right!!

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What do you believe in creationism or evolution? I think the answer to this question will weigh heavily on if you are religious or not. Personally I believe in evolution with a hint of creationism. I think for most people it has to be one or the other but in reality it can be both. I think the religious community is ferocious in defending the stance that we were created by God end of story. They in order to keep their faith have to listen to the Word, and the Word does not say there is evolution. The Bible says in Genesis that everything was created in six days, but does the Bible literally mean six days, or six days to God. If God has been around since the beginning of time I doubt he has the same method of time as we do. We base our time on the rotation of our planet around the sun, I am pretty sure God does not keep human time. I bring this topic up because of an e-mail I received from “God Thoughts Wired” and I was a bit annoyed with the stance pastor Brad was making. I think if we take his example a step further we could back him into a corner and force him to rethink for a moment. Below is part of his e-mail discounting evolution. 

“AN HONEST PURSUIT OF TRUTH
LEADS US TO A CREATOR.”

-Pastor Brad

“Is this really true?  Well, you tell me.  When you honestly ask yourself “How did this chair get here?”  I suggest to you that the logical, reasonable and rational answer is…”Somebody made it.”  Am I right? 

And how ’bout the car you drive, “How did it get here?”  Again, I would suggest that the most logical, reasonable and rational answer is that “Somebody made it.”  Am I right?

The definition of the “scientific method” is, “that which is measurable, repeatable, and observable.  So…

Which is more “scientific,” the belief that human beings are here because “somebody made us?”  Or, is it more “scientific” to think that, “OVER A BAZILLION YEARS…WE JUST CAME TO BE.”

C’mon!””

I laughed at the concept of this e-mail. He uses the example of a chair and a car. He asks his readers to answer the question on how these things came to be. He leads us to the conclusion because the car and the chair were made by someone then scientifically speaking we must have been created by someone. This is an example of the justifications religious people use to try and trick themselves into believing. Using a chair and a car as a scientific method to prove creationism is laughable! I would ask Pastor Brad this; “If we continue to use the scientific method then I ask you who made God?” He would not be able to say God has always been around because his whole point is everything must have been created by something else.  

I believe everything you see here today is a product of evolution. We as humans came to be who we are today because of evolution. Scientists have discovered many different skulls which show proof of evolution. These skulls can be traced from our oldest ancestor the chimpanzee all the way to our current skulls today. My father has always told me there is a missing link they have not found. I ask him this “where are the various different species of humanoids today? The skulls we have found are not ape and not human they are somewhere in-between, yet these sub-humans are no longer around. I think the best proof we can find on evolution is through DNA. It is a fact that our DNA is 96% similar to that of Chimpanzees. This similarity is closer than that of even chimps to gorillas.

Let’s take humans out of the equation and focus on the animal world. There are many different species of rodents. Many of these rodents show very similar DNA some more than others. If we look at where these rodents live we can see evolution within each one of these animals. They had to evolve to adapt in order to survive. These evolutions can take millions of years or a decade to take effect. You cannot deny evolution at work in the animal kingdom. There are countless records of animals evolving in order to survive. Why is it so hard to believe if animals are capable of evolving why we are not a product of evolution?

“Creationists make it sound as though a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.”
Isaac Asimov

The thing I find funny is isn’t creationism a theory as well. According to the creationist this concept is not a theory but is indeed a fact. I laugh at this concept because there is no one alive, nor is there any scientific fact which points towards creationism. These individuals are getting their facts from a book which may or may not have been the Word of God. From my knowledge I think science has done a great job of moving forward to prove evolution is indeed a scientific fact.

I don’t know why religion has fought so hard against science only to be destroyed by it time and time again. When evolution is finally proven as a scientific fact then religion will have no choice but to accept this and move on. I think even with a fact starring them in the face some will still deny the truth, others will see that the Bible preached evolution all this time. The thing is this; evolution is a scientific fact. It cannot be denied. This is why I believe in evolution because it is tangible. It is so much easier to believe in this as opposed to a mystical puppeteer in the sky.

In the book “The Genesis Flood” it argues that creation was only six days and humans lived concurrently with the dinosaurs and that God created each kind of living being individually. I am not sure if this is actually in the Bible, or if this is one interpretation of the story. I know my dad and I will get into a heated debate when the conversation of evolution comes up. He becomes threatened and defends his beliefs tooth and nail. He tells me that scientists have all but agreed evolution is impossible because they have never found the missing link. I do not take very much stock in what he says because his main source of knowledge comes from FOX news and his religious and right wing political magazines. What I don’t understand is why Christianity can’t just get along with facts? I am sure if you comb through the Bible you can find a few verses that goes along with evolution. Religion could not argue the fact that we rotate around the sun, no matter how hard they tried, and before long they won’t be able to argue themselves out of the facts of evolution.

