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Archive for the ‘mental illness’ Category

No Free Speech in India

Posted by honestpoet on February 11, 2009

Here’s an article about a writer and her publisher being held for “offending the religious feelings” of Muslims (which is apparently a crime there) for an article in which she wrote “I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.” The title of the piece is “Why Should I Respect These Oppressive Religions?” Personally, I think that’s a good question.

I understand Muslims’ desire not to have thrown in their faces the fact that Mohammad was a pedophile and a genocidal maniac. And I understand India’s desire not to stir up their Muslim population, considering their tendency to violence when their religious feelings get hurt. But they’ll never progress as a democracy if they don’t embrace the concept of free speech. If someone can’t handle hearing someone else point out the problems with their religion, they need to examine their beliefs more closely, not silence the offending speaker.

It’s high time the fundamentalist Muslims of the world got their heads out of their collective asses and joined the present, rather than clinging to their past. There’s a reason Muslim countries are among the poorest, least developed places on the planet, and that’s the way in which they suppress dissent. New ideas, so necessary for progress, can’t flower in such a climate. Not to mention the fact that they cut off half (the female half) of their population from participation. That’s a lot of brains to leave out of the problem solving.

Some Muslims actually fantasize (the evidence of this litters the internet) that one day Islam will cover the globe, so we all may as well just give in to it. They don’t understand how great it is to live in a place where we are free to use our minds, and to speak our minds. We’re not going to give that up to go back to some medieval era when the church and the state were one (we experienced that already, when Christianity was as oppressive as Islam is now, in its own adolescence). Instead, if they don’t give up on the idea that they’ve got a firm grip on the truth and some divine mandate to shove it down the world’s throat, they’ll find their religion stamped out like a brush fire. The more they resort to violence and repression, the more opposition they’ll find among the world’s free thinkers. Already the events of 9/11 caused in this country public discourse, with writers like Sam Harris, questioning the validity of religious belief. With any luck, with their continuing idiocy, they’ll cause the death of religion altogether.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, fundamentalism, history, india, Islam, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, Muslims, ridiculous beliefs | 1 Comment »

Sam Harris on the Importance of Breaking Religion’s Spell

Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008

Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.

Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.

Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.

And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:

If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.

A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sarah Palin Linked to Second Witch-Hunter and Spiritual Warfare Network That Sees Catholics As Demonic

Posted by honestpoet on October 24, 2008

Nevermind Hindus, Muslims, or Jews. Even most Protestants don’t have it right, and a civil war among the protestants will be necessary to purge the churches of demonic influence before Jesus will come again. I just read this article over at HuffPo, and I have to say that I think Sarah Palin should be kept as far away from power as possible, not just in this election, but for forever.

These do not seem like nice people.

Although the terms ‘intercessory prayer’ and ‘prayer warrior’ are widely used in Christianity, Sarah Palin has been been claimed, as a member, by one very specific and well defined prayer-warfare network: the Global Apostolic Prayer Network, formerly called the “Spiritual Warfare Network”. This ‘prayer warfare’ network considers Catholics, and everyone else who does not share its particular interpretation of Christianity to be under demon influence and damned to hell; it hunts witches and is mapping out “demon influences” in cities and towns across America.

Global Apostolic Prayer Network leaders compare Catholicism to Freemasonry and have conducted prayer warfare which they claim may have helped to kill Mother Theresa. One top leader and apostle of this spiritual warfare movement endorses the activities of church-based Central American death squads.

On September 6, 2008, Norwegian Spiritual Warfare leader Jan-Aage Torp confirmed that Sarah Palin was currently a ‘prayer warrior’ in Mary Glazier’s prayer-warfare network.

Glazier has claimed that in 1995 her network drove an employee of the Alaska State Prison System, whom Glazier had accused of witchcraft, out of Alaska with ‘spiritual warfare’. As Glazier told Spiritled Woman Magazine,

“As we continued to pray against the spirit of witchcraft, her incense altar caught on fire, her car engine blew up, she went blind in her left eye, and she was diagnosed with cancer.”

