Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Archive for March, 2007

Now This is More Like It! Secular Islam

Posted by honestpoet on March 26, 2007

Here’s a group of really sane folk. Thank goodness.

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called “Islamaphobia” in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.

We call on the governments of the world to

reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms; oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostasy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;

eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;

protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.

We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.

We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;

and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must choose for themselves.

I hope this turns out to be contagious.

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Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, fundamentalism, history, Islam, misogyny, Muslims, politics, prayer, privacy, religion, secular humanism, separation of church and state, sexism, skepticism, terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Time Off for Spring

Posted by honestpoet on March 21, 2007

I haven’t abandoned this blog, I’ve just been occupied in the garden, and with my gardening class. Tomorrow is my last class, and I’ll be a Master Gardener. Which is hilarious. You’d know why I say that if you saw my garden right now. It’s a mess, though it looks a lot better than it did just weeks ago. My perennials are coming back to life, and all sorts of things are budding out or blooming.

But the weeds are even quicker than the flowers, and I’ve been having trouble keeping up. I’m not a spring chicken myself, so it’s not as easy for me to go out and pound out the work like I could even just a few years ago.

I had a poem come out in an atheist magazine, and I got my contributor’s copies about a week ago. My mother-in-law wants a copy. She’s a real sport these days. I’ve got another poem coming out any day in a lit mag out of the city where she lives, so she’ll be buying that one off the newsstand. But I’ll be taking her a copy of the other when we go up there soon for spring break.

We’ll be driving for two days each way, and we’ve got to cross mountains. It’ll be the first time for my kids. We’re excited about watching the landscape change; they’ve never seen a mountain. They’ve never even seen a real hill. I’m looking forward to seeing the awe on their faces.

My son is also going to be doing some science, cataloging frequency of vehicles (he’s very interested right now in the differences: cars, SUVs, trucks, mini-vans, etc.). My daughter will be watching movies, and looking up when I tell her there’s something to see.

Last week I wrote a poem I’d love to share here, but there’s too good a chance it’ll get published, and I’d like it to have a bigger readership than I’ve got here.

Posted in blogging, gardening, poetry | 3 Comments »

Help The Sierra Club Save the Sequoias

Posted by honestpoet on March 12, 2007

Please go here and sign this petition. It’s really easy, and really important. Bush&Co. are trying to get permission to log in Sequoia National Monument, saying it’s necessary for fire safety, but there are much better methods available…they just don’t happen to make a ton of money for his buddies in the timber industry.

Posted in ecology, global warming, history, national forests, politics, Sierra Club, timber industry | Leave a Comment »

Privacy and Responsibility

Posted by honestpoet on March 7, 2007

At another blog (which will remain nameless) some ego-ridden pundit who thinks using his middle initial gives him the moral high ground has decreed that my blog is somehow not valid because I choose to remain anonymous. Just like a religious person (he’s not religious, though he’s just as attached to his own ideas) he can’t accept that someone else’s choice, while different from his, could still be valid.

He reminds me of Tom Cruise dissing Brooke Shields for using antidepressants, looking ridiculous on his high horse (which looks an awful lot like a hobby horse from here — he fancies himself a writer, but I think he’s just a lawyer).

I wasn’t going to write about this, but I began to think I ought to. You see, his lack of understanding my perspective is, I’m afraid, too common. Despite the fact that one of his “authors” recently wrote about her rape, he seems to fail to recognize that things are a bit different for women in this world than they are for men.

I remember in my political science class in college (which I took before the iron curtain came down), my prof was trying to explain to us what “low-grade terror” was like, to help us understand what it was like for people living in the Soviet Union. He made a comparison to what women experience here, with the pervasive violence. We (if we’re smart) are always on the lookout for men hiding, waiting to jump out and grab us. My dad was a cop, and he taught me to check my backseat, to check under the car as I approached, all that sort of thing. He also taught me some tricks his green-beret Vietnam-vet friend had taught him. (I taught them just last night to my daughter, in fact — you know, how to gouge out eyeballs, that sort of thing.)

Men here don’t get what it’s like to live with low-grade terror. So no man is going to make me feel bad for keeping myself and my family safe by blogging anonymously.

I used to blog with my name, but nutty men became attached much more easily, and then I had the additional concern that, with my name, it wouldn’t be too hard to come find me. Not a nice thought, and it became too hard to feel free to speak authentically, to really say what I needed to say, without concern of hurting someone’s feelings.

Yes, I may hurt feelings when I write the way I feel free to do here. But sometimes hurt feelings are necessary for growth. No one ever died by having their faith questioned. But women die at the hands of mentally-ill men every day.

Reading around the blogosphere the other day I came across a young woman’s blog. She had her young, pretty, smiling face right on the front page, and used her name. She was a bit outspoken, like me, not afraid to say it like it is. And here’s the thing. One of her readers was leaving comments about what he wanted to do to her, and it was pretty horrid. (Necrophilia, anyone?) I don’t think she took the threat seriously, but she should have. There have been too many cases now of young women being found by some nutbar who’s formed some sick attachment online, and ending up dead.