I will never have the answers to all the questions I have. My interpretation on how things went down is this. The 25th verse of the Tao Te Ching says “There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born.”  To me this explains pre-big bang. For whatever reason this formless and perfect energy erupted and the Tao gave birth to the universe. In the 4th verse of the Tao Te Ching it says “I do not know who gave birth to it. It seems to be the common ancestor of all; it is more ancient than God.” I think in giving birth to the universe Gods were created just as we humans were created. I guess this is what I think.

Verse 25

There was something formless and perfect.

Born before heaven and earth

In the silence and the void.

It is serene. Empty.

Solitary. Unchanging.

Infinite. Eternally present.

It is the mother of the universe

I do not know its name

Call it Tao.

For lack of a better word, I call it great

Being great, it flows.

It flows far away

Having gone far, it returns

Therefore, the Way is great,

Heaven is great,

Earth is great,

People are great.

Thus, to know humanity,

Understand earth.

To know earth

Understand heaven,

To know heaven,

Understand the Way.

To know the Way,

Understand the great within yourself.

Lao-Tzu

According to scholars the twenty-fifth verse of the Tao Te Ching is considered to be one of the most significant lessons in the entire manuscript. I do not necessarily look at this verse as a significant lesson; instead I look at it as a creation story. The Tao Te Ching was written by Lao-tzu over twenty-five centuries ago. I interpret the first ten lines as describing the big bang. Considering how long ago it was written I think Lao-tzu nailed a concept that would not be known for centuries later. I was honestly wondering when a creation concept would be brought up, so I was relieved when I read this verse. I love the way he describes existence prior to the big bang when the Tao gave birth to the universe.

Lao-tzu says “there was something formless and perfect.” Whatever was before the universe was created will always be a mystery, but Lao-tzu says whatever it was it was perfect. I am a firm believer that the Tao created heaven, but in doing this he also gave birth to Gods. I believe the Gods we know today were created by the Tao.

Lao-tzu could not find the words to describe the Tao; all he could come up with is the word “great.” This greatness is responsible for everything that has and will be.  He says “being great, it flows. It flows far away. Having gone far, it returns.” I am sure this could be interpreted in many ways. I look at it as the process of dying and the journey of our shen. When we die we go to the center where the universe was born. This center is formless and perfect, and is where we all return. Having gone far to the center; we return. This comforts my fears of death and calms my anxiety over it. The atheist in me comes out from time to time to trample my visions of salvation, so I lack faith. I wonder if my lack in faith is the reason I cannot live the lessons of the Tao on a consistent basis? If this is the case then my journey should be that of faith. Once I find faith perhaps I will find understanding.

This verse touches on things being great. It starts with the Way all the way down to people. This is a tough yet great message for me. I do not see myself as great; therefore I can never realize greatness. If I dwell in my negative emotions then I will attract negative things. This concept is brought up in the last eight verses. Lao-tzu says to truly know the way you need to understand the greatness within you. Since everything stems from the Tao is great therefore I to should be great because I am a product of perfection. This is a great lesson to learn.

My theory and many others on why religion was created is because the fear of death and the unknown. Ever since man developed complex emotions, and were then confronted with the realization of death and the knowledge of what a hardship is; they needed to construct something that would ease their fears and give them peace of mind in a chaotic world. These forefathers of religion created sun gods and moon gods. They worshipped these things because they had no concept of what they were; all they knew is somehow these two things had massive affects on their daily lives. I would also like to quickly point out that many civilizations did rituals and prayed for rain. They had no concept of how rain worked so they tacked it on to their religious beliefs. Not only did the earliest man need explanations for things they didn’t understand; they also needed to find something to ease their fears of what happens to you when you die. This fear of the ultimate unknown is the sole reason we have religion today.

It takes a strong individual to live their lives knowing they will somehow cease to exist. I know all to well this is a heavy burden to bear. We all want something more to believe in. We all want to somehow feel special. We all want to know somehow we will live on. These are the key driving points for the construction of faith. To illustrate this point I would like to quote a comment from my post “Religion and Anxiety-Reduction Theories.”

“If God and religion are all man-made constructs and there is nothing after this life, then why bother?”