And just in case any of you kind, forgiving Catholics want to pray that these people actually hear Christ’s message of the brotherhood of man, don’t bother:

The Global Apostolic Prayer Network…claims that a planetary-level demon spirit blocks prayers of Catholics from reaching Heaven.

All I can say is, wow. What century is this? Even after this election (which I’m pretty optimistic will NOT land Sarah the Prayer Warrior anywhere near the White House), I think we need to be vigilant that this Global Apostolic Prayer Network not continue to subvert democracy and rationalism around the world.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, Islam, Jesus, Jews, John McCain, mental illness, monoculture, Muslims, politics, prayer, religion, ridiculous beliefs, separation of church and state, terrorism, witchcraft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Does President Bush have Brain Damage?

Posted by honestpoet on February 4, 2008

Seriously, I think maybe his years of drug and alcohol abuse, combined with the stress of the job, have left him with some serious impairments. We watched some videos of him speaking and interacting recently, and his inability to keep his train of thought, his inappropriate use of humor, and his sheer lack of attention, really make him seem so. Majutsu tells me there are some people who believe he is, in fact, mentally impaired, if not mentally ill.

I remember watching Reagan all those years ago and thinking the same thing, that the man was not all there. And it did turn out that he was suffering the beginnings of Alzheimer’s syndrome.

I would love to hear from people in the medical field on this one. Doesn’t Pres. Bush seem like he’s a bit off in the head? It’s embarrassing to have this man represent the country.

Posted in impeachment, mental illness, politics, psychiatry | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Apologies for my Unannounced Absence

Posted by honestpoet on May 24, 2007

I just wanted to apologize to anyone who might’ve missed my posting for the long silence.

To be quite honest, I had fallen into a deep depression. I’ve changed my medicine (about a week ago) and am feeling much better.

In the process of digging myself out (the medicine is like a shovel, but you still have to do the work), I’ve been working out in the garden. Last year it was really neglected (I was just as depressed, but it was completely untreated), but this year I’ve done quite a bit more, and it’s just looking gorgeous. There’s still so much work to do, so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be posting very often.

There have been some changes in our lives but I’m not ready to write about them yet. We’re all well, but we’re taking someone into to our family who really needs some love and support. It’s been quite a journey so far. I’m not sure where it’s going to lead. But I feel good about it.

Posted in blogging, depression, friendship, gardening, mental illness, mothering, power of love | 5 Comments »

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 »

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 »

Sex toys, the pursuit of happiness, and Christianofascism

Posted by honestpoet on February 16, 2007

Yesterday we got a plain brown box in the mail. We’d ordered some nifty toys before Valentine’s Day (they got here a day late). We sure had a lot of fun last night. I’m thinking tonight’s going to be fun, too.

But hubby comes home from work today, and tells me he heard something really interesting on the radio. Apparently Alabama passed a law that not only makes the sale of dildos and other genital-stimulating devices illegal, but even the possession. And there’s a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. For having a dildo. Jeebus.

Here’s a funny Mark Morford editorial about the whole business. Apparently sex toys are illegal in my state, too. So I’ve been breaking yet another law and I didn’t even know it.

This is outrageous. There’s absolutely no way they can justify this law except with religion.

I’m pretty sure that what I do with my own genitals is nobody’s business but my own. If that’s not part of my inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, I don’t know what is.

The Supremes (stacked as they are in the Christianofascists’ favor) say that they can’t deny a state the right to outlaw sexual acts, or before you know it states might make incest or pedophilia or rape legal. Right. What a crock.

First of all, as if.

Second of all, my using a dildo doesn’t involve anyone else. So how can it be compared to rape or incest or child molestation?

This is establishment of religious law, and it’s absolutely unconstitutional.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, homophobia, mental illness, politics, ridiculous beliefs, separation of church and state, sexual freedom, states' rights | 18 Comments »