It may seem cowardly to write anonymously, and sure, we don’t get the ego strokes of seeing our name up on the screen (I get enough of that, seeing mine in print), but I think more women should take their security more seriously.

And no man has any business decreeing what our choices should be.

Posted in blogging, mental illness, misogyny, privacy, religion, sexism, terrorism | 16 Comments »

Introducing Majutsu, My Husband

Posted by honestpoet on March 6, 2007

He posted this in a comment to my last post, but I thought this deserved to be read on its own:

You know what’s really funny? That this show [“The Lost Tomb of Jesus”] was widely watched and has generated a lot of curiosity and interest in jesus and his teachings. This interest has been generated in precisely those far removed from christ, such as atheists, the very nihilistic, those least reached in the last twenty or so years. If a christian cared about lost souls, they would approach this like follows, “It’s good to see you so excited about jesus the man. Don’t you wonder now what he taught and why so many base their life on his teachings? Why don’t you come to our church and talk about jesus and his life?” Oddly enough though, at a time when a couple hundred thousand to a million people, formerly very closed to god and christ, were opened up all at once and thirsting for knowledge about the teachings of jesus, how were they rewarded? By being reminded in the press and blogs that christians could give two shits about saving people. They want to condemn, to damn to eternal fire, the producer, the archaeologist, the network. . . They were reminded that christians want only to micro-control thought and other people’s lives. The proof is the opportunity for dialog that was lost — ignored. We may conclude from this that there is apparently no christian joy or close relationship with the divine to share. There really is only perpetual hatred and a false sense of self built on enjoying, with fantastic embellished imagery, the control and torment of others. Christianity is after the religion of the Roman Empire, the worship of jesus and the holy roman emperor in rome as divine. And the Romans were the Nazis of the ancient world. True to their heritage as cruel tyrants, the faithful christians walled themselves up, covering their eyes and ears, shrieking that their sole possession, their tattered rags of borrowed thoughts, was being dragged into the street, leaking out of the control of their balled little fists. Unfortunately for the christian, if there is a god, she sends rain down to the good and the evil. To wish your neighbor to be parched and dying of thirst every time it rains means that with every single drop that falls you again fail the ultimate test of faith, to be willing to be part of this one life, this being. This is the sort of sin that really matters, not violating undecipherable precepts of rotting books.

Ain’t that the truth.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, history, Jesus, mental illness, politics, prayer, ridiculous beliefs, Romans, science, secular humanism, separation of church and state, the Bible | 5 Comments »

More on the Lost Tomb of Jesus

Posted by honestpoet on March 6, 2007

Here’s what I found most compelling:

First of all, the names. They were pretty convincing, and in forms surprising enough that I don’t think a forger would have thought of them. (BTW, I love that Jesus named his son Judas. I always thought, even before learning of the Gospel of Judas, that he and Judas were actually pretty tight. I wrote a poem years ago called “Brother Judas” that paints the vilified disciple in a very sympathetic light.)

The symbol above the entrance of the tomb (a chevron with a circle inside it) which is repeated on Simon Peter’s ossuary at a separate site.

For me, there’s no question that this is the tomb of Jesus and his family. I think it’s a little crazy to pretend that it’s not. But then, religious people have always amazed me with their insane ability to deny reality.

Questions that remain for me:

How long is it going to take for people to accept this and allow it to change their minds?

What was Jesus really about? I’m planning on reading some of the gnostic gospels to see if Jesus’ teaching had any validity in terms of a useful world-view (I consider the Bible to be nothing but Roman propaganda, so it’s not a valid source). Or was he simply another con-man? Where’d he get the money for that tomb, anyway? “There will be poor always.” Yeah. So was he taking donations? And how much? Religion, it seems, has always been about making money for nothing. So as excited as my husband was about the idea of atheist Christianity, I’m not sure that would serve any purpose. I still think that science and ethics (secular humanism) are a better way to approach life than any thoughts of someone who lived back when they had no idea of what reality really is, no matter how nice that person may have been.

And when are we going to tear down the Vatican and return all that gold to the countries it rightfully belongs to?

Posted in atheism, Christianity, fundamentalism, history, Jesus, politics, Romans, science, secular humanism, separation of church and state, the Bible | 7 Comments »

Well, We Watched the Lost Tomb of Jesus

Posted by honestpoet on March 4, 2007

I found it convincing enough to remove “Jesus Never Existed” from my blogroll.

I’ll write more tomorrow.

We started to watch the debate afterward, but it was clear there wasn’t going to be a real exchange of ideas, and you know how I hate it when men just bombard each other with verbiage.

Posted in atheism, Christianity, history, Jesus, Jews, the Bible | 8 Comments »

Illuminati’s Plan

Posted by honestpoet on March 1, 2007

My husband tells me that the conspiracy theory goes like this:

After prepping the world with The Da Vinci Code, now they disclose these bodies. Next, they disclose that the bloodline never died out, and here he is, folks, the direct heir of Christ, and he’s gonna rule the world.