I think this comment illustrates my point perfectly. I have grown to admire this reader’s thoughts and opinions and in no way am I saying she is weak. She was most likely raised to believe this. I do however think this shows a small chip in the armor of her faith. I have heard this comment before, and usually follow with “Is this your driving force to believe?” I tend to stump people on this point because it forces them to re-evaluate their beliefs. If they believe simply because this is the only way to give life meaning, or the only way to quell their fears of death then their faith is flawed. In essence their belief acts as a band-aid to cover up the deeper fears they have inside. We bother because it is our moral and ethical duty to improve the lives of our fellow man. We are here to cultivate a positive way of life for other generations to come. We do not need religion to dictate us to achieve these things; we only need to look into our hearts.

Religion has evolved over time, but every religion is built upon one another. With each new version declaring they are the only version. The concept of a virgin birth was described well before Christianity was created. For example the birth of Buddha was described as a virgin birth in the “Nidanakatha”

“The Brahmans said, ‘Be not anxious, O king! Your queen has conceived: and the fruit of her womb will be a man-child; it will not be a woman-child. You will have a son. And he, if he adopts a householder’s life, will become a king, a Universal Monarch; but if, leaving his home, he adopt the religious life, he will become a Buddha, who will remove from the world the veils of ignorance and sin.'”

This is but one example;virgin births were also described in Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Mithra, Mithras, and the Greco-Roman Mythology. This is by no means the complete list I am sure it goes on and on. In addition to this Muslim, Hinduism, and Taoism also have stories of a miraculous births. The one I find most interesting is one that precedes Christianity and Judaism the ancient religion of Persia “Zoroastrianism.” In this religion it not only describes a virgin birth, but it also has the messiah, death and resurrection, a final battle between good and evil, and the resurrection of the dead to stand judgment. This and others are perfect examples to describe the evolution of religion.

Creation stories, miraculous births, the death and resurrection of a messiah, and end times are all parts of every religion past and present. Each and every religion is just built upon one another. With each new edition religion evolves into something different than what it was before. Religion is like a fable passed on from generation to generation. In a sense it is like playing telephone, with each new generation the original concept gets changed and turned into what we have today. I feel there have been no new changes to religion because we live in a society that does not allow a change to happen. Everything is set as is, and everyone knows what is on the table. Trying to change a religious concept via word of mouth is simply just not possible. Those who try ultimately end up being defined as cults. In the end the purposes to believe in religion are all the same. We ask the exact same questions are ancestors asked, and we share their same fears. We cling onto religion because it just makes sense. We tend to look at other religions and judge them compared to our beliefs. We turn our nose to them claiming we are right, and their beliefs are silly. I am just as guilty of this as they are.

I came up with the quote “conceived in the weak” not because I am calling the religious weak. I am illustrating how our beliefs at their core are because of our fears. I think I am the perfect example of this. Right now I consider myself as being weak, because I have lost the strength to accept the reality of nothingness. Once this fear crept into my conscience I immediately sought out religion to ease my fears. I am searching for answers to questions which cannot be answered. If I were to latch on to Christianity to make myself feel better I really wouldn’t be a Christian because the only reason I am a Christian is because I fear the great unknown. I would be a fake; a liar, and a coward. I desperately need to find faith, but I am hindered by my reasoning and logic. Perhaps all my new religious readers who have offered me guidance are the sign from God I have always asked for, but perhaps it is all just a coincidence. These are the questions I ask myself. I ask them because of the intense fear inside of me. Perhaps God is placing this fear inside of me, and delivered me my readers to bring me to God, but perhaps the fear is there because death is really f’ing scary.

If we did not fear death, if we did not fear the unknown, if we didn’t need to see the light within chaos there would be no need for religion.

“I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.”

This to me is so funny, yet unfortunately so true. There are two things going on in this quote. First is the concept and power of prayers the second is the belief we can sin all we want then just ask for forgiveness. I challenge both these concepts to be false.

It is no surprise that prayers go unanswered. If each and every prayer were to be answered I think chaos would consume this world. The question is why God chooses to grant some prayers over others. I can understand God not granting this individual a material possession such as a bike, which is what I think this quote is implying. I get it; we really do not need material possessions and Jesus taught against this “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22. I interpret this as Jesus trying to diminish the importance of material possessions.

If we have just established that God does not grant material items, and we can assume he does not respond to every trivial request, I wonder why God does not grant prayers of healing and cries out for peace. Now I think many believers will say that God has his reasons but I cannot just buy into this, nor can I buy into the answer that God works in mysterious ways. If prayers were not meant to be answered then why does the Bible say “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” Mark 11:23. This concept is also brought up in Matthew chapter seven, where it says “ask and you shall receive.”

The Bible is telling us if we just believe then anything will be given to us. I do not believe this to be true. When I was young I believed and I prayed for my dad to see me, and take me away from the turmoil I was in. I prayed, I believed, and nothing happened. I also question faithful believers who have been inflicted with cancer. Why are they not healed? I would challenge anyone who says they truly believe to actually ask God to cast a mountain into the sea. We could go through every believer of this faith and each one could ask, and I guarantee you this mountain will not budge. Is this where the author of this quote believes this is not how God works?

The other part of this quote is the concept of stealing and then just going to church and asking for forgiveness, and everything will then just be alright. Things are great you got your bike and are now forgiven. One of the things which bothers me about Christianity is the concept that you can sin six days then pray for forgiveness on the seventh day and all will be good. I am no expert by any means, but I do not think God works this way. Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 I don’t know if Christians know about this, or choose to pick other verses to discount this statement. Before Jesus was Jesus he was the Word, and if you choose to follow the Bible you cannot pick and choose what you will believe and what you won’t.

I had a brief conversation with one of my readers on the concept of being saved by faith and faith alone. I had to ask for clarification so I apologize if I am still not on the right path here, but I believe one of two things are happening. Either the Bible is contradicting itself or the believer is picking and choosing which parts of the Bible they choose to follow. If the Bible is the Word of God then it can possibly not contradict itself, because if it were it would prove to be fallible and the belief would then crumble under its own fallibility.

If the Bible is indeed the Word of God then man has chosen to change the Word to fit their own needs. This happens ever so gradually through the countless translation of the Word. With each new change the Word needs to be changed in order to gain new copyrights. This greed to make money off the Word is a perversion against the religion. This is a key theme I am working on in my book idea “Deceived.”

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

To follow up on the Matthew chapter seven verse I used I would like to include the remainder.

22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” John 3:4

I am sure there are millions of faithful followers who not only have faith, but also follow God’s laws. It is those who follow both I admire the most. With that being said; when looked at through these few verses I do not believe God has any patience for those who do evil, and then one day a week ask for forgiveness. So is this a contradiction or is man bending the word to his own liking???

The one component of my mental illness I dread the most is my crippling depression. I would rather deal with my psychotic episodes (thoughts) than my depressive episodes (feelings.) This depression can get so intense I feel as if I am lost in a forest of darkness with no glimmer of hope ahead. The longer I stay entrenched in this darkness the direr the situation can become. Like my other symptoms my depression has gotten worse as I have aged, as a result my suicidal thoughts have increased when I am walking in the fog of obscurity. One of the things which keep me from following through with this act is my atheist beliefs. I fear death on so many levels, and as a result I have never had the courage to set myself free. Perhaps this is a blessing, but I sometimes view this as a curse.       

I think my belief in nothing compounded with my fear of nothing has saved my life many times. The actual concept of death doesn’t scare me and at times I welcome it. I believe once you are dead then you are dead end of story. You cease to exist, and you are either buried or burned. These beliefs bring me such comfort, yet at the same time bring me a great deal of anxiety. My primary fear is centered on the absence of thought. The reality that once I die I will no longer be able to think is mind bending and terrifying. Right now I am able to sit here and think about what I think death will be like, but once I die I will not be able to think to myself “oh this is what death is like.” There has been one never faltering aspect in my life, and that is the presence of my thoughts. The reality of losing this haunts me.

I do not think us as humans can fully grasp the concept of infinity, nor can we grasp the real concept of nothingness. Can you sit there and honestly say your mind can understand that the universe never comes to an end? If your knee jerk reaction is a confident “yes” than you have not spent enough time truly challenging this concept; everything we know comes to an end eventually. The same can be said about nothingness, everything we know is something. Even the void of space still encompasses something. Now try and sit there and wonder what it would be like if you were to never have another thought or feeling again.  I am 100% okay with the concept of never feeling again, but not okay with never thinking.

This brings me to the conundrum of what it will be like if I ever find faith. I wonder where my mind will be when I hit a deep depression if I fully believe I will go somewhere better when I die. Will I have just lost my primary motivation from keeping me from following through with it?

Verse 24

If you stand on tiptoe, you cannot stand firmly.

If you take long steps, you cannot walk far.

Showing off does not reveal enlightenment.

Boasting will not produce accomplishment.

He who is self-righteous is not respected

He who brags will not endure.