Of course, that would never work. If history has proven anything, it’s that neither intelligence nor nobility are necessarily inherited.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, illuminati, Jesus, mental illness | 12 Comments »

Sheepish Pope says “Sorry ‘Bout All That”

Posted by honestpoet on March 1, 2007

HA! As if. No, I think the Catholics are going to have the hardest time with this whole dead-Jesus thing. I said that creed over and over as a kid. It doesn’t hem and haw about the resurrection.

But it seems the protestants, or at least some of them, are being pretty flexible. My husband just came home from work, and guess what? He spoke with about ten Christians from a variety of sects and it seems that at their Wed. night sermons they were all told by their respective preachers about the discovery, and that it’s okay, that they never really believed in a physical resurrection, and they actually used the word “metaphor” (and while they were talking about things, they never said that evolution couldn’t be the process God used to make us), and they were suddenly curious about the difference between “agnostic” and “atheist,” and just what did he believe, anyway? (Just yesterday, in the course of patient management, he discovered from one of the counselors that he and I are known at the national level among televangelists to be “notorious atheists.”) He had really frank discussions, open-hearted, open-minded, and it seems a new day is dawning, at least in this town.

Of course I’m not saying he’s open-minded about theism. At some point you have to make up your mind, and we have. No, just open-minded about their ability to change and the possibility of the existence of a historical Jesus.

And I have to say that I’m really glad to suspect that he did exist (not that I think the events of the gospel are real…those are clearly ripped off from earlier myths…poetic license and all that).

When I was a girl I was in love with the man. My first holy communion was like a wedding. I was going to be a nun (until my hormones kicked in, that is). I wanted to be a saint. I’m not kidding.

And it wasn’t to get to heaven.

And it wasn’t about his alleged sacrifice (which is now being interpreted metaphorically as God having taken on the suffering of a human life, which, if you think about it, is much more painful than a quick crucifixion).

No. It was what he taught.

See, I was one of those kids who rescued bugs out of spider webs (I’m sure none of the spiders starved…I lived in Florida), painstakingly picking off the sticky bits of thread ’til the little thing could fly away. I hated suffering, other peoples’ even more than my own. I really hated injustice (still not fond of either). And I just couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t be nice to each other.

So the words of Jesus made me love him. (I’m lucky enough to have found a man just that kind.) I’m totally open to (and happy about) the possibility of once again honoring his name.

But I still do not believe that mind came before matter. One of his co-workers, when asked why she believes, even now, that there is a god, that mind was the source of matter and not vice-versa, responded that she just doesn’t WANT matter to have come first. But we know what I say about that sort of thing: wanting something does not make it so.

See, here’s the crux of the whole god/no-god thing. If you keep the god concept then you allow for magical thinking (it would be pretty magical for a non-corporeal mind to exist, outside of time, and create matter out of nothing, don’t you think?), like this thing in Jacksonville. Instead of working to erase the underlying problems that lead to crime, the city held a prayer rally.

And this sort of inaction goes on every day, everywhere, but nowhere so much and so often as here in America.

Worse, the god-concept poses the concept of god’s will, and the delusion that one could possibly know what that is. We are so easily misled by the ego or what’s even less conscious than that, our animal urges. How many people have died now at the hand of someone who imagined he was doing the will of god or allah? My husband himself saw a patient (unfortunately she didn’t accept treatment) who thought she was being tested by God (a real Abraham complex) and shot and killed her two grand-daughters.

When I say religion can be toxic, folks, I’m not kidding.

It’s also been very good medicine for some people, especially addicts.

But I don’t take my neighbor’s insulin, and I wouldn’t expect you to take my medicine.

Matter, for all we know, has always been here, expanding and contracting in an endless series of bangs and crunches. For all we know, each time consciousness arises given sufficient complexity. Or maybe this is the first time. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we are here, we are free, and we are all suffering humans struggling to survive and cope and maybe even achieve some small measure of joy.

I know love helps a lot. Jesus taught me that. I forgot it for a while, and then my husband reminded me. (I’m pretty thrilled now that they might be friends again.)

I don’t know how long it’s going to take the rest of the world to achieve the sort of amiable acceptance my husband found at work today. I’m pretty sure most of my town at least will be following suit (they do seem to toe the line, so if this is the official story, well, cool). I’m pretty sure our lives might, in a sense, be getting better. I’ve felt somewhat like a hostage in my own home with the prevailing intolerance.

But my husband’s practice is going to be pretty busy, I think. He’s been trolling the blogosphere, taking the pulse, as it were. There are clearly a large number of fundamentalists who just can’t accept this. The level of hardheadedness and idiocy they’re displaying isn’t very heartening. Maybe they should go to church and hear what their pastors have to say about it.

Of course if they’re Pentecostal, they’ll insist the Devil planted those bones. He’s sure got a big collection, what with the dinosaurs and all.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, Christianity, Christianofascism, evolution, fundamentalism, history, Jesus, mental illness, neuroscience, politics, power of love, prayer, psychiatry, Romans, science, secular humanism, separation of church and state, skepticism | 7 Comments »