All these ways of acting are loathsome, distasteful.

They are unnecessary excesses.

They are like a pain in the stomach,

a tumor in the body

when walking the path of the Tao,

this is the very stuff that must be

uprooted, thrown out, and left behind.

Lao-tzu

The 24th verse is about living without excess, Lao-tzu advises us to pull and discard our excess weeds. These weeds are ego-driven desires of self-importance. Our desire to feel important and our desires to brag and be boastful of our accomplishments are allowing our ego to drive us instead of the all giving Tao. It is this desire which keeps us away from walking the path of the Tao. The Tao teaches us that inner approval is healthy, but it is these mind frames of thinking you are better than anyone else which is destructive. These desires for self-importance are like a cancer on our souls. Our ego is our greatest enemy on our journey to discover the Way.

The verse starts with an analogy of standing on our tip toes. I believe this represents us trying to be greater than we are. If we try to fill ourselves with self-importance we will not be able to stand firmly. Lao-tzu’s advice is to stop trying to be what we are not, and instead live as we are. We should be humble in our daily affairs, and be content with who we are at all times. Everyday we should show gratitude for everything we have, and everything we are. Showing daily gratitude centers us and keeps us on the path of the Way. Practice focusing on what you have, and not what you want, then show gratitude for everything the Tao has given you. In the part about taking long steps; I think this advises us to live in the moment and not try so hard to get were going. Instead of focusing on our end goal we should be humble and enjoy the process.

The next part of this verse is advising us to not brag or be boastful. Showing off does not show enlightenment. Bragging about our accomplishments only make us look like fools. In the second verse of the Tao Te Ching it says “when the work is done, it is forgotten. That is why it lasts forever,” or in the ninth verse it says “retire when the work is done; this is the way to heaven.” These are all examples of working without bragging or taking credit for your hard work. It is nice to be acknowledged, but this should not be our primary goal. I see my faults in this part of the verse. I have written posts on my frustration with my writing career progress. I want to have five thousand visitors a day, and in my mind this would be an accomplishment worthy of bragging. In my mind I need to be successful immediately, or I am disappointed. I am standing on my tip toes and taking long steps. I need to just sit back and allow my writing career to happen.

I am most interested in the line “He who is self-righteous is not respected.” The definition of self-righteous is “a feeling of smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.” This is an interesting line in that the Tao condemns being holier than thou in our religious affairs. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism do not send its followers out on missionary trips to spread the word. They do not pretend to be superior to others who believe differently. This is why you have never seen an inquisition in these faiths. The Tao does not judge you based on if you believe in the Way or not. It will still provide you with everything you need. I think this lesson is far different from some other religions out there, which is why I have found a spiritual home in this religion.

Instead of letting our ego drive us with the desire to boast, or only work for the accolades of a good job, we should instead be grateful for everything the Tao has given us. The Tao does not seek acknowledgement for all it does for us. The Tao does not come to us saying “look what I have done for you, now what will you do for me.” This is a lesson the Tao tries to teach us by example. We should not see ourselves as important or special for the gifts the Tao has given us. We should appreciate her, and her unselfish giving. The Tao teaches us to be a giver rather than a taker, we should be providing for others and ask nothing in return. The Tao always exists in a state of unlimited giving, and teaches us to do the same. If we are able to mimic this sense of gratitude and giving we will be closer to walking the path of the Way.

“By returning to radical humility and seeing the greatness within everyone you’ve than cleared your life of excessive self-importance…and this is the way of the Tao.”

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Black

Black

Black is not a color

By definition it is the absence of light

A dark void

Cold

A suffocating black hole

How come black is what I see

It is everywhere inside of me

Where is MY ray of light?

To guide me through this cold dark night

I wonder alone

In this bankrupt mind

Hoping to find, a light inside

Reaching towards the heavens

Praying someone will answer

The black is a cancer

Eating at my will to live

I need some relief

To make it through

Without it

I am certainly doomed

No answers to my prayers

Black is what I know

My mind is color blind

“When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.”

Psalms Chapter 109 Verse 7

“The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages – as if the savages weren’t dangerous enough already.”
Edward Abbey

This quote always makes me chuckle, but then I realize the truth behind this statement. I think one of the greatest achievements of any empire, individual, or institution is the Christian movement. The Christians have successfully spread the Word to every inch of this world, and not always peacefully. It is truly amazing if you think about it, but is this necessarily a good thing? If you look back through history you will find many religions snuffed out by the Christian movement. Many of these religions were taken out during the various inquisitions. I remember reading this large encyclopedia on the world religions past and present. I kept on finding a common theme for why these religions are still not around today. Catholicism and Christianity converted them and like I said before not always peacefully.

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
Edward Abbey

When I read this quote and ponder on it I think of the show Star Trek. In Star Trek one of their major rules is to not interfere with lesser civilizations. They would go through great pains to not make themselves known. They did this because as a civilization these primitive people were not ready for such knowledge. If you were flying through space and came across a world where they just invented fire well then these people are not ready to have the knowledge of knowing there are people with giant ships and death rays. They did this because they did not want to interfere with the natural progression of these people. I think the same can be said about tribes in the heart of Africa, or small civilizations in the rain forest. They are content with their own little niche in this world. I understand the Christians motives; part of their belief is they are responsible for spreading the Word of God. I think the Christians could have learned a few things from Star Trek. The “savages” have their beliefs and who are we to try and take that from them. Imagine for a second that the Taliban went out as the Christians did to the savages and preached their beliefs. Within a very short order you would have a tribes of people armed with the most deadly of tools… wayward religion. Instead of hunting and dancing by a fire they would have a new directive; they would go forth and kill the infidels.

 “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
Desmond Tutu

Like children I believe the “savages” need to discover “advanced” religion on their own time and their own terms. I do not agree with sending missionaries out to teach them of a “better” religion. How pompous are we to tell these people that our beliefs are better than theirs, and if they believe what we tell them to believe then we will bring them cool shit from America. The Muslim extremists are currently doing this, but are not just limiting themselves to savages they are trying to infiltrate as many places as they can to further their cause. I suppose I am appreciative that the Christians beat the Muslims in vastly spreading their faith. In the end I am 100% against any religion trying to manipulate their way into “converting” people. This is one of my biggest disputes when it comes to Christianity.

To end this I would like to add one final quote by Annie Dillard, which is humorous in a way yet very true. It is funny how the purpose of missionaries is to “save” the souls of those who not only don’t believe, but are not even aware of these beliefs. Gaining the knowledge of a higher power which can condemn your soul to an eternal damnation is scary shit for the “savages” to deal with. Yesterday these people where worshiping the Polar Bear God, and the Ice Princess. The missionaries awe these people with our advancements in life, and they just follow suit. Not because they are now magically saved, they are simply just gullible.   

Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” Priest: “No, not if you did not know.” Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”
Annie Dillard

I am currently trying to learn Latin, and so far it has proven to be a daunting task, especially if you are trying to learn it on your own. I really wish I could afford Rosetta Stone. I have visited a few websites, and downloaded some books, but I am still having trouble with the language. So far I am able to say and understand the first four verses of the gospel of John. In my studies I have discovered that much of the English language has origins in Latin. With that being said I stumbled upon something very interesting. I noticed that the Latin word for “I” is “ego.” This was sort of an ah-ha moment for me.

My greatest enemy in life is my ego. In all my study and meditation on the Tao Te Ching I have discovered how harmful ego can be. It is literally destroying my marriage, and my life. I did a post a while back on “pride.” According to Pope Gregory I pride is the most damaging of the seven deadly sins. I am prideful to a fault, but after some advice from Rambling http://ramblingtaoist.blogspot.com/ I now believe pride comes from my ego. I try my best to live and follow the Tao but I question my dedication. I can read a verse and see the light contained within, but when it comes down to actually living it I fall way to short.

I think I live my life with too much “I” in it. I have admitted to myself and in therapy that I am a selfish person who thinks of himself first and foremost. It makes me sad when I actually verbalize this, because then it makes it so real. The question is how do I turn “ego” into “tu?” I wish I had the answer for this question. I think my selfishness is a built in defense mechanism; developed over time in my life. Which leads to another question; am I am just saying this as an excuse for my behavior? Am I taking ownership yet at the same time transferring blame?

There is nothing I hate more than self reflection. It is by far the most painful procedure I can endure. I have caused far too much hurt in my 31 years of existence, and very little joy. To say and realize this is an agonizing state of affairs. I dread this process; instead of facing it I just run to the hills. I wish there was a God I could pray to asking him/her to alter the past, but sadly even God cannot change the past. The devil can now frolic in my fields of sin. I am stuck with these sins for the rest of my life, and no amount of washing them in holy water will wash away the blood of damaged lives.

For better or worse I must reap what I have sown. I must live in these prison walls I have created. My misery is of my own doing, and karma is a bitch. My life of ego will never lead to a life of amor et gauisus peractio.